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The Mismeasure of Gould:

Marxist ideology vs. biological reality

After reading two very critical reviews of Stephen J. Gould et al.'s determination to subvert an empirical approach to scientific reviews of race, evolution and eugenics, I decided to combine an earlier post of rebuttals to Gouldian pseudoscience with two very recent critiques by Kevin MacDonald and Richard Dawkins, along with some older essays and comments by other experts. However, only MacDonald has formulated a hypothesis as to why Gouldian misinformation is so predominant in the popular press. This critique of Gould et al. is from The Culture of Critique, but his two prior works must also be read to fully understand the formulations that MacDonald uses to explain Gould's ability at duplicity, self-deception and propaganda: A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (1995) and Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (1998).

Simply put, Gould et al. has been promoting the Jewish reaction against the Holocaust and/or a Jewish evolutionary strategy by subverting any concepts or scientific knowledge that would make it more difficult for Judaism to function as a secular religion based on ingroup racial purity, while appearing to be universally concerned with a classless society. That is, Gould is carrying on the tradition of a Marxist approach to promoting Judaism through removing the salience of ethnic identity for one based on class struggle. To do this he has set out to attack elements of evolutionary theory, primarily adaptationism along with trying to deny any connection between race, genetics, and so-called genetic determinism (which no evolutionist has embraced contrary to Gouldian dogma). A review of MacDonald's three books is available at my home page.


Excerpts on Gould, Lewontin, Rose and Kamin from The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker, 2002.  Pinker, in the most comprehensive book ever to look at the science and the political motivations behind those who would deny any allowance for a genetic understanding of human nature, takes a hard look at the Marxists.  He also shows why conservatives also oppose a genetic basis to human behavior (not covered here).  Both the Left and the Right are desperately struggling to maintain a belief system that relies on the blank slate, the noble savage, and in the ghost in the machine. (Matt Nuenke, October, 2002)

Page 111—As the notoriety of Sociobiology grew in the ensuing years, Hamilton and Trivers, who had thought up many of the ideas, also became targets of picketers, as did the anthropologists Irven DeVore and Lionel Tiger when they tried to teach the ideas. The insinuation that Trivers was a tool of racism and right-wing oppression was particularly galling because Trivers was himself a political radical, a supporter of the Black Panthers, and a scholarly collaborator of Huey Newton's. Trivers had argued that sociobiology is, if anything, a force for political progress. It is rooted in the insight that organisms did not evolve to benefit their family, group, or species, because the individuals making up those groups have genetic conflicts of interest with one another and would be selected to defend those interests. This immediately subverts the comfortable belief that those in power rule for the good of all, and it throws a spotlight on hidden actors in the social world, such as females and the younger generation. Also, by finding an evolutionary basis for altruism, sociobiology shows that a sense of justice has a deep foundation in people's minds and need not run against our organic nature. And by showing that self-deception is likely to evolve (because the best liar is the one who believes his own lies), sociobiology encourages self-scrutiny and helps undermine hypocrisy and corruption. (I will return to the political beliefs of Trivers and other "Darwinian leftists" in the chapter on politics.)

Trivers later wrote of the attacks on sociobiology, "Although some of the attackers were prominent biologists, the attack seemed intellectually feeble and lazy. Gross errors in logic were permitted as long as they appeared to give some tactical advantage in the political struggle.... Because we were hirelings of the dominant interests, said these fellow hirelings of the same interests, we were their mouthpieces, employed to deepen the [deceptions] with which the ruling elite retained their unjust advantage. Although it follows from evolutionary reasoning that individuals will tend to argue in ways that are ultimately (sometimes unconsciously) self-serving, it seemed a priori unlikely that evil should reside so completely in one set of hirelings and virtue in the other."

The "prominent biologists" that Trivers had in mind were Gould and Lewontin, and together with the British neuroscientist Steven Rose they became the intellectual vanguard of the radical science movement. For twenty-five years they have indefatigably fought a rearguard battle against behavioral genetics, sociobiology (and later evolutionary psychology), and the neuroscience of politically sensitive topics such as sex differences and mental illness. Other than Wilson, the major target of their attacks has been Richard Dawkins. In his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, Dawkins covered many of the same ideas as Wilson but concentrated on the logic of the new evolutionary theories rather than the zoological details. He said almost nothing about humans.

The radical scientists' case against Wilson and Dawkins can be summed up in two words: "determinism" and "reductionism." Their writings are peppered with these words, used not in any technical sense but as vague terms of abuse. For example, here are two representative passages in a book by Lewontin, Rose, and the psychologist Leon Kamin with the defiantly Blank Slate title Not in Our Genes: "Sociobiology is a reductionist, biological determinist explanation of human existence. Its adherents claim ... that the details of present and past social arrangements are the inevitable manifestations of the specific action of genes. [Reductionists] argue that the properties of a human society are ... no more than the sums of the individual behaviors and tendencies of the individual humans of which that society is composed. Societies are 'aggressive' because the individuals who compose them are 'aggressive,' for instance."

The quotations from Wilson we saw earlier in the chapter show that he never expressed anything close to these ridiculous beliefs, and neither, of course, did Dawkins. For example, after discussing the tendency in mammals for males to seek a greater number of sexual partners than females do, Dawkins devoted a paragraph to human societies in which he wrote: "What this astonishing variety suggests is that man's way of life is largely determined by culture rather than by genes. However, it is still possible that human males in general have a tendency towards promiscuity, and females a tendency to monogamy, as we would predict on evolutionary grounds. Which of these tendencies wins in particular societies depends on details of cultural circumstance, just as in different animal species it depends on ecological details."

What exactly do "determinism" and "reductionism" mean? In the precise sense in which mathematicians use the word, a "deterministic" system is one whose states are caused by prior states with absolute certainty, rather than probabilistically. Neither Dawkins nor any other sane biologist would ever dream of proposing that human behavior is deterministic, as if people must commit acts of promiscuity, aggression, or selfishness at every opportunity. Among the radical scientists and the many intellectuals they have influenced, "determinism" has taken on a meaning that is diametrically opposed to its true meaning. The word is now used to refer to any claim that people have a tendency to act in certain ways in certain circumstances. It is a sign of the tenacity of the Blank Slate that a probability greater than zero is equated with a probability of 100 percent. Zero innateness is the only acceptable belief, and all departures from it are treated as equivalent.

Page 114—All else having failed, Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin finally pinned a damning quotation on Dawkins: "They [the genes] control us, body and mind." That does sound pretty deterministic. But what the man wrote was, "They created us, body and mind," which is very different. Lewontin has used the doctored quotation in five different places.

Page 122—Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, and the other signatories of the "Against 'Sociobiology"' manifesto wrote: "We are not denying that there are genetic components to human behavior. But we suspect that human biological universals are to be discovered more in the generalities of eating, excreting, and sleeping than in such specific and highly variable habits as warfare, sexual exploitation of women and the use of money as a medium of exchange."

Note the tricky framing of the issue. The notion that money is a genetically coded universal is so ridiculous (and not, incidentally, something Wilson ever proposed) that any alternative has to be seen as more plausible than that. But if we take the alternative on its own terms, rather than as one prong in a false dichotomy, Gould and Lewontin seem to be saying that the genetic components of human behavior will be discovered primarily in the "generalities of eating, excreting, and sleeping." The rest of the slate, presumably, is blank.

This debating tactic—first deny the Blank Slate, then make it look plausible by pitting it against a straw man—can be found elsewhere in the writings of the radical scientists. Gould, for instance, writes: "Thus, my criticism of Wilson does not invoke a non-biological 'environmentalism'; it merely pits the concept of biological potentiality, with a brain capable of a full range of human behaviors and predisposed to none, against the idea of biological determinism, with specific genes for specific behavioral traits."

The idea of "biological determinism"—that genes cause behavior with 100 percent certainty—and the idea that every behavioral trait has its own gene, are obviously daft (never mind that Wilson never embraced them). So Gould's dichotomy would seem to leave "biological potentiality" as the only reasonable choice. But what does that mean? The claim that the brain is "capable of a full range of human behaviors" is almost a tautology: how could the brain not be capable of a full range of human behaviors? And the claim that the brain is not predisposed to any human behavior is just a version of the Blank Slate. "Predisposed to none" literally means that all human behaviors have identical probabilities of occurring. So if any person anywhere on the planet has ever committed some act in some circumstance—abjuring food or sex, impaling himself with spikes, killing her child—then the brain has no predisposition to avoid that act as compared with the alternatives, such as enjoying food and sex, protecting one's body, or cherishing one's child.

Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin also deny that they are saying that humans are blank slates. But they grant only two concessions to human nature. The first comes not from an appeal to evidence or logic but from their politics: "If [a blank slate] were the case, there could be no social evolution." Their support for this "argument" consists of an appeal to the authority of Marx, whom they quote as saying, "The materialist doctrine that men are the products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men that change circumstances and that the educator himself needs educating." Their own view is that "the only sensible thing to say about human nature is that it is `in' that nature to construct its own history." The implication is that any other statement about the psychological makeup of our species—about our capacity for language, our love of family, our sexual emotions, our typical fears, and so on—is not "sensible."

Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin do make one concession to biology—not to the organization of the mind and brain but to the size of the body. "Were human beings only six inches tall there could be no human culture at all as we understand it," they note, because a Lilliputian could not control fire, break rocks with a pick-axe, or carry a brain big enough to support language. It is their only acknowledgment of the possibility that human biology affects human social life.

Eight years later Lewontin reiterated this theory of what is innate in humans: "The most important fact about human genes is that they help to make us as big as we are and to have a central nervous system with as many connections as it has." Once again, the rhetoric has to be unpacked with care. If we take the sentence literally, Lewontin is referring only to "the most important fact" about human genes. Then again, if we take it literally, the sentence is meaningless. How could one ever rank-order the thousands of effects of the genes, all necessary to our existence, and point to one or two at the top of the list? Is our stature more important than the fact that we have a heart, or lungs, or eyes? Is our synapse number more important than our sodium pumps, without which our neurons would fill up with positive ions and shut down? So taking the sentence literally is pointless. The only sensible reading, and the one that fits in the context, is that these are the only important facts about human genes for the human mind. The tens of thousands of genes that are expressed primarily or exclusively in the brain do nothing important but give it lots of connections; the pattern of connections and the organization of the brain (into structures like the hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus, and a cerebral cortex divided into areas) are random, or might as well be. The genes do not give the brain multiple memory systems, complicated visual and motor tracts, an ability to learn a language, or a repertoire of emotions (or else the genes do provide these faculties, but they are not "important").

In an update of John Watson's claim that he could turn any infant into a "doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors," Lewontin wrote a book whose jacket precis claims that "our genetic endowments confer a plasticity of psychic and physical development, so that in the course of our lives, from conception to death, each of us, irrespective of race, class, or sex, can develop virtually any identity that lies within the human ambit." Watson admitted he was "going beyond my facts," which was forgivable because at the time he wrote there were no facts. But the declaration on Lewontin's book that any individual can assume any identity (even granting the equivalence of races, sexes, and classes), in defiance of six decades of research in behavioral genetics, is an avowal of faith of uncommon purity. And in a passage that re-erects Durkheim's wall between the biological and the cultural, Lewontin concludes a 1992 book by writing that the genes "have been replaced by an entirely new level of causation, that of social interaction with its own laws and its own nature that can be understood and explored only through that unique form of experience, social action."

So while Gould, Lewontin, and Rose deny that they believe in a blank slate, their concessions to evolution and genetics—that they let us eat, sleep, urinate, defecate, grow bigger than a squirrel, and bring about social change—reveal them to be empiricists more extreme than Locke himself, who at least recognized the need for an innate faculty of "understanding."

Page 127—Lewontin and Rose's commitment to the "dialectical" approach of Marx, Engels, and Mao explains why they deny human nature and also deny that they deny it. The very idea of a durable human nature that can be discussed separately from its ever-changing interaction with the environment is, in their view, a dull-witted mistake. The mistake lies not just in ignoring interactions with the environment—Lewontin and Rose already knocked over the straw men who do that. The deeper mistake, as they see it, lies in trying to analyze behavior as an interaction between human nature and the human environment (including society) in the first place. The very act of separating them in one's mind, even for the purpose of figuring out how the two interact, "supposes the alienation of the organism and the environment." That contradicts the principles of dialectical understanding, which says that the two are "ontologically coterminous"—not just in the trivial sense that no organism lives in a vacuum, but in the sense that they are inseparable in every aspect of their being.

Since the dialectic between organism and environment constantly changes over historical time, with neither one directly causing the other, organisms can alter that dialectic. Thus Rose repeatedly counters the "determinists" with the declaration "We have the ability to construct our own futures, albeit not in circumstances of our own choosing"—presumably echoing Marx's statement that "men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they make it under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past." But Rose never explains who the "we" is, if not highly structured neural circuits, which must get that structure in part from genes and evolution. We can call this doctrine the Pronoun in the Machine.

Gould is not a doctrinarian like Rose and Lewontin, but he too uses the first-person plural pronoun as if it somehow disproved the relevance of genes and evolution to human affairs: "Which ... shall we choose? ... Let us take this stand.... We can do otherwise." And he too cites Marx's "wonderful aphorism" about making our own history and believes that Marx vindicated the concept of free will: "Marx himself had a much more subtle view than most of his contemporaries of the differences between human and natural history. He understood that the evolution of consciousness, and the consequent development of social and economic organization, introduced elements of difference and volition that we usually label as 'free Will.'"

Subtle indeed is the argument that explains free will in terms of its synonym "volition" (with or without "elements of difference," whatever that means) and attributes it to the equally mysterious "evolution of consciousness." Basically, Rose and Gould are struggling to make sense of the dichotomy they invented between a naturally selected, genetically organized brain on one side and a desire for peace, justice, and equality on the other. In Part III we will see that the dichotomy is a false one.

The doctrine of the Pronoun in the Machine is not a casual oversight in the radical scientists' world view. It is consistent with their desire for radical political change and their hostility to "bourgeois" democracy. (Lewontin repeatedly uses "bourgeois" as an epithet.) If the "we" is truly unfettered by biology, then once "we" see the light we can carry out the vision of radical change that we deem correct. But if the "we" is an imperfect product of evolution—limited in knowledge and wisdom, tempted by status and power, and blinded by self-deception and delusions of moral superiority—then "we" had better think twice before constructing all that history. As the chapter on politics will explain, constitutional democracy is based on a jaundiced theory of human nature in which "we" are eternally vulnerable to arrogance and corruption. The checks and balances of democratic institutions were explicitly designed to stalemate the often dangerous ambitions of imperfect humans.

Page 132—An irony in the modern denial of human nature is that partisans at opposite extremes of the political spectrum, who ordinarily can't stand the sight of each other, find themselves strange bedfellows. Recall how the signatories of "Against 'Sociobiology'" wrote that theories like Wilson's "provided an important basis for. .. the eugenics policies which led to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazi Germany." In May 2001 the Education Committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives resolved that "Adolf Hitler and others have exploited the racist views of Darwin and those he influenced ... to justify the annihilation of millions of purportedly racially inferior individuals." The sponsor of the resolution (which was eventually defeated) cited in its defense a passage by Gould, which is not the first time that he has been cited approvingly in creationist propaganda. Though Gould has been a tireless opponent of creationism, he has been an equally tireless opponent of the idea that evolution can explain mind and morality, and that is the implication of Darwinism that creationists fear most.

The left and the right also agree that the new sciences of human nature threaten the concept of moral responsibility. When Wilson suggested that in humans, as in many other mammals, males have a greater desire for multiple sexual partners than do females, Rose accused him of really saying: "Don't blame your mates for sleeping around, ladies, it's not their fault they are genetically programmed."

Compare Tom Wolfe, tongue only partly in cheek: "The male of the human species is genetically hardwired to be polygamous, i.e., unfaithful to his legal mate. Any magazine-reading male gets the picture soon enough. (Three million years of evolution made me do it!)"

On one wing we have Gould asking the rhetorical question: "Why do we want to fob off responsibility for our violence and sexism upon our genes?"

And on the other wing we find Ferguson raising the same point: "The 'scientific belief' would ... appear to be corrosive of any notion of free will, personal responsibility, or universal morality."

For Rose and Gould the ghost in the machine is a "we" that can construct history and change the world at will. For Kass, Wolfe, and Ferguson it is a "soul" that makes moral judgments according to religious precepts. But all of them see genetics, neuroscience, and evolution as threats to this irreducible locus of free choice.

WHERE DOES THIS leave intellectual life today? The hostility to the sciences of human nature from the religious right is likely to increase, but the influence of the right will be felt more in direct appeals to politicians than from changes in the intellectual climate. Any inroads of the religious right into mainstream intellectual life will be limited by their opposition to the theory of evolution itself. Whether it is known as creationism or by the euphemism Intelligent Design, a denial of the theory of natural selection will founder under the weight of the mass of evidence that the theory is correct. How much additional damage the denial will do to science education and biomedical research before it sinks is unknown.

The hostility from the radical left, on the other hand, has left a substantial mark on modern intellectual life, because the so-called radical scientists are now the establishment. I have met many social and cognitive scientists who proudly say they have learned all their biology from Gould and Lewontin. Many intellectuals defer to Lewontin as the infallible pontiff of evolution and genetics, and many philosophers of biology spent time as his apprentice. A sneering review by Rose of every new book on human evolution or genetics has become a fixture of British journalism. As for Gould, Isaac Asimov probably did not intend the irony when he wrote in a book blurb that "Gould can do no wrong," but that is precisely the attitude of many journalists and social scientists. A recent article in New York magazine on the journalist Robert Wright called him a "stalker" and a "young punk" with "penis envy" because he had the temerity to criticize Gould on his logic and facts.

In part the respect awarded to the radical scientists has been earned. Quite aside from their scientific accomplishments, Lewontin is an incisive analyst on many scientific and social issues, Gould has written hundreds of superb essays on natural history, and Rose wrote a fine book on the neuroscience of memory. But they have also positioned themselves shrewdly on the intellectual landscape. As the biologist John Alcock explains, "Stephen Jay Gould abhors violence, he speaks out against sexism, he despises Nazis, he finds genocide horrific, he is unfailingly on the side of the angels. Who can argue with such a person?" This immunity from argument allowed the radical scientists' unfair attacks on others to become part of the conventional wisdom.


I have in press an edition of Darwin's Origin of Species.  Along with the full text of the Origin, the edition contains a couple hundred pages of other writing by Darwin and by his sources and contemporaries.  The publisher is Broadview Press.  There is a long introduction talking about Darwin's historical position and the development of his Ideas.  In order to situate Darwin in relation to contemporary evolutionary theory, I devote a whole section, about twenty pages, to "The Pseudo-Revolutions of Stephen Jay Gould."  Like a number of other Darwinians, I regard Gould as theoretically disingenuous.  His death has elicited an enormous outpouring of celebratory sentiment.  If Ian will permit me, I would like to inject a contrary note into the obituary notices.  I've excerpted below the opening and closing paragraphs from the section on Gould in my introduction to the edition of the Origin.

********

Modern Darwinism and the Pseudo-Revolutions of Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould is the most widely read contemporary popular commentator on evolution, and he is also the chief critic of contemporary Darwinism. He has done field work on land snails in the West Indies, has written a long series of popular essays and scholarly studies on natural history and the history of biology, and occupies something like the unofficial chair of evolutionary biology in the pages of the New York Review of Books. His chief claim to scientific eminence is to have proposed putative corrections and alternatives to mainstream Darwinism, especially to the idea that adaptation through natural selection is the main engine of evolutionary change. In reality, Gould has offered no truly original and genuinely significant contributions to evolutionary theory. Instead, he has created a vast rhetorical tissue of sophistical equivocations. If Gould has formulated no significant revisions of Darwinian theory, why is it necessary to take account of his views? Maynard Smith poses this question and provides an answer: "Gould occupies a rather curious position, particularly on his side of the Atlantic. Because of the excellence of his essays, he has come to be seen by non-biologists as the preeminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least on our side against the creationists. All this would not matter, were it not that he is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory." ("Genes, Memes, and Minds," 46).

Gould's claims for revolutionary revision depend on combining a few basic techniques of sophistical argument. In its simplest version, Gould's technique involves two steps. The first is to create a straw man by giving a falsely simplified description of the received view. The second is to propose what is actually the received view and to present this standard view as if it were a revolutionary correction. In his falsely simplified representation, the Modern Synthesis and its current acolytes consist of "ultra-Darwinians" and "panadaptationists" who are oblivious to all adaptively neutral phenomena and who fervently believe that all of evolution consists in the production of maximally efficient adaptations unconstrained by inheritance or contingent historical circumstance. In order to rescue evolutionary theory from these strangely narrow and obsessive "Darwinian fundamentalists," Gould propounds an array of concepts to which, he intimates, they are strangers. These broader concepts include the observations that adaptations are not ideally perfect but only relatively, competitively perfect, that inherited structures constrain adaptive change, that previously existing structures can be modified for some new adaptive purpose, that some structures are not themselves adaptive but are nonetheless sustained by natural selection because they happen to be connected, in inheritance, with structures that are adaptive, and that evolutionary change proceeds at a varying pace, depending both on the appearance of favorable variations and on alterations in the total set of ecological conditions. In reality, none of these concepts is outside the range of the standard Darwinism that constitutes the Modern Synthesis.

 [THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS ARE FROM THE CONCLUSION]
Several eminent evolutionists have reflected on the quality of sophistry that pervades Gould's theoretical writing. Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Simon Conway Morris, and E. O. Wilson have all described the way in which Gould exaggerates the revolutionary significance of his ideas. In a chapter of Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Dennett gives a penetrating and comprehensive critique of Gould's theoretical career and describes it, correctly, as a series of factitious revolutions. One of the chapter sections is tellingly titled "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Summarizing his chapter, Dennett concludes, "Gould's self-styled revolutions, against adaptationism, gradualism, and extrapolationism, and for 'radical contingency,' all evaporate, their good points already firmly incorporated into the modern synthesis, and their mistaken points dismissed. Darwin's dangerous idea emerges strengthened, its dominion over every corner of biology more secure than ever" (312). Rather more bluntly, Dawkins complains that "Gould seems to be saying things that are more radical than they really are. He pretends" ("A Survival Machine," 84). Dawkins is openly hostile toward Gould, and he gives his reasons. "I'm extremely hostile towards any sort of obscurantism, pretension. If I think somebody's a fake, if somebody isn't genuinely concerned about what actually is true but is instead doing something for some other motive, if somebody is trying to appear like an intellectual, or trying to appear more profound than he is, or more mysterious than he is, I'm very hostile to that" (85). As we have seen, Conway Morris provides a sober specialist critique of Gould's conclusions about the fossils of the Burgess shale, but he also formulates an evocative and humorous image of Gould's whole career as an ostensible post-adaptationist founder of new evolutionary theories:  "Again and again Gould has been seen to charge into battle, sometimes hardly visible in the struggling mass. Strangely immune to seemingly lethal lunges he finally re-emerges. Eventually the dust and confusion die down. Gould announces to the awestruck onlookers that our present understanding of evolutionary processes is dangerously deficient and the theory is perhaps in its death throes. We look beyond the exponent of doom, and there standing in the sunlight is the edifice of evolutionary theory, little changed." (10) In a similar vein, commenting specifically on the debate over punctuated equilibrium, Wilson suggests that Gould's claims for revolutionary novelty were more a matter of rhetorical posturing than of substantive conceptual proposals. "Neo-Darwinian theory was not challenged in substance, only semantically—a renaming, so to speak, as opposed to a reinventing of the wheel" (Diversity of Life, 89). The term "punctuated equilibrium" has survived, but it "is now used mostly as a descriptive term for a pattern of alternating rapid and slow evolution, especially when the rapid phase is accompanied by species formation. Its fate illustrates the principle that in science failed ideas live on as ghosts in the glossaries of the survivors."

 Early in his career as the boy who cried wolf, Gould responded to the complaint that he is generating confusion by creating pseudo-issues. Backing off from the strong, saltational version of punctuated equilibrium, he acknowledged that punctuated equilibrium "may not be directed at the heart of natural selection," but he still claimed that "it remains an important critique of the Darwinian tradition." His supporting inference for the importance of his idea is this: "The world is not inhabited exclusively by fools, and when a subject arouses intense interest and debate, as this one has, something other than semantics is usually at stake" ("Darwinism and the Expansion of Evolutionary Theory," 106). Evolutionary biologists do not tend to be fools, but they do tend to be ingenuously straightforward, and they are often poorly equipped to deal with provocative challenges wrapped in obfuscatory equivocation. Gould's pluralism, his punctuationism, and his spandrels can be likened to the eggs of a cuckoo in the nest of evolutionary biology. The eggs look enough like legitimate eggs to cause consternation in the minds of the parent birds, but targeted birds eventually evolve defenses against the cuckoo's parasitism. They count eggs or assess size, and oust the illegitimate intruders. The affair costs them some little effort, but it hardly seems fair for the cuckoo then to proclaim that the effort taken to oust his illegitimate offspring constitutes evidence of his own legitimacy.

 Among Darwin's contemporaries, the one figure who most resembles Gould in his use of sophistical equivocation is the paleontologist Richard Owen (1804-92), who wished, on the one hand, to affirm that animal forms are determined by "archetypes" that are not related to one another by lineage and, on the other, to represent himself as having originated proto-Darwinian evolutionary ideas. In responding to Owen's equivocations in the historical sketch appended to the third edition of the Origin, Darwin comes closer to a snort of satirical contempt than he ever comes in responding to any other writer, even to Lamarck. "It is consolatory to me that others find Professor Owen's controversial writings as difficult to understand and to reconcile with each other, as I do." Darwin himself operates in good faith, and his overriding assumption is that others do also, even when he fundamentally disagrees with them. In his Autobiography, he remarks, "I have almost always been treated honestly by my reviewers, passing over those without scientific knowledge as not worthy of notice." Coming from a man who had received so many violently hostile reviews, this remark reflects a presumption of good faith so ingenuous in its benignity as to fall little short of the sublime. But Owen is so flagrantly and unmistakably not operating in good faith that even Darwin's simplicity of good will is finally roused to an awareness of Owen's deviousness and duplicity. One can only speculate how Darwin would have responded to Gould. He might well have wondered whether Gould is, as Maynard Smith characterizes him, merely confused, or, as Dawkins characterizes him, downright dishonest. To my own eye, it seems evident that Gould is not himself confused, though it is his purpose that his readers should be.

 Joseph Carroll, English Department, University of Missouri--St. Louis, St. Louis, MO  63121


Human Nature Review  2002 Volume 2: 99-109 ( 14 March )
URL of this document http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/apd.html

Essay Review

Alas Poor Evolutionary Psychology:
Unfairly Accused, Unjustly Condemned

By Robert Kurzban*

Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology
edited by Hilary Rose and Steven Rose.
Jonathan Cape, London, 2000.

 

In "Alas Poor Darwin" (hereafter APD), Steven and Hilary Rose and the other contributors to this edited volume accuse evolutionary psychologists of sins both scientific and political, in prose filled with self-righteous rage, smug dismissals, and unremitting invective. Evolutionary psychologists, they say, are wedded to genetic determinism, a view simplistic in conception, fatalistic in outlook, and flatly mistaken. Further, they argue that evolutionary psychologists indulge in post-hoc, "Just-so" story-telling, the seediest kind of scientific promiscuity. If evolutionary psychology were guilty of the sins of which it was accused, the Roses and their contributors could be considered to have produced an important work, helping to prevent the spread of flimsy science and distasteful politics.

 

It is therefore important to determine if evolutionary psychology bears any resemblance to the beast the Roses have conjured. Unfortunately, like the witches in Salem or Communists under McCarthy, evolutionary psychologists stand exposed to nearly any character assassination inflicted upon them, their tormentors knowing well that to defend the field is to expose oneself to similar treatment.

 

Let us nonetheless for the sake of decency interrogate these supposed failings both intellectual and spiritual, against the chance, small it may be, that evolutionary psychology has been falsely maligned, and might after all be worthy of residing among its more reputable brethren disciplines. In the process, let us see if we can ensure that its critics are righteous scholars in pursuit of truth, rather than scoundrels who would through innuendo, mischaracterization, and yes, even outright dishonesty, shame and dishonor a foe they little understand, and therefore fear. Let us review the charges, and hear the defense.

 

First Charge: Genetic Determinism

"Evolutionary principles imply genetic destiny," Nelkin (p. 27) baldly declares1. Evolutionary psychologists "dismiss" cultural, historical and individual variables, Herrnstein Smith (p. 167) assures us. In short, evolutionary psychologists believe that biology is destiny (H. Rose, p. 149), with genes alone determining a "hard wired" brain, exerting total control, with no room whatsoever for influences from the environment. (For additional explicit examples of these claims, see Fausto-Sterling, p. 221; Jencks, p. 34; Shakespeare and Erikson, p. 231.)

 

Is this the message we see running through evolutionary psychologists' writings? Are they telling us that there is no chance to escape from Nature, that Nurture is powerless in the face of our genetic tethers? Does evolutionary psychology hold that the organism will be what it will be, regardless of the physical and social environment?

 

In point of fact, it is clear that the accusers in this particular case have, to be generous, exaggerated to some small degree. Evolutionary psychologists not only reject genetic determinism, but have emphasized that they believe that it is actually nonsensical to try to talk about genes without discussing the environment in which the genes exist. Tooby and Cosmides (1992) put this as straightforwardly and transparently, in academic style, as one could ask: "…every feature of every phenotype is fully and equally codetermined by the interaction of the organism's genes … and its ontogenetic environments…" (p. 83). They have expressed similar sentiments elsewhere, as have other evolutionary psychologists. (For examples from those the APD authors cite, see Dennett, 1995, p. 338; Pinker, 1997, p. 33; Symons, 1992, p. 140; Thornhill & Palmer, 2000, p. 20; Tooby and Cosmides, 1992, p. 87, p. 122).

 

Why the vast gap between the actual arguments made by evolutionary psychologists and the claims attributed to them? The answer lies in a deep confusion about biology shared by many of the authors of APD, a preconception that seems to prevent them from understanding what evolutionary psychologists actually say. The Roses and others, expecting to read about genetic determinism, instead read in genetic determinism. To see this, we'll come at it slightly obliquely. Hilary Rose will be our guide.

 

Unsatisfied with a conjecture advanced by Martin Daly and Margo Wilson about why the incidence of child abuse is higher among stepchildren than biological children, Hilary Rose proclaims triumphantly that evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker "…entirely shredded any credibility the Wilson-Daly thesis had" with his suggestion that perhaps when a mother hadn't sufficient resources to nurture a child, maternal love could switch off, replaced by murderous intentions.2,3 Rose concludes: "Both killing and protecting are explained by evolutionary selection…selection explains everything and therefore nothing" (p. 147).

 

Consider carefully why Rose draws this conclusion. Her suggestion is that an evolutionary explanation is useless if it predicts that an organism will do one thing under certain conditions (i.e., normal ones), and the opposite under different conditions (i.e., extreme scarcity). This is because she believes that evolution must lead to a prediction of only one sort of behavior across all contexts, and therefore that it cannot yield a prediction that the organism will behave contingently on contextual factors.

 

In Rose's view, therefore, an evolutionary approach cannot explain why bats feed at night but sleep during the day, why rabbits nestle against other rabbits but flee from a fox, or why humans eat when hungry but not when sated. For her, if evolution explains each of these behaviors, then it explains none of them.

 

She is forced into this position because she equates evolution with genetic determinism and inflexibility of behavior. In contrast, evolutionary psychologists, biologists and, as far as I know, nearly everyone else, believes that organisms behave contingently on the environment and their own current state. In fact, and each two-year-old discovers this idea anew when she sees that Fido comes when offered a doggie biscuit, but leaves when pelted with rocks.

 

The intricacies of behavioral flexibility (rather than behavioral fixity) is, in fact, a fundamental message of evolutionary psychologists: evolution sculpts organisms to behave contingently on their environment. This makes an important task of scientists to discover the dimensions of the (internal and external) environment on which organisms condition their behavior (see, to take a random example, Pinker's hypothesis above).

 

Indeed, Rose herself endorses this approach when she suggests that child abuse might be explained by contextual factors such as "psychological strain" and "financial pressures" associated with building a second family (p. 146). Both abuse and non-abuse are explained by the presence or absence of these factors and, therefore, her critique of Pinker's hypothesis ought to apply. Instead, her hypothesis is "obvious" while Daly and Wilson's is "absurd" (see S. Rose, p. 314, for enthusiastic agreement on both counts). Apparently then, her view is that positing conditional behavior is acceptable as long as evolution (which everyone seems to agree must be part of the story somewhere) is left implicit rather than made explicit. Thus, for Hilary Rose, it's acceptable to suggest that dogs eat because their bellies are empty as long as evolution plays no role in the hypothesis.

 

It seems so simple. The evolutionary view, for humans and non-humans, suggests that organisms are designed to develop, learn, and behave in ways that are conditional on environmental influences. There is no room for genetic determinism. Further, and ironically, the argument is that adding adaptations allows greater flexibility, because each adaptation generates more conditional possibilities. To deny adaptations in humans, therefore, is to suggest less flexibility.

 

The logic is no different from a lesson Bill Gates has learned far too well: Microsoft adds new algorithms to their word processor in every generation. Word 2000, for example, can learn a variety of things it couldn't in previous incarnations. My instance of MS Word learns new words (today it learned "panglossian"), my preferences for menus, and the fact that the passive voice is not to be considered a grammatical error. Add domain-specific functions, add flexibility.4

 

Evolutionary psychologists, at minimum the ones named in the Roses' volume, are innocent of the charge of genetic determinism. They have made their position clear, both in their explicit statements of their views, and as embodied in their research programs.

 

On the charge of genetic determinism, I find the defendant not guilty.

 

And I find that the prosecution should go back and carefully review the evidence.

 

Second Charge: Panadaptationism

Evolutionary psychologists believe that the belly-button is an adaptation for storing small berries on the long trek back to camp. They believe that ear lobes are adaptations designed to accommodate diamond-stud earrings. And they believe that people are good at calculus because mathematicians were considered sexy two million years ago and the "calculus gene" was a genetic winner.

 

Actually, they don't believe any of these things. But if one were to read about evolutionary psychologists, one might well come away with the impression that they do.

 

Stephen J. Gould, for example, is so convinced that evolutionary psychologists believe that all features of organisms are adaptations that there seems to be no amount of evidence that will persuade him to the contrary. Gould (2000) says "Evolutionary universals may not be adaptive now, they [evolutionary psychologists] say, but such behaviors must have arisen as adaptations…" (p. 119, emphasis original) and later that the "internal error of adaptationism arises from a failure to recognize that even the strictest operation of pure natural selection builds organisms full of nonadaptive parts and behaviors" (p. 123). Dover (p. 58) and S. Rose (pp. 303-303, 313) make similar claims.

 

The idea that evolutionary psychology is "panadaptationist" is not just false, it is infuriatingly false.5 To reject panadaptationism is to accept what Gould terms the "pluralistic" (Gould, 1997) view that there are features of organisms that are not adaptations, and that natural selection is not the only source of genetic change. Tooby and Cosmides (1992) put it this way: "In addition to adaptations, the evolutionary process commonly produces two other outcomes visible in the designs of organisms: (1) concomitants or by-products of adaptations (recently nicknamed "spandrels"; Gould & Lewontin, 1979); and (2) random effects" (p. 62). These sentiments have been echoed by numerous evolutionary psychologists. (For other particularly clear examples, see Buss et al., 1998, p. 537; Daly and Wilson, 1988, p. 12; Dennett, 1995, p. 247; Pinker, 1997, p. 174; Thornhill & Palmer, 2000, p. 9). Further, evolutionary psychologists explicitly test by-product hypotheses in their research (for a blisteringly clear example, see Cosmides & Tooby, 1992). And they explicitly acknowledge that adaptationist claims must be backed by evidence (see e.g., Cosmides & Tooby, 1992, p. 180).

 

In fact, evolutionary psychologists are so aware of the existence of by-products, in the same volume that Gould claims evolutionary psychologists don't believe in any by-products, Fausto-Sterling claims evolutionary psychologists believe in too many. Fausto-Sterling is offended by evolutionary psychologist Don Symons' (1979) speculation that the female orgasm might be a by-product, rather than an adaptation (p. 211). Interestingly, Symons (1979) went on to suggest that male nipples were similarly byproducts, just like the human ability to read and write (pp. 93-94), the very same examples Gould used to educate evolutionary psychologists about byproducts (Gould, p. 113-114, 122).

 

Evolutionary psychologists acknowledge by-products. They believe in them, they develop hypotheses about them, and they test for them.

 

But none of them think the belly-button evolved as a berry-storage system.

 

Third Charge: Unfalsifiable hypotheses

Evolutionary psychologists are routinely accused of generating hypotheses that are both post-hoc and unfalsifiable. Many of these accusations revolve around the idea that we cannot prove anything about the past, so evolutionary claims cannot be verified.

 

Gould (2000), for example, asks: "…how can we possibly obtain the key information that would be required to show the validity of adaptive tales about the EEA6…We do not even know the original environment of our ancestors…" (p. 120). Similarly, Fausto-Sterling (2000) suggests that because we know so little about the ancestral past, "evaluating competing hypotheses becomes very difficult" (p. 214).7 (See H. Rose, p. 141 and Benton, p. 262, for additional examples).

 

Gould concludes that "…the key strategy proposed by evolutionary psychologists for identifying adaptation is untestable and therefore unscientific." (Gould, p. 120). This is a strong (but remarkably common) claim. I suspect that if I approached critics of evolutionary approaches and told them a psychic cat had planted a hypothesis in my brain, they would urge me to test it. However, if I approached them and said that I had developed this same idea from an evolutionary standpoint, I would earn their scorn as a "Just-so" storyteller. It is a serious indictment of a scientist when he or she does not understand that the origin of a hypothesis does not necessarily tell you how easy or hard it is to test, and I urge Dr. Gould to exercise care in his accusations along these lines.

 

Evolutionary psychologists use our limited knowledge about the past to generate hypotheses. However, as others have pointed out, evolutionary psychologists' hypotheses about human psychology can be tested in the very same way that other hypotheses about human psychology can be evaluated. David Buss, on the basis of evolutionary ideas, hypothesized that there would be cross-cultural sex differences in a number of variables related to sex and mating. He collected data from 37 cultures to test these hypotheses (Buss, 1989), and many of his hypotheses were supported. If the data had turned out differently, his hypotheses would have been undermined. It didn't stop being science because his hypotheses derived from an evolutionary analysis. (Holcomb, 1998, provides a very nice discussion of this, as do Ketelaar and Ellis, 1998).

 

As others have pointed out, from his own statements, it is clear that Gould himself does not really endorse the criticism that the lack of information about the past is crippling. He admits that eyes are adaptations for seeing (p. 105) but that humans don't have adaptations for reading (p. 124). Why? He denies reading is an adaptation because he believes that we do, in fact, have "key information" about the past. In particular, he knows that because the historical record suggests writing is a recent human activity, natural selection has not had sufficient time to craft adaptations for reading. In contrast, he affirms the eye is an adaptation because he believes the archeological evidence indicates people have been seeing for a very long time, and because the eye has features that make it improbably functional for solving this adaptive problem. Gould here reasons precisely like an evolutionary psychologist, inferring an evolutionary history from what is known about the past combined with an appreciation for evidence of intricate design, as one observes in the human eye.

