July 13, 2012

HMM. THINK THERE ARE ANY POLITICS INVOLVED HERE? “The University of Texas at Austin has opened a fact-finding ‘inquiry’ into allegations of research misconduct against a tenured faculty member who concluded in a recent published study that children of same-sex couples may be at a disadvantage when it comes to certain forms of success in adulthood. While the university has not opened a formal investigation nor taken any action against Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at UT-Austin, the case has provoked spirited critiques of his methodology as well as allegations that the Texas sociologist was unduly influenced by two politically conservative organizations that helped fund his study.”

I don’t know if the study’s any good or not — but I’m positive that if it had found that children of gay couples do better, there would be no such inquiry, regardless of who had funded it. And the point here is mostly to warn other researchers that it’s just better not to look into certain subjects, or to come up with the wrong conclusions if you do.

And my advice to conservative activists is to lodge scientific misconduct complaints against the authors of all those “conservatives are dumb and crazy” studies that come up, most of which are no better than this. If we’re going to go after junk science on political grounds, nobody should be safe.

And here’s a paper I wrote on science fraud a while back.

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