Paul Cameron is a psychologist who heads the Family Research Institute. He is oft-cited in social conservative circles for asserting that the lifespan of homosexuals as a group 20-30 years shorter than heterosexuals. I am highly skeptical of this claim, as are experts in epidemiology, such as Morten Frisch. One of Dr. Cameron's prime methods for determining gay lifespan is to collect newspaper obituaries of gay people and take an average of their reported ages at death. There are numerous problems with this approach, the most important of which is that there is no way to know if the obituaries posted in newspapers represent all people who are attracted to the same sex or even those who are out as gay. Also, how many families might hide that fact, thus impacting the obituaries considered to be about gay. Any estimate based on obituaries is merely a guess, and not one that inspires confidence. However, Dr. Cameron has now expanded his reading. Reading obituaries probably gets boring and maybe a little morbid, so Cameron has branched out and included tragic news articles about child abuse by teachers as data collection.
In his new venture, the Empirical Journal of Same Sex Sexual Behavior, Cameron has released a “study” called, Teacher-Pupil Sex Across the World: How Much Is Homosexual? Apparently, the only article in the journal so far, the article’s abstract says:
In news stories in English across the world for 1980-2006, 902 teachers engaged in sex with 3,457 pupils. Teachers engaging in same-sex sex constituted 63% of perpetrators in Ireland, 62% in New Zealand, 60% in Canada, 54% in Scotland, 48% in Australia, 47% in England, and 35% in the U.S.; in smaller samples, homosexuals accounted for 71% of perpetrators in mainland Europe, 26% in Africa, and 13% in Asia. Proportionately more same-sex sexual activity with pupils occurred in the West as compared to Asia and Africa. Most (54% of 810 male, 83% of 92 female) teachers violated only opposite sex pupils; 43% of perpetrators engaged in homosexuality; and 55% of victims were boys. Findings for each country or set of countries were consistent with U.S. studies based on superintendent report, principal report, self-report, and convictions indicating that a male homosexual is the most and a female heterosexual the least apt to have sex with pupils.
Cameron begins the article noting the prevalence of sexual molestations in educational settings and then he documents the fatal flaw in his paper:
Even though teacher/pupil sexual events are fairly common, an instance of teacher/pupil has to run a veritable gauntlet before it becomes public knowledge. Educational systems try vigorously to assure that teacher molestations are not brought to light. So such an event is likely to be suppressed. (p. 2)
Anyone familiar with schools and teacher behavior knows that these events are frequently covered up with many never getting to trial and thus are not captured by newspapers. Who knows how many actual events occur? Who knows how many of the same-sex perpetrators are married with kids? In my clinical experience, many such perpetrators are actually quite heterosexual but turn to students for reasons that can only be described as reflecting an emotional disturbance, not their adult sexual preferences. Not to mention that same-sex perpetrations might actually be more likely to be reported and made public, thus skewing the results. And yet, Dr. Cameron considers newspapers a source of data adequate enough to include in his inaugural issue. However, since he demolished any credibility the study could have, why go any further? Good question. Undaunted, however, he proceeds to count the stories and we get meaningless statistics that may end up in a news release or column somewhere.
I certainly hope not. I urge Christians and conservatives to evaluate claims prior to citing them, even when they seem to comport well with one's beliefs. We are not to bear false witness, even if we use statistics.
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About Dr. Warren Throckmorton
Warren Throckmorton, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City College (PA). He co-founded the Golden Rule Pledge which advocates bullying prevention in evangelical churches. His academic articles have been published by journals of the American Psychological Association and he is past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He is the author with fellow Grove City College professor, Michael Coulter, of the book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. Over 200 newspapers have published his columns. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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