Does it really take a degree in a scientific field to discuss scientific studies with an iota of credulity? To ask basic questions instead assuming that the guy with a big white beard and a "Dr." in front of his name is being totally honest before writing headlines like the one below?
When I saw that, of course I clicked. Finally, I thought, someone found a way to simultaneously make the world more pleasant, increase the odds gay people have of finding partners, and humanely deal with overpopulation in one move. But as much as I'd love for that article to be true, the researcher in question is a doofus whose research methods are so ridiculous they should only be used in an SNL sketch.
Walter Schumm is the social scientist in question, hired by Florida AG Bill McCollum in the same trial where he hired George Rekers as an expert witness. Walter Schumm, who's research methods should warn anyone that he doesn't know what he's talking about, promises that he "just want[s] to know the truth about something" and is worried that his deep, profound research will be "slanted" for either side. Since he said he isn't biased, that clearly means that he isn't. As Paul Kix at AOL News was probably thinking: how can a decent, truth-seeking scientist make it in this terribly politicized world that only wants to use his research to make their own selfish points? "It's kind of sad," Schumm tells AOL News, that other scientists can't be as profound, rigorous, and objective as he is.
But one doesn't even have to look further than Kix's article to see that Schumm's research isn't even scientifesque. Here's the first part of his study:
His study is a meta-analysis of existing work. First, Schumm extrapolated data from 10 books on gay parenting; Cameron, for what it's worth, had only looked at three, and offered no statistical analysis in his paper. Schumm skewed his data so that only self-identified gay and lesbian children would be labeled as such.[...]
Schumm concluded that children of lesbian parents identified themselves as gay 31 percent of the time; children of gay men had gay children 19 percent of the time, and children of a lesbian mother and gay father had at least one gay child 25 percent of the time.
That's right. The books he was reading to examine the issue were personal memoirs-type books where people talk about their kids. His sample is definitely not representative and is entirely self-selected in a way that would make even hard-core propagandists cringe. How does he get any work done at Kansas State University over that terrible noise of laughter directed at him from those in his profession who actually care about the quality of their work?
Since Kix isn't someone who cares about the quality of Schumm's work, he tells us that he read ten books. Can you imagine reading ten books? That's, like, as much work as reading one book, but then you have to do it nine times more. And reading a book is not like reading Twitter because sometimes they use words you don't know and chapters are longer than 140 characters. Clearly this man is a real intellectual since he read ten whole books (or maybe he scanned them, but can you blame him? Books are hard).
Schumm next went macro, poring over an anthropological study of various cultures' acceptance of homosexuality. He found that when communities welcome gays and lesbians, "89 percent feature higher rates of homosexual behavior."
So his study showed that places that are nice to gay people tend to attracted gay people and discussed gay sex more? He really needed to "pore" over anthropological studies to find that out?
The last part of his "study" is left vague:
Finally, Schumm looked at the existing academic studies, the ones used to pillory Cameron's work. In all there are 26 such studies. Schumm ran the numbers from them and concluded that, surprisingly, 20 percent of the kids of gay parents were gay themselves. When children only 17 or older were included in the analysis, 28 percent were gay.
So... were these studies credible? What were their methods? Or, since they're labeled "studies," Paul Kix doesn't much care since understanding them would be too hard?
I'm guessing that these studies were pretty much as rigorous as Walter "I read ten books!" Schumm's, considering how little he and Kix seem to understand proper scientific methodology.
But the best part of the AOL News article is when Schumm gets to explain his "surprising" results:
Schumm says he guarded against that by seeking out so many different works. And across all his data -- the 10 books he consulted, the anthropological study, the scientific articles -- he noticed how lesbians begat more lesbians. In Schumm's study, he quotes from the extant literature the stories of young women, describing how being gay was never frowned upon in their household, and so that "option" was available to them. That said, Schumm also finds evidence of gay mothers pushing their daughters, upset over a relationship with a man, to "try out women."
Ahhh! Lesbians force their daughters to munch carpet! And straight parents never, ever encourage their lesbian daughters to "try men out."
But couldn't gay men also tell their sons this? Yes, but Schumm tells AOL News that most gay men have at some point been with a woman, so they understand why their sons might date them. Whereas the literature shows some lesbians "have a hatred of men that's intense," Schumm says.
I really don't have anything to add to that because it's so sexist and homophobic (and ridiculous - gay men have sex with women at a much higher rate than lesbian women with men? Kinda doubt it) that I'm just surprised that nothing clicked for Paul Kix or whoever edits those articles at AOL News.
For Schumm himself, it makes sense: women become lesbians because they hate men so they never had sex with men, while men become gay because they're so horny and sinful that they'll have sex with anything. When read with a certain amount of crazy, his explanation makes sense.
But Walter Schumm is still taken seriously both in court and in newspaper articles, making bank for making stuff up. It's a nice little deal he worked out for himself there, and I'm sure it's paid for plenty of vacations to Europe and fancy cars and a nice house and a farm in New York. All based on work that was described in the Gill trial by Susan D. Cochran, professor of epidemiology and statistics at UCLA, as cooked:
"This is taught in first-year statistics," Cochran testified. "I was surprised he would do that."
Fortunately for Schumm, neither journalists nor attorney generals have to take first-year statistics.