Further thoughts on Regnerus and his study

Re: Regnerus

Earlier today I wrote that “Regnerus’s controversial study is, first and foremost, a piece of data in the sociology of knowledge” and asserted that his sociology was effectively shown to be “for hire.” Specifically, I identified ‘money’ as an influence shaping Regnerus’s study. I stand by it all, but, truth is, (a) as I pointed out, much of sociology, including my own, is in fact for hire; and (b) the sociology of knowledge consists of far more than the study of the influence of money. And, as I tried to make clear, money is not necessarily a nefarious influence. No research is pure; the reasons for impurity are numerous. For some the visceral distrust of money — thinking money is somehow evil — is the basis of bias. The worst of the Occupy movement takes this stance: if it has to do with the making of money, it must be wrong! Objective research does not come from such certainty.

It is possible Regnerus is most influenced by values: a well-minded idea in his head that young children are truly impaired by same-sex parents. Possibly this intuitive opinion drives Regnerus’s research, not the money, and therefore perhaps Regnerus’s conclusions are altruistic, or at least as altrustic as research can come. I don’t know. I do know I don’t come to destroy Regnerus, whose pressures mirror the pressures of all researchers. I think he’s a legit sociologist, and I hope he uses the backlash against his study to offer a semblance of a self-critique; for, objectively speaking, his critics are more right than his sham of a study is. Claim temporary incompetence, admit the errors, get better. That’s what I hope he does. But who does that? Much less myself. Good researchers, that’s who.

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