Thursday, August 30, 2012

University of Texas Ends Witch Hunt

The University of Texas at Austin announced Wednesday that it has it has closed an inquiry into allegations of scientific misconduct against one of its faculty members, Mark Regnerus, over a paper he wrote that found children are generally better off if they have a married mother and father. The paper, which appeared in the journal Social Science Research, has been highly controversial. Many scholars have said that his sampling techniques resulted in a pool of research subjects that resulted in unfairly negative assessments about the children of same-sex couples -- and one writer on the issue filed a complaint of scholarly misconduct. Critics of same-sex marriage have showered praise on the study.
Without addressing the issue of whether the research is right or wrong (remember, reported research results have a high probability of being wrong, no matter what they are), it is a bad idea to take your disagreement with conclusions of a study as evidence from malfeasance, and call for an education/legal intervention. Apparently, UTEX came to the same conclusion:
A memo released by the university outlined the reasons for dropping the matter: "Whether the research ... possessed significant limitations or was even perhaps seriously flawed is a determination that should be left to debates that are currently underway in the academy and future research that validates or invalidates his findings.
 As noted by Insty, one problem with that approach is that two can play the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment