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Homophobic Catholic Pseudoscience

YYW
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2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Article: http://www.theatlantic.com...

Paul Sillens is a professor at Catholic University. His claim is this: "kids with gay parents have more emotional problems than kids with straight parents because their parents are gay."

This is one of the most pathetic studies/papers/arguments I've ever seen.

Read the paper here: http://papers.ssrn.com...

Sullins' wants to talk about the extent to which kids who are parented by gay parents suffer no disadvantage in emotional wellbeing. He goes about doing this by examining a little more than 207k children, only 512 of which had same sex parents. He claims he controls for age, sex, race, part education and income. He does not claim to account for alternative causes for the same outcome, like divorce, attributes of the children themselves, quality of school social environment, familial instability due to reasons not pertaining to money (like causes external to gay parents such as social stigma of gay couples), etc. He also shows no evidence that the kids who he examined were actually raised by gay couples... only "having a gay parent."

What does that mean? He's making a broader social policy claim about gay parenting, without any evidence that the kids were parented -at least a majority of the time- by gay couples. He ignores a ton of alternative causes. Why is this? Is it because he's intellectually sloppy? Perhaps. Is it because he's willfully ignorant? Hint: this guy has a Ph.D. So... it's more likely the case than not that he chose to ignore stuff that would undercut his claim (as has been shown by many more scholars, who are far brighter and rigorous than he).

And, the greatest irony of it all is this: he claims that the monogamous nuclear family is the "ideal" family because it's got the lowest instances of emotional issues. Whatever, dude. What kind of an environment a kid is raised in matters, but the kind of support that they receive (perhaps from parents, but definitely not only from parents) matters more. Immediate family, extended family, friends, schools, teachers, coaches, etc. all play a role in a kid's wellbeing and development. Casualty can't be isolated in the way he's claiming it can be, even if his correlation is the case.

Let's be clear too... isolating causality in situations like "the family" for anything is an incredibly hard thing to do... at least with any reasonable degree of intellectual rigor. But, I think even a high school student could spot the flaws in this study, because they are so obvious.... that I would disagree with The Atlantic's argument. This guy is not only a quack, but he is an "obvious" quack. The fact that he's promulgating his quackery on the rest of us doesn't mean that anyone is any more likely to engage in or be persuaded by quackery... because this sort of nonsense already exists. His quackery is just "new."

I could talk about the review process... or the fact that he basically published in a journal that isn't fit to wipe someone's @ss on it's such garbage... but that would be gratuitous.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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2/19/2015 6:32:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
And I just want to add this:

The Witherspoon institute is comically absurd. Like, being affiliated with that... I would be ashamed.
Tsar of DDO
Vox_Veritas
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2/19/2015 7:31:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The study sounds legit. What is most noticeable here is that a news source immediately jumped onto it to attack it, seemingly without doing anything to disprove the article. Their criticism of the study is too weak to effectively discredit it. It pretty much said "There might possibly be some external factor unrelated to gay or straight parenting (doesn't that possibility exist with every study?), and thus this study is pseudoscience."
The media's bias makes itself more and more apparent every day...
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
phiLockeraptor
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2/20/2015 8:09:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/19/2015 7:31:28 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
The study sounds legit. What is most noticeable here is that a news source immediately jumped onto it to attack it, seemingly without doing anything to disprove the article. Their criticism of the study is too weak to effectively discredit it. It pretty much said "There might possibly be some external factor unrelated to gay or straight parenting (doesn't that possibility exist with every study?), and thus this study is pseudoscience."
The media's bias makes itself more and more apparent every day...

Did you literally not read the OP?
"Philosophy is a great conversation that never ends"

Writing for this website ----> www.dailyfreethinker.com
Vox_Veritas
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2/20/2015 8:10:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 8:09:35 PM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
At 2/19/2015 7:31:28 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
The study sounds legit. What is most noticeable here is that a news source immediately jumped onto it to attack it, seemingly without doing anything to disprove the article. Their criticism of the study is too weak to effectively discredit it. It pretty much said "There might possibly be some external factor unrelated to gay or straight parenting (doesn't that possibility exist with every study?), and thus this study is pseudoscience."
The media's bias makes itself more and more apparent every day...

