Guess who inspired Walter Schumm’s bogus “research”?
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.
“Children of Homosexuals” Researcher More Apt To Ape Paul Cameron
October 17th, 2010
There’s a study out that’s causing quite a stir. It’s by Walter R. Schumm, a professor Kansas State University whose paper has appeared in latest issue of the Journal of Biosocial Science. (JBS was formerly The Eugenics Review from 1909 to 1968, at which time the Eugenics Society changed its journal’s name.) Schumm’s paper, titled “Children of homosexuals more apt to be homosexuals: A reply to Morrison and to Cameron based on an examination of multiple sources of data,” essentially picks up where a very similar 2006 paper by Paul Cameron left off, which claimed that 33% to 47% of children of gay parents wound up being gay. Schumm’s paper claims that children of gay parents were 1.7 to 12.1 times as likely to become gay as children of straight parents, “depending on the mix of child and parent genders.” The implication behind Schumm’s paper, as it was with Cameron’s, is that gay parenting can somehow influence a child’s sexuality, with the implication that homosexuality itself is not biological but determined according to how a child is raised.
Schumm’s study is currently making a big splash on AOLNews, where, according to an article by Paul Kix, Schumm has supposedly conducted a new “robust” study examining whether Cameron was right: Do gay parents make gay children? Cameron’s paper, also published in JBS, was just another example of the shoddy “scholarship” and deliberate distortion of other publications that we’ve come to expect from him. Schumm’s paper seeks to replicate Cameron’s work while acknowledging some of the criticisms of Cameron’s 2006 paper. It’s important to emphasize however that Schumm only acknowledges someof the criticisms. The most important criticism — the completely non-random nature of the so-called “dataset” that Cameron used — Schumm not only ignores, but he repeats that same flaw and embellishes it in a grandly enlarged form.
Schumm, like Cameron, calls his study a “meta-analysis” of ten smaller samples. (Cameron used only three.) When researchers use the term “meta-analysis,” they mean that they collected a bunch of data from a collection of other studies. And typically, these studies are drawn from what are called “convenience samples.”
To obtain a convenience sample, a researcher defines the type of population he’s looking for and recruits his sample according to eligibility requirements that he defined ahead of time from among people who are more or less conveniently available to him — hence the name. But critically, that researcher would have accepted everyone who volunteered and met the predefined criteria. While this isn’t a representative sample, it is, at least for the most part, a relatively random one, even if it is often very far from being a perfectly random one. Putting together nationally-representative samples is extremely costly and, therefore, extremely rare. Convenience samples are much more common. Good researchers, however, are very mindful of the limits of their sample and would never extrapolate their findings to the population as a whole.
Convenience samples have many weaknesses, and one of the weaknesses is that they tend to be small. A “meta-analysis” is intended to correct that problem. To perform a meta-analysis, a researcher collects a bunch of other studies and combines all of the data from their samples, re-crunches the data, and sees which trends hold up in the much larger sample. This too, is valuable, although it also has its pitfalls. It’s not important to go into them here, but for our purposes it’s fair to say that meta-analysis techniques are useful — as long as the studies gathered for the meta-analysis contain samples that were similarly constructed and were meant to examine the same set of questions. And that also means that the smaller samples were somewhat similarly random, even if they were not statistically representative. The larger meta-analysis retains the same weakness of the smaller random-but-not-representatives samples, but with the larger combined sample, it can tend to diminish some of the quirks (or “outliers”) of the smaller samples. These kinds of studies can be useful in identifying trends and correlations, but they cannot be used to extrapolate behaviors or conditions to the population as a whole.
But Schumm’s “meta-analysis” (and Cameron’s before him) doesn’t even have the benefit of being built off of random convenience samples. There were no convenience samples in any of the ten prior works that Schumm used for his meta-analysis. In fact, they weren’t even professional studies. They were popular books!
That’s right, each of the ten sources that Schumm used to construct his “meta-analysis” were from general-audience books about LGBT parenting and families, most of which are available on Amazon.com. Schumm read the books, took notes on each parent and child described in the book, examined their histories, and counted up who was gay and who was straight among the kids. The ten books were:
- Abigail Garner’s Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is
- Andrew Gotlieb’s Sons Talk About Their Gay Fathers: Life Curves
- Noelle Howey and Ellen Samuels’ Out of the Ordinary: Essays on Growing Up with Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Parents
- Maureen Asten’s Lesbian Family Relationships in American Society: The Making of an Ethnographic Film
- Mary Boenke’s Trans Forming Families: Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Ones
- Jane Drucker’s Families Of Value: Gay and Lesbian Parents and their Children Speak Out
- Peggy Gillespie’s Love Makes a Family: Portraits of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents and Their Families
- Louise Rafkin’s Different Mothers: Sons and Daughters of Lesbians Talk About Their Lives
- Myra Hauschild and Pat Rosier’s Get Used to It!: Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents
- And Lisa Saffron’s What About the Children: Sons and Daughters of Lesbian and Gay Parents Talk About Their Lives
The first three were also used in Cameron’s 2006 paper. Schumm comments these books, saying:
The authors of these ten books have done important data collection for the entire scientific community. While their samples may not be random, they may be no worse than the convenience and snowball samples used in much of previous researcher with gay and lesbian parents; certainly their combined dataset is far larger than that of the early studies on gay and lesbian parenting.
This is utter nonsense. None of the books contained any semblance of a sample — not even a convenience sample, and the authors certainly didn’t do anything approaching an “important data collection” by any stretch of the imagination. What they did was tell stories, or, rather, helped the families themselves to tell their own stories. The people chosen in each of these volumes were were not picked according to a pre-defined criteria in the manner in which a researcher would construct a sample. They were chosen solely because the authors and editors thought their stories were compelling. In 2006, Abigail Garner, an advocate for children of LGBT parents, was particularly incensed at Cameron’s misuse of her book and implying that the people selected to appear in it were in any way random. In fact, Abigail said that her book was intentionally non-random:
In fact, I had made a point of having a roughly even number of straight kids and second generation [gay, bisexual or transgender] kids so that both views would be evenly represented in the book. In other words, because of the goals of my book, I deliberately aimed to have 50% of the kids interviewed to be queer. Not because it is statistically reflective of the population, but to give it balance of perspective.
Schumm used Abigail’s book in precisely the same illegitimate way that Cameron did. Despite the fact that Abigail expressly said that she intentionally made her balance of gay kids to straight kids at about 50/50, Schumm used that sample as part of his “meta-analysis” to conclude that gay parents are more likely to create gay kids. Schumm doesn’t say how many of his 262 “samples” he derived from Abagail’s book. Cameron said he used “over 50” of Abigail’s interviews, so it is likely to be a considerable chunk of Schumm’s “dataset” as well.
But even if the “dataset” from Abigail’s book was minimal, the other books won’t make up for the flaw. The books that Schuum chose are best characterized as literary works, many with essays and stories of kids “speaking out” about having gay parents. (Gotlieb’s Sons Talk About Their Gay Fathers is something of an exception. But here, too, his work is descriptive and not statistical. He also only talks about twelve young men.)
These stories were chosen for their literary and illustrative qualities, and for the compelling nature of each of their situations. The method for collecting the stories for these books is anything but random. In fact, the process is best described as anti-random. Sticking to a rule for randomness would have likely rendered these books both boring and unmarketable. The goal of these authors and editors was not to examine their subjects in a statistical sense, but in a literary sense — to explore issues and perspectives and different points of view, with each story chosen because it illustrates an issue that isn’t touched on by the other stories. And no matter how great or small the so-called “samples” were (Gotlieb’s consisted of only twelve young men), it’s a given that these authors and editors ensured that the experiences of LGBT children were well-represented alongside their straight compatriots, without regard to whether their numerical presence were in any way statistically representative.
That is how good stories are gathered, but it most certainly is not how a sample is collected for statistical purposes. To run statistics on this non-statistical (or anti-statistical) sample would be like judging the ratio of giraffes to chimpanzees in Africa by comparing the populations selected by the zookeepers at your local zoo. Whenever a non-random selection process is used, any attempt at statistics on that process is completely meaningless — and an abuse.
