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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Same-sex Adoption: Not as Harmless as Portrayed

Children with two 'fathers'


Published on American Thinker

By Enza Ferreri


You may often see articles in the media claiming that "research has shown" that children of same-sex couples are thriving, in fact are physically and psychologically doing just as well as, or even better than, children of couples who are - let me use this currently underused word - normal.

Are these works reliable?

In July such a study, carried out in Australia, was much trumpeted by that pillar of "progressive" thinking, The Washington Post, under the headline "Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows".

Researcher Simon Crouch and his team at the University of Melbourne surveyed 315 homosexual parents with a total of 500 children across Australia.

Crouch writes:
We found that children from same-sex families scored, on average, 6% better on two key measures, general health and family cohesion, even when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income. But on most health measures, including emotional behaviour and physical functioning, there was no difference when compared with children from the general population.
So far so good. Unfortunately, there is a drawback:
In spite of doing well, many children did experience stigma, which was linked to lower scores on a number of scales...

Interestingly, there is growing evidence to suggest that the structure of same-sex parent families, particularly in relation to work and home duties, plays an important part in how well families get along. Same-sex parents, for instance, are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than heterosexual-parent families. [Emphasis added]
In short, when children perform well it's due to same-sex parenting. When they perform not so well, it's due to stigma against same-sex parenting. A win-win situation for homosexual agitators.

But this apparent bias in the interpretation of the results is not the only, or even the main, problem with this study.

The method used in the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) is the biggest obstacle to taking its outcome seriously.

Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, research associate at its Population Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, has analysed the ACHESS's methodology both when an interim report appeared in 2012 and now, after the completion of the research.

He is concerned by this part of the study's methodology section:
The convenience sample was recruited using online and traditional recruitment techniques, accessing same-sex attracted parents through news media, community events and community groups. Three hundred and ninety eligible parents contacted the researchers…
And by the sampling approach of the interim report:
Initial recruitment will . . . include advertisements and media releases in gay and lesbian press, flyers at gay and lesbian social and support groups, and investigator attendance at gay and lesbian community events . . . Primarily recruitment will be through emails posted on gay and lesbian community email lists aimed at same-sex parenting. This will include, but not be limited to, Gay Dads Australia and the Rainbow Families Council of Victoria.
This is not a random sample, but a self-selected sample. Randomisation is one the most crucial parts of scientific research. The sample here is not representative of average same-sex households with children:
To compare the results from such an unusual sample with that of a population-based sample of everyone else [which is random] is just suspect science. And I may be putting that too mildly.
The ACHESS admits to employing "snowball recruitment techniques", where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances.

The study includes a disproportionate number of children born in new ways: 80% of those with female parent(s) were born through home insemination or assisted reproductive technology (ART), and 82% of those with male parent(s) were born via surrogacy. How common ART and surrogacy are today in the average same-sex household remains unknown.

Most families who can afford the espense of ART and surrogacy are likely to belong to the homosexual socio-economic elite, the only kind of people this study's sample was likely to be comprising. And, also significantly when compared to a random sample of all other families, there were few unplanned pregnancies among the ACHESS parents.

In addition, "this non-random sample reflects those who actively pursued participating in the study, personal and political motivations included"; those who selected themselves for the study knew in advance its intentions, subject and political significance (so much for "blinding", another requirement of research methodology); and - wait for this - the actual children were not asked to report about themselves, only their parents reported about them, with all the obvious high risks involved in trusting parents self-reporting on their parental skills as shown by their children's outcome - also known as risks of “social desirability bias,” the tendency to portray oneself as better than one actually is -, without an attempt to independently verify the facts.

Taking into account all these circumstances, professor Regnerus declared himself surprised that the differences (3%-6%) between the ACHESS parents and the rest of the population were so small.

Which confirms once more that trusting the mainstream media on the complex and regrettably fashionable subject of homosexual marriage and its corollary, adoption, is not a good idea.

A Pew Research study showed how disconnected the media are from public opinion on this topic. In the news media, stories sympathetic to same-sex marriage in the 2-month period covered outnumbered those unsympathetic to it by a margin of more than 5-to-1: the former constitued 47% of all treatment of the subject, the latter 9%. For Huffington Post the gap was much higher, almost as high as that found in LGBT outlets.

