Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saletan: The Research on Gay and Lesbian Parenting

The series of Dobson news stories last week had a common theme: the misappropriation of scientific research to support anti-gay bigotry, in particular as it has to do with the pros and cons of gay parenting. Slate.com's William Saletan has a great article in this morning's Washington Post; the APA has assembled the research, and Saletan spells it out in layman's terms.
Poor Dick Cheney. He was sure we'd find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We searched and searched, but he refused to give up.

Now he's discovering what it's like to be on the other end of such obtuse certainty. The conservative jihad has turned from Saddam to Sodom. Moralists are denouncing Cheney's pregnant daughter, Mary, for disclosing that she and her lesbian partner will raise the baby together. The moralists are confident that having two mommies is bad for kids. And no evidence to the contrary can dissuade them.

The 30-year search for proof that gay parents are destructive looks a lot like the hunt for WMD. The American Psychological Association has compiled abstracts of 67 studies. Some are plainly biased, and only the latest two or three have avoided the methodological flaws of earlier investigations. But after 67 tries, you'd expect the harm of gay parenting to show up somewhere. Yet in study after study, on measure after measure, kids turn out the same.

One study found that straight parents "made a greater effort to provide an opposite-sex role model for their children," but it doesn't say whether this affected the kids. Another says that children raised by lesbian couples "were more likely to explore same-sex relationships," but it doesn't say that they turned out gay. Other studies say they seldom do. Mary With Children

The money quote: Yet in study after study, on measure after measure, kids turn out the same.

Let me get technical for a moment. In order to prove that something causes something else, you have to do an experiment. You have to randomly assign cases to conditions, administer the manipulation, and measure the effect. That would mean you'd have to randomly assign people to be straight or gay, assign children for them to raise, and then compare the children of the two groups. Short story: ain't gonna happen.

So the best we can do is observe differences between self-assigned groups, that is, the best we can have is correlation, and as every college sophomore knows, "correlation does not prove causation." It may give supporting evidence, but it's not proof. The reason this is worth mentioning is that somebody can always come along and criticize the studies, can always say they "don't prove anything." In a situation where proof is impossible, though, supporting evidence is the best we can look for (see Cook and Campbell for the authoritative dicussion of this subject).
That's the evidence against gay parenthood. On the other hand, three studies say that lesbians share child care more equally than straight couples do. Others conclude that lesbians are more satisfied with their relationships, that they show more "parenting awareness skills," that non-biological lesbian moms "played a more active role in daily caretaking than did most fathers," and that their kids experience "greater warmth and interaction with their mother."

Such unwelcome findings haven't chastened the anti-gay lobby any more than they've chastened the Bush administration. If the direct evidence doesn't bear you out, look for indirect evidence. So conservatives have developed a subtler argument: On average, children do best when raised by their two married, biological parents.

Yes, and watch how this works. It gets pretty tricky, but Saletan is going to walk us through it.
Let's take this argument one piece at a time. It's true that two parents are better than one. It's also true that married parents are better than unmarried ones. But those aren't arguments against gay parenthood. They're arguments for gay marriage.

Repeat: for gay marriage. For.
The biological part of the argument is more serious. On average, kids do better with parents than with stepparents. Focus on the Family, a leading moralist group, concludes that gay parenthood is unhealthy because "it is biologically impossible for a child living in a same-sex home to be living with both natural parents." Actually, that may change. Scientists recently produced a fertile adult mouse by combining DNA from two females in one embryo. But a lesbian who wants a genetic bond to her partner's baby doesn't have to wait for such technology. She can simply ask her brother, if she has one, to donate the sperm.

If you believe, as Focus on the Family does, that we should stop creating families in which one parent is biologically unrelated to the child, then gays are the least of your worries. By professional estimates, 40,000 children are born each year from donated eggs or sperm. You want to stop non-biological parenthood? Go chain yourself to a sperm bank.

And what -- these people are against adoption? It's better to have orphans? Roy and Dale are rolling in their graves.
And let's not forget that the case against non-biological parenthood is based on averages. Averages make bad law. The best critique of gay parenting studies is that because many homosexuals are closeted, those whom researchers find and who agree to participate are disproportionately white, well-educated and female. But that's exactly what Mary Cheney is. Should she and her partner abstain from motherhood because they're above average?

The same goes for gender averages. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, says that Cheney's pregnancy is a bad idea because a father "makes unique contributions to the task of parenting that a mother cannot emulate," such as "a sense of right and wrong and its consequences." You must be kidding. Cheney's partner is a former park ranger. They met while playing collegiate hockey. If they want a night out to catch an NHL game, Grandpa Dick can drop by to read bedtime stories about detainee interrogation.

Yeah, there's be a good influence for you.
If you're going to base family policy on averages, the chief problem isn't stepparents; it's men. That's what "pro-family" groups keep covering up. According to Focus on the Family, "increased risks of physical and sexual child abuse at the hands of non-biological parents are another serious concern for same-sex families." Nope, not for lesbians. The latest study the group cites actually concludes that the "key risk factors are living with a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend." Of 55 child deaths reviewed in the study, the number caused by a stepmother or by a biological mother in a stepfamily or live-in relationship was zero.

