That Response to My Article Was Strange

Scott Rose’s 1,085-word letter to the editors of Minding the
Campus does not contest–or find any factual error in–my Aug. 1 article titled
“Regnerus and the ‘Liberal War on Science
.‘” My subject
was
the academic hysteria over University of Texas sociologist Mark
Regnerus’s article in the journal Social Science Research concluding that the
adult children of parents involved in gay relationships do not fare as well as
their peers raised in stable heterosexual households. Rose does, however, raise
several points to which I shall respond:

1. His name: When I mentioned that “Scott Rose” was the
pen name of “Scott Rosenweig,” as I spelled it, or “Scott
Rosensweig,” as he spells it (obviously correctly), I wasn’t trying to be
either anti-gay or anti-Semitic (by calling attention to Rose’s German-Jewish
origins). I was merely following the lead of other media outlets, including the
Associated Press, which used the spelling “Rosenweig.” It is a
stretch to regard AP as either anti-Semitic or anti-gay. Indeed, at least two
gay media outlets, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News and South Florida Gay News,
picked up and ran an AP story describing “Scott Rose” as the pen name
of “Scott Rosenweig” or “Scott Rosensweig.” How anti-gay
can you be if you’re a gay media outlet?

2. “Corrupt peer review.” That is Rose’s description of
the process by which Social Science Research accepted and published Regnerus’s
article, largely because the journal accepted his article for publication
just five and one-half weeks after he submitted it–a little over two weeks
short of the usual eight weeks. Rose seems to think that gay parenting is an
“esoteric topic” that should have obliged Social Science Research to
have waited many months before accepting it. Really? Maybe the editors at
Social Science Research thought otherwise and were so impressed by the quality
of Regnerus’s research that they very slightly expedited the review process. At
any rate, I can’t judge whether the peer-review process at Social Science
Research was “corrupt” or not–nor did I try in my article. I merely
noted that Rose attempted to taint the review process at Social Science
Research as corrupt and to intimidate its editor at least implicitly.

It’s interesting that Rose now finds fault with Darren Sherkat,
the University of Southern Illinois sociology professor whom Social Science
appointed to conduct a review of its peer-review process respecting Regnerus’s
article. I guess that Sherkat, despite characterizing some of the peer
reviewers as “right-wing” and “Christianists” in e-mails to
Rose, wasn’t as harsh on Regnerus and Social Science Research as Rose would
have liked.

3. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM). This is the
strangest part of Rose’s letter to MTC. Leaving aside the fact that NOM, which
opposes same-sex marriage, had no connection whatsoever with Regnerus’s
research, Rose devotes much ink to a completely irrelevant issue: NOM’s alleged
support for the failed campaign of Maryland State Sen. Anthony Muse to
challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin in the Democratic primary this year.
What does that have to do with Mark Regnerus? Rose also faults NOM president
Maggie Gallagher for referring to the U.S. president by his full name, Barack
Hussein Obama. That’s supposed to be anti-Muslim–or something. Again, what on
earth does this have to do with either Regnerus’s research or my
article? 

In short, Scott Rose seems to be obsessed with finding various
forms of anti-religious/anti-gay hatred hiding under the bed of my article. I
think that’s because he can’t find factual fault with anything the article
actually said.

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Charlotte Allen

Charlotte Allen blogs for the Los Angeles Times and writes frequently about cultural trends for the Weekly Standard.

2 thoughts on “That Response to My Article Was Strange

  1. Is Charlotte Allen deliberately clouding the essential issues? She accuses me of not addressing any of the facts in her article — ignoring that the baseline and most important “fact” in this whole matter is the fact that the Regnerus study is not scientifically valid. Very early in my letter, I say that the Regnerus study is scientifically invalid because it does not make a valid comparison between its test-group and its control-group. In fact, Regnerus cherry picked his control group and compared it to a test group loaded up with variables. Every Sociology 101 course and every Statistics 101 course teaches the necessity of eliminating confounding variables in test-group/control-group studies. Charlotte Allen does not address this topic; and, where commentators are pointing out this ground-level, fatal flaw in the Regnerus “study,” they are hardly being “hysterical” though Ms. Allen mischaracterizes them that way. The fundamental scientific error that Regnerus made in cherry picking a control group and comparing it to a test group loaded up with variables is egregious. The Regnerus study with these fatal flaws only got published due to corrupt peer review, and would not get published by any other means. The Regnerus study could not get published through ethical and appropriate professional peer review. I would challenge Charlotte Allen to cite ten well-regarded sociological studies with cherry picked control groups compared to test groups loaded up with confounding variables. Such studies, of course ipso facto would not be well-regarded. Why is Charlotte Allen refusing to address the most important thing in the whole Regnerus story?

  2. Well here is a different perspective. C Allen you wrote,
    “Corrupt peer review.” That is Rose’s description of the process by which Social Science Research accepted and published Regnerus’s article, largely because the journal accepted his article for publication just five and one-half weeks after he submitted it–a little over two weeks short of the usual eight weeks”
    But my reading of the letter from Scott Rose does not attribute “largely” as you do that it was done so quick. When I read his letter my take away was that peer review was “largely” corrupted because there were no experts on sexual minorities who reviewed or commented on the published article. Anyone who is an expert in sexual minorities would not have put the “Approve for Publish” stamp on the paper and this is evidenced by that fact that after peer review by people who are not experts in sexual minorities, probably they are just “Family” experts, over 200 leading social scientists many of them experts in sexual minority research sent in an objection letter to the Editor of the Journal.
    Your interpretation and focusing on Scott Roses main points of peer review is different than mine.
    I am sympathetic to Roses writing about NOM which of course no supporters of Regnerus ever talk about. He wants to make a point to the reading public that there are connections that radiate out from Regnerus to the people who came up with the $875,000 to give to Regnerus for the study, and those peoples/organizations who have Board of Directors and other high level positions at NOM. It’s public knowledge. Regners states that he operated completely independently and may be he did, or maybe he didn’t. But to show the reading public those connections of people and organization who gave $875,000 is not out of order, I don’t think.
    The way I look at it other scholars and gay activists and their straight supporters would not be raising such a ruckus if the errors in Regnerus’ research were not so huge. If he just made a little error. But he didn’t, his errors are big and they do smear sexual minorities and it is odd that a man with his training and expertise would make those kinds of glaring freshman level errors.

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