In public opinion, by contrast, the percentage of respondents in favour of legalisation of homosexual marriage was 51%, while against 42%.

This media bias is consistent with the their highly critical coverage of the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), a work overseen by professor Mark Regnerus in which he examines nearly 3,000 adult children from 8 different family structures and evaluates them within 40 social and emotional categories.

The NFSS, he describes,
elected to talk to the children after they had grown up, to skip the parents entirely to ensure a more independent assessment, not to broadcast our key research questions in the title or initial screener questionnaire, and to locate participants randomly in a large population-based sample. If you’ve been paying attention, however, you’ll know that my NFSS studies—which mapped 248 respondents who told us their mother or father had been in a same-sex relationship—came to rather different conclusions than the ACHESS study has.
In his study, published in Social Science Research in 2012, Regnerus writes:
[T]he empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go. While it is certainly accurate to affirm that sexual orientation or parental sexual behavior need have nothing to do with the ability to be a good, effective parent, the data evaluated herein using population-based estimates drawn from a large, nationally-representative sample of young Americans suggest that it may affect the reality of family experiences among a significant number.
The NFSS's results showed that children who remain with their intact biological families were better educated, were in greater mental and physical health, reported overall higher levels of happiness, displayed less drug use and less criminal behaviour.

The greatest negative outcomes were found among children of lesbian mothers, contrary to faulty studies popularised by the media. The NFSS found negative outcomes for lesbians' adult children in 25 of 40 categories, including far higher rates of sexual assault (23% of lesbians' children were touched sexually by a parent or adult, compared to 2% raised by normal married parents), higher levels of depression, worse physical health, more marijuana use and greater unemployment (69% of lesbians' children were on welfare, compared to 17% of those with normal married parents).

Regnerus’ research disproved an often-cited 2005 brief by the American Psychological Association (APA) that concluded: "Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." This sentence has now been removed from the APA' website.

And the confidence behind that assertion will be invalidated again and again, as more research unearths the problems associated with homosexual parenting and/or adoption.

One such investigation is that by associate professor at Louisiana State University Loren Marks, published in Social Science Research.

His work reviews the 59 published studies cited by the APA to support its above-quoted claim.

Marks found them wanting in various areas, including lack of homogeneous sampling, absence of comparison groups, presence of contradictory data and paucity of long-term outcome data. The scope of the children’s outcomes studied was too limited: they focused on "gender roles" and "sexual identities", while neglecting to examine the children’s education outcomes, employment, risk of substance abuse, criminal behavior or suicide.
The conclusion is that strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted.
This debunking is particularly significant, in view of the fact that the APA-endorsed studies have been used in attempts to influence legal decisions in European and American courts, with claims like "no objective scientific evidence exists to justify different treatment of same sex couples who wish to adopt", "all reputable scientific studies have shown that the children of lesbian and gay parents are no more likely to suffer from emotional or other problems than the children of heterosexual parents.", and "a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.".

There's still work to do, but we are on the right track.

9 comments:

  1. An intelligent kid with a strong sense of identity would sooner or later write Dear Abby: If there are differences between the sexes, why do people say there are no differences? My parents are playing with my mind. I'm a girl, and they make me wear jock straps and football shoulder pads. I'm a boy, and they make me wear dresses and makeup. Sometimes they make me wear shoulder pads and dresses at the same time. I'm really, really confused. Let me out of here!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Enza,

    I am a man from iran interested in conducting a massacre in netherlands against a group of muslims. I have semi-automatic weapons and automatic weapons. I can meet you in a desired place, please contace me on this message board, and I will skype with you. We can meet in a city of your choice and make preparations for the massacre. Our identities will not be revealed.

    I hate what the muslims did to iran. If not for them, we will be richer, more successful than germans, but thanks to them we are the laughing stock of the farangi race.

    Please contact me, I'm very desirous to help the great white race eliminate muslims.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Enza,

    I am a man from iran interested in conducting a massacre in netherlands against a group of muslims. I have semi-automatic weapons and automatic weapons. I can meet you in a desired place, please contace me on this message board, and I will skype with you. We can meet in a city of your choice and make preparations for the massacre. Our identities will not be revealed.