Woops. Mary Cheney's baby might actually be safer than one with a daddy.
The Family Research Institute says that Cheney's child "will disproportionately associate with homosexuals -- who are as a class considerably more apt to have STDs and a criminal history [and] be interested in sex with children." That's hilarious. Women commit 3.5 percent of single-perpetrator sexual assaults and make up 7 percent of the prison population.

The Family Research Council says that lesbians are dangerous parents because of their "high prevalence of life events and behaviors related to mental health problems," particularly rapes and sexual attacks. But if you look up the study cited by the council, guess who committed virtually all the rapes and sexual attacks? Men.

It's not funny, and probably this is the problem our society should be working on: creating a world where men can be men without committing crimes and acts of violence. I admit, I have no idea how you'd do that, ... that is our problem.

Saletan has an idea, though it's not going to make everybody happy.
You want to protect kids? Here's my proposed constitutional amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union involving at least one woman."

Or you could just let Mary Cheney raise her child in peace.

Before I let him off the hook too easily, I should note that those 67 abstracts give no indication that two-male parenting presents any risk to the children. I suppose allowing lesbian marriage would be one step forward (and note that polygamy would slip in the door on the same amendment), but we know gay men who are excellent, loving parents. Yeah, maybe boys will be boys, gay or straight, maybe their kids will never learn to pick their socks up off the floor or throw their beer cans away at the end of the night, but the fact is, there's no evidence that two men can't be good parents, too.

So, I'll take the second option: just let Mary Cheney raise her child in peace.

38 Comments:

Blogger andrear said...

what, let Mary Cheney raise the child with her partner- two well educated, loving women who want this child very much? What about Anon's option of giving the baby to the anonymous sperm donor- just because he is a man(oh,but only if he is straight). I mean, we get regular proof of the absolute and total excellence of hetero parenting- Britney and K-Fed- my vote of number 1- and the foster parents of 11 special needs kids who made some of them sleep in cages. Sorry, the absurdity of the remarks made by some of these so-called family groups makes me realize ever more emphatically that families and children are not what concerns them.

December 26, 2006 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lack of evidence that something is bad does not mean it is good for you to say so is foolish.

December 26, 2006 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are Britney and K-Fed?? and what is andrear's obsesion with them?

December 26, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Gosh, Anon- when you and your friends claim any hetero couple or a straight man is better than gay parents- who is foolish? I am pretty sure Ted Bundy was straight-he only raped and murdered women. And don't be even more of a joke than you usually are- Britney and Kevin are America's best known worst hetero parents. I could just use the frequent Post articles of less well known hetero parents who abused their own children. I don't think all gay parents will be perfect but to suggest that any hetero couple or straight person will be a better parent(s) just because they are straight is absolute idiocy.

December 26, 2006 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.
well you would be the expert on idiocy seeing how you can draw on personal experience. but I think of that as more of a weakness "And rear".
I don't read the post NY times or the world Globe. and I do not meet many intelligent people who do. try the bbc on line. I do not fallow the trivial and this generations whore is no different than the last generations whore. it's a bore.
I do not care about Rosanna Barr and Donald Trumps fight or anything else you might find important. You seem to hold up your ignorance as a badge of pride.
As far as abusing children are concerned MOST SCIERAL CHILD MOLESTERS ARE GAY! why is that. glean anything from the post or the times that gives you insight on that?
Don't be shy. Just explain why. and rear.
as for Ted Bundy he got what he deserved.
but for MY edification: the Post would title this what?

Queer EYE for Sodomy and Murder.


Jeffrey Dahmer
Andrew Cunanan
Randy Steven Kraft
Michael Swango Andrei Chikatilo

Fritz Haarmann
John Wayne Gacy
Patrick Wayne Kearney
David D. Hill
Patrick Kearney

Hans Grans

wayne WilliamsDean
Corll lmer
Wayne Henley
David Owen
Brooks Donald
Harvey Juan
Corona Adolfo de Jesus
ConstanzoLarry Eyler
Huang Yong


Dennis Nilsen
Marcelo Costa de Andrade


William Bonin


Henry Lee Lucas


Ottis Toole
Henry Lee Lucas
Vaughn Greenwood

Richard Speck

Cayetano Hernandez

Eleazor Solis

David Bullock


Vernon Butts
William Bonin

Paul Bateson


Marc Dutroux

Michael Terry

Orville Lynn Majors

Charles Cohen

Arthur Gary Bishop

Michael Lupo

Peter Moore

Westley Allan Dodd

David P. Brown

Charles Manson

David Edward Maust


Bruce Davis


Erik Menendez

December 27, 2006 2:21 AM  
Blogger andrear said...

