The Two-Parent Heresy

The Atlantic’s cover story exposes what academia and the media have tried to suppress: Children need their parents.

The April cover of the Atlantic provocatively shouted, “Dan Quayle Was Right.” The issue quickly disappeared off the racks. And well it should. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s synthesis of contemporary research on the decline of the American family should be required reading for all Americans. Despite academia’s and the media’s view that “the changes in family structure are, on balance, positive,” Whitehead reports that the tide of scientific evidence shows otherwise: the decline of the two biological-parent family is extracting a horrific toll on our nation’s children.

Christians have good reason for being suspicious of social-science research. In the field of sexuality, for example, the work of Alfred Kinsey now stands as a powerful example of ideological biases leading to poor research methods, which, in turn, generate fallacious results. Studies on the effectiveness of sex-education and family-planning programs have declared their success in fostering effective “birth control,” leading many to think such programs decrease unwanted pregnancies and premarital sex. In reality, these programs manage to control births by increasing the use of abortion to “terminate pregnancies.” Social-science research is particularly vulnerable to distortion in pursuit of ideological agendas, and the landmark Atlantic cover story is a case study of how that happens.

Whitehead ties the steady decline of marriage in America to three assumptions, which took hold in the sixties: that women could afford financially to be mothers without the support of a husband, that divorce caused no significant permanent harm to children, ...

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