More problems with Wall’s study on gay parenting

We referred previously to a study quoted by Labour MP Louisa Wall on TVNZ’s Q&A – read our critique ‘The problem with Louisa Wall’s study on gay parenting’

We’ve found more information about the study – and of course the problem (as with virtually all the pro-gay parenting studies so far) is SELECTION BIAS

Here is what it says about how they recruited their sample:

“One hundred and thirty families (41 gay fathers, 40 lesbian mothers and 49 heterosexual parents) were primarily recruited through local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies, while some same-sex couples were recruited through gay and lesbian parenting groups…The final sample was recruited through 71 local authorities and adoption agencies; all involved English, Welsh and Scottish based adoptions from care”.

It also says this:

“Due to the large number of adoption agencies involved in the recruitment procedure, it was not possible to calculate accurate response rates. However, for those who kept systematic records, a participation rate of 71 per cent was recorded. Currently there are no comprehensive data available on the gay and lesbian population; thus working out the representativeness of the sample is problematic. However, national statistics show that approximately 60 children are adopted by gay couples and 60 by lesbian couples in the United Kingdom each year. Given that these figures apply to children of all ages, our sample of 41 gay and 40 lesbian families with children aged four to eight years appear broadly representative of the currently small population of same-sex adopters.”

As an expert shared with me, If the study sampled only college graduate MBA lesbians making more than $100,000 each, who hire nannies, and compared those to single mothers on drugs,* what does the study say? Nothing about comparisons in the general population. How can it? Yes, this means the study designers are lying (because they know better). Selecting in certain types of population allows the surveyor to get any answer he wants. Thus, not being very careful about sample selection leads generally (I would say: “at best”) to confused results. That he proves he has representative population samples, by the way, is the chief advantage of the Regnerus study over all others. It is why it will stay “king” for some time.

This is why sociology professor Paul Amato, chair of the Family section of the American Sociological Association and president of the National Council on Family Relations, (no friend of Regnerus!) wrote

“The Regnerus study is better situated than virtually all previous studies to detect differences between these groups in the population”

If the Regnerus study is to be thrown out, then practically everything else in the field of same-sex parenting has to go with it.

Slam Dunk!

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