Thank you for a good laugh, anon. I agree with you- I doubt you do meet many intelligent people.

December 27, 2006 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good come back and rear. what a zinger.

December 27, 2006 1:10 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Anonymous,

are you channeling Paul Cameron?

December 27, 2006 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Cameron the modern Galileo Galilei. The world is round get use to it.

December 27, 2006 2:27 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Paul Cameron the modern Galileo? Come on now:

"Cameron's work is controversial even among conservative groups. For example, the Traditional Values Coalition claims to speak for 43,000 churches. For three years, the coalition has quoted Cameron's studies on its website in an article headlined, ''Report Shows Homosexual Foster Parents Apt To Molest Children," and has told its membership to ''read and distribute Dr. Cameron's report."

But when The Boston Globe asked the Traditional Values Coalition last week about Cameron, the group responded within minutes by removing all references to Cameron from its website. The group's spokeswoman, Daniella Lopez, said Cameron's research had been ''mistakenly" put on the website. She would not say why the group thought it was a mistake to publicize Cameron's research." - http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/07/31/beliefs_drive_research_agenda_of_new_think_tanks?mode=PF

December 27, 2006 3:30 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, Paul Cameron has been kicked out of the mental health professional associations he was a member of for falsifying data and misrepresenting science. You couldn't find a more disreputable person if you tried to. His homophobic lies have been exposed repeatedly.

Dr. Carole Jenny was the director of the Child Advocacy and Protection Team at Denver's Childrens Hospital, and she also directed medical programs at the C. Henry Kempe National Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. Dr. Jenny and her colleagues reviewed 269 medical records of Denver-area children who were sexually abused by adults. Of 50 male children, 37 (74%) were molested by men who had been in a heterosexual relationship with the child’s relative. Three were molested by women, five were molested by both parents, and three others were molested by non-relatives. Only one perpetrator could be identified as being possibly homosexual in his adult behavior.23

Let’s consider what this means. Of these men who abused boys all but one would have answered “no” to the question “Are you gay?” And not only did they say they were not gay, they were married, had girlfriends, or were otherwise known to have sexual relationships with women. If law enforcement had been looking for the perpetrators among gay men, they never would have found them. They would have missed 49 of these 50 sexual predators.

Dr. Jenny and her associates concluded that even if you use the worst case possibilities in their sample, no more than 3.1% of child sexual abuse cases reported to the Denver clinic were abused by someone who could be identified as possibly being gay, a proportion that closely matches the proportion of openly gay men and women overall.

Jenny, Carole; Roesler, Thomas A.; Poyer, Kimberly L. “Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals?” Pediatrics 94, no. 1 (1994): 41-44. Abstract available online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/94/1/41.

This only confirmed what Dr. Nicholas Groth demonstrated many years earlier. Dr. Groth was a leading pioneer in the field of child sex abuse, having treated more than 500 sex offenders by 1982.24 In 1978, he and Dr. Jean Birnbaum published a study of 175 convicted male child molesters in which they found:

The child offender is a relatively young adult either who has been sexually attracted to underage persons almost exclusively in his life or who turns to a child as a result of stresses in his adult sexual or marital relationships. Those offenders who are sexually attracted exclusively to children show a slight preference for boys over girls, yet these same individuals are uninterested in adult homosexual relationships. In fact, they frequently express a strong sexual aversion to adult males.25

25. Groth, A. Nicholas; Birnbaum, H Jean. “Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 7 no. 3 (1978): 175-181. Abstract available online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=666571.

Dr. Groth identified two classic types of child molesters that he labeled fixated and regressed.26

26. Groth, A. Nicholas; Hobson, William F.; Gary, Thomas S. “The child molester: clinical observations.” In Social Work and Child Sexual Abuse. Edited by Jon R. Conte and David A. Shore. (New York: Haworth Press. 1982): 129-144.

The fixated molester is one whose development is “fixated” at childhood. In other words, he has never grown up. He typically lives a Peter-Pan existence, in a Neverland of childlike identity and behavior. He doesn’t form adult relationships easily, or if he does, the relationships tend not to be very stable. Instead, he sees children as his peers. Other adults often see him as being “very good with children”, which allows him to obtain a position of trust as a role model, leader, or caretaker.

With his primary sexual interest in children and not adults, the fixated offender fits the classic definition of a “pedophile.” And because he is fixated on children, he cannot properly be considered to be either heterosexual or homosexual — he often finds adults of either sex repulsive.

On the other hand, the regressed molester is very different. His attraction to children is usually more temporary. Unlike the fixated molester, the regressed molester’s primary sexual attraction is toward other adults. But stressful conditions that go along with adult responsibly or difficulties in his adult relationships may overwhelm him, causing his sexual focus to “regress” towards children. This regression sometimes serves as a substitute for adult relationship, and his attraction to children may vary according to the varying stresses he encounters in his adult life demands.

