Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Do lesbians make good parents?
Most of the concerns people have about children raised by "two mommies" are social and psychological. But psychology and sociology are playgrounds of the Left. I have taught in both psychology and sociology Departments of Australian universities and find sociologists in particular to be almost amusingly Leftist. Karl Marx is still their chief inspiration.
So you know what to expect when you find studies by social scientists that tell us anything about homosexuality. Homosexuals these days are a positively revered class who can do no wrong. So finding out what is actually going on from such sources is a major challenge. It is however a challenge I often took on in my own research career. If you read the "small print" (usually the "Results" section of a research report) you get at least a hearty laugh. The statistics obtained in the course of the research often contradicted the conclusions drawn by the researcher. But statistics frighten people so they get away with it. I actually used to teach statistics, however, so I had a ball.
And it all comes back to me when I read the latest article in an obsessively Leftist newspaper about homosexual parents. The article pulls no punches. It is headed Study finds same-sex parenting is not harmful for children". No nuances there! An excerpt:
Children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well in their education, emotional and social development as those raised by heterosexual parents, new research shows.
The report on same sex-parented families in Australia, commissioned by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), found "there is now strong evidence that same-sex-parented families constitute supportive environments in which to raise children''.
The findings are at odds with Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi's recent comments that the "gold standard" for children's development is having a biological mother and father who are married.
Report author Deb Dempsey, who reviewed all the research on same sex-parented families, said there was a wealth of evidence that showed the children were doing fine."
Well, author Cosima Marriner is right about a conflict of findings. Conservative authors generally come to much more adverse conclusions. So what is going on? I did my usual trick and looked up the original research report. I immediately found that Cosima had been a very naughty girl. The research was about lesbians only. The authors concluded that there was too little research about male homosexuals available to draw any conclusions. So Cosima definitely over-generalized.
The real fun of the fair however came in a section of the report that was rather forbiddingly titled "Methodological issues and studies of children's wellbeing". I reproduce a couple of paragraphs from it:
"Evaluating the effects of family structures upon children's wellbeing and development is complicated, particularly when the population of interest is a very diverse, stigmatised, numeric minority. Some questions have been asked about the methodological rigor of research studies on the wellbeing of children raised in same-sex parented families, by scholars who (implicitly or explicitly) have political or moral objections to same-sex parenting (see Marks, 2012; Regnerus, 2012; Schumm, 2012) and by those who do not. For instance, Tasker and Patterson (2007), two respected psychologists who support the rights of lesbian and gay parented families and have published widely on various aspects of the wellbeing of children raised by lesbian and gay parents, commented that the field would benefit from a wider variety of data collection methods. They noted that most of the data collected about children raised in lesbian and gay parented families comes from self-reports by their parents, supplemented with psychometric testing of children by the research team. Few studies have been blind, or made use of psychometric tests administered independently of the researchers. That said, many researchers emphasise the importance of contextual, qualitative studies in learning about the family experiences and processes in same-sex parented families from the point of view of parents, children and other family members (Biblarz & Savci, 2010; Dempsey, 2012b; Goldberg, 2010; Goldberg, Kinkler, Richardson, & Downing, 2011; Lindsay et al., 2006; Riggs, 2007).
Researchers in this field have noted a range of limitations with regard to how their samples of participants are drawn. Although this is beginning to change, many studies are based on small and homogenous samples of highly educated and middle-class participants. Many of the comparative studies conducted to date on children or young adults raised in same-sex parented families are based on volunteer samples of participants rather than random samples. This means that it is unknown how representative and generalisable the studies' results are. Further to this, many researchers in this field note that their participants were mostly white and well educated, which does not reflect the likely socio-economic, ethnic and racial diversity of the same-sex parenting population. That said, it is important to emphasise all research designs have limitations and not to dismiss the cumulative findings from many small scale or volunteer sample studies, as some critics of this literature attempt to do (see Marks, 2012; Regnerus, 2012; Schumm, 2012). Amato (2012) indeed pointed out that if there were noteworthy harms accruing to children resulting from parental homosexuality per se, which is often the concern of those scholars who criticise research designs and methodology, these would be revealed in research on high socio-economic, ethnically homogenous samples of parents and children."
So there you have it. The data was mostly what lesbians say about themselves and their children: Self report studies. Does anybody sniff bias there?
But it gets worse. Most of the studies were of high status parents: Richer and better educated. So the studies were not even a fair sample of lesbians. ANY children of high status parents should have done better at school etc.
And if you look at it with my perverse eye you see a suppressed correlation. If the studies showed (which they mostly did) that the children of such parents only did "as well as" the children of heterosexual families that means that something has been suppressing the status advantage that the Lesbian children should have had. And what could that be? Would it be the fact that they had no daddy? That's what it looks like. Once you control for education in homosexual/heterosexual comparisons, the homosexual children come out looking disadvantaged. Some studies did apparently control for education but it seems that most did not.