 

To claim that a hypothesis is unfalsifiable is to claim that there is no evidence that one could gather to support or refute the hypothesis. To claim that an evolutionary hypothesis is unfalsifiable, however, is just plain fashionable.

 

Fourth Charge: Proximate Explanations

One of the oddest charges in APD is S. Rose's criticism that evolutionary psychologists "…insist on distal (in their slightly archaic language, "ultimate") explanations when proximate ones are so much more explanatory…" (p. 3), a charge peppered throughout the book (see, e.g., H. Rose, 146 and S. Rose, 305).

 

The distinction between ultimate and proximate explanations focuses on how one answers the question "why?" One answer to the question "Why does the heart work like a pump?" is that it was designed to pump blood. Another answer is that electrical impulses cause the cardiac muscle to contract at regular intervals, decreasing the volume of the heart, causing the fluids inside to squirt out. Both answer the question, one by explaining why the heart has the design features that it has, the other by explaining the physical operation of the device. It is easy to see that answering the first question could go a long way toward answering the second. Indeed it did: research on the heart was stalled until William Harvey recognized its function as a pump, after which research progressed apace.

 

S. Rose gives the impression that evolutionary psychologists "insist on distal explanations" to the exclusion of proximate explanations. This is easily shown to be false, as H. Rose's discussion of infanticide illustrates. Daly and Wilson were interested in particular variables that played a causal role in child abuse and homicide--a proximate explanation. H. Rose discussed this hypothesis, although both she and S. Rose are clearly skeptical of the explanation itself.

 

There is, however, a perverse sense in which the first part of Rose's claim is correct. It is true that evolutionary psychologists "insist on distal explanations" in the same way that it is true that the legal system "insists on motive" when proving someone's guilt. One could make a case without a motive, but it is likely to be unconvincing. (Consider the prosecution's case with and without a will leaving a vast inheritance to the suspected murderer.) Motives, like ultimate explanations, can guide the search for evidence and provide a more thorough and persuasive explanation for the view one is advocating.

 

In a sense then, this accusation is correct. Evolutionary psychologists prefer a more thorough explanation of behavior, preferring to have accounts at both the proximate and ultimate level. S. Rose's criticism can easily be put the other way: non-evolutionary psychologists are guilty of failing to insist on ultimate explanations, even though evolution by natural selection is the only mechanism known that generates complex functional design. Hence, failing to provide an evolutionary account is an omission, rather than a virtue.

 

Providing a proximal explanation neither invalidates an ultimate explanation nor replaces it. A biomechanical explanation of how the heart works doesn't make it any less a blood-pump. And knowing that it's a pump can guide the search for other features of the heart. One can go about doing physiology and psychology without care for ultimate explanations. Indeed, scientists who reject the evolutionary approach are free to derive hypotheses from whatever other sources they wish, including intuition, observation, or psychic cats. But if "insisting" on a more thorough explanation for psychological phenomena is a crime, then evolutionary psychologists are guilty as charged.

 

Fifth Charge: Evolutionary Claims are Political, not Scientific

Possibly because biological approaches to human behavior have been appropriated for political purposes in the past, many evolutionary psychologists have been very careful to emphasize the distinction between science, which can help us to understand what is, and morality, which concerns questions about what ought to be (e.g., Pinker, 1997, p. 50; Thornhill & Palmer, pp. 5-6). Evolutionary psychologists deny that anything they could discover about what is would tell us what ought to be.

 

In contrast, Nelkin proclaims that "Evolutionary psychology is not only a new science, it is a vision of morality and social order, a guide to moral behavior and policy agendas" (p. 24). She further argues that "natural" explanations, ominously, "convey a message about social policies" (p. 24). Rose and Rose (2000) go further, making the claim that in places, "…the political agenda of EP is transparently part of a right-wing libertarian attack on collectivity, above all the welfare state" (p. 9).

 

Where do these ideas come from? None of these three claims bear citations (except to another chapter in the volume), and, evolutionary psychologists generally bend over backward to make it clear that their findings can't tell us what ought to be. Because these kinds of political accusations are very serious, it is important to document them carefully. In APD, although documentation of this type was scarce, one accusation was specifically documented, which allowed me to look into it.

 

H. Rose wrote: "The sociobiologists David Barash's appeal in defense of his misogynist claims that men are naturally predisposed to rape, "If Nature is sexist don't blame her sons," can no longer plug into the old deference to science as the view from nowhere" (p. 139).

 

This is an extremely revealing passage. Firstly, many would argue that the claim that rape is natural (by which I think it is meant there are adaptations designed for the purpose) is not, itself, misogynist. It is a scientific claim, not a claim about morality. If a scientist found that certain viruses were designed to kill people, this would not be sociopathic. A hypothesis about adaptations is distinct from claims about how one ought to behave, and therefore no scientific finding could "legitimize" (Rose and Rose, p. 2) any behavior.

Secondly, and much more seriously, this quotation does not appear on the page that Rose cites, nor does it appear anywhere else in the book.8 What does appear on the page she footnotes is Barash's speculation that "Perhaps human rapists, in their own criminally misguided way, are doing the best they can to maximize their fitness" (p. 55).9 Barash here labels rapists criminals, people who should be punished, rather than blameless or innocent. Later, Barash explicitly rejected the naturalistic fallacy, saying that "…evolution…says nothing whatever about what ought to be…" (p. 90; see also p. 235).10

 

Indeed, Rose would have done well to have actually read Barash, instead of merely fabricating quotations from him, as Barash laid out many of the corrections discussed here, including an explanation of why the evolutionary approach is not equivalent to genetic determinism. In addition, had she read carefully, she wouldn't have made another error of fact, claiming that "forced sex among animals [sic]11 always takes place with fertile females" (Rose & Rose, 2000, p. 3). Barash (p. 60) discusses documented cases that contradict this claim (e.g., Abele & Gilchrist, 1977). 12

 

Of all the false charges, the political ones are the most distressing. If the Roses or anyone else wish to provide evidence of malevolent political ideas being endorsed by evolutionary psychologists, they are invited to provide documented evidence. I myself know of no such evidence to be found in the pages of the evolutionary psychologists they focus on, Buss, Cosmides, Daly, Tooby, and Wilson. Some of these authors do research on charged issues, such as violence, sex differences, rape, and so on. Researching sex and violence is not the same as endorsing either.

 

The ease with which the Rose's throw off their undocumented or even falsified political accusations is alarming. Critics of evolutionary psychology must stop ascribing political views to evolutionary psychologists that they do not hold, and members of the scientific community ought to police this conduct with rigor. Why the Roses and others hallucinate certain political agendas into science is mysterious. Why making public these hallucinations is tolerated is considerably more so.

 

Conclusion

What makes APD worthy of attention is not that it introduces new criticisms of the field of evolutionary psychology. What makes it noteworthy is that it accumulates a cornucopia of old criticisms, recycled and rehashed, in one place. Other sources, both scholarly and popular, have leveled the same accusations, made the same mistakes, and presented the same distorted picture of the field and its practitioners.

 

There are now a collection of dialogues in the popular press between evolutionary psychologists and their critics. The discussions all seem to have the same form: Critics assert that evolutionary psychologists are wrong in believing behavior is genetically determined, that every aspect of the organism is an adaptation, and that discovering what is informs what ought be. Evolutionary psychologists reply that they never made any of these claims, and document places where they claim precisely the reverse. The critics then reply that evolutionary psychologists are wrong in believing behavior is genetically determined, that every aspect of the organism is an adaptation, and that discovering what is informs what should be.

 

The contradictions between what evolutionary psychologists have said and what their critics have said they said are as clear as they are infuriating. All of the correctives that I have presented here have been discussed before, and all of them are in the pieces cited by the critics of evolutionary psychology. It is unfathomable how the Roses and the other contributors to Alas Poor Darwin could have come away from the primary literature with their impressions of genetic determinism, panglossian adaptationism, and so on.

 

The costs of these egregious misrepresentations are enormous. They demand correctives such as the one I have provided here, wasting time, resources, and journal space. They also give an erroneous impression to those not familiar with the field, misinforming interested readers and, no doubt, dissuading them from pursuing it further.

 

The argument that the contributors to this volume did not mean to include the particular evolutionary psychologists I quote here cannot be sustained. Buss, Cosmides, Daly, Pinker, and Wilson, are specifically mentioned in the introduction, and cited throughout. Further, the argument that these evolutionary psychologists don't practice what they preach is similarly unsustainable. For example, Cosmides and Tooby (1992) entertain and test by-product hypotheses--they cannot, as Gould suggests, assume everything is an adaptation if they go to the trouble of testing by-product explanations. Daly and Wilson go further, and actually endorse a by-product hypothesis of homicide, rather than an adaptationist one. Similarly, in "The Language Instinct," Pinker details the critical role the environment plays in the children's learning of language. And all of these researchers state hypotheses at a proximate level.

 

I should also add that many of the arguments in APD are delivered with condescension, scorn, derision, and generally inflammatory rhetoric. This in itself is bad enough in the context of what is supposedly a criticism of a scientific discipline, but it is somehow much more galling when this type of language is used amid errors of fact, failures of logic, nearly slanderous misrepresentation of views, and a general indifference to standards of scholarship. This is particularly ironic given the accusations of sloppy science that are made throughout the volume. Perhaps if these authors spent more time reading and understanding the material they were trying to digest, rather than inventing more and more colorful ways to insinuate scientific incompetence, debate centered on genuine areas of disagreement could progress.

 

The current state of affairs is a loss to all concerned. The prejudice against evolutionary psychology prevents scholars from appreciating any potential insights the field has to offer, and prevents practitioners from having their ideas fairly evaluated and considered. Evolutionary psychology is a field without constitutional rights, unprotected from double jeopardy, triple-jeopardy, or quadruple-jeopardy. Consequently, there is no end in sight. As long as critics continue to misrepresent the discipline, evolutionary psychology is doomed to remain unfairly accused, and unjustly condemned.


From Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny, 2001

Dawkins and his allies really do have a different conception of evolution from that embraced by Eldredge, Lewontin and other collaborators of Gould. But those differences do not explain the undercurrent of hostility this debate has generated; hostility that surfaced dramatically in the New York Review of Books exchange. No doubt some of that hostility has a banal psychological explanation. People in general do not much enjoy being told they are wrong, especially in public. A somewhat prickly response is no great surprise. But I doubt whether this is the whole story. Dawkins and Gould mostly argue about issues internal to evolutionary theory. But they have very different attitudes to science itself.

Dawkins is an old-fashioned science worshipper (Here I line up with him, not Gould). Like all scientists, he accepts the fundamental Popperian point that scientific theory is always provisional, always open to revision in the light of new evidence and new ideas. And he accepts, of course, that in the short run human error and human prejudice can block our recognition of important evidence and good ideas. But Dawkins is wholly untouched by the postmodern climate of current intellectual life. For him, science is not just one knowledge system amongst many. It is not a socially-constructed reflection of the dominant ideology of our times. To the contrary: though occasionally fallible, the natural sciences are our one great engine for producing objective knowledge about the world. In many cases, we can be confident that received scientific opinion is right, or very nearly right. And that knowledge is liberating. In short, for Dawkins science is not just a light in the dark. It is by far our best, and perhaps our only, light.

Gould's take on the status of science is much more ambiguous. For one thing, he thinks some important questions are outside science's scope. He defends this idea in his recent work on the relationship between science and religion. On this issue, Dawkins' views are simple. He is an atheist. Theisms of all varieties are just bad ideas about how the world works, and science can prove that those ideas are bad. What is worse, as he sees it, these bad ideas have mostly had socially unfortunate consequences. Gould, by contrast, seems to think theism is irrelevant to religion. He interprets religion as a system of moral belief. Its essential feature is that it makes moral claims about how we ought to live. In Gould's view, science is irrelevant to moral claims. Science and religion are concerned with independent domains.

Gould's views on religion are doubly strange. First, it seems extraordinary to overlook the innumerable claims about the history of the world and how it works that are made by the various religions. The claim that the world was created by a being with intentions and expectations seems to be a factual claim about the world, not a moral claim about what to do. Furthermore, those factual claims are often supposed to be the basis of a religion's moral injunctions. So they are not minor details of religious belief systems we can reasonably ignore.

Second, Gould seems to commit himself to a very strange conception of ethics. Does he think that there are genuine ethical truths? Is there genuine moral knowledge? Recent thinking on ethics has gone two ways on this question. Perhaps the main contemporary line of thought is to argue that moral claims are expressions of the speaker's attitude or intentions towards some act or individual. To call someone a scumbag, for instance, is not to describe a particular moral property of that person. Rather, it expresses the speaker's distaste of that person and their doings. The main alternative is to defend some version of 'naturalism'. From this viewpoint, moral claims are factual claims. They are based on facts, though typically very complex facts, about human welfare. Gould seems to commit himself to denying both these options. If 'expressivism' is right, there is no independent domain of moral knowledge to which religion contributes. Our moral utterances are not designed to describe objective features of the world, but are instead vehicles for expressing our attitudes and emotions.

Alternatively, if naturalism is right, science is central to morality. For it discovers the conditions under which we prosper. The appeal to religion has largely dropped out of the picture. For one thing, religions really do seem to make claims about the world, and ones that cannot be rationally sustained. For another, even if these claims were true, they do not seem to give us any moral reason for action. This point was made in classical Greek civilization, and it can be condensed into a single question: Is torturing babies bad because God forbids it, or does God forbid it because it is bad? Give the first answer, and you are committed to the bizarre view that it would be right; not just prudent, to torture should God command it. Give the second, and you concede the irrelevance of religion to moral truth.

So Gould thinks that there are important domains of human understanding in which science plays no role. Moreover, he is much more skeptical about the role of science, even in its 'proper' domain. Even so, he certainly rejects extreme versions of postmodern relativism. It is an objective fact of evolutionary history, and one that we know, that dinosaurs evolved by the Triassic, dominated terrestrial ecosystems during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, and (with the exception of the birds) went extinct at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary, probably as a result of a large meteor striking the earth. There is no sense in which this is just a Western creation myth, a reflection of the dominant ideology of these times, or just an element of the current palaeobiological paradigm. It really happened that way, and we really know that it did. So to some extent Gould shares with Dawkins the view that science delivers objective knowledge about the world as it is.

Scientific belief is sensitive to objective evidence. It is more than a mere reflection of the culture and values of its times. But Gould argues that science is very deeply influenced by the cultural and social matrix in which it develops. Many of his Natural History columns illustrate both the influence of social context on science, and also its ultimate sensitivity to evidence. This sensitivity of science to its cultural location need not distort it. Sometimes the influence is beneficial, providing useful metaphors and models. Darwin's debt to nineteenth-century political economy is the most famous such example. In Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle, Gould locates the development of our conception of deep history in its cultural and intellectual context without any suggestion that the cultural context perverted the development of geology. But when the scientific issues are directly relevant to social and political concerns, all too often these sociocultural interests have led to bad science, pseudoscience, racist and sexist science. The Mismeasure of Man is Gould's most famous essay on these themes. In it he is concerned to show how a particular ideological context led to a warped and distorted appreciation of the evidence on human difference.

So, one sharp contrast between Dawkins and Gould is on the application of science in general, and evolutionary biology in particular, to our species. This is surely a source of much of the underlying tension in this debate. Perhaps a little surprisingly, Dawkins has not written systematically on this issue. And much of what he has written explores some of the differences between human evolution and that of most other organisms. For in human evolution, memes -- ideas and skills -- are important replicators. Ideas are copied generation by generation, just as genes are. Tunes, football allegiances, ethnic prejudices and skills are copied from one human to another. We humans are vehicles of the memes we carry, not just the genes we carry. This fact makes our evolutionary history importantly different from that of most creatures. For one thing, meme evolution is much faster than gene evolution. Even so, it is clear that Dawkins sees no problem, in practice or in principle, in applying evolutionary theories of social behaviour to humans.

The contrast with Gould is deep. Of course, Gould accepts that we are an evolved species. But everything Gould does not like in contemporary evolutionary thinking comes together in human sociobiology and its descendant, evolutionary psychology. The result has been a twenty-year campaign of savage polemic against evolutionary theories of human behaviour. Gould hates sociobiology. It is true that some evolutionary psychology does seem simple-minded. For example, Randy Thornhill's work on rape is unconvincing. He argues that sexually excluded men can in some circumstances improve their fitness by acts of rape, but he makes no attempt to take into account the fitness costs of sexual violence, and neglects obvious and serious problems for the idea that a tendency to rape is an adaptation. It is tempting to believe that The Natural History of Rape is a deliberate provocation.

Many contemporary evolutionary psychologists have taken on board the need for caution in testing adaptationist hypotheses. Certainly, Dennett repeatedly insists that we cannot assume that every characteristic is an adaptation. However, even those more cautious defenders of sociobiology, and its intellectual descendants, downplay the aspects of evolutionary process central to Gould's thought. They tend not to emphasize the importance of development and history in imposing constraints on adaptation, the problems in translating microevolutionary change into species-level change, the role of contingency and mass extinction in reshaping evolving lineages, or the importance of palaeobiology to evolutionary biology. Sociobiology, even at its most disciplined, reflects a different angle on evolution to that exemplified by Gould. This must play some role in his hostility. But most of all, I suspect, Gould thinks these ideas are dangerous and ill-motivated as well as wrong. They smack of hubris, of science moving beyond its proper domain, and incautiously at that. Dawkins does not concur. For him, knowledge of the evolutionary underpinnings of human behaviour is potentially liberating rather than dangerous. This is shown, for example, in his discussion of Axelrod's work (in the second edition of The Selfish Gene) on the evolution of cooperation--which he takes to be a reason for optimism about our condition.


Quotes from The triumph of Sociobiology by John Alcock, 2001.

Pg. 3--But Wilson is also known as the "inventor" of sociobiology, having published a book of coffee table dimensions in 1975 entitled Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. In the interval between the book's appearance and the AAAS meeting, a group of Wilson's colleagues at Harvard University did some publishing of their own. Richard Lewontin, a leading geneticist, and Stephen Jay Gould, just beginning his own rise to fame and fortune as a writer on matters evolutionary, were among the authors of a manifesto printed in the New York Review of Books. They did not send their critique to Wilson prior to its publication but instead let him, a member of their own department, learn about it indirectly--not the most collegial of actions. In their broadsheet, Lewontin, Gould, and fellow co-signers declared that Wilson had produced a theory that could be used to justify the political status quo and existing social inequalities. Worse, according to them, sociobiology was founded on the same kind of pseudoscience that was used as a foundation "for the eugenics policies which led to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazi Germany." Clearly, academics have the capacity to play rough.

Although Wilson soon responded in print to these unnerving charges, the vehemence of the opposition to sociobiology and the personal nature of the initial attack and follow-ups colored the general view of Wilson and his apparent creation. The average person is cautious toward a subject that is associated with intense controversy, and in this case Wilson's accusers included individuals with impeccable scientific credentials. As a result, to this day many persons, academics and nonacademics alike, have the sense that sociobiology may be slightly or substantially tainted, all the more so because Gould has continued over the years to cast aspersions on the discipline and its practitioners. In this he has found allies in various academic camps, with some feminists and social scientists especially eager to dismiss sociobiology as misguided at best and socially pernicious at worst.

Pg. 20--Wilson's postmortem of the affair is straightforward and plausible. I summarize it here. The mid-1970s were years of intense political activity on campuses, much of it initiated by left-wing professors and their students who opposed the war in Vietnam. At Harvard University, the war and various other injustices came under fire from a number of scholars of the Marxist or semi-Marxist persuasion, including Wilson's colleagues Lewontin and Gould. Lewontin and another colleague wrote at about this time, "As working scientists in the field of evolutionary genetics and ecology, we have been attempting with some success to guide our own research by a conscious application of Marxist philosophy. . . . There is nothing in Marx, Lenin or Mao that is or that can be in contradiction with the particular physical facts and processes of a particular set of phenomena in the objective world."

Marxist philosophy is founded on the premise of the perfectability of human institutions through ideological prescription. Therefore, persons with Marxist views were particularly unreceptive to the notion that an evolved "human nature" exists, fearing that such a claim would be interpreted to mean that human behavior cannot change. If our actions really were immune to intervention, then the many ills of modern societies could not be corrected. Such a conclusion is needless to say a repugnant one, and not just for Marxists….

It is true that Lewontin and company's main goal was not to do the squashing. Instead, they found it useful to make Wilson a public whipping boy to raise the political consciousness of society at large. This political end presumably justified pouring cold water on Wilson and his ideas, while making some other sociobiologists mildly nervous. But the uncompromising nature of the initial attack and the continuing criticism from Gould's desk make it legitimate for those of today's social scientists and feminists who are so inclined to dismiss sociobiology out of hand. And numerous persons are indeed still objecting to sociobiology, criticizing the discipline for many of the same reasons presented in the original manifesto. In the chapters ahead, I will try to identify the misconceptions that contribute to unnecessary hostility toward sociobiology, so that they can be removed and the real nature of sociobiological research can be seen more clearly.

Pg. 41--The Myth of the Genetic Determinist
For the sociobiologist, explaining the behavior of the whirligig beetle, the worker ant, and the pet-loving human being involves figuring out how these creatures' behavior, or the proximate mechanisms underlying their behavioral abilities, generate higher net gains in genetic success than other possible behaviors or different underlying physiological systems. The fact that genes get mentioned rather often by sociobiologists has led some critics to focus on the sociobiology-genetics connection. A considerable number of these critics think, or would like you to think, that sociobiologists have their genetics all wrong-because if sociobiology were founded on a fundamentally flawed version of genetics, dismissing the entire discipline would be relatively easy. To this end, some opponents of sociobiology have claimed that the discipline is founded on "genetic determinism," which also goes by the label "biological determinism."

Both terms refer to the same thing, namely, the view that an individual's genes can guarantee the development of a particular trait without reference to the environment in which the individual develops. Because genes do not single-handedly control the development of organisms, it would be a devastating criticism if sociobiology were indeed "another biological determinism," the original charge laid by Science for the People following publication of Sociobiology and repeated by Gould at intervals since then. Other critics have continued to portray sociobiology in the same light. For example, the feminist biologist Zuleyma Tang-Martinez writes that "traditional feminists contend that human sociobiology is biologically deterministic and serves only to justify and promote the oppression of women by perpetuating the notion that male dominance and female oppression are natural outcomes of human evolutionary history." Likewise, from the neuroscientist Steven Rose, "The prevailing fashion for giving genetic explanations to account for many if not all aspects of the human social condition... is the ideology of biological determinism, typified by the extrapolations of evolutionary theory that comprise much of what has become known as sociobiology."

Pg. 64--As we have seen, one of the reasons why sociobiology has had a rough reception is the multiplicity of misconceptions surrounding the field, misconceptions that have been fueled in part by the large number of challenges thrown up by a diverse array of critics. And one critic, Stephen J. Gould, has not been content merely to argue that adaptationists in general and sociobiologists in particular have proposed deficient hypotheses that have failed to take into account the full array of evolutionary processes. In addition, Gould charges that sociobiologists fail to test their hypotheses, accepting speculations, even wildly unlikely ones, at face value. Gould first raised this issue in his article "Sociobiology: The Art of Storytelling," in which he claimed that when it comes to explaining the possible adaptive significance of behavioral characteristics, sociobiologists often fall prey to the temptation to tell "just-so stories," which have all the validity of Rudyard Kipling's creative fairy tales on how the leopard got its spots. Gould argued that for this class of just-so biologists, "virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance," and he called on Ludwig yon Bertalanffy for the following quote: "If selection is taken as an axiomatic and a priori principle, it is always possible to imagine auxiliary hypotheses-unproved and by nature unprovable--to make it work in any special case." Von Bertalanffy and Gould want us to believe that sociobiologists are so utterly convinced that all traits evolved by natural selection that they are satisfied to develop inventive explanations for phenomena of interest to them, "using mere consistency with natural selection as a criterion of acceptance" and skipping the testing phase of science.

The "just-so story" epithet is one of the most successful derogatory labels ever invented, having entered common parlance as a name for any explanation about behavior, especially human behavior, that someone wishes to dispute. The popular literature is full of references to the supposed just-so stories of evolutionary biologists. For example, the psychologist Henry Schlinger entitled an article in Skeptic magazine, "How the Human Got Its Spots: A Critical Analysis of the Just So Stories of Evolutionary Psychology." There Schlinger argues that sociobiology is often not testable, or is only weakly so, taking his cue from Gould. Likewise, my local newspaper, the Arizona Republic, has reported that "some prominent scholars have questioned the premise of evolutionary psychology [a branch of sociobiology], dismissing much of the work as hypotheses without proof." I suspect that these scholars, evidently drawn from the fields of psychotherapy and sociology, think they have learned a thing or two from Gould. And when we read a book review in the New York Times that ends, "The onus for objectivity thus weighs especially heavily on feminist shoulders. Just so stories are not redeemed simply by being told by women," we know that the reviewer wishes us to dismiss the evolutionary message of the book, which in this case was written by a woman, the sociobiologist Sarah Hrdy.

The negative power of the just-so label lies in its attribution of "untested and untestable" to the affected hypotheses. As noted already, the whole point of science is to test explanations rather than accept them without "proof." Not to test one's speculations is fundamentally antiscientific. If a potential explanation is truly untestable, it is truly worthless from a scientific perspective, since the scientific criterion for acceptance of a hypothesis absolutely requires that it be tested in a convincing manner. Real "just-so stories" should be ignored, and of course they almost always are, except in children's fiction.

When Gould said that most sociobiologists were content to waste their time developing hypotheses, which they then accepted without evidence, he kept his examples to a minimum. Indeed he rarely identifies sociobiologists in sup posed error by name, except for E. O. Wilson-and one David P Barash, who was unfortunate enough to attract Gould's attention in the late 1970s. At the time Gould singled out Barash for corrective discipline, Barash worked on the behavioral biology of mammals, with a special interest in the social arrangements of marmots, a group that includes the familiar groundhog. Barash's major papers of this era included a research article that appeared in Science, a prestigious journal. But Gould did not take aim at this article, preferring instead to direct his fire against a report barely four pages long that was published by the American Naturalist. The soon-to-be-abused article was placed at the end of the journal in the "scientific notes" section, which is reserved for short miscellany, including comments on previously published papers as well as novel but preliminary results. Barash's article clearly belongs to the latter category. In the text of the note, he writes that he hopes in future work to "enlarge the sample and avoid possible confounding" effects of his initial experimental design.

Pg. 82--Few persons are likely to disagree with Gould, Fausto-Sterling, and Wertheim that scientists live and work in particular cultures, but the real question for a scientist at least is whether a "culturally specific way of seeing" is culturally skewed and delusional or whether it is accurate. Accuracy matters. And when Gould claimed that politics inevitably creeps into sociobiology because sociobiologists cannot help behaving "like all good scientists-as human beings in a cultural context," he was at least willing to acknowledge that he meant that sociobiologists make mistakes as a result. (His recent writings on the broad issue of science and social construction are considerably more tortured and unclear on this point.) But at least on occasion, Gould has been willing to argue that the cultural context that applies to sociobiologists causes these researchers to unconsciously and unintentionally adopt positions "historically taken by nativistic arguments about human behavior and capabilities--a defense of existing social arrangements as part of our biology." Interestingly, although Gould is a member of much the same cultural environment as Wilson and other American evolutionary biologists, he has happily avoided becoming an unconscious and unintentional promoter of "existing social arrangements," which, Gould reminds us, are marked by sexism, racism, social injustice, and the like. Perhaps Gould believes that people vary ill their susceptibility to cultural influences, with sociobiologists drawn primarily from that segment of society especially prone to peer pressure from the defenders of the status quo. No sensible person argues that scientists are immune to the influences of their culture.

Pg. 90--As for sociobiology, Gould's argument that its practitioners operate in a "cultural context" is only important in terms of science if it can be shown that this "cultural context" causes sociobiologists to reach conclusions that are not defensible when viewed from some other, more dispassionate perspective. But since all scientists, according to Gould, operate within a cultural context with the supposed potential to prevent rational objectivity, then no one, not even Gould, is really capable of an unbiased "scientific perspective." If this were true, we would be right back where we started from, namely the hard cultural relativist position that denies the possibility of accurate assessment of anyone's claims. If you really believe in this position, you should be walking instead of flying in 747s and you should be using a pencil instead of a computer because you have no reason to trust the accuracy of the thousands of scientific conclusions that underlie the construction of operational airplanes and functional computers.

For those of us who prefer to fly to Detroit rather than walk, it makes infinitely more sense to rely on the self-correcting nature of science to clean up scientific inaccuracies. The inherent logic of the scientific test, and the technological results based on past tests, enable us to reject the claim that the indisputable social nature of science means that there are no objective ways to evaluate the accuracy of a scientific hypothesis. Gould and others have provided ample motivation to fellow scientists of like mind to reexamine and retest the hypotheses of sociobiologists that strike them as flawed. Moreover, the fact is that sociobiologists are themselves no monolithic brotherhood sworn to uphold the validity of each other's conclusions but rather a moderately diverse collection of researchers, male and female, with assorted viewpoints and backgrounds. Many sociobiologists would be delighted to derive the advances in status that come in science to those capable of convincingly overthrowing established wisdom or even nonestablished wisdom. The sociobiological literature is full of healthy debates, letters to the editors, claims that so-and-so failed to consider this-and-that when engaged in such-and-such research. After all it was Power and Doner, two sociobiologists, who first used science to evaluate Barash's work on male aggression around the nest in the mountain bluebird.

Twenty years passed before Lysenkoism ran its course in Stalinist Russia; surely if sociobiology were even remotely as misguided and ideologically driven, scientific evidence for its general dismissal would have been gathered in the years that have passed since Lewontin and Gould raised the red flag of alarm about the discipline. This has not happened. Specific sociobiological hypotheses have been advanced, tested, and rejected, as happens in any field of science, but the basic approach continues to be employed by an ever greater number of researchers. Why? Because using evolutionary theory to generate testable hypotheses about social behavior works, as is clear from the exponential increase in discoveries about social behavior made by biologists since the 1970s. We will review a sampler of these findings in the next chapter.

Pg. 134--This tactic is not restricted to cultural anthropologists but has, for example, been regularly employed by Stephen Jay Gould. In an early essay written shortly after Sociobiology was published, he claims, "Thus, my criticism of [E. O.] Wilson does not invoke a non-biological 'environmentalism'; it merely pits the concept of biological potentiality, with a brain capable of a full range of human behaviors and predisposed toward none, against the idea of biological determinism, with specific genes for specific behavioral traits." But Gould did not then explain, indeed he has never explained, how the concept of an amorphous "biological potentiality" differs from a "nonbiological environmentalism," that is, the cultural determinism of Boas and Mead. In essence, Gould is saying that, yes, people have genes that survived past natural selection, but their only developmental function is to help provide us with an all-purpose learning ability, which is used without any predisposing biases as an enculturating device.

Many people want to believe that Mead and Gould are right when they and others claim that our brains are free from evolved attributes that steer our behavior in particular directions. For these persons, it is reassuring to hear that we are unique among species in having the behavioral capacity for any and all choices thanks to our status as the most highly evolved species, the end point of evolution, "God's children," or more modestly, at least a much less animalistic creature than your average run-of-the-mill animal. It is ironic that Gould, who has argued so energetically (and correctly) that humans are just one more product of standard evolutionary processes, one more currently surviving twig on an astonishingly bushy tree of evolution composed of millions of other species, should have also taken the position that standard evolutionary processes ceased to apply to us when our ancestors came up with the first cultural innovations.


Pg. 221--The real cost of the continuing assaults on sociobiology and the adaptationist approach by biologists like Coyne, Gould, and Lewontin is not borne by sociobiologists, who have carried on with their work and who have much to show for it. Instead, the persons most affected are those in the social sciences and humanities who have been encouraged by the forcefulness of the critics of sociobiology to resist incorporation of evolutionary theory into their disciplines. They, like the rest of us, would prefer to retain a worldview with which they are familiar and comfortable. And if eminent evolutionists say that the evolutionary psychology is bunk and that human behavior cannot be explored from an evolutionary perspective, then it is hardly surprising that most social scientists are happy to wave off the suggestion that they add a new research dimension to their investigations of human behavior.

Further impetus for rejecting the adaptationist approach comes from the feeling of many social scientists that Wilson and his fellow sociobiologists are intent upon usurping their disciplines, taking over every field of human analysis, cannibalizing all of academia. As noted previously, social scientists have long been highly suspicious of biologists and fiercely proprietary at times. Craig Stanford tells of a seminar in which he, a primatologist interested in behavioral variation among chimpanzee populations, was told in no uncertain terms not to apply the word "culture" to chimpanzees. As Stanford was told, "Apes are mere animals.... people alone possess culture. And only culture--not biology! Not evolution!--can explain humanity."

You can imagine the reaction of persons with this mind-set to Wilson's assertion that "sociology and the other social sciences, as well as the humanities, are the last branches of biology waiting to be included [within evolutionary biology]." However, as the sociologist Gerhard Lenski wrote in his review of Sociobiology, "Many will read this as a classic expression of intellectual imperialism, but I do not think it is intended that way." Lenski went on to suggest, accurately I think, that Wilson merely wanted to "open the channels to serious and continuing intellectual dialogue between sociobiologists like Wilson and social scientists willing to abandon the extreme environmentalism to which we have for too long been committed."

Gould and Lewontin make it easier for social scientists to ignore Lenski's suggestion and to hold out against the inevitable, which is not the elimination of the various social sciences and the transformation of the university into a mega-biology department. Instead, the eventual result of the dialogue between the social sciences and sociobiology will be the addition of an evolutionary angle to disciplines that have a long established, highly productive focus on the proximate causes of human behavior. As emphasized earlier, proximate concerns cannot be replaced by evolutionary ones, but they can be complemented by them. Without an evolutionary component, discourse on the behavior of any species, whether it be the Seychelles warbler, chimpanzee, or human, is impoverished. With an evolutionary component, our understanding of all living things can be improved.


The new book Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond by Ullica Segerstrale, 2000, is an amazing history of the battle between Marxists and traditionalists in their debates over primarily sociobiology; but also morals, intelligence, racism, religion and the individual philosophies that the players adhered to.  The author was there, interviewing the players over thirty years, collecting their comments and observing the fireworks. 

She concludes that the debates were good for neo-Darwinists, and that they perfected their scientific methodologies faster because of the attacks from Gould, Lewontin, et al.—attacks that if looked at carefully were contradictory and without substance.  But the book concludes that it was not a battle for truth, but rather a battle for status, positioning, morality, etc. Even for those scholars who were eventually made to look rather foolish in their Marxist attempts to discredit neo-Darwinism, and especially determinism, they won big time for their stalwartness in the face of facts. That is, they could not be shaken in their beliefs like any good fundamentalist  in the face of sciencetruth.  And this is why this book, excellent in every way, stops short of answering the question—What was it all about?  What lies behind this Marxist fundamentalism, like all religions before it?

Actually, the author almost stumbled upon it once in the book, when she noted that the neo-Darwinists seemed to be "rural" in their outlooks, and the Marxists "urban."  She then noted the rural Christians, but fails to mention the urban Jews.  Was this book really about group evolutionary strategies all along?  Of course the players did not fall neatly into ethnic or political categories.  And yet in many ways the battle lines did seem to be drawn between a Jewish (Marxist) and a gentile (scientific) viewpoint.

I will suggest that when reading this book, keep group evolution in mind. It seems to be  playing itself out in academia and the media in these genetic wars. That is, this book looks only at the proximate causes of the debates—status, morality, self-deception in serving the tribe, aggression, intolerance of other's belief systems, etc.  What is not seen, because humans have a great deal of difficulty with seeing themselves as loyal tribesmen, is the ultimate cause of the debate—the cultural warfare between Jewish and Caucasian intellectuals who are about equal in numbers in academia, even though Jews only make up about 3% of the U.S. population.  This is a battle for power by the elites from two different tribes.

Then after reading this book, read Kevin MacDonald's recently published trilogy (link to a review of his books above) on Jewish-gentile evolutionary strategies.  The same players are discussed, but with the ultimate causes included in the warfare.  And it portends that these battles are again flaring up, and in reality they only subsided briefly after WWII and are likely to return with a full head of steam. As yet, many scholars are side-stepping the real issue of multiculturalism, diversity, and what it means if humans did in fact evolve with strong tribal ethos in place of any universal moral system.  Following is a collection of a few relevant paragraphs from this very timely book:

Page 5:             But there were others who did need a scandal—and those were Wilson's two Harvard colleagues, Gould and Lewontin. They had become increasingly disenchanted with neo-Darwinism and wanted to explore alternative approaches. The problem was that, although they 'knew' that an adaptationist, gene-oriented approach was both scientifically and morally/politically wrong, at this point they did not have a good scientific alternative to offer. What to do? They wanted to be heard, and as scientists, they wanted to make a mark scientifically. Solution: create a stirrup around sociobiology, present it as both morally dubious and scientifically wrong—and in this way create a climate where people will want to hear what you have to say. On this view, as much as it represented truly held beliefs for many, the moral and political outrage around sociobiology was at the same time a Trojan horse devised to smuggle doubts about adaptationism into the scientific discussion and have them taken seriously. Later, as more supporting arguments had been amassed, the Trojan horse would be slowly dismantled.

But the horse kicked back, as it were. An unintended consequence of all this criticism was that it provoked a response and thereby helped strengthen the sociobiological approach. The morally motivated criticism in the sociobiology controversy in fact helped speed up the process of articulation and clarification of many of the scientific issues underlying sociobiology and evolutionary biology, such as the status of adaptation, the unit of selection, and the relationship between culture and biological evolution.

Page 40:            But he did not remain content with simply demonstrating how ideological bias leads to scientific error, which could be regarded as one type of abstract Marxist analysis. For Lewontin, there was a moral issue involved as well (cf. 'dishonesty'). Obviously, then, Lewontin refused to take the position that the sociopolitical bias of a scientist may have an unconscious effect on the results. This would, for instance, be the standpoint of his colleague Stephen J. Gould. Lewontin was quite explicit about how he disagreed with Gould in a book review of the latter's The Mismeasure of Man: "Like Kamin, I am, myself rather more harsh in my view. Scientists, like others, sometimes tell deliberate lies because they believe that small lies can serve big truths."

Page 288:            Reductionism as a definition game, or how the pot could call the kettle black

The time has now come to tackle one particular matter head-on. There was the nagging feeling all along that something was not quite right with the critics' pronouncements about reductionism. How anti-reductionistically minded were the anti-reductionists really? We have dealt with the critics' supposedly Marxist-inspired epistemology. But as we saw earlier, at least Lewontin's Marxist position seemed to be some kind of extension of a more profound ontological commitment to the molecular level and to 'true' causes. We have also seen that scientists from such fields as physics, chemistry, and molecular biology could typically be found in the group of vocal critics of sociobiology. But now it is high time to finally ask the question: are not these fields exactly 'reductionist' in the traditional sense? We have seen Lewontin unproblematically identify 'good' science with either, 'modern' (reductionist?!) laboratory science or science that does not use models, formulas, or statistics but deals with the 'real' (reductionist?!) molecular level instead. We are faced with the strange circumstance of reductionist scientists (in the traditional sense) attacking 'reductionism' (in their own newly defined sense)! Here we see how shifting terminology may allow some critics of 'reductionism', apparently, both to have their cake and to eat it.