In some cases, he may temporarily relate to the child as a peer, much as a fixated offender relates to children. But more often, he is simply lashing out against the stresses in his life, and the child becomes a convenient target. The offender may find a sense of power in his sexual relationship with a child that he doesn't get with an adult. When that happens this relationship with the child is often violent. But regardless of the nature of the relationship, the gender of the child is often irrelevant — it’s the easy access and vulnerability that makes the child a target.

Regressed offenders are typically heterosexual in their adult relationships. Unlike our three percent sample, they date women and marry them. They often are parents, stepparents or extended family members of their victims. By all appearances — and by their own self-identification — they are straight. Drs. Groth and Birnbaum emphasized this point, saying:

In over 12 years of clinical experience working with child molesters, we have yet to see any example of a regression from an adult homosexual orientation. The child offender who is also attracted to and engaged in adult relationships is heterosexual.27

27.Groth, A. Nicholas; Birnbaum, H. Jean. “Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 7, no. 3 (1978): 175-181. Abstract available online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=666571

While Drs. Groth and Birnbaum were emphatic on this point, there’s no reason to believe that there’s no such thing as someone who is engaged in homosexual adult relationships while also molesting children. Surely they’re out there. I don’t think any group of fallible human beings can claim perfect innocence on this. But the experts generally agree: the phenomenon is rare.

Are These “Straight” Abusers Lying?
You’re probably shaking your head right about now. Why would a man who claims to be straight molest young boys? How could he not be gay, even if he refuses to admit it?

This contradiction concerned Dr. Kurt Freund and his associates at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, where many convicted sexual predators were sent for treatment. Using an instrument connected to the subject’s penis, Dr. Freund and his colleagues measured changes in its volume while the subject looked at pictures of nude men, women and children.

These phallometric (penis-measuring) tests, while controversial for many reasons, supported the conclusion that as a group overall, gay men were no more likely to respond sexually to male children than straight men. Furthermore these tests supported these sex offenders’ statements when they claimed to be gay or straight:

These studies show that only rarely are sex offenders against male children diagnosed as androphiles [homosexual in adult orientation] and that phallometric diagnosis of gynophilic [heterosexual in adult orientation] and androphilic volunteers almost always corresponds to their claimed erotic preference.29

29. Freund, Kurt; Watson, Robin J.; Rienzo, Douglas. “Heterosexuality, homosexuality, and the erotic age preference.” Journal of Sex Research 26, no. 1 (1989): 107-117.


So, they are telling the truth — at least according to how they responded physically to the nude pictures. When they say they are straight, they respond to pictures of adult women, and when they say they are gay, they respond sexually to pictures of adult men. Yet Dr. Freund determined that gays are less attracted to young boys than straights.

How Could “Straight” Men Be Attracted To Boys?
If these molesters aren’t lying when they say they’re straight, why would they abuse boys? What could possibly be the attraction?

Dr. W.L. Marshall and his colleagues conducted a similar set of phallometric tests on a sample of gay and straight men, except this time they used more photos of young boys and girls covering a wider age span. They noticed that for those gay men who were attracted to males under 18, they tended to be attracted to young men who were well past the age of puberty (age 15 or older), with fully-developed adult genitalia and other features that were characteristically masculine. But when heterosexual men showed an attraction towards younger males, they tended to be attracted to pre-pubescent males (ages 9-11):

Amongst the heterosexuals, the commonest remarks concerning attractive features of the victims, were that the young boys did not have any body hair and that their bodies were soft and smooth.31

31. Marshal, W.L.; Barbaree, H.E.; Butt, Jennifer. “Sexual offenders against male children: Sexual preferences.” Behaviour Research and Therapy 26, no. 5 (1988): 383-391.

This explains the apparent contradiction of straight men abusing young boys. They really are straight – they’re responding to the feminine qualities of pre-pubescent boys, qualities that gay men didn’t find appealing. After all, gay men are, by definition, attracted to men; the feminine characteristics of young boys were a turn-off to them.

December 27, 2006 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't bother to closely read what Andrea and inane-anon were discussing and Randi can't restrain himself to comments of appropriate length for blogs so I'm skipping that too.

Still, Jim's post here still leaves hanging the biggest question in this whole controversy about Dobson's article. The response of the lunatic fringe gay advocacy groups represents one of the most surreal examples of post-modern thought ever exposed to public light. Dr. Dobson has correctly quoted two researchers as saying, respectively, that males and females play esential roles in the raising of children. Yet, these same researchers claim that these research findings have no implication for gay couple parenting. How that can be has not yet been explained by any rational observer.

December 27, 2006 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 27, 2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, I delete the stupid stuff.

(People, if you look at what I leave up, you realize that stupid means really stupid.)

JimK

December 27, 2006 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I do not fallow...SCIERAL CHILD MOLESTERS"

We see who "the expert on idiocy" is. Thanks for the demo.

"I didn't bother to closely read what Andrea and inane-anon were discussing and Randi can't restrain himself to comments of appropriate length for blogs so I'm skipping that too."