So where do we go from there? Is it just too difficult to examine fairly the questions involved? I think it is -- but only if we rely on social science research. Demography is informative too. What if we interview actual prison inmates, drug addicts etc. And what if we find that a higher than proportionate percentage of them do not come from a normal heterosexual family with both a mommy and a daddy regularly present? That is what we find and that is what the redoubtable Senator Bernardi was referring to.
But no research involving people will ever be watertight so in the end we always have to draw our conclusions on a balance of probabilities. And our conclusions will always be influenced by our other beliefs. Cautious conservatives, for instance, will shudder at the thought of experimenting on children -- while Leftists will always think that the existing state of society is so unsatisfactory that anything which might improve it should be tried. It would be nice if Leftists would admit to uncertainty on some occasions though. I just did. Are you listening, Cosima? -- JR.
Family breakdown puts children at risk
Contemporary society is obsessed with risk and equity. If a certain behaviour endangers others or threatens to make society less equal, calls for 'something to be done' to protect personal and social welfare usually follow.
Great zeal is then displayed for devising strategies (usually government-led and taxpayer-funded) that are designed to minimise harm and promote equality (think the anti-obesity crusade). However, when the issue is the contentious and controversial one of child welfare and family structure, that zeal flags.
Decades of data show that children who are raised in traditional married families do better, on average, in life than children who are raised in divorced or sole parent families. In other words, family breakdown puts the welfare of children at risk and makes society less equal in areas such as health, education, and employment.
Yet we are reluctant to discuss the links between family type and outcomes for children, especially in relation to child sexual abuse.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating ways to better protect children from abuse in organisations including churches, schools, and sporting clubs. This is crucial and overdue work.
However, the vast majority of child sexual abuse does not occur in organisations. It takes place within the family, and children in certain types of families are at greater risk than others.
Children, irrespective of socio-economic status, who do not live with both biological parents are far more likely to be sexually abused than their peers in intact families.
Girls who live in non-traditional families are sexually abused by their 'stepfathers' - the married, cohabiting, or casual partner of a divorced or single mother - at many times the rate that girls are sexually abused by their biological fathers in intact families.
These confronting issues are not raised to make people feel guilty or get a moral buzz out of judging people's private lives. They are raised because it is important to make legitimate social observations about the impact of 'family diversity,' and to consider the genuine public policy implications.
The fashionable, 'progressive' idea that marriage doesn't matter for children is wrong. The relationship and reproductive choices that adults make can have adverse implications for children, and people should be provided with the right information to make responsible decisions about their family life.
This is happening in the United States where public information campaigns are encouraging marriage before having children, and warning the community of the risks associated with raising children out of wedlock.
We are a long way from similar initiatives in this country but we need to start to discuss fully and frankly what's best for the children.
The BBC just loves swearing - until it gets a dose of its own @!X*! medicine
The BBC have refused to accept a complaint about bad language transmitted on national radio – because the complainer’s letter used exactly the same words that they had used on air.
They told Colin Harrow that his letter’s tone and language were ‘unacceptably abusive or offensive’.
In other words, the BBC are ready to transmit words into our homes which their staff are not prepared to read.
The Corporation’s complaints staff are supposed to be more sensitive to bad language than (say) elderly ladies or young children.
The programme involved, a Radio 4 play called Paradigm, was broadcast on Tuesday, January 21 at 2.15 pm, long before any sort of watershed.
No warning of bad language was given. An 80-year-old spinster, or a small child, could have been exposed without notice to a dialogue including the words p***, s*** (lavatory expressions), s*** (a sexual expression), b******s, b****r , b*****d, and some other crudities I’ll omit.
It’s striking that the BBC’s relaxation of rules on foul language has reached the point where expletives of this sort can be broadcast without any apparent sense of caution, let alone shame, in the early afternoon, on the country’s main serious speech station, at your expense and mine.
Mr Harrow thought he would treat the Corporation as they had treated him. He opened his letter with the same words and a similar tone (he did not use asterisks, but I have).
‘This afternoon’s play was sh***. It p***ed me off. The b*****d who wrote it needs sh****ing. Perhaps the b****r should be kicked in the testicles while stark b****** naked.’
He added: ‘I hope whoever reads this is not offended by the language used so far, but then if they work for the BBC why should they be?
'After all, every swearword and obscenity was used, some several times over, in this “afternoon” play, so I guess the BBC regards them as perfectly acceptable, including, I’m sure, in letters of complaint.’
Oh no they didn’t.
The metropolitan sophisticates of the Corporation (in my experience well used to every rude word in the language and then some) drew up their skirts like Victorian maiden aunts, and primly rejected the complaint, saying they felt ‘unable to circulate it more widely to our colleagues’.
