WEEK IN REVIEW: BAD NEWS FOR CHICKENS, WORSE NEWS FOR REGNERUS
Oh, my fellow Americans (and non-Americans), it’s rough being a political hot button, isn’t it? You’re trying to live a good life, ignore the assholes, fight the good fight, etc, and then what happens? An election year rolls around, politicians catch a whiff of a real wedge issue, and they escalate it, like a bunch of drunk Snookies, until it’s impossible to tell who actually gives a shit and who’s just in it for the attention. So it is this year with marriage equality. In light of the weird trend of corporations joining the fray, and especially the latest drama involving Mayor of Boston Thomas Menino’s letter to Chick-fil-A and the resulting Support Chick-fil-A Day, one could be forgiven for mistaking the marriage “debate” for a crappy reality TV show with waaaaay too many commercials. But there are other things happening on the marriage front, with slightly more potential to bear on our day-to-day lives. For instance: the Democrats are thinking of Officially supporting same-sex marriage, a huge turnaround considering that our last Democratic president was behind Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act (although it now seems possible that Bill was just trying to think of ways to make John Boehner look like a turd). But hey — better late than never, right guys?
Speaking of DOMA, remember Mark Regnerus? He published the New Family Structures Study, which was supposed to be about families led by gay parents but didn’t actually include any data on families led by gay parents? Regnerus put it forth as empirical evidence to refute evidence that stable same-sex couples make good parents, even though, out of 15,058 respondents in his study, only 2 of them had lived with a mother and another mother for more than 5 years. Lots of people, including us here at It’s Conceivable, were quick to point out this glaring flaw, while lots of people on the one-man-one-woman-mor-chikin side, including the study funders, were quick to enlist it for their diabolical porpoises. I mean purposes. The American College of Pediatricians got in on the game just one day after the paper was published, citing it in a ‘friend of the court’ brief against DOMA in Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, one of many DOMA challenges now in court, and one of the two that the US Justice Department on July 3 asked the Supreme Court to hurry up and consider already.
Meanwhile, Mark Regnerus has found himself in something of a shitstorm. His employer, the University of Texas, is looking into a scientific misconduct complaint filed by Scott Rose at the New Civil Rights Movement. The journal Social Science Research, where the study appeared, is also reportedly being investigated by its publisher Elsevier. But the big kicker came last week, when Darren Sherkat, one of the journal’s own editorial board members, delivered his verdict on Regnerus’s study: “It’s bullshit.” Sherkat cited the same reasons as everyone else, plus a few more, including the ideological motivations of the people who cleared the study for publishing. Politics, friends: it’s in your science, it’s in your breakfast cereal, it’s in your chicken sandwiches.
Excellent run-down of the Regnerus debacle here, if you’re still hungry.