What a stunning admission: a religious right winger who can't be bothered reading summaries of peer reviewed studies about the topic under discussion because they already "know" everything there is to know. Thanks for that demo too.

PTA

December 27, 2006 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well we just have to look at the terms “Straight “ and Homosexual. Is a man who only has sex with other men homosexual? is a man who never has sex with another man but clams to be gay a homosexual? What about a man who has sex with other men but is in a relationship with a woman and clams to be Straight but is out cruising for sex what is he? This is where all these studies fall apart. how many of the convicted men also clamed they were innocent and strait should we believe them on being straight and not on being innocent or should we believe they are guilty and committed a crime, and a homosexual. As for the deleted comment JimK is not deleting for anything but his own refusal to except a fact that is pertinent to this conversation a well known and well documented fact , But if it were not true than jimK would have produced some evidence that it is not true. He cannot so he just calls it stupid.

December 28, 2006 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Dahmer was he gay?

December 28, 2006 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Wayne Gacy did he self identify?

December 28, 2006 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles Manson a better parent than Britney?

December 28, 2006 1:31 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

... jimK would have produced some evidence that it is not true...

Anon, it wasn't even a sentence, it couldn't have been true or false. It was just some words, and dumb ones.

If you'd like to make a point, please feel free to express yourself. If you're just going to fart into the blogosphere, please do it somewhere else.

JimK

December 28, 2006 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What a stunning admission: a religious right winger who can't be bothered reading summaries of peer reviewed studies about the topic under discussion because they already "know" everything there is to know. Thanks for that demo too."

I guess this dodging the question is PTA's way of conceding that Dobson was right.

December 28, 2006 9:33 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at December 27, 2006 5:08 PM said "Yet, these same researchers claim that these research findings have no implication for gay couple parenting. How that can be has not yet been explained by any rational observer."

Anonymous dozens and dozens of studies of which I've posted many myself show that the children of gays do just as well as the children of heterosexuals. Only the irrational such as yourself ignore those and the lack of any studies contradicting them to say there's no explanation.

And I am a she, not a he, but I imagine you already knew that.

December 28, 2006 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're the one dodging the facts Anon. You admitted you didn't even bother to read the summaries of studies Ms. Schimnosky kindly posted. Instead you post your biased opinions with no scientific studies to back them up. The FACT is, as numerous studies have demonstrated, kids turn out just as well when raised by LGBT parents as straight parents.

Your imagination is working overtime if you think I conceded anything about Dobson. You're the one who worships that homophobe, not me. I see why you like him though. Dobson operates just like you do. He ignores all data that doesn't fit his preconcieved prejudices and twists other researchers' data (who let him know what a charlatan he is for doing so) in an attempt to justify his bigotry.

PTA

December 28, 2006 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randi and PTA

Two researchers have found that each gender plays an "essential" role in raising children. Until you are willing to acknowledge that this logically means that being raised by two individuals of the same gender takes away that "essential" element, there is no sense wasting time discussing any other study. You are simply holding a post-modernist position that two contradictory things can be true at the same time. If you can't admit the fallacy of your position, there is no reason to think you'll be able to discuss anything else rationally.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post ran a very interesting account of a woman last week who grew up not knowing her biological father. She had to fight with sperm banks and do alot of detective work to find him. The trial these children are put through is unconscionable. But, then, what is more important than allowing a self-centered couple of hedonists indulge themselves. The least we can do, as a society, is keep kids out of it.

December 28, 2006 9:30 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon,

Stop degrading the level of conversation here with your "postmodernist" notions. You have no idea what postmodernism is.

Men and women have different, changing roles throughout time. Those roles vary geographically as well as culturally. They differ in war and peace. There is nothing that is intrinsically "essential" in the roles any given man or woman may play. If you are saying, crudely as you usually do, that children benefit from having both a masculine and feminine influence (again, defined spatially and temporally under different conditions in different cultures), then I won't disagree. It's probably also true that children benefit from growing up in extended families, and not simply a traditional, straight nuclear family (which is not very traditional outside your fevered imagination). There's a great advantage to multi-generational and extended family parenting, and I would guess that the reason for that is not only more pairs of hands and pairs of eyes, but more differing parenting styles and behavioral models.

You obviously don't get out much. Many lesbian couples are actually quite "heterosexual" in their gender characteristics, with one woman being the more masculine one and the other the more feminine, and the same holds for two gay men. Sure, you're right -- being raised by two men, neither of whom is emotional, emotive, or, let's say, is willing to change a diaper, would be tragic for an infant. But that's not the case with gay couples who raise children.

There is simply no uniform masculinity or femininity these days, however much you'd like to believe there is, upon which to base that assumption of yours regarding "essentialism." And, of course, you blithely ignore all the dysfunction that is the norm, and always has been the norm, for straight couples as well. As all of us raised by straight couples know very well.

