Saturday, March 16, 2013

More fact trouble

Facts continue to cause trouble for our rightwing friends. I decided to post about a new incident because I think it’s indicative of how wingnuts work.

But first, to set the stage, here are the Tweets with New Zealand's leading rightwing opponent of marriage equality that partly led to my post last night:
Rightwinger: “More problems with Wall’s study on gay parenting: We referred previously to a study quoted by Labour MP Louisa [Wall, sponsor of the marriage equality bill; this was autoposted by Networked Blogs and was truncated]

Me: I said that the rightwinger’s “ONLY anti-gay study doesn't say what he claims. In fact, NO study does.” I included a link to the American Sociological Association press release on their amicus brief.

RW: “tell your mate Paul Amato - whoops!”

Me: “The ‘whoops’ is yours, actually. If you'd actually read Amato's review, you'd know he found significant problems with Regnerus.” Okay, a little snide, but that’s as negative as I got.

RW: “but still says its the best so far. BIG whoops”

Me: “Sorry, no, it doesn't. Not at all. And you DID know that Amato was a paid consultant for the Regnerus study, right?”
This Twitter exchange is what led to last night’s post, partly because I wanted to flesh out why Amato’s actual paper didn’t support the rightwinger’s claims about it. Then, after I posted, it, a new exchange began when the rightwinger responded to a Tweet in which I said Amato’s paper “is about statistical methodology, NOT results. Anyone who READ Amato would know that.” This was no more negative than what I said in the exchange before last night’s post.

The exchange continued:

RW: “statistical methodology - something lacking in all the pro-gay studies. Thanks”

Me: “The American Sociological Association doesn't agree with you. Quite the opposite—they say your side is wrong.” I was referring—as I had in previous Tweets—to the ASA’s amicus brief in the “Prop 8” marriage equality case before the Supreme Court. The brief looked exhaustively at the parenting studies that had been done and concluded, as ASA President Cecilia Ridgeway said in their press release:
“The results of our review are clear. There is no evidence that children with parents in stable same-sex or opposite-sex relationships differ in terms of well-being. Indeed, the greater stability offered by marriage for same-sex as well as opposite-sex parents may be an asset for child well-being.”
After I’d shown why Amato didn’t support the rightwinger’s claims about him, he Tweeted: “you should read his last paragraph. He actually says whatever the research outcome, rights are more important. Sad” I actually quoted from that last paragraph in my post, so I knew what it said, and the rightwinger was blatantly misrepresenting Amato—again! This time, it was to attack Amato who NEVER said or implied that “rights are more important”. What he said is that social science research shouldn’t be used as a justification for denying people’s rights.

The rightwinger then Tweeted, “check out Loren marks - slam dunk”. I admit, at the time I had no idea who Loren Marks was, so, once again, I did some research.

It turns out that Marks had been expected to testify in the Prop 8 trial in California that the ideal family structure is for children to be raised by two married “biological” parents. Marks said meant the genetic parents. Further:
“Marks admitted that he only read parts of the studies he relied upon in making his conclusion. It was then pointed out that those studies actually defined ‘biological’ parents in a way that included adoptive parents — not just genetic parents. Marks then stated that the word ‘biological’ should be deleted from the report he prepared for this case, and also admitted he considered no research on gay and lesbian parents, effectively revealing his research as fatally flawed.” [emphasis added]
The anti-gay side in the case dropped Marks as an expert witness.

A paper by Marks’ was then published in the journal Social Science Research in the SAME issue as the Regnerus study. The thing is, Marks quoted the Regnerus study which is evidence of deliberate coordination of their efforts. We now know they were part of what was actually a political campaign by the USA’s leading anti-marriage equality group to influence the US Supreme Court.

Marks’ paper purports to find that all studies saying that same-gender parents are as good as opposite-gender parents are unreliable. Experts strongly disagree with him. But Marks also lied about the American Psychological Association’s 2005 review of academic literature on the subject. Marks claimed there WAS a credible anti-gay study and the APA ignored it. In fact, the APA discussed the study and why its validity was dismissed due to bias and errors.

So, we have the rightwinger criticising a pro-gay study by touting a discredited anti-gay paper, he used an out-of-context quote to falsely imply support for that discredited study, then, when caught out, alleges a conservative academic’s politically-motivated paper was evidence of how he’s not actually wrong. Even though he is.

And then tonight he Tweeted to me, “you know even less that you make out you know – hilarious”. Nice guy! So, I pointed out to him, “making personal attacks on me doesn't change the simple fact: You're dead wrong on Regnerus & on quality of gay parenting.”

To bring it full circle, he Tweeted to me in response, “don't be so precious. The only people to attack Regnerus are those who don't like the result. Even Amato admits that” This is, of course, utter nonsense—Amato never “admitted” anything of the kind! Did he even read the paper? I seriously doubt it.

I wasn’t kind in my Twitter replies: “Come now… aren't you Christians supposed to be better than this? You attack ME because you can't stand the truth?!” Followed by “Sorry… but you're deliberately misleading people about what Amato said. That means you're lying = bearing false witness.” And finally, “Regnerus is a fraud and scam—everyone knows it. Best you ignore it! I hope you don't—the better for us! Helps us win!” I think it’s important that I disclose what I said so people can decide for themselves if I went too far: Clearly I think I did not.

He is dead wrong. No amount of politically motivate spin, no deceptive and selective quoting, no implying that something actually means the opposite—no lies, in other words—can change the fact that he’s wrong. He knows—or should know—that he’s peddling utter nonsense. I’m not the only one who knows that, nor the only one who can check and easily debunk each of his nonsense claims.

Thanks to my ability to research his outrageous distortions and silly claims, I actually know quite a lot about the truth behind his claims: I know the facts that he’s trying to distort and the truth he’s trying to hide. His desperate attempts to shift attention from his politically-motivated deception is what’s truly hilarious. No, actually, that’s just sad. What will be hilarious is once he’s lost the battle, as he’s about to.

And that’s a fact.


Roger Green said...

Here's a difference between you and me: I would not have had the energy for the back-and-forth you engaged in. Good for you, but I'm exhausted just READING about it.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

The exchanges were all pretty brief—explaining the rightwinger's deception took far more time. The reason I bothered with it at all, and shared it here, is that it's typical of the tactics the right uses all the time: Present false or distorted information to make an argument, then when exposed, to deflect the correction by attacking the person pointing out the deception, along with bringing up new distortions and/or falsehoods before returning again to reassert the debunked deception.

I think it's important for people to know the extent of rightwing chicanery, and that nothing they say can be trusted to be true or taken at face value.

On the other hand, I've seen very little among New Zealand's rightwingers antics that's even almost as bad as some of their American colleagues behaviour can be. That's something, I guess.