Rushton and Racial Research

John Mcreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Mon, 31 Oct 1994 08:29:30 JST

Rushton writes,

"So, why study race? To explain the obvious differences that exist."

One must, of course, respect academic freedom and the right to study something
"because it's there." (Sir Edmund Hillary on why climb Mt. Everest)

It is, however, a broadly accepted principle in biological and human research
that researchers forgo experiments that endanger their subjects. When this
principle is violated, the reason offered is usually the "greater good" --of
humanity, for example--as when lab rats are sacrificed to discover a vaccine
against a contagious disease. In these cases the notion of "greater good"
involves a hierarchy. In the case of the rats, human beings are held to be more
valuable than rodents.

What, then, is the greater good in pursuing--and publishing--research on race
and IQ in a world in which racial prejudice is at least as obvious a danger as
the "obvious differences" that exist between the race? Why should it not be
equated, for example, with military research that uses human subjects to
determine the effectiveness of weapons and damned accordingly regardless of its
scientific validity--or lack thereof?

Is the purpose to eliminate special treatment for certain racial groups? In
this case, is taken-for-granted privilege to be treated less harshly than
privilege deliberately provided by law?

If the point is to ensure equal opportunity for all people with high IQs to
rise to the top, isn't race a red herring?

If the point is to segregate by IQ in the interest of the state or "the good
of all," where is the justice in prejudging black genius or white or yellow
idiocy--both of which exist in ample measure?

Or is the point, perhaps, to to develop a system in which the races are
segregated and those defined as less able are controlled by their "betters"?

Can we be clear about this?

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)