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Guess who inspired Walter Schumm’s bogus “research”?

Timothy Kincaid

October 28th, 2010

MetroCatholic has written up an article about the controversy resulting from the AOL News story about Kansas State University professor Walter Schumm and his “study” finding that the “children of homosexuals are more likely to be homosexuals.”

In what is either a poorly contrived effort at preemptive damage control or a case of absurd irony, Schumm discusses the motivations for his study:

“Most scholars actually agree with the concept that gay people ought to be more likely to have gay children,” he told CNA in an Oct. 19 interview. “Even people on the liberal side of things actually pretty much agree with the idea that there are going to be social influences.”

He noted that prominent gay activist Jim Burroway has criticized proponents of the “parental influence” theory but has also said that such findings would not be surprising. In a column published on a gay and lesbian website in 2006, Burroway noted that virtually every theory about the origin of homosexuality would likely predict a higher incidence in children of gay parents.

Schumm wanted to test that prediction, and to improve on previous research he said was too limited and not sufficiently rigorous. He analyzed data obtained from 26 studies of gay parents and their children.

I was unable to identify – among the many many articles discussing the contributing factors that play into the development of sexual orientation – one that directly fits Schumm’s description. But I did find that in December 2006, Jim said this:

If we are ever able to tease out all of the possible factors that influence sexuality, we will probably learn that there are many different “types” of homosexuality. For some, it may be genetic. For others, maybe their later birth order after a string of brothers. For others still, it may be the same thing that made them left-handed. For others, their left-handedness may be a red herring and the real cause was their distant father. And for others, maybe their absent father had nothing to do with it; prenatal hormones made it inevitable. And for most — maybe all — it is more likely to be the unique combination of any and all of these factors (and others that we haven’t discovered yet) which forms the basis for who we are.

Ultimately, the issue is not whether the “parental influence” theory – or any of the other theories – will be found to be the most accurate. This issue is whether Schumm or his “study” has credibility to contribute to the conversation. And having reviewed his methods, we have determined that he has none.



John in the Bay Area
October 28th, 2010 | LINK

He was just taking a pot shot at Jim, because Jim was one of the first to raise the alarm about the Cameronesque “research” that he was doing.

October 28th, 2010 | LINK

That is pretty thin gruel. Certainly there are Catholics who can act in a more educated manner than that. What an embarassment.

October 28th, 2010 | LINK

When are all these people going to relize that we are born this way.
The same way as they are born hetrosexuals. I get tired of reading and hearing about how we chose to be this way.

Lindoro Almaviva
October 28th, 2010 | LINK

Congratulations to Jim are in order. I guess you didn’t even know the power your had over people. LOL!

October 28th, 2010 | LINK

Yawn. Schumm has a cover story to paper over the real motives for his activities. Meh.

October 29th, 2010 | LINK

So in other words, these people with gay children are most likely gay themselves and are just pretending to be straight?

Jack Giles
October 29th, 2010 | LINK

Yeah, my partner’s teenage daughter (she says she is bisexual) laid this on me yesterday. Her mother, keeps telling her that she is just confused because “we”, her father and I are influencing her. Because we are permitting this 17 yr old to explore her sexuality without condemnation. I’m calling bullsh*t on this, but really how can I stop her from talking to her mom? I can’t. I can only assure the girl, that she is loved and I have her back if she needs me. I find it upsetting that I have to face bigotry in my own home.

Jason D
October 31st, 2010 | LINK

I’m really not buying the distant father theory in the slightest anymore.

While parents do serve as a role model for social interaction and relationship dynamics, it seems ridiculously farfetched to suggest the imprint their own sexual tastes onto their children — especially through non-sexual activities and displays.

It also seems bizarre that such a vital component of our species: sex, would be left up to the indirect teachings of parents. Considering recorded history has the father being more distant and more likely to leave or be killed than the mother, shouldn’t the great majority of men be gay?

October 31st, 2010 | LINK

I’m curious about a discrepancy in Schumm’s description of his study in the MetroCatholic article and in the abstract for the Journal of Biosocial Science article. In the MC piece he refers to “data obtained from 26 studies,” but the abstract refers to “[t]en narrative studies.” What are the other 16 studies and how did they figure into his analysis?

October 31st, 2010 | LINK

Timothy (hopefully much refreshed!)

I think it may instead be a reference to this post.

“When you think about it, it would be very strange if there were no statistical differences in the sexual orientation of adult children of gay parents when compared to those of heterosexual parents.”

Of course, that’s not all Jim had to say; but Schumm seems little troubled by such pesky details.

As that now 4.5 year old post helps show, the Journal of Biosocial Science has form on this issue and plainly has a careless relationship with the efforts of one Paul Cameron. I can only assume that whatever standards they hold themselves to, those standards do not preclude publishing someone dismissed for an ethics violation in the particular field of ‘research’.

Rather an unfortunate thing to note, if one was a genuine researcher and had sought publication in that particular journal. Fair warning for others, I guess.

(By way of a belated update: at that time we also contacted — directly — an co-editor of the journal, based in Perth I think, and got a reply but also drew a big goose egg as regards any satisfactory response. Given I have oodles of time to waste, and lambing season is now well over, I still may try my luck again on this occasion of further outrage.)

December 31st, 2010 | LINK

What’s amazing to me is nobody mentions the influence of the media. It’s always the “parents”. A child’s parents are not the only influence in life, it’s also pop stars, TV, movies, magazines, music and social circles influenced by these things. What’s the chic thing to be today? LESBIANISM! How about Katy Perry; Lady Gaga; talk shows (which prominently feature lesbians); many female stars kissing publicly and declaring their “bisexuality”; The “L” Word; TATU; Many movies and TV series that have young lesbians or bisexual women and combine male bashing with lesbian characters. Most of these are aimed toward young females and many underage girls see these messages growing up.
This study doesn’t shy from pointing out there’s is a difference between male homosexuals and female homosexuals: It’s more common for women to become gay these days. What do you think is affecting them? There is a hug increase in women declaring homosexual impulses. According to a Reuters study 15% of women say they are lesbian or bisexual nowadays, this is a hug increase from 20 years ago when it was around 2%. How does that happen? The male percentage is the same as it was 20 years ago, around 3 or 4%. Why the increase in exclusively women? Underage girls are being targeted by homosexual messages and are clearly being influenced by them. This is wrong and underage girls shouldn’t be manipulated in this way by older females with homosexual impulses and a media tryng to profit off promoting homosexuality in young women.

Priya Lynn
December 31st, 2010 | LINK

Jerry said “According to a Reuters study 15% of women say they are lesbian or bisexual nowadays, this is a hug increase from 20 years ago when it was around 2%.”.

I find that highly unlikely. Let’s see a link to this alleged study.

Jason D
December 31st, 2010 | LINK

Tatu, seriously? Hello 2001, how have you been?

Timothy Kincaid
December 31st, 2010 | LINK

Lesbians! Stop giving so many hugs! You’re causing a hug increase.

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