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Old 03-02-2006, 08:03 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
...marginalizing or trivializing certain experts we claim to be ideologically driven (while trumpeting a no less ideologically-driven, highly selective and controversial review -- for the record, the 600 who walked out of the Academy in protest represented a third of those present for the reported findings), and in so doing, redefine tens of thousands of years of human development and evolution, we do so at our own peril.
So, because I made the bland and far from starstruck observation that the AAP report was "thoroughly documented," that means I was "trumpeting" it? I posted those studies because the article by Pierce you linked to stated that "(t)he data, so far as I know it and am familiar with it, do not tell us anything about same-sex parenting." He didn't say that the data is methodologically flawed or ideologically suspect; he said it has nothing to say, and that is simply untrue. There is a wealth of data concerning the effects on children of same-sex parenting out there to be debated and analyzed--I simply posted what pulled up in 2 minutes of searching on one database. One result happened to be the AAP report, which I happened to be familiar with. I could search for and post lots more, but why bother?

I did not "marginalize" or "trivialize" anyone by pointing out that the most widely publicized AAP-member detractors of the study (Zanga, Billingsly, Field, Friday et al.) consider themselves to be guided primarily by religious commitments--indeed, they proudly and forthrightly present themselves in precisely that fashion. Furthermore, I made a point of stating that:
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I don't doubt that some among the 99% who didn't dissent were likewise predisposed on moral grounds to support the resolution regardless of scientific merit.
...thus making clear that I am well aware there are ideologically motivated folks on both sides of the issue. I cannot speak to the ideological commitments of the MDs on the committee which actually drafted the report, as I do not know any of them personally and only one, Joseph Hagan (the committee's then-chair), has offered much in the way of public commentary on his role in and views on the research. He hardly comes across as an ideologically driven fellow. However, as a political science professor and the author of several scientific research papers myself, I know how to evaluate the design and methodology of a social science research paper, and I do not defer to anyone else's expertise when it comes to assessing the integrity of any studies in that regard.

Finally, as a happily married, Conservative Jewish parent of three young children, I am hardly hostile to either religion or traditional parenthood. I am a strong supporter of the rights of gays and lesbians to adopt, however, for *both* personal and scientific-research-based reasons.

As far as the dissenters' walkout and its relationship to the report of the findings goes, I cannot comment on these one way or the other because I have not been able to find any stories that appear pertinent to either incident, other than one reference to a walkout by 600 from a publication called Christian Research Journal which cites as its source a Focus on the Family article which turned out to say no such thing, and a statement by Dr. Zanga of the ACP, repeated on several Christian family advocacy sites, which claimed that one-third of the committee drafting the report (8 people) disagreed with its findings (which said committee denied in the AAP's journal).

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Old 03-02-2006, 08:24 PM   #77
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Originally posted by yolland
as a happily married, Conservative Jewish parent of three young children, I am hardly hostile to either religion or traditional parenthood.
I actually wasn't reacting to your comments, yolland -- I was primarily addressing melon, who expressed more hostility. I apologize if you took offense. I don't remember off the top of my head whether you wrote off the NAC or Mr. Pierce's comments, but I was primarily reacting to that.

I'm not convinced that the AAP's review represents a propenderance of data to change the belief that the optimal parenting situation for a child is a mother and a father. Perhaps that is what Mr. Pierce was referring to in his comments.
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Old 03-02-2006, 08:59 PM   #78
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Which is what the NCA states -- that less-than-optimal situations should be examined on a case-by-case basis. At the same time, I'm skeptical when you say that you'd prefer to pay attention to the perspectives of "those who work in adoptive agencies (who) are more qualified," since you summarily disregarded the perspective of a child's advocacy group with over 25 years of experience working with adoptive children when they say something you disagree with.
I summarily distrust any organization with ties to conservative Christians, since they are anti-gay by default. As such, I expect them to create "studies" that will always support their religion. Likewise, any research they do will never contradict their religious beliefs, and that's plain not good science.

