Saturday, July 23, 2011

When someone stresses "I read it," you know something's up!

Al Franken should make Minnesotans (at least the sane ones) proud. He did his homework. Apparently some guy (Tom Minnery) from Focus on the Family was a witness for a recent Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) hearing and was claiming that children are better off in a married family where the parents are heterosexual and Minnery cited a Department of Health and Human Services study to back his claim. In the video below, I knew right away something good was going to happen when Franken said, "I...checked the study out," with a long pause after the statement. Franken points out that the cited study is for a nuclear family where there is at least one child living with two married parents who are either biological or adoptive parents. In other words, the parents could be homosexual; thus, Minnery's claim was not actually supported by the study he cited. Now, families where the parents are married homosexuals are likely going to make up a very small percentage of all those families in the study, but this is then lack of evidence and anyone trying to claim families with homosexual parents are dysfunctional will need evidence, as they are making the positive claim. (On that note, I think it is fair to say the default position is that homosexual parents are no different than heterosexual parents when it comes to the effectiveness of parenting, which is why those against homosexual marriage have the burden of proof.)

(I know that this news is three days old now, but it is just so important as a lesson. Whether or not Minnery was intentionally being deceptive or if he legitimately misinterpreted the study is one thing. The more important thing is that he and people like him are counting on their audience being ignorant. They don't want people reading that study, whether or not they think they accurately represented it. They want you to take them at their word. This is what makes what Franken did particularly important. He didn't take them at their word; he did his own fact checking. That is a very important "skill" to have and comes in handy in defending off false claims.)

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