By Paul Sullins, May 12, 2019
Social scientists who conduct research on the politically charged question of the wellbeing of children in the care of same-sex parents have emphatically asserted unqualified and universal support for the finding of “no differences.” In his meticulously researched new book, Professor Walter Schumm turns this scenario on its head. Through a detailed review of virtually all extant research, Schumm demonstrates decisively that contrary evidence not only exists, it is abundant and methodologically strong.
In our day, the alleged personal liberation of the sexual revolution is becoming progressively socialized in institutions and norms. As a result, we have moved beyond the cultural condition in which scientific research into the related social behaviors (hormonal contraceptive use, premarital sex, abortion, homosexual relations, gender transformation) is deployed for political ends, into a state in which the process of deciding scientific truth has itself become irretrievably politicized. In this new situation, the end does not merely justify the means, it becomes the means. What advances the desired political agenda becomes the new criterion of truth.
Thus, social scientists who present evidence that the behaviors of sexual liberation are not harmful—in same-sex parenting research, this is couched as “no differences” from heterosexual parents in child well-being—do not merely claim that their conclusions are strong while contrary findings are weak. Instead, they claim that their conclusions are the only permissible ones, while contrary findings are necessarily unscientific. In their minds, contrary evidence either does not exist, or it must reflect pseudo-scientific bias.
In his meticulously researched new book, Same-Sex Parenting Research: A Critical Assessment, Walter Schumm, Professor of Family Studies at Kansas State University, turns this scenario on its head. In research on the politically charged question of the well-being of children in the care of same-sex parents, social scientists and their associations have emphatically asserted unqualified and universal support for the finding of “no differences.” Research that does not find this conclusion, they assert, simply cannot be credible or methodologically sound. Some deny the contrary research even exists. “It has not been unusual,” Schumm writes, “for at least some scholars in this area to make statements such as, ‘Not a single study has ever found any results that indicated children of same-sex parents to be any different from children of heterosexual parents in any way.’” These “absolute claims were made in an attempt to impress courts with the utter harmlessness (no ‘difference’ = no harm) of gay and lesbian parenting in order to promote the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
And yet, as Schumm proceeds to show, by the traditional canons of scientific reason and inference, such claims are manifestly false.
Science vs. Dogma
The bulk of the book consists of chapters examining the specific areas in which “no difference” is claimed. These include family stability, sexual abuse and other negative behaviors among parent couples, and child outcomes relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender roles, and mental health. Through a detailed review of virtually all extant research in each area, Schumm demonstrates decisively that contrary evidence not only exists, it is abundant and methodologically strong.
Almost none of the studies claiming to find “no differences” actually does so.
Moreover, he shows, almost none of the studies claiming to find “no differences” actually does so. Most violate or ignore basic requirements of scientific evidence, such as using a random sample, not letting participants know the political implications of the study, and accounting for mothers’ desire to make their children look good (“social desirability bias,” in sociology-speak). Many of the politically correct studies that report “no differences” actually do find differences. These are often buried deep in their data tables or technical analysis, but they do not escape Schumm’s gimlet-eyed scrutiny.
Full article at: https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/05/51436/
The Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is Research Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute. Formerly Episcopalian, The Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is Research Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute. Formerly Episcopalian, Fr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest with an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.