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When adoptive policies state that their policy is to find families that will be in the best interests of the child, we are dealing in optimals and ideals.
And, apparently, that's not working. I just showed you the example of the Gravelles who put their children in cages, and I could also talk about a Michigan heterosexual couple who beat their adopted son over a period of years until, one day, they killed him. The autopsy revealed multiple broken bones and a smashed upper jaw.

So now tell me that heterosexuals are always better parents than homosexuals.

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To say "let's move away from the optimal/ideal," comes suspiciously close to demanding the right to adopt. (Especially when such an ideal is not arbitrary, as I've repeatedly pointed out, but based in sociological, historical, and cultural contexts. While the interpretations of principles may have shifted some in thousands of years, the principle has remained the same -- a mother and a father are the best situation for a child's development.)
It's nothing at all about demanding the right to adopt. It's demanding that one be determined by their parenting skills, not by their sexuality.

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Old 03-02-2006, 09:00 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
I don't remember off the top of my head whether you wrote off the NAC or Mr. Pierce's comments, but I was primarily reacting to that.

I'm not convinced that the AAP's review represents a propenderance of data to change the belief that the optimal parenting situation for a child is a mother and a father.
I did point out that the NCA is an advocacy group and that Pierce's article was a position piece not a research paper, but that wasn't to write off either--there's nothing wrong with advocacy or position papers, and I have tremendous respect for much of the NCA's work as far as it goes. Given the context, I simply found it important to point out that these were not empirical statements referenced with traceable scholarly research.

I would never say that any one study, the AAP's or otherwise, is resoundingly decisive enough to settle such big questions on its own. However, the fact remains that there is a large body of relevant research out there to weigh and ponder.
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:16 PM   #80
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Originally posted by melon

I just showed you the example of the Gravelles who put their children in cages, and I could also talk about a Michigan heterosexual couple who beat their adopted son over a period of years until, one day, they killed him. The autopsy revealed multiple broken bones and a smashed upper jaw.

So now tell me that heterosexuals are always better parents than homosexuals.
That would be very compelling if I said that, Melon. But I didn't. If you really think that's the standard, the norm, or even common, then I'm sorry you think that way, but it's not reality.
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:22 PM   #81
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Originally posted by yolland

I would never say that any one study, the AAP's or otherwise, is resoundingly decisive enough to settle such big questions on its own. However, the fact remains that there is a large body of relevant research out there to weigh and ponder.
I would certainly agree with you on this -- which was the point of my initial post. (To whit: simply that there are reasonable perspectives on both sides of this discussion.)
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Old 03-02-2006, 10:02 PM   #82
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Originally posted by nathan1977
"My own ideas"? Or is it in fact sociological, cultural, and historical precedent, in addition to the host of studies that show that children are better off -- more emotionally balanced, more likely to succeed later in life, improved self-esteem -- with a mother and a father. (This isn't a "romanticist ideal," either, Melon -- statistically speaking, it's a reality, as somewhere around 75% of all children -- in America, at least -- have both a mother and a father.)



no, these are your own ideas given to you by a society that has been traditionally hostile to homosexuals. the gay rights movement is a relatively new one, and if you lived in Dupont Circle or WeHo or Cambridge, your idea of what a family looks like might change drastically.

Melon has noted that the studies you cite -- especially since the initial one you pointed to was clearly biased -- will really need to be validated.

i also think you're making an assumption: i think we can agree that children do best in stable environments with two parents. you assume this to mean a mother and a father, that the opposite-sex pairing is as crucial to a child's development as, say, a lack of domestic violence in the home. i don't think it is, and the studies out there -- as Yolland has alluded to -- will back me up.

children develop just as well in gay households as do straight ones.



[q]As I've pointed out repeatedly (in citing the NCA, which states it themselves), my perspective is that a heterosexual married couple is the optimal situation in which a child should be raised. Not the only, but the optimal. And when it comes to evaluating adoptive home situations, the general rule in adoption is, "whatever home will best fit the needs of the child." I have said nothing to tear down homosexual families (I pointed out my friend and his partner, who have adopted). What I have said is that there is an optimal situation, and it would seem to do best by the child to focus on providing that.[/q]


why is it optimal? you've not yet given a reason.



