At Witherspoon’s Public Discourse today, Matthew J. Franck posts the first of two articles defending the Regnerus study. To me, the article disappoints. There is a fair amount of glib cheerleading. And much is made over the fact that many dumb, politically-correct things have been said about this topic in the past, and that previous studies of this topic have been deeply flawed (all of which in my view is true, but aren’t we talking about THIS study?).
But to me the real kicker is that Franck acknowleges briefly, but then declines to devote even one sentence of his article to discussing, the core scholarly flaw (in my opinion and in the opinion of many many others) in the study – which is that, in a study that announces itself as a study of ”new family structures,” which will for the first time with a valid data set compare those ”new family structures” to other “family structures,” Regnerus establishes as the pivot point of his analysis, the very centerpiece of his methodology, a phenomenon (did a parent have a same-sex romantic relationship while you were growing up?) that absolutely, by any reasonable standard, simply cannot be called a family structure.
This is hardly a small point. It’s what almost all of the (legitimate) fuss has been about. But Franck has nothing to say about it. Maybe he’ll discuss it in part two.
Update: Here’s a new interview for Citizen Link/Focus on Family, in which Regnerus does (unlike Franck) discuss the main alleged problem with the study, attributing it primarily to inherent problems of the sample itself (not enough gay/lesbian households), while also saying that, if he was doing it over again, he’d be clearer about all of this. (Actually, in my view, in the study’s fine print, he IS pretty clear.) But even in this interview, in my view, he does not squarely talk about the serious problems connected to calling something that is not a family structure a “family structure,” and then comparing it as the study’s centerpiece to other (actual) family structures.
Update II: The first comments on this post had to be deleted. Please abide by our civility policy in your comments. If all you want to do is browbeat and name-call and vent, please don’t waste your time or ours — such comments won’t be allowed.