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Danish Study Refutes Paul and Kirk Cameron

Timothy Kincaid

November 13th, 2008

In April 2007, anti-gay “researcher” Paul Cameron and his son Kirk sent out a press release claiming that studied information from Denmark that proved that gay men died on average 20 years younger than their heterosexual counterparts. Jim Burroway provided a very thorough refutation of the Camerons’ claims, showing them to be nonsense and bigotry.

Also interested in the Camerons’ claims was Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor teaching at Grove City College, a small liberal arts college with a conservative evangelical philosophy. Dr. Throckmorton’s beliefs about homosexuality support traditional faith positions, primarily in the way in which a same-sex attracted person lives their life (i.e. in accordance with the confines of their faith).

But Throckmorton is no fan of bogus claims or fraudulent statistics. He contacted Morten Frisch, a prominent epidemiologist in Denmark, and asked him to review Cameron’s work. Frisch was unhesitatingly critical of the Cameron’s claims.

Although the Camerons’ report has no objective scientific value, the authors should be acknowledged for providing teachers with a humorous example of agenda-driven, pseudo-scientific gobbledygook that will make lessons in elementary study design and scientific inference much more amusing for future epidemiology students.

Well it now appears that Dr. Frisch was not content with dismissing the Camerons’ statements. Dr. Throckmorton is reporting that Frisch and colleague Henrik Brønnum-Hansen followed up with a study of their own and found the opposite of what the anti-gay activist had claimed. Throckmorton’s initial assessment is:

Frisch and Brønnum-Hansen found that Danish men marrying soon after the Danish same-sex marriage law was enacted had markedly higher death rates than men in the general Danish population. They speculate that these men were ill, ordinarily with AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, but also from other life-threatening diseases, and wanted to marry to establish rights of survivorship or other benefits for a surviving spouse. However, the mortality for homosexual men marrying after 1996 is virtually the same as for heterosexual men in Denmark. Thus, since HIV/AIDS has been more successfully managed, the mortality rates have declined dramatically. [emphasis added]

Thanks to Dr. Frisch for following up and to Dr. Throckmorton for his analysis.

Comments

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Lynn David
November 14th, 2008 | LINK

Was any of Cameron’s work ever brought up in the California Prop 8 debate or advertisements of the “Yes on 8″ organizations? Perhaps in a pamphlet?

Hunter
November 15th, 2008 | LINK

Thanks are indeed due to Drs. Frisch and Throckmorton, but I’m afraid I’m cynical enough at this point about the tactics of the anti-gay forces in this country that I won’t be surprised if the numbers from 1996 to be quoted extensively, with no reference to the numbers after that date.

It’s what we’ve come to expect.

Rodolfo Alvarez del Castillo Legarreta
May 6th, 2011 | LINK

I am writing since Mexico. Sorry if my english is not fluently. You wrote: ” …. the mortality for homosexual men marrying after 1996 is virtually the same as for heterosexual men in Denmark … “.

Do you know average age that men married in Denmark?

If men married in average at 30, then they would have 44 years in 2010. So, you can not affirmed that Cameron’s theory is wrong, because they not have reached died age suggested by Cameron. If we want to prove that Cameron is wrong, we have to be scientifically serious and not to be fanaticals.

Timothy Kincaid
May 9th, 2011 | LINK

Rodolfo,

The person you described as “fanatic”, the one who wrote the sentence you quoted, is the highly respected Dr. Morten Frisch, MD, PhD, DSc(Med), of Copenhagen, Denmark who was the senior epidemiologist on the study.

To really understand, go read the links. There is a great deal of information on the other threads, as well as by Dr. Throckmorton.

The take away point from this thread is that Cameron made a claim based on Dr. Frisch’s work, and Frisch described it as “agenda-driven, pseudo-scientific gobbledygook”. Frisch then went on to illustrate how Cameron was entirely wrong.

Rodolfo Alvarez del Castillo Legarreta
May 9th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy
I am reading Dr. Frisch links and I am still having questions. I move in a gay community in Mexico city and since I read Dr Cameron statement I have been asking my friends death causes and average death age on the community. I am scared … I know it is an small sample, but death age average is 50 years old and main cause of death is colon’s cancer.

