Thursday, June 25, 2015

Consensus! Children raised by same-sex parents are no different from those in traditional families

The article below is very naive.  I could have told you before I read it what the consensus among researchers would be -- and the authors found just that -- and nothing more.  A consensus among a group of people simply tells you what those people at that time want to believe.  It tells you nothing about the facts.  Only evidence can tell you about the facts.  And there was no critical scrutiny of the evidence in this study. And that was certainly needed in this case. 

What for instance are we to make of a large 2012 study that arrived at very different conclusions?  To quote:  "The results reveal numerous, consistent differences, especially between the children of women who have had a lesbian relationship and those with still-married (heterosexual) biological parents".  Which conclusion is right?  We have no means of knowing from the study below.

So what the study below tells you is something about the biases of current social science researchers.  It tells you nothing about its alleged subject.  It simply tells you what the current intellectual fashion is

I follow the article below with the journal abstract

Scientists agree that children raised by same-sex couples are no worse off than children raised by parents of the opposite sex, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Oregon professor.

The new research looked at 19,000 studies and articles related to same-sex parenting from 1977 to 2013.

It comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule by the end of this month on whether same-sex marriage is legal.

'Consensus is overwhelming in terms of there being no difference in children who are raised by same-sex or different- sex parents,' University of Oregon sociology professor Ryan Light said on Tuesday.

Light, who co-authored the study with Jimi Adams of the University of Colorado at Denver, said the study may be too late to affect the court's ruling this month but he hopes it will have an impact on future cases.

'I hope we'll see acceptance of gay marriage of the courts and by the public at large,' he said.

The studies, Light said, showed some disagreement among scientists on the outcome of same-sex parenting in the 1980s but it largely subsided in the 1990s, and a clear consensus had formed by 2000 that there is no difference between same-sex and different-sex parenting in the psychological, behavioral or educational outcomes of children.

'Across the board we find the iterative suggests there's no significant differences,' Light said.

'To our knowledge this is the most comprehensive analysis of this type on this issue.'

Gary Gates, Research Director at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, said although several review articles have made arguments that there is a consensus that the gender of the parents does not matter, he was not aware of any other in-depth study of this nature.

'That to me actually sounds like a fairly novel approach and I'm not sure that others have done it,' he said.

He said he believes the argument that same-sex parents are less adequate than heterosexual parents has largely been taken out of the legal debates. But he said it's always possible that it could come up.

'We'll see what happens in the Supreme Court argumentation,' he said.

'We find that the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience “no differences” compared to children from other parental configurations,' the pair wrote.


Scientific consensus, the law, and same sex parenting outcomes

By jimi adams & Ryan Light


While the US Supreme Court was considering two related cases involving the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, one major question informing that decision was whether scientific research had achieved consensus regarding how children of same-sex couples fare. Determining the extent of consensus has become a key aspect of how social science evidence and testimony is accepted by the courts. Here, we show how a method of analyzing temporal patterns in citation networks can be used to assess the state of social scientific literature as a means to inform just such a question. Patterns of clustering within these citation networks reveal whether and when consensus arises within a scientific field. We find that the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience “no differences” compared to children from other parental configurations.

Social Science Research, Volume 53, September 2015, Pages 300–310.

Another false rape claim

Police charge woman for making up a rape after she was exposed by her own FitBit

A WOMAN who claimed she was raped by a stranger when sleeping at her boss’s house has been caught fibbing by her own FitBit.
Jeannine Risley, 43, has been criminally charged after she told police she was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by an intruder while she was staying at her employer’s home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in March.

In her horrific account, ABC News reports she said she was dragged from her bed at midnight and raped in the bathroom by a man who was wearing boots.

But her own fitness watch got the better of her. Officers who embarked on the manhunt detected holes in Risley’s story when they found no footsteps in the snow surrounding the house, and no signs of an intruder indoors.

Detectives steered their investigation towards Risley and discovered tracking data on her FitBit — which she initially said was lost in the attack — revealed she had been walking around during the time she said she was sleeping.

Things got murkier when police uncovered that her boss had recently told her she would no longer be a temporary director with the company.

The criminal complaint states Risley was directed to inform staff of the change during the week of the reported rape, but she had not yet done so.

She has been charged with false reports to law enforcement, false alarms to public safety, and tampering with evidence for allegedly overturning furniture and placing a knife to make it appear she had been raped by an intruder.


The Cultural Cleansing of the Southern States Begins

A full-fledged cultural cleansing of the Southern states is underway as lawmakers debate whether to remove Confederate flags and rename schools and parks named after Confederate war heroes.