Did you literally not read the OP?

I did.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
phiLockeraptor
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2/20/2015 8:12:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 8:10:25 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 2/20/2015 8:09:35 PM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
At 2/19/2015 7:31:28 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
The study sounds legit. What is most noticeable here is that a news source immediately jumped onto it to attack it, seemingly without doing anything to disprove the article. Their criticism of the study is too weak to effectively discredit it. It pretty much said "There might possibly be some external factor unrelated to gay or straight parenting (doesn't that possibility exist with every study?), and thus this study is pseudoscience."
The media's bias makes itself more and more apparent every day...

Did you literally not read the OP?

I did.

Oh okay. You just didn't seem to respond to any of his other criticisms
"Philosophy is a great conversation that never ends"

Writing for this website ----> www.dailyfreethinker.com
YYW
Posts: 36,282
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2/20/2015 8:49:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 8:12:28 PM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
At 2/20/2015 8:10:25 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 2/20/2015 8:09:35 PM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
At 2/19/2015 7:31:28 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
The study sounds legit. What is most noticeable here is that a news source immediately jumped onto it to attack it, seemingly without doing anything to disprove the article. Their criticism of the study is too weak to effectively discredit it. It pretty much said "There might possibly be some external factor unrelated to gay or straight parenting (doesn't that possibility exist with every study?), and thus this study is pseudoscience."
The media's bias makes itself more and more apparent every day...

Did you literally not read the OP?

I did.

Oh okay. You just didn't seem to respond to any of his other criticisms

I mean, it's because Vox has no idea how social science works... so... not really a subject of concern there.
Tsar of DDO
ford_prefect
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2/20/2015 9:47:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
What is "Catholic" about this study, except for its author? Or would you title a thread about a study by a gay author whom you disagree with "ignorant gay pseudoscience"?
Skepsikyma
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2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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2/20/2015 10:34:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Amen. Oh sociology. "So I drew this line through these dots, and look, it goes up!"
Skepsikyma
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2/20/2015 10:37:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:34:09 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Amen. Oh sociology. "So I drew this line through these dots, and look, it goes up!"

LMAO. I picture that whenever someone trots this stuff out in political discussions. I swear, eye twitches have been conditioned to the name 'Regnerus'.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Garbanza
Posts: 1,997
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2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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2/20/2015 10:43:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:37:34 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:34:09 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Amen. Oh sociology. "So I drew this line through these dots, and look, it goes up!"

LMAO. I picture that whenever someone trots this stuff out in political discussions. I swear, eye twitches have been conditioned to the name 'Regnerus'.

I don't know what your background is, but try being a data scientist and reading these papers... they make statistics look so retarded that I have to remind myself not to be personally offended.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted. The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Skepsikyma
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2/20/2015 10:48:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:43:10 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:37:34 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:34:09 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Amen. Oh sociology. "So I drew this line through these dots, and look, it goes up!"

LMAO. I picture that whenever someone trots this stuff out in political discussions. I swear, eye twitches have been conditioned to the name 'Regnerus'.

I don't know what your background is, but try being a data scientist and reading these papers... they make statistics look so retarded that I have to remind myself not to be personally offended.

Yeah, I feel for you. I studied botany, and wrote a research paper in order to graduate. Nowadays I mostly read papers that apply to the biotech work that I do and 'translate them into English', as my superiors put it. I can see how it would be tormenting to you.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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2/20/2015 10:50:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted. The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.

Just want to add to this a bit. I only skimmed the paper, but I focused a bit more on the statistical analysis. No correction for multiple comparisons, and most importantly, the comparison between same-sex and opposite-sex families doesn't normalize for the effect size due to not having two biological parents. Zero of the children with same-sex parents in this study were raised by both biological parents. The effect they're seeing could be entirely due to this, for all we know.
UndeniableReality
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2/20/2015 10:54:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:48:36 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:43:10 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:37:34 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:34:09 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Amen. Oh sociology. "So I drew this line through these dots, and look, it goes up!"

LMAO. I picture that whenever someone trots this stuff out in political discussions. I swear, eye twitches have been conditioned to the name 'Regnerus'.