Page 289:            So, obviously, characterizing the critics' approach as an attack on 'reductionism' is really a terrible misnomer, since, as we have seen, the reasoning of supposed antireductionists is about as reductionist as one can get in one's attitude to science! How can this contradiction be explained? The clue seems to lie in the redefinition of reductionism to mean biological determinism. This redefinition may have created a seeming paradox in the following way: in the critics' view, those scientists who were researching the biology of human behavior were also automatically biological determinists. Now, in sociobiological and behavioral genetic reasoning, 'behavior' is linked to the existence of hypothetical genes. In turn, these genes are for heuristic reasons in models and formulas treated as if they were 'beans in a bag'. The critics now felt free to draw the conclusion that behind such reductionist methodology must lie also a reductionist metaphysics: they believed that they had identified real ontological reductionists in the scientists involved with IQ testing, behavioral genetics, and sociobiology. That is why we had the odd situation of the pot seemingly calling the kettle black.

Page 295:            But how could the critics credibly go on criticizing targets who apparently shared their scientific views? That was, indeed, a problem and it often forced the critics to somewhat desperate maneuvering. This could be seen not only in their construction of 'genetic determinists', but particularly in their fabrication of 'racists'. Take; for instance, the critics' treatment of Bernard Davis. They systematically 'translated' Davis' statements about individual differences into racist-sounding statements. Meanwhile, Davis' own emphasis on the role of population genetics for obliterating typological conceptions of race was systematically ignored. The critics appeared to follow a clear strategy. Having first got rid of a competitor for moral credit (Davis) by rendering his position morally suspect (making him a racist), the critics were now free to hold up the very same argument themselves (that is, populational as against typological thinking) against a group of 'racist geneticists'—one of which they had just helped construct! In this way the critics pulled off the remarkable feat of using textbook science as a source of moral capital.

Page 301:            Thus, far from engaging in a futile dispute, or as Lewis Thomas characterized it: 'debating the unknowable', both parties in the sociobiology controversy may have been interested in keeping the controversy going because of the chances for short-term and long-term profit it offered when it came to symbolic capital. This capital could be both scientific and moral, and for some of the participants it was, indeed, both.

Page 303:            We also now have an explanation for why the various criticisms of sociobiology often appeared rather contrived: in order to ensure the best return for their critical investment, it was important for the critics to keep the discussion closely to their own respective fields of expertise. We can now understand Chorover's rather tortured attempt to classify sociobiology as part of social control technology in his From Genesis to Genocide—such an area falls under psychology, and here he was the expert. Gould, too, in his The Mismeasure of Man chose to link a disparate string of 'mismeasurements' to one another, starting with craniology and paleontology, going all the way to IQ testing and sociobiology. As we saw, Davis was furious with Gould for connecting obviously wrong old science to modern IQ research; Wilson was puzzled over the 'odd' inclusion of sociobiology (Wilson, interview); even Lewontin (198lb) thought there was too much about old science in the book. Why, then, was Gould doing all this? I maintain that the seemingly 'unnecessary' moves on Gould's part fall nicely into place if we explain the book as the outcome of an optimization strategy. By including the hot topics of IQ testing and sociobiology and connecting them to earlier craniological attempts, Gould was brilliantly turning his own somewhat dusty scientific specialty, paleontology, into an exciting and relevant field of contemporary academic controversy!

Attributing extreme views to a perceived opponent in order to promote one's own favorite theory is common in science, and so it was in the IQ and sociobiology debates. Here, those who stood to gain the most were scientists who could promote their own scientific theories as both scientifically and morally/politically superior by proving another scientist both scientifically and morally wrong. This was most easily achieved by ascribing scientifically and morally untenable views to suitable opponents, 'revealing' the errors, and then presenting one's own position as the obvious solution.

A mild version of the straw man strategy is exemplified by Wilson, who early on in the debate persisted in his criticism of tabula rasa environmentalism. By demonstrating the scientific and political untenability of an extreme environmentalist stance, Wilson was directly or indirectly arguing for the reasonableness of his own sociobiological position. Meanwhile, such a tabula rasa position was held by nobody at the time, not even by Skinner himself.

Gould, however, is a stronger case in point. The scientific connection between Gould's persistent anti-adaptationist crusade and his promotion of the theory of punctuated equilibria appears obvious. The more adaptationism could be debunked, the more power would presumably go to punctuated equilibria. But Gould's anti-adaptationism did not only have to do with increasing his symbolic capital in the scientific realm.

Indeed, among the actors in the sociobiology debate Gould is my tentative candidate for the Optimization Award. It is hard to imagine a more efficient way of simultaneously promoting one's moral and scientific interests than by employing the punctuated equilibria theory to criticize adaptation as a scientific approach, while hinting that adaptation implies a morally unacceptable support for the social status quo as the best of all possible worlds. Lewontin's anti-adaptationism, although ferocious, lacked this ultimate self-promoting twist, since Lewontin did not propose an alternative scientific theory.



From The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements.
BEYOND BOAS: RECENT EXAMPLES OF JEWISH POLITICAL AGENDAS INFLUENCING SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH
Jewish influence on the social sciences has extended far beyond Boas and the American Anthropological Association. Hollinger (1996, 4) notes "the transformation of the ethnoreligious demography of American academic life by Jews" in the period from the 1930s to the 1960s, as well as the Jewish influence on trends toward the secularization of American society and in advancing an ideal of cosmopolitanism (p. 11). As early as the early 1 940s, this transformation resulted in "a secular, increasingly Jewish, decidedly left-of-center intelligentsia based largely but not exclusively in the disciplinary communities of philosophy and the social sciences" (Hollinger 1996, 160). By 1968, Jews constituted 20 percent of the faculty of elite American colleges and universities and constituted 30 percent of the "most liberal" faculty. At this time, Jews, representing less than 3 percent of the population, constituted 25 percent of the social science faculty at elite universities and 40 percent of liberal faculty who published most (see Rothman & Lichter 1982, 103). Jewish academics were also far more likely to support "progressive" or communist parties from the 1930s to the 1950s. In 1948 30 percent of Jewish faculty voted for the Progressive Party, compared to less than 5 percent for gentile faculty (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 103).

Boas, who was a socialist, is a good example of the leftist bent of Jewish social scientists, and many of his followers were political radicals (Torrey1992, 57). Similar associations are apparent in the psychoanalytic movement and the Frankfurt School of Social Research (see Chs. 4, 5) as well as among several critics of sociobiology mentioned in this chapter (e.g., Jerry Hirsch, R.C. Lewontin, and Steven Rose). The attraction of Jewish intellectuals to the left is a general phenomenon and has typically co-occurred with a strong Jewish identity and sense of pursuing specifically Jewish interests (see Ch. 3).

Stephen Jay Gould and Leon Kamin are good examples of these trends. Gould's (1992) perspective on social influences on evolutionary theory was mentioned in SAID (p. 146), and Gould himself would appear to be a prime example of this conflation of personal and ethnopolitical interests in the construction of science. Gould has been an ardent, highly publicized opponent of evolutionary approaches to human behavior. Like many of the other prominent critics of sociobiology (e.g., J. Hirsch, L. Kamin, R. C. Lewontin, and S. Rose; see Myers 1990), Gould is Jewish, and Michael Ruse (1989, 203) notes that a very prominent theme of Gould's (1981/1996a) The Mismeasure of Man was how hereditarian views on intelligence had been used by "Teutonic supremacists" to discriminate against Jews early in the century. Gould's views on the IQ debates of the 1 920s and their link to the immigration issue and eventually the Holocaust bear scrutiny. They illustrate how skill as a propagandist and ethnic activist can be combined with a highly visible and prestigious academic position to have a major influence on public attitudes in an area of research with great implications for public policy.

Ruse points out that Gould's book was very passionately written and was "widely criticized" by historians of psychology, suggesting that Gould had allowed his feelings about anti-Semitism to color his scientific writings on genetic influences on individual differences in intelligence. Ruse goes on as follows: "It does not seem to me entirely implausible to suggest that Gould's passion against human sociobiology was linked to the fear that it was yet another tool which could be used for anti-semitic purposes. I did ask Gould about this once. ... He did not entirely repudiate the idea, but inclined to think that the opposition stemmed more from Marxism, and as it so contingently happens, most American Marxists are from Eastern European Jewish families. Perhaps both factors were involved. (Ruse 1989, 203)"

Gould's comments highlight the fact that the role of Jewish academics in opposing Darwinian approaches to human behavior has often co-occurred with a strong commitment to a leftist political agenda. Indeed, Gould has acknowledged that his theory of evolution as punctuated equilibria was attractive to him as a Marxist because it posited periodic revolutionary upheavals in evolution rather than conservative, gradualist change. Gould learned his Marxism "at his Daddy's knee" (see Gould 1996a, 39), indicating that he grew up as part of the Jewish-Marxist subculture discussed in Chapter 3. In a recent article Gould (1996c) reminisces fondly about the Forward, a politically radical but also ethnically conscious Yiddish newspaper (see Ch. 3), stating that he recalls that many of his relatives bought the newspaper daily. As Arthur Hertzberg (1989, 211-212) notes, "Those who read the Forward knew that the commitment of Jews to remain Jewish was beyond question and discussion."

Although Gould's family did not practice Jewish religious rituals, his family "embraced Jewish culture" (Mahler 1996). A common ingredient in Jewish culture is a sense of the historical prevalence of anti-Semitism (see SAID, Ch. 6), and Gould's sense of the historical oppression of Jews comes out in his recent review of The Bell Curve (Gould, 1994b), where he rejects Herrnstein and Murray's (1994) vision of a socially cohesive society where everyone has a valued role to play: "They [Herrnstein and Murray] have forgotten about the town Jew and the dwellers on the other side of the tracks in many of these idyllic villages." Clearly Gould is blaming historical Western societies for failing to include Jews in their social structures of hierarchic harmony and social cohesiveness. In Chapter 8, I will return to the issue of the incompatibility of Judaism with this quintessential Western form of social structure.

Kamin and Gould have quite similar backgrounds in the leftist Jewish subculture described more fully in Chapter 3, and they share with many American Jews a strong personal animosity to the immigration legislation of the 1 920s (see Ch. 7). Kamin, the son of an immigrant rabbi from Poland, acknowledges that "the experience growing up Jewish in a small and predominantly Christian town strongly sensitized him to the power of the social environment in shaping personality" (Fancher 1985, 201 )--a comment that also suggests that Kamin grew up with a strong Jewish identity. While at Harvard, Kamin joined the Communist Party and became the New England editor of the party's newspaper. After resigning from the party, he became a target of Joseph McCarthy's Senate Subcommittee Hearings in 1953. Kamin was charged and acquitted on technical grounds of charges of criminal contempt of Congress for failing to answer all the questions of the subcommittee. Fancher describes Kamin's work on IQ as having "little pretense to 'objectivity' "(p. 212), and suggests a link between Kamin's background and his position on IQ: "No doubt reflecting that his own middle-European family [and, I suppose, other Jews] could have been excluded by the restrictive immigration laws, Kamin concluded that an arrogant and unfounded assumption of IQ heritability had helped produce an unjust social policy in the 1920s" (p. 208).

Kamin (1974a,b) and Gould (1981/1996a) have been in the forefront of spreading disinformation about the role of IQ testing in the immigration debates of the 1920s. Snyderrnan and Herrnstein (1983; see also Samelson 1982) show that Kamin and Gould misrepresented H. H. Goddard's (1917) study of the IQ of Jewish immigrants as indicating that "83 percent of the Jews, 80 percent of the Hungarians, 79 percent of the Italians, and 87 percent of the Russians were 'feeble-minded' "(Kamin 1974, 16). As Snyderman and Herrnstein (1983, 987) note, "The 'fact' that is most often cited as evidence of IQ's nativistic bias was not based on IQ scores, not taken even by its discoverer as accurately representative of immigrants or as a clean measure of inherited abilities, and it used a test that was known at the time to exaggerate feeblemindedness in adult populations of all sorts." Indeed, Goddard (1917, 270) noted that "we have no data on this point, but indirectly we may argue that it is far more probable that their condition is due to environment than it is due to heredity," and he cited his own work indicating that immigrants accounted for only 4.5 percent of inmates in institutions for the feebleminded. Degler (1991, 39) finds that Gould engaged in a "single minded pursuit" of Goddard (p. 40), presenting a false picture of Goddard as a "rigid hereditarian or elitist." Gould ignored Goddard's doubts and qualifications as well as his statements on the importance of the environment. There can be little doubt that Gould was engaging in scholarly fraud in this endeavor: Degler (1991, 354n16) notes that Gould quoted Goddard just prior to the following passage and was thus aware that Goddard was far from rigid in his beliefs on the nature of feeblemindedness: "Even now we are far from believing the case [on whether feeblemindedness is a unitary character] settled. The problem is too deep to be thus easily disposed of." Nevertheless, Gould chose to ignore the passage. Gould also ignored Degler's comments in his 1996 revision of The Mismeasure of Man described more fully below.

Moreover, Kamin and Gould present a highly exaggerated and largely false account of the general attitudes of the testing community on the subject of ethnic group differences in intelligence as well as the role of IQ testing in the congressional debates of the period (Degler 1991, 52; Samelson 1975, 473; Snyderman & Herrnstein 1983)--the latter point confirmed in my own reading of the debates. Indeed, IQ testing was never mentioned in either the House Majority Report or the Minority Report. (The Minority Report was written and signed by the two Jewish congressmen, Representatives Dickstein and Sabath, who led the battle against restrictionism.) Contrary to Gould's (1981, 232) claim that "Congressional debates leading to passage of the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924 continually invoke the army [IQ] test data," Snyderman and Herrnstein (1983, 994) note that "there is no mention of intelligence testing in the Act; test results on immigrants appear only briefly in the committee hearings and are then largely ignored or criticized, and they are brought up only once in over 600 pages of congressional floor debate, where they are subjected to further criticism without rejoinder. None of the major contemporary figures in testing . . . were called to testify, nor were their writings inserted into the legislative record" (Snyderman & Herrnstein 1983, 994). Also, as Samelson (1975) points out, the drive to restrict immigration originated long before IQ testing came into existence, and restriction was favored by a variety of groups, including organized labor, for reasons other than those related to race and IQ, including especially the fairness of maintaining the ethnic status quo in the United States (see Ch. 7).

Samelson (1975) describes several other areas of Kamin's scholarly malfeasance, most notably his defamatory discussions of Goddard, Lewis M. Terman, and Robert M. Yerkes in which these pioneers of mental testing are portrayed as allowing political beliefs to color their data. Terman, for example, found that Asians were not inferior to Caucasians, results he reasonably interpreted as indicating the inadequacy of cultural explanations; these findings are compatible with contemporary data (Lynn 1987; Rushton 1995). Jews were also overrepresented in Terman's study of gifted children, a result that was trumpeted in the Jewish press at the time (e.g., The American Hebrew, July 13, 1923, p. 177) and is compatible with contemporary data (PTSDA , Ch. 7). Both findings are contrary to the theory of Nordic superiority.

Kamin (1974a, 27) also concluded that "the use of the 1890 census had only one purpose, acknowledged by the bill's supporters. The 'New Immigration' had begun after 1890, and the law was designed to exclude the biologically inferior . . . peoples of southeastern Europe." This is a very tendentious interpretation of the motives of the restrictionists. As discussed in Chapter 7, the 1890 census of the foreign born was used because the percentages of foreign born ethnic groups in 1890 approximated the proportions of these groups in the general population as of 1920. The principle argument of the restrictionists was that use of the 1890 census was fair to all ethnic groups.

This false picture of the 1 920s debates was then used by Gould, Kamin, and others to argue that the "overtly racist immigration act" of 1924 (Kamin 16982, 98) was passed because of racist bias emanating from the IQ-testing community and that this law was a primary cause of the death of Jews in the Holocaust. Thus Kamin (16974, 27) concluded that "the law, for which the science of mental testing may claim substantial credit, resulted in the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands of victims of the Nazi biological theorists. The victims were denied admission to the United States because the 'German quota' was filled." Kamin's portrayal of early-twentieth-century intelligence testing became received wisdom, appearing repeatedly in newspapers, popular magazines, court decisions, and occasionally even scholarly publications. My own introduction to Kamin's ideas came from reading a popular textbook on developmental psychology I was using in my teaching.

Similarly, Gould proposes a link between hereditarian views on IQ and the 1924 U.S. immigration law that restricted immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe and biased immigration in favor of the peoples of Northwestern Europe. The 1924 immigration law is then linked to the Holocaust: "The quotas . . . slowed immigration from southern and eastern Europe to a trickle. Throughout the 1930s, Jewish refugees, anticipating the holocaust, sought to emigrate, but were not admitted. The legal quotas, and continuing eugenical propaganda, barred them even in years when inflated quotas for western and northern European nations were not filled. Chase (1977) has estimated that the quotas barred up to 6 million southern, central, and eastern Europeans between 1924 and the outbreak of World War II (assuming that immigration had continued at its pre-1924 rate). We know what happened to many who wished to leave but had nowhere to go. The paths to destruction are often indirect, but ideas can be agents as sure as guns and bombs. (Gould 1981, 233; see also Gould 1998)"

Indeed, although there is no evidence that IQ testing or eugenic theories had anything more than a trivial influence on the 1924 immigration law, there is evidence that the law was perceived by Jews as directed against them (see Ch.7). Moreover, concerns about Jews and their ultimate effect on American society may well have been a motive of some of the gentiles favoring immigration restriction, including, among the intellectuals, Madison Grant and Charles Davenport.

Because of his desire to counteract the publicity given to The Bell Curve (see Gould 1996a, 316), Gould reissued The Mismeasure of Man in 1996 with a new introduction in which he states, "May I end up next to Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius in the devil's mouth at the center of hell if I ever fail to present my most honest assessment and best judgment of the evidence for empirical truth" (p. 39). Despite this (rather self-consciously defensive) pledge of scholarly objectivity, Gould took no steps to deal with the objections of his critics--exactly the type of behavior one expects in a propagandist rather than a scholar (see Rushton 1997). The Snyderman and Herrnstein article, Samelson's work, and Degler's (1991) book are not cited at all, and Gould does not retract his statement that IQ testing was a prominent feature of the congressional immigration debates of the 1920s.

Perhaps most egregiously of all, Gould makes the amazing argument that he will continue to ignore all recent scholarship on IQ in favor of the older "classical" research because of the "transient and ephemeral" nature of contemporary scholarship (1996a, 22). The argument is that there is no progress in IQ research but only a recurrence of the same bad arguments--a comment that I doubt Gould would apply to any other area of science. Thus Gould continues to denigrate studies linking brain size with IQ despite a great deal of contrary research both prior to and especially since his 1981 edition (see summary below). Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to get a more accurate measure of brain size, modern research thus vindicates the discoveries of nineteenth-century pioneers like Paul Broca, Francis Galton, and Samuel George Morton who are systematically defamed by Gould. However, as Rushton (1997) notes, Gould's revised edition apparently omitted his 1981 discussion of Arthur Jensen's research on the brain size/IQ correlation because of his realization that the contemporary data are unequivocal in their support of a moderate (r> .40) association. Instead, in the 1996 edition Gould reprints his approval of a 1971 review of the literature that concluded that there was no relationship. Gould's revision thus ignores 25 years of research, including Van Valen's (1974) paper on which Jensen's ideas were based.

In his revision, Gould also does not discuss an article by J. S. Michael (1988) that shows that, contrary to Gould's claim, Samuel George Morton did not fudge his data on race differences in skull size, intentionally or otherwise. Moreover, although Morton's research "was conducted with integrity" (Michael 1988, 253), it included an error that actually favored a non-Caucasian group--an error that Gould failed to mention while at the same time Gould himself made systematic errors and used arbitrarily chosen procedures in his calculations. And Gould did so in a manner that favored his own hypothesis that there are no racial differences in cranial capacity.

Gould also failed to revise his defamation of H. H. Goddard in which he claimed that Goddard had doctored photographs of the famous Kallikak family to make them look mentally retarded and menacing. (In his study, Goddard had compared the Kallikaks, who were the descendants of a tavern maid and an upstanding citizen, with the descendants of the same man and his wife.) A subsequent study by Glenn and Ellis (1988) appearing well before the revised edition concluded, however, that these photographs are judged as appearing "kind." To put it charitably, Gould's presuppositions about the malicious intentions of IQ researchers results in his overattributing bias to others.

Finally, in the 1996 revision Gould failed to rebut arguments against his claim that g (i.e., general intelligence) was nothing more than a statistical artifact (see, e.g., Carroll 1995; Hunt 1995; Jensen & Weng 1994). This is noteworthy because in his introduction to the 1996 edition, Gould is clearly apologetic about his lack of expertise as a historian of science or as a psychologist, but he does claim to be an expert in factor analysis. His failure to mount a defense against his scholarly critics is therefore another example of his intellectual dishonesty in the service of his ethnopolitical agenda. As the review of the 1996 edition by Rushton (1997) indicates, a great many other errors of commission and omission abound in Mismeasure of Man, all having to do with politically sensitive issues involving racial differences and sex differences in cognitive abilities.

Gould has also strongly opposed the idea that there is progress in evolution, quite possibly because of his belief that such ideas among German evolutionists contributed to the rise of National Socialism (See Robert Richards's comments in Lewin 1992, 143). As recounted by Lewin (1992, 1644), Gould acknowledges an ideological influence on his beliefs but reiterates his belief that the trends toward greater intelligence and larger brain size are not important in the overall scheme of evolution. (The idea that advances in complexity are important to evolution continues to draw a great deal of support [Bonner 1988; Russell 1983, 1989; E. 0. Wilson {see Miele 1998, 83}]). However, Gould acknowledges that there is a deeper issue at stake than whether all animal groups show this tendency. At the basis of this perspective is Gould's assertion that human consciousness, intelligence, and the general trend toward larger brain size in human evolution are mere accidents and did not contribute to Darwinian fitness or to the solution of adaptive problems in ancestral environments (see Lewin 1992, 145-146). His perspective is thus meant to be a skirmish in the nature-nurture debate over intelligence.

In addition, Dennett's (1993, 1995) devastating analysis of the rhetorical devices used by Gould in his war against adaptationism leaves little doubt regarding the fundamental intellectual dishonesty of Gould's writings. Dennett implies that a non-scientific agenda motivates Gould but stops short of attempting to analyze the reasons for this agenda. Gould (1993, 317) himself recounts an incident in which the British biologist Arthur Cain, referring to Gould and Lewontin's (1979) famous anti-adaptationist paper "The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme," accused him of having "betrayed the norms of science and intellectual decency by denying something that we knew to be true (adaptationism) because he so disliked the political implications of an argument (sociobiology) based upon it."

The verdict must be that Gould has indeed forfeited his membership in the "ancient and universal company of scholars" and will spend his afterlife in the devil's mouth at the center of hell. However, it is noteworthy that despite the widespread belief that Gould has a highly politicized agenda and is dishonest and self-serving as a scholar, the prominent evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith (1995, 46) notes that "he has come to be seen by non-biologists as the preeminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with. All this would not matter were it not that he is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory." Similarly, Steven Pinker (1997), a prominent linguist and a major figure in the evolutionary psychology movement, labels Gould's ideas on adaptationism "misguided" and "uninformed." He also takes Gould to task for failing to properly cite the widely known work of G. C. Williams and Donald Symons in which these authors have proposed non-adaptive explanations for some human behaviors while nevertheless adopting an adaptationist perspective on human behavior generally. Gould has thus dishonestly taken credit for others' ideas while utilizing them in a wholly inappropriate manner to discredit the adaptationist program generally.

In an article entitled "Homo deceptus: Never trust Stephen Jay Gould," journalist Robert Wright (1996), author of The Moral Animal (Basic Books, 1994), makes the same charge in a debate over a flagrantly dishonest interpretation by Gould (1996b) of the evolutionary psychology of sex differences. Wright notes that Gould "has convinced the public he is not merely a great writer, but a great theorist of evolution. Yet among top-flight evolutionary biologists, Gould is considered a pest--not just a lightweight but an actively muddled man who has warped the public's understanding of Darwinism." A false picture perhaps, but one that is not without its usefulness in satisfying political and, I suppose, ethnic agendas.

Another prominent biologist, John Alcock (1997), provides an extended and, I think, accurate analysis of several aspects of Gould's rhetorical style: "demonstrations of erudition--foreign phrases, poetry--irrelevant to the intellectual arguments but widely regarded even by his critics; branding the opposition with denigrating labels, such as 'pop science,' 'pop psychology,' 'cardboard Darwinism,' or 'fundamentalist Darwinians' (similarly, Pinker [1997, 55] decries Gould's hyperbolic rhetoric, including his description of the ideas of evolutionary psychology as 'fatuous,' 'pathetic,' and 'egregiously simplistic' and his use of some twenty-five synonyms for 'fanatical'; oversimplifying his opponents' positions in order to set up straw-man arguments, the classic being labeling his opponents as 'genetic determinists'; protecting his own position by making illusory concessions to give the appearance of fair-mindedness in the attempt to restrict debate; claiming the moral high ground; ignoring relevant data known to all in the scientific community; proposing nonadaptationist alternatives without attempting to test them and ignoring data supporting adaptationist interpretations; arguing that proximate explanations (i.e., explanations of how a trait works at the neurophysiological level) render ultimate explanations (i.e., the adaptive function of the trait) unnecessary."

The comments of Maynard Smith, Wright, and Alcock highlight the important issue that despite the scholarly community's widespread recognition of Gould's intellectual dishonesty, Gould has been highly publicized as a public spokesperson on issues related to evolution and intelligence. As Alcock (1997) notes, Gould, as a widely published Harvard professor, makes it respectable to be an anti-adaptationist, and I have noticed this effect not only among the educated public but also among many academics outside the biological sciences. He has had access to highly prestigious intellectual forums, including a regular column in Natural History and, along with Richard C. Lewontin (another scholar-activist whose works are discussed here), he is often featured as a book reviewer in the New York Review of Books (NYRB). The NYRB has long been a bastion of the intellectual left. In Chapter 4, I discuss the role of the NYRB in promulgating psychoanalysis, and in Chapter 6 the NYRB is listed among the journals of the New York Intellectuals, a predominantly Jewish coterie that dominated intellectual discourse in the post-World War II era. The point here is that Gould's career of intellectual dishonesty has not existed in a vacuum but has been part and parcel of a wide-ranging movement that has dominated the most prestigious intellectual arenas in the United States and the West--a movement that is here conceptualized as a facet of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy.

On a more personal level, I clearly recall that one of my first noteworthy experiences in graduate school in the behavioral sciences was being exposed to the great "instinct" debate between the German ethologists Konrad Lorenz and Iranaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt versus several predominantly Jewish American developmental psychobiologists (D. S. Lehrman, J. S. Rosenblatt, T. C. Schnierla, H. Moltz, G. Gottleib, and E. Tobach). Lorenz's connections to National Socialism (see Lerner 1992, 59ff) were a barely concealed aspect of this debate, and I remember feeling that I was witnessing some sort of ethnic warfare rather than a dispassionate scientific debate of the evidence. Indeed, the intense, extra-scientific passions these issues raised in some participants were openly admitted toward the end of this extraordinary conflict. In his 1970 contribution, Lehrman stated: "I should not point out irrational, emotion-laden elements in Lorenz's reaction to criticism without acknowledging that, when I look over my 1953 critique of his theory, I perceive elements of hostility to which my target would have been bound to react. My critique does not now read to me like an analysis of a scientific problem, with an evaluation of the contribution of a particular point of view, but rather like an assault upon a theoretical point of view, the writer of which assault was not interested in pointing out what positive contributions that point of view had made."

More recently, as the debate has shifted away from opposing human ethology toward attacks on human sociobiology, several of these developmental psychobiologists have also become prominent critics of sociobiology (see Myers1990, 225).

This is not, of course, to deny the very important contributions of these developmental psychobiologists and their emphasis on the role of the environment in behavioral development--a tradition that remains influential within developmental psychology in the writings of several theorists, including Alan Fogel, Richard Lerner, Arnold Sameroff, and Esther Thelen. Moreover, it must be recognized that several Jews have been important contributors to evolutionary thinking as it applies to humans as well as human behavioral genetics, including Daniel G. Freedman, Richard Herrnstein, Seymour Itzkoff, Irwin Silverman, Nancy Segal, Lionel Tiger, Robert Trivers, and Glenn Weisfeld. Of course, non-Jews have been counted among the critics of evolutionary-biological thinking. Nevertheless, the entire episode clearly indicates that there are often important human interests that involve Jewish identity and that influence scientific debate. The suggestion here is that one consequence of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy has been to skew these debates in a manner that has impeded progress in the biological and social sciences.

Richard Lerner (1992) in his Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice, and Genocide is perhaps the most egregious example of a scientist motivated to discredit evolutionary-biological thinking because of putative links with anti-Semitism. (Barry Mehler, a protege of Jerry Hirsch, is also explicit in making these linkages, but he is far less prominent academically and functions mainly as a publicist for these views in leftist intellectual media. See Mehler [1984a,b]. Mehler graduated from Yeshiva University and organized a program, "The Jewish Experience in America 1880 to 1975," at Washington University in St. Louis, suggesting a strong Jewish identification.) Lerner is a prominent developmental psychologist, and his volume indicates an intense personal involvement directed at combating anti-Semitism by influencing theory in the behavioral sciences. Prior to discussing the explicit links between Lerner's theoretical perspective and his attempt to combat anti-Semitism, I will describe his theory and illustrate the type of strained thinking with which he has attempted to discredit the application of evolutionary thinking to human behavior.

Central to this program is Lerner's rejection of biological determinism in favor of a dynamic, contextualist approach to human development. Lerner also rejects environmental determinism, but there is little discussion of the latter view because environmental determinism is "perhaps less often socially pernicious" (p. xx). In this regard, Lerner is surely wrong. A theory that there is no human nature would imply that humans could easily be programmed to accept all manner of exploitation, including slavery. From a radical environmentalist perspective, it should not matter how societies are constructed, since people should be able to learn to accept any type of social structure. Women could easily be programmed to accept rape, and ethnic groups could be programmed to accept their own domination by other ethnic groups. The view that radical environmentalism is not socially pernicious also ignores the fact that the communist government of the Soviet Union murdered millions of its citizens and later engaged in officially sponsored anti-Semitism while committed to an ideology of radical environmentalism.

Lerner's dynamic contextualism pays lip service to biological influences while actually rendering them inconsequential and unanalyzable. This theory has strong roots in the developmental psychobiological tradition described above, and there are numerous references to these writers. The dynamic contextualist perspective conceptualizes development as a dialectical interaction between organism and environment. Biological influences are viewed as a reality, but they are ultimately unanalyzable, since they are viewed as being inextricably fused with environmental influences. The most notable conclusion is that any attempt to study genetic variation as an independently analyzable influence on individual differences (the program of the science of quantitative behavior genetics) is rejected. Many of the critics of sociobiology have also been strong opponents of behavior genetic research (e.g., S. J. Gould, J. Hirsch, L. Kamin, R. C. Lewontin, and S. Rose). For a particularly egregious example embodying practically every possible misunderstanding of basic behavior genetic concepts, see Gould (1998).

It bears mentioning that dynamic contextualism and its emphasis on the dialectical interaction between organism and environment bear more than a passing resemblance to Marxism. The foreword of Lerner's book was written by R. C. Lewontin, the Harvard population biologist who has engaged in a high-profile attempt to fuse science, leftist politics, and opposition to evolutionary and biological theorizing about human behavior (e.g., Levins & Lewontin 1985; see Wilson 1994). Lewontin (with Steven Rose and Leon Kamin) was the first author of Not in Our Genes (1984)--a book that begins with a statement of the authors' commitment to socialism (p. ix) and, among a great many other intellectual sins, continues the disinformation regarding the role of IQ testing in the immigration debates of the 1 920s and its putative links to the Holocaust (p. 27). Indeed, E. 0. Wilson (1994, 344), whose synthetic volume Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (Wilson 1975) inaugurated the field of sociobiology, notes that "without Lewontin, the [sociobiology] controversy would not have been so intense or attracted such widespread attention."

In his foreword to Lerner's book, Lewontin states that developmental contextualism is "the alternative to biological and cultural determinism. It is the statement of the developmental contextual view that is the important central point of Final Solutions, and it is the full elaboration of that point of view that is a pressing program for social theory. Nowhere has this world view been put more succinctly than in Marx's third Thesis on Feurbach" (p. ix). Lewontin goes on to quote a passage from Marx that does indeed express something like the fundamental idea of developmental contextualism. Gould (1987, 153) has also endorsed a Marxist dialectical perspective in the social sciences.

Lerner devotes much of his book to showing that dynamic contextualism, because of its emphasis on plasticity, provides a politically acceptable perspective on racial and sexual differences, as well as promising a hope for ending anti-Semitism. This type of messianic, redemptionist attempt to develop a universalist theoretical framework within which Jewish-gentile group differences are submerged in importance is a common feature of other predominantly Jewish movements in the twentieth century, including radical political theories and psychoanalysis (see Ch. 3, 4). The common theme is that these ideologies have been consistently promoted by individuals who, like Lerner, are self-consciously pursuing a Jewish ethnic and political agenda. (Recall also Gould's tendency to seize the moral high ground.) However, the ideologies are advocated because of their universalist promise to lead humanity to a higher level of morality--a level of morality in which there is continuity of Jewish group identity but an eradication of anti-Semitism. As such, dynamic contextualism can be seen as one of many post-Enlightenment attempts to reconcile Judaism with the modern world.

There is no question that Lerner strongly believes in the moral imperative of his position, but his moral crusade has led him well beyond science in his attempts to discredit biological theories in the interests of combating anti-Semitism. Lerner coauthored an article in the journal Human Development (Lerner & von Eye 1992) directed at combating the influence of biological thinking in research on human development. My edited volume (Sociobiological Perspectives on Human Development, MacDonald 1988b) is prominently cited as an example of an evolutionary approach deriving from E. 0. Wilson's work and as a point of view that has "found support and application" (p. 13). As their example of how this point of view has been supported and applied, Lerner and von Eye cite the work of J. Philippe Rushton on racial differences in r/K reproductive styles. The implication would appear to be that my edited volume was somehow a basis of Rushton' s work. This is inaccurate, since (1) the volume never mentioned Negroid-Caucasian differences in intelligence or any other phenotype, and (2) the book was published after Rushton had already published his work on the r/K theory of racial differences. However, the association between this book and Rushton is highly effective in producing a negative evaluation of the book because of Rushton's current persona non grata status as a theorist of racial differences (see Gross 1990).
 


From Unweaving The Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins (1998).
My remaining examples of bad poetry in evolutionary science come largely from a single author, the American paleontologist and essayist Stephen Jay Gould. I am anxious that such critical concentration upon one individual shall not be taken as personally rancorous. On the contrary, it is Gould's excellence as a writer that makes his errors, when they occur, so eminently worth rebutting.

In 1977 Gould wrote a chapter on 'eternal metaphors of paleontology' to introduce a multi-authored book on the evolutionary study of fossils. Beginning with Whitehead's preposterous, though much quoted, statement that all of philosophy is a footnote to Plato, Gould's thesis, in the words of the preacher of Ecclesiastes (whom he also quotes), is that there is nothing new under the sum: 'The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done.' Current controversies in paleontology are just old controversies being recycled. They preceded evolutionary thought and found no resolution within the Darwinian paradigm ... Basic ideas, like idealized geometric figures, are few in number. They are eternally available for consumption...

Gould's eternally unresolved questions in paleontology are three in number: Does time have a directional arrow? Is the driving motor of evolution internal or external? Does evolution proceed gradually or in sudden jumps? Historically, he finds examples of paleontologists who have espoused all eight possible combinations of answers to these three questions, and he satisfies himself that they straddle the Darwinian revolution as though it never happened. But he manages this feat only by forcing analogies between schools of thought which, carefully examined, have no more in common than blood and wine, or helical orbits and helical DNA. All three of Gould's eternal metaphors are bad poetry, forced analogies that obscure rather than illuminate. And bad poetry in his hands is all the more damaging because Gould is a graceful writer.

The question whether evolution has a directional arrow is certainly one that can sensibly be asked, in various guises. But the bedfellows that the different guises bring together are so ill matched that they are not usefully united. Does bodily structure get progressively more complex as evolution goes on? This is a reasonable question. So is the question of whether the total diversity of species on the planet increases progressively as the ages go by. But they are utterly different questions and it is conspicuously unhelpful to invent a century-spanning school of 'progressivist' thought to unite them. Still less do either of them, in their modern form, have anything in common with the pre-Darwinian schools of 'vitalism' and 'finalism', which held that living things were progressively 'driven' from within, by some mystical life force, towards an equally mystical final goal. Gould forces unnatural connections among all these forms of progressivism, as a device to support his poetic historical thesis.

Much the same is true of the second eternal metaphor, and the question of whether the motor of change is in the external environment, or whether change arises from 'some independent and internal dynamic within organisms themselves'. A prominent modern disagreement is between those who believe that the main driving force of evolution is Darwinian natural selection and those who emphasize other forces such as random genetic drift. This important distinction is not conveyed, not even to the smallest extent, by the internalist/externalist dichotomy that Gould would force upon us in order to maintain his thesis that post-Darwinian argumentation is just a recycling of pre-Darwinian equivalents. Is natural selection externalist or internalist? It depends whether you are talking about adaptation to the external environment or co-adaptation of the parts to each other. I shall return to this distinction later in another context.

Bad poetry is even more evident in Gould's exposition of the third of his eternal metaphors, the one concerning gradual versus episodic evolution. Gould uses the word episodic to unite three kinds of sharp discontinuity in evolution. These are: first, catastrophes such as the mass extinction of the dinosaurs; second, macromutations or saltations; and third, punctuation in the sense of the theory of punctuated equilibrium proposed by Gould and his colleague Niles Eldredge in 1972.This last theory needs more explanation, and I'll come to it in a moment.

Catastrophic extinctions are straightforward to define. Exactly what causes them is controversial and probably different in different cases. For the moment, just notice that a worldwide catastrophe in which most species die is, to put it mildly, not the same thing as a macromutation. Mutations are random errors in gene copying and macromutations are mutations of large effect. A mutation of small effect, or micromutation, is a small error in gene copying, whose effect on its possessors might be too slight to notice easily, say a subtle lengthening of a leg bone, or a hint of reddening in a feather. A macromutation is a dramatic error, a change so large that, in extreme cases, its possessor would be classified in a different species from its parents. In my previous book, Climbing Mount Improbable, I reproduced a photograph from a newspaper of a toad with eyes in the roof of its mouth. If this photograph is genuine (a big if, in these days of Photoshop and other handy image-manipulation software), and if the error is genetic, the toad is a macromutant. If such a macromutant spawned a new species of toads with eyes in the roofs of their mouths, we should describe the abrupt evolutionary origin of the new species as a saltation or evolutionary jump. There have been biologists, such as the German/American geneticist Richard Goldschmidt, who believed that such saltatory steps were important in natural evolution. I am one of many who have cast doubt on the general idea, but that is not my purpose here. Here I make the much more basic point that such genetic leaps, even if they occur, have nothing in common with earth-shattering catastrophes such as the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs, except that both are sudden. The analogy is purely poetic, and it is bad poetry which doesn't lead to any further illumination. Recalling Medawar's words, the analogy marks the end, not the inauguration, of a train of thought. The ways of being a non-gradualist are so varied as to strip the category of all usefulness.