But to add further insult to that injury of statistics, Schumm needed a control sample of children from straight families. For that, he turned to a population-based representative sample from 1994: Edward O. Laumann, et al’s, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. That’s right. He used a deliberately anti-random sample of children from LGBT parents and compared that number with a population-based nationally representative sample of children from households overall to conclude that gay parents are much, much more likely to cause their children to become gay.
Which means that he’s now comparing elephants to oranges.
Before I end this critique, I have another surprise: In his JBS paper, Schumm actually cited me by name and included a complete block-quote from my 2006 criticism of Cameron’s study — while blithely ignoring the main point of that very criticism. Of course, he had to, because the main point of my criticism of Cameron’s work can be multiplied three-and-a-thirdfold for Schumm’s.
And having become a subject of Schumm’s highly selective citation, I can’t help but notice that Cameron often did the same thing. He was famous for picking out a small paragraph of other researchers’ work while ignoring that researcher’s primary findings in the hope that nobody would notice.
But I noticed with Cameron and I’m noticing it again with Schumm. And I’m not surprised. Back in 2007 when Cameron tried to launch an online “journal,” Schumm agreed to be part of Cameron’s editorial board. Cameron’s “journal” failed to get off the ground, but Schumm continues on. More recently he served as an “expert” witness alongside George “Rentboy” Rekers in Florida’s gay adoption trial. As far as I can tell, Schumm comes off appearing more “sciencey” than Cameron, but his methodology is exactly the same. And when you use the same methodology, you end up with the same result: junk science.
Stay tuned. I’ll have more later.
Florida Adoption Ban Ruled Unconstitutional
November 25th, 2008
Miami-Date Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman has declared Florida’s gay adoption ban unconstitutional, saying, “It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent.” This ruling grants Frank Gill, a gay foster father in North Miami, the go-ahead to adopt two foster children he has been raising since 2004. The two children are ages 4 and 8, making Frank virtually the only parent the younger child has ever known.
Lawyers for the state of Florida immediately said they would appeal the ruling. During the hearings, attorneys for the state brought in so-called “experts” George Rekers and Walter Schumm, both of whom are closely associated with Paul Cameron. Rekers used his own particular brand of junk science to support the state’s position that gays should be barred from adopting, adding that he believed the ban should extend to Native Americans for the same reasons.
I’m very interested in obtaining a copy of Judge Lederman’s ruling. Her evaluation of the state’s “experts” could be very entertaining.
Update: More quotes from Judge Lederman’s ruling via the Associated Press:
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said the 31-year-old law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents, rejecting the state’s arguments that there is “a supposed dark cloud hovering over homes of homosexuals and their children.” She also noted that gay people are allowed to be foster parents in Florida.
…”There is no ‘morality’ interest with regard to one group of individuals permitted to form the visage of a family in one context but prohibited in another,” Lederman wrote in a 53-page decision. “There is no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting.”
…Lederman rejected all the state’s arguments soundly. “It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent,” the judge wrote. “A child in need of love, safety and stability does not first consider the sexual orientation of his parent. The exclusion causes some children to be deprived of a permanent placement with a family that is best suited to their needs.”
Update: It looks like Judge Lederman ruled based on what was best for these particular children. From the Orlando Sentinel:
“These children are thriving. These words we don’t often hear within these walls. That’s uncontroverted,” said Circuit Judge Cindy S. Lederman. “They’re a good family. They’re a family in every way except in the eyes of the law. These children have a right to permanancy,” the judge said. “The only real permanancy is adoption in the home where they are thriving. … There is no rational basis to preclude homosexuals from adopting.”
Anti-Gay “Expert” Would Consider Banning Adoptions By Native Americans
November 23rd, 2008
Two anti-gay activists closely associated with Paul Cameron have inserted themselves into the center of Florida’s gay adoption controversy.
Florida is the only state in the nation which explicitly bans adoption by gay parents. That law is now being challenged. The Miami Herald has obtained a transcript from an adoption trial which was closed the public. The trial ran on Oct. 1-6, and centered on a gay foster father’s petition to adopt the two small boys he has been raising since 2004. The trial featured testimony from a half-dozen expert witnesses in psychology, epidemiology, sociology and family studies.
