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Monday, June 11, 2012

Scientific Study

 I am a scientist by training. The average non-scientist is not aware that science is largely politicized in our country (and elsewhere). It is biased almost by definition, because the federal government is the largest funder of scientific research. For example, the government invests in climate scientists who believe/seek to prove the existence of global warming, but not those who don't. This despite plenty of data showing the exact opposite of what the government and climate scientists want everyone to accept. That data is ignored.
The same is true for previous studies on same-gender couples who raise children. A new study addresses the flaws in the previous studies and corrects them, with substantially different findings. The quotes here come from a write-up in the Deseret News.
The oft-cited assertion that there are "no differences" in outcomes between children of same-sex parent households and those of intact biological families may not be accurate, according to a new study published Sunday in the journal Social Science Research.

Adult children of parents who have been in same-sex relationships are different than children raised in intact biological families on a number of social, emotional and relationship measures, according to research from the University of Texas at Austin.

Among other things, they reported lower income levels, poorer mental and physical health and more troubled current romantic relationships. The study found 25 differences across 40 measures.
The study doesn't note particular conclusions, but does point out that this area needs more accurate and detailed research before anyone will truly be able to make broad conclusions as to whether heterosexual or homosexual couples are more successful in raising children.
I want to talk specifically about the flawed studies for a second. As pointed out in the article, the former studies did not use representative populations, instead relying on people all in similar circumstances to each other. Former studies didn't ask the children raised by homosexuals anything about their feelings, or successes and failures, but instead relied on reports from the homosexual parents themselves. These studies were also not using a true comparison to the general population, meaning the results of the study were falsely inflated.
A separate analysis in the same journal edition by Loren Marks, associate professor at Louisiana State University, more directly challenges previous same-sex parenting studies as inadequate, biased and unreliable. He lists seven concerns with the science, including the fact that "well-educated, relatively wealthy lesbian couples have been repeatedly compared to single-parent heterosexual families instead of two-parent marriage-based families." Single-parent families typically have poorer child outcomes across several measures, so it's easier to look better against them, he said.
The research published Sunday is certain to be controversial, Marks said, adding he is not affiliated with either political party. "I never wanted to be co-opted on either side as someone to hate or as a campaign manager for anybody."
It's sad that we all know that he's going to be labeled as a hater just because of some unbiased scientific research showing a need for further research in this area. Here are some other experts weighing in on the subject:
Studies consistently say kids in a biological married family with both parents "are advantaged compared to any other kind of family," Osborne said. That alone raises a "conundrum" with the previous finding that same-sex couples have equal outcomes, "since that almost always implies a step-parent, a cohabiting partner — what we call a social father or social mother — divorce, adoption, at least one of those things." Some studies say those things don't disadvantage same-sex parent families.
But she also is bothered that some would use differences to bar same-sex couples from having kids without understanding what causes those differences.
"I hope people will take it on and look at related and more complex statistical questions," said Eggebeen. If Regnerus' findings don't hold up, why? I would see this as the beginning. The provocative findings get us to look at this."
 I recommend the entire article.

*As an aside, here is a post written by a faithful gay Mormon, who got married (to a woman) and has children and feels completely happy and fulfilled. His is a seemingly incredible story - please read it.

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