In 1976, the Genetics Society of America published a document entitled “Resolution of Genetics, Race, and Intelligence.” This document laid out the Society’s position in the IQ controversy, particularly that on scientific and ethical questions involving the genetics of intellectual differences between human populations. Since the GSA was the largest scientific society of geneticists in the world, many expected the document to be of central importance in settling the controversy. Unfortunately, the Resolution had surprisingly little influence on the discussion. In (...) 1979, William Provine analyzed the possible factors that decreased the impact of the Resolution, among them scientists’ limited understanding of the relationship between science and ethics. Through the analysis of unpublished versions of the Resolution and exchanges between GSA members, I will suggest that the limited impact of the statement likely depended on a shift in the aims of the GSA due to the controversies that surrounded the preparation of the document. Indeed, the demands of the membership made it progressively more impartial in both scientific and political terms, decreasing its potential significance for a wider audience. Notably, the troubled history of the Resolution raises the question of what can make effective or ineffective the communication between scientists and the public—a question with resonance in past and present discussions on topics of social importance. (shrink)
In a very short time, it is likely that we will identify many of the genetic variants underlying individual differences in intelligence. We should be prepared for the possibility that these variants are not distributed identically among all geographic populations, and that this explains some of the phenotypic differences in measured intelligence among groups. However, some philosophers and scientists believe that we should refrain from conducting research that might demonstrate the (partly) genetic origin of group differences in IQ. Many scholars (...) view academic interest in this topic as inherently morally suspect or even racist. The majority of philosophers and social scientists take it for granted that all population differences in intelligence are due to environmental factors. The present paper argues that the widespread practice of ignoring or rejecting research on intelligence differences can have unintended negative consequences. Social policies predicated on environmentalist theories of group differences may fail to achieve their aims. Large swaths of academic work in both the humanities and social sciences assume the truth of environmentalism and are vulnerable to being undermined. We have failed to work through the moral implications of group differences to prepare for the possibility that they will be shown to exist. (shrink)
This letter addresses the editorial decision to publish the article, “Research on group differences in intelligence: A defense of free inquiry” (Cofnas, 2020). Our letter points out several critical problems with Cofnas's article, which we believe should have either disqualified the manuscript upon submission or been addressed during the review process and resulted in substantial revisions.
This chapter aims to expand the body of empirical literature considered relevant to virtue theory beyond the burned-over districts that are the situationist challenges to virtue ethics and epistemology. We thus raise a rather simple-sounding question: why doesn’t virtue epistemology have an account of intelligence? In the first section, we sketch the history and present state of the person-situation debate to argue for the importance of an interactionist framework in bringing psychological research in general, and intelligence research in particular, to (...) bear on questions of virtue. In Section 2, we discuss the history and present state of intelligence research to argue for its relevance to virtue epistemology. In Section 3, we argue that intelligence sits uneasily in both responsibilist and reliabilist virtue frameworks, which suggests that a new approach to virtue epistemology is needed. We conclude by placing intelligence within a new interactionist framework. (shrink)
This chapter has two main goals: to update philosophers on the state of the art in the scientific psychology of intelligence, and to explain and evaluate challenges to the measurement invariance of intelligence tests. First, we provide a brief history of the scientific psychology of intelligence. Next, we discuss the metaphysics of intelligence in light of scientific studies in psychology and neuroimaging. Finally, we turn to recent skeptical developments related to measurement invariance. These have largely focused on attributability: Where do (...) the mechanisms and dispositions that explain people’s performance on tests of intelligence inhere – in the agent, in the local testing environment, in the culture, or in the interactions among these? After explaining what measurement invariance is in the context of intelligence testing, we explore the phenomenon of stereotype threat as a challenge to measurement invariance, as well as more recent work on overcoming or buffering against stereotype threat. (shrink)
Some prominent scientists and philosophers have stated openly that moral and political considerations should influence whether we accept or promulgate scientific theories. This widespread view has significantly influenced the development, and public perception, of intelligence research. Theories related to group differences in intelligence are often rejected a priori on explicitly moral grounds. Thus the idea, frequently expressed by commentators on science, that science is “self-correcting”—that hypotheses are simply abandoned when they are undermined by empirical evidence—may not be correct in all (...) contexts. In this paper, documentation spanning from the early 1970s to the present is collected, which reveals the influence of scientists’ moral and political commitments on the study of intelligence. It is suggested that misrepresenting findings in science to achieve desirable social goals will ultimately harm both science and society. (shrink)