[q]Implications or assertions have been made in this and other threads that when it comes down to it, homosexual parents are better than heterosexual ones. (Melon's example notwithstanding, I think you'd be hard pressed to find statistics showing that all, most, or even some adoptive parent situations are like the one he pulled up. This story seems to play to the worst forms of discrimination against adoptive couples.) So it seems, on this board anyway, that the denigration goes both ways.
[/q]


you've got that wrong -- i was raised by heteroseuxals, and i'm deeply grateful to my parents and proud of them. i haven't said anything negative about heterosexual parenting except to say that opposite-sex households aren't necessarily default better than gay ones.

and if you read a bit more closely, you'll see that the reasons i cite for gay couples being, generally, "better" adoptive than straight couples has NOTHING to do with sexuality but EVERYTHING to do with what might equip them to be better parents: they tend to be older, they tend to be well educated, they tend to have resources, and they tend to really, really want children.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:50 PM   #83
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Originally posted by nathan1977
If you really think that's the standard, the norm, or even common, then I'm sorry you think that way, but it's not reality.
Ah, but when you think in nothing but lofty ideals, you're ignoring the nuances of reality as much as you think I am.

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Old 03-03-2006, 12:49 AM   #84
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Correct me if I'm wrong but is there not a surplus of children in the foster care system currently? Certainly not all of them are being adopted.

So even if we accept that heterosexual adoption is optimal and homosexual adoption is something "less than optimal" then why is it that homosexual couples can't adopt all the children who are left over in the system? Is "less than optimal" not better than being moved from foster home to foster home over 18 years?

I mean, would you prefer the children remain in the system? Is that not akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face?
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Old 03-03-2006, 01:39 PM   #85
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Originally posted by Irvine511


no, these are your own ideas given to you by a society that has been traditionally hostile to homosexuals.
Which society is that? And can you show me a society where gay parenting is the normative family structure?

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the studies out there -- as Yolland has alluded to -- will back me up. children develop just as well in gay households as do straight ones.
As I said, one review performed at one time under one set of circumstances by one group of researchers -- how many were on the board? -- hardly represents a preponderance of evidence to undo sociological and biological structures that have been in place for thousands of years.

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why is it optimal? you've not yet given a reason.
Again, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate why it isn't, since that is your basic assertion, and one which flies in the face of basic human development. What I have stated is that the hefty weight of both historical precedence and sociological and developmental expertise indicates that children function best in a household with both a mother and a father. You've not yet provided evidence to the contrary, and since you're calling into account such basic structures, again, you need to demonstrate A) a fundamental flaw with such structures and B) why your solution resolves them without creating new flaws.

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and if you read a bit more closely, you'll see that the reasons i cite for gay couples being, generally, "better" adoptive than straight couples has NOTHING to do with sexuality but EVERYTHING to do with what might equip them to be better parents: they tend to be older, they tend to be well educated, they tend to have resources, and they tend to really, really want children.
When I was talking about assertions about gay parents being better than straight ones, I was specifically referring to melon's comments as such, which have been made in insinuations here and explicitly elsewhere.

But you do realize straight adoptive parents tend to have all those qualities as well.
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Old 03-03-2006, 02:02 PM   #86
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Originally posted by nathan1977
As I said, one review performed at one time under one set of circumstances by one small group of researchers hardly represents a preponderance of evidence to undo sociological and biological structures that have been in place for thousands of years.

What I have stated is that the hefty weight of both historical precedence and sociological and developmental expertise indicates that children function best in a household with both a mother and a father. You've not yet provided evidence to the contrary, and since you're calling into account such basic structures, again, you need to demonstrate A) a fundamental flaw with such structures and B) why your solution resolves them without creating new flaws.
By this logic, all children of divorced parents ought to be removed from their parents' custody and put in foster care until one or the other parent remarries, since the resulting situation is clearly not "optimal" nor in line with thousands of years of human development. My own siblings and I were raised alone by our mother after my father's untimely death, she never remarried, and we all did just fine. For that matter I could show you reams of sociological research from India, my area of specialization, indicating that children fare better in arranged marriages and extended family households (which none-too-coincidentally happen to be the norm there, as in many other countries) than they do in marriage-by-choice, nuclear family households.