I don't know what your background is, but try being a data scientist and reading these papers... they make statistics look so retarded that I have to remind myself not to be personally offended.

Yeah, I feel for you. I studied botany, and wrote a research paper in order to graduate. Nowadays I mostly read papers that apply to the biotech work that I do and 'translate them into English', as my superiors put it. I can see how it would be tormenting to you.

Honours thesis in botany? Not sure if they call it 'honour's thesis' where you went to school. Or might that be 'honor's thesis' =P . Either way, pretty cool. Biotech is a pretty cool field, but I know little about it. Closest thing I've done is some work in bioinformatics, I guess. I work in brain-computer interfacing now, which makes me pretty happy.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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2/20/2015 11:09:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:50:20 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted. The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.

Just want to add to this a bit. I only skimmed the paper, but I focused a bit more on the statistical analysis. No correction for multiple comparisons, and most importantly, the comparison between same-sex and opposite-sex families doesn't normalize for the effect size due to not having two biological parents. Zero of the children with same-sex parents in this study were raised by both biological parents. The effect they're seeing could be entirely due to this, for all we know.


This error is soooo common, especially among laymen who constantly try to cite studies about single parenting to discredit gay parenting. Seeing it made by a 'scientist' is just depressing.

Honours thesis in botany? Not sure if they call it 'honour's thesis' where you went to school. Or might that be 'honor's thesis' =P . Either way, pretty cool.

Yep, I did mine on the coevolution of myrmecophytic mutualism. Most fun I've every had.

Biotech is a pretty cool field, but I know little about it. Closest thing I've done is some work in bioinformatics, I guess. I work in brain-computer interfacing now, which makes me pretty happy.

Wow, how does that work (the interface)? SQUIDs? I don't know a huge amount about the technology involved, but it does sound very interesting.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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2/20/2015 11:15:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 11:09:56 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:50:20 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted. The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.

Just want to add to this a bit. I only skimmed the paper, but I focused a bit more on the statistical analysis. No correction for multiple comparisons, and most importantly, the comparison between same-sex and opposite-sex families doesn't normalize for the effect size due to not having two biological parents. Zero of the children with same-sex parents in this study were raised by both biological parents. The effect they're seeing could be entirely due to this, for all we know.


This error is soooo common, especially among laymen who constantly try to cite studies about single parenting to discredit gay parenting. Seeing it made by a 'scientist' is just depressing.

Agreed. It is depressing.


Honours thesis in botany? Not sure if they call it 'honour's thesis' where you went to school. Or might that be 'honor's thesis' =P . Either way, pretty cool.

Yep, I did mine on the coevolution of myrmecophytic mutualism. Most fun I've every had.

No idea what that means, which is exciting because now I can go look it up.


Biotech is a pretty cool field, but I know little about it. Closest thing I've done is some work in bioinformatics, I guess. I work in brain-computer interfacing now, which makes me pretty happy.

Wow, how does that work (the interface)? SQUIDs? I don't know a huge amount about the technology involved, but it does sound very interesting.

I don't have access to super-fancy hardware like that at my lab. I use real-time signal processing on EEG with co-adaptive machine learning so the user and the AI learn to build a functional system together with practice.
Garbanza
Posts: 1,997
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2/21/2015 6:17:03 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:50:20 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted. The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.

Just want to add to this a bit. I only skimmed the paper, but I focused a bit more on the statistical analysis. No correction for multiple comparisons, and most importantly, the comparison between same-sex and opposite-sex families doesn't normalize for the effect size due to not having two biological parents. Zero of the children with same-sex parents in this study were raised by both biological parents. The effect they're seeing could be entirely due to this, for all we know.

But it IS entirely due to that. The author said so repeatedly, that the difference between same-sex and opposite-sex parents disappeared when biological relatedness was entered into the model. That's his whole point, that there's something protective about being raised in the same household as two biological parents. All kinds of studies have shown this elsewhere, in relation to foster care and adoption too (i.e. in contexts which have nothing to do with same-sex parenting), so it's not such a radical finding and not particularly surprising. The only shocking thing is that it's packaged as "same-sex parenting" rather than "non-biological parenting", but that seems to be in direct response to a body of research that claims there is no difference between same-sex parenting and opposite-sex parenting.