The same applies to the third category of non-gradualists: punctuationists in the sense of Eldredge and Gould's theory. The idea here is that a species comes into existence in a time which is short compared with the much longer period of 'stasis' during which it survives unchanged after its initial formation. In the extreme version of the theory, the species, once it has burst into existence, continues unchanged until either it goes extinct or it splits to form a new daughter species. It is when we ask what happens during the sudden bursts of species formation that the confusion, born of bad poetry, arises. There are two things that might happen. They are utterly different from each other, but Gould makes light of the difference because he is seduced by bad poetry. One is macromutation. The new species is founded by a freak individual, like the alleged toad with eyes in the roof of its mouth. The other thing that might happen--more plausibly, in my view, but I'm not talking about that now--is what we can call rapid gradualism. The new species comes into existence in a brief episode of rapid evolutionary change which, although gradual in the sense that parents don't spawn an instant new species in a single generation, is fast enough to look like an instant in the fossil record. The change is spread over many generations of small, step-by-step increments, but it looks like a sudden jump. This is either because the intermediates lived in a different place (say, on an outlying island) and/or because the intermediate stages passed too rapidly to fossilize--10,000 years is too short to measure in many geological strata, yet it constitutes ample time for quite major evolutionary change to accumulate gradually in small steps.

There is all the difference in the world between rapid gradualism and macromutational saltation. They depend upon totally different mechanisms and they have radically different implications for Darwinian controversies. To lump them together simply because, like catastrophic extinctions, they all lead to discontinuities in the fossil record, is bad poetic science. Gould is aware of the difference between rapid gradualism and macromutation, but he treats the matter as though it were a minor detail, to be cleared up after we have taken on board the overarching question of whether evolution is episodic rather than gradual. One can see it as overarching only if one is intoxicated by bad poetry. It makes as little sense as my correspondent's question about the DNA double helix and whether it comes from' the earth's orbit. Once again, rapid gradualism no more resembles macromutation than a bleeding wizard resembles a shower of rain. Even worse is to claim catastrophism under the same punctuationist umbrella. In pre-Darwinian times the existence of fossils became increasingly embarrassing for upholders of biblical creation. Some hoped to drown the problem in Noah's flood, but why did the strata seem to show dramatic replacements of whole faunas, each one different from its predecessor, and all of them largely free of our own, familiar creatures? The answer given by, among others, the nineteenth-century French anatomist Baron Cuvier, was catastrophism. Noah's flood was only the last in a series of cleansing disasters visited upon the earth by a supernatural power. Each catastrophe was followed by a new creation.

Apart from the supernatural intervention, this has something--a little--in common with our modern belief that mass extinctions such as those that ended the Permian and Cretaceous eras were followed by new flowerings of evolutionary diversity to match previous radiations. But to lump the catastrophists in with macromutationists and with modem punctuationists, just because all three can be represented as non-gradualist, is very bad poetry indeed.

After giving lectures in the United States, I have often been puzzled by a certain pattern of questioning from the audience. The questioner calls my attention to the phenomenon of mass extinction, say, the catastrophic end of the dinosaurs and their succession by the mammals. This interests me greatly and I warm to what promises to be a stimulating question. Then I realize that the tome of the question is unmistakably challenging. It is almost as though the questioner expects me to be surprised, or discomfited, by the fact that evolution is periodically interrupted by catastrophic mass extinctions. I was baffled by this until the truth suddenly hit me. Of course! The questioner, like many people in North America, has learned his evolution from Gould, and I have been billed as one of those 'ultra-Darwinian' gradualists! Doesn't the comet that killed the dinosaurs also blow my gradualistic view of evolution out of the water? No, of course it doesn't. There is not the smallest connection. I am a gradualist in the sense that I don't think macromutations have played an important role in evolution. More determinedly, I aim a gradualist when it comes to explaining the evolution of complex adaptations like eyes (so is any same person, including Gould). But what on earth have such matters got to do with mass extinctions? Nothing at all. Unless, that is, your mind has been filled up with bad poetry. For the record, I believe, and have believed for the whole of my career, that mass extinctions exert a profound and dramatic influence on the subsequent course of evolutionary history. How could they not? But mass extinctions are not a part of the Darwinian process, except in so far as they clear the decks for new Darwinian beginnings.

There is irony lurking here. Among the facts about extinction that Gould is fond of emphasizing is its capriciousness. He calls it contingency. When mass extinction strikes, major groups of animals die wholesale. In the Cretaceous extinction, the once mighty group of dinosaurs (with the notable exception of birds) was completely wiped out. The choice of major group for victim is either random or, if non-random, it is not the same non-randomness as we see in conventional natural selection. The normal adaptations to survival do not avail against comets. Grotesquely, this fact is sometimes trotted out as if it were a debating point against neo-Darwinism. But neo-Darwinian natural selection is selection within species, not between species. To be sure, natural selection involves death, and mass extinction involves death, but any further resemblance between the two is purely poetic. Ironically, Gould is one of the few Darwinians who still think of natural selection as working at levels higher than the individual organism. It would never occur to the rest of us even to ask whether mass extinctions are selective events. We might see extinction as opening up new opportunities for adaptation, by lower-level natural selection choosing between individuals separately within each species that has survived the catastrophe.

I take one further extended example of bad poetic science from paleontology, and once again Stephen Jay Gould is responsible for its popularity even if he has not clearly expressed it himself in its extreme form. Many readers of his elegantly written book Wonderful Life (1989) have been captivated by the idea that there was something special and unique about the whole business of evolution in the Cambrian era, when fossils of most of the great animal groups first appeared, rather over 500million years ago. It is not just that the animals of the Cambrian were peculiar. Of course they were. The animals of every era have their peculiarities and the Cambrian ones were arguably more peculiar than most. No, the suggestion is that the whole process of evolution in the Cambrian was odd.

The standard neo-Darwinian view of the evolution of diversity is that a species splits into two when two populations become sufficiently unalike that they can no longer interbreed. Often the populations begin diverging when they chance to be geographically separated. The separation means that they no longer mix their genes sexually and this permits them to evolve in different directions. The divergent evolution might be driven by natural selection (which is likely to push in different directions because of different conditions in the two geographical areas). Or it might consist of random evolutionary drift (since the two populations are not genetically held together by sexual mixing, there is nothing to stop them drifting apart). In either case, when they have evolved sufficiently far apart that they could no longer interbreed even if they were geographically united again, they are defined as belonging to separate species.

Subsequently, the lack of interbreeding permits further evolutionary divergence [Nuenke "Jewish nonassimilation could lead to a new species"]. What had been distinct species within one genus become, in the fullness of time, distinct genera within one family. Later, families will be found to have diverged to the point where taxonomists (specialists in classification) prefer to call them orders, then classes, then phyla. Phylum (plural phyla) is the classificatory name by which we distinguish really fundamentally different animals like molluscs, nematode worms, echinoderms and chordates (chordates are mostly vertebrates plus a few odds and ends). Ancestors of two different phyla, say vertebrates and molluscs, which we see as built upon utterly different 'fundamental body plans' were once just two species within a genus. Before that, they were two geographically separated populations within one ancestral species. The implication of this widely accepted view is that, as you go back and back in geological time, the gap between any pair of animal groups becomes smaller and smaller. The further back in time you go, the closer you approach the uniting of these different kinds of animals in their single common ancestor species. Our ancestors and mollusc ancestors were once very alike. Later they were not quite so alike. Later again they had diverged further, and so on until eventually they became so different that we should call them two phyla. This general story can scarcely be doubted by any reasonable person who thinks it through, though we do not have to be committed to the view that it occurs at a uniform rate with time. It could have happened in rapid bursts.

The dramatic phrase 'Cambrian explosion' is used in two senses. It can refer to the factual observation that before the Cambrian era, just over half a billion years ago, there are few fossils. Most of the great animal phyla appear as fossils for the first time in Cambrian rocks, and this looks like a great explosion of new animals. The second meaning is the theory that the phyla actually branched off from each other during the Cambrian, even during as little as 10million years within the Cambrian. This second idea, which I shall call the branch point explosion hypothesis, is controversial. It is compatible--just--with what I am calling the standard neo-Darwinian model of species divergence. We've already agreed that, as we trace any pair of modern phyla back in time, we eventually converge upon a common ancestor. My hunch is that, for different pairs of phyla, we'll hit the common ancestor in different geological eras: say, the common ancestor of vertebrates and molluscs at 800 million years ago, the common ancestor of vertebrates and echinoderms at 600 million years, and so on. But I could be wrong, and we can easily accommodate the branch point explosion hypothesis by saying that, for some reason (which is interesting enough to need investigating), most of our backward tracings happen to hit their respective common ancestors during the same relatively short geological period, say, between 540million and 530million years ago. This would have to mean that, at least near the beginning of that 10-million-year period, the ancestors of the modern phyla were nowhere near as different from each other as they are today. They were, after all, diverging from common ancestors at the time and were originally members of the same species.

The extreme Gouldian view--certainly the view inspired by his rhetoric, though it is hard to tell from his own words whether he literally holds it himself--is radically different from and utterly incompatible with the standard neo-Darwinian model. It also, as I shall show, has implications which, once they are spelled out, anybody can see are absurd. It is very clearly expressed--betrayed might be a better word--in asides in Stuart Kauffman's At Home in the Universe (1995): "One might imagine that the first multicellular creatures would all be very similar, only later diversifying, from the bottom up, into different genera, families, orders, classes, and so on. That, indeed, would be the expectation of the strictest conventional Darwinist. Darwin, profoundly influenced by the emerging view of geologic gradualism, proposed that all evolution occurred by the very gradual accumulation of useful variations. Thus the earliest multicellular creatures themselves ought to have diverged gradually from one another.

So far, this is a fine summary of the orthodox neo-Darwinian view. Now, in a bizarre passage, Kauffman goes on: But this appears to be false. One of the wonderful and puzzling features of the Cambrian explosion is that the chart was filled in from the top down. Nature suddenly sprang forth with many wildly different body plans-- the phyla--elaborating on these basic designs to form the classes, orders, families, and genera. In his book about the Cambrian explosion, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, Stephen Jay Gould remarks on this top-down quality of the Cambrian with wonder."

As well he might! You only have to think for one moment about what 'top down' filling in would have to mean for the animals on the ground and you immediately see how preposterous it is. 'Body plans' like the mollusc body plan, or the echinoderm body plan, are not ideal essences hanging in the sky, waiting, like designer dresses, to be adopted by real animals. Real animals is all there ever was: living, breathing, walking, eating, excreting, fighting, copulating real animals, who had to survive and who can't have been dramatically different from their real parents and grandparents. For a new body plan--a new phylum--to spring into existence, what actually has to happen on the ground is that a child is born which suddenly, out of the blue, is as different from its parents as a snail is from an earthworm. No zoologist who thinks through the implications, not even the most ardent saltationist, has ever supported any such notion. Ardent saltationists have been content to postulate the sudden bursting into existence of new species, and even that relatively modest idea has been highly controversial. When you spell out the Gouldian rhetoric into real-life practicalities, it stands revealed as the purest of bad poetic science.

Kauffman is even more explicit in a later chapter. In discussing some of his ingenious mathematical models of evolution on 'rugged fitness landscapes', Kauffman notes a pattern that he thinks "sounds a lot like the Cambrian explosion.. Early on in the branching process, we find a variety of long-jump mutations that differ from the stem and from one another quite dramatically. These species have sufficient morphological differences to be categorized as founders of distinct phyla. These founders also branch, but do so via slightly closer long-jump variants, yielding branches from each founder of a phylum to dissimilar daughter species, the founders of classes. As the process continues, fitter variants are found in progressively more nearby neighborhoods, so founders of orders, families, and genera emerge in succession."

Kauffman's earlier, more technical book, The Origins of Order (1993),says something similar about life in the Cambrian: "Not only did a very large number of novel body forms originate rapidly, but the Cambrian explosion exhibited another novelty: Species which founded taxa appear to have built up the higher taxa from the top down. That is, exemplars of major phyla were present first, followed by progressive filling in at class, order, and lower taxonomic levels . . . ."

Now, one way of reading this is inoffensive to the point of obviousness. On our 'converging backwards' model it would have to be true that species splittings that are eventually going to become phylum divides would normally precede those that are destined to become divides between orders and lower taxonomic levels. But Kauffman clearly doesn't think he is saying something ordinary and obvious. This is apparent from his statement that 'the Cambrian explosion exhibited another novelty', and from his phrase 'long-jump mutations'. He thinks he is attributing to the Cambrian something revolutionary. He really does seem genuinely to intend the alternative reading, in which 'long-jump mutations' give rise, on the instant, to brand new phyla.

I hasten to emphasize that these passages of Kauffman's are embedded in a pair of books that are for the most part interesting, creative and uninfluenced by Gould. The same is true of Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin's The Sixth Extinction (1996), another recent book, admirable in most of its chapters, but sadly marred by one, 'The Mainspring of Evolution', which is explicitly and avowedly influenced by Gould. Here are a couple of relevant passages: "It was as if the facility for making evolutionary leaps that produced major functional novelties-- the basis of new phyla-- had somehow been lost when the Cambrian period came to an end. It was as if the mainspring of evolution had lost some of its power. Hence, evolution in Cambrian organisms could take bigger leaps, including phylum-level leaps, while later on it would be more constrained, making only modest jumps, up to the class level."

As I have written before, it is as though a gardener looked at an old oak tree and remarked, wonderingly: 'Isn't it strange that no major new boughs have appeared on this tree for many years. These days, all the new growth appears to be at the twig level!' Just think once again what a 'phylum-level leap' or even a 'modest' (modest?) class level leap would have to mean. Animals of different phyla, remember, are animals with different fundamental body plans, like molluscs and vertebrates. Or like starfish and insects. A long-jump, phylum level mutation would have to mean that a couple of parents belonging to one phylum mated and gave birth to a child belonging to a different phylum. The difference between parent and offspring would have to be on the same scale as the difference between a snail and a lobster, or a starfish and a codfish. A class level leap would be equivalent to a pair of birds giving birth to a mammal. Picture the parents gazing wonderingly into the nest at what they have produced, and the full comedy of the notion becomes apparent.

My assurance in ridiculing these ideas is not based simply upon knowledge of the facts of modern animals. Obviously if it were just that, one could retort that things were different in the Cambrian. No, the argument against Kauffman's long jumps, or Leakey and Lewin's phylum level leaps, is a theoretical one, and an extremely strong one. It is this. Even if mutations on this gigantic scale occurred, the products would not have survived. This is fundamentally because, as I have said before, however many ways there may be of being alive, there are almost infinitely more ways of being dead. A small mutation, representing a minor step away from a parent which has proved its ability to survive by virtue of being a parent, has a good chance of surviving for the same reason, and it may even be an improvement. A gigantic, phylum level mutation is a leap into the wild blue yonder. I said that the long-jump mutation we are talking about would be of the same magnitude as a mutation from a mollusc to an insect. But it would never, of course, have been a jump from a mollusc to an insect. An insect is a highly tuned piece of survival machinery. If a mollusc parent gave birth to a new phylum, the leap would have been a random leap, like any other mutation. And the chance that a random leap of that magnitude would produce an insect, or anything with the faintest chance of surviving, is small enough to be discounted totally. The chance of its being viable is impossibly small, no matter how empty the ecosystem, how wide open the niches. A phylum level leap would be a mess.

I do not believe the authors I am quoting really believe what their printed words undoubtedly appear to be saying. I think they were simply intoxicated by Gould's rhetoric and didn't think it through. The whole point of quoting them in this chapter is to illustrate the power to mislead that a skilled poet can unwittingly exert, especially if he has first misled himself. And the poetry of the Cambrian as a blissful dawn of innovation is' undoubtedly beguiling. Kauffman gets completely carried away by it: "Soon after multicelled forms were invented, a grand burst of evolutionary novelty thrust itself outward. One almost gets the sense of multicellular life gleefully trying out all its possible ramifications, in a kind of wild dance of heedless exploration. At Home in the Universe (1995)"

Yes. One does get exactly that sense. But one gets it from Gould's rhetoric, not from the facts of Cambrian fossils nor from sober reasoning about evolutionary principles. If scientists of the calibre of Kauffman, Leakey and Lewin can be seduced by bad poetic science, what chance has the non-specialist? Daniel Dennett has told me of a conversation with a philosopher colleague who had read Wonderful Life as arguing that the Cambrian phyla did not have a common ancestor--that they had sprung up as independent origins of life! When Dennett assured him that this was not Gould's intention, his colleague's response was, 'Well then, what is all the fuss about?'

Excellence in writing is a double-edged sword, as the distinguished evolutionary scientist John Maynard Smith has noted, in the New York Review of Books, November 1995: "Gould occupies a rather curious position, particularly on his side of the Atlantic. Because of the excellence of his essays, he has come to be seen by non-biologists as the preeminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least on our side against the creationists. All this would not matter, were it not that he is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory."

Maynard Smith was reviewing Dennett's book Darwin 's Dangerous Idea (1995),which contains a devastating and, one might hope, terminal critique of Gould's influence on evolutionary thinking. What really happened in the Cambrian? Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University is, as Gould fulsomely acknowledges, one of the three leading modern investigators of the Burgess Shale, the Cambrian fossil bed which is the subject of Wonderful Life. Conway Morris has recently published his own fascinating book on the subject, The Crucible of Creation (1998), which is critical of almost every aspect of Gould's view. Like Conway Morris, I don't think there's any good reason to think that the process of evolution was different in the Cambrian from the way it is today. But there is no doubt that a large number of major animal groups are seen in the fossil record for the first time in the Cambrian. The obvious hypothesis has occurred to many people. Perhaps several groups of animals evolved hard, fossilizable skeletons around the same time and perhaps for the same reason. One possibility is an evolutionary arms race between predators and prey, but there are other ideas like a dramatic change in the chemistry of the atmosphere. Conway Morris finds no support at all for the poetic idea of an exuberant and extravagant flowering of life in a wild dance of Cambrian diversity and disparity, subsequently pruned to today's more limited repertoire of animal types. If anything, the reverse seems to be true, as most evolutionists would expect.

Where does that leave the question of the timing of the branch points of the major phyla? Recall that this is a separate question from the undoubted Cambrian explosion of fossil availability. The controversial matter is whether the branch points in the divergence of all the major phyla are concentrated in the Cambrian-- the branch point explosion hypothesis. I said standard neo-Darwinism was compatible with this hypothesis. But I still don't think it is at all likely.

One possible way to tackle the question is by looking at molecular clocks. 'Molecular clock' refers to the observation that certain biological molecules change at a rather fixed rate over the millions of years. If you accept this, you can take blood from any two modern animals and calculate how long ago their common ancestor lived. Some recent molecular clock studies have pushed the branch points of various pairs of phyla deep into the Precambrian era. If these studies are right, the whole rhetoric of an evolutionary explosion becomes superfluous. But there is controversy over the interpretation of molecular clock results so far back in deep time, and we should wait for more evidence.

Meanwhile, there is a logical argument which I can assert with more confidence. The only evidence in favour of the branch point explosion hypothesis is negative: there aren't any fossils of many of the phyla before the Cambrian. But those fossil animals that have no fossil ancestors must have had ancestors of some kind. They can't have sprung from nothing. Therefore there must have been ancestors that didn 't fossilize, absence of fossils does not mean absence of animals. The only question that remains is whether the missing ancestors going back to the branch points, who must have existed, were all compressed into the Cambrian, or whether they were strung out through the previous hundreds of millions of years. Since the only reason to suppose that they were compressed into the Cambrian is the absence of fossils, and since we have just proved logically the irrelevance of that absence, I conclude that there is no good reason at all to favour the branch point explosion hypothesis. Doubtless it has great poetic appeal.


EDITORIAL--Reflections on Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man (1981): A Retrospective Review in Intelligence 21, 121-134 (1995) by JOHN B. CARROLL, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
On its publication in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man (Gould, 1981) stirred in the reading public an interest and a clamor almost equal to that evoked by the recent appearance of Herrnstein and Murray's (1994) The Bell Curve. Although it never made the New York Times best-seller list (as did the latter, for 14 weeks), it was much discussed among intellectual dilettantes, and it received a National Book Critics Circle award, as well as, perhaps unexpectedly, the 1983 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association.

The biologist Bernard Davis (1983; see also Gould, 1984; Davis, 1984) called attention to the fact that reviews in the popular and literary press, such as The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books, were almost universally effusive in their approbation, whereas most reviews in scientific journals, such as Science (Samelson, 1982), Nature, and Science '82, tended to be critical on a number of counts. Davis cited Jensen's (1982) review in Contemporary Education Review as "the most extensive scientific analysis," but mentioned, as an exception, a generally laudatory review by Morrison that appeared in Scientific American because that journal's editorial staff had "long seen the study of the genetics of intelligence as a threat to social justice" (Davis, 1983, p. 45).

To Davis' list of generally critical reviews in scientific journals, I would add those by Spuhler (1982) in Contemporary Psychology, and by Jones (1983) and Humphreys (1983) in Applied Psychological Measurement (the latter appearing also in the American Journal of Psychology, 1983).

Despite these critical reviews, however, The Mismeasure of man continues to be cited frequently in the social science literature, usually, but not always, with what can be taken as agreement and approval. In the annual volumes of the Social Science Citation Index, the numbers of citations listed for the years 1982 to 1993 were 18 (1982), 32 (1983), 32 (1984), 49 (1985), 46 (1986), 48 (1987, including a citation of a German translation), 61 (1988), 51 (1989), 53 (1990), 62 (1991), 58 (1992), and 56 (1993). It is evident that Gould's book has had a powerful influence on public and professional thinking about mental testing.

I do not wish to imply that all of this influence was unfortunate or negative. Gould's research on the history of craniometry is interesting and possibly valuable for historians of science. His account of the history of mental testing, however, may be regarded as badly biased, and crafted in such a way as to prejudice the general public and even some scientists against almost any research concerning human cognitive abilities. In this account, he indicts mental testing not only as racially motivated, at least in its beginnings, but more importantly, as ethically and scientifically flawed because it "reifies" the IQ as a single number that places a value on a test result. This despite Gould's admonition that: "The misuse of mental tests is not inherent in the idea of testing itself. It arises primarily from two fallacies, eagerly (so it seems) endorsed by those who wish to use tests for the maintenance of social ranks and distinctions: reification and hereditarianism (p. 155)."

Gould's influence has come to the fore again in his recent review (Gould, 1994) of Herrnstein and Murray's (1994) The Bell Curve-a book that takes much stock in the "g" factor of intelligence postulated by Spearman (1904, 1927) and many others. Although I do not necessarily ally myself with any of Herrnstein and Murray's analyses, views, and interpretations about the role of g in American life, I feel it is important to correct the impressions about g and factor analysis that Gould put forth in his review. There he wrote: "Nothing in 'The Bell Curve' angered me more than the authors' failure to supply any justification for their central claim, the sine qua non of their entire argument: that the number known as g, the celebrated 'general factor' of intelligence ... captures a real property in the head. Murray and Herrnstein simply declare that the issue has been decided, as in this passage from their New Republic article: 'Among the experts, it is by now beyond much technical dispute that there is such a thing as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ and that this general factor is measured reasonably well by a variety of standardized tests, best of all by I.Q. tests designed for that purpose.' Such a statement represents extraordinary obfuscation, achievable only if one takes 'expert' to mean 'that group of psychometricians working in the tradition of g and its avatar I.Q.' The authors even admit that there are no major schools of psychometric interpretation and that only one supports their view of g and I.Q.

But this issue cannot be decided, or even understood, without discussing the key and only rationale that has maintained g since Spearman invented it: factor analysis. The fact that Herrnstein and Murray barely mention the factor-analytic argument forms a central indictment of 'The Bell Curve' and is an illustration of its vacuousness. How can the authors base an eight-hundred page book on a claim for the reality of I.Q. as measuring a genuine, and largely genetic, general cognitive ability-and then hardly discuss, either pro or con, the theoretical basis for their certainty? (p. 143)"

Following that are a couple of paragraphs in which Gould tries to explain what "lay readers" might need to know about factor analysis. He briefly repeats some of the same ideas that he offered in his 1981 book: how Spearman identified g with an axis placed through the middle of a batch of vectors, and how Thurstone made g "disappear" by rotating the axes, "giving rise to a theory of multiple intelligences (verbal, mathematical, spatial, etc.), with no overarching g." He continues: "In this perspective, g cannot have inherent reality, for it emerges in one form of mathematical representation for correlations among tests and disappears (or greatly attenuates) in other forms, which are entirely equivalent in amount of information explained" (p. 144).

It is indeed odd that Gould continues to place the burden of his critique on factor analysis, the nature and purpose of which, I believe, he still fails to understand. Even if factor analysis had never been invented, we would nonetheless have IQ tests and many other kinds of aptitude tests measuring various cognitive abilities. And there would still be "experts" dealing with the construction, analysis, and interpretation of these tests, and behavioral geneticists (Plomin & MeClearn, 1993) concerned with the heritability of the traits measured by these tests.

It is my intention here to focus on the defense of factor analysis as an effective and scientifically justifiable method for the study of individual differences in cognitive abilities and other psychological attributes, as well as to make any necessary statements concerning the adequate measurement of such attributes. This is partly because the available scientific reviews of The Mismeasure of Man gave little attention to Gould's treatment of factor analysis. If some of my arguments sound pedantic, it is only because a pedant (as is implied by the derivation of the term) seeks to teach.

GOULD'S BASIC PREMISES

First, a general remark: I must raise cautions about two of Gould's basic assumptions: (a) that the "urge to classify and rank people is strong" and somehow wrong, and (b) that scientists cannot be objective, because their findings reflect their surrounding culture and "the unconscious and very personal prejudices of the scientists themselves" (quoted from the dust jacket).

Regarding the first assumption, why it is wrong to attempt to classify and rank people is never made completely clear by Gould. Certainly classification is a basic technique in all of science, including Gould's paleobiology. One can hardly make progress in science without determining the attributes of the things being studied; in many cases, assigning attributes to things "ranks" them, for example, by length, weight, mass, frequency, and so on. In psychology and social science, we can assign attributes to people with respect to age, social status, tolerance, and so on, to a whole host of entities that can be "measured." Indeed, measurement is one of the basic techniques of science. It may become obnoxious, in some circumstances, when the measurements are assigned "values" of greater or lesser "worthiness" in terms of ethics, social justice, or social/emotional attitudes. This is what Gould appears to mean when he objects to "ranking." However, Gould confuses this kind of ranking with pure measurement. Some may object to the imputation of ordinal, interval, or even ratio scaling in the assessment of ability, but in my view there are adequate logical and scientific reasons to introduce such scaling, for example in the use of Rasch scaling (Rasch, 1960) of items (or tasks) in ability and achievement tests, or the more complex models developed by Lord and Novick (1968) for what they call Item Response Theory (IRT). These models take account of the fact that for any ability, it is possible to find tasks that differ with respect to the number of people in any population that are able to perform them correctly, and that there are definite (albeit probabilistic) mathematical relations between such tasks that can be described in terms of a quantitative scale of ability. To be more specific, IRT makes mathematical sense of the fact that, if the tasks on a scale are graded in difficulty, a person at a certain level of ability tends to be able to perform successfully all tasks up to a certain point, after which the person tends to fail the remaining tasks on the scale.

Concerning the second assumption, the idea that scientists cannot be objective is an old one, pursued by many philosophers and sociologists of science (e.g., Krasner & Houts, 1994; McMullin, 1988; Scheffler, 1967). Obviously there are many factors in scientists' selection of the things and issues they choose to study, and perhaps their personal wants, interests, and prejudices constitute some of these factors. However, having made those choices, there is no reason why they cannot be objective in their studies, in reporting independently verifiable observations, analyses, and findings. In particular, I object to Gould's tendency to visit the alleged sins of early investigators on present day investigators. If Goddard, Brigham, and others once tended to view various human races as relatively superior or inferior in intelligence and therefore relatively worthy or unworthy, this does not mean that present-day investigators, like Jensen (1980) or Rushton (1995), are necessarily guilty of such views. In fact, from my personal acquaintance with Jensen and his publications, I can attest that he does not view the African race (if one accepts that it is a race) as in any way less worthy than other so-called races. Indeed, Jensen has been more interested and active than most other scientists in trying to work through the problem of how to interpret, and what to do about, the acknowledged lower mean measured intelligence of Blacks. This fact has been almost totally ignored by most of Jensen's activist critics.

Gould's remarks about scientific objectivity have at least impelled me to consider my own motivations, over my career, in the study of cognitive abilities. At a time when I was searching for a topic suitable for a doctoral dissertation pertinent to my main interest in the psychology of language, I became intrigued with Thurstone's (1938) finding of several so-called "primary" abilities, "verbal ability" and "word fluency," that seemed relevant to the study of language behaviors and possibly indicative of important mental processes. It did not occur to me that mental testing might be relevant to racial differences; in fact, I was unconvinced, by data available at the time, that any important racial differences in mental abilities existed, particularly because my linguistic studies had persuaded me that all races and ethnic groups possess complex linguistic systems that betokened higher states of mental processes among at least substantial portions of every population that was able to acquire and use these systems. Whether factor analysis has in fact led, or will lead, to better understanding of mental processes remains to be seen, but in any event my motivation to study and use factor analysis has always been associated with the scientific investigation of cognitive processes. I cannot believe that such motivation is in any way associated with pernicious social attitudes.

GOULD ON FACTOR ANALYSIS

Gould (1981) starts his Chapter Six, "The real error of Cyril Burt: Factor analysis and the reification of intelligence," with a consideration of "The case of Sir Cyril Burt," recounting the "twice-told tale" of Burt's alleged transgressions of scientific propieties. For present purposes, this whole story is irrelevant. For a discussion of factor analysis it does not matter whether Burt claimed to have invented it (he did not) or fabricated data on twins raised apart, although the debate as to whether he did still goes on (Fletcher, 1991; Hearnshaw, 1979; Joynson, 1989; Samelson, 1992, 1995). It is interesting, though, that Gould makes Burt a whipping boy for Spearman; if any blame attaches to the supposed reification of intelligence, it should be awarded to Spearman (as Gould eventually recognizes, pp. 250ff).

Gould goes on to discuss factor analysis, which he says "is, to put it bluntly, a bitch" (p. 238). (Some have called his exposition masterful, but I would call it masterful only in the way one might use that word to describe the performance of a magician in persuading an audience to believe in an illusory phenomenon.) Gould cites his own use of factor analysis, early in his career:

"I was taught the technique as though it had developed from first principles using pure logic. In fact, virtually all its procedures arose as justifications for particular theories of intelligence. . . . [T]hough its mathematical basis is unassailable, its persistent use as a device for learning about the physical structure of intellect has been mired in deep conceptual errors from the start. 'Me principal error, in fact, has involved a major theme of this book: reification-in this case, the notion that such a nebulous, socially defined concept as intelligence might be identified as a 'thing' with a locus in the brain and a definite degree of heritability-and that it might be measured as a single number, thus permitting a unilinear ranking of people according to the amount of it they possess. By identifying a mathematical factor axis with a concept of "general intelligence," Spearman and Burt provided a theoretical justification for the unilinear scale that Binet had proposed as a rough empirical guide. (Gould, 1981, pp. 238-239)

This statement calls for comment. First, it is not the case that "virtually all [factor-analytic] procedures arose as justifications for particular theories of intelligence." Perhaps Spearman regarded his (at the time very primitive) procedures as justifying his own theory of intelligence, but the many procedures of factor analysis that have been developed over the subsequent years cannot be regarded as "justifications" of any particular theory of intelligence. Rather, factor-analytic procedures can be regarded as devices to assist in developing different theories of intelligence and choosing among them. Consider, for example, the different theories of intelligence developed by Thurstone (1938), Guilford (1967), and Cattell (1971). 1 regard myself as one of these theorists (Carrol, 1994) in the field of intelligence, or "cognitive abilities," as I prefer to say, but I do not regard factor analysis as such a justification for my theory. Justification of my theory comes, at least in part, from the manner in which I use factor analysis and other techniques (such as IRT) to analyze and interpret data.

Second, the wording "the physical structure of intelligence" is strange and misleading. Factor analysts study what they call the structure of intelligence, but they do not regard it as a physical thing in any way. It is simply a statement of the varieties of cognitive ability and the degree to which they occur or do not occur together, or subsume each other; often the structure of intelligence is diagrammed as a hierarchical tree structure. It is no more a physical thing than the structures that biologists employ to depict the evolutionary relations of biological species.

Third, and most importantly, factor analysis implies no "deep conceptual error" of "reification." One can agree with Gould that factors are not properly regarded as "things" or physical entities. But factorists do not regard them in this way (or if they do, they can be in error). Merely because it is convenient to refer to a factor (like g) by use of a noun does not make it a physical thing. At the most, factors should be regarded as sources of variance, dimensions, intervening variables, or "latent traits" that are useful in explaining manifest phenomena, much as abstractions such as gravity,. mass, distance, and force are useful in describing physical events. Gould's far-reaching condemnation of factor analysis as a device for producing reifications is one of his own deepest conceptual errors; it stands factor analysis on its head. Unfortunately, it has had wide and beguiling appeal among some readers, even among some social scientists.

Fourth, although the concept of intelligence may be "nebulous" in Gould's mind, the purpose of factor analysis (and associated techniques such as psychological tests and other means of behavioral observation) is to make the concept more tangible, spelled out, and scientifically respectable. In the preceding statement, Gould seems to imply that intelligence is only a single "unilinear" dimension. Actually, factor-analytic and other types of investigations have revealed that the "socially defined" concept of intelligence corresponds to a veritable plethora of different dimensions of cognitive ability, varying in generality and import (Carroll, 1993). However, persuading my reader that this is the case must await further consideration of Gould's critique.

The next major section of Gould's chapter is devoted to the topic, "Correlation, cause, and factor analysis." In it, Gould offers an elementary exposition of various psychometric concepts, such as the Pearsonian correlation coefficient, multiple dimensions of ability, matrices, vectors, factor analysis, principal components, and rotation of axes. In the main, it is correct as far as it goes. However, even when it was written, it was outdated because it omitted mention of various techniques to circumvent the problems that Gould cited, and it actually misrepresented some of those problems. I can mention only a few.

One red herring to which Gould devotes much space is the role of cause in interpreting correlations. After giving an explanation of what a Pearsonian correlation coefficient is, he points out, correctly, that "[t]he vast majority of correlations in our world are, without doubt, noncasual" (sic, p. 242), and that "[t]he invalid assumption that correlation implies cause is probably among the two or three most serious and common errors of human reasoning." Further, "[i]n summary, most correlations are noncausal; when correlations are causal, the fact and strength of the correlation rarely specifies the nature of the cause" (P. 243). In point of fact, factor analysts have not assumed that the correlations they deal with are causal. The usual explanation of a statistically significant correlation is that it suggests that two variables tend to measure something in common; the problem is to determine what that common something is, and whether it can be interpreted as in any way causal in its influence, or referred to still another variable that is causal. That a "factor" discovered by factor analysis is causal is only a hypothesis to be later confirmed or disconfirmed.

Gould proceeds to an exposition of "correlation in more than two dimensions," winding up with inviting the reader to consider "20 dimensions, or 100" (p. 245), and thus to appreciate "the heart of what factor analysis attempts to do." In his words, "[f]actor analysis is a mathematical technique for reducing a complex system of correlations into fewer dimensions" (p. 245), as if this were the only purpose or definition of factor analysis. Factor analysis is much more than merely a technique for reducing a system of correlations to fewer dimensions; such reduction ("factor extraction") is only the first step in determining what the reduced dimensions are and what they mean, after any appropriate transformations.

Gould complains that Spearman reified g as an entity and "tried to give it an unambiguous causal interpretation" (p. 25 1). Perhaps so, but any causal explanation that Spearman attempted to give g was only a hypothesis; it is only recently that investigators have been able to find at least some evidence for a physical basis for g in neuropsychological phenomena (see, e.g., Duncan, 1995). It is incorrect to make a wholesale accusation that factor analysts reify factors or make unjustified attributions of causal influence.

Gould wrote: "Spearman's g is particularly subject to ambiguity in interpretation, if only because the two most contradictory causal hypotheses are both fully consistent with it: 1) that it reflects an inherited level of mental activity (some people do well on most tests because they are born smarter); or 2) that it records environmental advantages and deficits (some people do well on most tests because they are well schooled, grew up with enough to eat, books in the home, and loving parents). (p. 252)"

He fails to make clear why these two hypotheses are "most contradictory" (they would be only if it is assumed that only one of them applies) and in any case shows his ignorance or neglect of the whole of behavioral genetic science, which all along has emphasized that heredity and environment both participate, in complementary degrees, in the determination of behavioral outcomes. Actually, factor analysis says absolutely nothing about the extent to which a "factor" or dimension identified in a set of data is affected more by hereditary or environmental determinants. This is a problem for behavioral genetics and for developmental and educational research into the effects of environments or interventions, not for factor analysis.

Further on this page, Gould introduces his readers to one of his most misleading and erroneous ideas about factor analysis. He wrote: "Another, more technical argument clearly demonstrates why principal components cannot be automatically reified as causal entities. If principal components represented the only way to simplify a correlation matrix, then some special status for them might be legitimately sought. But they represent only one method among many for inserting axes into a multidimensional space. (p. 252)" and again "During the 1930s factorists developed methods to treat this dilemma [in finding the correct location of axes] and to recognize clusters of vectors that principal components often obscured. They did this by rotating factor axes from the principal components orientation to new positions. . . . [But in doing this,) g has disappeared. We no longer find a "general factor" of intelligence, nothing that can be reified as a single number expressing overall ability. Yet we have lost no information. . . . How can we argue that g has any claim to reified status as an entity if it represents but one of numerous possible ways to position axes within a set of vectors? (p. 253)"

In all this, Gould seems to be claiming that factor analysis is a worthless technique (somewhere he calls it "bankrupt" because it has no way of assuring that its results are determinate). It is not until some pages later (pp. 296ff) that he considers Thurstone's contributions to factor analysis, and even here he makes mistakes. He calls Thurstone "the exterminating angel of Speannan's g (p. 296).

