Dr. Andrew Perrin — a cultural and political sociologist — teaches at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The topmost ranks of the American Sociological Association respect him greatly, as is evidenced by his being a co-author of the Report to the American Sociological Association Council Regarding the 2010 National Research Council Assessment of Doctoral Programs.
Characteristic of his interests is a 2011 paper he co-authored with Katherine McFarland – Social Theory and Public Opinion – which appeared in the Annual Review of Sociology.
Perrin’s voluminous academic credits reflect a rigorous quest for an understanding of what constitutes state-of-the-art methodologies for the field of sociology.
For example, with Jeffrey K. Olick, Perrin translated and edited works by Theodore W. Adorno. The Harvard University Press notes that Olick and Perrin “make a case that these experiments are an important missing link in the ontology and methodology of current social-science survey research.”
Perrin’s professional assessment of Regnerus’s work is devastating. Here is what he says:
“I think the study is so thoroughly flawed, in particular with respect to its categorization of ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian,’ that no conclusions can be drawn with sufficient confidence to report, publicize, or use them.”
I asked Dr. Perrin about Regnerus’s data analyses, some of which were carried out with the assistance of W. Bradford Wilcox, who, as a Regnerus study funding agency representative, organized the study and collaborated with Regnerus on its design booby-trapped against gays. The analyses of the raw data led to dubious “findings” about gay parents and child sexual victimization. In that regard, Perrin said this about Regnerus and Wilcox:
“They should state publicly that the study does not support the ‘gays are pedophiles’ conclusion.”
I wanted to know specifically what Dr. Perrin thought of Regnerus’s “finding” that 23% of his study’s young adult children of “lesbian mothers” had suffered childhood sexual victimization. This is how he responded:
“The fundamental flaws in data collection and interpretation are sufficiently grave as to make this finding very suspect.”
Regnerus has published claims that no funding agency representatives were involved with designing and carrying out his study. Yet, Regnerus’s chief funder is the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute.
Brad Wilcox was Director of the Witherspoon program that first organized the Regnerus study. Wilcox held the title of Director when he collaborated with Regnerus on study design. Dr. Perrin says this:
“Regnerus’s claim that the funders were not involved in the study design is clearly not true given Wilcox’s status.”
Dr. Perrin further states: “The other important angle on this is that Wilcox’s “academic” work is not particularly well respected and is highly politicized — (Philip Cohen did an excellent critique on his blog a while ago) — so it is not plausible that Regnerus engaged his services for primarily scholarly reasons. Regnerus certainly knew any advice he received from Wilcox would be heavily slanted toward the point of view Witherspoon routinely pursues.”
(One of Dr. Cohen’s critiques of Wilcox is titled Distorting Data on Divorce at the National Marriage Project. Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia).
I also asked Dr. Perrin whether Regnerus could be considered in violation of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.
A specific example I gave was that of Regnerus having absurdly told The American Independent that Witherspoon’s Brad Wilcox “did not represent Witherspoon” when; 1) Wilcox was Director of the Witherspoon program that organized the study, and when 2) Wilcox, as Director of that Witherspoon program organizing the study, collaborated with Regnerus on the study design.
Dr. Perrin said: “If in fact he is lying about the relationship, then my understanding is that he would be in violation of the ASA code of ethics.”
Commenting on his own sociology blog, Dr. Philip N. Cohen said:
“Yes, it seems clear that Regnerus lied, and that Wilcox acted unethically by acting as a reviewer, program officer and consultant.”
New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
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