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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 12, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 46
Schumm study a sham
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Schumm study a sham

by Wayne Besen - SGN Contributing Writer

I was relaxing on vacation in Nova Scotia with my parents when my father called me over to the computer. He pointed to a shocking article about a new 'study' written by Walter Schumm, a Kansas State University family studies professor, claiming that children of Gay parents were 1.7 to 12.1 times more likely to become Gay as the children of heterosexual parents.

AOL's Paul Kix breathlessly trumpeted the supposedly groundbreaking 'research' as a 'detailed analysis,' while positioning Schumm as a martyr to political correctness.

'Walter Schumm knows what he's about to do is unpopular: publish a study arguing that Gay parents are more likely to raise Gay children than straight parents,' wrote Kix. 'But the Kansas State University family studies professor has a detailed analysis that past almost aggressively ideological researchers never had.'

In truth, Schumm is no brave hero who is pushing the envelope against the establishment. His biased new paper is a disgrace and so shoddy that the terms 'Schumm study' and 'sham study' could be considered interchangeable.

The goal of Schuum's work is political. He is desperately trying to show that homosexuality is a choice that can be overcome. If he and others of his ilk can prove this, they believe that they can make a powerful case to fearful Americans that LGBT people should be kept away from children and that LGBT students should not receive support, because it might influence their sexual orientation.

It is appalling that AOL's Kix was so gullible that he failed to see the hidden agenda of Schumm or do his homework to find out who Schumm was. Or, maybe his own sympathies are with the anti-Gay researcher and opportunistically exploited this paper as a way to further anti-Gay lies on a major website?

Once upon a time, when there were journalistic standards, Kix would have been fired for media malpractice. However, instead of the unemployment line, hacks like Kix now get headlines on major online services. It is an indictment of the modern media that this story ever saw the light of day, given the tragic and fatal flaws of this so-called 'study'.

When analyzing Schumm's bogus conclusions, it is critical that people understand that he did not actually produce one shred of genuine research. He simply commented on the academic work of others, inserting his personal prejudices. So, calling this charlatan's slanted critique a 'study' is like confusing a film critic's movie review with the actual production of a movie.

The study itself is betrayed by common sense and reality. If being around Gay parents makes a child Gay, then how does Schumm explain the inconvenient fact that the vast majority of LGBT adults had heterosexual parents?

Of course, once one starts looking at the actual paper, all of this quickly becomes academic, because the research techniques are so unprofessional that they immediately invalidate the conclusions. The fatal weakness is that Schumm does not draw his samples from other scientific studies. But instead finds them by perusing a random collection of unscientific literary books on Gay parenting. This is the kind of 'science' that one can do on an off day at Barnes & Noble.

Indeed, the author of one book cited by Schumm, Abigail Garner, purposely selected half of the children featured in her book to be the Gay children of Gay parents. Yet Schumm idiotically used this deliberately skewed sample to show that Gay parents are more likely to produce Gay children.

'To run statistics on this non-statistical (or anti-statistical) sample would be like judging the ratio of giraffes to chimpanzees in Africa by comparing the populations selected by the zookeepers at your local zoo,' wrote Box Turtle Bulletin Editor Jim Burroway, who carefully debunked the study.

Not surprisingly, Schumm is tied to Paul Cameron whose anti-Gay junk science had him expelled from the Nebraska Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. Cameron's disdain for LGBT people ran so deep that he wanted to brand HIV-positive people and exterminate homosexuals.

Yet, knowing his disreputable background, Schumm still elected to be on Cameron's editorial board when he launched his ill-fated online publication, Empirical Journal of Same Sexual Behavior (EJSSB). Schumm also testified in a Florida Gay adoption court case alongside Dr. George Rekers, who was recently caught with a male escort he met on RentBoy.com.

The larger question is what disciplinary action does Kansas State University plan to take against Schumm, considering the unethical and dishonorable nature of his shoddy work? His unscientific screed is an academic embarrassment and blight on the reputation of this university.

Unfortunately, no matter what happens, it is too late. An AOL hack teamed up with an anti-Gay quack and the damage is done. In light of the recent Gay teen suicides, one would hope that more care would be taken before irresponsible and inaccurate studies are reported and celebrated in the mainstream media.

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