Time Publishes Dobson Lies: Take Action!
Dobson is loose again - on this occasion in Time magazine
, using the Cheney pregnancy as a springboard to spread more misinformation about gay families (ht Aravosis
). In this latest assault, rather than relying on his usual "in-house" fraudulent research, Dobson cherry-picked and distorted the work of reputable professionals: psychologist Carol Gilligan, an NYU professor formerly at Harvard, and Kyle Pruett, a Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale. Gilligan is well known for her research on moral development
. Looks like Dobson picked on the wrong people this time.
The response has been rapid and from many quarters. Gilligan, herself, responded
to the misuse of her research in a letter to 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.
Carol Gilligan, PhD New York University, Professor
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
Media Matters has corrected the record and further reports that Pruett has raised objections in the past to the misuse of his work by right wing groups, including the Defense of Marriage Coalition. Numerous professional groups are alerting their listservs as well.
In the belief that Dobson is unlikely to change his stripes but that we can hold accountable the media which provide platforms for him, I sent the following LTE to Time yesterday:
To the Editors:
I was dismayed to see James Dobson's comments on Mary Cheney and his denigration of same sex parents. It is one thing for him to have personal opinions based on his religion or anything else he chooses, provided these opinions are labeled as such. It is quite another thing for him to distort and lie about scientific research. It is an unfortunate habit of his but a national magazine such as Time does not have to provide a platform for this misinformation and bigotry.
Do you have no fact checkers? Carol Gilligan is a well-known psychologist with an impressive publication record. It would have been quite simple to check James Dobson's references to Dr. Gilligan's research. There is also a substantial body of peer-reviewed research on same sex parents and children that suggest that these families are as healthy as those with heterosexual parents. Summaries of this research can be obtained from the American Psychological Association. I hope that you will avail yourself of these publications so that your magazine can avoid this kind of embarrassment in the future.
XXXXX X XXXXXX, PhD
Today, I discovered that Soulforce has launched a petition addressing some of these concerns. After reviewing the links, if you feel as strongly as I do, please write to the editors at Time. Individual letters have more impact than petitions. However, numbers count as well and it will only take a couple of minutes to sign the Soulforce petition. It's important that we join with allies to get our voices heard.