Skepchick Quickies, 6.9


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. “That proves the prejudice and bias of the study,” she said. “This study was clearly designed to come out with one outcome…”

    She then added, “Now this study funded by our organization on the other hand…”

  2. First time commenting on the site, I have been reading for a bit, I LOVE YOU LADIES!
    That said, all this about Titan is straight up Nerd-Porn and I love it! We might be living in the human generation to find out if that question many through the years have asked is science fiction or science fact, and that is about as exciting as it gets!

  3. Being a Canadian, what I find disturbing is that pharmacies dispense non-scientifically supported information/recommendations 27% of the time.

    Is this an Anti-Big-Pharma effect?

  4. “You have to be a little suspicious of any study that says children being raised by same-sex couples do better or have superior outcomes to children raised with a mother and father,” she said. “It just defies common sense and reality.”

    Great! We totally need just another group that denies fact to advance their agenda by accusing their opponents of denying facts to advance their agenda.

    We should have a catchy name for those, something like “birthers” or “truthers”… What about “straighters”?

  5. We should have a catchy name for those, something like “birthers” or “truthers”… What about “straighters”?

    What, “homophobe” isn’t catchy enough?

  6. Wouldn’t you suppose that if you want to “debunk” a study you disagree with, that you would send someone with just a modicum of sense?
    a. ‘In essence, this study claims to purport that children do better when raised by lesbians’ No it claims that there is a correlation, and the author says the its more likely that it was due to planned motherhood, involved mothers. Not any relationship to being a lesbian. It does however show that there is NO REASON TO SUPPOSE THAT CHILDREN SUFFER IN LESBIAN HOUSEHOLDS…
    b. ‘It just defies common sense and reality.’ Uhm, why? Because from my perspective it supports common sense. And reality would apparently be what the study was trying to establish.
    c..’Studies have shown that children thrive having both a mother and a father’ Ok. but compared to what? What were those studies about? Comparing to single parent homes with absent parent, with unknown parent, with involved parent, with gay parents….

    What is the matter with people that they cannot try to use their brains for anything but justification of ideas they already formed.

  7. With regard to the lesbian study, despite the source, I actually take the comment that this is a single study with biased funding to heart. Without access to the paper itself, I’d be careful touting the results too vigorously.

    That being said the correct way to counter the study would be to demonstrate flaws in the design and/or execution or generate some data to the contrary. The fact that they resort to nonsense instead is possibly telling.

  8. I’m just glad to know that when we have our polygamous lesbian marriage on Skepchick Island, our kids are going to be just fine.

    And as a bonus they’ll be able to mix up some mean cocktails! (An important skill for any well-adjusted island-bound child of a lesbian alcoholic.)

  9. “It just defies common sense and reality.”

    Uh, no! When “common sense” is contradicted by solid real-world evidence, reality has just handed your common sense its ass.

    If you think the study is biased, point out the methodological flaws and suggest an alternative design. If you don’t understand this field of research well enough to do that, then STFU!

    @Andrés Diplotti: I agree, they’re all different flavors of the same species.

  10. The Health Food story has kicked up a bit of controversy since I posted a link to it on Facebook. Thank goodness I’ve listened to all the podcasts and read all these Skeptical websites so that I know how to talk about this stuff. I’m not sure I’m going to immediately convince my credulous anti-big-pharma friends, but I think I’m at least planting some seeds of doubt.

    And that’s enough.

  11. Of course, health food stores are pushing to sell their merchandise. Haven’t they ever been in a GNC? There’s more woo in one of those than in Orly Taitz’ head.

  12. As best as I understand the process accidental pregnancies don’t often happen with lesbians (I’ve been told storks have excellent gay-dar). So it would seem likely that if you were to compare children of lesbians to children of heterosexual couples from similar socio-economic backgrounds who also carefully planned having children the results would probably be more in line with one another.

    I’d be curious also if geography has anything to do with this as well as gender of the children. I can’t help but wonder if things are skewed when children are raised by homosexuals in parts of the country where there’s still a lot of bigotry as I wouldn’t be surprised if those children have a harder time fitting in with their peers.

  13. Did the article on lesbian parents even have to mention the lame and dishonest reaction from Concerned Women for America? No. They did it to portray a “fair and balanced” article, but there is nothing fair about it. CWA is a think-tank of total bull$#it. What’s next, including quotes from Ku Klux Klan members regarding racial issues? CNN needs to get real!

