Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just Because You Claim It...

...doesn't make it true.

Apparently the bible-beater crowd thinks that having a PhD makes everything you say correct. In this case, the topic du jour is about gay couples raising children.

The arguments are more or less the usual screed - children need married parents of opposite gender, and children who are raised in same sex households don't get that.

All else being equal, children do best when raised by a married mother and father.
...
First, mother-love and father-love—though equally important—are qualitatively different and produce distinct parent-child attachments.
...
Secondly, children progress through predictable and necessary developmental stages. Some stages require more from a mother, while others require more from a father.
...
Third, boys and girls need an opposite-sexed parent to help them moderate their own gender-linked inclinations.
...
Fourth, same-sex marriage will increase sexual confusion and sexual experimentation by young people.
...
And fifth, if society permits same-sex marriage, it also will have to allow other types of marriage.
...


I'm going to make a couple of opening points here:

First, this is entirely argument by assertion. There isn't a single place where Dr. Hansen actually cites corroborating peer reviewed literature to back up her claims.

Second, she is basically doing little more than raising the usual collection of half-baked ideas that the religious right throws around.

Her first point - which hinges primarily on the reality that men and women tend to socialize with children somewhat differently. While I generally agree that there is a 'naturalness' to this, I do not accept the blind supposition that it is "necessary" for the children. There is evidence that speaks quite to the contrary. Additionally, the APA's basic commentary on gay parenting does not suggest the "socialization" problems that Hansen suggest in points 1 - 3.

Point number four is pure assertion. The claim that a child's sexual orientation - or experimenting is influenced by a parent's sexual orientation is simply an assertion with no evidence to support it.

The last claim - namely that allowing gay marriage will open up the gateway to all sorts of other things is a classic slippery slope argument that fails to examine the differences between gay/lesbian couples who marry and the social context in which (for example, polygamy) exist. To associate one with the other is simply intellectual hackery and fundamentally dishonest.

Additionally, the entire argument rests on some pretty amazing gender stereotypes that just don't hold much water in real life.

In short, even though the author of the article possesses a PhD in a relevant discipline, it's quite clear that she hasn't even done the basic research to substantiate her claims. (of course, when a mere few minutes with Google turns up significant - and impartial - evidence that contradicts her argument, one might imagine that finding corroborating evidence would involve borrowing from Paul Cameron or other researchers who are regarded in a similar light.

[Update 18/10/07]
Over at "The Blend", Pam has posted a well written letter on the matter she received from another psychologist.
[/Update]

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I suppose that the next thing these dingbats will claim is that children of single mothers (or single fathers) must be taken away, and placed in good, two-parent (opposite-sex) Christian homes, for the good of the children... so they can grow up well adjusted like Senator Larry Craig......

BC WaterBoy said...

The arguments in regards to using the children canard for marriage equality fall apart immediately when one considers the fact that gay couples will have families with or without a marriage licence. Stopping marriage equality will not stop gay couples from having and raising families. This particular opponent also ignores the obvious fact that the majority of gays and lesbians are raised by heterosexuals. Using her logic, being raised by heterosexuals increases one's chances of being gay. Where do these people think we come from, thin air?