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Prophet or Pervert, He Still Stirs Passion

November 28, 2004|Stephen S. Stromberg

Admirers

"What [Kinsey] managed to do was to put together a group of people who could do this kind of interviewing ... a way of talking about sex relatively objectively, or at least in terms of the objectivity that science gives you."

-- John Gagnon, coauthor of "Sexual Conduct: The Social Sources of Human Sexuality" and "The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States"

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"Kinsey really did ... a groundbreaking piece of work in terms of opening up the field of sex research and undercutting many of the stereotypes that middle-class American society held about itself....[His] research and the publicity it generated opened up a debate and a discussion about sexuality that had been closed off.... It also emphasized the importance of sexual diversity, and it called into question some of the stereotypes about 'normal' sexuality."

-- Richard Parker, chairman of the department of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

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"The important thing to remember about Kinsey's work is that it was done in the '40s. It was collected in the '40s and designed in the '40s.... It was the first big try ... to get as many people as possible.... I don't see the data to support that Kinsey is responsible for all sorts of changes in how permissive the United States is about sexuality nor how restrictive and parochial it is.... For a whole variety of reasons, the United States was already changing when Kinsey's data was starting to be published."

-- Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction

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Detractors

"Kinsey used bona fide pedophiles.... [His] legacy [is one] of massive venereal disease, of broken hearts and broken souls.... Kinsey and his disciples ... have prevailed with massive sexual ignorance in the guise of sexual freedom.... [W]e are more enslaved than we ever were."

-- Judith Reisman, coauthor of "Kinsey, Sex and Fraud" and author of "Kinsey: Crimes & Consequences"

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"When Kinsey classifies any woman who lived with a man one year or more as a married woman because he couldn't find enough married women who would talk about their sex lives, that's junk science, that's misrepresenting the sample.... What Kinsey was doing was using science to validate his own perverse desires and activities.... [His] legacy was to validate abortion, promote homosexuality as normal, to mainstream pornography and to give people an excuse to feel good about doing something wrong."

-- Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute at Concerned Women for America

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"Alfred Kinsey was a moral revolutionary in scientist's clothing. The science was bad, even bogus; the man himself may now be forgotten, but the revolution came to stay, with a vengeance. Kinsey's message -- fornicate early, fornicate often, fornicate in every possible way -- became the mantra of a sex-ridden age, our age, now desperate for a reformation of its own."

-- Joseph Epstein, author of "Snobbery: The American Version" and a contributor to Commentary magazine

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-- Compiled by Stephen S. Stromberg

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