The e-mail below was sent by The New Civil Rights Movement’s Scott Rose to the University of Texas, Austin’s Research Integrity Officer Robert Peterson, as a complaint about the university’s apparent stonewalling on an inquiry into Sociological Malpractice allegedly committed, in an ongoing way, by UTA Associate Professor Mark Regnerus. A previously-published TNCRM introduction to the matter may be read here.
July 6, 2012
Although UTA attorney Jeffery Graves was kind enough to inform me that I should not send UTA any more information about the Regnerus matter unless UTA requests it, I am writing to you so as to have a public record of things that you have been told about the Regnerus study.
As a baseline matter, there is nothing really to discuss, as Regnerus did not make a valid sociological comparison and therefore, his entire study is invalid. In case somebody doesn’t understand this; it would be valid to compare young adult children of broken heterosexual homes with young adult children of broken homosexual homes, but it is not a sociologically valid comparison to compare broken homes with unbroken homes, as Regnerus did.
In her Huffington Post article, co-authored with additional UTA Sociologists, Debra Umberson said this:
Mark Regnerus claims to have produced the first rigorous scientific evidence showing that same sex families harm children. As a family sociologist at the University of Texas, I am disturbed by his irresponsible and reckless representation of social science research, and furious that he is besmirching my university to lend credibility to his “findings.”
Umberson did not specify that when she references Regnerus’s “irresponsible and reckless representation of social science research,” what she means is that Regnerus DID NOT MAKE ANY VALID SOCIOLOGICAL COMPARISON.
I put that in all caps, because frankly, I am sick of this ridiculous game where Regnerus violated the most basic rules of his own field, other professors at the same school have complained that he is negatively impacting their department’s and school’s reputations, but nonetheless, school administration, which is busy promoting Regnerus’s study, is acting as though one had still to investigate whether Regnerus had made a sociologically valid comparison.
Regnerus appears purposely to be clouding public understanding of the basics of Sociology when he insists on talking about the superiority of his random sampling to the convenience and snowball samplings of past studies on gay parenting. Sampling method is irrelevant if a sociologist makes an invalid comparison with his data.
Furthermore, Regnerus appears to be being highly disingenuous and untruthful when he alleges that at the beginning of the study, they thought they might be able to connect with and to survey an adequate number of authentic gay parents, but that they eventually found that they could not, and so they went ahead and made the invalid comparison anyway. Firstly, why is Regnerus trying to play people for fools, as though all of his blah-blah-blah meant that his study would magically become valid because of the blah-blah-blah, even though he had not made a sociologically valid comparison? This is exactly what UTA Sociologist Debra Umberson is referring to when she says:”I am disturbed by his irresponsible and reckless representation of social science research.”
Why is Regnerus doing that, and why is school administration allowing him to do that, given that its own additional Sociology professors say that this is Sociological Malpractice? The study Loren Marks simultaneously published with Regnerus’s study is in many respects a give-away as to the underhanded dirty tricks that Regnerus’s funders are playing. The Marks study is all about how a random sampling is superior to the convenience and snowball samplings of past studies on gay parents; but nowhere does it mention that *no* sampling method is relevant to research results if an invalid comparison was made with the data collected. Furthermore, Marks’s June, 2012 study was published under exactly the same title in October, 2011, is essentially the same as that past version of the study, though with a few tables thrown in, and it has EXACTLY the same conclusion. Now who publishes research as though it were a brand new study and trumpets it all around as some new discovery, when it has exactly the same conclusion as the previously-published study?
PILOT STUDIES — Any reputable surveying company, including the one Regnerus used, Knowledge Networks, will tell you that if you are going to spend a great deal of money attempting to survey a small population, you must first do a PILOT STUDY that will give you a good idea of how many of your intended target demographic you will be able to reach with the larger study. Knowledge Networks, or any similar company, will advise people looking to spend lots of money to reach a small population to first do a PILOT STUDY because a company like KN does not want to damage its professional reputation by promising results that it is not sure of being able to produce, leaving a client very dissatisfied. “They promised me the moon but delivered nothing!” Knowledge Networks would not operate towards that outcome, because it would severely damage their brand. And, to be sure, Regnerus wanted to study young adult children of gay parents, but Knowledge Networks did not find an adequate sampling of them for him to survey. Knowledge Networks is not a used car dealership, but Regnerus is presenting his dealings with them, as though they allowed him to spend a huge amount of money to reach a small population which they knew he would not be able to reach with their methods and his budget.
