How heritability misleads about race

Boston Review 20 (6):30-35 (1996)
Abstract
According to The Bell Curve , Black Americans are genetically inferior to Whites. That's not the only point in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's book. They also argue that there is something called "general intelligence" which is measured by IQ tests, socially important, and 60 percent "heritable" within whites. (I'll explain heritability below.) But the claim about genetic inferiority is my target here. It has been subject to wide-ranging criticism since the book was first published last year. Those criticisms, however, have missed its deepest flaws. Indeed, the Herrnstein/Murray argument depends on conceptual confusions that have been tacitly accepted to some degree by many of the book's sharpest critics.
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