‘When handling your complaint,’ they continued piously, ‘we will treat you courteously and with respect. We expect you to show equal courtesy and respect towards our staff and reserve the right to discontinue correspondence if you do not.’
They then offered to consider the complaint if Mr Harrow resubmitted it ‘using more acceptable language’.
He has. I contacted the BBC to ask them how they squared their rules on letters of complaint with their willingness to transmit the language of the lavatory wall, without warning, into the nation’s homes.
I was careful to asterisk the offending words in my letter to them, and began it with a warning in bold type that there was offensive language in what followed.
As usual, when caught out in hypocrisy, they couldn’t really understand the question. Totally unable to see themselves as others see them, BBC officials gobbled like affronted turkeys.
First of all, they claimed that listeners are ‘accustomed to the use of realistic, at times challenging language in the context of contemporary dramas’ and uselessly admitted that ‘in hindsight we could have taken further steps to signal the nature of the drama to listeners’.
Then they missed the whole point of the complaint, saying they understood that ‘listeners make their complaints in colourful ways when they are angry’, when in fact this complaint was a thoughtful satire on them, and not angry at all.
It is interesting that when they see such words in cold print, they immediately feel their menacing power – a power they ignore or belittle when they transmit them.
Finally, they said: ‘We think most people would appreciate there is a difference in how language is used in a fictional drama and how it is used in correspondence between real people.’
Real people? Don’t the BBC regard their listeners as real people? I rather suspect they don’t, seeing them merely as faceless serfs who can be relied upon to pay the licence fee and endure whatever liquid manure they choose to pump out through their transmitters.
Complacency of this kind, and on this scale, is usually followed by revolution. Will they listen? No, I swear they won’t.
This tenant complained to her council about addicts leaving dirty needles and BLOOD on stairway walls. They were too busy to help... but they found the time to come after HER when she put up warning signs
A tenant in a block of flats blighted by drug abuse has been forced to remove photos of syringes and blood stains she pinned to a ‘wall of shame’.
Ann Hodges snapped discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia she found at Denaby Court in Hull – and then displayed the evidence in the entrance hall of the high-rise.
But the 62-year-old has now been forced to remove the images by city councillors after they claimed it caused a ‘great deal of concern’ to other residents.
Mrs Hodges, who has lived at the flats for ten years, said: ‘I don’t go round with my eyes shut and I’ve found needles with spoons and foil, blood spattered up the walls and white powder that’s been dropped.
'I’m aware this sort of thing goes on in cities, but when it stopped being underground and was starting to appear outside our homes I started taking pictures.
‘We’re dealing with drugs, urine and faeces on a daily basis, and there are children coming here to see their relatives. Why should we have to live in these conditions?’
Denaby Court, which is owned and maintained by Hull City Council, originally only housed the elderly and a number of tenants with disabilities, however there are currently no age restrictions other than they will not allocate a high-rise flat to families with children under 12.
However, Mrs Hodges, who is the chairwoman of the Denaby Court Residents' and Tenants' Association, says 'hooded' groups of people have begun hanging around the building.
She decided to highlight the living conditions by creating 'a wall of shame' in the entrance hall next to a poster saying: 'This is happening in Denaby.'
However, she was soon told to remove the pictures by Hull City Council which she claims 'is not doing anything about it'.
Mrs Denaby said: 'It was hard not to miss when you came in, and I really wanted it to hit home.'
The photographs also include one of human excrement on the floor in a communal room where residents dispose of their rubbish via a waste shoot and two blood-splattered walls where Mrs Hodges believes drug users had been injecting themselves.
Another elderly resident, who did not wish to be named, said she even confronted one stranger who she suspected had been taking drugs in a chute room.
She said: 'I was going to put my rubbish in the chute and he was in the room. 'When he saw me he just stood there and eyeballed me. I love my flat, but it's getting frightening living here.'
Mrs Hodges said she is now being driven mad by the conditions of the flat but she refuses to move. She said: 'If I move, who is going to stand up for the people who can't.
'I abide by the guidelines in my tenancy agreement and these people are bringing down the area.
'There are younger people here who respect where their live and we respect them.
'When you live in a block of flats you have to consider the people who live around you and not just yourself. Everything you do impacts other people.
'Most of the older residents will look into the lifts before they get in them and if they don't feel comfortable with the people in them, they will walk downstairs and these are people with mobility
Laura Carr, City Neighbourhoods and Housing Manager at Hull City Council, said: 'The Neighbourhood Nuisance Team, Area Team, Housing service and Humberside Police have recently met with met with the chair of the residents' association, to work together to tackle anti-social behaviour within the block of flats.
'The Council and Humberside Police are committed to dealing with any issues and are taking the appropriate action to ensure residents are safe within the area.'
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.