I haven't read that research, but maybe they put in controls, and only compared same-sex families with opposite-sex families that have only one biological parent, or no biological parents. That's answering a different question though, about the effect of categories of individuals defined by sexual preference on parenting and child outcomes. This research looked at the effect of family structure on outcomes. It's a different question, and as I said, the result is not particularly surprising.

I agree, though, that it was written in a provocative, controversial way with an epilogue about gay marriage. On the other hand, I don't think that catholics or people against gay marriage should be forbidden from doing research any more than people from any other background or political belief, and it's reasonable in the discussion section to talk about the broader significance of your research, which would obviously include how it informs current political debate.
Garbanza
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2/21/2015 6:34:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted.

Which conclusions are unwarranted?

The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

Okay, I did a general search about the study and I can see that it's being used in a simplistic and bad way, and that the man who did it is fairly clearly motivated by anti-gay-marriage sentiments. That's annoying, but I don't see that it's necessarily bad science because of that.

Similarly, it's very common for papers to be criticized during peer review. That fact alone doesn't mean much unless we get access to the criticism.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.

It's actually a very simple design. He was looking at emotional disturbance of children based on parental report and comparing children in same-sex households with children in two-married-biological-parent households, and he found that children in two-married-biological-parent households had substantially lower scores on emotional distress than same-sex-parent households or any other kind of household, and therefore concluded that biological-married-parenting has some kind of protective effect, but he declined to guess at the mechanism behind that.

Of course, how those findings are interpreted is the important thing, and they can be interpreted in several different ways, obviously. But I don't see a problem with the findings themselves.'
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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2/21/2015 9:34:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/21/2015 6:17:03 AM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:50:20 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:08:52 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/19/2015 6:28:56 PM, YYW wrote:

Most sociology papers make me cringe, this one made me want to smash my skull in with a ball-peen hammer. Jesus Christ (no pun intended), the fact that somebody can even call this science with a straight face is comedic gold.

Whenever someone says 'yeah, it has flaws, but...' I want to start sewing their lips shut. If I used a different watt bulb in the control room for an experiment involving two flocks of chickens, I've introduced a possible confounding variable when it comes to behavior and opened my paper up to scrutiny. The same goes for paint on the walls, shape of the room, shavings used. Where variables are more difficult to control, as they are in the social sciences, papers ought to be held to a stringent standard of accuracy in order to account for that. When you f*ck up as badly as a lot of these studies have when it comes to sample sizes, you shouldn't dust the paper off and try to salvage anything. It should go flying out the window.

Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted. The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.

Just want to add to this a bit. I only skimmed the paper, but I focused a bit more on the statistical analysis. No correction for multiple comparisons, and most importantly, the comparison between same-sex and opposite-sex families doesn't normalize for the effect size due to not having two biological parents. Zero of the children with same-sex parents in this study were raised by both biological parents. The effect they're seeing could be entirely due to this, for all we know.

But it IS entirely due to that. The author said so repeatedly, that the difference between same-sex and opposite-sex parents disappeared when biological relatedness was entered into the model. That's his whole point, that there's something protective about being raised in the same household as two biological parents. All kinds of studies have shown this elsewhere, in relation to foster care and adoption too (i.e. in contexts which have nothing to do with same-sex parenting), so it's not such a radical finding and not particularly surprising. The only shocking thing is that it's packaged as "same-sex parenting" rather than "non-biological parenting", but that seems to be in direct response to a body of research that claims there is no difference between same-sex parenting and opposite-sex parenting.

Yes, this 're-packaging' of the conclusions (and the poor statistical methodology) is what would paper would be rejected from any good scientific journal. Also, it is possible to have both biological parents of the same sex. Would that eliminate the differences? There may still be some differences due to society not being completely comfortable with the reality of their family, but we didn't stop interracial parents from procreating for that reason.


I haven't read that research, but maybe they put in controls, and only compared same-sex families with opposite-sex families that have only one biological parent, or no biological parents. That's answering a different question though, about the effect of categories of individuals defined by sexual preference on parenting and child outcomes. This research looked at the effect of family structure on outcomes. It's a different question, and as I said, the result is not particularly surprising.

