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

CU Student (
Sun, 15 Dec 1996 04:09:27 -0700

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

At least one book of criticism I know was published, edited by Jacoby;
his first name escapes me just now, but he gained some notice for his book a
few years ago entitled "the last intellectual," about the decline of the
New York (!!!) publ;ic intelectual -- as tho they're all who mattered. (I
he tought intellectual history at UC - Berkley, or else was from some NY

Yopu'll find Stephen Jay Gould's "important" one from _The New York Review
of Books_ It's systematic, but misses the point: most psych testing
experts do regard "G" -- or IQ -- as measurable, and a significant
variable between the races. (The Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed
column signed by many in the field of psych testing, including Prof Lyken,
researcher of the last Univ. of Minnesota twin studies that found IQ to be
a more heritable trait than not -- I think it was published in the Fall of

Any way, <National Review> published an entire issue criticising _The Bell
Curve_. Several interesting critical notices in it are missing -- and
ought to have been included in Jacoby -- including on I remember from
Philosopher Loren Lamasky -- I'd call it a libertarian one, which says,
(in effect, since the measurements are so depressing and contestable),
"let's compete!" Black's have the lowest rate of business formation of any
American ethnic groups -- that's tragic, and must be addressed.

My view? No one seems to notice the upside, (if we grant the Bell Curves
thesis): Since Asians' IQ is superior to caucasians, why don't caucasians
go to
Asia to study higher education and business instead of the reverse?
The fact that Asians come to America and Europe to study seems to indicate
that culture matters, after all! In our case, an open, even anarchical
political-economy that's generated the hugely successful industry of
science and the industrial revolution -- based on the testing and
falsification of knowledge-products, and the systematic replication of

Somehow science has flourished more in the West -- and I need not add that
even tiny Holland has trumped Japan in Nobel prizes; Why?

The inference? Culture matters -- culture can even outweigh group IQ!
Perhaps the correct conclusion to draw is not that Bell Curve proponents
are racist but that Black people are more vulnerable to the negative
effects of cultural erosion!

This is in line with current orthodoxy over welfare and the family, as well as
Murray's earlier work of the Welfare State!


-- Orson Olson, Univ. of Colorado