Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Marty G. Price (mprice@Ra.MsState.Edu)
Sat, 17 Aug 1996 08:43:49 -0500

On Fri, 16 Aug 1996, William Edward Woody wrote:

[snipped body]

Excellent post!
> Science and Logical Positivism can be abused by those whose cultural
> assumptions aren't the multicultural, gender and race bias-free
> world we live in. Witness "The Bell Curve."

Brief addendum: How bad was _The Bell Curve_? And what does it say about
the potential for having "bad science" be taken seriously?

Skip the run of responses (there was a cottage industry of responses to
_The Bell Curve_). Skip the fact that Gould's pop book _The Mismeasure of
Man_ documented the demolishing of the argument years before the book
appeared. Go instead to professional literature.

There exists, in a psychology journal, (sorry, don't have the citation; if
asked I'll get it) a book review by Robert Sternberg which consists of,
basically, a list of instances in which _The Bell Curve_ writers used
partial data, selectively included only data which matched their
assumptions, and separated data from the (far different) conclusions of
original researchers. It is not a short review (nor, obviously, a short

True, _The Bell Curve_ is on the level of _Time_ magazine, not real
science. But the general public gets its information from these
math-free, summary type sources; our viewpoints are often molded, not by
the little errors & triumphs of lab scientists, but by the fat
generalizations (&/or misrepresentations) of pop writers.

Opps---I'm straying & this "brief addendum" has turned into a day on the
soapbox. Sorry, folks.

Blessed Be,