You give away the store when your side would rather have children warehoused than raised by gay families. I doubt there are many people who have come through the chid service programs of this country, including foster care, who would agree with you. And I doubt there are many kids raised by gay parents who would rather have been warehoused. Why not search out a few and ask them yourself?

December 29, 2006 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stop degrading the level of conversation here with your "postmodernist" notions. You have no idea what postmodernism is."

Oh, why don't you explain it then?

Your post seems to imply that "essentiality" is my theory. I simply said it was the researchers theory. Dobson cited it and his comments were appropriate. I think what you're saying now is that it's not the biology but the psychological make-up that is "essential". It's an interesting argument and while it is incorrect, at least you've now made one.

You guys always get into trouble when you start making personal attacks. You might have saved yourself a lot of trouble by just making a counter-argument against Dobson's article rather than throwing around a bunch of epithets and accusations. Is that too much to ask?

December 29, 2006 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Two researchers have found that each gender plays an "essential" role in raising children."

As pointed out on other threads on this blog, you have clung to one possible learning explanation in one pheromone study (ignoring the two possible biological explanations in that one and ignoring all other studies linking biological differences to sexual orientation such as body odor production, involuntary prepulse inhibition, spontaneous otoacoustic emissions, sensitivity of cochlea amplifiers, finger length, and birth order, to name a few) to support your bias. Now you cling to Dobson's twisting of two researchers' data to make a point that is diametrically opposed to the conclusions of those researchers.

If Dobson believes only "dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences" he should meet my mother; she'll correct him. If he believes "mothers tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children" and "Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness" he should meet my mother again and then my gay pastor. I got those messages from him, not my authoritarian mother. "Essential" gender perspectives are not only available to children from their parents; they come from a variety of sources including extended family members, teachers, clergy, physicians, club leaders (Boy Scout/Girl Scouts, etc.), athletic coaches and other significant adults in their lives.

If Dobson believes "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's flat out lying. Here's a list of summaries of many peer reviewed studies, reviews of peer reviewed studies, as well as other articles on GLBT parenting compiled by the APA that show the opposite is true. You ignored Randi's list of study summaries and I expect you will likely ignore these too since like the studies on Randi's list, they don't fit with Dobson's and your preconceived notions about same sex parents.

http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/lgpannotated.html

PTA

December 29, 2006 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As pointed out on other threads on this blog, you have clung to one possible learning explanation in one pheromone study (ignoring the two possible biological explanations in that one and ignoring all other studies linking biological differences to sexual orientation such as body odor production, involuntary prepulse inhibition, spontaneous otoacoustic emissions, sensitivity of cochlea amplifiers, finger length, and birth order, to name a few) to support your bias."

I did no such thing. I pointed out that the researchers who conducted the study said there was no way to discriminate which possibility was correct. My whole point is that the study did not provide the proof that lunatic fringe gay advocates claim it does. The study does not prove that homosexuality is innate and irresistable for some.

The other studies you refer to have similar problems. I mention the pheronome study for two reasons. First, I once asked for one study to focus on as the best case and this case was offered up by TTFers. The AMA rep they invited to their propaganda fest also mentioned it. Secondly, it is one of the most recent, being designed with all past studies in mind.

It's no surprise that certain physical characteristics might give one certain tendencies. You'll notice that none of those studies have 100% correlation. Not even close. Most are slight. Having tendencies doesn't mean those people can't make choices.

BTW, peer review doesn't mean much, especially in this field where so many seem to feel obligated to advance this agenda. All it means is that a like-minded reviewer believed that, on paper, the test seemed designed properly. It doesn't mean it was executed properly. It doesn't mean it's been replicated. It doesn't mean any objective observer can attest the results. It doesn't mean the data is valid. Moreover, it doesn't mean that the conclusions in the paper are properly presented in the media. This is seen clearly in the way the pheronome study has been reported by the media.

Papers have been peer-reviewed and later found to be based on false data. Even more significant, some of the major scientific developments of the 20th century, like the discovery of DNA, were presented in papers that were not peer reviewed.

December 29, 2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Dobson believes only "dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences" he should meet my mother; she'll correct him. If he believes "mothers tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children" and "Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness" he should meet my mother again and then my gay pastor. I got those messages from him, not my authoritarian mother. "Essential" gender perspectives are not only available to children from their parents; they come from a variety of sources including extended family members, teachers, clergy, physicians, club leaders (Boy Scout/Girl Scouts, etc.), athletic coaches and other significant adults in their lives."

Dobson was quoting the researchers. You may disagree with those researchers but Dobson correctly cited them.

December 29, 2006 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"compiled by the APA"

Oh yeah, that prestigious group that believes neither homosexuality or bestiality is a mental disfunction.

Was that stuff peer reviewed?

December 29, 2006 1:31 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonyomous at December 28, 2006 9:30 PM said "Until you are willing to acknowledge that this logically means that being raised by two individuals of the same gender takes away that "essential" element, there is no sense wasting time discussing any other study.".