I agree, though, that it was written in a provocative, controversial way with an epilogue about gay marriage. On the other hand, I don't think that catholics or people against gay marriage should be forbidden from doing research any more than people from any other background or political belief, and it's reasonable in the discussion section to talk about the broader significance of your research, which would obviously include how it informs current political debate.

I don't think anyone is suggesting this topic shouldn't be open to study. We're just saying that a scientific study would be much more desirable than this one.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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2/21/2015 11:01:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/21/2015 6:34:51 AM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:
Over 200,000 children and over 500 with same-sex parents. I haven't read the study, so it may have all kinds of flaws, but that's quite a decent sample size.

I meant sampling. I was in a delirium induced by bad science. Read the variables that weren't controlled for.

If indeed children of same-sex parents have worse outcomes, then that's a really important finding to publish. Of course, there could be any number of causal factors which need to be considered carefully, but I don't think it's bad science to put it out there, necessarily.

It's... bad science. I don't know what you mean here. They drew conclusions from the data which were entirely unwarranted.

Which conclusions are unwarranted?

"With respect to joint biological fertility, same-sex partners are different from opposite-sex partners by definition. The importance of common biological parentage for optimum child well-being found in this study raises the difficult prospect that higher child emotional problems may be a persistent feature of same-sex parent families, since they are distinguished from opposite-sex parents on just this capacity. Since same-sex partners cannot, at least at present, conceive a child that is the biological offspring of both partners, in the way that every child conceived by opposite-sex partners is such, it is hard to conceive how same-sex parents could ever replicate the level of benefit for child well-being that is the case in opposite-sex relationships involving two biological parents."

This entire argument applies to adoption, surrogacy, and children of divorce in general, not to same-sex marriages. There are no controls in place to account for that, and it's a laughable conclusion to come to in the absence of those controls.

The study was brutally murdered during peer review. Bad science should be tossed in the rubbish heap, not dusted off and trotted out over and over again because it agrees with a political point.

Okay, I did a general search about the study and I can see that it's being used in a simplistic and bad way, and that the man who did it is fairly clearly motivated by anti-gay-marriage sentiments. That's annoying, but I don't see that it's necessarily bad science because of that.

...

It isn't being used in a bad way; that 'bad use' is written into the conclusion of the research paper! That's pretty much the definition of bad science.

Similarly, it's very common for papers to be criticized during peer review. That fact alone doesn't mean much unless we get access to the criticism.

When the paper is rejected from prestigious journals and then published in one notorious for bias and sketchy experimental technique, it means a lot.

In fact, this subject is so complicated that it's probably entirely impossible to isolate the variable that they are trying to isolate without severely violating every semblance of experimental ethics. Both sides will just keep getting bad results because they can't put the controls in place which they need to. This study, however, deserves a special commendation for horrible technique.

It's actually a very simple design. He was looking at emotional disturbance of children based on parental report and comparing children in same-sex households with children in two-married-biological-parent households, and he found that children in two-married-biological-parent households had substantially lower scores on emotional distress than same-sex-parent households or any other kind of household, and therefore concluded that biological-married-parenting has some kind of protective effect, but he declined to guess at the mechanism behind that.

And then he, in his conclusions, attributed the results for same-sex parenting without adequate control.

Of course, how those findings are interpreted is the important thing, and they can be interpreted in several different ways, obviously. But I don't see a problem with the findings themselves.'

Are you a scientist in any capacity? Because that's not how this works. Data is just data, it isn't thrown out unless there were serious flaws in collecting it. The fact that a lot of the data in this study was self reported is a flaw and source of error, but not enough of one to throw it out entirely. The conclusions which the study comes to, on the other hand, are garbage and should be disposed of. His interpretation of the data is flawed, and that's what makes the study, and its conclusions, flawed.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
UndeniableReality
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2/21/2015 11:08:15 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/21/2015 6:34:51 AM, Garbanza wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:45:15 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/20/2015 10:38:26 PM, Garbanza wrote:

But I don't see a problem with the findings themselves.'

Why should this have any meaning, unless you have some kind of relevant expertise here and can adequately justify the methods described in the paper. This is exactly the kind of thing that scientists refer to as pseudoscience, so I think you will have a hard time defending it.