The fact is that Thurstone later came to accept a higher order g, not only in his monograph (Thurstone & Thurstone, 1941) on factors of intelligence in eighth graders but also in his text (1947) on factor analysis methods. Indeed, Gould acknowledges Thurstone's acceptance of a second-order g, but apparently in order to make his story consistent he wrote:

"Thurstone wrestled with what he called this "second-order" g. I confess that I do not understand why he wrestled so hard, unless the many years of working with orthogonal solutions had set his mind and rendered the concept too unfamiliar to accept at first. If anyone understood the geometrical representation of vectors, it was Thurstone. This representation guarantees that oblique axes will be positively correlated, and that a second-order general factor must therefore exist. Second order g is merely a fancier way of acknowledging what the raw correlation coefficients show-that nearly all correlation coefficients between mental tests are positive. (p. 313)"

This is a gross misrepresentation of Thurstone's views and methods of thinking. Almost from the start, Thurstone postulated that his "primary factors" might be correlated, and was surprised to find that in the initial sample he studied, they were generally uncorrelated. In his 1938 monograph, he described them as uncorrelated mainly because at the time he had not developed completely satisfactory techniques for making them conform to his criteria for simple structure. (Gould failed to note Thurstone's statement in an autobiographical essay [Thurstone, 1952] that the publication of orthogonal results was due to a suggestion by Thorndike that his study's impact would be reduced if too many innovations were introduced in one paper). Certainly in his later years, Thurstone accepted the idea that the primary factors were often correlated he did not live to see the further techniques that were later developed to depict relationships among factors.

It was these techniques developed later that Gould totally ignored. Already, 27 years earlier, Schmid and Leiman (1957) presented a technique for depicting the hierarchical structure of a group of variables and their factors. By 1978, Hakstian and Cattell (1978) published an important paper on "Higher-stratum ability structures on a basis of twenty primary abilities." In the meantime, factorists had devoted much attention to methods of rotating factor axes to simple structure (see Harman, 1976). Also, by 1978 the Swedish statistician Joreskog (1978) published several important contributions to factor analysis-contributions that have made it possible to confirm the role of g in explaining factor correlations (see, e.g., Gustafsson, 1984). If Gould had done his homework properly, he could have seen that his criticisms of factor analysis could no longer be well supported.

I do not use space critiquing Gould's many assertions about Spearman, Burt, Jensen, and others, because they only further illustrate Gould's many errors in interpreting factor analysis. Two final points of clarification: First, Gould claims that regardless of how factorial axes are placed, there is "no loss of information." In a sense, this is true; the situation is analogous to the fact that if you want two numbers that when multiplied together produce a given product, there is an infinity of solutions (e.g., two numbers that can be multiplied to give 48 include I and 48, -2 and -24, 3 and 16, .0208333 and 2304, etc., etc.) but there is no "loss of information" in producing the product. In factor analysis, however, the correct placement of axes to produce simple structure in a sense adds information, in that it specifies more clearly how much each test measures each factor, on the assumption that the measurements ("factor loadings") are generally either zero or positive, and not negative-basically the idea of "simple structure" that Thurstone (1938, 1940) initiated as a criterion for the "correct" placement of axes. Contrary to Gould's assertion in the preceding quotation, the geometrical representation of vectors does not guarantee that axes must be oblique, or that a g factor must exist. (Also, obliqueness of axes does not guarantee that they represent positive correlations; the correlations may be negative.) However, when the data dictate that correctly placed axes are oblique, it is useful to specify a higher-order factor (which may or may not be g) that accounts for their correlation, and then to compute, by the Schmid and Leiman (1957) method, a hierarchical orthogonal matrix to represent the positions of the tests in a hyperspace that still retains their simple structure. In so doing there may be a slight loss of parsimony, in that at least one more factor is required to explain the correlations, but there is a gain of information in the sense of specifying the factor loadings on a reasonable scale.

Second, Gould claims that Thurstone's analysis permitted Burt and Spearman "at best, a weak second-order g" (p. 315). On the previous page he had asserted that "[s]econd-order g (the correlation of oblique simple structure axes) rarely accounts for more than a small percentage of the total information in a matrix of tests" (p. 314). This is truly an egregious error on Gould's part. The fact is that most of the time, g accounts for a quite large proportion of the information in a matrix of correlations among cognitive tests. Further, loadings of tests on a g factor often tend to be fairly high, particularly if the tests are observed to be "highly g-loaded" in terms of their content. The g factor can hardly be called "weak." I have estimated (Carroll, 1993, p. 57) that typically, a higher-order factor such as g constitutes about half of the common-factor variance in a cognitive test, although the proportion may vary considerably.

IN DEFENSE OF FACTOR ANALYSIS AND MENTAL TESTING

Although statisticians (e.g., Goodall, 1990) occasionally express doubts about the validity of factor analysis as a scientific methodology, it is seldom clear whether such doubts are well founded or merely the result of ignorance about recent developments in the technique. There is a large community of social scientists (psychologists, sociologists, and others) who have confidence in factor analysis and use it in analyzing different types of data. In the field of individual differences in cognitive abilities, it is prized chiefly as a method for identifying the "linearly independent" dimensions in a set of data that need to be examined and integrated with other knowledge about the structure of abilities. (Linear independence means that different dimensions can be distinguished even though they may be correlated.) The method has now achieved a high degree of sophistication and reliability, in that different investigators can obtain the same results in analyzing a given set of data (Carroll, 1995). One indication of this is that exploratory analysis procedures can correctly recover a hypothetical simple structure matrix from a correlation matrix generated from that matrix. For example, analysis can recover the structure of a matrix that contains a general factor (g), or even several higher-order factors with an overarching g factor. If a general factor is found in a set of empirical data, there is reason to believe that such a factor exists in the data, however it may eventually be interpreted. "Confirmatory" factor analysis, as embodied in procedures developed by Bentler (1985), Joreskog and Sorbom (1989), and others, can add weight to the finding of such a general factor.

In the meantime, the technology of constructing mental and achievement tests has enormously improved over what was possible in Spearman's or Thurstone's days. IRT makes it possible to examine the unidimensionality of a mental test or other observational procedure. Although there is much work to be done in providing adequate tests and measurement procedures, it is possible to show that available procedures sample the kinds of mental processes and knowledges that operate in the real world.

For this and other reasons, it is possible to endorse the proposition that tests designed for the purpose can adequately measure a "general" or g factor of intelligence.

EPILOGUE

At this point, I hope I have demonstrated that in the main, Gould's statements and accusations about factor analysis are incorrect and unjustified, and should not be regarded as constituting an authoritative guide to evaluating this technique. However, I should add some cautions about the present-day status of g in factor analysis.

First, although a higher-order g factor is often found in factorial investigations, the precise nature of such a g factor often depends on the types of measures analyzed in an assemblage of such measures-psychological tests or other observational procedures. For example, a g factor based on a series of highly verbal tests may be biased toward the verbal abilities measured by such tests. A good measure of g must be based on a suitable variety of test materials.

The g factor may also depend on the precise way in which the g factor is calculated-whether, for example, it is calculated on the basis of a first principal component, a first principal factor, or an orthogonalization of a structure of oblique factor matrices by the Schmid and Leiman (1957) technique. Results of these different procedures are generally different only in small ways, but Jensen and Weng's (1994) work on ways of finding a "good g" suggests that the Schmid-Leiman technique is generally preferable (contrary to Jensen's [1980] previous opinion that the first principal factor is more satisfactory).

Second, psychometricians continue to be engaged in debate over the nature of g. Some feel that g is a unitary, indivisible trait, although others (e.g., Detterman, 1982; Kranzler & Jensen, 1991) postulate that it is actually a composite of a number of different traits. The reader may consult an edited work by Detterman (1994) for discussions, by a number of authorities, of this and related problems in the theory of intelligence.

Above all, it must be realized that the development of mental tests did not stop with the work of Spearman, Burt, Thurstone, and others mentioned by Gould. Current research in testing is much influenced by developments in cognitive psychology and in the study of children's mental growth. It may be hoped that at some time in the future, increased knowledge about the status of g and other factors of cognitive ability will be available, leading to positive ways in which testing can be of use in society.
 


The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley
The humanist might be feeling a little frustrated by this line of argument. After all, we have big brain and we use them. The fact that lions and baboons have small ones and get by does not mean that we are not helped by our brains. We get by rather better than lions and baboons. We have built cities, and they have not. We invented agriculture, and they did not. We colonized ice-age Europe, and they did not. We can live in the desert and the rain forest; they are stuck on the savanna. Yet the argument still has considerable force because big brains do not come free. In human beings, 18 percent of the energy that we consume every day is in running the brain. That is a mighty costly ornament to stick on top of the body just in case it helps you invent agriculture, just as sex was a mighty costly habit to indulge in merely in case it led to innovation. The human brain is almost as cost an invention as sex, which implies that its advantage must be as immediate and as large as sex's was. For this reason it is easy to reject the so-called neutral theory of the evolution of intelligence, which has been popularized in recent years mainly by Stephen Jay Gould. The key to his argument is the concept of "neoteny"---the retention of juvenile features into adult life.
[.....]

Indeed, the mechanism by which ape-men turned into men was clearly a genetic switch that simply slowed the developmental clock. Stephen Jay Gould argues that rather than seek an adaptive explanation of features like language, perhaps we should simply regard them as "accidental," though useful, by-products of neoteny's achievement of large brain size. If something as spectacular as language can be the product of simply a large brain plus culture, then there need be no specific explanation of why larger brains are required because their advantages are obvious. The argument is based on a false premise. As Chomsky and others have amply demonstrated, language is one of the most highly designed capabilities imaginable, and far from being a by-product of a big brain, it is a mechanism with a very specific pattern that develops in children without instruction.
 


In Search of Human Nature by Carl N. Degler, 1991
Goddard, differing markedly from Dugdale, ruled out changes in the environment as a remedy for feeblemindedness. The descendants of Martin Kallikak, Jr. (the offspring of the mentally defective tavern girl and Kallikak Sr.) "were feebleminded, and no amount of education or good environment," Goddard asserted, "can change a feebleminded individual into a normal one, any more than it can change a red-haired stock into a black-haired stock." This was carrying August Weismann beyond his own expectations. Goddard's conviction rested on what he considered incontrovertible evidence- "the striking fact of the enormous proportion of feeble-minded individuals in the descendants of Martin Kallikak, Jr., and the total absence of such in the descendants of his half brothers and half sisters is conclusive on this point," he asserted. "Clearly it is not environment that has made that good family."

In his major work on feeblemindedness published in 1914, Goddard authoritatively announced that about half of all criminals were feebleminded and that this hereditary mental defect was the source of their law-breaking. Contrary to what may be thought of Goddard's rather obsessive attention to the alleged dangers of feeblemindedness, he was not the rigid hereditarian or elitist that Stephen Jay Gould in his Mismeasure of Man has made him out to be." Contrary to Gould's description, Goddard never found it easy to accept the idea that intelligence or feeblemindedness, for that matter, was a single genetic character, or gene. "We do not know that feeblemindedness is a unit character,"' he wrote in his book on the Kallikaks. "Indeed, there are many reasons for thinking that it cannot be." Then, two years later in his big book on feeblemindedness, he thought new evidence strengthened the case for the unit character idea. It is from that work on which Gould depended for his characterization of Goddard's conclusion. Nevertheless, even then, contrary to Gould, Goddard had not yet resolved all his doubts.

[.....]

All these commentators were simply contending that genetic relations are so important, so fundamental, that they are taken for granted in identifying connections among human beings. Since kinship is biological in origin and concept, to emphasize those patterns of kinship that are not biological, as some cultural anthropologists like Sahlins do, is to ignore the fundamental in favor of the exceptional.

Sociologist Joseph Lopreato illustrated this tendency in his analysis of an anthropological example advanced by a vigorous opponent of sociobiology, Stephen Jay Gould, the brilliant Harvard University paleontologist and historian of science. The example concerns a practice among an Eskimo tribe in which, during times of food shortages, the family groups must migrate. The grandparents offer to stay behind (and die) in order to relieve the group of the burden they would be in making a long and difficult migration. Gould admitted that a genetic explanation was as plausible as a cultural one, but that since neither had any explanatory advantage over the other, he preferred to opt for the cultural one. Lopreato pointed out, however, that although both the cultural and biological explanations were adaptive-"Families with no tradition of sacrifice do not survive for many generations," Gould himself remarked--only the biological would offer an explanation or theory, namely reproductive success, to account for it. Even the cultural explanation-the good will of the oldsters--as Gould's comment showed, depended upon reproductive success as a motive. Lopreato pressed his point by adding that one ought to expect culture and biology to work toward the same ends, for culture, which depends on biological roots, would thus also be driven by a need for reproductive success.

Anthropologist Donald Symons suggested how kin selection theory helped to identify a novel interpretation of kinship . An anthropologist named Hanes discovered in 1979 among the Ye'Kwann Indians in Venezuela that the "degree of genetic relatedness is a good predictor of the frequency of interaction between individual a much better predictor," Symons emphasized, "than Ye'Kwann kin terms. Although evolutionary theory in no sense 'predicted' this finding," Symons noted, "it would never have been discovered had Hanes not been inspired to analyze his data" according to Hamilton's kin selection theory.'

[.....]

(page 321)Charges of a necessary conservative bias to a biosocial orientation may be relatively easy to counter, but other objections are not. Stephen Jay Gould, The well-known historian of science and paleontologist, who also happens to be a departmental colleague of Edward Wilson, is a persistent and outspoken opponent of almost everything sociobiologists support, despite his own fervent commitment to Darwinian evolutionary theory. The essential objection he sets forth in his book Mismeasure of Man is that biology, as opposed to culture, limits human opportunities. To see a biological influence in human behavior, he contended, is to offer a reason why something cannot be done. And it is true that in the past that is the way in which biological influences have been interpreted. Those were the kinds of conclusions arrived at by eugenicists in the early part of this century and they are often the conclusions pointed to even today in regard to opportunities for women. As Gould phrases the issue, sociobiology "is fundamentally a theory about limits. It takes current ranges in modem environments as expression of direct genetic programming, rather than a limited display of much broader potentialities." (But, by the same token, the logic of Gould's position often pushes cultural determinists, though not Gould himself, to the untenable conclusion that there are no biological or genetic limits on human nature.) Anthropologist Davydd Greenwood advances Gould's essential argument, but without the untenable implication. Greenwood takes a view that Lester Frank Ward advanced a century earlier. He sees culture or environment limiting biological potentialities. And it is quite true that today we know that better medical care, more food, and better nutrition, among other things, have greatly improved and lengthened the lives of people, especially in western Europe, North America, and Japan, from what they were a century ago. Life expectancy at birth in this country, to take another example, has almost doubled since 1900. The average size of Japanese and Americans has increased as well, and in the case of the Japanese the gain has come about in less than half a century. The limiting factor in those cases was not biology, but environment or culture. The biological potential was there all along; an improved environment was required to realize it.

The above examples and the comments of Gould and Greenwood illustrate once again the need to consider environment and biology and especially their interaction. An opponent of sociobiology like Gould does indeed emphasize that interaction, yet at the same time, he persistently resists investigations of the role of each of the interacting elements. "We cannot factor a complex social situation into so much biology on one side, and so much culture on the other," Gould insisted in 1994. Instead, we must try to understand the consequences "arising from an inextricable interpenetration of genes and environments."

For Gould the operative word seems to be "inextricable." Social scientists interested in the role of biology in human nature also recognize the interaction, as we have seen, of nature and nurture, but they also want to look more closely at the role of biology since it has been so frequently ignored. "Organisms are not passive objects acted upon by internal genetic forces, as some sociobiologists claim," wrote Alice Rossi in 1984, "nor are they passive objects acted upon by external environmental forces as some social scientists claim." Instead, they are the product of both forces, which "interpenetrate and mutually determine each other." But rather than leave the matter at that level, as Gould recommends, Rossi urges study of the role of biological processes "in the same way sociologists try to specify social processes."'

It is true, as Gould and others have often reminded us, that culture is both quicker and easier to alter than biology, which, after all, is embedded in genes and has to work through generations. Biological evolution teaches that when environment shifts, and there is genetic diversity, those organisms best able genetically to adjust to the changed environment will survive, while those less well fitted genetically to the changed environment will gradually die out. The process is extremely lengthy by human standards. Culture, on the other hand, we like to think, is a matter of mind, and, as we all know, we can change our minds at will.

Socially and historically speaking, however, things are not that simple. For one thing, the cliche that history is a combination of continuity and change should alert us to the tendency of culture to persist, rather than to shift easily and quickly. Indeed, the very justification for the study of history as a form of understanding of human nature rests on the assumption that the past is difficult to escape. As Marx so graphically pointed out, history lies like a nightmare or, the brains of the living. Friedrich Nietzsche in his essay "The Uses and Abuses of History" offered a similar view when he contended that the influence of the past on the present is so burdensome as to inhibit action or change.

[.....]

(page 348)The book, impressively researched and argued, analyzes the impact on early American social scientists of Darwin's ideas on mind and behavior. Richards develops a case for a biological basis of human ethics, the beginnings of which, of course, he discerns in "Darwin's analysis of the instincts of social insects, which provided him the biological mechanism for human altruism." Although the book is a history of ideas, in a lengthy appendix Richards takes it upon himself to defend the original Darwinian view that man was "authentically moral" and that the altruism that has "seeped deeply into human hereditary stock" originated in the animal ancestry of human beings. Persistent opponents of sociobiology like natural scientists Stephen Jay Could and Richard Lewontin have consistently denounced the foolishness, even the danger of seeking a biological or evolutionary basis for human actions. Explicitly opposing such views, Richards describes his book as deliberately seeking to restore that older Darwinian ethical image in order "to bring out its bright moral features, to show that if our morality has profound roots in our animal past and has evolved by natural selection, this conviction hardly demeans our humanity, rather it elevates our biology, our evolutionary human and moral biology."

Only a few social scientists have been as forthrightly Darwinian in thinking about the continuity between animals and human beings as Robert Richards or Derek Freeman, and even among natural scientists Donald Griffin stands among only a small minority in boldly talking appreciatively about animal consciousness. Yet the movement that began three decades ago to follow out the implications, of Darwinian evolutionary thought and to restore biology to the definition of man seems likely to persist and, perhaps, to advance further in the direction Darwin had pointed, a direction which still delineates a conception of human nature more radical than many can accommodate.
 
 


Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett
Adaptationist reasoning is not optional; it is the heart and soul of evolutionary biology. Although it may be supplemented, and its flaws repaired, to think of displacing it from central position in biology is to imagine not just the downfall of Darwinism but the collapse of modem biochemistry and all the life sciences and medicine. So it is a bit surprising to discover that this is precisely the interpretation that many readers have placed on the most famous and influential critique of adaptationism, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin's oft-cited, oft-reprinted, but massively misread classic, "The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme" ( 1979).

[.....]

(249) Explicitly adaptationist approaches are ascendant in the sciences of ecology, ethology, and evolution because they have proven essential to discovery; if you doubt this claim, look at the journals. Gould and Lewontin's call for an alternative paradigm has failed to impress practicing biologists both because adaptationism is successful and well-founded, and because its critics have no alternative research program to offer. Each year sees the establishment of such new journals as Functional Biology and Behavioral Ecology. Sufficient research to fill a first issue of Dialectical Biology has yet to materialize.

[.....]

(264)Gould is not the only evolutionist to succumb to the urge of overdramatization. Manfred Eigen and Stuart Kauffman-and there are others we haven't considered-have also styled themselves at first as radical heretics. Who wouldn't prefer one's contributions to be truly revolutionary? But whereas Eigen and Kauffman, as we have seen, have moderated their rhetoric in due course, Gould has gone from revolution to revolution. So far, his declarations of revolution have all been false alarms, but he has kept on trying, defying the moral of Aesop's fable about the boy who cried wolf. This has earned him not just a credibility problem (among scientists), but also the animosity of some of his colleagues, who have felt the sting of what they consider to be undeserved public condemnation in the face of his influential campaigns. As Robert Wright (1990, P. 30) puts it, Gould is "America's evolutionist laureate. if he has been systematically misleading Americans about what evolution is and what it means, that amounts to a lot of intellectual damage."

Has he done this? Consider the following. If you believe: (1) that adaptationism has been refuted or relegated to a minor role in evolutionary biology, or (2) that since adaptationism is "the central intellectual flaw of sociobiology" (Gould 1993a, P. 319), sociobiology has been utterly discredited as a scientific discipline, or (3) that Gould and Eldredge's hypothesis of punctuated equilibrium overthrew orthodox neo-Darwinism, or (4) that Gould has shown that the fact of mass extinction refutes the "extrapolationism" that is the Achilles' heel of orthodox neo-Darwinism, then what you believe is a falsehood. If you believe any of these propositions, you are, however, in very good company-both numerous and intellectually distinguished company. Quine once said of a misguided critic of his work, "He reads with a broad brush." We are all apt to do this, especially when we try to construe in simple terms the take-home message of work outside our own field. We tend to read, with bold brushstrokes, what we want to find. Each of these four propositions expresses a verdict that is rather more decisive and radical than Gould may have intended, but together they compose a message that is out there, in many quarters. I beg to differ, so it falls to me to dismantle the myth. Not an easy job, since I must painstakingly separate the rhetoric from the reality, all the while fending off-by explaining away-the entirely reasonable presumption that an evolutionist of Gould's stature couldn't be that wrong in his verdicts, could he? Yes and no. The real Gould has made major contributions to evolutionary thinking, correcting a variety of serious and widespread misapprehensions, but the mythical Gould has been created out of the yearnings of many Darwin-dreaders, feeding on Gould's highly charged words, and this has encouraged, in turn, his own aspirations to bring down "ultra-Darwinism," leading him into some misbegotten claims.

If Gould has kept crying wolf, why has he done this? The hypothesis I shall defend is that Gould is following in a long tradition of eminent thinkers who have been seeking skyhooks-and coming up with cranes. Since evolutionary theory has made great progress in recent years, the task of making room for a skyhook has become more difficult, raising the bar for any thinker who wants to find some blessed exemption. By following the repetition of theme and variation in Gould's work, I will uncover a pattern: each failed attempt defines a small portion of the shadow of his quarry, until eventually the source of Gould's driving discomfort will be clearly outlined. Gould's ultimate target is Darwin's dangerous idea itself; he is opposed to the very idea that evolution is, in the end, just an algorithmic process.

It would be interesting to ask the further question of why Gould is so set against this idea, but that is really a task for another occasion, and perhaps for another writer. Gould himself has shown how to execute such a task.


How to think about race.., National Review, 9/12/94 By Mark Snyderman
Dr. Shipman's unease about any genetic explanation is particularly apparent in her treatment of intelligence, which lies at the heart of the controversy about racial differences. She follows unthinkingly the argument set forth by Stephen Jay Gould in his 1981 book The Mismeasure of Man. The argument is that the development of intelligence tests in the early part of this century was driven largely by the eugenics movement and belief in the inferiority of certain groups. The upshot of this argument is a form of guilt by association: intelligence tests were born of racism; thus they must retain their racist tint. Mr. Gould's conclusion, which Dr. Shipman parrots, is that intelligence tests at best are extremely sensitive to environmental variation, and therefore are of limited usefulness in measuring intelligence or establishing any genetic component to differences in intellectual functioning. Mr. Gould is wrong, and so is Dr. Shipman. While it is true that racists found some support in early test results, the historical record reveals that the majority of early mental testers were engaged in a legitimate scientific enterprise. There were flaws in these tests to be sure, as there are flaws today, but the large-scale problems with test development and administration to which Mr. Gould points have been eliminated. Evidence of the validity of modern intelligence and aptitude tests, and of the significant heritable component to individual differences in intelligence, is beyond rational refutation. (The genetic basis of group differences remains uncertain.) In following Mr. Gould, Dr. Shipman has fallen prey to the same environmentalist bias she condemns in the reaction to Coon and Wasserman. What if she is wrong? What if scientific investigation reveals, for example, that there are average differences in intelligence between members of different races that cannot be accounted for by any known sources of environmental variation? Faith in the power of the environment will not shield us from that monster. Phillipe Rushton is willing to accept the results of his science. He describes hundreds of studies worldwide that show a consistent pattern of human racial differences. The three primary human racial groups --Mongoloids (Orientals), Negroids (blacks), and Caucasoids (Caucasians) --show significant average differences in such characteristics as intelligence, brain size, genital size, strength of sex drive, reproductive potency, industriousness, sociability, and rule following. On each of these variables, the groups are aligned in the order: Orientals, Caucasians, blacks. On average, according to the data Mr. Rushton reports, Orientals are more intelligent, have larger brains for their body size, have smaller genitalia, have less sex drive, are less fecund, work harder, and are more readily socialized than Caucasians; and Caucasians on average bear the same relationship to blacks. There is, of course, tremendous variation within each group on each of these variables, and a great degree of overlap between groups. The group differences Mr. Rushton reports are not large, but they are demonstrable. He proposes an evolutionary explanation based on ``life history theory.' 'The theory assumes ``that each species (or subspecies, such as a race) has evolved a characteristic life history adapted to the particular ecological problems encountered by its ancestors.''
 
 


Molecular Markers, Natural History and Evolution by John C. Avise
[page 146] The degree of human population substructure should not be overstated. In terms of allozyme and blood-group polymorphisms, Lewontin (1972) earlier had argued that more than 90% of overall genetic diversity in humans occurred within (rather that between) races and concluded that "our perception of relatively large differences between human races and subgroups . . . is indeed a biased perception, and that, based on randomly chosen genetic differences, human races and populations are remarkably similar to each other. . . . " Such conclusions apply to at least some VNTR loci as well (Balazs et al., 1989), as illustrated by the similar spectra of allelic frequencies at DIS7 in the Caucasian versus Black populations (Table 5. 1). On the other hand, whereas frequencies of most allelic classes at VNTR loci have proved similar across ethnic groups, allelic frequencies at some such loci do differentiate among certain human populations (Balazs et al., 1992; Krane et al.. 1992).
 
 


My life in the human nature wars, Wilson Quarterly, 1/1/96, by Lionel Tiger.
My early failure to anticipate the errors and enormities that would be imputed to my work placed me in somewhat the same position E. O. Wilson found himself after his masterful Sociobiology (1975) appeared. Attacked by the Marxist Science for People group, whose ranks included his Harvard University colleagues Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, Wilson saw his work pilloried as a genetic justification of the status quo of existing privileges for certain groups according to class, race, or sex. His and my situations were no doubt made more difficult by the passions stirred up by the Vietnam War, passions that had largely driven civil discourse from American public life, especially from university campuses. Virtually all controversies in those years--particularly those related in any way to science, technology, and the despised technocracy--partook of the almost demonic fury that had been unleashed by a surrealistically awful war. One's own personal political convictions made no difference.
 
 


The concept of heredity in the history of Western Culture By Roger Pearson
In Storm over Biology,[16] the late Bernard D. Davis, a respected molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, charged Science for the People with aiming "to destroy the field of human behavioral genetics[11] (1986). The names of Richard Lewontin, Stephen J. Gould and Leon J. Kamin, in particular, feature prominently in this connection. Lewontin' s 1984 book, Not in Our Genes, co-authored with Kamin and Britain' s arch-antihereditarian Stephen Rose, was an outright attempt to undermine any proper understanding of the importance of heredity. Lewontin himself was a prime force behind Science for the People, although he has perhaps adopted a somewhat more moderate tone in light of the solid evidence provided by ongoing genetic research. Stephen J. Gould speaks out in a pro-egalitarian fashion as a scholar who has taken the trouble to fully acquaint himself with ongoing research, but who has not abandoned his ideological commitment to what he believes the facts ought to be rather than what they are. His widely promoted book The Mismneasure of Man (1981) notably created confusion in the minds of its readers concerning the heritability of intelligence. Kamin, the author of The Science and Politics of Race (1974), by contrast, still participates in personal attacks against those who attempt to draw the attention of the public to the role of heredity in human behavior. A former New England editor of a weekly communist party newspaper, he shows little interest in abandoning the egalitarian dream and even recently has attacked "hereditarian" scholars in published letters which contain such flagrant inaccuracies that one can only suppose that he places an unscholarly reliance on secondary sources which he has not troubled to check for accuracy.
 


The End of Racism by Dinesh D'Souza, The Free Press 1995
(Page 442)Indeed, Gould calls the 15-point black-white IQ difference "and undisputed fact."

(Page 452) In the face of mounting evidence against the zero heritability hypothesis, Stephen Jay Gould has grudgingly admitted that it is "trivially true" that IQ has a genetic basis and that "it is hard to find any broad aspect of human performance that has no heritable component." Leon Kamin has also recanted, conceding in a book coauthored with Richard Lowentin that a human being is not a tabula rasa at birth and that both genes and environment shape human intelligence and behavior. As these concessions suggest, there is now widespread agreement among scholars that intelligence is to a significant degree inherited and claims to the Boasian school, should be regarded as refuted.

(Page 462)Without bothering to defend the craniologists, Arthur jensen responded to Gould by arguing that current work in physical anthropology, psychometrics, and behavioral genetics cannot be tarred by associating it with late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century tests which were admittedly devised when these modern sciences were in their primitive stage. Gould deserves little congratulation, in Jensen's view, for trying to "condemn the modern automobile by pointing out the faults of the Model T."
 
 


The following is from a new book entitled "Intelligence and Abilities" by Colin Cooper and is part of the PSYCHOLOGY FOCUS university series of books and has to be academically reviewed and accepted:

"Gardner rejects factor analysis as a tool for determining the structure of abilities on the basis of some rather specious arguments put forward in Steven Jay Gould's book, The Mismeasure of Man (Gould, 1981) (Note: Gould's books is widely regarded as a seriously misleading and partial book that is frequently factually incorrect, and is 'crafted in such a way as to prejudice the general public and even some scientists against almost any research concerning human cognitive abilities' (Carroll, 1995): the rest of this review from one of the most widely respected figures in individual differences research contains even stronger phrases, and I would urge anyone who has read Gould's book to also consult this review.)"


The Bell Curve and its critics. By Charles Murray in Commentary, May 1995.
Ever since the late 1960's, when IQ became a pariah in the world of ideas, this has been a politically-incorrect position to take. In the early 1980's, a book by Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man, cemented the discrediting of g among liberals outside the scientific community. His portrait of psychometrics as a pseudoscience pursued by charlatans was swallowed uncritically and enthusiastically by the elite media, as documented by Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman in The IQ Controversy: The Media and Public Policy (1988).

A central thesis of The Mismeasure of Man was that g is nothing more than a statistical artifact. Gould based his denial of a general mental factor on a series of claims about factor analysis, the statistical method for identifying g.

In a review of The Bell Curve in the New Yorker, Gould resurrects the same arguments. Echoing The Mismeasure of Man, he writes: g cannot have inherent reality . . . for it emerges in one form of mathematical representation for correlations among tests and disappears (or greatly attenuates) in other forms, which are entirely equivalent in amount of information explained. He continues: The fact that Herrnstein and Murray barely mention the factor-analytic argument forms a central indictment of The Bell Curve and is an illustration of its vacuousness. Where, Gould asks, is the evidence that g captures a real property in the head ?

The reason that we barely mention the factor-analytic argument against the existence of g is that it has little scholarly standing. Gould's statistical indictment of g was refuted in various scientific quarters soon after the appearance of The Mismeasure of Man, and research into g proceeded without a noticeable blip.(1)
 
 


Ideology and censorship in behavior genetics.., by Glayde Whitney
Presented below is the entire text of my presidential address presented to the Behavior Genetics Association (BGA) on the occasion of its 25th annual meeting at Richmond, VA on the second of June, 1995. Since the journal Behavior Genetics is sponsored by the BGA, some explanation is required as to why this presidential address is not published in the Association's own journal.

The primary topic of the address was ideologically-based dogma and taboo hampering the pursuit of knowledge in the science of behavior genetics. The response to the address has been such a parody of political correctness that it might appear to be an instance of collusion between the perpetrator and the detractors for the purpose of exposing an absurdity of our times. However sadly, there is no collusion. Both the author and the detractors appear to be sincere.
[.....]

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF BEHAVIOR GENETICS
Today there are more and better data concerning genetic influences on behavioral and neuroscience variables than ever before in history. We have tremendously benefited from the revolution in molecular genetic techniques - the new genetics. In 25 years behavior genetics has come from being a small field on the fringe of the social sciences to being recognized as central to an understanding of the human condition (Wiesel, 1994). Just a few weeks ago Science noted that the new director of NIMH should be someone who appreciated the role of genetics in mental health (Marshall, 1995). This is an amazing shift from 25 years ago when behavioristic environmental determinism still reigned supreme. We are obviously well into a paradigm shift of major dimensions, perhaps a true Kuhnian revolution in Science and Society (Barker, 1985; 1992; Kuhn, 1970). In the future it might be referred to as the Galtonian Revolution, on a par with the Copernican. The shift is but one illustration of the long-term self-correcting nature of science: Objective investigation of the real world, conducted with integrity and interpreted without intentional ideological bias, can eventually lead to real advance.
[.....]

The dogma of course is that of environmental determinism for all important human traits. This dogma has relaxed in recent years, at least for individual differences, and at least within science. But the dogma has not relaxed for group differences and has not relaxed within politics as differentiated from science. The attacks on Jensen, and by extension on all human behavior genetics, are clearly political, ideological, philosophical.

The Marxist-Lysenkoist denial of genetics, the emphasis on environmental determinism for all things human, is at the root of it (Davis, 1986; Medvedev, 1971; Pearson, 1991; Weiss, 1991). Economic oppression is at the root of all group differences and don't you dare say anything else. The Marxist invasion of left-liberal political sentiment has been so extensive that many of us think that way without realizing it.

It has been suggested that I should talk about "Marxitis" that is, the Marxist infection of ideas. Many of the scholars that suffer from Marxitis do not realize that they are infected. The symptoms of this disease include an intellectual bias, an insistence on environmental determinism as the acceptable cause of group differences. In severe cases, it includes an unbending intellectual absolutism akin to medieval scholasticism. It is lethal to honest science.

A couple of quotes from heretics that have left the movement: "the utopianism of the Left is a secular religion . . . . However sordid Leftist practice may be, defending Leftist ideals is, for the true believer tantamount to defending the ideals of humanity itself. To protect the faith is the highest calling of the radical creed. The more the evidence weighs against the belief, the more noble the act of believing becomes" (Collier & Horowitz, 1995, p. 246).

There is a "readiness to reshape reality to make the world correspond to an idea" (Collier & Horowitz, 1995, P. 37). There is a "Willingness to tinker with the facts to serve a greater truth" (Collier & Horowitz, 1995, p. 37). And so it has obviously been with many of the critics of behavior genetics. Over the last twenty-five years, as the scientific data accumulate, as the paradigm shifts, the stridency of the critics intensifies. Driven by ideology and not constrained by the truth, when all else fails they engage in misrepresentation and character assassination. They accuse their targets of committing the very propagandistic excesses that they themselves are doing (Avery, et. el., 1994; Beardsley, 1995; Brimelow, 1994; Gould, 1994; Kamin, 1995; Lane, 1994; Miller, 1994; Murray, 1994; Weyher, Lynn, Pearson, & Vining, 1995).

Some one among them coined the term "Jensenism". Near as I can tell "Jensenism" consists of scientific integrity, outstanding technical competence, and objective honesty.
[.....]

Brimelow suggests that the term "racist" is now so debased that its new definition is "anyone who is winning an argument with a liberal" . (Brimelow, 1995 p. 10, italics in original). He suggests that we feel uneasy because we have been trained - like Pavlov's dog - to recoil from any explicit discussion of race.

Let's test Brimelow's theory of emotional conditioning with just a couple of illustrations of data. Here and now is the setting for our experimental test. Here we are scientists, sophisticated with regard to behavior genetics. We tell our students that we are the scientists concerned with the causes of individual and group differences (Fuller & Thompson, 1978; Rowe, 1994). Any time you observe a phenotypic difference between definable groups, it is a reasonable scientific hypothesis that the difference might be caused by environmental difference between the groups, or the difference might be caused by genetic differences between the groups, or by some combination of genetic and environmental differences. Elementary.

Now to look at the data relating to the Brimelow test, we include five figures. The first figure has data from a UN demographic yearbook (United Nations, 1994). The variable here is murder rate per 100,000 of population, for a few countries. This is a typical representative figure: Among so-called advanced nations, or industrialized nations, the United States suffers a high murder rate. The environmental determinists have many theories, some complex and all critical to aspects of American society. Often we are asked, for instance, "why are Scandinavians in the U.S. so much more murderous than are Scandinavians in Scandinavia?" The answer is that they are not. The premise of the question is false.

The second figure has the same "industrialized" European, largely Caucasian, countries along with an estimate of the murder rate among whites in the U.S. Surely nothing to be proud of, the murder rate among whites is pretty consistent across countries, the rate among U.S. Caucasians is identical to England, and somewhat lower than the two Scandinavian countries. The United States is of coursea multicultural, racially diverse country. This same point has been made previously, with data from different sources (Taylor, 1994).

The third figure has the murder rate for the United States across 22 years, by race. Obviously quite consistent, approximately a 9-fold difference averaged across years (Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 1988). Like it or not, it is a reasonable scientific hypothesis that some, perhaps much, of the race difference in murder rate is caused by genetic differences in contributory variables such as low intelligence, lack of empathy, aggressive acting out, and impulsive lack of foresight.

The United Nations has a lot of indexes; another one is the HDI (that is, Human Development Index). The HDI is meant to index a bunch of desirable characteristics (such as longevity, knowledge, real income, etc.). Overall, the U.S. ranks fifth among the nations in the HDI. To get fifth on the international list, you combine U.S. whites, who rank first, with US blacks who rank 31st, a level similar to some other black countries (Eisenberg, 1995), and this after more than a generation of racially preferential social policies. If you equate for IQ, U.S. blacks are actually doing at least as well as U.S. whites (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994).
[.....]

We can do a pretty good job of predicting differential murder rates, simply by considering racial composition of the population. For example, in the fourth figure we have aggregate data across the 50 states of the United States. The simple correlation between murder rate and percent of the population that is black, is r=+0.77. For Figures 4 and 5, the homicide data are from the U.S. Department of Justice (1981), while the population percentages are from the 1980 census (Race, 1981). I know of no environmental variable that accounts for more of the variation. Rather than the 50 states, we can look at all of the 170 cities in the United States that had a 1980 population of at least 100,000. With 170 data points, it would make a messy scatter- plot; the overall correlation between murder rate and percent of the population which is black is r=+0.69 (Kleck & Patterson, 1993; Kleck, 1995).

Simply for illustrative purposes, the fifth figure is the rate-by- state as in figure 4, but with the values for Washington, DC included. As you can see, the very high murder rate for Washington, DC is simply what one would predict, given knowledge of its population composition. We could go on-and-on, there are books-full of variables (Baker, 1981; Rushton, 1995). But this is enough to conclude the Brimelow Test.

Do you have an emotional reaction? I know I do: Uncomfortable to even consider; Anxious; Repulsed; Upsetting. I conclude that I have been quite thoroughly conditioned. The Taboo against considering race runs deep. But some of our social problems continue to get worse. I would like to conclude on an uplifting and happy note. But what to say? Perhaps the optimistic prediction that over the next 25 years, as we get further into the second century of the Darwinian revolution, we in behavior genetics will do for group differences what we already have accomplished with individual differences.

