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I talked with Rutgers University professor of anthropology R. Brian Ferguson about Steven Pinker, Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, anthropo...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Charles Murray denies the influence of Richard Lynn and J. P. Rushton on The Bell Curve

Pinkerite's ongoing series on The Bell Curve will be looking at the connections between TBC and Richard Lynn and J. P. Rushton - or rather will be looking even more since the number of times Rushton is cited in TBC has already been discussed.





As mentioned earlier in this Bell Curve series, Richard Lynn (along with Arthur Jensen) was thanked in the acknowledgement section of the book. J. P. Rushton is cited eleven times, also mentioned in this series. But also, in chapter 13, it's clear that Herrnstein & Murray consider Rushton a serious researcher, not a crank. In the Appendix 5 "Supplemental Materials for Chapter 13" is a section on page 642 RUSHTON ON RACE DIFFERENCES AND REPRODUCTIVE STRATEGIES reprinted in full here:
Controversy unprecedented even for the contentious subject of racial differences has erupted around the work of J. Philippe Rushton, a developmental psychologist at the University of Western Ontario. Rushton argues that the differences in the average intelligence test scores among East Asians, blacks, and whites are not only primarily genetic but part of a complex of racial differences that includes such variables as brain size," genital size, rate of sexual maturation, length of the menstrual cycle, frequency of sexual intercourse, gamete production, sexual hormone levels, the tendency to produce dizygotic twins, marital stability, infant mortality, altruism, law abidingness, and mental health. For each variable, Rushton has concluded, the three races-Mongoloids, Caucasoids, and Negroids-fall in a certain order, with the average Caucasoid in the middle and the other two races on one side or the other. The ordering of the races, he further argues, has an evolutionary basis; hence these ordered racial differences must involve genes.
To reach his conclusion, Rushton starts with the well-established observation in biology that species vary in their reproductive strategies. Some species produce many offspring (per parent) of which only a small fraction survive; others produce small numbers of offspring with relatively high survival rates. The involvement of parents in their offsprings' health and development (which biologists call "parental investment") tends to be high for species having few offspring and high survival rates and low for those employing the other strategy (many offspring and low survival rates). Many other species differences are concomitant with this fundamental one, according to standard biological doctrine.
Rushton's thesis is that this standard biological principle may be applied within our own species. Rushton acknowledges that human beings are as a species far out along the continuum of low reproduction, high offspring survival, and high parental investment, but he argues that the ordering of the races on the many variables he has identified can be explained as the result of evolutionary differences in how far out the races are. According to Rushton, the average Mongoloid is toward one d of the continuum of reproductive strategies-the survival, and high parental investment end-the shifted toward the other end, and the average Caucasoid is in the middle.
Rushton paints with a broad brush, focusing on the major racial categories rather than the dozens of more finely drawn reproductively isolated human populations that might test his theory more conclusively. But beyond that, his thesis raises numerous questions-moral, pragmatic, and scientific. Many critics attack the theory on scientific, not just moral, grounds. They question whether Rushton has really shown that the races are consistently ordered in the way he says they are, or whether a biological theory that was meant to explain species differences can be properly applied to groups within a single species, or whether the evidence for genetic influences on his variables stands up. Rushton has responded to his critics with increasingly detailed and convincing empirical reports of the race differences in some of the traits on his list, and he cites preeminent biological authority for his use of the concept of reproductive strategies. He has strengthened the case for consistently ordered race differences, at least for some of the variables he discusses, since his first formulation of the theory in 1985. Nevertheless, the theory remains a long way from confirmation.
We cannot at present say who is more nearly right as a matter of science, Rushton or his critics." However, Rushton's work is not that of a crackpot or a bigot, as many of his critics are given to charging. Nor are we sympathetic with Rushton's academic colleagues or the politicians in Ontario who have called for his peremptory dismissalfrom a tenured professorship. Setting aside whether his work is timely or worthwhile- a judgment we are loath to make under any circumstances-it is plainly science. He is not alone in seeking an evolutionary explanation of the observed differencesamong the races.'33' As science, there is nothing wrong with Rushton's work in principle; we expect that time will tell whether it is right or wrong in fact.

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