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Social Science Corrupted by Politics

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  • Social Science Corrupted by Politics

    I have stood firmly in this forum for many many years on the position that the healthiest lifestyle for raising the healthiest children are families with a mother and father. Anything less, is a lot less. There used to be a lot of data to support that claim, but recent studies attempt to suggest otherwise. My life experiences and observations are counter to these new studies and this article, to me, explains why. Now I am fully aware of those on this forum whose opinions are fuel by politcal bias and have little ability to approach any subject fairly. Still, I think this is a pretty good article that explains the present pop culture of social science. The article is centered around homosexuality, but in my case I think any family without a mother and father is at a disadvantage, not just families with gay parents. However, homosexuality is the pop culture thing right now, so the subject seems to center most studies. But it is an interesting read: http://www.american.com/archive/2013...-gay-parenting

  • #2
    Once, I had to ask one of my first-authors to strike about three paragraphs from our manuscript because it did little to frame our results and merely revealed his biases. He gladly obliged. I'm sure other statisticians do not have such accommodating authors. Bias in articles (and their rejoinder to them) is nothing new.

    Regarding the original article (Social Science Research Volume 41, Issue 4, July 2012, Pages 752–770), I gave it a quick glance, and the paper's statistics does open itself up to vulnerabilities. I could bore us with the math, but suffice it to say that the study is set up to generate large numbers of differences with no consideration as to if these differences are independent or large enough to be meaningful in a practical sense. On that account alone, it will draw fire from researchers who are more rigorous in publishing from similar (possibly even the same) data sets and come up with less striking results.

    Comment


    • #3
      Having extensively studied the social dynamics of "family" over the years, the article tends to support the scientific studies over the past years rather than a pop culture attempt to dissuade people otherwise for whatever reason. The traditional studies all support a balance between male/female traits and how important they are on child development. Girls interacting with their fathers will understand and have experienced what is important for a future male mate. Boys also watching their dads will learn how to effectively interact with a female spouse. Girls interacting with mothers will learn how to be mothers themselves while boys interacting with their mothers will learn that "When Mom is not happy, nobody's happy!" And what happens when the surrounding culture says otherwise? Girls you need to grow up and have careers and forget about having children of your own. If you do, someone else will have to raise them, probably some sort of institutional daycare processes rather than the traditional family home. Kinda hard for a child at age 5 to sort all that out for him/herself. Or worse yet, the woman who is stigmatized for staying home and raising a traditional family. Of course we all know she doesn't really work!

      These interaction dynamics are vital for all developing children. This has been until recently an accepted scientific tenet. So once we alter these dynamics, further scientific studies will need to be done to effectively show what these alterations produce.

      Now we as Scouters need to be sensitive to how this all works. Single moms come to BSA looking for a male influence on their child that they aren't getting from a non-participating father. .... And we provide female leaders. How does that work out? Differently than male leaders?

      Add to that whole process a child that has a step-parent? Are the dynamics different? What about conflicting loyalties the child must deal with in that whole scenario?

      These social changes have been profound over the past 50 years and there seems to be an ever increasing discomfort that goes along with it. Political agenda are necessary to justify these changes in an attempt to alleviate some of this discomfort, but it's going to take a long time to sort out the effects of such social changes.

      The traditional "definition" of family has changed, but so has community and a whole list of other changing social dynamics that individuals need to sort out for themselves and can no longer rely on the tried and true principles of the past 10,000 years of community/tribal/family dynamics.

      Stosh

      Comment


      • #4
        Getting the discussion back on track, I agree with you point that social changes bring discomfort and poltical agendas are necessary to alleviate the discomfort. But politics is about grabbing power and that takes dollars. Ironically the gay activist didn' t have the money to buy the poltical power until funding came for AIDS cure research.

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        • #5
          Maybe a child raised in a loving home with mother & Father is the best.. But, I can tell you from personal experience that a child raised in a home with a mother & father who no longer love each other, or where one or both parents are abusive is worse then being raised in a home with a single mother (or single father).. And I would imagine many children who are being raised by a homosexual couple will tell you that it is far more preferable then being an unwanted child who is simply "in the system".. Are you also advocating that if a parent dies, the child should be ripped away from the surviving parent in order to be placed in a family with a mother & Father??

          Life is what it is.. You can not conform it to fit into your definition of what is politically correct.

          Although my sisters and I had some emotional adjustments over being of a divorced home in the '60's when it was a bad stigma to carry.. All of us believe looking back it was much better for us then our parents staying together for the sake of the kids.. I also feel the adjustment was made far harder for us than need be by the teachers, ministers and neighbors who wrote us off as not being able to amount to much due to being from a divorced family.. Thank goodness we had a very strong mother who protected us where she could, and taught us to rise above the negativity of the small minded, and prove them wrong.

          Comment


          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            Any social support group is necessary for a person's development. I go with the natural mom and pop as the best. Barring that as not possible, individuals will find alternatives, self-selected mentors, other family members, gangs, etc. Yet as you point out, Moose, none of these are infallible either. Some are better than others and some are very detrimental at best.

            I think that a few are privileged to have a good mom/pop option, but most people have to settle for some of the grey areas in between. All options must be weighed as one evaluates each situation. Is a great mom coupled with an alcoholic dad better or worse than a great mom with an absent dad?

            Generally speaking a decent mom/pop combo seems to fit the bill the best and I think that is what Eagledad was getting at. I tend to agree with him, but on the other hand the orphan really struggles, but will hopefully get through it.