Commentary on some of the empirical and theoretical support for The Bell Curve.., by John H. Kranzler, School Psychology Review, 1/1/95.
Abstract: This commentary discusses two important components of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. The first is the original empirical evidence presented by Herrnstein and Murray to demonstrate the central role of intelligence in American life. The second is Spearman's g, the general factor underlying individual differences in all tests and performances involving cognitive ability. This article concludes that: (a) although the results of Herrnstein and Murray's multiple regression analyses of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) cannot be easily dismissed, these data do not provide unequivocal support for their policy recommendations; and (b) despite the fact that a considerable amount of contemporary research substantiates the importance of g as a psychological construct, educational and public policy should be based on more than psychometrics and statistics.
[.....]

The Bell Curve received an incredible amount of almost entirely negative attention in the media, mainly because it addressed, in part, the controversial issues of the heritability of intelligence and racial- ethnic group differences in cognitive ability. According to Herrnstein and Murray, the possibility that group differences in intelligence are partly responsible for many of the social and economic inequalities that exist across racial-ethnic groups has long been considered too sensitive to discuss in public, yet badly needs airing. Many have disagreed, asserting that the book will only fan the flames of racism and exacerbate ethnic balkanization. Criticism of The Bell Curve has been harsh. In The New Republic (October 31, 1994), for example, respondents referred to it as "pseudo-scientific racism" and "errant nonsense. " One commentary was even entitled, "Neo-Nazis!" Stephen Jay Gould (1994), the Harvard paleontologist who wrote The Mismeasure of Man, characterized Herrnstein and Murray's policy recommendations as " anachronistic social Darwinism" (p. 138) and called the book a "manifesto of conservative ideology" (p. 141).

For better or worse, the arguments presented in The Bell Curve are being widely contemplated, if book sales and media coverage are any indication. My intention in this commentary is not to review The Bell Curve in its entirety. Space limitations preclude a thorough discussion of all the complex issues addressed by Herrnstein and Murray. Instead, two important components of The Bell Curve will be examined. The first is the original empirical evidence presented by Herrnstein and Murray to demonstrate the central role of intelligence in American life. The second is Spearman's g. Although not discussed in depth in The Bell Curve, the g factor is, as Gould (1994) noted, "the sine qua non of their entire argument" (p. 143).
[.....]

After examining the analysis of variance tables in Appendix 4 of The Bell Curve, Gould concluded that "their own data indicate that IQ is not a major factor in determining variation in nearly all the social behaviors they study" (p. 146). He stated that "although low figures are not atypical for large social-science surveys involving many variables, most of Herrnstein and Murray's correlations are very weak -- often in the 0.2 to 0.4 range" (p. 147). Gould also accused Herrnstein and Murray of "pervasive disingenuousness" (p. 140), partly because information on the variance explained in their regression analyses is "tucked away" in an appendix, instead of discussed in the text along with graphic presentation of their results.

Although Herrnstein and Murray did consider the fact that substantial dispersion is bound to exist around regression lines for moderately correlated variables, they argued that "the exceptions [to the general relationship] do not invalidate the importance of a statistically significant correlation" (p. 68). They also provided a rationale for deemphasizing the variance accounted for by the independent variables in their analyses. As Herrnstein and Murray stated: "A crucial point to keep in mind abut correlation coefficients... is that correlations in the social sciences are seldom much higher than .5 (or lower than-.5) and often much weaker -- because social events are imprecisely measured and are usually affected by variables besides the ones that happened to be included in any particular body of data. A correlation of .2 can nevertheless be "big" for many social science topics. In terms of social phenomena, modest correlations can produce large aggregate effects. (p. 67) "

Given Herrnstein and Murray's focus on the implications of their results for educational and public policy, emphasizing the interpretation of statistically significant regression slopes rather than the variance explained seems reasonable. In addition, many researchers in the social and behavioral sciences would not agree with Gould's (1994) description of correlations in the 0.2 to 0.4 range, which explain between .4 and 16% of the variance, as "very weak." According to Cohen (1977), a "large" effect explains more than 15% of the variance, a "medium" effect about 6%, and a "small" effect about 1%. On this "scale," Herrnstein and Murray's results are best described as medium to large. Regardless of the label one attaches to the amount of variance explained in Herrnstein's and Murray's analyses, it is important to note that these are still correlational results. Causality is not established by the existence of a correlation between variables.
[.....]

THEORETICAL SUPPORT
The Bell Curve is based on six conclusions about tests of cognitive ability that, according to Herrnstein and Murray (1994), are beyond significant dispute in the scientific literature:
1. There is such a thing as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ.
2. All standardized tests of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but IQ tests expressly designed for that purpose measure it most accurately.
3. IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent or smart [emphases in the original] in ordinary language.
4. IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a person's life.
5. Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups.
6. Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40 percent and no more than 80 percent. (pp. 22-23)
Herrnstein and Murray derived these six conclusions from what they referred to as the classical paradigm of intelligence research and theory. Classicist researchers maintain that the structure of mental ability is best described as hierarchical, with Spearman's g at the apex (e.g., see Carroll, 1993). Although g is recognized as but one of many factors of cognitive ability, they contend that it is the most important one. As Jensen (1992a) stated: "In recent years, the study of general mental ability [emphasis in the original], or g, has begun to look as a science should. Along with the increasing realization of the tremendous importance of this subject, there has been an unusually rapid growth of theoretical and empirical research, both psychometric and experimental. (p. 271) "

Herrnstein and Murray agreed with researchers in the classical paradigm on the importance of g, yet did not discuss this central concept in sufficient detail. My aim here is to sketch some of the most fundamental things known about g, so that readers of The Bell Curve may better evaluate its theoretical foundation.
[.....]

Why is g Important?
The importance of g lies in the fact that it correlates substantially with phenomena outside the domain of psychometric tests and factor analysis. Psychometric g is therefore not simply a mathematical artifact. For example, g is more predictive of outcomes in educational achievement, job training, and job success than any other factor derived from tests of cognitive ability (Jensen, 1992b, 1993a; Ree & Earles, 1992). In addition, Jensen (1993b) argued that the size of the black-white group difference on cognitive tasks is a direct function of the tasks' loading on g. Psychometric g also is related to the heritability (i.e., the proportion of genetic variance) of cognitive tests, which indicates that individual differences in g are determined in part by genetics and therefore influenced by biological functioning (e. g., Bouchard, Lykken, McGue, Segal, & Tellegen, 1990).

A great deal of contemporary research is now aimed at determining the neurophysiological and psychological mechanisms that underlie g (for review, see Jensen, 1992a; Vernon, 1993). The significant correlates of g identified by researchers thus far include: averaged evoked potentials (e.g., Barrett & Eysenck, 1992), nerve conduction velocity (e.g., Vernon & Mori, 1992), speed of neural and synaptic transmission in the visual brain as measured by the positron emission tomography scanning technique (e.g., Haler, Siegel, Crinella, & Buchsbaum, 1993), and the speed and efficiency of elementary cognitive processes (see Vernon, 1990a, for a review). The consistency and coherence of these data reflect real scientific progress that must be explained by any viable theory of intelligence. Many now believe that the results of this research substantiate a neural efficiency model of g (see Vernon, 1993). According to Vernon (1900b), this model postulates that "persons who perform well on intelligence tests (who have high "IQs") have brains that can operate faster and more efficiently than those of persons who perform less well" (p. 295).
[.....]

CONCLUSION
The Bell Curve should be discussed seriously and rationally by school psychologists, not suppressed. Whether we like it or not, Herrnstein and Murray's data, and the conclusions they draw from them, will not fade away. Although they may not be correct in all their assertions, there are lessons to be learned from The Bell Curve and from how the media reacted to it. The worst possible outcome would be for this discussion not to take place.


Davis on Gould

There are two main sections to this page. The bulk of it consists of a critical review by Bernard D. Davis of Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man. That is followed by a "Random Sample" by Constance Holden from the AAAS journal Science, 18 February 1994, about Bernard Davis. A fact not mentioned in Holden's article is that Davis was author of a book called Storm Over Biology: Essays on Science, Sentiment and Public Policy (1986, Buffalo: Prometheus).

Davis, Bernard D. (1983). Neo-Lysenkoism, IQ, and the press. The Public Interest, 74, 41-59.

At the time the following paper was published, Bernard D. Davis was Adele Lehman Professor of Bacterial Physiology at Harvard Medical School, where he formerly headed the Center for Human Genetics.

 


Neo-Lysenkoism,
IQ,
and the press

Stephen Jay Gould, a professor of geology at Harvard, has become one of the best known American scientists. His many essays on natural history are entertaining and highly readable, and his attack on the "establishment" version of Darwinian evolution has received so much attention that his picture appeared on the cover of Newsweek. He personalizes his expository writing in a breezy, self-deprecating manner, and he comes across as warm-hearted, socially concerned, and commendably on the side of the underdog. Hence he is able to present scientific material effectively to a popular audience--a valuable contribution, and a public service, as long as his scientific message is sound.

It is therefore not surprising that Gould's history of the efforts to measure human intelligence, The Mismeasure of Man, received many glowing reviews in the popular and literary press, and even a National Book Critics Circle award. Yet the reviews that have appeared in scientific journals, focusing on content rather than on style or on political appeal, have been highly critical of both the book's version of history and its scientific arguments. The paradox is striking. If a scholar wrote a tendentious history of medicine that began with phlebotomy and purges, moved on to the Tuskegee experiment on syphilitic Negroes, and ended with the thalidomide disaster, he would convince few people that medicine is all bad, and he would ruin his reputation. So we must ask: Why did Gould write a book that fits this model all too closely? Why were most reviewers so uncritical? And how can nonscientific journals improve their reviews of books on scientific aspects of controversial political issues?

Reviews in the popular press

Typical of the literary reviews of Gould's book is the one that appeared in the New York Times Book Review. June Goodfield, a historian and popular writer on science, is effusive: In his "most significant book yet, Mr. Gould grasps the supporting pillars of the temple in a lethal grip of historical scholarship and analysis--and brings the whole edifice of biological determinism crashing down." The Mismeasure of Man, she writes, also shows that, while science can never be wholly objective, "this gloriously human enterprise does provide us both with a method for challenging the status quo and for revealing true knowledge about the world." Moreover, Gould "affirms that most things are humanly possible, and that attempts to confine human beings to limited categories are both downright wicked and bound to be self-defeating."

In the New Yorker the book was reviewed by Jeremy Bernstein, a philosophically-inclined physicist. His analyses of scientific books have in general been excellent, and we might have expected him to be critical of Gould's methodology. But in fact, because Bernstein saw the book as a powerful salvo against racism, he misread it, imputing to Gould his own, different views on intelligence. Bernstein's answer to racism is to emphasize "how numerous the genetically expressed variations are within any social group," whereas Gould in fact insists that in the area of behavior, genetic differences should be ignored. Missing this fundamental disagreement, Bernstein uncritically accepts Gould's indictment of intelligence tests: "because of the false reification of intelligence hundreds of thousands--perhaps millions--of people's lives have been circumscribed or even ruined."

The most perplexing review is Richard Lewontin's in the New York Review of Books. Lewontin represents a biased choice on the part of that journal, since he and Gould had taught a course together at Harvard on the dangers of applying biology to society, and he has called for the development of a true "socialist science" to challenge the "bourgeois science" of most Western culture. Yet he turns out to be an interesting choice, for his article is, as usual, brilliant, erudite, and idiosyncratic.

Lewontin agrees that political views, whether good or bad, will inevitably influence the conclusions of scientists, but be chides Gould for ignoring Marxist principles and overemphasizing racism: "The Mismeasure of Man remains a curiously unpolitical and unphilosophical book." The emphasis "on racism and ethnocentrism in the study of abilities is an American bias." Further, "In America, race, ethnicity, and class are so confounded, and the reality of social class so firmly denied, that it is easy to lose sight of the general setting of class conflict out of which biological determinism arose." He concludes with a profoundly pessimistic bit of metaphysics: "The reification of intelligence ... is an error that is deeply built into the atomistic system of Cartesian explanation that characterizes all of our national science. It is not easy, given the analytic mode of science, to replace the clockwork mind with something less silly." But "the wholesale rejection of analysis in favor of an obscurantist holism has been worse. Imprisoned by our Cartesianism, we do not know how to think about thinking." It is unfortunate that this truly gifted scientist trapped himself in evolutionary genetics, a field so at odds with his social convictions.

The popular press has thought the issues to be more clear-cut. Newsweek refers to "this splendid new case study of biased science and its social abuse." The Saturday Review speaks of "a rare book--at once of great importance and wonderful to read." The Atlantic Monthly says, "The tale would be funny if one could overlook the misery that such tests have inflicted on generations of defenseless school children." The Key Reporter (of Phi Beta Kappa) calls the book "a strident, polemical, effective critique."

The scientific reviews

While the nonscientific reviews of The Mismeasure of Man were almost uniformly laudatory, the reviews in the scientific journals were almost all highly critical. In Science, a widely read American publication that covers all the sciences, the book was reviewed by Franz Samelson, a psychologist at Kansas State University. He concludes that as a history of science the book has a number of problems. For example, he notes, Gould claims that Army intelligence tests led to the Immigration Restriction Act of 1925; in fact, no psychologist testified before Congress, and the three reports of the House Committee on Immigration do not mention intelligence tests at all. On another point, Gould's discussion of the "fallacy of reification"--the grouping of different abilities, such as verbal reasoning and spatial reasoning, into one measure of intelligence--"remains blurred, since Gould's emphasis seems to shift about. Exactly what does he object to? [Gould] never tells us directly what his own proper, unreified conception of intelligence is." Finally, Gould fails to acknowledge that ability testing is "a sizable industry in the real world and a smaller one in academia." And all Gould's incisive thrusts at finagling and fallacies seem to be almost irrelevant. ... Whatever intellectual victories over the [mostly dead] testers Gould's eminently readable book achieves ... the real action seems to be elsewhere."

In Nature, a distinguished British journal of general science, Steve Blinkhom, writing from the Neuropsychology Laboratory at Stanford University, is blunt: "With a glittering prose style and as honestly held a set of prejudices as you could hope to meet in a day's crusading, S.J. Gould presents his attempt at identifying the fatal flaw in the theory and measurement of intelligence. Of course everyone knows there must be a fatal flaw, but so far reports of its discovery have been consistently premature." More specifically, "the substantive discussion of the theory of intelligence stops at the stage it was in more than a quarter of a century ago." Gould "has nothing to say which is both accurate and at issue when it comes to substantive or methodological points." Finally, many of his assertions "have the routine flavor of Radio Moscow news broadcasts when there really is no crisis to shout about. You have to admire the skill in presentation, but what a waste of talent."

Science 82, a journal designed for the general public, chose as its reviewer Candace Pert, a biochemist at the National Institute of Mental Health, who has been researching the application of molecular biology and cell biology to the study of the brain. "Gould's history of pseudoscientific racism in measuring human intelligence," she writes, "does not, despite his claims, negate the sociobiological notion that differences in human genetic composition can produce differences in brain proteins, resulting in differences in behavior and personality." In her view, "if modem neuroscience reveals biochemical differences that account for human variability, we must deal with this important knowledge; ... ignoring differences because they could become abuses will not make them go away."

The most extensive scientific analysis of Gould's book appeared in Contemporary Education Review. Arthur R. Jensen, of the Institute for Human Learning at the University of California, Berkeley, analyzes Gould's technical arguments in great detail and reaches sharply critical conclusions. He also discusses recent research demonstrating a high correlation of IQ with speed of information processing, as measured by simple reaction-time techniques. These findings encourage a hope that a merger with neurobiology may soon make studies of intelligence much more penetrating and less controversial.

The review that appeared in Scientific American is an exception to the harsh criticism in the scientific press. Ordinarily Scientific American presents solid science in an interesting way to a very broad audience, and it has been restrained and non-partisan in treating most controversial issues of science. However, there is one exception: The publisher, Gerard Piel, and the book editor, Philip Morrison, have long seen the study of the genetics of intelligence as a threat to racial justice. According to Morrison, as "a persuasive chronicle of prejudice in science, founded on scrupulous examination of the record, enlivened by the talent of a gifted writer, this volume takes on some of the sinister appeal of a tale of heinous crime."

Gould's selective history

It is important for the general public to understand why scientists close to the field have reacted so negatively to The Mismeasure of Man. The strength of science in analyzing reality comes from its strict separation of facts from values, of observations from expectations. Measurements of intelligence, and of its hereditary and environmental origins, are part of natural science--even though one must go beyond science, bringing in judgments of value, in order to probe the social implications of the results. Hence any purported scientific exposition of these topics must be as dispassionate and objective as possible about the facts, whatever the social views the author favors. These are precious standards, whose corruption we must resist. Unfortunately, throughout Gould's book they are not met.

The early chapters describe in detail some extremely naive nineteenth-century attempts to measure intelligence in terms of brain size or body shape. These are fossils from the history of mental testing, and their excavation would ordinarily bore most readers. Gould, however, uses them skillfully, both to give the impression of a thorough scholarly analysis and to arouse indignation at such evil uses of science. Unfortunately, the advocacy and the emotional appeal betray the scholarship. In the early stages of any science, naive ideas, often reflecting the prejudice of the time, are inevitable. Gould infers that this legacy will persist; but history demonstrates that the advance of science depends on continually discarding false hypotheses and preconceptions. Gould further arouses the reader's indignation by describing the ill-informed and prejudiced views of Paul Broca and Louis Agassiz on racial differences. But at a time when slavery was legal, and long before the science of genetics revolutionized our understanding of the nature of race, it is hardly surprising that these views were held by leading scientists--and even, as Gould notes, by such enlightened social critics as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. To remind us of these roots in the history of racism is instructive--but to imply a similar prejudice in today's investigators of intelligence is unfair.

After emphasizing that Alfred Binet developed the first intelligence test, in France in 1905, only in order to improve the education of backward children, Gould goes on to describe misuses of the subsequent tests. His most horrifying example is a primitive study conducted in 1912, in which H.H. Goddard administered intelligence tests to a number of Ellis Island immigrants. He set his standards at an absurdly high level, classifying in the end an extraordinarily large percentage of subjects as "feeble-minded"--a term that then included "morons" who could nonetheless manage to make a living, though it is now applied only to those with a more severe deficiency. Probably nothing has so aroused antipathy to intelligence testing as his widely-cited findings that, for example, 83 percent of the Jews and 79 percent of the Italians he tested were "feeble-minded."

Gould's interpretation of Goddard's findings is summarized as follows: "Could anyone be made to believe that four-fifths of any nation were morons?" But let us look at what Goddard actually wrote. The first sentence of his paper states that "this is not a study of immigrants in general but of six small highly selected groups" leaving out those at either end of the scale who were "obviously" either normal or feeble-minded. At that time immigration officers were using subjective impressions to reject those people who appeared to be too retarded to learn to make a living, and Goddard hoped that tests could provide a more reliable basis for such decisions. Surprised at the results, he added a discussion that Gould conveniently ignores:

"Are these ... cases of hereditary defects or cases of apparent mental defects by deprivation? ... We know of no data on this point, but indirectly we may argue that it is far more probable that their condition is due to environment than it is due to heredity. To mention only two considerations: First, we know their environment has been poor. It seems able to account for the result. Second, this kind of immigration has been going on for 20 years. If the condition were due to hereditary feeblemindedness we should properly expect a noticeable increase in the proportion of the feeble-minded of foreign ancestry. This is not the case."

Goddard ended up favoring the immigration of people who appeared to possess limited present intelligence: Not only would they perform useful work, but "we may be confident that their children will be of average intelligence and if rightly brought up will be good citizens." Goddard was hardly a great scientist, but he deserves a fair hearing. The statements cited here hardly warrant Gould's conclusion that to Goddard "the cure [for feeble-mindedness] seemed simple enough: don't allow native morons to breed and keep foreign ones out."

After some years, as Gould notes, most of the early enthusiasts changed their views. Goddard, Terman, and Brigham each admitted that he had overestimated the ability of tests to detect innate differences and had underestimated the influence of cultural background. One might take this example of growth in understanding as a sign of the whole field's increasing maturity and objectivity. Gould, however, sees these confessions only as support for his accusation of bias.

What is "biological determinism"?

Gould's own degree of bias is unusual in a work by a scientist. What is the source of this passion? Not mental testing itself, he makes it clear. Rather, his arguments against this testing are merely weapons for attacking the real enemy: what he calls "biological determinism."

As Gould correctly points out, early investigators who tried to measure intelligence were indeed determinists: They had the illusion that they were directly measuring a capacity determined by the genes. But while he continues to tar investigators of behavioral genetics with this brush, in fact they are now all interactionists. For while genetics necessarily began with the simplest relationships, in which a single gene determines a trait (such as the color of Mendel's peas, or a human blood type), the science eventually moved on to the quantitatively varying (metric) physical or behavioral traits, which socially are much more interesting. These were found to depend on multiple genes, and also on their cumulative interactions with the environment. This concept is now precisely formulated as the concept of heritability: a measure of what fraction of the total variance in a trait, in a particular population, is due to genetic differences between individuals--the other fraction coming from environmental influences.

Since Gould would prefer to combat the straw man of naive, "pure" determinism, he fails to note that the science of genetics has altogether replaced this concept with interactionism. But since he is too familiar with biology to deny this conceptual shift, he appropriates it for his own ideological argument: "The difference between strict hereditarians and their opponents is not, as some caricatures suggest, the belief that a child's performance is all inborn or all a function of environment and learning. I doubt that the most committed antihereditarians have ever denied the existence of innate variation among children." Curiously, "hereditarians" (Gould's misnomer for interactionists) are not credited with a similar appreciation of both factors. Instead, they are neatly skewered by being called "strict."

What, then, is the quarrel about? According to Gould, "the differences [between the camps] are more a matter of social policy and educational practice. Hereditarians view their measures of intelligence as measures of permanent inborn limits. Children, so labeled, should be sorted, trained according to their inheritance and channeled into professions appropriate for their biology." But good investigators, such as Binet, did not want mental testing to become a theory of limits. For them, Gould argues, "Mental testing becomes a theory for enhancing potential through proper education [emphasis added]."

This is a deliberate effort to blur the issue. With one hand Gould concedes innate differences, and with the other he takes them away. If the two camps really differ mostly about social policy and not about the importance of hereditary factors, why does he struggle so to deny the latter? Similarly, whether the hereditary component is large or small, is it not a fact that individuals differ widely in their phenotypic, developed ability to absorb various kinds of education and to perform various kinds of jobs? Yet the book has not one word about the possible value of mental tests for educational and vocational placement or for comparing educational programs. (However, consistent with Gould's admiration for Binet's circumscribed aim, he does note the value of mental tests in guiding the therapy of his own child.) Finally, in describing the incredibly crude use of the Army's "Alpha" tests in 1917, Gould ignores the current use of sophisticated tests to help the armed forces select candidates for expensive training programs.

It is sad that Gould, preoccupied with the destructive social consequences of earlier biological misconceptions, is convinced that any modem studies on human behavioral genetics must have similar consequences. For to the contrary, modern evolutionary biology has had an opposite effect--by providing a powerful argument against racism. In the past, a widely-accepted justification for race discrimination stemmed from a Platonic doctrine that prevailed for over two millennia: the belief that we can best understand groups of entities (including species and races) in typological (essentialist) terms, i.e., characterizing all the individuals in a group in terms of a hypothetical ideal type or essence, and dismissing differences from the ideal as trivial. Today, however, population genetics has shown that all species are genetically diverse, and that the differences are not trivial but rather are the source of evolution. With this shift from an essentialist to a populationist view, the genetic differences between races (except for some superficial physical traits) are now seen to be statistical rather than essentially uniform. And since the statistical distributions overlap extensively from one group to another, one cannot infer an individuals potential from his race.

If the pre-genetic, typological misconceptions still prevailed, the modern revolt against race discrimination would surely have encountered much greater resistance, and it might even have been impossible. Unfortunately, biology has received little credit for this major social contribution, and none at all from Stephen Jay Gould.

The concept of general intelligence

The historical chapters, constituting most of The Mismeasure of Man, serve to convince the reader that the measurement of intelligence is immoral. But after this build-up, Gould, shifting from historian to scientist, offers an even sharper objection: The measurement is also unscientific.

The problem arises because these tests were developed for teachers who often have trouble deciding whether a pupil's poor performance is primarily due to limitations in motivation or to limitations in ability. The original purpose of intelligence tests, as we have noted, was to provide a more objective and reliable supplement to the teacher's subjective impression, in order to help pupils who are doing badly. But this early use of testing inevitably led to the development of additional possibilities. For example, by ranking the whole class, the tests also detected students who could move faster than the average. In addition, more specialized tests have evolved, especially for advanced students and for purposes of job placement. But as practical tools in public education, the most widely used tests are still composite ones designed, like Binet's test, to cover a range of abilities pertinent to the whole curriculum.

Psychologists generally agree that the greatest success of their field has been in intelligence testing--both practical, in estimating individual abilities, and theoretical, in exploring the cognitive functions of the human brain. For it might have turned out that the determinants of different cognitive abilities were uncorrelated: that is, that the levels of abilities might be distributed independently. But in fact, tests for different kinds of intelligence--the ability to assimilate, retain, process, and express different kinds of complex information--show a remarkably high correlation in their results. The rank-ordering of most individuals is similar--but not identical--on a verbal test, an arithmetic test, or a nonverbal test involving spatial patterns. These results confirm an impression that we all tacitly build on in our daily lives: Some people are generally brighter than others, but people also differ in their special aptitudes. Both sets of differences are partly inborn and partly due to factors affecting the development of the inborn potentials.

The common factor shared in different cognitive abilities, as determined by statistical analysis of their correlations, was named g by Charles Spearman. In the ordinary IQ tests it contributes well over half the variance within a population, the rest representing uncorrelated differences in special abilities. Someday, the basis for both kinds of variation will no doubt be better understood in cellular and biochemical terms. Indeed, it is encouraging that studies of the brain are rapidly progressing from its simpler integrative functions, such as the processing of visual stimuli, to more complex cognitive activities. Meanwhile, though, it is fruitful for psychologists to examine intelligence at the level of performance, and to compare ways of improving that performance, just as geneticists could usefully deal with genes as formal units long before discovering their molecular structure and mode of action.

Examined at this level, such tests have unquestionably helped innumerable teachers to identify pupils whose brightness was concealed by shyness, cultural barriers, or rebelliousness. On the other hand, there is also no doubt that the tests have often been interpreted or applied badly. If teachers focus excessively on general intelligence, measured on a one-dimensional scale, they may fail to encourage the development of each individual's particular strengths. Moreover, the assumption that g is entirely innate may persist in some quarters even though the concept of heritability (fractionation into genetic and environmental components) has now completely replaced that early view among scientists. But perhaps the greatest danger is that the test results may tend to be regarded as some kind of index of social worth, instead of recognizing that they measure only a limited set of behavioral traits. For while these are key traits for certain educational and vocational purposes, the tests ignore many other traits that also have great social value: for example, physical attractiveness, motor skills, creativity, artistic talent, social sensitivity, and features of character and temperament. The concept of any single scale of social worth has no meaning. Gould, however, keeps the reader's indignation alive by regularly defining the objective of the tests as the measurement of "worth"--sometimes qualified as "intellectual worth," but often unqualified, or even denoted as "innate worth."

Gould is clearly not interested in evaluating the past uses of intelligence tests fairly, or in improving their use. To him the tests must be extirpated because--and here we get back to the real villain--in using them to compare individuals one inevitably runs into consistent differences in the mean values for various racial and socioeconomic groups. "This book ... is about the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity .. invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups--races, classes, or sexes--are innately inferior and deserve their status."4 This statement, for all its hyperbole, captures what the book is about: Concerned with group differences, Gould has decided not to add to the polemics on their causes, but to attack the problem at another level. For if he can demonstrate that the very concept of measurable intelligence is meaningless, then it follows that all those disturbing data on group differences are meaningless as well. His weapon is his "discovery," first announced in the New York Review of Books, of two alleged "deep fallacies" underlying the concept of general intelligence: reification and the factoring of intelligence.

The "deep fallacies" of reification and factoring

Gould's argument on reification purports to get at the philosophical foundation of the field. He claims that general intelligence, defined as the factor common to different cognitive abilities, is merely a mathematical abstraction; hence if we consider it a measurable attribute we are reifying it, falsely converting an abstraction into an "entity" or a "thing"--variously referred to as "a hard, quantifiable thing," "a quantifiable fundamental particle," "a thing in the most direct, material sense." Here he has dug himself a deep hole. If this implication of localization is a fallacy for general intelligence, why is it not also a fallacy for specialized forms of intelligence, which Gould professes to accept? Going even further, he seems to abandon materialism altogether: "Once intelligence becomes an entity, standard procedures of science virtually dictate that a location and physical substrate be sought for it. Since the brain is the seat of mentality, intelligence must reside there." But we must ask what reasonable scientific alternative there is. A Cartesian dualism, in which mental processes exist apart from a material base?

Indeed, this whole argument is fantastic. The scientist does not measure "material things": He measures properties (such as length or mass), sometimes of a single "thing" (however defined), and sometimes of an organized collection of things, such as a machine, a biological organ, or an organism. In a particularly complex collection, the brain, some properties (i.e., specific functions) have been traced to narrowly-localized regions (such as the sensory or motor nuclei connected to particular parts of the body). Others, however, depend on connections between widely-separated regions. Accordingly, the reality of generalized intelligence--or equally, of any specialized cognitive ability--does not require a "quantifiable fundamental particle." Like information transfer in a telephone network or in a computer, cognition would be much the same whether the cells involved are grouped together in one region of the brain or are connected by fibers running between dispersed locations.

It is astonishing that a scientist with Gould's credentials, and with ready access to colleagues in the relevant fields, would present such a phony "discovery" as the fallacy of reification, and on the basis of truly antiquated views of neurobiology. He writes that the existence of general intelligence could have been proved correct "if biochemists had ever found Spearman's cerebral energy." This phrase refers to a particularly thin speculation, in the 1920s, about the physical basis for differences in IQ. But neurobiologists today simply do not deal in such vague concepts. Instead, they measure variation in the richness of cells, and connections, and neurotransmitter molecules in different areas of the brain.

The molecular studies linking these features of the brain to genes have hardly begun. But it is clear that this molecular biology must build on the principle that genes code for specific molecular components in brain cells, as in all other cells, and that these genes, like other genes, will vary from one individual to another. Moreover, these gene products in the brain will give rise to variation not only in its wiring diagram but also in the switches (synapses) that transmit impulses between its nerve cells. We are unlikely to be able to correlate intelligence with the incredibly complex and subtle circuitry of the brain for a long time to come; but it is not hard to imagine correlation with molecular differences in a class of synapses in different brains, affecting the speed of processing information just like differences in the transistors of different computers.

Gould's second "deep fallacy", factoring, is statistical. Here he reconstructs an old controversy, which the field has long outgrown. In this dispute, Spearman calculated g (the measure of general intelligence) by running tests for different abilities and analyzing their correlations so as to extract their common component. Thurstone, whom Gould admires as "the exterminating angel of Spearman's g," preferred to focus on the specialized differences in intelligence. He therefore analyzed the results in a way that did not extract the overall correlation, but dispersed it among the differentiated primary factors. But the correlation did not disappear: Another calculation could extract it from the primary factors as a "second-order" g. Gould, however, sets out to "prove" mathematically that the primary correlation is a statistical artifact and that the second-order one is negligible.

To analyze Gould's unconvincing argument would be irrelevant. For in the end, after claiming to have disproved the correlations, he casually accepts them as self-evident: "The fact of pervasive positive correlation between mental tests must be one of the most unsurprising major discoveries in the history of science." This is itself a very curious judgment. In fact, the correlation is not inevitable or self-evident, for the brain might have been so constructed that a strong endowment of cells for verbal skills would have less room for cells concerned with numerical abilities, etc. Different cognitive abilities might then exhibit no correlation, or even a negative correlation, and psychologists would then have found no general intelligence to measure.

Gould's arguments about g are irrelevant for another reason as well: Though he believes they support his aim of slaying the dragon of the heritability of intelligence, the assumed link to that problem does not exist. "The chimerical nature of g is the rotten core of Jensen's edifice, and of the entire hereditarian school. ... Spearman's g, and its attendant claim that intelligence is a single, measurable entity, provided the only theoretical justification that hereditarian theories of IQ have ever had." This assertion is utterly false. Whether an IQ test measures mostly general intelligence or mostly a collection of independent abilities, the heritability of whatever it measures will be precisely the same. IQ's factor structure simply does not enter the equations for calculating its heritability.

It is unfortunate that Gould contrasts general and special intelligence with such overkill, for the differences deserve serious consideration, and the advance of behavioral genetics, focusing on units of inheritance, will force psychologists to aim for a more refined dissection of cognitive functions. But the prospect of such advances does not require us to deny that a wider, overall measurement might have had historical value, and might still have practical value for educational purposes.

Objectivity in science

In addition to moral and technical objections to mental testing, Gould offers an epistemological argument that has much broader implications: "I criticize the myth that science itself is an objective enterprise.... By what right, other than our own biases, can we identify Broca's prejudice and hold that science now operates independently of culture and class?" On the other hand, he adds that "As a practicing scientist, I share the credo of my colleagues: I believe that a factual reality exists and that science, though often in an obtuse and erratic manner, can learn about it." This is all very well--but throughout the rest of the book he proceeds as though objectivity is a myth and no factual reality can be discovered.

In fact, the key to the success of the scientific enterprise is its passionate dedication to objectivity: Its advance depends on accepting the conclusions dictated by verifiable observations and by logic, even when they conflict with common sense or with treasured preconceptions. To be sure, some years ago Marxist philosophers, generalizing from the influence of social and economic arrangements on many aspects of our behavior, initiated an attack on the objectivity of science. Moreover, this view has become rather widely accepted in the social sciences. But the study of the genetics of intelligence is a part of natural science, rather than of social science, even though its findings have relevance for social questions. If the science is well done it will tell us objectively what exists, without value judgments; these judgments will arise only in the social applications of that knowledge. For example, insights into the range and distribution of abilities do not tell us how much of our educational resources to devote to the gifted and how much to the intellectually handicapped; this knowledge simply improves our recognition of the reality with which we must cope.

The main source of confusion here is that the word "science" is used with three different meanings, in different contexts: science as a set of activities, as a methodology, and as a body of knowledge. The activities of a scientist certainly depend heavily on non-objective factors. These include the resources and the incentives that a society provides for pursuing particular projects, and also the personal choice of problems, hypotheses, and experimental design. The methodology of science is much more objective, but it is also influenced by fashions in the scientific community. The body of scientific knowledge, however, is a very different matter. Its observations and conclusions, after having been sufficiently verified and built upon, correspond to reality more objectively and reliably than any other form of knowledge achieved by man. To be sure, attachment to a cherished hypothesis may lead a scientist into error. Moreover, at the cutting edge of a science, contradictory results and interpretations are common. But the mistakes are eventually discarded, through a finely honed system of communal criticisms and verification. Thus Broca's name has been immortalized by its assignment to a structure in the brain that be recognized, whereas his premature efforts to correlate gross structural variations with intelligence have left no residue in the body of scientific knowledge.

Accordingly, however much the findings in some areas of science may be relevant to our social judgments, they are obtained by a method designed to separate objective analysis of nature from subjective value judgments. Long experience has shown that when these findings are well-verified, they have an exceedingly high probability of being universal, cumulative, and value-free. Gould, however, treats the history of science like political history, with which his readers are more familiar: a history in which human motives and errors from the past will inevitably recur. He thus skillfully promotes a doubt that the biological roots of human behavior can ever be explored scientifically.

Politicizing and publicizing science

A left-wing group called "Science for the People," of which Gould is a member, has been particularly active in campaigning against such studies. Instead of focusing, in the earlier tradition of radical groups, on defects in our political and economic system that demand radical change, this group has aimed at politicizing science, attacking in particular any aspect of genetics that may have social implications. Their targets have included genetic engineering, research on the effects of an XYY set of chromosomes, sociobiology, and efforts to measure the heritability of intelligence. Several years ago Gould co-signed their intemperate attack on E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.5 Now, in The Mismeasure of Man, he has extended the attack to cognitive psychology and educational testing, because they may reveal genetic differences.

Gould has spelled out explicitly his ideological commitment, and also its influence on his science. As we shall see, his main scientific contribution has been the claim that evolution has occurred mainly through revolutionary jumps, rather than by small steps. Both in a "Dialectics Workshop"6 and in a scientific paper7 he supports this claim with a citation from Marx: "Darwin's gradualism was part of the cultural context, not of nature." He adds that "alternate [sic] conceptions of change have respectable pedigrees in philosophy. Hegel's dialectical laws, translated into a materialist context ... are explicitly punctuational, as befits a theory of revolutionary transformation in human society." And, "it may also not be irrelevant to our personal preferences [about evolutionary mechanisms] that one of us learned his Marxism, literally at his Daddy's knee." To most scientists (other than those tethered to a party line) such a claim of support from (or for) Hegel is silly, and such an insertion of an ideological preference, whether from the left or the right, is a corruption of science.

These quotations may help us to understand why The Mismeasure of Man ends up as a sophisticated piece of political propaganda, rather than as a balanced scientific analysis. Gould is entitled, of course, to whatever political views he wishes. But the reader is also entitled to be aware of his agenda.

It may also be pertinent to comment briefly on Gould's scientific writing. His claim to have disproved the widely-accepted, "gradualist" view of evolution has had great appeal for science reporters, but it has been subject to intense criticism by his professional colleagues. Of course, controversies in science are not rare, and it would not be appropriate here to try to judge Gould's stature as a scientist. It is pertinent, however, to note features of his professional writing remarkably similar to those that I have criticized in The Mismeasure of Man. In both contexts be focuses primarily on older approaches to problems in which genetics is now central; he picks his history; and he handles key concepts in an ambiguous manner. Moreover, he is fond of artificial dichotomies that oversimplify complex issues: evolution by leaps versus evolution by gradual steps; biological determinists versus environmentalists; general intelligence versus specialized intelligence.

While Gould has made a valuable scientific contribution in providing evidence that marked fluctuations in rate are common in evolution, the most general professional criticism is that in dramatizing this contribution he has set up a non-existent conflict with the prevailing gradualist view. For he proceeds as though gradualism implies a relatively constant rate as well as small steps. But even Darwin recognized that the rate of evolution might vary widely, and modem investigators have demonstrated many mechanisms that contribute to such fluctuation.

Neo-Lysenkoism

In The Mismeasure of Man Gould fails to live up to the trust engendered by his credentials. His historical account is highly selective; he asserts the non-objectivity of science so that he can test for scientific truth, flagrantly, by the standards of his own social and political convictions; and by linking his critique to the quest for fairness and justice, he exploits the generous instincts of his readers. Moreover, while he is admired as a clear writer, in the sense of effective communication, he is not clear in the deeper sense of analyzing ideas sharply and with logical rigor, as we have a right to expect of a disciplined scientist.

It has been uncomfortable to dissect a colleague's book and his background so critically. But I have felt obliged to do so because Gould's public influence, well-earned for his popular writing on less political questions, is being put to mischievous political use in this book. Moreover, its success undermines the ideal of objectivity in scientific expositions, and also reflects a chronic problem of literary publications. My task has been all the more unpleasant because I do not doubt Gould's sincerity in seeking a more just and generous world, and I thoroughly share his conviction that racism remains one of the greatest obstacles.

