Matthew Franck–Tales of 2 Social Scientists: One of these cases is not like the other

First tale: A tenured sociologist at a prominent research university, with a couple of books under his belt on related subjects, publishes the first-ever research, using a nationally representative sample, on the young-adult outcomes for kids raised by people who have same-sex romantic relationships. The results show that these young adults have more difficult life experiences across a host of variables involving their employment, education, dependence on public assistance, mental health, relationship success and sexuality, trouble with the law, and experience of abuse.

The study, which confirms that the “gold standard” for the rearing of children is the intact biological family, of married mom and dad staying together faithfully and raising their own offspring, naturally causes a furor. The peer-reviewed social science journal that published the study, along with commentary alongside it, commissions a member of its own editorial board (who has an openly hostile view of the study) to “audit” the peer-review process. He concludes that, as much as he dislikes the article, the journal did everything by the book in publishing it. The journal’s editor, who is likewise friendly to the cause of same-sex marriage, stands by its publication, and in a subsequent issue publishes a follow-up article by its author, who cogently defends and restates his findings.

Meanwhile, at the sociologist’s home institution, a “scientific misconduct” inquiry prompted by a hostile non-scholarly ideologue is undertaken, and the sociologist is cleared completely after a thorough review of his methods and even his correspondence. His double vindication, however””by the journal that published his work and the university where he works””makes little headway against the howling media denunciation of his “debunked” research. (This is a world where “we hate your results” means the same thing as “they’re invalid.”)

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Marriage & Family, Media, Politics in General, Sexuality, Sociology