April 23, 2004

Peer Review

This is the sort of absolute crapola that has made the Hoover Institution the shining beacon of incompetent partisan research that it is today.

A Hoover Institution scholar told a House committee Thursday that same-sex marriages destroy heterosexual marriages, citing a coincidence of out- of-wedlock births in Scandinavia and the Netherlands after acceptance of homosexual unions.


Stanley Kurtz, who holds a doctorate in social anthropology from Harvard University and is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution think tank, said the Dutch example is particularly striking because Holland had an ample stock of "cultural capital," or conservative social tradition, before it legalized same-sex marriage in 2000.

Uh-huh. Holland. An "ample stock" of "conservative social tradition."

Like, say, this Dutch "conservative social tradition"?

Or perhaps Dr. Kurtz is referring to this Dutch "conservative social tradition"?

No, wait, it must be this Dutch "conservative social tradition."

Ignoring, for the moment, the fact that Kurtz can't distinguish between coincidence and causation, he doesn't even know how to construct a qualitative baseline for his analysis. Which is a polite way of saying that he's, ahem, lying.

(Plus, there's that very strange assertion that "cultural capital" equals "conservative social tradition." We're more likely to believe that's a misunderstanding on the part of the writer -- but, geez, if this Kurtz ding-dong believes half of the shit he says in this article, it's certainly possible that he's poorly trained [or simply dishonest] enough to conflate the two.)

Who is this putz Kurtz?

Kurtz has become the leading proponent of a social science approach to this argument with his studies of marriage in Scandinavia and now Holland [...]

Oh, I see. The leading proponent of this approach. Uh-huh, tell me more:

[...] publishing his pieces in conservative opinion journals such as the National Review and Weekly Standard.

Ah. Yes. Those paragons of sound scientism.

I suppose that if one is a frothing cultural retrograde, proselytizing to other frothing cultural retrogrades, then being edited by the staves at NR and WS would constitute a certain kind of "peer" review, would it not ...

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