Friday, December 15, 2006

Carol Gilligan Slams James Dobson for Distorting Her Research

Apparently James Dobson has written a smear piece in Time Magazine on Mary Cheney's pregnancy, entitled "Two Mommies Is One Too Many." To support his specious argument, he draws on Carol Gillgian's research, twisting it to mean that women would only supply one aspect of nurturing or parental guidance. Essentially, he is making the biological essentialist argument, whereby women are nurturers and men are principled, rule-bound followers. This is not Gilligan's argument, i.e. she is not a biological essentialist.

Luckily, Gilligan fired back at Dobson:

Dear Dr. Dobson:

I am writing to ask that you cease and desist from quoting my research in the future. I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine. Not only did you take my research out of context, you did so without my knowledge to support discriminatory goals that I do not agree with. What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work.

From what I understand, this is not the first time you have manipulated research in pursuit of your goals. This practice is not in the best interest of scientific inquiry, nor does bearing false witness serve your purpose of furthering morality and strengthening the family.

Finally, there is nothing in my research that would lead you to draw the stated conclusions you did in the Time article. My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can’t raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households.

I trust that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family.

Sincerely,Carol Gilligan, PhDNew York University, Professor

If that wasn't enough, Kyle Pruett, the other researcher that supposedly supported his view wrote in to say this:

Dr. Dobson, I was startled and disappointed to see my work referenced in the current Time Magazine piece in which you opined that social science, such as mine, supports your convictions opposing lesbian and gay parenthood. I write now to insist that you not quote from my research in your media campaigns, personal or corporate, without previously securing my permission. You cherry-picked a phrase to shore up highly (in my view) discriminatory purposes. This practice is condemned in real science, common though it may be in pseudo-science circles. There is nothing in my longitudinal research or any of my writings to support such conclusions. On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece, I wrote, “What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex.” Kyle Pruett, M.D. Yale School of Medicine

What irks me the most about Time magazine printing Dobson's piece is that many Americans won't get a chance to see the researchers refuting his psuedo-scientific arguments and negligence of their work. All they will remember is that reserach shows that gay parents are bad for kids. I wish I could say that a smart person would ignore this, but since I just received a paper written by one of my best students on why Evolution is fundamentally flawed, and she used sources that she found in the library written by Intelligent Design people, I have to say that when these lies make it into press they begin to do their evil work.

P.S. Truth Wins Out is encouraging all of you to write to Time Magazine and complain about Dobson's piece.

Here is the address:

Time Magazine