The Scandalous Academy: Social Science in Service of Identity Politics

Mar 12, 2019 by

by Scott Yenor, Public Discourse:

Thanks to the work of sociologist Mark Regnerus, a prominent peer-reviewed journal has retracted a deeply flawed study on how social stigma affects the life expectancy of sexual minorities. This failure of peer review isn’t an isolated case: the more social science research supports the dogmas of identity politics, the less closely it is examined, and the more enthusiastically it is promoted.

More Americans than ever before are skeptical about the integrity and value of a university education. This is for good reason. Today’s universities are betraying their mission, and the corruption gets deeper every year. The scientific fields, especially when their research touches on matters of sexuality and public policy, are being bent in the service of the left’s political and cultural project.

Consider this case. In 2014, Professor Mark Hatzenbuehler, medical sociologist at Columbia University, was lead author of a paper titled “Structural Stigma and All-Cause Mortality in Sexual Minority Populations” in the journal Social Science & Medicine. The study began with the observation that sexual minorities, such as homosexuals, had a significantly lower life expectancy (twelve years, on average) than the rest of the population. Hatzenbuehler and his coauthors argued that lower life expectancy for sexual minorities happened because they lived in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice.

This work was promoted in major media outlets. It was cited prominently in an amicus brief in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission as part of the “large and growing body of evidence showing that discriminatory social conditions have severe negative health impacts on LGBTQ people.” Advocates seized on this supposedly scientific study to show that prejudice, in the form of thinking differently and acting accordingly, causes grave harm to sexual minorities. Therefore, advocates concluded, states like Colorado were right to crack the whip on the Christian baker.

Sociologist Mark Regnerus thought this didn’t pass the sniff test.

Read here

see also: Same-sex parenting research: a critical assessment, from Family Education Trust (and other reviews)

Pastoral care for transgender people: does it require acceptance of LGBT ideology? By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream (critique of Professor Mark Yarhouse)

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