It has become common place these days for people to believe in science. Studies “show this” and research “reveals that” are statements used to prove a point. From the unhealthy aspects of smoking to the need to swear off meat, all fall under the scrupulous eye of science and scientific research. But, as has been said many times, even scientists are fallible. And even sinful.
The Christian Post reports:
A study that purported to show gay marriage opponents can easily be convinced to change their minds if they talk to gays was retracted after finding it used fake data.
The study, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,” was published in the December 2014, issue of the journal Science. It was widely reported in the media and cited as evidence that support for gay marriage is inevitable.
This study reported showing that a meaningful conversation with a sodomite could change the mind of an opponent to sodomite unions. Many in the media touted the report’s finding as proof that acceptance to sodomite unions was just down the road. But, it also has caused controversy in the political science community.
The Post reports:
Researchers first started to suspect problems with the study after three other researchers were unable to replicate the findings. Then on Tuesday, David Broockman, assistant professor at Stanford, Joshua Kalla, graduate student at Berkeley, and Peter Aronow, assistant professor at Yale, released a paper detailing several irregularities in the LaCour and Green study.
Those irregularities “jointly suggest the dataset (LaCour 2014) was not collected as described,” the report stated.
It is not entirely clear whether or not LaCour was fudging the numbers intentionally or if there was some error made in his collecting or recording of the data. However, things continue to be a theory until proven through replication. This is one of the issues of placing our faith in science. In the scientific world, reality and norms are constantly changing. What is proven today is disproved tomorrow.
And in Professor Green’s defense, he seems to be very much concerned with truth… or at least accuracy.
According to Hughes, after Green was alerted to the irregularities, he contacted LaCour’s dissertation advisor, Professor Lynn Vavreck. After Vavreck confronted LaCour, he was unable to provide the study’s raw data and claimed he accidentally deleted the file. A representative from Qualtrics, the company that provided the survey program LaCour used, told UCLA there was no evidence that the data had been deleted.
Vavreck was one that quickly touted this as a breakthrough. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times, and at the time of the publishing of the results, she wrote:
The conclusion? Sharing, listening and showing vulnerability can change beliefs about public policy.
That listening and sharing move people may not be news to leadership gurus, therapists or executive coaches, but it isn’t typically how politicians think about affecting mass opinion, especially in an era of intense division on most issues. People are mostly wedded to their beliefs on such things — or are at least wedded to their party’s beliefs, which they take to be their own. Politicians understand this. Public opinion, when it moves at all, moves slowly.
I hope that we realize that she was right; not because of this faked study or its false hope, but because, this is what our Savior tells us to do. When men open themselves up to ridicule and hate, and choose to love his neighbor, God uses that to save those neighbors. But, study or not, men are not changed minus the work of the Spirit of God.
May God change these men who hate Him into men who love Him.
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