Inside Higher Ed has posted a story regarding James Dobson’s (from ‘Focus on the Family’) use of Carol Gilligan’s work in justifying his opposition to gay marriage. I certainly don’t know Dr. Gilligan personally, but I am familiar with her work to a degree. She has never failed to represent social scientists well, and her work is full of insight and well-reasoned argument. Dr. Gilligan has reacted negatively (as have other social scientists) to the misuse, distortion or ‘cherry-picking’ of their work to justify prejudice and bigotry.
As Gilligan states in a particularly well-done video on YouTube, also linked below, it’s fine for Dobson to preach his brand of morality, but misusing other’s work could be seen as ‘bearing false witness’, to which I would add theft and the twisting of intellectual property. Dobson is anything but the positive role model he purports to be if he is willing to undertake such underhanded tactics to justify his position. In fact, his statement in Time Magazine that
“…the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father.”
Is patently, blatantly and outright absurdly false. I have been a student and a representative of the Social Sciences as a Sociologist (A member of the Canadian Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction) for over 15 years, and I have never, in all of my research, come across one piece of credible evidence to support his biblical-style claptrap.
Of course, neither has Dobson, which is why he has to lie and construct phrases to suit himself like the ad writers for a bad movie. I’m happy to see that the academic community is finally waking up to this type of theft (full credit to the organization Truth Wins Out) and misrepresentation of who we are and what we do. I hope we can pile on lots more well-crafted and honest video to counterbalance the cacophony of dishonesty.
Highest praise to Dr. Gilligan and all the others who are now choosing to come forward and contradict the misappropriation of legitimate science to support religious lies.
Note: This is a re-posting of “Focus on the Falsehood? posted earlier today – I discovered how inept I could be, which is oddly comforting.