The state of Florida, which is supporting the ban, relied on two so-called “expert witnesses” who are closely associated with discredited “researcher” Paul Cameron. George A. Rekers, is a retired professor from the University of South Carolina, who taught neuropsychiatry and behavioral science. Walter R. Schumm, is an assistant professor of family studies at Kansas State University.
The lives of gay people can also be stressful to children, Rekers testified. The children may experience teasing and bullying from other children who don’t approve of their parents’ orientation. And children with gay parents are likely to suffer from repeated separations because gay people are more likely to have multiple failed relationships.
Rekers said he would, in fact, favor banning anyone from adopting who had more than 18 “sex partners” during a lifetime. “I think that would be a very good social policy,” he said in a deposition.
He said he would also consider banning Native Americans from adopting because research shows that they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse. “They would tend to hang around each other,” Rekers testified. “So the children would be around a lot of other Native Americans who are … doing the same sorts of things.”
Rekers relies extensively on Cameron’s research, citing as many as nine separate Cameron articles in one 2005 paper. Rekers and Cameron together launched Cameron’s online “Journal,” the Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior, in 2007. The EJSSB is purportedly an open-access peer-reviewed journal, but, in fact, it is nothing more than a dressed-up web site. Since its inception in 2007, the only articles “published” to date are three papers by Paul Cameron and one book review by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, another close Cameron collaborator.
Rekers support of racism to exclude an entire class of prospective parents from adopting is most extraordinary. Of course, it’s no more shocking than Cameron’s own apologia for how the Nazi’s “dealt with” homosexuality at Dachau and Sachsenhausen.
Schumm is considerably more circumspect in how he uses Cameron’s research, but he did publish a 2000 article in Psychological Reports, Paul Cameron’s favorite publication outlet, defending Cameron’s research methods against Dr. Gregory Herek’s criticisms. Schumm is also listed as a member of Cameron’s “Editorial and Scientific Review Board” for the EJSSB.
In the trial, Schumm used data from his recent Psychological Reports article to claim that about 19 percent of children raised by gay parents are likely to become gay, compared with 4 percent of children with straight parents. Testifying for Frank Gill, the gay foster father, Susan D. Cochran, a professor of epidemiology and statistics at UCLA, accused Schumm of cooking his data.
”This is taught in first-year statistics,” Cochran testified. “I was surprised he would do that.”
James Esseks, one of Gill’s attorneys, criticized Rekers for relying on Paul Cameron’s work, citing his being dropped from the American Psychological Association in 1983 after he declined to cooperate with an ethics investigation on charges he had distorted research by others scientists on gay people.
Florida’s gay adoption ban was declared unconstitutional by a Circuit Court judge last fall in Key West. Since that decision wasn’t appealed to a higher court, it did not have any effect statewide. But the state is now fighting Gill’s attempt to adopt these two boys, which means that whatever the outcome, it will likely be appealed to the Third District Court of Appeal and possibly the Florida Supreme Court. If so, that outcome would go into effect statewide.
About 22,000 Florida children are in state custody, with more than 4,000 of them eligible for adoption. Only two states have more foster children waiting to be adopted.
[Hat tip: Alvin McEwen]
Paul Cameron Announces a New “Journal”
September 23rd, 2007
What do you do when you are having trouble getting your junk science published in reputable peer-reviewed journals? Well, one solution would be to improve the quality of your science. Or, if you’re Paul Cameron and you’re running an outfit called the Family Research Institute (FRI), you try something else:
FRI is doing something exciting — we are starting an online scientific journal! It is entitled the Empirical Journal of Same Sexual Behavior (EJSSB)
That exciting announcement went out to members of Paul Cameron’s mailing list. The brainchild of Paul Cameron and George Rekers, the EJSSB’s first articles were slated to appear sometime in September, although the pay-to-publish website (beginning at $500) appears to still be under construction. But even if it does go live, don’t look for this journal to appear in your local university library:
Not too many years ago, launching a scientific journal was a colossal undertaking. First, you had to assemble an editorial board and get capitalized sufficiently to be able to print and ship the journal. Then you had to find a way to get libraries of the world to subscribe — hopefully covering all or most of your costs. Daunting to put it mildly.
