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Paul Cameron Misrepresents Paul Cameron

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2006

When I wrote to the editors of the Journal of Biosocial Science last January, I warned them that should they go ahead with the publication of Paul Cameron’s paper, “Children of homosexuals and transsexuals more apt to be homosexual,” they would, in effect, give him carte blanche to hijack their journal’s reputation in the promotion of anti-gay bigotry. I also pointed out the very unscientific underpinnings of his supposedly “scientific” research, which was based not on a representative sample, or even a random convenience sample, but on three books he purchased on Amazon.com. His “samples” were mostly based on literary and illustrative merits. (You can read my critique of his article in Paul Cameron Conquers Cambridge.) Unfortunately, my comments fell on deaf ears.

We well know his penchant for misrepresenting the works of others. But in flogging his latest effort, he’s really outdone himself. He now misrepresents his own article.

According to his press release:

“Most people think homosexual parents create an environment that stimulates homosexual desires in their children. We expect children to be confused when a father decides to pretend he’s a woman and demand that his family participate in his charade.”

I’ve read these books. There are very few, if any, examples of gay fathers “pretending he’s a woman.” These books collectively mentioned ten transgenders out of the seventy-seven that he used for his “sample,” but if that’s the basis for what he’s talking about, then he’s using an extremely tiny sample. Sexual orientation and sexual identity are two completely different things. These books aren’t about men “pretending” to be women. They’’re about men and women who, for the most part, have decided to stop pretending they’re something that they are not.

Just a little later in his press release, he says:

They say foster care and adoption by homosexuals is absolutely harmless — there is no correlation between children adopting homosexual tastes and the sexual proclivities of their parents. Examination of three published reports by pro-gay investigators shows the falsity of these claims.

Well now he’s completely barking up the wrong tree. I can find no examples of adoptive or foster children in his “sample.” It is made up by the biological children of gay and transgender men and women. And if there were a biological underpinning to homosexuality and gender expression (and the research, while supportive of that idea, it is not conclusive), then why wouldn’t these biological traits be passed down to at least some of the children? Not only does Dr. Cameron refuse to consider this (nor does he even try to disprove it), but since his article doesn’t examine children who were adopted or fostered by gay parents, there’s no basis for what he’s saying. His article does not support the idea that gay parents adopting or fostering children makes them gay.

In other words, he’s misrepresenting his own paper, which in turn misrepresents the work of the three authors whose books he bought on Amazon.com.

He went even further when he appeared on the Thom Hartmann Show on the Air America radio network last Monday. There, he described these three authors as “pro-homosexual investigators” conducting “studies” using “data,” even though his own paper acknowledged that this was not the case (although he went on the compare their books to legitimate studies anyway in an attempt to inflate their “scientific” merit).

Abigail Garner, the author of Families Like Mine, one of the three books Dr. Cameron bought from Amazon.com, caught his act on Air America and did an excellent fisking of that interview. And throughout that interview, the good names of the Journal of Biosocial Science and Cambridge University Press were repeated, loudly and clearly.

As Dr. Cameron goes on the offensive with this, it’s high time the editors of the Journal of Biosocial Science made their positions clear: do they support Dr. Cameron’s “findings” as legitimate? Or do they concede the mistake they made in publishing the article in the first place? So far, despite repeated attempts to reach them, I have received nothing but a deafening silence.

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