    I hate what the muslims did to iran. If not for them, we will be richer, more successful than germans, but thanks to them we are the laughing stock of the farangi race.

    Please contact me, I'm very desirous to help the great white race eliminate muslims.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why don't you start a massacre on your own? Begin by eliminating any and all of your family members, and if you have any bullets left after that, you could plug some unsuspecting strangers in your neighborhood. Make sure, though, to keep the last slug for yourself. . .so you can exit in a blaze of glory. Don't you think this is a jolly good idea, old sod?

      Delete
    2. What????

      You don't want to protect the holy aryan race against filthy mudslims??

      Somebody said this blog will give me recruits.

      Delete
  4. [I've broken my comment down into 4 parts, because I only noticed after completion that there is max ~4000 characters allowed]

    1.
    I like your article. Although I have not read the NFSS by Mark Regnerus, some reports I have read about it say that it is flawed in its own way. These reports seemed quite believable. I have taken a look at some of the studies often quoted in attempts to show that same sex parenting is in no way harmful or disadvantageous to children, and I am astounded how inadequate these studies are. I'm neither psychologist nor sociologist, but the flaws are so grave and obvious, I'm sure they would easily he spotted by any intelligent school pupil of age 16 or so.

    "There's still work to do, but we are on the right track." That's optimistic! It appears that a large portion of the scientific community is derailed. I rarely hear a high standing expert of the scientific community openly criticising the intolerably low standard of some of these peer reviewed sociological-psychological studies. Science is quite obviously being used to transport ideology and propaganda, and although this must be quite obvious to anybody with integrity working in these areas of science, they don't appear to have the courage to expose this fact. I live in Austria at the moment, and around 2 years ago a government commission called the "Bioethikkommission des Bundeskanzleramtes" published a comprehensive statement on ethical issues concerning laws on artificial insemination techniques for lesbian couples. A central part of this statement contained quotations from various studies on same sex parenting and also the APA statement you mentioned. Emphasis was on a German study by Rupp of the University of Bamberg called "Die Lebenssituation von Kindern in gleichgeschlechtlichen Lebenspartnerschaften". Although this study is full of incredible flaws and illogical conclusions, together with the other studies and the APA statement it formed a principle argument for the recommendation that the government should lift the ban on in vitro fertilization for lesbian couples and single women and was supported by 16 of the 21 members of the commission. Later in 2014 this recommendation was used as principle evidence in an appeal to the Austrian High Court "Verfassungsgerichtshof" which ruled that lesbian coulpes must be allowed to use in vitro fertilization. The mentioned 16 member of the commission are high standing sociologists, medical practitioners, jurists, a psychiatrist, mostly with professorships.

    In my view, a single homosexual may be able to raise a child quite well, but a same sex couple is inherently disadvantaged compared with an opposite sex couple. The objection that there is a large body of sociological-psychological studies which apparently tell us that same sex parenting is not harmful to children is not a proper scientific approach to the issue (I'll come to the reasons later). Also, I believe sociology and psychology alone are too limited to properly answer a question which touches moral issues (dignity of the child; prioritization of children's rights and interests).

    ReplyDelete
  5. 2.
    Types of relationships important adults are for example friends, best friends, colleges, family members, neighbors, spontaneous acquaintances. I would ask supporters of same sex adoption to ask themselves the following question: Would you accept it if the state or another superordinate entity determined that you may only interact and acquaint with either males or females, not both, regarding only one of the aforementioned types of relationships? Would such a restriction be acceptable to you, even if a psychologist claimed that it would not be harmful? Is the diversity which you experience when interacting with both males and females not fundamentally meaningful to you?

    I cannot imagine that anybody would tolerate such a restriction, but would defend his or her fundamental right of freedom to enjoy interaction with both sexes in all areas of life where this is possible.

    So, I think its evident that an important aspect of this issue is diversity from the perspective of the child.

    Infants have the capacity to differentiate between feminine and masculine and between mother and father. Children evidently love the difference between their mum and dad and they love to interact with both as different expressions of the relationship with a parent. But I think many supporters of same sex adoption do not understand the moral implications of deliberately depriving children of the beautiful diversity inherent to combined male and female parenting, in spite of the fact that they themselves probably wouldn't tolerate an analogous restriction regarding only a single type of relationship of considerably less importance than the most, meaningful and intimate relationship children can know: the relationship with their parents (nurturer, role model, best friend, teacher all in one).

