Sunday, May 19, 2013

#553: Paul Cameron

Grant Cameron of ”The president’s UFO website” is apparently Canadian, but the legendary Paul Drummond Cameron is as American as Evangelical fundies. Cameron is a psychologist and sex researcher, famous for his claims regarding homosexuality. He has campaigned against gay rights for thirty years, and is the founder and chairman of Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality, now known as the Family Research Institute (FRI). He doesn’t fancy pornography (at least not other people watching pornography) either.

His articles are probably best characterized as pseudo-research (in particular his pamphlets ”Child Molestation and Homosexuality” and ”Murder, Violence and Homosexuality”), and people with expertise in the area who actually cares for truth and accuracy, tend to dismiss Cameron’s conclusions (to put it charitably). The American Sociological Association and Canadian Psychological Association has pointed out that Cameron is misrepresenting social science research in an ”appalling” manner, and that his own ”research” is completely meaningless from any scientifically oriented point of view. The American Psychological Association has also expelled him due to non-cooperation with an ethics investigation.

Cameron’s career took off in 1983, when he set out to conduct ”a fair sexuality poll,” which he expected would support his case for a ban on homosexual acts throughout the United States (still his position, it seems: ”one homosexual can pollute a Government office”). Among his conclusions were that – based partly on his studies of obituaries in gay newspapers –  homosexuals as a group have a median age of death about 20 years lower than that of heterosexuals (devastatingly refuted here), that ”there is a strong, disproportionate association between child molestation and homosexuality” (slaughtered here; also here, here, and here), and that homosexual sex is more pleasurable than most heterosexual sex and that as a result, if homosexuality were tolerated then it will become predominant within a few generations (wtf?). Therefore, apparently, homosexuality is a ”mental pathology; a mental disease or a disorder”. The fact that Cameron’s research is pure drivel has of course not prevented fundie nutcases such as Rod Parsley, Tim Wildmon, or Rick Perry (or for that matter serious news outlets that don’t know better but should) from using it (as well as a host of minor bigots, such as apparent ID creationist Kenn Gividen discussed here). Since mainstream, peer-reviewed journals are reluctant (including this one) to publish his shit (because it is shit), he has employed a creative array of … other methods to lend his shit an appearance of scientific credibility, including rank dishonesty.

To get a feel for his way of viewing the world, note that Cameron has suggested that President Obama might be gay. Which is particularly insiduous since “the long term goal of the homosexual movement,” according to Cameron, ”is to get every little boy to grab his ankles and every little girl to give it a try,” warning that children might be “forced to at least once experience homosexual acts,” and that’s why gays must be thrown in jail – according to his, uh, observations, around one in four gay men have sex with children “as part of their sexual repertoire.” The evidence he appealed to in this case was about as solid as the evidence on which he draws his other ”scientific” conclusions.

Cameron has been involved in a multitude of court cases, and– campaigns against gay-rights initiatives in various states (though he complained that the defenders of Proposition 8 in California didn’t use his ”research”). As a result of his efforts he was interviewed in the film Brüno (2009). His suggestions for how to remove homosexuality from society also appear to be, well, somewhat disconcerting.

His son Kirk is also involved in the FRI, but bears no relation (kindred spirits, perhaps), to Ray Comfort’s more famous sidekick.

Diagnosis: Quite simply a bad person who has decided that he needs some numbers to augment his bigotry, and who applies careful confirmation bias to get them. Arch-denialist and one of the least credible ”scholars” of the last century (hat tip: Dispatches). Dangerous.


  1. Well, look at no 554 blog, well there is bias, and the man should state his case, if he is a real Cameron

  2. Cameron was enraged when Marvin Olasky recently dared criticized that harsh anti-gay law in Uganda, and did so in the most ridiculously bigoted manner imaginable. But then, Cameron is open to instituting the death penalty for being gay. Seriously.