May 8th, 2007
It’s been a full year since Paul Cameron’s paper on gay parenting appeared in the Journal of Biosocial Science. Despite a barrage of emails from Abigail Garner, (one of the authors whose work Cameron misrepresented in the paper), myself and others, there has been nothing but silence from the journal’s editors.
This month, Anthropology News published a series of articles in its May edition addressing Cameron’s publication in the JBS. Unfortunately, the contents of that newsletter are not online. But Raymond Hames, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nebraska, sent me the text of an article he co-wrote with Edward H. Hagen, of the Institute for Theoretical Biology at Humboldt University in Berlin.
That article, “A Case of Misrepresenting the Scientific Record on the Effects of Parents’ Sexual Orientation,” calls the Journal of Biosocial Science to task for the failure of its peer-review process to uncover Cameron’s rather obvious weaknesses and distortions. The scientific peer-review process ordinarily assumes that a researcher is acting in good faith, that “a genuine attempt was made to learn about the world.”
However, recent events have shown that an author’s good faith can’t be taken for granted. Not only are there career pressures to report breakthroughs that haven’t occurred, but personal biases can also drive an author’s efforts:
At the extreme, partisans repeatedly shop a piece of strongly biased pseudo-science to a large number of journals in the hopes that their “result” will slip through at one, gaining the imprimatur of acceptance in a peer-reviewed journal. We regret to report a recent instance involving Paul Cameron, an anti gay-rights activist, and the Journal of Biosocial Science (JBS). JBS, published by Cambridge, is edited by well-regarded biological anthropologist C G N Mascie-Taylor and features an impressive editorial board, with members from universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and UC Berkeley.
Professors Hagen and Rames briefly describe a couple of the particular flaws in Cameron’s JBS article, some of which I reported last year. They also note that pro-gay biases can inflect research as well. However:
In light of increasingly sophisticated attempts to manipulate the scientific record to political ends, journal editors must ensure manuscripts are sent to reviewers who know the relevant research literature and who have the requisite methodological skills. In a “Debate” section, JBS did publish a reply to Cameron by Todd Morrison (who does not discuss the problems we identified here). Unfortunately, this has further legitimized Cameron’s junk science by suggesting that Cameron is engaged in a real scientific debate. JBS, unlike Science in the Hwang Woo-suk [fraudulent stem cell research] fiasco, has failed to acknowledge or address the real issue: the severe failure of its review process.
Professors Hagen and Rames wrote to the JBS editors last August with their objections to Cameron’s article, and JBS was invited to respond to the articles in Anthropology News. The editors have not responded in either case.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.