You're a joke anonymous. The researchers themselves said this is not the case and nothing in their work supports that conclusion. No one gets to tell the researchers themselves what their conclusions are. And if you want to look at one study you have no valid reason to reject consideration of the dozens and dozens of studies I posted which confirm what Pruett and Gilligan said - children of gay parents do just as well as children of heterosexual parents. As near as I can tell the work done by Pruett and Gilligan never actually evaluated the children of gays in comparison to the children of heteroesexuals anyway.

You refer to gay parents as a self-centered hedonists. There's nothing that makes straight parents any less self centered or hedonistic for wanting children for the same reasons.

In a stunning display of hypocrisay annonymous at December 29, 2006 9:46 AM said "You guys always get into trouble when you start making personal attacks. You might have saved yourself a lot of trouble by just making a counter-argument against Dobson's article rather than throwing around a bunch of epithets and accusations. Is that too much to ask?".

Anonymous, in the very next post you refered to gay advocates as the "lunatic fringe". In the post after that you continued your regular attempts to associate being gay with beastiality. You regularly make the basesless assertion that gays are mentally ill despite the wealth of studies I showed you which prove they are not. You're in no position to ask people not to throw around epithets and accusations when you are the worst offender by far.

Anonymous at December 29, 2006 1:26 PM said "Having tendencies doesn't mean those people can't make choices".

Anonymous, let's assume for the sake of argument that you are heterosexual (an unlikely assumption, I know). Do you view your heterosexuality as a tendency? Do you recall choosing to be straight? Obviously not. The studies by Shidlo and Shroeder and Spitzer show that in the vast majority of cases being gay (or heterosexual) is far more than a tendency, its deeply ingrained in a person as is evidenced by the overwhelming majority of determined people going through "reparative therapy" failing miserably.

Your hatred consumes you and dominates your life. You need help and it is available. Its not helping you to suppress your same sex attractions by distracting youself with anger at gays. You can learn to positively accept yourself as who you are. Clearly, rejecting your deeply ingrained desires is not working. Seek out a qualified therapist and stop hurting yourself and others.

December 29, 2006 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's no surprise that certain physical characteristics might give one certain tendencies. You'll notice that none of those studies have 100% correlation. Not even close. Most are slight. Having tendencies doesn't mean those people can't make choices."

Just because you choose to live in the closet doesn't mean everybody will make that same choice (see #6 below). You obviously need a refresher course in the scientific method if you think 100% correlations are necessary to prove biology is the determinant of an orientation. Here's some help for you from a GOP group, the Log Cabin Republicans, who link to this libertyeducationforum.org paper right on their home page (http://online.logcabin.org/). If this excerpt is too much for you to handle like Randi's list of study summaries, I suggest you at least go browse the table. In fact, I suggest you read the entire brochure. Maybe you'll learn something.

Excerpt from http://online.logcabin.org/assets/pdf/1-20-06-LEF-White-Paper-Booklet-2nd-Printing-FINAL.pdf

"A bit of Biology 101: For every human trait they study, clinicians and biologists assemble what's called a "trait profile," the sum total of all the data they have gathered clinically (clinical research basically means research done through 1. questions and 2. empirical observation to answer the questions) about a trait. Researchers gather groups of subjects from different areas of the world, question them about their trait, observe the trait in them, and record the data. The various aspects of the trait are precisely described: gradations and variations in eye color are assessed, eye color's correlation or lack thereof with gender, geography, race, or age is noted, scientists observe the way eye color is passed down through generations—all of which are clues as to whether or not eye color is a biological trait. The data are summarized in papers and charts and published in the scientific literature. That, in sum, makes up the trait profile.

Here is the profile of a trait on which clinical research has been done for decades. It is taken from the published scientific literature. The trait should be rather obvious:

1) This human trait is referred to by biologists as a "stable bimorphism"— it shows up in all human populations as two orientations— expressed behaviorally.

2) The data clinicians have gathered says that around 92% of the population has the majority orientation, 8% has the minority orientation.

3) Evidence from art history suggests the incidence of the two different orientations has been constant for five millennia.

4) The trait has no external physical, bodily signs. That means you can't tell a person's orientation by looking at them. And the minority orientation appears in all races and ethnic groups.

5) Since the trait itself is internal and invisible, the only way to identify an orientation is by observing the behavior or the reflex that expresses it. However—and this is crucial—

6) –because the trait itself is not a "behavior" but an internal, invisible orientation, those with the minority orientation can hide, usually due to coercion or social pressure, by behaving as if they had the majority orientation. Several decades ago, those with the minority orientation were frequently forced to behave as if they had the majority orientation— but internally the orientation remained the same and as social pressures have lifted, people with the minority orientation have been able to openly express it.

7) Clinical observation makes it clear that neither orientation of this trait is a disease or mental illness. Neither is pathological in any observable way.

8) Neither orientation is chosen.

9) Signs of one's orientation are detectable very early in children, often, researchers have established, by age two or three. And one's orientation probably has been defined at the latest by age two, and quite possibly before birth.

