Expertise and family life

The institutional expert consensus on the raising of children by homosexual couples is that

there is no evidence that lesbians and gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of gay men or lesbians is compromised in any respect. . . . Not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.

Charlotte J. Patterson, “Lesbian and Gay Parenting,” American Psychological Association Public Interest Directorate (1995): 8.

The Family Research Council has put together an informative summary of materials on what lies behind that consensus — junk social science, ideology, and willful blindness in a matter involving the well-being of large numbers of children.

Why do such things happen? And why do they happen so predictably? It’s not as if anyone would expect the American Psychological Association to come out differently, any more than anyone would expect an organization of law school deans to come out against affirmative action or unlimited abortion. It’s tempting to blame specific factors — pressure from homosexual activists or whatnot. But such things don’t explain the pervasiveness of institutional expert opinion that favors the causes of the social Left without an evident intellectual basis for doing so.

Much of the problem, it seems to me, is the nature of expertise as an institution. Experts think experts should run things, because they’re the ones who really understand what’s going on. Experts run things through formal public institutions like schools, family counselling centers and courts and not through informal moral institutions like families and traditional standards of behavior. It follows that experts will concern themselves with the former — that’s where they think the issues of practical concern are — to the near exclusion of the latter. If public policy can’t control something there’s no reason to bother with it. So, to pick a notorious example, experts will routinely do studies of family violence that ignore the distinction between husbands and live-in boyfriends.

From the expert problem-solving point of view, that makes some sense. Traditional standards and structures are obstructions to the application of expertise. So from an expert’s standpoint, the best thing to do with them is get rid of them so the real issues can be formulated and dealt with rationally. Since that’s so, why be surprised that the institutional positions of experts are what they are?

1 thought on “Expertise and family life”

  1. The other thing is the

    The other thing is the logical fallacy (I forget what Latin or Greek name this fallacy bears) which assumes that the only reliable knowledge of something consists of the results of sociological “studies” that have been done in regard to it. That would be like saying the only thing reliably known about someone’s grandmother is the reading glasses which a particular photo shows her wearing.

    Surrounding any given sociological “study” of a particular topic — such as parenthood and its effects on children — lies an ocean of knowledge and understanding which is as reliable as, nay more reliable than, the results of some sociological study. To leftists, a sociological “study” — which might shed light on, say, a tenth of a percent of a subject’s characteristics, and even that clumsily and incompletely — is all that we know about that subject. Common-sense tried-and-true knowledge of it which has in addition been tested over thousands of years and handed down from generation to generation throughout the culture, is excluded as “not derived from a study done by some college sociology department.” Then they actually call on government to make policy based on their puny, hopelessly incomplete socioligical studies!

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