    ReplyDelete
  6. 3.
    Concerning sociology, psychology and studies: I cannot see how studies alone can allow a conclusive evaluation of the state of scientific knowledge, especially regarding psychology and sociology which are not an exact sciences. Surely studies have to be evaluated within the context of the broader activities and practice of any science. The "knowledge" or the assumptions arrived at through psychology are attained from a combination of procedures consisting in observation, measurement, experiment, the formulation and testing of theories and hypotheses. For example, a well conceived theory can be of greater value than measurement or experiment which is afflicted with inadequate resolution or methodology. An analogy: At the time when Albert Einstein published the Theory of Relativity, all empirical measurements and all performed experiments showed that Newton's laws of motion and gravitation were in fact correct and precise. But Einstein's Theory of Relativity alone showed that the measurements being made were not precise enough, and that Newton's laws of motion and gravitation were strictly speaking incorrect.
    I believe a similar situation exists regarding the so far published studies on same sex parenting. Logically we must contemplate that these studies, which say that there is no appreciable difference between the outcomes of children raised by same sex couples and those raised by a mother and a father are either giving us a valid representation, or they are simply methodologically inadequate to expose differences in outcomes. So, to evaluate the validity of the results of these studies a critical examination of the methodology and also importantly a careful comparison and juxtaposition with the predictions of well established theories on child development are surely in order.

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  7. 4.
    As you explain, instead of deriving the participants from a large pool of randomly chosen subjects, the participants of these studies are acquired via "self-selection". This is a serious flaw in any sociological study, and I assume is usually a result of cost restraints. To my knowledge, strangely, the full spectrum of available psychological test methodology is not implemented in any of these studies. Specifically they lack comprehensive exploration of the state of the unconscious mind of the children through projective testing, examination of the child's 'active imagination' or dreams. Many of the studies rely purely on tests based on limited self-assessment. If a subject has been deprived of a fundamental, life enriching aspect of life, but has never actually existed in a situation in which he could realize this because he has had no direct, personal experience of this aspect, then it is likely that self-assessment is inadequate to expose possible effects of such a deprivation, whereas comprehensive exploration of the unconscious mind could uncover effects. Illogical assumptions, unsuitable comparison groups, non-standard or unsuitable implementation of interviewing, non-representative samples, the list goes on.
    I believe it is not inappropriate to conclude that the studies so far implemented are too flawed and inadequate to be of significance regarding a valid scientific verdict on the issue.

    On the other hand, C.G. Jung's theory of Archetypes is well established in psychology. The mother archetype and the father archetype exist congenitally (not acquired after birth) in the unconscious psyche of all children. Hence children must have an unconscious expectation to interact with both a mother and a father. The existence of these archetypes is hardly disputed, since there is ample evidence of their spawning of symbolic activity in the dreams of humans of all ages on a cross-cultural level. The mother archetype is an innate disposition to experience and recognize "mothering.". The father-child relationship is governed by the father archetype.

    The mind's reaction upon perceiving an object, for example a tree, is spontaneous categorization via memory; mental (interpretive, associative thought processes); emotional (associated emotions or feelings, and desires of the sub-conscious mind); and archetypical. An archetypical reaction occurs when archetypical content is projected onto the perceived object. Its the archetypical reaction which imparts the most profound experience. The powerful mother archetype is most easily and naturally projected onto the nurturing, feminine facial expression of a female primary care giver. That's one reason why experiencing motherly love is such a uniquely profound and satisfying experience for any child. It's also the reason why motherly love is not experienced when a child interacts with a father. Hence, because of the existence of these two archetypes, the most natural and desirable family constellation from the child's perspective is a mother-father-child constellation.

    So factoring in the flawed, inadequate studies, a well conceived, established, theory underpinned by observations made by care givers, child carers and even psychologists that children evidently enjoy the diversity offered to them by combined male and female care giving, I would conclude that the present state of psychology indicates that it is undesirable to deliberately deprive a child of either a father or a mother and adoption by same sex couples should be avoided. The natural and healthy family environment for raising a child does appear to be a family with both a mother and a father.

    ReplyDelete