Following Snyderman and Rothman, we surveyed expert opinions on the current state of intelligence research. This report examines expert opinions on causes of international differences in student assessment and psychometric IQ test results. Experts were surveyed about the importance of culture, genes, education, wealth, health, geography, climate, politics, modernization, sampling error, test knowledge, discrimination, test bias, and migration. The importance of these factors was evaluated for diverse countries, regions, and groups including Finland, East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Europe, the Arabian-Muslim (...) world, Latin America, Israel, Jews in the West, Roma, and Muslim immigrants. Education was rated by N = 71 experts as the most important cause of international ability differences. Genes were rated as the second most relevant factor but also had the highest variability in ratings. Culture, health, wealth, modernization, and politics were the next most important factors, whereas other factors such as geography, climate, test bias, and sampling error were less important. The paper concludes with a discussion of limitations of the survey. (shrink)
Some authors defending the “hereditarian” hypothesis with respect to differences in average IQ scores between populations have argued that the sorts of environmental variation hypothesized by some researchers rejecting the hereditarian position should leave discoverable statistical traces, namely changes in the overall variance of scores or in variance–covariance matrices relating scores to other variables. In this paper, I argue that the claims regarding the discoverability of such statistical signals are broadly mistaken—there is no good reason to suspect that the hypothesized (...) environmental causes would leave detectable traces of the sorts suggested. As there remains no way to gather evidence that would permit the direct refutation of the environmental hypotheses, and no direct evidence for the hereditarian position, it remains the case, I argue, that the hereditarian position is unsupported by current evidence. (shrink)
For decades, intelligence and achievement tests have registered significant differences between people of different races, ethnicities, classes, and genders. We argue that most of these differences are explained not as reflections of differences in the distribution of intellectual virtues but as evidence for the metacognitive mediation of the intellectual virtues. For example, in the United States, blacks typically score worse than whites on tests of mathematics. This might lead one to think that fewer blacks possess the relevant intellectual virtues, or (...) that they possess them less fully. However, research on stereotype threat shows that when blacks are not reminded of their race, they do much better on these tests than when they are. Simply raising to salience the race of the student triggers the activation of the stereotype, which in turn leads to poorer performance. However, learning about stereotype threat to a large extent immunizes people against it. This suggests that the psycho-social dimension of intelligence that recognizes the possibility of effects like stereotype threat is a crucial mediating variable in the development and expression of the intellectual virtues. The Socratic, “Know thyself” needs to be expanded to, “Know thyself and thy society.” Self-knowledge and knowledge of relevant stereotypes are a necessary condition for optimal development and expression of the other intellectual virtues. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes three concepts of "race": bio-genomic cluster/race, biological race, and social race. We map out realism, antirealism, and conventionalism about each of these, in three important historical episodes: Frank Livingstone and Theodosius Dobzhansky in 1962, A.W.F. Edwards' 2003 response to Lewontin (1972), and contemporary discourse. Semantics is especially crucial to the first episode, while normativity is central to the second. Upon inspection, each episode also reveals a variety of commitments to the metaphysics of race. We conclude by interrogating (...) the relevance of these scientific discussions for political positions and a post-racial future. (shrink)
Political imputations in science are notoriously a tricky business. I addressed this issue in the context of the nature–nurture debate in the penultimate chapter of my book Making Sense of Heritability (Cambridge U. P. 2005). Although the book mainly dealt with the logic of how one should think about heritability of psychological differences, it also discussed the role of politics in our efforts to understand the dynamics of that controversy. I first argued that if a scholar publicly defends a certain (...) view (say, hereditarianism) in the debate about IQ, race and genetics this fact alone cannot justify attributing a political motivation to that person. But then later I suggested that the pressure of political correctness could explain some peculiarities of the contemporary controversy about the heritability of group differences in IQ. Several reviewers of my book raised a tu quoque objection. Am I not doing here the same thing that I condemn others for? (shrink)
To consider blackness and cognitive disability together is paradoxical. On one hand, supposed black intellectual deficit has been used by white elites as a justification for antiblack oppression. On the other, both black children who are struggling in school and black adults labeled with developmental disabilities are less likely than their white counterparts to access the best support services available. These problems cut across a commonly drawn—but, I argue, erroneous—divide between the “judgment” categories of mild cognitive impairment into which black (...) children are disproportionately placed and the “organic” categories of severe cognitive impairment. This division is itself part of the contemporary collective denial of the racialized history and construction of our notion of intellect that ends up harming black Americans. (shrink)
Raven10 years in Mexico. The mean IQs in relation to a British mean of 100 obtained from the 1979 British standardization sample and adjusted for the estimated subsequent increase were: 98·0 for whites, 94·3 for Mestizos and 83·3 for Native Mexican Indians.
