IS THE BASIS for America's sex education completely wrong? A conservative group believes so, citing the fact that the father of America's sexual revolution relied on a pedophile for his conclusions about children.
WASHINGTON - Half a century ago, Alfred Kinsey, the father of American sex research, published a report that revolutionized sexual mores.
In the last week, the director of the Kinsey Institute revealed that Kinsey's conclusions on the sexuality of young children were based not on scientific study but on the secret history of a single pedophile who kept a diary of his experiences with 317 pre-adolescent boys.
Now a conservative think tank argues that America's sexual revolution is based on a fraud and must be reversed.
No Kinsey, no sex education, the Family Research Council says. If man is not a sexual animal from the beginning, why teach children about condoms?
John Bancroft, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University in Bloomington, made the "clarification" about Kinsey's methods.
It came after a press conference at which Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, called Kinsey a fraud who used pedophiles to molest children for studies that should now be considered tainted.
Stockman then introduced a bill, the Child Protection and Ethics Act (HR 2749), that would investigate whether Kinsey's 1949 reports were the result of fraud or criminal wrongdoing. One lawmaker from Washington state, Rep. Linda Smith, R-Hazel Dell, is among the bill's 40 cosponsors.
Pedophile's "careful notes" used
In "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," the first major attempt to measure scientifically the range of human sexuality, Kinsey included two tables documenting pre-adolescent sexual experience. The findings were "an important substantiation of the Freudian view of sexuality as a component that is present in the human animal from earliest infancy," Kinsey wrote.
But Bancroft said "the material in the tables came from one man, an extraordinary man with incredible numbers of sexual experiences on which he kept very careful notes."
Nowhere does the Kinsey report reveal that its conclusions on the sexual capacity of a sample of 317 young boys are based solely on evidence provided by one man, and nowhere does the report reveal that the man was a pedophile - or, as Bancroft calls him, "an omniphile, an extraordinarily active man."
Kinsey's text is more than a little evasive on the source of his data. He says that nine of his "sources" observed pre-adolescents having orgasms, and adds, "Some of these adults are technically trained persons who have kept diaries." In fact, Bancroft said, there were not nine sources but just the one, and that man's training was in forestry.
He speculated that Kinsey kept the facts to himself thinking the public might not react well to his use of data from a sex criminal. "How valid this information is, obviously one could argue about now," Bancroft said.
Call to rewrite sex education
The Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C., group dedicated to restoring "family values," seeks to show that Kinsey's methods utterly discredit his theories of human sexuality, in turn destroying the foundation of contemporary attitudes toward sex education, sex outside marriage and tolerance of homosexuality.
Stockman's questioning stems from the writings of Judith Reisman, an independent researcher who has campaigned for 14 years against the Kinsey findings, arguing they cannot describe normal sexual behavior because they are based on evidence collected in good measure from prison inmates.
"If the public learns the truth," she said, "the `sexperts' in the field of human sexuality and the sex industry will be shaken to its foundations. . . . Whole shelves of books will have to be rewritten. Both public and religious schools will have to discard their sex ed courses. Lucrative public grants will dry up."
The council earlier this year produced a related documentary, "The Children of Table 34." The title refers to a chart in the Kinsey report labeled "Examples of multiple orgasm in pre-adolescent males."
The video opens with actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. standing in a courtroom, intoning heavily: "What would you think if you learned that some of the most important scientific research of the century may have been based on fraud, or if not fraud, criminal experimentation on children funded by the taxpayer?"
Looking for the victims
As for the pedophile - who was not paid - he is catalogued at the Kinsey Institute under a pseudonym, that could be decoded but will not be if Bancroft has anything to do with it. "The man is long dead. He died around 1955."
"This whole thing is a totally spurious attack," Bancroft insisted. "The idea that the writings of one man is the total basis of sexual education in the United States is total nonsense. These are old allegations that have been answered. It's been taken up as a way of attacking sexual education and nothing more."
Stockman called the Kinsey research "an affront to humanity," but he shied away from embracing entirely the message of his guests at the news conference. Asked whether any discrediting of Kinsey's work should invalidate sex education in schools, Stockman took a step back, paused, and said, "That's another whole area. Right now we want to be looking for the victims."
The emphasis on the victims of the pedophile is the dramatic core of the Family Research Council video, in which a psychologist pleads for those children to come forward. None ever has.
Bancroft predicted no one would ever find out which children were involved, because no one but the pedophile ever knew. The institute itself, Bancroft said, "has never carried out sexual experiments on children."