Breaking the Last Taboo
Thomas J. Bouchard

Academic Nazism
Steven J. Rosenthal

A Cartoon Elite
Nicholas Lemann

Acting smart
James Q. Wilson

Common knowledge
Michael Barone

Methodological fetishism
Brigitte Berger

How the Left betrayed I.Q.
Adrian Wooldridge

The Attack on The Bell Curve
Richard Lynn

IQ since The Bell Curve
Christopher Chabris

The Emergence of a Cognitive Elite
Volkmar Weiss

Cracked Bell
James J. Heckman

The Bell Curve and its Critics
Charles Murray

Stephen Jay Gould

The Bell Curve
David Lethbridge

Deeper into the Brain
Charles Murray

The Return of Determinism? The Pseudoscience of the Bell Curve
Rajiv Rawat

Soft Science With a Neoconservative Agenda
Donald D. Dorfman

IQ and Economic Success
Charles Murray

Egalitarian Fiction and Collective Fraud
Linda S. Gottfredson

Ethnicity and IQ
Thomas Sowell

The Bell Curve
Chester Finn

IQ Fight Renewed
Anthony Flint

Foretelling The Bell Curve
Daniel Seligman

For Whom The Bell Curve Tolls
Frank Miel

When facts and orthodoxy collide
Craig Frisby

Cracking Open the IQ Box
Howard Gardner

Race, Genes and I.Q.
Herrnstein, Richard and Murray, Charles

Genius of genes
Pallab Ghosh

A Reply to Charles Murray
Heckman, James J.; Kamin, Leon J.; Lane, Charles; Lewis, Lloyd B.; Loury, Linda Datcher; Nisbett, Ri

Riding "The Bell Curve"
Ernest R. House and Carolyn Haug

How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?
Arthur R. Jensen

The Intelligence Of Nations
Philippe Rushton

Is intelligence fixed?
Nathan Glazer

IQ will put you in your place
Charles Murray

Paroxysms of denial
Arthur R. Jensen

Intelligence and the social scientist
Leon Kass

Obscuring the Message and Killing the Messenger
Pat Duffy Hutcheon

Commentary on some of the empirical and theoretical support for The Bell Curve
John Kranzler

Legacy of racism
Pat Shipman

Aim higher
Barbara Lerner

Living with inequality
Eugene D. Genovese

Meritocracy that works
Loren E. Lomasky

Glenn C. Loury

Mainstream Science on Intelligence

Moral intelligence
Michael Young

Murdering the Bell Curve
Ann Coulter

Going public
Richard John Neuhaus

The Ominous, New Cognitive Elite
Charles Murray

The Bell Curve
Francois Nielsen

Not hopeless
Ernest Van den Haag

Sins of the cognitive elite
Michael Novak

Robert Siegel Interviews Charles Murray

The Bell Curve: Some implications for the discipline of school psychology
Thomas Oakland

Some Recent Overlooked Research On The Bell Curve
Arthur Jensen

The Bell Curve
E.L. Pattullo

Race, I.Q., American Society and Charles Murray

Race, IQ, Success and Charles Murray

Does IQ Matter?

Interview With Robert Sternberg

Scientific American Debunks
Leon J. Kamin

The Bell Curve
Sandra Scarr

Is the Bell Curve Statistically Sound?
James Case

Is The Bell Curve the stealth public-policy book of the 1990s?
Charles Murray and Daniel Seligman

The General Intelligence Factor
Linda S. Gottfredson

For Whom The Bell Curve Tolls
Frank Miele

A Conversation with Charles Murray

Trashing 'The Bell Curve'
David Seligman

Freedom, Welfare and Dystopia
Charles Murray

Obscuring the Message and Killing the Messenger

Pat Duffy Hutcheon


y any conceivable criterion, Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray have produced in The Bell Curve (New York: Free Press, 1994 ) an educational work of prodigious scholarship. At the very least their book should be valued as a compendium of vitally important information on what is actually happening to intelligence and class structure in the late twentieth-century United States. For its political significance alone The Bell Curve deserves careful perusal and thoughtful assessment. However, judging by the prevailing tenor of the emotionally charged reviews in the popular press, the initial response amounted, instead, to a confused clamor of indignant ad hominem attacks on the authors.
Perhaps such a response was inevitable. Perhaps Herrnstein and Murray unwittingly obscured their central message by presenting the concepts of intelligence and class within the framework of ethnicity. But it is difficult, today, for an honest social critic to avoid that explosive subject. More and more Americans are choosing to define themselves in terms of minority-group membership. And, increasingly, each group's members define themselves according to observable indicators of ethnic heritage such as skin color. But Herrstein and Murray are not among those who seek to exaggerate the importance of bloodlines and mystical ancestral "spirit" as defining criteria of citizenship. On the contrary, they make it plain throughout their book that they support a political/social system based on justice for individuals--regardless of ethnic roots. Clearly they are alarmed at the prospect of the balkanization of the United States' citizenry. In fact, they are attempting to sound a warning about the shoals ahead, for any

society embarking on that suicidal course.
Ironically, however, the authors have inadvertently obscured their real message by falling in line with "politically correct" terminology. They chose to accept the currently established categorization of Americans by skin color, and then proceeded to draw comparisons among those categories in terms of the average intelligence of the individuals assigned to them. This may be legitimate as a statistical exercise, but whether or not their findings are meaningful within the American setting is another question entirely. The results of such an analysis are only valid and reliable to the degree that the original categorization was in fact derived from real and discrete differences both in genetic inheritance and in early childhood cultural influences which, together, determine intelligence.
The majority of those who define themselves as "black," "white," "Latino," "aboriginal," or "Asian" in North America today are so genetically mixed, and so socialized from birth into the media-generated American culture, that the labels have meaning almost entirely in political terms. Any cross-group comparison of average scores is likely to tell us more about the recent history of the groups in question than about what one might expect of specific members. The mean IQ of a group reveals nothing about the range of ability encompassed, nor of the probability that a given person will be in the upper or lower percentiles of measured ability. In fact, the major--and predictable--result of average group IQ scores is the encouragement of unwarranted prejudgments of individuals on the basis of largely irrelevant criteria.
One could argue that Herrnstein and Murray have done more harm than good to their cause by accepting conventional wisdom to the extent that they have and employing scientifically invalid (and socially divisive) categories in