These data indicated that the trait was biological, not social, in origin, so the clinicians systematically asked more questions. And these started revealing the genetic plans that lay underneath the trait:

10) Adoption studies show that the orientation of adopted children is unrelated to the orientation of their parents, demonstrating that the trait is not created by upbringing or society.

11) Twin studies show that pairs of identical twins, with their identical genes, have a higher-than-average chance of sharing the same orientation compared to pairs of randomly selected individuals; the average rate of this trait in any given population— it's called the "background rate"—is just under 8%, while the twin rate is just above 12%, more than 50% higher.

12) This trait's incidence of the minority orientation is strikingly higher in the male population— about 27% higher—than it is in the female population. Many genetic diseases, for reasons we now understand pretty well, are higher in men than women.

13) Like the trait called eye color, the familial studies conducted by scientists show that the minority orientation clearly "runs in families," handed down from parent to child.

14) This pattern shows a "maternal effect," a classic telltale of a genetic trait. The minority orientation, when it is expressed in men, appears to be passed down through the mother.

Put all this data together, and you've created the trait profile. The trait just described is, of course, handedness.

Right-handedness is the majority orientation, left-handedness, the minority. It's handedness for which lefties are 27% more numerous in men than women, the background rate of left-handedness is 12% as opposed to 8%, and left-handedness is an un-chosen, immutable, internal, instinctive orientation; you can force left-handed people to write with their right hands as was regularly done up through the 1950s in Catholic schools where left-handedness was believed to be evil and a moral failing, but that's just behavior masking the true orientation.

It turns out that the trait profile for human handedness is astonishingly similar to a profile clinicians and geneticists have assembled of another human trait—sexual orientation. Heterosexuality, the majority orientation, accounts for roughly 95 percent of us, while homosexuality, the minority orientation, accounts for roughly 5 percent. (The "10 percent gay" figure has always been merely a statistical concoction of some overly-aggressive gay activists.) Clinical research clearly shows that homosexuality is heritable, like left-handedness. Neither trait correlates with any environmental factors. All the twin studies indicate biology. (Just to make it clear: Everyone agrees that being right- or left-handed is a biological trait, but probably there are some genes creating handedness and some non-genetic biological factors like hormones and neural structure. Which is why with many identical twins, one twin is right-handed and the other left-handed. The same for sexual orientation in identical twins. But—surprise—with sexual orientation, both twins share the trait homosexuality more often than they do left-handedness—yet no one would claim this is evidence that left-handedness is a "chosen alternative lifestyle" because left-handedness isn't seen as a moral issue—any more. It used to be. Then society changed.) The sexual orientation, like the handedness, of adopted children bears no relationship to that of adoptive parents (a powerful control demonstrating that environment is not a factor in creating sexual orientation). And both show a "maternal effect" pointing towards the X chromosome."

PTA

December 29, 2006 3:51 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Anon-
the APA does not classify bestiality as normal-you could look it up but why bother- just go on writing nonsense.

December 30, 2006 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the APA does not classify bestiality as normal-you could look it up but why bother- just go on writing nonsense"

the APA says it is not a mental disorder

stop lying

January 02, 2007 5:46 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

First off, the APA does not have a list anywhere of what is or is not a mental disorder. The DSM lists conditions which fall under the purview of psychiatry but which may or may not be classified as such, depending on a number of conditions.

Bestiality falls under the category Paraphilia not specified. So do your homework and stop lying.

January 02, 2007 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paraphila is simply unusual behavior. It is not a mental disfunction.

The APA does not categorize the desire to engage in bestiality as a mental disfunction but most of us disagree.

TTF regularly uses the 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the APA list of mental disorders as a propaganda tool. You simply have to acknowledge they made the same decision about this.

January 02, 2007 2:30 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, readers here remember that we already addressed your arguments, long ago. The DSM is for diagnostic classification related to billing and treatment, it is not a measuring instrument that can be used for moral judgment.

Having sex with animals is not unusual in rural areas, and even though many of us may find it objectionable, it does not indicate that the individual's psychological processes are disordered, any more than a woman having sex with an inanimate object indicates psychological disorder.

The APA does not need to list every weird thing that a person could do.

If a person is obsessed with having sex with animals, they may have a classifiable problem -- but don't worry, that thing you did with the neighbor's parakeet that time won't get you thrown into the funny farm.

JimK

January 02, 2007 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The APA does not need to list every weird thing that a person could do."

It used to be there. They took it out.

"Having sex with animals is not unusual in rural areas, and even though many of us may find it objectionable, it does not indicate that the individual's psychological processes are disordered,"

So you agree with them. Why are you arguing?

"If a person is obsessed with having sex with animals, they may have a classifiable problem"

You could say the same about anything from washing your hands to playing with matches.

My only point is they treat homosexuality and bestiality similarly so you mislead about their position on the former.

January 02, 2007 3:32 PM  

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