July 31, 2010

A Quick Chip to Patterico...

Hatched by Dafydd

In a post today, my old blog-boss Patterico argued the inarguable and obvious point that children raised without fathers were more likely to suffer a number of significant drawbacks in life than children raised in an intact home with a mother and father. Patterico writes:

Here is a generalization for you: when I see violent criminals in court, they tend to be fatherless. When government welfare policies encourage fatherless households, they encourage crime and violence. And when anyone -- unmarried women or anyone else -- votes for expanding the welfare state, they are voting for a continuation of this depressing and dangerous cycle.

Patterico is spot on; I couldn't have said it better. And I'll give you another generalization that is equally true: Children raised without fathers tend to have a difficult time being fathers -- and a difficult time being firm without being cruel, being assertive without being aggressive, and balancing immediate desire with long-term planning.

And children raised without mothers tend to have a hard time empathizing with others, dealing with women, sharing and caring, and showing real love and affection. So it's a terrible shame when government policy encourages marriages that shun either fathers or mothers.

Alas, Patterico seems not to have thought this last point through to its logical conclusion... for there is another issue besides crime and welfare that is driven by the Left's desire to sever the sacred bond between male and female in American and Western society; and last time we talked about it, he was all for the radical and progressive transformation being shoved down our throats.

If you're still not sure what issue I'm talking about -- just check the category listed at the top of this post, just underneath the post title.

To quote the immortal Stan Lee (still truckin' on at 87), "'Nuff said."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 31, 2010, at the time of 11:59 PM

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The following hissed in response by: MikeR

"the inarguable and obvious point that children raised without fathers were more likely to suffer a number of significant drawbacks in life than children raised in an intact home with a mother and father". It certainly is obvious, at least to me. However, I think that exactly the opposite is the common wisdom among liberals: Single mothers or lesbian or gay couples do just fine raising kids under comparable circumstances. It would be good to provide some clear statistics or a study or two, if available. I at least would like to have that knowledge in a clear form.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2010 8:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


The difficulty in getting good statistics on the effects of same-sex marriage (SSM) on children is that most of the sociology and psychology organizations, along with the more general scientific organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Medicine, are very politically liberal organizations. Consequently, it's very difficult for scientists studying this field to obtain research grants unless they take the line that same-sex marriages are "just as good" for children as opposite-sex marriages (OSMs).

Find the opposite, and you will generally find your funding abruptly terminated. Sad to say, this skews the science.

Nevertheless, it's important to read pro-SSM studies, because you're going to have to counter their claims. The point to note is this: Nearly all pro-SSM studies are based entirely on the self-reports of teachers, counselors, and lesbian mothers. Virtually no consideration is given in these studies to objective evidence from:

  • Academic performance
  • Graduation rates
  • Higher-education acceptance rates
  • Economic success
  • Standardized testing of socialization, psychological adjustment, and emotional maturity
  • Subsequent marriage and childrearing by adult children raised by SSM couples
  • Crime statistics
  • Suicide rates
  • Medical records
  • Actuarial reports on lifespan

There is a reason for this: Most such objective reports on children from fatherless or motherless households show serious and detrimental consequences compared to children from intact, OSM families.

In argument, SSM proponents note that most of those studies are of single-parent households; but there have been some of SSM couples that show similar correlations as with one-parent households; and I'm not aware of any study that has shown, by objective measurement, that children from two-lesbian families or two-gay-male families are are well off as children from traditional, intact families.

(You should also read the anti-SSM studies carefully; as with all research, sometimes agenda can take over and leave real science behind! You need to read with an eye towards holes that can be picked at by proponents of SSM.)

Good sources of collected research are "fathers" organizations and websites, traditional-marriage groups, and the Catholic Church. For example, here is a 2004 article from Catholic.com that includes many footnotes to research on these topics.

Here's a piece from Fathers.com; again, it lists a number of sources, some good, some not so good, that you can research.

Most of these studies look at fatherlessness, but there are some that consider motherlessness as well. But it's nearly impossible to get statistics on two-male parent households: First, because they are so few; second because unmarried men so rarely get custody of children; finally, because I strongly suspect that divorced or widowed men with small children are significantly more likely to remarry (to a woman) than divorced or widowed women with small children.

For a confounding and compounding factor, most SSM families with children were formed after the breakup and divorce of a previous OSM; thus the children not only have to deal with either fatherlessness or motherlessness, they must deal with a divorce and likely an "extra" parent of the opposite sex as well.

But the deeper you delve, the more you will see the terrible damage wrought by fathlessness and motherlessness... and you will note the paucity of studies showing that adding one more parent of the same sex eliminates the negatives -- except, of course, for those ubiquitous "studies" that consist entirely of Bobby's two moms insisting that he's just as well adjusted as his friends from traditional families, and his teacher (a union activist and founder of the local chapter of NOW) insisting that he does just as well in school... but no, she cannot permit access to private educational records. "Just take my word for it."

Finally, bear this in mind: As proponents of SSM are the ones demanding a radical change in our concept of the longstanding institution of traditional marriage, they have the burden of proof to show that SSM families are "just as good" for childraising, and for society as a whole, as OSM families.

