Sunday, December 17, 2006

One Dobson is one too many...

The religious right ought to stop even trying to talk about science. The latest example is the recent James Dobson column in Time attempting to argue that Gays cannot be good parents. Dobson uses the public's interest in the Mary Cheney pregnancy to go on a rant about the alleged unfitness of gays as parents:

"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. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development.... ",9171,1568485,00.html

He then goes on to cite several social scientists to buttress his claims. Well the scientists have struck back accusing Dobson of distorting their work. As reported by Truth Wins Out one of the scientists, Carol Gilligan said in a letter to Dobson:

"there is nothing in my research that would lead you to draw the stated conclusions you did in the Time article. My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or canĂ‚’t raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households.

I trust that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family."

The other scientist quoted by Dobson, Kyle Pruett accused Dobson of Cherry picking his research and goes on to say:

"You cherry-picked a phrase to shore up highly (in my view) discriminatory purposes. This practice is condemned in real science, common though it may be in pseudo-science circles. There is nothing in my longitudinal research or any of my writings to support such conclusions. On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece, I wrote, 'What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex.' "

See also:

Media Matters has done an extensive report on the misuse of science by Dobson and notes that Pruett in particular has repeatedly accused people of distorting his work to advance their own agenda. Indeed according to Media matters Pruett was even listed as a supporter of the recent amendment to ban "gay marriage" in Oregon, of which Pruett says:

"I was quite surprised, even dumbfounded, to see my name listed as if it were a scientific support or consultant to this amendment. ... It couldn't be further than either my personal or professional position."


In the Oregonian article a conservative political director, Tim Nashif, appears to back petal, conceding that same sex couples and other sorts of families ought to be supported but then he goes right back to his distortions of Pruett's work!

This sort of strategy-tell a lie often enough and maybe the people will believe it- is wearing a bit thin. Maybe the religious right ought to just be honest about the source of their views that gay marriage is wrong- and while we are at it-that the earth is only 6,000 years old- because that's what they think the Bible says is true.
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