  14. Dude. Lesbian parents are no better or worse than anybody else.
    Parents who planned, worked for and actually want the kids they have? WAAAAAAAAAY better than those who don’t.
    Most of the time anyway.

  15. @namidim – you are quite right. I shouldn’t assume it is correctly reported either.

    Its a sad statement that we cannot trust mainstream journalism to report scientific results with accuracy or knowledge. Sadder still, that I am not qualified to identify any weaknesses in the study, so I am left with trying to decide which journals are more believable.

    And I think I might be a hypocrite. Because, you know…I already assumed the results of the study and was happy to see my assumptions bolstered by the study. If the results reported had been otherwise, I wonder whether I would have searched harder for something to discredit it.

    Live and Learn.

  16. @namidim: I’m not sure what you mean by “biased finding” – that it supports the bias of those conducting the study, perhaps? If that’s what you mean, then that’s just a reason to be suspicious and check the details of the study for any procedural flaws or sloppiness, not a reason to discard it out of hand.

    The “single study” point is certainly a valid one. Science is built on consensus. Press releases are built on single studies. Don’t try to get your science from press releases. This is exactly why so many people complain about science constantly reversing its position on many issues, from cellphone radiation to acupuncture to plastics. You have to look at the consensus, which doesn’t fit into a neat press release. In this case, this study adds to the pile that shows that no there’s no harm in having gay parents. It’s certainly a huge step up from having a single parent or being the result of an unplanned pregnancy. This study on its own may not be a good reason to believe that, but the pattern is forming, which is a good reason.

  17. I have to admit I though that was rather (pleasantly) surprising.
    I would have honestly thought that the kids would have a tough time from bulling.
    But thats clearly not a major limiting factor.

    Well from what I understand its not that it’s two mothers but mostly that its two people who actually care, prepare and plan for a child. I suspect a very large number of babies can just “happen” by accidental pregnancy.

    I wonder if there is going to be any difference between hetero couples and homosexual couples that put the same amount of preparation in, but I guess that’s hard to figure out.

    Intuitively I’d say it shouldn’t make a difference, but my intuition is wrong all the time on almost all social issues, to such an extent that its usually a better bet to just go with the opposite of my intuition.

  18. @Agranulocytosis:
    Well from what I understand its not that it’s two mothers but mostly that its two people who actually care, prepare and plan for a child. I suspect a very large number of babies can just “happen” by accidental pregnancy.

    I haven’t read the study myself, but one of the commenters on the article said that both the study and the control group were recruited in a similar way, and overall more of the control group straight couples were middle or upper class (44%) compared to the real world population. So the only unquantified difference between both groups that I can see is the fact that among the straight parents there might have been a couple of accidents, while with the lesbian couples that’s more unlikely.

    At least the lesbians showed they could raise their kids to be socially well-adjusted people just as well (or potentially better) than middle or upper class straight parents. Thereby blowing the christian intollerant homophobes age-old claim right out of the water. This study has served its purpose, and much, much more.

  19. @exarch:
    “I haven’t read the study myself, but one of the commenters on the article said that both the study and the control group were recruited in a similar way, and overall more of the control group straight couples were middle or upper class (44%) compared to the real world population.”

    I had a look at the article and its acctually quite interresting.
    From what I understand the control group was raw data taken from a certain Dr Achenbach. (? dont really understand this completely :-/ but it seems like he is quite influential in evaluating excatly the kind of thing they where looking for in the study.)

    I don’t know much about these kind of long term studies so I presume that is standard practice. And as you mentioned there are quite a lot more upper class paticipants in the control group. 44% against 24%, allthough there are slightly more middle class paticipants in the Homosexual group.

    Either way, the authors suggest in the discussion that the difference in problem behavior could be explained by the fact that the mothers reportedly used verbal limit-setting more frequently rather then corporal punishment and power assertion.

    So it would be rather exciting to see the results for children raised by two Fathers.

    Another factor was that Lesbian Parents where more liekly to share custody of the child after their relationship ended.

    However they explicitly state towards the end that they did not use a random sample for the study, as that was technicially difficult to achieve when they started.

    They also diden’t control for race/ethnicity or region of residence.
    So I guess there are a lot of potential little problems, but thats inherent to a certain extent in all studies regarding acctual people.

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