The Standard Progressive Matrices test was standardized in Estonia on a representative sample of 4874 schoolchildren aged from 7 to 19 years. When the IQ of Estonian children was expressed in relation to British and Icelandic norms, both demonstrated a similar sigmoid relationship. The youngest Estonian group scored higher than the British and Icelandic norms: after first grade, the score fell below 100 and remained lower until age 12, and after that age it increased above the mean level of these (...) two comparison countries. The difference between the junior school children and the secondary school children may be due to schooling, sampling error or different trajectories of intellectual maturation in different populations. Systematic differences in the growth pattern suggest that the development of intellectual capacities proceeds at different rates and the maturation process can take longer in some populations than in others. (shrink)
Data from magnetic resonance imaging, autopsy, endocranial measurements, and other techniques show that: brain size correlates 0.40 with cognitive ability; average brain size varies by race; and average cognitive ability varies by race. These results are as replicable as one will find in the social and behavioral sciences. They pose serious problems for Rose 's claim that reductionistic science is inadequate, inefficient, and/or unproductive.
Philosophers of science widely believe that the hereditarian theory about racial differences in IQ is based on methodological mistakes and confusions involving the concept of heritability. I argue that this "received view" is wrong: methodological criticisms popular among philosophers are seriously misconceived, and the discussion in philosophy of science about these matters is largely disconnected from the real, empirically complex issues debated in science.
City College of New York The hereditarian theory of race differences in IQ was briefly revived with the appearance of The Bell Curve but then quickly dismissed. The authors attempt a defense of it here, with an eye to conceptual and logical issues of special interests to philosophers, such as alleged infirmities in the heritability concept. At the same time, some relevant post-Bell Curve empirical data are introduced.
