Friday, December 22, 2006

Distorting Research

I often hear from those arguing against same-sex marriage statements like "countless studies show that children do better when raised by a married mother and father." Usually these statements are made without citing even one of the "countless" studies, but in a December 12 Time magazine Column, James Dobson of Focus on the Family actually did quote two studies, one by Dr. Kyle Pruett, and the other by Carol Gilligan. So yay, finally actual real studies cited.

The only problem? He misinterpreted the research.

According to both Gilligan and Pruett, Dobson took phrases from their research out of context and quoted them to support his views even though the research in question does not address the issue of gender and parenting at all.

It's like proof-texting from the Bible. Anyone can take a single verse or even several verses and quote them out of context to support any conclusion they like. Same with science. Pull a single phrase out of any given research, and you can probably support any argument you care to make. But Dobson specifically argues:

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father.

He then goes on to cite two specific works that don't address the issue at all. If that isn't bearing false witness, I don't know what is.

(On a side note, I found the comments following the Inside Higher Ed article really interesting. I'm not an academic, so reading about academics debating the issue was interesting to me.)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Merry Holiday Greetings 2.0

I posted about the whole holiday greeting thing last year, but it seems to come up again every year, this time in the form of a point/counter-point set of editorials.

Is this really an issue? Really? Are there really people out there who get offended by one holiday greeting or another? Is "Merry Christmas" really forcing religion down someone's throat? Is "Happy Holidays" really anti-Christian? Can we just all get over ourselves? Either way, it's someone wishing us well. If we're gonna argue about religion, let's at least find something worthwhile to argue about.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Mary Cheney, the Vice President's lesbian daughter, is having a baby. So naturally, both sides have to make it a big political statement.

It's not a political statement. It's someone who is having a baby and planning to raise it with the person she loves. Yes, it raises political issues, but it still is a private matter for their family. Can we get politics out of it, please, and leave Mary Cheney, her partner Heather Poe, and their unborn child alone?