It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read my previous posts about the Mark Regnerus NFSS paper (here and here), or other criticisms by experts around the web, that the paper published by Regnerus in Social Science Research, a peer-review journal, is indeed bullshit. But it is Darren E. Sherkat, a member of the journal’s editorial board, who is saying it this time.
Sherkat was assigned to conduct an internal audit of the study and its peer-review process. The audit results will be published in the November issue of the journal. The audit found that there are significant and disqualifying problems with the study, that the peer-review process failed to identify them, and that there were conflicts of interest among the reviewers.
Sherkat concluded that the Regnerus paper never should have been published, and in an interview bluntly summed it up by saying, “It’s bullshit.”
The audit finds that the peer-review process failed due to both ideology and inattention. In other words, some people failed the process due to having an ideological agenda. Others were simply busy and skimmed, not catching the study’s methodology problems.
In my original post I was apparently incorrect that Regnerus was only making guesses about whether any respondents had lived with a stable same-sex couple their entire lives. According to this article by Tom Bartlett, which is where I read about the audit, Regnerus does know.
The study reported that there were 236 respondents raised by gay parents. According to Bartlett, of those, only two were children raised by a lesbian couple for their entire childhood. (None by gay male couples.)
I hope everyone is grasping the enormity of this. A study purporting to accurately depict child-rearing outcomes by lesbian and gay parents had only two respondents that actually fit into that category.
In addition to the internal audit by Social Science Research, The University of Texas is conducting a scientific misconduct investigation to determine if the study lacks scientific integrity and if Regnerus engaged in improper behavior in regards to study funding and others connected with the study.
Lastly, to highlight my concern about the bullshit study being used improperly in court cases, yesterday I read the court’s summary judgement in a Hawaii case where the Regnerus NFSS study was used to “prove” that parenting by married opposite-sex couples is superior to parenting by gay and lesbian couples.