Of course, all of those details are extraneous to the fact that Regnerus made no valid sociological comparison with his study. And that is why four UTA Sociologists signed a published article that says: “As a family sociologist at the University of Texas, I am disturbed by his irresponsible and reckless representation of social science research, and furious that he is besmirching my university to lend credibility to his “findings.”
So far from UTA, I have experienced: 1) probable dissembling about a documentation request being already in progress, before I was told that I would have to file an Open Record Act request. If, as David Ochsner told me, the documentation was already being assembled, why was it not ready as soon as I filed the Open Record Act request? 2) UTA’s Ochsner, who has been placing advertorials for the Regnerus study, sent attack e-mails to my publication containing unwarranted smears against me, and attempts to discredit my reporting and my person, and to intimidate us out of further reporting on the Regnerus matter as though we have never seen such tactics attempted before. 3) UTA attorney Graves told me — “Don’t call us, we’ll call you!” — with any further info related to Regnerus; so my question for you now is, in working on the inquiry, had you ever realized what I told you above about pilot studies, and if so, can you produce any documentation for your having explored that question with respect to Regnerus? That no pilot study apparently was done appears to speak to the whole study being carried out either with incompetence or with evil motives. If a pilot study was done, where is the evidence of that, what was learned through the pilot study and what decisions were based on it and how were those decisions reached?
Nobody needs to investigate anything to understand that Regnerus’s study does not make a sociologically valid comparison, but anybody truly interested in understanding his relationship with his funders would be examining such issues as whether he did a pilot study. UT has made statements of confidence in Regnerus’s independence of his funders, which tells me that UTA is not serious about an inquiry.
Furthermore, that Regnerus would accept funding from the hateful people who got him his planning grant and his study funding says something about his character, because even *if* those funders gave Regnerus true independence, he was responsible for understanding the wicked uses they would make of his study. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which had success suing the Ku Klux Klan, has a 2012 Intelligence Report on the National Organization for Marriage titled: “National Organization for Marriage Continues to Spread Lies About Gays.” The SPLC report centers on NOM’s lies conflating homosexuals with pedophiles, a known falsehood. It is now using Regnerus’s study in similar ways; to say that homosexuals are dangerous to children. And very interestingly along those lines, it is using supposed sexual abuse information from the study to further claim that homosexuals equate to pedophiles. As happens, in the study, most parents incorrectly labeled as gay were from failed heterosexual marriages, one spouse of which appears to have perhaps experimented with same-sex intimacy, perhaps to have been bi-sexual — Regnerus made no attempt to clarify the situations. However that may be, when parents divorce, generally each of them continues playing a role in their children’s lives. Regnerus asked those children of broken homes questions pertaining to whether they had ever experienced sex abuse, but he did not research *which* parent or other adult in or out of the home had committed the abuse; it could as easily have been a heterosexual adult as a homosexual one, but Regnerus is pinning the blame for the abuse on the (supposed) gay parent only. Doing that violates the core principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”
NOM, already notorious for its dishonorable dancing around campaign finance laws, clearly is the funding driver behind the Regnerus study. I say that because; 1) NOM head Robert George has authority within both The Witherspoon Institute and The Bradley Foundation, which both funded Regnerus; 2) The Bradley Foundation funds The Witherspoon Institute; and 3) Witherspoon Institute President Luis Tellez is a NOM board member.
The Regnerus study is defamatory of gays as a class of people, is being aggressively used as a political and social weapon against gays, and in particular is being used in deliberately cruel ways against gays by Regnerus’s funders who have a long, long history of caring more about their political gay-bashing than about child welfare.
NOM has held anti-gay-rights rallies where its speakers yell through megaphones that homosexuals are “worthy to death.” Recently in Texas, Mary Kristene Chapa, 18 and Mollie Olgin, 19, a lesbian couple were shot point-blank in their heads while relaxing together in a public park.
But UTA thinks there is no urgent problem, is dragging its feet before deciding whether Regnerus’s study makes a valid sociological comparison, and on top of that, is promoting the invalid study as a shining example of what the school can do.
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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