Unfortunately, the approach that Gould has used to combat racism has serious defects. Instead of recognizing the value of eliminating bias, his answer is to press for equal and opposite bias, in a virtuous direction--not recognizing the irony and the danger of thus subordinating science to fashions of the day. Moreover, as a student of evolution he might have been expected to build on a profound insight of modem genetics and evolutionary biology: that the human species, and each race within it, possesses a wide range of genetic diversity. But instead of emphasizing the importance of recognizing that diversity, Gould remains locked in combat with a prescientific typological view of heredity, and this position leads him to oppose studies of behavioral genetics altogether. As the reviewer for Nature stated, The Mismeasure of Man is "a book which exemplifies its own thesis. It is a masterpiece of propaganda, researched in the service of a point of view rather than written from a fund of knowledge."

In effect, we see here Lysenkoism risen again: an effort to outlaw a field of science because it conflicts with a political dogma. To be sure, the new version is more limited in scope, and it does not use the punitive powers of a totalitarian state, as Trofim Lysenko did in the Soviet Union to suppress all of genetics between 1935 and 1965. But that is not necessary in our system: A chilling atmosphere is quite sufficient to prevent funding agencies, investigators, and graduate students from exploring a taboo area. And such Neo-Lysenkoist politicization of science, from both the left and the right, is likely to grow, as biology increasingly affects our lives--probing the secrets of our genes and our brain, reshaping our image of our origins and our nature, and adding new dimensions to our understanding of social behavior. When ideologically committed scientists try to suppress this knowledge they jeopardize a great deal, for without the ideal of objectivity science loses its strength.

Because this feature of science is such a precious asset, the crucial lesson to be drawn from the case of Stephen Jay Gould is the danger of propagating political views under the guise of science. Moreover, this end was furthered, wittingly or not, by the many reviewers whose evaluations were virtually projective tests of their political convictions. For these reviews reflected enormous relief: A voice of scientific authority now assures us that biological diversity does not set serious limits to the goal of equality, and so we will not have to wrestle with the painful problem of refining what we mean by equality.

In scientific journals editors take pains to seek reviewers who can bring true expertise to the evaluation of a book. It is all the more important for editors of literary publications to do likewise, for when a book speaks with scientific authority on a controversial social issue, the innocent lay reader particularly needs protection from propaganda. Science can make a great contribution toward solving our social problems by helping us to base our policies and judgments upon reality, rather than upon wish or conjecture. Because this influence is so powerful it is essential for such contributions to be judged critically, by the standards of science.

 


Footnotes

1 Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (New York: Norton, 1981).

2 H. H. Goddard, "Mental Tests and the Immigrant," Journal of Delinquency 2 (1917): 243.

3 Gould's reference to "enhancing potential" is revealing, for it confuses genotype (an inborn range of potential) and phenotype (the actual ability developed within that range). He should have spoken instead of enhancing performance, or of enhancing the development of potential. This is not a trivial semantic distinction: It is essential for any clear analysis of the interaction of genes and environment. Gould's language suggests that he either does not fully understand, or feels compelled to ignore, this key concept of genetics.

4 Gould's broad generalization ignores the fact that the disadvantaged Chinese and Japanese in this country have consistently scored even higher than Caucasians. Moreover, in including sex discrimination in the IQ controversy, he is straying far from reality. In fact, females average the same as males on standard IQ tests: They perform slightly better on verbal tests, and slightly worse on spatial tests, but the tests are constructed to balance these differences.

5 E. Allen et al., Letter, New York Review of Books (November 13, 1975): 43. See also Sociobiology Study Group of Science for the People in Bioscience 26 (1976): 182. This article includes the remarkable statement that "We know of no relevant constraint placed on social processes by human biology."

6 S. J. Gould, "The Episodic Nature of Change versus the Dogma of Gradualism," Science and Nature 2 (1979): 5.

7 S. J. Gould and N. Eldridge, "Punctuated Equilibria: The Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered," Paleobiology 3 (1977): 115.

 


Times Corrects Scientist's Obit

Constance Holden, 18 February 1994, Science, 263, p. 922.

Harvard molecular biologist Bernard Davis only died once, on 14 January, but has been accorded two obituaries in the New York Times. Why? The first obit managed to ignore almost all of Davis' career--igniting a storm of protest from former colleagues who badgered the newspaper until it agreed to do the story over.

The first obituary, published on 17 January, was a short item that highlighted a 1976 controversy in which Davis expressed worries that affirmative action efforts were lowering the academic standards at some medical schools. It made no mention of his scientific accomplishments, including pioneering work in bacterial genetics, his involvement in issues relating to science and society, and his numerous honors and publications.

Davis' former colleagues were appalled. "Inadequate and mean and distorted," is what Stanford Nobelist Arthur Kornberg called the obit; an example of the press zeroing in on "a trivial political incident at the expense of one of the finest scientific careers in America," said rheumatologist Gerald Weissman of New York University Medical Center.

In response to a storm of letters from scientists, the newspaper quickly capitulated, and on 3 February it ran a longer story with a note observing that the first one was "incomplete." Davis' friends are happy. "We were so pleased we got a retraction, as it were," says Weissman, who authored one of the letters along with 12 colleagues.


Egalitarian fiction and collective fraud.

Brief Summary: Social Science researchers have contributed to the myth that there is no difference in intelligence levels among different racial and ethnic groups. Some researchers ignored significant data because it did not fit into the accepted belief of genetic equality.

Linda S. Gottfredson
Society, March-April 1994 v31 n3 p53(7)

Linda S. Gottfredson is professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware and co-director of the Project for the Study of Intelligence and Society. She has published widely on fairness in testing and racial inequality, focusing most recently on race-norming and the dilemmas in managing workforce diversity. Her current work examines social policy based on the egalitarian fiction.

[Editors note: the text below was reformatted by the editor after the original formatting was lost]

 

Social science today condones and perpetuates a great falsehood - one that undergirds much current social policy. This falsehood, or "egalitarian fiction," holds that racial-ethnic groups never differ in average developed intelligence (or, in technical terms, g, the general mental ability factor). While scientists have not yet determined their source, the existence of sometimes large group differences in intelligence is as well-established as any fact in the social sciences. How and why then is this falsehood perpetrated on the public? What part do social scientists themselves play, deliberately or inadvertently, in creating and maintaining it? Are some of them involved in what might be termed "collective fraud?" Intellectual dishonesty among scientists and scholars is, of course, nothing new. But watchdogs of scientific integrity have traditionally focused on dishonesty of individual scientists, while giving little attention to the ways in which collectivities of scientists, each knowingly shaving or shading the truth in small but similar ways, have perpetuated frauds on the scientific community and the public at large. Perhaps none of the individuals involved in the egalitarian fiction could be accused of fraud in the usual sense of the term. Indeed, I would be the first to say that, like other scientists, most of these scholars are generally honest. Yet, their seemingly minor distortions, untruths, evasions, and biases collectively produce and maintain a witting falsehood. Accordingly, my concern here is to explore the social process by which many otherwise honest scholars facilitate, or feel compelled to endorse, a scientific lie.

The Egalitarian Fiction

It is impossible here to review the voluminous evidence showing that racial-ethnic differences in intelligence are the rule rather than the exception (some groups performing better than whites and others worse), and that the well-documented black-white gap is especially striking. All groups span the continuum of intelligence, but some groups contain greater proportions of individuals that are either gifted or dull than others. Three facts regarding these group differences are of particular importance here for together they contradict the claim that there are no meaningful group differences. Racial-ethnic differences in intelligence are real. The large average group differences in mental test scores in the United States do not result from test bias, which is minuscule overall, as even a National Academy of Science panel concluded in 1982. Moreover, intelligence and aptitude tests measure general mental abilities, such as reasoning and problem solving, not merely accumulated bits of knowledge - and thus tap what experts and laymen alike view as "intelligence."

Regardless of how we choose to construe them, differences in intelligence are of great practical importance. Overall they predict performance in school and on the job better than any other single attribute or condition we have been able to measure. Intelligence certainly is not the only factor that affects performance, but higher levels of intelligence greatly increase people's odds of success in many life settings. Group disparities in intelligence are stubborn. Although individuals fluctuate somewhat in intelligence during their lives, differences among groups seem quite stable. The average black-white difference, for example, which appears by age six, has remained at about 18 Stanford-Binet IQ points since it was first measured in large national samples over seventy years ago. It is not clear yet why the disparities among groups are so stubborn - the reasons could be environmental, genetic, or a combination of both - but so far they have resisted attempts to narrow them. Although these facts may seem surprising, most experts on intelligence believe them to be true but few will acknowledge their truth publicly.

Misrepresentation of Expert Opinion

The 1988 book The IQ Controversy: The Media and Public Policy by psychologist-lawyer Mark Snyderman and political scientist Stanley Rothman provides strong evidence that the general public receives a highly distorted view of opinion among "IQ experts." In essence, say Snyderman and Rothman, accounts in major national newspapers, newsmagazines, and television reports have painted a portrait of expert opinion that leaves the impression that "the majority of experts in the field believe it is impossible to adequately define intelligence, that intelligence tests do not measure anything that is relevant to life performance, and that they are biased against minorities, primarily blacks and Hispanics, as well as against the poor." However, say the authors, the survey of experts revealed quite the opposite: On the whole, scholars with any expertise in the area of intelligence and intelligence testing ... share a common view of [what constitute] the most important components of intelligence, and are convinced that [intelligence] can be measured with some degree of accuracy. An overwhelming majority also believe that individual genetic inheritance contributes to variations in IQ within the white community, and a smaller majority express the same view about the black-white and SES [socioeconomic] differences in IQ.

Unfortunately, such wholesale misrepresentation of expert opinion is not limited to the field of intelligence, as Rothman has shown in parallel studies of other policy-related fields such as nuclear energy or environmental cancer research. However, the study of IQ experts revealed something quite surprising. Most experts' private opinions mirrored the conclusions of psychologist Arthur Jensen, whom the media have consistently painted as extreme and marginal for holding precisely those views. As Snyderman and Rothman point out, the experts disclosed their agreement with this "controversial" and putatively marginal position only under cover of anonymity. No one, not even Jensen himself, had any inkling that his views now defined the mainstream of expert belief. Although Jensen regularly received private expressions of agreement, he and others had been, as Snyderman and Rothman note, widely castigated by the expert community for expressing some of those views.

Several decades ago, most experts, among them even Jensen, believed many of the views that the media now wrongly describe as mainstream - for example, that cultural bias accounts for the large black-white differences in mental test scores. While the private consensus among IQ experts has shifted to meet Jensen's "controversial" views, the public impression of their views has not moved at all. Indeed, the now-refuted claim that tests are hopelessly biased is treated as a truism in public life today. The shift in private, if not public, beliefs among IQ experts is undoubtedly a response to the overwhelming weight of evidence which has accumulated in recent decades on die reality and practical importance of racial-ethnic differences in intelligence. This shift is by all indications a begrudging one, and certainly no flight into "racism."

Snyderman and Rothman found that as many IQ experts as journalists and science editors (two out of three) agreed with the statement that "strong affirmative action measures should be used in hiring to assure black representation." Fully 63 percent of the IQ experts described themselves as liberal politically, 17 percent as middle of the road, and 20 percent as conservative - not much different than the results for journalists (respectively, 64, 21, and 16 percent). Moreover, as Snyderman and Rothman suggest (and as is consistent with personal accounts by Jensen and others), many of the surveyed experts, while agreeing with Jensen's conclusions, may disapprove of his expressing these conclusions openly. Consistent with this, when queried about their respect for the work of fourteen individuals who have written about intelligence or intelligence testing, the IQ experts rated Jensen only above the widely but apparently unjustly) vilified Cyril Burt. Despite the fact that most agreed with Jensen, they rated him far lower than often like-minded psychometricians who had generally stayed clear of the fray. Jensen even received significantly lower ratings than his vocal critics, such as psychologist Leon Kamin, whose scientific views are marginal by the experts' own conclusions. By contrast, the experts in environmental cancer research behaved as one would expect; they gave higher reputational ratings to peers who are closer to the mainstream than to high-profile critics. Snyderman's and Rothman's findings therefore suggest that a high proportion of experts are misrepresenting their beliefs or are keeping silent in the face of a public falsehood. It is no wonder that the public remains misinformed on this issue.

Living Within a Lie

IQ experts feel enormous pressure to "live within a lie," to use a phrase by Czech writer and leader Vaclav Havel characterizing daily life under communist rule n Eastern Europe. Havel argued, in The Power of the Powerless, that, by living a lie, ordinary citizens were complicit in their own tyranny. Every greengrocer, every clerk who agreed to display official slogans not reflecting his own beliefs, or who voted in elections known to be farcical, or who feigned agreement at political meetings, normalized falsification and tightened the regime's grip on thought. Each individual who lived the lie, who capitulated to "ideological pseudo-reality," became a petty instrument of the regime. As many commentators have noted, Americans may not speak certain truths about racial matters today. To adapt a phrase, there is a "structured silence."

Social scientists had already begun subordinating scientific norms to political preferences and creating much of our current pseudo-reality on race by the mid-1960s. Sociologist Eleanor Wolf, in a 1972 article in Race, for example, detailed her distress at how fellow social scientists were misusing research data to support particular positions on civil rights policy: presenting inconclusive data as if it were decisive; lacking candor about "touchy" subjects (such as the undesirable behavior of lower-class students); blurring or shaping definitions (segregation, discrimination, racism) to suit "propagandistic" purposes; making exaggerated claims about the success of favored policies (compensatory education and school integration) while minimizing or ignoring contrary evidence. As a result, social science and social policy are now dominated by the theory that discrimination accounts for all racial disparities in achievements and well-being. This theory collapses, however, if deprived of the egalitarian fiction, as does the credibility of much current social policy. Neither could survive intact if their central premise were scrutinized.

No wonder, then, that IQ researchers find themselves under great professional and institutional pressure to avoid not only engaging in such scrutiny but even appearing to countenance it. The scrutiny itself must be discredited; the egalitarian fiction must be raised above serious scientific question. Scientists must at least appear to believe the dogma. As was the case in Havel's communist-dominated Eastern Europe, in American academe feigned belief in the official version of reality is maintained largely by routine obeisance of academics as they pursue their own ambitions.

Scholars realize their scholarly ambitions primarily through other scholars. Peer recognition is the currency of academic and scientific life. It is crucial to a scholarly reputation and all the steps toward status and success - publications, professional invitations and awards, promotion, tenure, grants, fellowships, election to professional office, appointment to prestigious panels. One's ability even to carry out certain kinds of research, funded or not, may be contingent upon peer recognition and respect - for instance, getting collaborators, subjects, or cooperation from potential research sites. Just as in personal life, a high professional reputation depends upon a sustained history of "appropriate" behavior, and it may be irreparably damaged by hints of scandal or impropriety. Similarly, the reputations of scientists and their organizations are enhanced or degraded by those for whom they show regard and approval. Associating oneself with highly regarded individuals or ideas enhances, even if slightly, one's own status.

Awarding an honor to a luminary can enhance the reputation of one's own organization, especially if the recipient accepts the honor with genuine appreciation. By the same token, one risks "staining" one's reputation by associating with, honoring, defending, or even failing to condemn the "wrong" sort of individual or idea. In short, how one gives or withholds one's regard is important for one's professional reputation because it affects the regard one receives. Such a social system enhances the integrity of science and is furthered by personal ambition when the members of the community base their regard on scholarly norms, such as competence, creativity, and intellectual rigor. However, such a system breeds intellectual corruption when members systematically subordinate scientific norms to other considerations - money, politics, religion, fear. This is what appears to be happening today in the social sciences on matters of race and intelligence. As sociologist Robert Gordon argues, social science has become "one-party science."

Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, virtually all American intellectuals publicly adhere to, if not espouse, the egalitarian fiction. And many demonstrate their party loyalty by enforcing the fiction in myriad small ways in their academic routine, say, by off-handedly dismissing racial differences in intelligence as "a racist claim, of course," criticizing authors for "blaming the victim," or discouraging students and colleagues from doing "sensitive" research. One can feel the gradient of collective alarm and disapproval like a deepening chill as one approaches the forbidden area. Researchers who cross the line occasionally face overt censorship, or calls for it. For example, one prominent (neoconservative) editor rejected an author's paper, despite finding it scientifically sound, because there are social "considerations" which "overweigh the claims of social science." Another eminent editor, after asking an author to soften the discussion in his article, recently published the revised paper with an editorial postscript admonishing scientists in the field to find a "balance" between the need for free exchange of research results on intelligence and the (presumably comparable) "need" that "no segment of our society. . .feel threatened" by it.

Covert and Overt Censorship

Whether motivated by a sincere concern over supposedly "dangerous" ideas or by a desire to distance themselves publicly from unpopular ideas, editors who use such non-academic standards discourage candor and stifle debate. They deaden social science by choking off one source of the genuine differences of opinion that are its lifeblood. Overt censorship of research is uncommon, probably because it is an obvious affront to academic norms. Less striking forms of censorship directly affect many more academics, however, and so may be more important. Easier to practice without detection and to disguise as "academic judgment," they serve to keep scholars from pursuing ideas that might undermine the egalitarian dogma.

A less obvious form of censorship, which has become somewhat common recently, is indirect censorship. It is accomplished when academic or scientific organizations approve some views but repudiate or burden others on ideological grounds. Sometimes the ideological grounds are explicit Campus speech codes are a well-known example which, had they been upheld in the courts, would have made repudiation of the egalitarian fiction a punishable offense on some campuses. The earlier (unsuccessful) attempt to include possible "offense to minority communities" as grounds for refusing human subjects approval is another example.

Gordon reports yet others, including the National Institutes of Health's new extra layer of review for politically "sensitive" grant proposals and the University of Delaware's recent policy (reversed by a national arbitrator) of banning a particular funding source because, so the university claimed, it supports research on race which "conflicts with the university's mission to promote racial and cultural diversity." Gordon also outlines in detail - as political scientist Jan Blits has done - the covert application of ideological standards to facilitate expression of some views but burden others. This form of indirect censorship, also falling under the rubric of "political correctness," occurs when university administrators, faculty, or officers of professional associations disguise as "professional judgment" an ideological bias in their enforcing of organizational rules, extending faculty privileges, protecting faculty rights, and weighing evidence in faculty promotions and grievances.

Recently, some American universities have invoked "professional judgment" as a pretext for reclassifying "controversial" scholarly publications in their annual merit reviews as "non-research," to misrepresent outside peer reviews in evaluating controversial professionals up for promotion, and to limit student access to these professors. Such thinly veiled bias publicly demonstrates the officials' own adherence to the prescribed institutional attitudes and their willingness to enforce them, not only protecting those officials from protest but also encouraging fellow members of the institution to toe the line.

Covert censorship is far more common than overt or indirect censorship. It consists of bias in the application of scientific norms when reviewers evaluate their peers' work for funding, publication, presentation, or dissemination. Individual ideological biases are found in all fields, of course, but the hope is that such biases remain small and will cancel each other out over the long run-hence the importance of a free and open exchange of data, theories, and results. What I have in mind is systematic bias and a pervasive double standard which impedes one line of research and accords another undeserved hegemony. In one-party science, the disfavored line of work is subjected to intense scrutiny and nearly impossible standards, while the favored line of work is held to lax standards in which flaws are overlooked (called "oversight bias" in the psychological literature). Similarly, the disfavored idea is rejected unless it is "balanced" by including proponents of the favored view (even if that view is the equivalent of "flat-earth theory"), where the favored line of work is readily accepted for publication or presentation, even when it totally ignores the opposing literature. Getting a controversial paper accepted under such circumstances often becomes a test of endurance between the editor and reviewers (in coming up with criticisms) and the author (in rebutting them). Submitting IQ research or grant proposals outside the narrowest professional confines exposes intelligence researchers to yet other biases, usually of the kind to which reviewers of the proposals will accept no rebuttal.

The broader circle of critics in the social sciences often implicitly dismisses the legitimacy of research on intelligence itself by arguing that "intelligence" is undefinable or unmeasurable - as if the critics' own favored constructs (social class, culture, self-concept, anxiety, and so on) were as well validated and operationalized. Others now also seek to deny IQ researchers (but not themselves) use of the concept "race" because, they assert, race is not a biological condition, but is socially constructed. The double standards can even ricochet back and forth, depending on the particular question being considered. Gordon recalls how sociologists failed to criticize sociologist James Coleman for omitting student ability from his analyses of school integration (which led to overstating the impact of integrated schools on black achievement-for sociologists a favorable outcome), but how they criticized him roundly for the very same omission in analyses of private versus public schools,(which led to overstating the impact of private schools on black achievement - an unfavorable outcome). In short, in one-party science, scientific regard flows like political patronage to loyal and active party members, who can demonstrate their loyalty by being alert to hints of dissidence. Like all one-party political systems, one-party science becomes intellectually corrupt and arrogant as it gains confidence in its power.

The most insidious corruption to which one-party science leads is pervasive self-censorship, what involved researchers generally prefer to regard as "prudence" or "avoiding unnecessary trouble." Coleman has drawn particular attention to the problem of "self-suppression "the impulse not to ask the crucial question" - in research on race. In an example from his own research for the influential "Coleman Report," he describes his failure to conduct important analyses that might have produced embarrassing findings about the abilities of black teachers. Another way of avoiding unwanted results is to ignore certain data, subjects, or variables. Or unwanted results can be omitted, buried in footnotes, explained away, or simply ignored in one's conclusions. The most subtle form of self-censorship is deliberate avoidance of making crucial connections, or denying them. Psychologist Richard Herrnstein has noted that it was his drawing out the implications of one such connection, namely, that some portion of (white) social class differences in intelligence is genetic, that sparked his public excoriation in the 1970s.

Normally, scholars are eager to explicate illuminating connections between subspecialties. They are reluctant to do so, however, when these connections put in question the egalitarian dogma on race. Virtually all sociologists and economists ignore the literature on intelligence despite its central importance to core issues in their disciplines, such as inequalities in occupation and income. Researchers in the various subfields of intelligence obviously cannot ignore the literature with impunity. Yet they, too, often prefer to stay strictly within the confines of their specialties rather than making crucial, but unpopular, connections, or they use language that obscures what otherwise would be quite obvious.

Many psychometricians, especially those working for large testing organizations, avoid referring to "intelligence" and often seem reluctant to say much about the practical or theoretical meaning of the racial differences they observe on unbiased tests. But even remaining within one's subfield is often not enough, for the field of intelligence itself is widely suspect. Hence some scholars explicitly disavow unpopular connections that critics might attribute to them. For example, they will argue in favor of the importance of intelligence for scholastic performance but then assure their readers, over-optimistically, that the racial gap "seems to be closing rapidly." The tenor of these preemptive disclaimers is clear. While researchers in any field may lightly dismiss the credibility of key connections regarding race and intelligence, no one ever lightly endorses their credibility with impunity. Even those of us committed to candor are exceedingly cautious when expressing informed opinions on certain topics, especially the genetics of race. Thus, publicly stated opinions of researchers about matters outside their subfields tend in one direction - to dispute or undercut the facts necessary for toppling the egalitarian fiction. What may be tolerable behavior at the individual level becomes intolerable bias at the aggregate level. Censorship - even self-censorship - requires justification, or at least apparent justification.

On the whole, those who would squelch open inquiry of the egalitarian fiction base their justification on two assertions: 1) Research on racial differences in intelligence has already been scientifically "discredited." 2) Inquiry into racial differences is immoral.

Point one asserts that the egalitarian premise is absolute truth and hence beyond scientific scrutiny. Point two is indifferent to its truth. Both counsel outrage at the very thought of the research. The claim that the research has been discredited rests largely on extensive misrepresentation that is often embarrassingly crude or casual - for example, contradicting arguments an author never made, while ignoring what was actually stated; attributing policy preferences to an author which are opposite of what the author actually expressed; or simply alleging fraud or gross incompetence without any substantiation whatsoever. The claim that the research is immoral rests squarely on the view that, regardless of the truth, the study itself can only be harmful. In fact, some critics assert (mostly privately) that the greater the truth, the greater the danger it poses to lower-scoring groups, and thus the greater the need to suppress it.

Despite their differences, both justifications for censorship often take the form of demonizing open inquiry by labeling it (and the people who practice it) as "dangerous," "fascist," "ideological," or "racist." The study of race and intelligence is something, they tell us, that no decent person - let alone a serious scientist - would ever do and that every decent person and serious researcher would oppose. Thus, in a kind of Orwellian inversion, marked by what Gordon calls "high talk and low blows," the suppression of science presents itself as science itself. Intellectual dishonesty becomes the handmaiden of social conscience, and ideology is declared knowledge while knowledge is dismissed as mere ideology. Neither social policy, nor science, nor society itself is served well by scientific silence on racial differences in intelligence.

Enforcement of the egalitarian fiction has tragic consequences, especially for blacks. The outcomes are even worse than researchers of intelligence predicted two decades ago. The falsehood, because it tries to defy a reality that has conspicuous repercussions in daily life, is doing precisely what it was meant to avoid: producing pejorative racial stereotypes, fostering racial tensions, stripping members of lower-scoring groups of their dignity and incentives to achieve, and creating permanent social inequalities between the races. Enforcement of the lie is gradually distorting and degrading all institutions and processes where intelligence is at least somewhat important (which is practically everywhere) but especially where it is most important (in public schools, higher education, the professions, and high-level executive work). The falsehood requires that there be racial preferences and that their use be disguised, wherever intelligence has at least moderate importance. Society is thus being shaped to meet the dictates of a collective fraud. The fiction is aiding and abetting bigots to a fat greater degree than any truth ever could, because its specific side-effects - racial preferences, official mendacity, free-wielding accusations of racism, and falling standards - are creating deep cynicism and broad resentment against minorities, blacks in particular, among the citizenry.

Enforcement of the egalitarian fiction is not a moral or scientific imperative; it is merely political. It is terribly short-sighted, for it corrupts both science and society. However, just as the fiction is sustained by small untruths, so can it be broken down by many small acts of scientific integrity. This requires no particular heroism. All that is required is for scientists to act like scientists-to demand, clearly and consistently, respect for truth and for free inquiry in their own settings, and to resist the temptation to win easy approval by endorsing a comfortable lie.

READINGS SUGGESTED BY THE AUTHOR

Jan H. Blits and Linda S. Gottfredson. "Equality or Lasting Inequality?" Society, 27 (3) March/April 1990.

Robert A. Gordon. The Battle to Establish a Sociology of Intelligence: A Case Study in the Sociology of Politicized Disciplines. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkin University, Department of Sociology, 1993.

Linda S. Gottfredson. "Dilemmas in Developing Diversity Programs." In Diversity in the Workplace: Human Resources Initiatives, Susan Jackson (ed.). New York: The Guilford Press, 1992.

Linda S. Gottfredson and James C. Sharf (eds.). "Fairness in Employment Testing." Journal of Vocational Behavior, 33, December 1988.

Richard J. Herrnstein. "A True Tale from the Annals of Orthodoxy." Preface to IQ in the Meritocracy. Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company, 1973.

Daniel Seligman. A Question of intelligence. New York: Birch Lane Press, 1992.

 


Arthur Jensen Replies to Steven Jay Gould

 


The following is a review of Gould's Mismeasure of Man, in which Dr. Arthur Jensen replies to Gould's severe criticism of him in the book. Of course, uncritical admirers of Gould will "know" that Jensen is an alleged "racist," and hence anything he says can ever-so-conveniently be automatically be ignored. But those who are open-minded enough to give both sides a fair hearing should read Jensen's reply without any preconceived ideas, and ask themselves: Is this man really the terrible bigot and fool that Gould makes him out to be? Or is he a serious scholar who has been the victim of a slick campaign to paint him as a scoundrel because his findings contradict certain political ideologies? Jensen's reply has, until now, only been seen by a miniscule fraction of those who have read Gould's Mismeasure. It is now time for the "other side" to be heard.

 


THE DEBUNKING OF SCIENTIFIC FOSSILS AND STRAW PERSONS

Arthur R. Jensen


Contemporary Education Review
Summer 1982, Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 121- 135.

The Mismeasure of Man
New York: W. W. Norton, 1981
by Stephen Jay Gould

ARTHUR R. JENSEN is Professor of Educational Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720. His areas of specialization are Differential Psychology, Psychometrics and Behavioral Genetics. Recent publications include Straight Talk about Mental Tests, New York: The Free Press, 1981. Dr. Jensen received his B.A. at UC, Berkeley and his Ph.D. at Columbia University.

This book concerns the biasing influence that social ideology may have on purportedly objective science- the behavioral and brain sciences especially and psychometrics in particular. Ironically, the book itself serves as a patent example of its own thesis.

Stephen Jay Gould is a paleontologist at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology and offers a course at Harvard entitled, "Biology as a Social Weapon." Apparently the course covers much the same content as does the present book. Having had some personal cause for interest in ideologically motivated attacks on biologically oriented behavioral scientists, I first took notice of Gould when he played a prominent role in a group called Science for the People and in that group's attack on the theories of Harvard zoologist Edward 0. Wilson, a leader in the development of sociobiology (BioSciences, March, 1976, Vol. 26, No. 3). I wonder if Gould's present book is an example of his idea of "science for the people"? It is written in a popular and sometimes engagingly entertaining style; it is filled with "human interest," and with vivid accounts of eminent but self deluding, cheating, and foolish scientific figures of the past- a kind of intellectual morality play of wrong doing (or wrong thinking); it focuses on accounts of subsequent "recanting" by the "big names" in the history of mental testing, those wittingly or unwittingly self- deceived bad guys in this "tale of zealotry." ("Goddard recants," "Brigham recants," "Terman recants," "Spearman recanted," etc. Indeed, whenever a scientist alters his view on some point over a 20 year period, or later places a different emphasis on some particular fact, Gould insistently refers to his "recanting.") Naive readers might develop a gut- level dislike for the many reactionary elitist schemers exposed in Gould's book. But then readers will be gratefully relieved to see all the villains toppled to ignominy for their egregious fallacies.

Most of the reviews of the book which I have seen thus far in the popular press already bear out half of my prediction: Gould's book will receive much more uncritically favorable and sentimentally sympathetic reviews from the professional literati in the popular press (it has won official acclaim from the National Book Critics' Award) than it will receive in the technical journals at the hands of qualified professionals in the relevant fields. (I have not yet seen any reviews in the technical journals.) Gould's debunking expedition offers many an easy target to critics with an intimate knowledge of the topics discussed. Before taking aim at those specific points, which I feel most competent to criticize, I shall first try to abstract the main message of Gould's book from his own perspective.

Overview of Gould's Thesis

Underlying all the varied detail of Gould's exposition is a philosophy of science, or rather a sociology of science, which emphasizes the notion that scientific endeavor generally is not so much a search for objective knowledge as it is a sociopolitical activity, reflecting the social context and value systems within which individual scientists do their work. According to this view, socially conditioned presuppositions or prior prejudices about the nature of society force even "good scientists" to produce theories and conclusions that inevitably confirm their own social prejudices and lend to them additional support in the guise of scientific truth.

This charge of a social, value-laden science undoubtedly contains an element of truth. In recent years, however, we recognize this charge as the keystone of the Marxist interpretation of the history of science. In this view, science is motivated to promote that form of socioeconomic class structure that most favors the privileged elite, reinforcing its position of political and economic power. By the same token, any unwitting biases of scientists are deemed most prone to line up against the socially underprivileged and economically disadvantaged classes. Presumably, such ideological science only pretends to test its hypotheses in the idealized, objective manner we learned about in our introductory high school and college science courses. In this view, scientists actually, begin with prejudices, then frame them as theories, and create only the illusion of demonstrating the validity of their hypotheses. The conclusions are, to use Gould's apt phrase, "advocacy masquerading as objectivity." This end is accomplished through "biased selection" --of data, of methods of analysis, and of various possible interpretations of evidence- such that the final outcome will confirm whatever dogma originally motivated the supposedly objective search for the truth. This theme is the foundation of the seven chapters of Gould's opus.

According to Gould, the inescapable dialectic of science and social ideology is best illustrated in the behavioral sciences through the agency of several long-lived and closely intertwined key beliefs.

Biological determinism is the poison root. This notion (a "lie," according to Gould) is manifested in the attempt to discover, or failing that, to invent, some biological (i.e. nature- given) justification for "ranking people" (or groups of people) according to their "inborn worth." Biological determinism is a "theory of limits," which assumes that the current status of different races and social groups is an inevitable consequence of their "innate worth." By Gould's definition, biological determinism essentially is the attempt to make nature an accomplice in the crime of political and socioeconomic inequality. It arises in a political context to serve the group in power. Its perpetuation depends on the myth that science is an objective enterprise, whereas science actually mirrors the predominantly religious or political ideology of its time. Biological determinists in the human sciences are claimed to be identified with politically conservative and reactionary ideologies. The centrality of this theme for Gould is shown by his claim that he was inspired to write the book "because biological determinism is rising in popularity again, as it always does in times of political retrenchment." Hence, the book is primarily an attack on "biological determinism" as it applies to human mental ability.

By what means can the "lie" of biological determinism be sustained by the establishment? How can this reactionary hope, belief, or claim (viz., that "worth" can be assigned to individuals or groups) be implemented, while still maintaining the appearance of objective, scientific sanction?

Intelligence, or rather the concept that intelligence can be measured as a "single quantity," is the answer. Gould portrays this concept as utterly fallacious. Indeed, Gould characterizes the attempt of psychometrists, past and present, at the quantification of intelligence, as the attempt to assign "all individuals to their proper status in a single series." But how can this scheme be made scientifically believable? How can we justify scientifically the determination of people's "worth" on the basis of assigning a single number or score on an "intelligence test" to each person?

Reification of the concept of intelligence is the answer, according to Gould. By converting an abstract concept, intelligence, into a "unitary thing," a "single substance," an "object" (all Gould's words) that occupies space inside the brain, the pioneer psychometrists established the essential rationale for ranking individuals, social classes, and races on a unidimensional scale of "worth." The awful fallacy of reifying intelligence (or Spearman's g, the general factor common to a large number of cognitive abilities) becomes a central theme in Gould's account. The conscious or unconscious motive behind this reification of general mental ability, or intelligence, is that such reification presumably is demanded by the dogma of biological determinism. The "quantification" and the reification of intelligence facilitate and justify the distinctions and divisions between people, which political and social orders dictate, according to this view.

The whole nefarious, fallacious enterprise is best exemplified by two fields of research: "craniometry," in the 19th century, and its replacement in the 20th century, by "psychometry," particularly intelligence testing. Scorn heaped on the early craniometrists, particularly those concerned with the relationship of brain size to intelligence, should transfer to modern psychometrists who are interested in the measurement and nature of intelligence. "We live in a more subtle century, but the basic arguments never seem to change. . . The crudities of the cranial index have given way to the complexity of intelligence testing" (p.143). To Gould, the old- fashioned craniometric science and modern psychometric science are as parent and offspring. The purpose of both is essentially the same: to prove that the innate construction of people is reflected in their present social and economic roles. Both the outmoded craniometry of the 19th century and the mental tests of the present day have stemmed from the false belief that intelligence is a "thing" in the head, according to the measurement of which all persons, social classes, and races can be ranked in "mental worth"- a term that Gould uses repeatedly (in addition to "innate worth" and "ultimate worth") as a substitute for "intelligence" or "IQ," as if to imply that all these terms are entirely synonymous in present- day psychometrics.

The essential message of Gould's book is epitomized in his own words: "This book. . . is about the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups- races, classes, or sexes- are innately inferior and deserve their status" (pp. 24- 25).

General Criticisms

Before addressing specific points in each of the chapters, I shall first mention what seems to me to be general deficiencies pervading the work as a whole.

Sociology of Science

First, I think Gould exaggerates the threat of the sociology of science as an obstacle to objective science. Errors, blind spots, and biases on the part of individual scientists have always existed in every scientific field. Yet over the course of time there indisputably has been scientific progress and the growth of objective knowledge in every sphere of scientific endeavor. Of course, the theory that science cannot be objective because it cannot escape the context of social values is itself not exempt from the same generalization. If this theme is overplayed, as it is by Gould, it places its advocate in a position not unlike that of the Greek philosopher's paradox of the Cretan who declared, "All Cretans always lie." If the statement is true, it must be untrue, and hence need not be taken seriously.

Fortunately, progress in scientific knowledge is distilled out of the endeavors of the many individually imperfect scientists who investigate the same phenomenon. The enterprise succeeds in its aim of objectivity, in the long run, despite the subjective biases of individual scientists and despite the influence of social context as portrayed by the Marxist sociology of science. Mendel's theory is accepted and Lysenko's is rejected (even by the Soviet ideologues who once promoted it), not because one scientist was necessarily a better man than the other, but because there is indeed a reality out there in the realm of phenomena, a reality in terms of which theories can be criticized and tested by innumerable other scientists, albeit each with his or her own individual biases or blind spots, each scrutinizing and testing the others formulations. One chief virtue of science is that, in order to succeed, its practitioners need not be saints or paragons of detached objectivity. When many individual scientists- ordinary men and women with specialized technical competencies- are all able to think as they please and do their research unfettered by collectivist or totalitarian constraints, science is a self- correcting process.

In any case, the Marxist sociology of science, whatever general truth it may contain, cannot exempt the critic from a detailed analysis of any particular theory or empirical claim, showing precisely how it fails as objective science, or why it should be rejected and replaced by some competing formulation or body of evidence. That has always been the normal procedure of science, and we know that it works. At one point, Gould covers himself by claiming this general view: "As a practicing scientist, I share the credo of my colleagues: I believe that a factual reality exists and that science, though often in an obtuse and erratic manner, can learn about it" (p. 22). But Gould would want us to believe that the behavioral sciences are especially unlucky in this regard. That could be. Still, the situation would be by no means hopeless. The behavioral sciences, including differential psychology, psychometrics, and behavioral genetics, surely can be, and for the most partake, normal science.

Unfortunately, Gould's book itself contributes heavily to promoting the ideological encumbrance of these fields. This is a pity. The field is faced with many real problems, which call for objective analysis and research, yet in my judgment Gould's book contributes absolutely nothing to this effort. The Mismeasure of Man attempts to debunk, and, as far as I can make out, attempts to do nothing else. Of course, debunking can be a useful activity in the scientific enterprise, provided the specific objects of attack are real and present issues. The disappointment of this book is its failure really to debunk anything currently regarded as important by scientists in the relevant fields. Because of Gould's peculiar selection of flawed scientific relics as targets for attack, it is hard for me to imagine that this work will impress any but those unfamiliar with current research in these fields, despite the author's evident intelligence and keen literary style. I believe he has succeeded brilliantly in obfuscating all the important open questions that actually concern today's scientists. Instead of taking on the real issues of contemporary research in these fields, paleontologist Gould tilts at a museum collection of scientific fossils and at many a straw person of his own making.

