Re: The Bell Curve (was: Suppression of Sociobiology)

Robert S. Carlsen (
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 14:43:59 -0700

I highly suggest Stephen Jay Gould's critique of the Bell Curve (The New
Yorker 11/28/94) titled Curveball. Other good sources are Michael Lieber's
Chicago Tribune article (10/23/94) titled An Anthropological Look at Race
and Inteligence and Leon Kamin's Scientific American (February 1995)
bookreview titled behind the curve.

The race/i.q. part of the Bell Curve has 3 premises:
1). There exists a precise intelectual component €g€ that can be
measured w/o bias. (It is therefore capable of ranking people
in linear order)
2). That component is genetically based and largely immutable
3). It correlates with €race.€
Quite simply, if any of these three premises are flawed, the entire
race/i.q. argument falls apart. As the articles cited above demonstrate,
all three of these premises are highly suspect and probably entirely

Robert Carlsen
Department of Anthropology
University of Colorado at Boulder

In article <>,
(Ted) wrote:

> omar shafey ( wrote:
> : Sociobiology is alive, well and as dangerous as ever because it is used to
> : mask social injustice by attributing social inequality to natural biology.
> : Note the popularity of the _The Bell Curve_.
> Speaking of _The Bell Curve_... :) I'm currently reading it, and I'm
> wondering if anyone knows of any good critiques that they could recommend.
> I'm not looking for 'political' criticisms so much as in-depth analyses of
> the book's premises and logic. No polemics either way, please... And
> thanks in advance.
> Ted