Times have changed. The internet now permits journals to bypass many of the previous hurdles.
Cameron intends to dress this “journal” up as an academic journal, but that doesn’t mean it will actually be one. Because there are some 1,700 real social science journals listed in Journal Citation Reports, an article in the most reputable journals may still be read by only a few thousand professionals around the world. But that’s not who Cameron is targeting. Instead he wants to draw in thousands of unsuspecting readers on the internet, few of whom will realize that it isn’t a reliable journal — or even a real one.
George Rekers has some firsthand knowledge of how this works. He set up the Journal of Human Sexuality in 1996, featuring such luminaries as Peter LaBarbera and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively. As far as I can tell, that journal appeared only once and few libraries bothered to acquire it. Notice how WorldCat listed it as a “book” despite it’s name. But that doesn’t prevent several anti-gay activists from citing it as though it were a real journal.
Cameron is among the most extreme of the anti-gay activists, and he’s become something of a persona non grata in more respectable quarters for many reasons: whether they be his numerous ethical violations, his widespread abuses of science, or his deeply chilling solutions that he poses for the “homosexual problem” in America — including his admiration for how Auschwitz commandant Rudolph Hoss dealt with homosexuals in the 1930’s.
Cameron’s letter to his supporters lists the initial public members of the Editorial/Review board for Cameron and Reker’s latest venture. In addition to Paul Cameron, his son Kirk, and Rekers, they include:
Toby B. Bieber: She and her late husband, Irving Bieber, co-authored the famous 1962 book Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals, which popularized the too-close mother and distant father theories of male homosexuality. They were an ardent opponent of the APA’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Since Irving’s death in 1991, Toby Bieber has carried on her husband’s opposition to that decision by serving on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization she helped to foster from its beginning.
Gerard van den Aardweg: Another NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member and Dutch psychologist, Gerard van den Aardweg is the author of The Battle for Normalcy: A Guide for (Self-)Therapy for Homosexuality� in which he cites four different Cameron works. Oddly for a “professional,” none of Cameron’s works that he cited were published in remotely professional setting. Among the Cameron sources Van den Aardweg cites is “Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do”.
Thomas Landess: A former English professor at the University of Dallas, Landess co-wrote three articles with Paul Cameron between 2001 and 2005, all of which appeared in the low-ranked pay-to-publish Psychological Reports. Cameron described Landess as a “long-time FRI collaborator, supporter, and friend” at a 2002 FRI banquet, where Landess was the featured speaker. Landess is also identified with the Neo-Confederate Movement and once served as contributing editor of Southern Partisan magazine. One 1984 article for that magazine condemned the Statue of Liberty for its the ideals of freedom and nineteenth and early twentieth century immigration.
Nathaniel S. Lehrman: A former Clinical Director of the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn, Lehrman holds revisionist views about gays in the holocaust which closely parallel Paul Cameron’s and Scott Eric Lively’s, another holocaust revisionist. Like Cameron and many other anti-gay extremists, Lehrman contends that there is no such thing as sexual orientation.
Walter R. Schumm: A professor at Kansas State University, Schumm published a 2000 article in Psychological Reports, Paul Cameron’s favorite publication outlet, in which Schumm defended Cameron’s research methods against Dr. Gregory Herek’s criticisms.
Little is known about the remaining three names given for the Editorial/Review board: Ralph E. Mayberry (MD), John Raney (MD), and Steven Rice (MD). There is a Steven Rice, MD, who serves as a board member and Public Policy Liaison for the Memphis-based and Exodus-affiliated Love In Action ex-gay ministry. I have not been able to confirm whether this is the same Dr. Steven Rice.
While it appears that the “journal” is not yet up and running, I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised to see Cameron’s “Scandinavian Lifespan Study” appear as one of its first so-called “peer-reviewed” articles. If so, I wonder if he will have given himself a discount to get it published?
Hat tip: An unnamed reader I met at the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference who managed to get on Cameron’s mailing list. You know who you are. Thanks.