And again, you are wrongly speaking as if the AAP study represents some lone, rogue effort in the realm of social science research suggesting that children can do well (or poorly) in a wide variety of parenting arrangements, from the most "traditional" (which in fact varies widely in form from one part of the world to the next) to the most unprecedented. It is not. The NCA is committed a priori to a particular vision of what an ideal family looks like, and they make no bones about that (to their credit, as far as it goes).

I would still like to see the information you have about the AAP dissenters' walkout and the event where the findings were reported.
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Old 03-03-2006, 02:44 PM   #87
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[q]Which society is that? And can you show me a society where gay parenting is the normative family structure?[/q]

simply because something is “normative” does not mean that it is “ideal” or “optimal,” let alone "the only way things should ever be done." it is normative to have two parents of the same race, or the same religion, or the same nationality, and the vast majority of children in this country come from homes where this is the case. However, it is not to say that there is anything wrong with a mix-religion couple, a mixed-race couple, or a mix-nationality couple. Children from these homes might grow up with a slightly different perspective on life and family than a child from the “normative” household, but that is not to say that one is better than the other. In fact, it is the presence of diversity in family structures and compositions that makes American society as dynamic as it is.

By touting the “normative” as “optimal” – and denigrating alternatives to the norm – you’re essentially arguing for the homogenization of society. That there’s only one way to be, and that anything less than the way to be should be actively discouraged – these are not values that jive with any sort of pluralistic society.

[q]As I said, one review performed at one time under one set of circumstances by one group of researchers -- how many were on the board? -- hardly represents a preponderance of evidence to undo sociological and biological structures that have been in place for thousands of years.[/q]

sociological and biological structures that have been in place for thousands of years? Tell me, can your wife read? Does she have a job? Is she allowed to question your decisions? Do you beat your children? Do you beat your wife? Do you have several wives? Was your wife barely pubescent when you married her? Because all of these things are sociological and biological structures that have been in place for thousands of years and I don’t see anyone rushing to replicate them.

Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old cousin; Loretta Lynn was married at about the same age, and this is within our parent’s lifetimes – why have we gotten rid of laws that enabled middle-aged men to marry barely pubescent girls? Because it was bad for them! Because they were harmed by these relationships, despite thousands of years and all.

[q]Again, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate why it isn't, since that is your basic assertion, and one which flies in the face of basic human development. What I have stated is that the hefty weight of both historical precedence and sociological and developmental expertise indicates that children function best in a household with both a mother and a father. You've not yet provided evidence to the contrary, and since you're calling into account such basic structures, again, you need to demonstrate A) a fundamental flaw with such structures and B) why your solution resolves them without creating new flaws.[/q]

wrong. The whole thinking is wrong – and it applies to the gay marriage debate as well. An expansion of the definition of a marriage, or of what a parent is, does nothing to undermine the “normative” structure; it simply expands who is able to participate in the creation of social stability – marriage and family. If I marry my BF one day, it will not affect your marriage in the slightest. It never ceases to amaze me how the people who argue most ardently against gay marriage, or adoption, turn around and label gays as promiscuous AIDS-purveyors – the irony of denying gay people the tools to effectively socialize and make their relationships more “normative” is apparently lost on such blinkered thinking.

To answer your questions, again:

A) there is no basic flaw in the heterosexual family structure; there IS a flaw when a society chooses to use sexual orientation as a basis of discrimination to bar anyone from entering into the same structures of marriage and parenting – it’s quite striking that you view homo and heterosexuality to be in opposition to one another. why is it so threateneing?

B) the burden of proof is on you to show me how kids are harmed by gay parents. you’ve not done so.

