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Junk scientist Cameron darling of right wing anti-gay organizations

John Aravosis over at Americablog has an excellent post documenting some of our favorite organizations’ alliance and support of junk scientist Paul Cameron.

The American Family Association, Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition and Concerned Women for America have been proponents of Cameron’s work because it “validates” their anti-gay agenda. The tactic is simple — cite the false and misleading “science” often enough, both in print and on the air, and if they make it sound credible, no one will question it. The Southern Poverty Law Center has named Cameron’s Colorado Springs-based Family Research Institute as an active hate group.

One example of this publish-and-retract tactic by the gay-hating organizations was documented by The Boston Globe in a piece called “Beliefs drive research agenda of new think tanks.”

Cameron’s work is controversial even among conservative groups. For example, the Traditional Values Coalition claims to speak for 43,000 churches. For three years, the coalition has quoted Cameron’s studies on its website in an article headlined, ”Report Shows Homosexual Foster Parents Apt To Molest Children,” and has told its membership to ”read and distribute Dr. Cameron’s report.”

But when The Boston Globe asked the Traditional Values Coalition last week about Cameron, the group responded within minutes by removing all references to Cameron from its website. The group’s spokeswoman, Daniella Lopez, said Cameron’s research had been ‘‘mistakenly” put on the website. She would not say why the group thought it was a mistake to publicize Cameron’s research.

Friend of the Blend Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin has delved deeply into the misleading “research” of Cameron many times. Here’s his thumbnail on the FRI head:

As head of the Family Research Institute of Colorado Springs, Dr. Cameron has written dozens of articles in the journal Psychological Reports which purport to show that gay men and women pose many dangers to society. He was an adviser to former congressman William Dannemeyer (R-CA) in the 1980’s, and in 1992 he was a paid consultant to Colorado’s Attorney General Gale Norton (who later served as President Bush’s Secretary of the Interior) when she was defending a constitutional amendment to prohibit civil rights laws based on sexual orientation. He continues to be a primary source of information for those who oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians.

…Paul Cameron presents himself as a “published professional,” even though almost all of his work appears in a pay-to-publish journal. Unfortunately, he has a problem with the truth, which has gotten him in trouble with several professional organizations. And when he’s challenged, he also has problems with his temper. We have a few examples which provide a startling glimpse of what goes on inside the mind of Paul Cameron.

Most famously, in 1993 Cameron was touting a paper of his, “The lifespan of homosexuals.”  that claimed the average lifespan of gay men was 42 and lesbians was 44. It was debunked for its absurd methodology, but it didn’t stop the right from citing it time and again.

Most recently, he presented “research” that boggles the mind to the  — “Federal Distortion of Homosexual Footprint. Cameron has also made the ridiculous assertion that Homosexuality More Dangerous Than Smoking.

Jim tore that up…see after the flip.Jim Burroway:

Well, Cameron’s at it again, hijacking the Eastern Psychological Association’s reputation once again to claim that gays and lesbians in registered partnerships in Denmark and Norway experience a lifespan up to 24 years shorter than their heterosexual counterparts. His latest claims are already being picked up by anti-gay activists, conservative news organizations, blogs, and pundits. Conservative columnist Armstrong Williams commented on Cameron’s claims and asked, “Considering these statistics, do you now believe that vulnerable children should be raised in such an unstable environment?” It’s only a matter of time before these statistics make their way into the mainstream media.

Cameron’s paper, “Federal Distortion of Homosexual Footprint,” is filled with all the strange and bogus statistics we’ve come to expect from him. I examined his methods and in my latest report, “Paul Cameron’s Footprint,” I show you why the claims he makes based on data from Denmark and Norway are completely worthless. My conclusions:

Yes, Cameron is up to his same old tricks again. You can bet that this won’t be the last time we hear from him. And no matter how ridiculous his methodologies may be, he will continue to provide statistical fodder for the anti-gay lobby. But with his latest paper on the “Homosexual Footprint,” he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. This time, as always, his “footprint” is planted firmly in his mouth.

You can read my full report here.

Cameron was booted from the American Psychological Association “for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists.” Other organizations want nothing to do with him either:

* in 1984, the Nebraska Psychological Association adopted a resolution stating that it “formally disassociates itself from the representations and interpretations of scientific literature offered by Dr. Paul Cameron in his writings and public statements on sexuality.”

* In 1985, the American Sociological Association (ASA) adopted a resolution which asserted that “Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism” and noted that “Dr. Paul Cameron has repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men, substantiating his call on the basis of his distorted interpretation of this research.

And it doesn’t stop there. Cameron was taken to task in the U.S. District Court of Dallas. In his written opinion in Baker v. Wade (1985):

Judge Buchmeyer of the U.S. District Court of Dallas referred to “Cameron’s sworn statement that ‘homosexuals abuse children at a proportionately greater incident than do heterosexuals,'” and concluded that “Dr. Paul Cameron…has himself made misrepresentations to this Court” and that “There has been no fraud or misrepresentations except by Dr. Cameron” (p.536).

Back to John’s piece at Americablog, he gives a shout out to Porno Pete (a former staffer at the Family Research Council), whose ramblings actually cite Paul Cameron’s junk science, further spreading the lies and half-truths.

John:

We exposed AFA’s promotion of this known hate group over a year ago, to no avail.  AFA continues to promote the hate group on its Web site.  It’s one thing for the religious right to be a bunch of anti-gay bigots, but it’s quite another to embrace science that echoes of Nazi Germany.  It’s time for the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and the Concerned Women for America to publicly rebuke Paul Cameron and their former employee Peter LaBarbera.

(More on Cameron here.  And note that this is not the first time FRC’s Tony Perkins has had a disturbing tie-in to white supremacists.)

We can’t ignore these people and the influence of junk science driving the theocrat agenda, after all, The Bush Administration Has 150+ Appointees From Televangelist’s Pat Robertson’s Law School.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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