Sunday, July 31, 2005

Research Awry

An unusually complete and well written piece on anti-gay-everything research quoted locally, nationally and even in the White House appeared above the fold on page one of today's Boston Globe. The Michael Kranish article should be available free online through Tuesday. We strongly recommend reading the whole long piece.

Unbelievable
is the term most of us would use for the Family Research Institute's Dr. Paul Cameron. On the other hand, the anti-gay-rights, anti-same-sex-marriage, anti-gay-adoption folk would probably use credible scientific proof.

The gist of the article is that Cameron's self-published (on his Website in pay-per-page journals) claims are the basis for much of the most reactionary right's justification for their positions. Despite his being tossed out of state and the national psychologists' professional groups for shoddy research and outright lies, Cameron has a loyal following and is widely cited.

Note: Cameron will even split hairs when he is called on his actions. Test your credibility here.

This has even crept into President Bush's pronouncements, as ''Studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman." That simply is untrue. In fact, evidence strongly supports that having two stable parents is best for a kid. But if you hate the idea of homosexuality, that is not what you want to say or accept.

Cameron is savvy enough to know that the phrase "peer-reviewed" is powerful to those of us not in the scientific community. To publish his skewed pseudo-research as such, he chooses a marginal journal, Psychological Reports, in Montana. It claims to be reviewed by shrinks. However, reviewers do not have veto power as they do in serious journals, and this one prints what it gets, so long as you pay $27.50 per page.

The slimiest sleaze though in not that Cameron makes up research and conclusions to match his admitted hatred of homosexuals. It is that his research's distribution and PR is done by Gary L. McCullough.

And for McCullough's credentials, think:
  • Anti-abortion activist with Operation Rescue
  • Press agent for Terri Schiavo's parents
  • Force behind releasing the staged videotape of Terri
  • PR wiz who initiated false claims that Michael Schiavo beat his wife
If you are a situation-ethics guy who thinks ends justify means, McCullough may be your guy. He really puts the frayed in fringe.

For Cameron, check out his news releases here. As Cameron's flack, he has announced:
  • Gays 6X More Expensive Than Smokers says Family Research Institute
  • Gays Twice as Apt to Drive Under the Influence says Family Research Institute
  • Gay Foster Parents More Apt to Molest
  • Weird Behavior Among Gays Due to Mental Illness? Asks Family Research Institute
  • Family Research Institute: Discrimination Does Not Cause Gays to Abuse Drugs
  • Family Research Institute: CDC Study -- Gays More Criminal
  • Family Research Institute: New Study Shows that Gays Live 20 Fewer Years
Such studies almost always contradict numerous long-term and detailed academic research. No matter to McCullough and Cameron. They would rather kids go unadopted than go to a stable gay family, even in the dreaded Massachusetts, where such a couple can be married.

For motivation, Kranish notes:
In several interviews and e-mail exchanges, Cameron made no effort to hide his view of gays and lesbians.

He said his research is meant to warn that gays and lesbians and those sympathetic to them are people he calls ''death marketers." ''I am not sure how long they will take to destroy the US from within, but sufficiently weakened, the US will probably fall to another state before that occurs," Cameron wrote via e-mail.

''Those of us at FRI are determined to do our best to oppose these death activists. As you see, the Internet has given us far more clout than our limited budget and efforts could otherwise hope for."
Cameron claims much, proves nothing, but remains influential. From what we see, he fills an emotional need. We understand how people would like justification for their raw, destructive feelings of distaste, disdain, disrespect, distrust, and detestation. Otherwise, they might have to look within and see what needs fixing.

2 comments:

Boston Eye said...

"Unbelievable" is a kind word for this spewing. Unbelievable is this guy. Unbelievable that anyone pays serious attention to what he has to say.

Mass Marrier said...

From college days, I have my own problems with academicians picking a tiny piece of major research and slamming this. Not only do they miss the big idea, they seem incapable of any big ideas themselves. Thus, they nip and snipe.

Now, as you note, this clown comes along and twists subsets of research. Then he draws sweeping conclusions from tiny subsets, like extrapolating from a small criminal population to the larger community. Indeed, unbelievable, incredible, and just plain asinine.

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