That is, they must produce objective evidence showing that the multitudinous problems facing children of single-parent households -- including many serious problems independent from family income -- go away if the remaining parent marries a person of the same sex... that all those risks reflect only the raw number of parents, and nothing else matters, including genders. Mothers and fathers are interchangeable, because men and women are just the same.

The distinction between male and female is the question SSM proponents beg (ignoring now decades of studies showing stark gender differences in everything from behavior to biology to neurochemistry). If they address it at all, they admit that children, especially boys, growing up with a mother but no father are tremendously more at risk for crime (perpetration and victimization), dropping out of school, abusing drugs, suicide, medical problems, and other terrible consequences -- which every sociologist likewise admits. But then they argue that adding one extra mother will cause all those problems to softly and suddenly vanish away.

But they never offer evidence.

Instead, they turn the burden on its head... and demand that you prove that two-father or two-mother households are worse than mother-father households, knowing that virtually no evidence on the subject exists, due to the lack of federal and university funding for such a dangerous (to liberals!) field of study. Proponents' position is that, unless you can prove that actual harm comes to a specific child, the law should be changed and marriage radicalized.

Try asking any parent in a traditional family this one question: Does your spouse provide any element to raising your children that you yourself cannot bring "just as well?" Is there any aspect of childraising that you provide better than does your spouse? If so -- how could a second mother or a second father ever take the place of the parent of the opposite sex?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2010 3:56 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Well, I think I win this argument. In the sense that the recent circuit court decision was almost entirely based on the fact that there is no credible (to this judge) evidence that SSM makes any problems for anyone ever. Sure sounds like the proponents of Prop. 8 didn't do their jobs well. But also sure sounds like someone who wants to oppose SSM needs to provide a good collection of solid statistical studies, and right away. Peer-reviewed? Anyhow, if this is a hole someone had better fill it.
Of course, having a physics and math background, my own take on these studies tends to be, Who in his right mind takes any of this stuff seriously? But that probably isn't going to be enough for this issue!

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2010 10:35 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

(When I said I won the argument, it doesn't mean I was right. I just mean to say that there is an apparent severe mismatch in the available studies, and that that is a real problem.)

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2010 10:46 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Argument? You asked for "some clear statistics or a study or two" anent same-sex couples raising children that don't simply parrot the liberal line that fathers and mothers are interchangeable, and that it makes no difference to the child whether he grows up in a traditional family, a fatherless family, or a motherless family.

I offered a few sites that collate many such studies, but also offered the caveat that some studies are very good, others aren't, and you must carefully evaluate each study.

Now you say you have "won" the "argument" -- what argument? -- because a gay-activist judge ignored all the research showing that children were better off in a traditional family, focused on a number of quite flawed studies claiming to show that parents are interchangeable, and struck down Proposition 8 because he, personally, supports same-sex marriage.

I don't quite get it; are you saying that Judge "Dredd" Walker must surely have weighed all the studies in an unbiased fashion, so his decision proves that there are no good studies on the side of traditional marriage? That conclusion is a non-sequitur; Judge Walker is hardly an exemplar of fair and unbiased legal or logical analysis.

Too, even if we accepted that Walker was utterly unbiased, it would still be the fallacy of "appeal to authority": Whether studies do or do not exist does not depend upon whether a particular authority accepts them.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2010 11:14 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

See my previous comment on what I meant by "winning the argument". Truth is, I don't really know what happened in the court case; I only have Walker's impressions of it in his decision. Maybe the proponents did a better job than he acknowledges. Liberals often tend to be stone deaf to arguments that disagree with them (probably conservatives are too), so it may just have seemed to him that there were no real arguments presented.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2010 11:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Actually, liberal stone-deafness may be a lot more common than you think. Here is a simple test I devised about (give me a moment) twenty-three years ago, during the big gun-control debates. You can use this test on any controversial issue, to determine whether your opponent in a debate or argument has any seriousness at all... or whether debating him would be like arguing with a talking dog.

You simply ask, before engaging in debate, what is the best argument he has ever heard anyone on your side of the debate make.

For example, let's ask Judge Walker, "What is the best argument you have ever heard for restricting marriage to one man and one woman?"

If your opponent can actually give you a coherent argument, and if it is indeed the strongest or one of the strongest for your side, then you have a serious debating opponent, and you can proceed to a debate with the expectation that he will listen and respond.

But if he gives you an entirely frivolous answer -- typically a caricature of what your side says -- or if he smugly announces that he has never heard any argument from your side... then simply say "Adios," and walk away. Any debate with such a person will be an exercise in futility and infuriation.

I am about 90% convinced that if we asked that question of Judge Dredd, he would answer, "The best argument your side can muster is to say that the Bible calls homosexuality an abomination." He seems utterly convinced that the only reason anyone could oppose same-sex marriage (SSM) is either pure bigotry -- or else adherence to a bigoted religion, such as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Shintoism, or Islam.

Were I to confront him with my own opposition to SSM, pooled with my complete irreligiosity and agnosticism and my complete acceptance of homosexuality as a liberty interest, his brain would be unable to compute: Smoke would pour out his ears, and in a mechanistic voice he would squeak, "Norman, please explain -- only Norman can explain!"


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 11, 2010 2:58 PM

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