Arkiv

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


Curveball
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


Dispirited
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

B

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