Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor



Not Scientific Quality

Robert B. Griffiths 
Physics Department Carnegie-Mellon University 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

From: JASA 32 (September 1980): 190.

I was quite disappointed in the article on "The Biblically-Oriented Family: A Reassessment" in the March 1980 issue of Journal ASA. It seems to me that research of the sort carried out by the four authors has some potential value, but it needs to be properly written up for publication. Several features of the article serve to confuse the reader. While one certainly would not ask to have all 88 items of the questionnaire included in the article, a few samples would be of great assistance. As it is, I find it very hard to figure out from what is written down the sort of data which were obtained. The section of the article labeled "Significance of Results" is quite obscure, in part because of the absence of a clear statement of what type of information was obtained in the questionnaire. In claiming to have discovered some "law-like propositions," have the authors done more than conclude that there are some correlations between beliefs and behavior? It is hard for me to see why even within the social sciences such a result should be dignified by the term "law." The section of the article labeled "Unexpected Demographic Observations" would be of some value had the authors ccompared the results they obtained for "biblically-oriented families" with comparable information for the control groups. The absence of the latter, without any excuse given for its omission, is inexcusable for a scientific article. If the authors were short of space, they could have omitted the final section on "The Working Wife," which seems to he the sort of philosophizing which needs to be tested against hard data, or at least the best data one can obtain, But not a word is said as to whether the statistical information the authors acquired lends support to their philosophical position, or the degree to which it is or is not supported by other sociological studies.