[q]But you do realize straight adoptive parents tend to have all those qualities as well[/q]

Yes, of course, and I have said as much and pointed to my own parents. Your assertion, then, is that these qualities are negated by homosexual orientation, which is quite savvy, because many homosexuals feel this as well – you’ve done a good job at getting to the source of socially-imbued self-loathing. And your arguments do much to perpetuate its existence.
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Old 03-03-2006, 02:52 PM   #88
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Originally posted by yolland
I could show you reams of sociological research from India, my area of specialization, indicating that children fare better in arranged marriages and extended family households (which none-too-coincidentally happen to be the norm there, as in many other countries) than they do in marriage-by-choice, nuclear family households.
Naturally, just as families in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (both of which places I've lived) often have extended family living in the same home. (There's actually data to suggest that arranged marriages may have a better success rate than marriages-by-choice.) In those families, however, there will still be both a mother and father figure. Other family figures may be present, but usually they wind up in a supporting role to the mother and father. You haven't contradicted the basic presumption that in families where both mother and father are present, children are better off.

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By this logic, all children of divorced parents ought to be removed from their parents' custody and put in foster care until one or the other parent remarries, since the resulting situation is clearly not "optimal" nor in line with thousands of years of human development.
The NCA makes concessions for less optimal situations. However, we are talking specifically about the case of pro-active adoption, where choices are made in advance about family situations, and the prevailing mentality of adoption is, finding "the family that best meets the needs of the child."

And the best needs of the child, I continue to state, are best met in a family with a mother and a father.

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My own siblings and I were raised alone by our mother after my father's untimely death, she never remarried, and we all did just fine.
A close friend lost her father to cancer when she was 12. She is perfectly fine, but still struggles to this day with abandonment issues. She wishes she had grown up with a father, as I'm sure you do, and I can't blame her. I do agree that kids can adjust to a variety of situations, including your tragedy, but -- again -- the prevailing mentality of adoption is, "the family that best meets the needs of the child."

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And again, you are wrongly speaking as if the AAP study represents some lone, rogue effort
One study by (did you say it was 8?) researchers, amidst a body of 60,000, does not overthrow an overwhelming amount of historical, sociological and biological data that quantifiably demonstrate the opposite.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:07 PM   #89
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[q]You haven't contradicted the basic presumption that in families where both mother and father are present, children are better off.
[/q]


but this is a flawed presumption to begin with because it glosses over the million-and-one characteristics of successful families that have nothing to do with the heterosexuality of the parents -- and, following this further, as you are fixated upon a male and a female parent, you're essentially saying that a dysfunctional heterosexual household is superior to a highly functional homosexual household.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:20 PM   #90
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Originally posted by Irvine511
simply because something is “normative” does not mean that it is “ideal” or “optimal".
Okay -- so change the question. Show me where gay family structures has ever been considered the optimal method of parenting. And I do ask about optimal, because we are talking about adoption, when optimal is the standard measure for potential families.

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wrong. The whole thinking is wrong – and it applies to the gay marriage debate as well. An expansion of the definition of a marriage, or of what a parent is, does nothing to undermine the “normative” structure; it simply expands who is able to participate in the creation of social stability – marriage and family. If I marry my BF one day, it will not affect your marriage in the slightest. It never ceases to amaze me how the people who argue most ardently against gay marriage, or adoption, turn around and label gays as promiscuous AIDS-purveyors – the irony of denying gay people the tools to effectively socialize and make their relationships more “normative” is apparently lost on such blinkered thinking.
First of all, I don't think I've ever been anything but respectful to you, Irvine -- so I don't think I've ever called you a promiscuous AIDS-purveyor, or thought of you as such. While I don't doubt that such vile demonizing exists in this country, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find such a perspective in my posts.

As far as the effect on marriage goes, we've already discussed in this thread how this issue points to a fundamental redefinition of society's views on family -- on mothers and fathers, men and women, husbands and wives, on children, and by proxy, society. Again when we're talking about a fundamental redefinition of these views, we need to explore historical, sociological, and biological precedent in these discussions.

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Your assertion, then, is that these qualities are negated by homosexual orientation
My perspective is as it has ever been -- that the best situation for a child with a mother and father. So far, nothing on this thread has made me think otherwise.
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