Eastern Psychological Association’s Statement on Paul Cameron
April 11th, 2007
I received the following statement from Dr. Phil Hineline, president of the Eastern Psychological Association, concerning Paul Cameron’s poster presentation at their recent conference. I am posting it in full, followed by my original email of April 4th to the EPA. I followed up with another email on the 7th, to which Dr. Hineline kindly responds.
Following up on your message of 7 April, the following is a statement suitable for public distribution, provided that quotations from it are not lifted out of context.
Thank you for bringing the matter to our attention.
Paul Cameron and Kirk Cameron have posted for circulation a controversial and lengthy manuscript that purports, via the tagline at the bottom each page, to be the account of a presentation at the March 2007 meeting of the Eastern Psychological Assocition. The title of that manuscript, as well as its main emphasis, focuses upon an issue that was not present in the title nor was it in the supporting materials that were submitted by the Camerons for a poster presentation at EPA.
The submitted title, which appears in the EPA printed program, is: “Federal distortion of homosexual footprint.” The accompanying Abstract asserts that the proportion of the Canadian population identified as lesbian, gay and bisexual is substantially lowered if adults over age 60 are included than if they are excluded from the sample. The asserted implication is that federal agencies are exaggerating the size of the homosexual proportion of the population by excluding adults over 60 from the assessments.
In contrast, the manuscript at issue carries the title: “Federal Distortion Of Homosexual Footprint (Ignoring early Gay Death?).” Two of the three paragraphs in its accompanying Abstract focus upon the topic of the added parenthetical phrase, which is an inference – indeed a topic — that was not present in the materials submitted to EPA. Irrespective of its potential for controversy, it is highly unlikely that the augmented/altered version would have been accepted for presentation, for there clearly are many reasons other than differential longevity that could result in the under-reporting of homosexuals over 60.
Whatever its content, even the format of the manuscript to which the EPA identification has been affixed — a manuscript of more than 7000 words plus three tables and six graphs, would have been completely inappropriate as a poster presentation, which was the venue in which Dr. Cameron proposed to participate in the meeting.
To clarify the relevant history and circumstances:
After putting out the call for submissions to be proposed for the EPA meeting, we typically receive over 700 submissions as was the case this year. These submissions are divided into categories (e.g. Animal Learning, Social psychology, etc ..) and each section is reviewed by a volunteer on the program committee. As each submission typically has at least two authors, vetting authors against other organizations’ lists of people with problematic ethical records is simply an impossibility, especially given the time-frame of preparations for an annual convention.
For acceptance, a work had to be complete, be methodologically sound using proper data collection techniques and/or experimental methods, the conclusions had to be derivable from the presented results, and the topic deemed to be one that could stimulate interest and discussion among those attending the meeting.
The submission by Dr. Cameron indicated that there was a possibility that the prevalence of homosexuals in the population had been overestimated by previous techniques. Data were presented, reportedly using a broader defined sample than that used by government agencies, which indicated that the prevalence of homosexuality in the population was smaller than had been previously suggested. The submission by Dr. Cameron was for a poster presentation, and it was accepted as a poster, not as a paper or address. Whatever the Camerons ultimately presented, occurred in an hour-long “poster session” among approximately 70 posters.
There was nothing in the materials submitted by the author for review by EPA that indicated that the work could, or would, be informative with respect to the longevity of homosexuals.
Philip N. Hineline
President, Eastern Psychological Association
The following is my original e-mail sent to the EPA on April 4th. I followed up with another e-mail on the 7th, to which Dr. Hineline replied above.
President Hineline, President-Elect Sternberg, members of the Program Committee;
I was quite astonished to see a number of press releases from the Family Research Institute’s Paul Cameron in which he cites a paper that he presented to the Eastern Psychological Association March 13-16. Given Dr. Cameron’s well-established track record for misrepresenting legitimate scientific research — and his well-documented ethical violations of the APA’s preamble – I found it very odd that his paper, “Federal Distortion of Homosexual Footprint” would be accepted by the EPA.
I am not writing to discuss the merits of the paper. However I do have a number of questions about the process that allowed the paper to be accepted. Please be assured, it’s not my intention to draw anyone into a debate. I am asking only to understand the circumstances behind the acceptance of Drs. Cameron’s paper.
1) Do the papers themselves undergo any sort of peer review before they are accepted by the EPA?
2) If the paper undergoes a peer review, are there any checks or specific processes by which this review takes place?
3) How is acceptance of a paper determined?
4) Are authors vetted to ensure there are no ethical complaints lodged against them by other professional organizations (for example, the American Psychological Association)?
5) Does the EPA maintain a repository of the papers that have been accepted? I ask this because I would like to verify that the paper the Drs. Cameron make available on the Internet is actually the paper that was presented at the conference.
Any information you can provide me would be most appreciated.
I am grateful for Dr. Hineline’s thorough response to each of my questions.
You can read my critique of Cameron’s paper in my latest report, “Paul Cameron’s Footprint.”