            How others in society react to these situations is critical as well as you point out. In Scouts, being sensitive to this is a great asset for any adult that works with kids. Holding a Lad and Dad event really brings a negative focus on the single mom struggling to keep her boy in scouts. Worse yet, the alcoholic, absent dad shows up with the boy. Now his problem becomes yours.

            Stosh

          • packsaddle
            packsaddle commented
            Editing a comment
            Moose, I have observed first hand the truth of what you said. The harm that was done to those children has lasted their entire lifetimes. They have confided to me, all of them, that it would have been better for their parents to split. This, merely from an unhappy marriage and mental abuse. I also know personally instances where it was far worse. Those children committed suicide. The looks on their faces just weeks before their deaths...haunting looks.
            How does the song go? "All you need is love...."

          • AZMike
            AZMike commented
            Editing a comment
            I'd agree that it may be better for parents to split up if there is abuse (physical, verbal, emotional) in the house. The demographic stats in countries which have a longer history of same-sex marriages show that relationships between cohabiting homosexuals (married or not) are inherently more unstable than heterosexual couples (married or not).

            A study that looked at legally registered same-sex couples in Scandinavia, published in the academic journal Demography, found that even though same-sex couples enter their legal unions at older ages—a marker related to greater relational stability—male same-sex marriages break up at twice the rate of heterosexual marriages.

            And the break-up rate for lesbians? It is a stunning 77 percent higher than that of same-sex male unions. When controlling for possible confounding factors, the “risk of divorce for female partnerships actually is more than twice that for male unions.” (http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.230...21103248112033)

            Marriage of same sex couples seems to increase the risk of instability, A British study of two generations of British couples (one born in 1958, the other 1970) in same-sex cohabiting, opposite-sex cohabiting, and heterosexual marriage relationships found the same-sex relationships are dramatically more likely to break up than the opposite-sex cohabiting and married relationships. The probabilities of the various relationships surviving to the four- and eight-year anniversaries are dramatic. After four years, 88 percent of married opposite sex couples are together, 67 percent of opposite-sex cohabiting couples, and only 37 percent of same-sex cohabitors. After eight years, those numbers fall to 82 percent, 60 percent, and 25 percent, respectively. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...000.x/abstract

            A study by the very LGBT-friendly National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) , found “a significant difference” in family dissolution rates when comparing lesbian with mother–father headed families, 56 percent and 36 percent respectively. (http://www.nllfs.org/images/uploads/...ality-2010.pdf)

            So, being raised in a household where the caregivers are homosexual increases the likelihood that the child would experience greater instability, relocation, changes of schools, etc, and be exposed to greater repeated trauma from parental conflict. This would give support to preferentially assigning custody to the parent who is not homosexual, if this is not an adoptive situation, or to preferentially awarding adoption to a heterosexual couple, if possible.

        • #6
          I would encourage anyone interested in the topic (science and politics) to read physicist/historian Thomas Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions".
          It's a philosophy of science which explains how science works within paradigms, and how paradigms change (it's the book that established the concept of a paradigm as we use it now). It deals more with sciences that we think of with the word "science" (physics, chemistry, biology, etc) than with social sciences in large part because social sciences have yet to actually coalesce around paradigms, but its explanation of how scientists come to accept the paradigm that guides their work applies to any scientist. And the bottom line is that scientists are people like anyone else, and as such, they will accept or reject a paradigm as much due to their own political or religious beliefs, or professional interests, or money, or other influences as any other person. For example, the chemist who first isolated oxygen went to his grave denying that oxygen is oxygen, and not "dephlogisticated air"--his entire life's work depended on phlogiston theory chemistry.

          Comment


          • packsaddle
            packsaddle commented
            Editing a comment
            It didn't 'establish' the concept but it did bring the term into more popular use. We don't reject or accept paradigms in the same sense that we reject or accept hypotheses. The so-called 'social sciences' suffer from their association with pseudo-science (I'm being generous here). However, as fields like neurochemistry and genetics have influenced and interacted with the social sciences, the social sciences, some of them, have 'hardened' some and that's a good thing.
            Ahhh, phlogiston. I love befuddling my students with this old concept. It is diabolically difficult to refute and I just love to see them squirm.

        • #7
          Love this one. It is on my screensaver.

          Comment


          • packsaddle
            packsaddle commented
            Editing a comment
            Heh, heh, the engineer is off the screen to the right...actually solving a real problem.

        • #8
          The joy of science is in the assumption of "all other things being equal." They never are. There are so many variables out there, and we are still just starting to get a feel for them. My wife works with some behavioral genetics datasets for her research - mainly to eliminate genetics from the question (a couple of her datasets focus on twins raised apart for example). We know that genetics has an impact, but that environment can influence genetic triggers. Socio-economic scale is very important, and can be more important than family structure.

          Ward and June might be the perfect scenario, but they are also made up. My Grandparents had years of happy marriage, but my father was raised by his mother - grandpa was off at WWII, Korea and then Vietnam.

          The questions asked by social science research can certainly be impacted by a bias, but by the time you get through the IRB and get peer reviewed and THEN see who else cites - it gets pretty clean. Or as clean as anything else can get.

          Comment


          • packsaddle
            packsaddle commented
            Editing a comment
            Anyone who names their son 'Beaver Cleaver' is not exactly a perfect scenario. Clueless, maybe....
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