Ashley Montagu, who first attacked the term "race" as a usable concept in his acclaimed work, Man's Most Dangerous Myth, offers here a devastating rebuttal to those who would claim any link between race and intelligence. In now classic essays, this thought-provoking volume critically examines the terms "race" and "IQ" and their applications in scientific discourse. The twenty-four contributors--including such eminent thinkers as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Urie Bronfenbrenner, W.F. Bodmer, and Jerome Kagan--draw on fields that range from biology (...) and genetics to psychology, anthropology, and education. What emerges in piece after piece is a deep skepticism about the scientific validity of intelligence tests, especially as applied to evaluating innate intelligence, if only because scientists still cannot distinguish between genetic and environmental contributions to the development of the human mind. Five new essays have been included that specifically address the claims made in the recent, highly controversial book, The Bell Curve. Must reading for anyone interested in racism and education in America, Race and IQ is a brilliantly lucid exploration of the boundary line between race and intelligence. (shrink)
The Bell Curve aims to establish a set of causal claims. I argue that the methodology of The Bell Curve is typical of much of contemporary social science and is intrinsically defective. I claim better methods are available for causal inference from observational data, but that those methods would yield no causal conclusions from the data used in the formal analyses in The Bell Curve. Against the laissez-faire social policies advocated in the book, I claim that when combined with common (...) sense and other information, the informal data mustered in The Bell Curve support a range of "liberal" social policies. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
"The classic and recent essays gathered here will challenge scholars in the natural sciences, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and women’s studies to examine the role of racism in the construction and application of the sciences. Harding... has also created a useful text for diverse classroom settings." —Library Journal "A rich lode of readily accessible thought on the nature and practice of science in society. Highly recommended." —Choice "This is an excellent collection of essays that should prove useful in a wide range (...) of STS courses." —Science, Technology, and Society "... important and provocative... "—The Women’s Review of Books "The timeliness and utility of this large interdisciplinary reader on the relation of Western science to other cultures and to world history can hardly be overemphasized. It provides a tremendous resource for teaching and for research... "—Ethics "Excellent." —The Reader’s Review "Sandra Harding is an intellectually fearless scholar. She has assembled a bold, impressive collection of essays to make a volume of illuminating power. This brilliantly edited book is essential reading for all who seek understanding of the multicultural debates of our age. Never has a book been more timely." —Darlene Clark Hine These authors dispute science’s legitimation of culturally approved definitions of race difference—including craniology and the measurement of IQ, the notorious Tuskegee syphilis experiments, and the dependence of Third World research on First World agendas. (shrink)
Freedom of scientific enquiry must be distinguished from freedom to communicate scientific results. The former demands freedom for scientists to communicate among one another, without which progress is hampered, but not, in itself, freedom to communicate conclusions to the public. The latter freedom may be taken as resting on a general principle of free speech, or, more specifically, on the right of all members of society to knowledge gained by that society, especially by means of public expenditure: it is not (...) to be viewed as resting on the superior rationality of scientists as individuals. More important than knowledge are the social and practical consequences of scientific research, of which the most striking example is that of nuclear weapons; we may assume that the net practical effects of research will be, perhaps increasingly, disastrous. The social consequence, and the liability of scientists to prejudice, may both be illustrated by work on IQ and its genetic determination. Adequate safeguards are impossible; but some discouragement of what seems likely to be socially or practically malign Hnes of research may be exercised by relatively autonomous bodies in control of State funding. (shrink)
The first edition of The Mismeasure of Man appeared in 1981 and was quickly praised in the popular press as a definitive refutation of 100 years of scientific work on race, brain-size and intelligence. It sold 125,000 copies, was translated into 10 languages, and became required reading for undergraduate and even graduate classes in anthropology, psychology, and sociology. The second edition is not truly revised, but rather only expanded, as the author claims the book needed no updating as any new (...) research would only be plagued with the same philosophical errors revealed in the first edition. Thus it continues a political polemic, whose author engages in character assassination of long deceased scientists whose work he misrepresents despite published refutations, while studiously witholding from his readers fifteen years of new research that contradicts every major scientific argument he puts forth. Specific attention in this review are given to the following topics: the relationship between brain size and IQ, the importance of the scientific contributions of Sir Francis Galton, S. G. Morton, H. H. Goddard, and Sir Cyril Burt, the role of early IQ testers in determining U.S. immigration policy, The Bell Curve controversy and the reality of g, race /sex/social class differences in brain size and IQ, Cesare Lombroso and the genetic basis of criminal behavior, between-group heritabilities, inter-racial adoption studies, and IQ why evolutionary theory predicts group differences, and the extent to which Gould's political ideology has affected his scientific work. (shrink)
We are addressing this letter to the editors of Philosophical Psychology after reading an article they decided to publish in the recent vol. 33, issue 1. The article is by Nathan Cofnas and is entitled “Research on group differences in intelligence: A defense of free inquiry” (2020). The purpose of our letter is not to invite Cofnas’s contribution into a broader dialogue, but to respectfully voice our concerns about the decision to publish the manuscript, which, in our opinion, fails to (...) meet a range of academic quality standards usually expected of academic publications. (shrink)