Timothy … do the same investigation in your community … if the results are different I will be happy …. but if the results are the same I believe we have to accept the truth and demand goverments investment to create medicins and treatments for this problem … regards

Scott L.
May 9th, 2011 | LINK

Rodolfo, a personal poll is entirely useless. Have you done death statistics for ALL men in Mexico? Do you have the data for risk factors, such as diet and exercise? Do you even have a median age of death for ALL Mexicans? Without this information just saying that you’ve asked a few people you know is absolutely meaningless.

Rodolfo Alvarez del Castillo Legarreta
May 11th, 2011 | LINK

Scott
I have not done death statistics for all men in Mexico, you are right. The situation is , since I read Cameron statement I have been asking in gays bars and with my friends death and age causes in the community and unfortunately information coincide with cameron statement. My position is no to say like Cameron said, It is God’s punishment, of course not. My position is, maybe It is true and maybe we need to invest in medical science to understand why it is happen and to found a cure.

Timothy Kincaid
May 11th, 2011 | LINK

Rudolfo,

Asking one’s friends is very seldom an indicator of anything, especially anything to do with statistics (yet we all seem to think that “what our friends believe” is important).

To the best of anyone’s knowledge, gay people do not live any longer or shorter than heterosexuals, and other factors such as diet, alcohol, smoking, exercise, and genetics play the most significant roles in life expectancy.

Perhaps the greatest correlate (though not necessarily cause) of life expectancy is income. The World Heath Organization shows a 23 year difference between life expectancy of low income and high income individuals.

You seem to be reluctant to accept the facts. You seem to be insistent that our honest analysis is fanatical and that Cameron’s assertions are “the truth.”

But let me be very clear: regardless of what you have heard in a bar, the statements by Paul Cameron have no scientific value. They are bias-driven, artificially contrived, and fraudulently provided.

They are the quintessence of what is called “junk science”, something presented as though it is objectively observed when in reality it is nothing but deception.

This is not my opinion; it is the collected and shared opinion of the scientific community. Cameron has been expelled from several organizations for fraud and misrepresentation.

Here at BTB we are not interested in telling lies to ourselves. But we also will not let lies be told about us.

Rodolfo Alvarez del Castillo Legarreta
May 19th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy

Your point of view is solid. I agree with many arguments. I know Cameron is like the devil for us. But I just still have the same question … Why not request a profesional poll to government in order to know death age average? …. if the result confirm our feeling, it would be great … if the result confirm Cameron statement I belive we are not to change our possition, but we can demand medical research in order to attend this problem

Timothy Kincaid
May 19th, 2011 | LINK

Rodolfo,

An accurate poll on the age of death of gay people would be, at this point, almost impossible. We cannot even get a good poll on what percentage of the populace is gay.

Older gay folk are SIGNIFICANTLY more hesitant to identify publicly as gay. They’ve lived through eras in which that resulted in discrimination, physical violence, or even incarceration. And even today, there are few services for older gay people and anti-gay discrimination in elder housing and care is shocking. Any study would by default undercount older gay people.

My advice is this: stop acting as though Cameron is someone to either confirm or disprove. He is not a credible scientist or a legitimate researcher. His announcements have no value and do not need to even be considered.

It is as though your Aunt Thelma decided that Asians own more shoes. It’s all in her head and only a fool would act as though Aunt Thelma’s musings are important enough to determine policy or even require study to find out whether or not Aunt Thelma is right or wrong.

Rodolfo Alvarez del Castillo Legarreta
May 20th, 2011 | LINK

I never thought to hear the word impossible in a forum like this. The bottom line is that in mexico city gay people are dying young, there is sufficient evidence that at least in our communities is happening. We need urgently to invest money in medical research to improve life expectancy.

But unfortunately we are slaves of Taboos like Cameron because we believe the other part is always wrong.

Timothy Kincaid
May 20th, 2011 | LINK

Rodolfo,

Clearly you really want to believe what you want to believe and logic, facts, or th eprinciples of scientific process are not going to sway you.

So I’ll not endeavor further.

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