For the past several years, social scientists have been increasingly aware of what is called the “replication crisis” in their disciplines.
In 2015, the Reproducibility Project at the University of Virginia tried to replicate the results of nearly 100 studies published in psychology journals. Even after going “through extensive measures to remain true to the original studies,” they could only replicate the original findings in 36 percent of the studies, and even then, the effects “were smaller than the initial studies effects.”
This problem with replicating results isn’t limited to psychology or the social sciences. As Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry of the Ethics and Public Policy Center has noted, medicine is often afflicted with a similar replicability problem.
As the saying goes, the first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. However, given the personal, professional, and political stakes often at work here, that’s easier said than done.
That’s why a recent bit of honesty by a publication you may never have heard of is so welcome.
Back in 2014, the journal Social Science & Medicine published a study entitled “Structural stigma and all-cause mortality in sexual minority populations.” The study attempted to measure the impact of anti-gay prejudice on the death rate of gay men and lesbians.
The study concluded that “Sexual minorities living in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice experienced a higher hazard of mortality than those living in low-prejudice communities.” Specifically, this increased “hazard of mortality” “[translated] into a shorter life expectancy of approximately 12 years . . . for sexual minorities living in high-prejudice communities.”
The study was used as scientific confirmation of an emerging cultural narrative. Not only is anti-gay prejudice wrong, we are often told, it can even be lethal.
Well, not so fast. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas did what social scientists in the peer-review process are supposed to do… He set out to replicate the results of that study.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera