A Modern-Day Stoning Failed

A ground-breaking study — it was the first to use a large, nationally representative pool of respondents — that concluded that children “appear most apt to succeed well as adults … when they spend their entire childhood with their married father and mother, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day,” created a firestorm among gay-marriage advocates.

One of those advocates, Scott Rosenweig, who goes by the name Scott Rose, wrote the president of the University of Texas at Austin, where the principal researcher works, alleging scientific misconduct.

That triggered an investigation by the university’s Research Integrity Officer, who concluded the researcher, Mark Regnerus, didn’t commit any scientific misconduct.  Indeed, the inquiry found the allegations against him weren’t substantiated by Rosenweig or by any evidence uncovered during the investigation, which included an examination of Regnerus’s computer and files.

You can read Regnerus’s study here and you can read the research integrity officer’s report here.  In addition to the scientific report, published in Social Science Research, Regnerus also published a “popularized” version in Slate which attracted a lot of attention.

To say Regnerus’s study caused a firestorm would be an understatement.  Regnerus was subjected to what amounted to a modern-day stoning, with Scientific American posting an article with the astounding title: Why Mark Regnerus’ study shouldn’t matter, even if it were the most scientifically robust study in the world.  The New Yorker weighed in, calling it “faulty,” with “Scott Rose” saying it was “only published through corrupt peer review.”

Now that the University of Texas at Austin has found the study was properly conducted, that there was no scientific misconduct by Regnerus, it’s worth asking what was the Rose wanted to achieve with his complaint.

Rosenweigh/Rose describes himself on The Huffington Postwhere he was ranting that the National Organization on Marriage “must be stopped” — as “a New York City-based novelist and freelance writer,” not a scientist.

The purpose of the piling on is obvious, since not one of Rose’s allegations could be substantiated by UT’s research integrity officer:  It was to shut down Regnerus, shut down his research and send a loud message to others who might be inclined to do research questioning gay marriage or gay adoption that they also run the risk of a modern-day stoning if they publish results that seem to affirm the wisdom of the Bible’s definition of marriage — a man and a woman, in one union, for life.

About Joel Whitaker

Joel Whitaker is a long-time professional journalist (Tampa Bay Times, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Bulletin, Institutional Investor, executive newsletters) and Catholic convert. He is the RCIA coordinator for his parish.
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