Paul Cameron: “35% of Foster-Parent Molestations Homosexual”
August 10th, 2006
Paul Cameron is at it again. From a press release:
New evidence poses problems for those who think homosexuals should be allowed to serve as foster-parents. 35% of foster-parents who sexually abused their foster-children in the last three years engaged in homosexuality.
From 2003 through 2005, a third of foster-parent molestations of foster-children were homosexual. That’s the official tally from two states — Illinois and Minnesota — that permit homosexual foster-parents. For the approximately 30,000 children/year in foster-care at some point in the two states:
—12 foster mothers sexually abused their charges: 9 (75%) assaulted foster-daughters, 3 (25%) raped foster-sons.
—28 foster-fathers sexually abused their charges: 23 (82%) assaulted foster-daughters, 5 (18%) raped foster-sons.
A similar claim sparked a firestorm in April, 2005 when Cathie Adams, the president of Texas Eagle Forum repeated Cameron’s statistic live on CNN. The only difference between today’s statistics and last year’s is that Paul Cameron has added data from Minnesota. But when Carl Bialik, the “Numbers Guy” at the Wall Street Journal — which can hardly be accused of being a liberal rag — looked into the claims last year, he found the evidence very unconvincing. Since Cameron’s method for generating his statistics are unchanged from last year, Mr. Bialik’s criticisms still apply:
There were 270 reports, and 34% of those were same-sex in nature: committed by a male adult against a male child, or a female adult against a female child. Dr. Cameron called those homosexual acts of abuse, and, citing several studies, including a joint report by the University of Michigan and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concluded that gays make up between 1% and 3% of the adult U.S. population. “Thus, homosexual practitioners were proportionately more apt to sexually abuse foster or adoptive children,” Dr. Cameron wrote.
This required several leaps of logic, some of which I’ll discuss later. The biggest is that Dr. Cameron had no data about the makeup of homes in which the Illinois children were abused; indeed, a state DCFS spokeswoman told me the agency doesn’t record whether households are same-sex. It’s possible that much of what Dr. Cameron calls homosexual abuse occurred in what would be considered heterosexual homes.
And he goes further:
Besides his lack of data about same-sex couples in Illinois, researchers pointed out Dr. Cameron’s flawed assumption that the gender of pedophiles’ victims correlates to adult sexual attraction; that he applied nationwide data on homosexuality to a predominantly Chicago-based population of foster homes; and that he cited many of his own studies, including two previous ones that attempted to calculate the proportion of sexual abuse that is same-sex based on small sample sizes of six and 25 cases of abuse, respectively.
“The paper is not written as a competent research paper,” said Paul Velleman, associate professor of social statistics at Cornell University. “This is a pretty lightweight study,” said Kenneth Land, professor of sociology at Duke University and chair of the American Statistical Association’s mathematical sociology section.
Walter Schumm, professor of family studies at Kansas State, once published a paper responding to Dr. Cameron’s critics, but in this case he questioned Dr. Cameron’s conclusion that same-sex couples pose a special threat to children. “Since the state didn’t provide him with any data on whether parents were heterosexual or gay, it’s hard to make any definitive statements other than that much of the abuse seems to be same-gendered,” Dr. Schumm said. “For all we know, that could all be by heterosexual parents.”
That last point by Dr. Schumm is very significant. Up until then, he had been a staunch defender of Cameron’s work.
Cameron concludes this press release saying:
The study from data provided by the IL Dept Children & Family Services and MN Dept of Human Services appears in a rebuttal to gay marriage in the August, 2006 issue of Pediatrics on-line http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/eletters/118/1/349.
If you click on that link, you will see that the rebuttal, by Kirk Cameron, Paul’s son, is not peer-reviewed, nor does it even appear in the journal itself. It is part of an online discussion forum they call a “Post-Publication Peer Review,” which, in the broad scheme of things, doesn’t have much standing as far as professional publication is concerned. At best, it’s an online letter to the editor. They didn’t even bother to pay the fees to have it published in the vanity journal Psychological Reports.
By twisting official statistics, and making assumptions that men who molest boys and women who molest girls are among the “2-3%” of the openly gay population, Cameron seeks to perpetuate the lie that gays and lesbians are much more likely to molest children. But if you want to know the real truth behind statistics like these, read our report, Testing the Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?.