Since criticizing Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron’s “Scandinavian Gay Lifespan” study, Dr. Warren Throckmorton has participated in an email exchange over his comments, first with Paul Cameron and then his son, Kirk. That study, you may remember, was presented in a poster session at the Eastern Psychological Association’s convention in Philadelphia last March. Cameron’s subsequent press releases quickly drew a sharp condemnation in an official statement from the EPA’s president, Dr. Phil Hineline.
Dr. Warren Throckmorton has remained on the case. He contacted Danish epidemiologist Dr. Morten Frisch, who responded with a strong rebuke of the Camerons’ methods and conclusion two weeks ago. This prompted Dr. Kirk Cameron, Paul’s son, to mount an unusual defense via a letter he e-mailed to Dr. Throckmorton. (This is, as far as I know, the first time we’ve heard from Kirk directly. His father typically handles such communications.) In that letter, Cameron the younger has the audacity to conclude:
[C]areful examination of our work and of the charges against us reveals that — while no one is perfect, including us — we have performed our work with scientific integrity and honesty.
Today Dr. Throckmorton responded to Cameron’s letter with a thorough analysis of the Camerons’ paper. In it, he highlights a long stream of unsubstantiated assumptions and glaring weakness, all of which builds toward an unproven conclusion (that registered-partnered gays in Scandinavia die some twenty years younger than their heterosexual counterparts), which Cameron used as the basis for a decidedly unscientific publicity campaign. You can read Dr. Throckmorton’s splendid analysis here.
Dr. Cameron had no sooner posted his analysis when he received a follow-up message from Dr. Frisch, who described Cameron’s work this way:
Although the Camerons’ report has no objective scientific value, the authors should be acknowledged for providing teachers with a humorous example of agenda-driven, pseudo-scientific gobbledygook that will make lessons in elementary study design and scientific inference much more amusing for future epidemiology students.
I don’t think I could have said it better myself.