There are also discussions in Washington, D.C. about removing Confederate-related statues from the U.S. Capitol — including a statue of Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy.

“It’s something to think about,” Sen. Harry Reid told reporters.

Republicans, meanwhile, are leading the charge in South Carolina and Mississippi to remove the Confederate flag — called a symbol of hate and racism.

Wal-Mart jumped on the band wagon, too – announcing they will remove all Confederate merchandise from its stores. EBay announced they will no longer sell Confederate flags or any other memorabilia.

Has the Department of Homeland Security classified the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy as right-wing hate groups, yet?

Meanwhile, there are dozens of reports from around the southeast of lawmakers hoping to rename parks and schools and streets that were originally named in honor of Confederates.

*Tennessee lawmakers are demanding that a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest be removed from the statehouse;

*Baltimore lawmakers want to rename Robert E. Lee Park;

*Dallas lawmakers are considering demands to rename Stonewall Jackson Elementary School;

*St. Louis lawmakers are debating over the future of a confederate statue in a city park;

*Commissioners in Hillsborough, North Carolina are debating whether to remove the words “Confederate Memorial” from a Confederate memorial.

*The Memphis City Council voted in 2013 to rename three parks – Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park.

It won’t be too long before they start renaming cities and towns and counties named after Confederates. And I reckon it’s only a matter of time before they bulldoze the Confederate grave yards and war memorials too.

Maybe we can just pretend the Civil War never happened.

I’m assuming Hollywood will cooperate with the South’s cultural cleansing by eradicating any copies of “Gone with the Wind” and “Forrest Gump.” Forrest was named after the aforementioned Nathan Bedford Forrest.

I do wonder, though, about those good ole boys from Hazzard County. What are Bo and Luke Duke are going to do with the General Lee?

Maybe they could just paint a rainbow flag on top and call it the General Sherman.  He culturally cleansed the South, too.


Heretics are the heroes of the fight for free speech

Free speech in the West is threatened today less by jackbooted censorship than by the conformist culture of You Can’t Say That. Those who break strict speech codes and step outside the narrow bounds of acceptable opinion – such as Tim Hunt, the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist hounded out of his profession for making a daft joke about women in science – can expect not just criticism, but demands that they be silenced. ‘Offensive’ ideas are effectively treated as a secular form of blasphemy, and those who express them as heretics to be gagged and punished rather than debated with.

Yet, as my new book, Trigger Warning, argues, those branded heretics have often been the heroes, whipping boys and cause célèbres in the historic struggle for free speech. The big battles have been about the freedom to dissent from the respectable opinion of the age and question the unquestionable; we might call it the right to be offensive. What changes is what society considers heresy at different stages in history.

Heresy is defined as a belief contrary to orthodox religious opinion; or, in non-religious terms, an opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted. The Ancient Greek origins of the word heresy are revealing. An early Christian leader defined his own views as ‘orthodox’, from the Greek for ‘right belief’. The views of his opponents he branded as heresy – from the Greek for ‘choice of belief’.

The thing that has always got you branded a heretic is making an intellectual choice. Heresy is the desire to choose what you believe in and to dissent from the authoritative dogma of the day. What better case for freedom of speech could there be?

Socrates, the greatest philosopher of Ancient Greece, raised the question of the right to be a heretic. Free speech – or parrhesia as they called it – meant something different to the Ancient Greeks. Athenian democracy was based on the idea of all free male citizens being of equal standing. Free speech represented this equality of merit. It was not supposed to be about freedom from overbearing state power, which is what those who fought for it later in Britain and America wanted.

Yet even in the ‘pure’ democracy of Athens, Socrates was put on trial and put to death at the age of 70 for taking free speech ‘too far’. Socrates questioned everything, often to the discomfort of his fellow citizens, and refused to be bound by Athens’ sacred traditions. He was charged with ‘not believing in the gods that the city believes in’ – heresy. Nor did Socrates believe in restraining his speech in line with the Athenian tradition of Aidos – respect, modesty or shame. He was, literally, shameless, even stripping naked to speak before his accusers to symbolise that everything must be out in the open. And the naked philosopher made clear that if the court voted to spare him, he would continue asking forbidden questions.

The trial and execution of Socrates shows that, even in a society of equals with a commitment to open discussion, many who think they believe absolutely in that principle will recoil when confronted with heretical free speech bare-arsed and red in tooth and claw. So, as one expert study has it, ‘[w]hen Socrates practises parrhesia as the Athenians understood it, the bold affirmation and shameless articulation of what one believes to be true, the Athenians vote to execute him’. How much more horrifying real free speech must seem to the many who claim to support it in our timid society.

Like much else discovered or invented by ancient civilisations from science to sewers, the concept of free speech disappeared in Europe’s Dark Ages before being reinvented once more in the modern world.

Before the modern age in a society such as Britain, the very idea of free speech was considered heretical. In medieval England, matters of state were legitimately to be discussed only by the king and his courtiers, quite possibly in Norman French, and matters of faith were officially to be read and spoken of only by the priesthood, in Latin. Anything else could be deemed treason or heresy, potentially punishable by death.

This week marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215. For establishing the idea that there were limits to the power of the Crown, Magna Carta should rightly be celebrated as creating a prototype for liberty. Yet the historic Magna Carta makes no mention of freedom of speech. That was hardly surprising. Such a concept would have been effectively meaningless for the mass of peasants in the feudal England of 1215, among the most advanced nations of its medieval age.

Free speech, understood as the ability openly to express an opinion, take part in public debate and criticise those in authority, could not take hold in England or Europe until humanity moved history on, the notion of individual rights gained currency and people began to question the absolute power of Crown and Church.

Free speech became the voice of the autonomous individual who only emerged in British and Western society in the age of the Enlightenment. Those in authority did all they could to preserve their public monopoly on the Truth. The first printing press was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1476. English monarchs imposed a system of Crown licensing under which nothing could legally be published except with the permission of the Star Chamber. Any criticism of the Crown or the Church could be branded treason, seditious libel or blasphemy.

In 1637, a Puritan author, William Prynne, had his ears cut off for writing heretical pamphlets attacking the religious policies of King Charles I’s regime; Prynne was also branded on both cheeks with ‘S L’ for seditious libeller. Even in 1663, John Twyn was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London – now Marble Arch – under the recently restored King Charles II, having been found guilty of high treason for printing – not writing – a ‘seditious, poisonous and scandalous book’ justifying the people’s right to rebel against injustice.

Intolerance remained a core value of Western culture until the dawn of modernity. As late as 1691, French Catholic theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet could boast: ‘I have the right to persecute you because I am right and you are wrong.’ No nonsense about everybody being ‘entitled to their opinion’ there. Heretical notions of free speech were not to be tolerated.

Yet it was also in the seventeenth-century age of Enlightenment that the growing belief in the freedom of the individual made free speech both necessary and desirable. It burst out as a burning political issue in the struggles between king, Church and parliament in the run-up to the English Revolution. That fire was to burn across the Atlantic.

Over the past 400 years, religious, political, cultural and sexual heretics have fought for the right to offend against the orthodoxy of the age. In the first wave of the modern free-speech wars in England, those demanding free speech were religious heretics who wished to break from the Church of Rome. The Puritans wanted a Bible printed in their own English language. The punishment for such heresy was for not only the book, but also the printer, to be burned at the stake. William Tyndale printed an English version of the New Testament in Germany in 1526 and smuggled it into England. He was strangled and burned for heresy in 1536. Just three years after he was executed, Henry VIII – having split from Rome and founded the Church of England – gave approval for an English text, the Great Bible, based on Tyndale’s work. Yesterday’s blasphemous heresy had become today’s orthodox belief.

The role of religious heretics in demanding free speech is worth remembering, when religion is often seen purely as a force for repression. Since these religious heretics came up against the censorious power of the central authority, their demands soon melded into a rising political clamour for the freedom of the press.

As the English Civil War broke out between king and parliament, John Milton published his plea for unlicensed printing in 1644, the Areopagitica, asking parliament to ‘Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties’. Milton was equally adamant that those who published blasphemy should be punished after the event. Nor did he wish the liberty to ‘utter and argue freely’ to be extended to devilish papists or non-believers. Tolerance has always been a difficult principle to uphold in practice.

The turmoil of the English Revolution, when the king was overthrown and executed in 1649 and the ‘order of the world’ turned on its head, brought new voices from below into public life for the first time. The radical Levellers movement formulated its own demands for more far-reaching changes in society, not least in relation to freedom of speech and of the press. Leveller John Lilburne called for an end to state licensing of the press: ‘For what may not be done to that people who may not speak or write, but at the pleasure of licensers?’

The English monarchy was restored in 1660, along with a new system of Crown licensing of the printing press. But when the Glorious Revolution replaced the autocratic Catholic King James II with the Protestant William of Orange in 1689, parliament passed a Bill of Rights. This wrote freedom of speech and debate into English law, at least for members of parliament. By 1695, the system of Crown licensing of the press finally ended. The fight for freedom of speech, however, was just beginning.



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


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