Focus on the Past

The fossil nature of practically all the objects of Gould's expose is suggested by the fact that, although the book is not properly a history of mental testing, most of the key references are amazingly old. Present- day workers in these fields will have nothing to worry about! Few, if any, will consider it worth the bother to dig into such ancient tomes to check the validity of Gould's interpretations. Of all the book's references, a full 27 percent precede 1900. Another 44 percent fall between 1900 and 1950 (60 percent of those are before 1925); and only 29 percent are more recent than 1950. From the total literature spanning more than a century, the few "bad apples" have been hand- picked most aptly to serve Gould's purpose. Yet what relevance to current issues in mental testing are the inadequacies and errors of early anatomical studies by Samuel Morton (who died in 1851) or Paul Broca (who died in 1880) concerning racial- variation in cranial capacity (to which Gould devotes the better part of two chapters): Who now wishes to resurrect Lombroso's (1836- 1909) theory- of physical criminal types; Cyril Burt's 1909 report (his very first publication) of social class differences in intelligence; Goddard's account of the Kallikak family (1912) and the long since discredited theory of "feeblemindedness" as a simple Mendelian character; Terman's pronouncements in 1916 about eugenic measures to reduce the incidence of mental retardation; the primitive 1917 army mental tests; or the U.S. Congress's 1924 Immigration Restriction Act, which cited the 1917 army test data? These antiquated topics, which occupy most of Gould's book, can in no way serve to undermine or discredit current work in physical anthropology, psychometrics, differential psychology, behavioral genetics, and sociobiology. Readers expecting to find a forthright critique of the present status of issues and controversies in these fields are in for disappointment. The closest thing they will find to criticism of contemporary mental testing is the insinuation of its guilt through remote historic lineage.

In distant retrospect, the early history of every science often looks bizarre in some respects. Why should we expect the behavioral and brain sciences to be the great exception? Should we ridicule the Early astronomers for claiming that the Earth is the center of the universe, or the early anatomists for claiming that the heart is the seat of emotion? Why should anyone demand of psychology that it be hatched fully mature and perfect at its very beginnings?

Gould devotes the larger part of a chapter to a minutely detailed and damning critique of the first group mental test ever devised. Yet everyone today would surely agree that the first army tests fall far short of current standards of test theory and construction. Psychometric theory and technology have come a long way since 1917. Indeed, a half- century after the first group tests were used in the army, the office of the Surgeon General estimated that the use of modern tests for selection in the armed forces saves the nation more than $14O million a year in the cost of training recruits after basic training- not a trivial utility for psychology's most practical and most indisputably successful invention.

Gould's exclusive critical focus on forebears (and the worst examples, at that) is much like trying to condemn the modern automobile by merely pointing out the faults of the Model T. An entire chapter is devoted to Lombroso and his school of criminal anthropology! As an undergraduate nearly 40 years ago, I recall learning that Lombroso's theory of "criminal types," all bearing distinctive anatomical stigmata of their moral pathology, had long since been discredited. Although it makes for amusing reading to see Lombroso's old theories once again so enthusiastically panned, Gould's motive in reviewing them seems clear. The Lombroso critique serves merely as a long prelude to the short epilogue of this chapter, which disparages modern research on the suspected relationship of the XYY chromosomal anomaly to violent and criminal behavior, research Gould refers to as a "reincarnation" of Lombroso. Gould writes, "The signs of innate criminality are no longer sought in stigmata of gross anatomy, but in twentieth- century criteria: genes and the fine structure of the brain" (p. 143). Apparently any research on the biological correlates of human behavior is deemed anathema by Gould.

Distorted and Misleading Information

It would be practically impossible for me to assess the accuracy of representation or the carefulness of interpretation of all the specific targets of Gould's multifarious critique. Frankly, I feel little inclination to comb the many archaic references on which most of Gould's debunking depends, especially because they are no longer of any concern to modern researchers in these fields. Who in 1982 is interested in debating precisely what was said by whom about the phlogiston theory in its heydey? I am able, however, to testify concerning a number of contemporary references, which are already at my fingertips.

In his references to my own work, Gould includes at least nine citations that involve more than just an expression of Gould's opinion; in these citations Gould purportedly paraphrases my views. Yet in eight of the nine cases, Gould's representation of these views is false, misleading, or grossly caricatured. Nonspecialists could have no way of knowing any of this without reading the cited sources. While ant author can occasionally make an inadvertent mistake in paraphrasing another, it appears Gould's paraphrases are consistently slanted to serve his own message. Through hyperbole and caricature he converts real issues into straw persons, which can be easily disproved.

Some examples are:

(1) Gould states that the normal variation within a population is a different biological phenomenon from the variation in average values between populations. (Actually, this may be or may not be true for any given trait; it is an empirical question.) Failure to recognize this distinction, Gould claims, is an error that occurs "over and over again "and is the "basis of Arthur Jensen's fallacy in asserting that average differences in IQ between American whites and blacks are largely inherited" (p. 127). The fact is, of course, that I have never "asserted" (Webster: "assert implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence") that IQ differences between any races are largely inherited. Nor have I ever claimed that the well-established heritability of individual differences in IQ within races proves the heritability of differences between races. To quote directly from some earlier writing (Jensen, 1970): "Group racial and social class differences are first of all individual differences [i.e., they are the statistical averages of individual measurements], but the causes of the group differences may not be the same as of the individual differences" (p.154, italics added). Whether the causes are or are not the same for any particular trait for any particular groups is a question open to rival hypotheses and empirical investigation. Such has always been my position, a position spelled out most recently in Chapter 6 of my book Straight Talk About Mental Tests (Jensen, 1981a).

(2) Gould claims that "Jensen recognizes that his hereditarian theory of IQ depends upon the validity of [Spearman's] q" (p.265), and that", Jensen has demonstrated by example that a reified Spearman's g is still the only promising justification for hereditarian theories of mean differences in IQ among human groups" (p. 320). This is simply nonsense. Neither I nor anyone else in behavioral genetics has ever claimed or believed any such thing. If the total variance in any battery of tests were treated by different methods of factor analysis, some methods yielding a large g, or general factor, and other methods spreading the variance over a number of group factors (or "primary mental abilities"), the total proportion of genetic variance in all of the factors would not be altered in the least. This is because heritability (i.e., the proportion of the total variance that is attributable to genetic factors) does not depend at all on the factor structure of the variables in question. (Similarly, either methodological preference whether for concentrating variance on g and possibly a few large group factors, or for distributing it more or less evenly over a larger number of "primaries," should not alter in the least the total amount of variance associated with race.) All this is not to say, however, that it would be scientifically trivial or theoretically uninteresting should it turn out that certain methods of factor analysis yield some factors that show high heritability while the remaining factors show virtually zero heritability. We already know that the g factor shows substantial heritability; and recently, Lloyd Humphreys (1981), in interpreting his analysis of twin and cross- twin correlations on the Project TALENT tests (a large battery of diverse aptitude and scholastic achievement tests), stated that "the genetic contribution to these cognitive tests, whatever its amount, was restricted to the general factor" (p. 99). This interpretation, if generally substantiated, would bear out Spearman's (1927) conjecture that g is the only heritable cognitive factor, while the various group factors (independent of g) arise from the investment of g in different contents of learning, as influenced by opportunity, interest, and reward. My own hunch is that a few of the largest and most stable group factors (e. g., verbal, numerical, memory, and spatial) as well as some components of musical and artistic aptitude, will probably also show some heritable variation independent of g.

(3) Gould claims that I have defended a g, or general intelligence, which is "reified as a measurable object" (p.318). Yet in the same chapter from which Gould is supposedly paraphrasing my views (Jensen, 1980a), I stated unequivocally that "[I]ntelligence is not an entity, but a theoretical construct.... The g factor may also be termed a theoretical construct, which is intended to explain an observable phenomenon, namely, the positive intercorrelation among all mental tests, regardless of their apparently great variety" (p. 249).

(4) In a table in Bias in Mental Testing (Jensen, 1980a, p. 220) showing a factor analysis of 16 tests, the g factor is shown in the first column, and the first four rotated varimax principal components (including the first component, which, unrotated, was the g of the first column) are shown in the next four columns. I make it absolutely clear that the rotated factors g was extracted. (Note the table headings, the arrangement of the table, the presentation of the communalities in the last column, and the explanation in the text.) Nonetheless, Gould offers the following misleading account: "[H]e [Jensen] records the same thing twice for each test- g as a first principal component and the same information dispersed among simple structure axes giving some tests a total information of more than 100 percent. Since big g's appear in the same chart with large loadings on simple- structure axes, one might be falsely led to infer that g remains large even in simple- structure solutions" (p. 319). A thorough twist! And a logical error to boot, because no factor which could properly be interpreted as g could possibly emerge from a simple structure, or varimax rotation, the express purpose of such rotation being to disperse and submerge the general factor in the rotated primaries!

(5) In discussing Burt's (1940) now discredited and probably fictitious data on the IQs of identical twins reared apart, [note: Burt appears to have been the victim of a politically-motivated slander, and the case agaainst him is now collapsing: see Nature 340:439 (10 Aug. 1989); 352:120 (11 July, 1991); 354:97 (14 Nov. 1991)], Gould writes, "It is scarcely surprising that Arthur Jensen used Sir Cyril's figures as the most important datum in his notorious article (1969) on supposedly inherited and ineradicable differences in intelligence between whites and blacks in America" (p. 235). In fact, I have never used twin differences in any aspect of the discussion of racial differences, except when pointing out the errors in this approach by a number of psychologists who had held that monozygotic twin differences in IQ (because they are entirely nongenetic) favor a strictly environmental interpretation of the observed race differences in IQ (Jensen, 1973, p. 161).

(6) Gould claims that "[h]e [Jensen] believes that all God's creatures can be ordered on a g scale from amoebae at the bottom (p. 175 [Jensen, 1980a]) to extraterrestrial intelligences at the top (p. 248 [ibidem])" (p. 317). This will be recognized by any fair- minded person who has read my Bias in Mental Testing (Jensen, 1980a) as a gross travesty of one section in that book, namely, a section summarizing some of the main research findings on animal intelligence (pp. 175- 182). (Note that I have referred to "extraterrestrial beings" 74 pages later in another context, and not as being at the "top" of anything!) To top it off, Gould then refers to his own travesty as" Jensen's caricature of evolution"! Disbelieving readers may find it instructive to compare Jensen's (1980a) Chapter 6 with Gould's flagrant caricature of its content, with "reified" g as an "object" ascending on a "unilinear" evolutionary hierarchy of all existing species from amoebae to extraterrestrial beings! Such a picture is, of course, utter nonsense, but it is Gould's nonsense, not Jensen's.

(7) Gould writes: "Arthur Jensen (1980a, pp. 361- 362) supports the value of IQ as a measure of innate intelligence by claiming that the correlation between brain size and IQ is about 0.30. He doesn't doubt that the correlation is meaningful and that 'there has been a direct causal effect, through natural selection in the course of human evolution, between intelligence and brain size'" (p. 108). What Gould does not indicate is that this hypothesis was never represented as my own claim. Rather, it was explicitly and accurately represented as a paraphrase of the most up- to- date and technically sophisticated review of the evidence on human brain size and intelligence available, by Leigh Van Valen (1974), a biologist at the University of Chicago. Why then does Gould not cite Van Valen's thorough and scholarly treatment of this topic? Instead he makes it appear that Van Valen's conclusions are simply Jensen's claim. Moreover, the Jensen chapter has merely summarized the literature on the various physical correlates of IQ (including brain size, brain- evoked potentials, stature, basal metabolic rate, obesity, and myopia). Contrary to Gould's paraphrase, it has offered no opinions at all about the meaning of these correlations with respect to the "innateness of IQ."

(8) In a recent publication (Jensen, 1980a, p. 535), I have presented new evidence for Spearman's (1927, p. 379) observation that the magnitudes of the average white- black differences on various tests are positively related to the g factor loadings of the tests, a point in my review that is germane to factor- analytic criteria of test bias. Gould writes, "Jensen also uses g more specifically to buttress his claim that the average difference in IQ between whites and blacks records an innate deficiency of intelligence among blacks" (p. 319). Nowhere in the cited reference (Jensen, 1980a) (or in any other publication) have I ever erred by inferring genetic causation of racial differences from the g factor or any other use off actor analysis, and nowhere have I "claimed" an "innate deficiency" of intelligence in blacks. My position on this question is clearly spelled out in my most recent book: "The plain fact is that at present there exists no scientifically satisfactory explanation for the differences between the IQ distributions in the black and white populations. The only genuine consensus among well- informed scientists on this topic is that the cause of the difference remains an open question" (Jensen, 1981a, p. 213). Apparently Gould does not tolerate so openly agnostic a stance on scientific questions which have important social implications.

Despite Gould's poor batting average for accuracy and fairness in his paraphrasing of references to Jensen, may we hope that he has perhaps afforded more impartial treatment to all the other targets of his critique:

Brain Size and Intelligence

Gould devotes two chapters to race and sex differences in brain size, and to the relationship between brain size and intelligence. Again, though practically all the studies cited are more than 100 years old, Gould meticulously points out their errors and biases.

Brain size is of some scientific interest in relation to intelligence, presumably because the great increase of brain size in the course of human evolution resulted primarily from the selective advantage of the greater capacity for complex learning and problem- solving ability conferred by a larger cerebrum. It seems a natural question whether variation in brain size (or any other features of the brain) is related to differences in psychometric intelligence among contemporary humans. After dismissing the pioneer studies, Gould is wholly uninformative about current thought and evidence on this topic.

Van Valen's (1974) well- known review and analysis of the evidence on brain size and intelligence is conspicuous by its absence from Gould's book. Although Van Valen's article is an excellent review, it unfortunately overlooks one crucial point. That point concerns any correlation between different traits, especially correlations between physical and psychological traits, namely, whether the obtained correlation represents a functional (i. e., causal) relationship between the variables or merely an adventitious genetic correlation resulting from the common assortment of the genes for the two traits as a consequence of cross- assortative mating for the two traits (e.g., if blue- eyed persons mated only with curly- haired persons, blue eyes and curly hair could become correlated in the population, even though there is no intrinsic connection between these characteristics). No study of the correlation between brain size and intelligence, to my knowledge, has applied the necessary methodology based on sibling data (explicated by Jensen, 1980b) to rule out mere assortative genetic correlation between these variables. Until this is done, the theoretical significance of the correlation (whatever its magnitude may be) between brain size and IQ remains unknown. Any correlation existing between families but not within families (i.e., not among siblings), is scientifically empty as far as advancing our understanding of the nature of intelligence. Evidence suggests that such is the case for the population correlation (of about 0.25) between height and IQ. This does not mean, however, that one must automatically partial height out of the brain- size x IQ correlation, as Gould advocates. Theoretical interpretation of the intercorrelations among brain size, body size, and IQ is possible only by means of genetical analysis (e.g., analysis employing data on between and within- family correlations) combined with path analysis.

The essence of Gould's message in his two chapters on race and sex differences in brain size, and the relationship between brain size and intelligence is that craniometry served no valid scientific purpose, but was merely an expression of the prejudicial self- interest of comfortable white males. But to complain that an investigator's conjectures stem from personal prejudices (or any other source) is, of course, scientifically irrelevant. The importance of scientific conjecture arises solely from its relation to some theory and its testability, or susceptibility to empirical refutation. Gould's disparagement of craniometry, however, seems to serve merely as a prelude to the more currently important topic of intelligence testing. Gould writes: "Craniometric arguments lost much of their luster in our century, as determinists switched their allegiance to intelligence testing- amore "direct" path to the same invalid goal of ranking groups by mental worth- and as scientists exposed the prejudiced nonsense that dominated most literature on form and size of the head" (p. 108). Not surprisingly, in the last two- thirds of his book, Gould launches a concerted attack on the "prejudiced nonsense" of intelligence testing.

IQ Heritability

Gould's first broadside against intelligence testing is an 88- page chapter entitled "The Hereditarian Theory of IQ. "The most remarkable feature of this chapter is that it does not present even a hint of the kinds of evidence, or the quantitative- genetic methods applied thereto, which have caused many reasonable and fair- minded contemporary scientists to conclude that genetic factors are substantially involved in individual differences in IQ. The reader is told nothing at all about the polygenetic basis of individual differences or about the logic of quantitative genetics and its application to the various kinship correlations on which the "Hereditarian Theory of IQ" is based. Naive readers will be completely misled as to the true nature of the current popular controversy over the inheritance of mental ability.

Instead, they will read about the first (1905) Binet tests and about how Binet's early American followers, Goddard and Terman, allegedly corrupted Binet's intentions by reifying the IQ as an inborn "thing" in order that it might better serve as an instrument of social and racial discrimination. About 30 percent of the chapter is taken up with a fine- grained critique of the psychometrically primitive 1917 army tests and the purported influence of the test results on U.S. immigration policy in the 1920s, which, we are told, was promoted by" Teutonic supremacists."

The Cox (1926), and Terman estimates of the IQs of eminent historical figures, based on biographical accounts of their childhood accomplishments, are also unfairly ridiculed by Gould in this chapter. For example, Gould points out that such major acknowledged geniuses as Copernicus and Faraday were assigned lower IQs than some figures of lesser eminence (e.g., Galton, with an estimated childhood IQ of 200). But Cox's monograph makes it very clear that the estimated IQs are the minimum values that could be estimated on the basis of the available evidence of early- life accomplishments. (Shakespeare, for example, was completely omitted because of inadequate biographical evidence.) In fact, no attempt was made in the monograph itself to rank- order individual historic geniuses by their estimated IQs. The aim of the Terman and Cox study was simply to see if there might be evidence for a higher average level of mental precocity among the world's famous geniuses- and there clearly is. All the inherent methodological limitations of the study are fully acknowledged in Cox's (1926) thoroughly careful monograph. Gould supplies no new information by his sarcastic embellishment.

By this point in Gould's book, the weight of vituperative excess will no doubt have caused even technically naive but intelligent readers to begin to question whether the most influential figures in the early history of mental testing could really have been so utterly foolish and wicked as Gould makes them appear. The fact that Galton, Goddard, Yerkes, Terman, Brigham, Thorndike, and other pioneers of psychometrics may have expressed poorly founded and occasionally dogmatic hereditarian opinions concerning intelligence at a time before any adequately developed methodology or suitable evidence was available for the genetical analysis of mental test data, cannot legitimately be construed as an indictment of all subsequent research in this area. Yet Gould never mentions any of the considerable body of recent work in behavioral genetics. One wonders, does he avoid it perhaps because the technical issues cannot be so simplistically and entertainingly lampooned as the early efforts of the pioneer mental testers?

The "hereditarian fallacy" (p. 156) is described by Gould as (1) the implication that" heritable" is equated with "inevitable," and

(2) the assumption that if genetic factors explain a certain proportion of the individual differences variance within population groups, they explain the same proportion of the mean differences between various populations, such as racial groups. This" hereditarian fallacy" constitutes a strawperson if ever there was one. I cannot recall a single living "hereditarian" who has ever expressed either of these beliefs, though I know of many who have noted their inherent logical fallacy. I myself, dubbed by Gould as "America's best- known hereditarian," have attempted in several publications from 1969 to 1982 to explicate the illogic of trying to prove the heritability of mean differences between groups from a knowledge of the heritability of individual differences within groups. I have also attempted over the years to dispel the common, but unwarranted, assumption that heritability necessarily implies the inevitability or immutability of human differences. (A nontechnical treatment of these matters is found in Jensen [1981a, pp. 108- 115 and 226- 232].) Certainly these issues are more complex than Gould's brief treatment even begins to suggest; they require considerably more explication than he presents, for even the barest understanding of them. Correctly understood, moreover, these are not matters of theoretical contention among behavioral geneticists.

The "Reification " of General Intelligence

In a chapter entitled "The Real Error of Cyril Burt," we come to the core of Gould's argument: his perceived necessity for demolishing the concept of g, Spearman's symbol for the common factor in all cognitive tests. Because g constitutes by far the largest part of the variance in all "intelligence" tests, it is often termed the "general intelligence" factor. Gould gives a good nonmathematical explanation of the workings of factor analysis (and principal components analysis) and how g and other factors are "extracted" from a correlation matrix. After this quite acceptable explanation, Gould begins his battle.

According to Gould, g is the quintessential abomination. He writes, "The chimerical nature of g is the rotten core of Jensen's edifice, and of the entire hereditarian school" (p. 320). What especially makes g so awful, according to Gould, is the error of reification. This, he claims, is the "real error" of Cyril Burt, and also of Charles Spearman, the inventor of factor analysis and the discoverer of g. These pioneers in the field are charged with the crime reifying g. Yet the kind of outlandish verbal reification for which they stand accused is, in fact, absolutely contrary to any expression about g that one can find in the works of Spearman or Burt, or, indeed, in any of the serious literature of factor analysis and intelligence, The g factor as supposedly conceived by Spearman and Burt is variously referred to by Gould as "ineluctable, innate general intelligence," "innate essence of intelligence," a "hard, quantifiable thing," a "quantifiable fundamental particle," a "single, scalable, fundamental 'thing' residing in the human brain," "a 'thing' in the most direct, material sense," and so forth. This language is all completely misleading. More importantly, it is Gould's language, and not the language of those he chooses to discuss.

Reified or not, the factor g itself and factor analysis in general have nothing to do with "innateness" or the nature- nurture question. Whether individual differences (or group differences) in g factor scores have a heritable component or not is an entirely separate question, which cannot be answered by any methods of factor analysis, but only by the methods of quantitative genetic analysis.

Moreover, to anyone who has carefully- read the major works of Burt and Spearman on factor analysis, the claim that they (or any other experts in this field) are guilty of reifying g will be recognized as another straw person, an unqualified hoax. Few psychologists, or few scientists in any field for that matter, have been as sophisticated in the philosophy of science as Spearman and Burt. The most sophisticated discussion of the whole issue of the meaning of factors to be found in the entire literature is Burt's( 1940) chapter entitled "The Metaphysical Status of Mental Factors." In it, Burt states" [t]o speak of factors of the mind as if they existed in the same way as, but in addition to, the physical organs and tissues of the body and their properties, is assuredly indefensible and misleading" (p. 218). Burt's entire discussion is well worth reading even today. Surely no one before or since has ever presented a more intellectually profound and subtle consideration of the nature and interpretation of the factors derived by the factor analysis of mental tests.

As will be equally apparent to anyone reading Spearman's (1927) great work, The Abilities of Man, he too was fully aware of the reification issue. Certainly Spearman makes it extremely clear that he intended his hypothesis of g as "mental energy" as just that- a hypothesis, a theoretical attempt to account for the phenomenon which the g factor highlights and quantifies, namely, positive manifold (i.e., the presence of all positive intercorrelations among all diverse tests of cognitive abilities, when the tests are given to representative samples of the general population). Spearman made no apologies for hypothesizing causal mechanisms to explain y. Quite the contrary:

(Psychology] is a science in its own right, and can no more fulfill this mission without hypotheses than a man can run properly with his legs tied in a sack. What would physics do without its electrons, its ether, or its heat, none of which are, or perhaps even can be, directly perceived? Indeed, there is no necessity for believing that such entities really exist at all. (p. 128)

In fact, what Gould has mistaken for "reification" is neither more nor less than the common practice in every science of hypothesizing explanatory models or theories to account for the observed relationships within a given domain. Well- known examples include the heliocentric theory of planetary motion, the Bohr atom, the electromagnetic field, the kinetic theory of gases, gravitation, quarks, Mendelian genes, mass, velocity, and so forth. None of these constructs exists as a palpable entity occupying physical space. The g factor, and theories attempting to explain g in terms of models independent of factor analysis itself, are essentially no different from the other constructs of science listed above. Nor is there any good reason that hypothetical models attempting to account for g should necessarily exclude all considerations of neural or biochemical processes. All such theoretical speculations about the nature of g, whether offered by Spearman, Burt, Jensen, or anyone else, have involved hypothetical processes or system concepts, presumably going on in the brain (where else?). But these theories have never depicted g as some "single," "ineluctable," "hard," "object," of the sort characterized by Gould. Would Gould then deny psychology the common right of every science to the use of hypothetical constructs or any theoretical speculation concerning causal explanations of its observable phenomena? He writes," My complaint lies with the practice of assuming that the mere existence of a factor, in itself, provides a license for causal speculation" (p.268). But haven't all sciences always exercised free license for theoretical speculation about the causes of the observable phenomena in their domains? Of course they have.

The crucial question, which is summarized by the existence of the g factor is this: In respect to what processes or mechanisms is it that persons who perform well on anyone test, in general, also perform well on many other tests, even on tests that are highly dissimilar in content and sensory and motor modalities? The concept of intelligence depends not on the fact that people can be ranked by this test or that, but rather on the fact that, whatever the test, so long as it is cognitive in the broadest sense, a positive correlation emerges between the ranks for any two tests. If an IQ test were just a rag- bag collection of cognitive tasks that did not all measure a common factor, there could be no positive manifold. Scientists today are trying to understand the causes of positive manifold, and this is what the present g theory is all about. Gould offers no alternative ideas to account for all these well- established observations. His mission in this area appears entirely nihilistic.

L. L. Thurstone, the leading American psychometrician and factor analyst, might have emerged as a minor hero in Gould's drama, were it not for his alleged tendencies toward factor reification and his avowed hereditarian stance. At least Thurstone's factors were a number of "primary mental abilities" and not the unholy g. Gould dubs Thurstone "the exterminating angel of Spearman's g" (p. 296). With the development of multiple- factor analysis, Thurstone had chosen to rotate the factor axes in such a way as to maximize the variance of the loadings on all the latent common factors in a correlation matrix (a criterion he termed "simple structure"), a procedure that yields a number of first- order factors, or "primary mental abilities" (e.g., verbal, numerical, spatial, memory). According to Gould, "the hegemony of g was broken. From the midst of an economic depression that reduced many of its intellectual elite to poverty, an America with egalitarian ideals (however rarely practiced) challenged Britain's traditional equation of social class with innate worth. Spearman's g had been rotated away, and general mental worth evaporated with it" (p. 304). Actually, the g variance was not at all "exterminated" by Thurstone's method, but merely' dispersed among the primary factors. Later, Thurstone himself realized that he could obtain a closer fit to his criterion of simple structure by allowing the factor axes to be obliquely rotated (i.e., correlated). Thurstone also came to realize that subsequent factor analysis of the intercorrelations among the oblique primary factors would recover the g factor, essentially the same g as arrived at by the Spearman and Burt methods of g extraction!

In discussing Thurstone's primary abilities, Gould states, "Some children are good at some things, others excel in different and independent qualities of mind" (p. 304). If Gould is talking about cognitive abilities, this statement is deceptively plausible (because we know that everyone is better at certain things than at others). In the context of his discussion of factor analysis, however, it is essentially wrong and misleading. If Gould's statement were wholly true, a second- order g factor could not emerge from any large collection of diverse mental tests. Yet, in fact, a second- order g always appears for all cognitive tests obtained in any representative sample of the general population. (This is equivalent to saying that the overall ability differences between individuals are generally greater than the average differences that exist between various abilities within individuals). Moreover, g factor scores, when g is extracted either as a first principal factor (Spearman- Burt) or as a hierarchical, second- order factor (Thurstone), are generally very highly correlated with one another, usually above .95 in most factor analyses of the same battery of tests in the same subject sample. (Congruence coefficients between the g factor loadings in the two methods are usually even higher.) True, the hierarchical, second- order g carries somewhat less variance than the g extracted as a first principal factor, but Gould greatly exaggerates this point in his effort to belittle the second- order g, In 10 factor analyses of Wechsler subtest batteries that I have examined, in which g has been extracted both as a first principal component and as a hierarchical second- order factor (using the Schmid- Leiman, 1957, transformation), the second- order g accounts for about 8O percent of the variance accounted for by the first principal component. The second- order g also accounts for about two- thirds of the total common- factor variance in the test battery, whereas the three primary factors (verbal, performance, and memory), after g is removed, account for about one- third of the variance. It would be a rare, even freakish, collection of cognitive tests that would yield a g which, by any proper method of extraction, would be subordinate to any of the rotated first- order factors.

No knowledgeable factor analyst of either the Spearmanian or Thurstonian school disputes the fact that the various methods or models of factor analysis are all mathematically equivalent in their ability to" account for" the matrix of intercorrelations. Other, nonmathematical considerations must determine preferences for one method over another. Although the number of factors that can be extracted from a correlation matrix is necessarily limited by the number of variables, there is virtually an infinite number of possible rotations of the factor axes, and hence an infinity of different possible factors. There is no rule in science that restricts the particular factors that any investigator may choose to focus upon. Some factor solutions make much more sense, psychologically, than others, however, and psychologists may suspect that there is more "pay dirt" in certain factors than there is in others.

In this respect, factor solutions that yield a g, and the g factor itself, have generally been of greatest interest throughout the history of psychometry. More scientific curiosity has been stirred up by g than by any other products of factor analysis, and for a number of good reasons. Here is a baker's dozen:

(1) The fundamental reason is the phenomenon of positive manifold: that is, the existence of positive correlations between all tests in the cognitive domain, over a wide range of diversity, regardless of the content or other surface characteristics of the tests. The g factor represents this salient fact of nature better than any other single factor or any combination of multiple orthogonal factors (which disperse the g variance and thus artificially create the misleading impression that there are zero correlations among the several clusters of tests defining group factors or primary abilities).

(2) Taken together, the g factor plus smaller group factors (primary abilities independent of g) best represent the fact that, on average, overall differences between individuals in the population are greater than the differences among various abilities within individuals. Multiple orthogonal factors, without g, would not lead us to this (empirically established) expectation.

(3) Certain tests (generally those involving greater complexity of mental manipulation) are consistently more g- loaded than others, when analyzed in different batteries of various tests. Other tests (usually involving sensory- motor skills or rote- learning ability) have rather consistently weak g loadings under these conditions.

(4) Essentially the same g emerges from collections of tests which are superficially quite different. Unlike all other factors, g is not tied to any particular type of item content or acquired cognitive skill. (This is the basis for Spearman's principal of "the indifference of the indicator" of g.)

(5) It has proved impossible to construct a test to measure any of Thurstone's Primary Mental Abilities (or any other first- order cognitive factors) that does not also measure g. That is to say, scores on "factor pure" tests (i.e., tests designed to measure some factor other than g) always measure g in addition to whatever primary ability factor they were specially devised to measure. The g variance in tests of primary mental abilities is, moreover, generally greater than the variance attributable to the primaries. It has proved possible, however, to devise tests that measure g and little or nothing else.

(6) The g factor reflects more of the variance in informal, common- sense estimates of differences in people's intelligence by parents, teachers, employers, and peers than any other factor that can be extracted from psychometric tests. In addition, g discriminates more accurately than any other factor between average persons and persons diagnosed as mentally retarded by independent, nontest criteria, and between average persons and those who are recognized as intellectually gifted on the basis of their accomplishments.

(7) There is no general factor of human learning ability that is different from, or independent of, the g of psychometric tests. However, there is much more "specificity" (i.e., variance not related to any common factors) in learning tasks than in most psychometric tests composed of numerous items.

(8) Although g may not be equally valued in all cultures, individual differences in g- related abilities are easily recognized, even by persons in societies that differ tremendously from Western or industrial civilizations.

(9) In its practical ability to forecast the success of individuals in school and college, in armed forces training programs, in employment in business and industry, and so forth, g carries far more predictive weight than measures of any other factor or any other combination of factors independent of g (see Jensen, 1981 b). This fact also means that many "real life" kinds of performance, and not just psychometric tests, are substantially g- loaded.

(10) Humphreys (1981) has pointed out that even where mental tests are not implicated, the naturally occurring educational and occupational selection in our society involves g more than any other measurable psychological variables. Each "sieve" in the educational and occupational ladders selects on g, and this is as true in those communist countries in which mental ability tests are officially forbidden as it is in the United States. For this and for many other reasons, Humpreys [sic] aptly refers to g as "The primary mental ability."

(11) Although more evidence is still needed for a firm conclusion, what evidence we have suggests that g has the highest degree of heritability of any component of variance in psychometric tests (e.g., Humphreys, 1981 ). The group factors (and specificity) show little or no heritability apart from the heritability of g.

(12) The genetic phenomenon of inbreeding depression (i.e., the diminution of a metric character in the offspring of genetically related parents, such as siblings or cousins) is indicative of genetic dominance of the genes enhancing the trait in question. Large- scale data on the offspring of cousin matings show that the degree of inbreeding depression observed on 11 diverse subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for children is positively and significantly correlated with the subtests' g loadings (Jensen, in press). (This is equally true whether g is extracted as a first principal factor or as a hierarchical second- order factor.)

( 13) The g factor (and g factor scores) are substantially correlated with measures of the speed of information processing in simple laboratory tasks, such as simple and choice reaction times, which bear no resemblance to the usual psychometric tests from with the g factor is extracted (Jensen, 1980c). Recently it has been found, in a sample of 100 university students, that speed of information processing, as measured by reaction- time techniques, is highly correlated with the g factor of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and that no additional component of variance in the 12 WAIS subtests (including the verbal, performance, and memory- factors) shows a significant correlation with the reaction time measures (Vernon, 1981). Vernon writes, "Given the strength of the association between mental speed and g, it is further argued that these attributes are largely the same: a person's intelligence can be defined in terms of the speed and efficiency with which he can execute a number of basic cognitive operations" (p. 83). At an even more basic level, there is now considerable evidence that g is correlated with the amplitude, latency, and complexity of average devoked potentials in the brain, as measured by means of EEG apparatus and electrodes attached to the scalp (e.g., Eysenck, 1981; Jensen, Schafer, & Crinella, 1981). If such important findings are examples of what Gould wishes to suppress by his railing at the "reification" of g, then I will shout three cheers for "reification"!

But Gould does not tell his readers about any of these interesting things on the present scene. The fact is that psychologists have been witnessing in recent years a great revival of interest and research on Spearman's g, research aimed mainly at discovering the basic processes- cognitive and neurophysiological- that will eventually explain the nature of g. That the theory of general intelligence is presently thriving is evidenced in many current publications, such as the relatively new journal Intelligence and the recent multiauthored books edited by Friedman, Das, and O'Conner (1981) Sternberg (1982), and Eysenck (1982). These publications are recommended for readers who want factual, up- to- date information about research on intelligence and mental testing.

Gould's book, on the other hand, is so repetitiously cluttered by doctrinaire disparagement that it can hardly provide any real enlightenment regarding mental measurement. Although Gould's book will be warmly embraced (along with Leon Kamin's, 1974, The Science and Politics of IQ) by the dwindling band of genetic egalitarians and neo- Lysenkoists, it is hard to see that this book makes any scientific contribution or serves to inform the general public in any responsible way about the truly important issues in mental testing today.

Editor's Note. Dr. Gould has been invited to respond to this article for publication in a subsequent issue of CER.

 


[ The next few issues contain no reply from Gould. If he ever replied, I have been unable to find it. - RS ]

 


REFERENCES

BURT, C. The factors of the mind: An introduction to factor analysis in psychology. New York: Macmillan, 1940.

COX, C. M. Genetic studies of genious, vol 2: The early mental traits of 300 geniuses. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1926.

EYSENCK, H. J. The nature of intelligence. In M. P. Friedman, J. P. Das, & Neil O'Connor (Eds.), Intelligence and learning. New York: Plenum, 1981.

EYSENCK, H. J. (ED.). A model of intelligence. New York: Springer, 1982.

FRIEDMAN, M. P., DAS, J. P., & O'CONNOR, N. (Eds.). Intelligence and learning. New York: Plenum, 1981.

GOULD, S. J., & ELDREDGE, N. Punctuated equilibrium: The tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered. Paleobiology, 1977, 3, 115- 151.

HUMPHREYS, L. G. The primary mental ability. In M. P. Friedman, J. P. Das, & N. O'Connor (eds.), Intellegence and learning. New York: Plenum, 1981.

JENSEN, A. R. Can we and should we study race differences? In J. Hellmuth (Ed.), Disadvantaged Child, Vol. 3: Compensatory education: A national debate. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1970.

JENSEN, A. R. Educability and group differences. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

JENSEN, A. R. Bias in mental testing. New York: The Free Press, 1980. (a)

JENSEN, A. R. Uses of sibling data in psychological and educational research. American Educational Research Journal, 1980), 17, 153- 170. (b)

JENSEN, A. R. Chronometric analysis of intelligence. Journal of Social and Biological Structures, 1980, 3, 103- 122. (c)

JENSEN, A. R. Straight talk about mental tests. New York: Free Press, 1981. (a)

JENSEN, A. R. Test validity: g versus the specificity doctrine. Invited address at the annual convention of The American Psychological Association, Los Angeles, California. August 26, 1981. (b)

JENSEN, A. R. The effects of in breeding on mental ability factors. Personality and Individual Differences, in press.

JENSEN, A. R., SCHAFER, E. W. P., & CRINELLA, F. M. Reaction time, evoked brain potentials, and psychometric g in the severely retarded. Intelligence, 1981, 5, 179- 197.

KAMIN, L. J. The science and politics of IQ. Potomac, Md.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1974.

SCHMID, J., & LEIMAN, J. M. The development of hierarchical factor solutions. Psychometrika, 1957, 22 53- 61.

SPEARMAN, C. The abilities of man. New York: Macmillan, 1927.

STERNBERG, R. J. (Ed.). Recent advances in research on intelligence. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1982.

VAN VALEN, L. Brain size and intelligence in man. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 1974, 40, 417- 423.

VERNON, P. A. Speed of information processing and general intelligence. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 1981.

 


Intensive, Detailed, Exhaustive by THOMAS J. BOUCHARD, JR., University of Minnesota (from the journal of INTELLIGENCE, Fall 1998)

WHAT EVERY PSYCHOLOGIST SHOULD READ

Upon examining his bibliography I am embarrassed at the number of Jensen's publications that I have not read. That will not, however, keep me from making some recommendation to readers who are much less familiar with his work. From the early work read, "The Stroop Color-Word Test: A review" (Jensen & Rohwer, 1966). The 1969 Harvard Educational Review (HER) article, "How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement?", (Jensen, 1969) is still a gem as are the replies to critics. Some critics have argued this article is a citation classic because it is often cited solely for purposed of refutation. I have no doubt that many who cite it for the purpose of refutation have not read it. I recommend it, however, because it is a true classic. Better yet read his book Genetics and Education (Jensen, 1972) in its entirety as it contains the HER article and numerous other superb papers. Jensen, of course, makes a few mistakes now and then as Kamin (1975) points out in his review of this book. The history of one of the mistakes is fascinating. Jensen reprinted a graph that included a data point, for dizygotic twins reared apart -- a sample of IQ kin data that did not exist at the time. According to Kamin this kind of error reflects the bias of those who take a genetic position. Locurto (1991), however, informs us that the graph came from an article by Heber, Dever, and Conroy (1968). The senior author of that paper was in fact a well known environmentalist (see pages 63-66 in Locorto's book for a discussion of Heber).

If you are somewhat interested in behavior genetics and don't know much beyond high school genetics, and would like a primer in quantitative genetics read, "Genetic and behavioral effects of nonrandom mating" (Jensen, 1978). If you want to know something about psychometrics and the issue of bias in mental testing the definitive work is still "Bias in mental testing" (Jensen, 1980a). If you are short on time the Behavior and Brain Science summary of "Bias in mental testing" (Jensen, 1980b) will give you a very good overview of the bias issue. If, like me, you have wondered about Stephen J. Gould's veracity and competence in the mental ability domain you must read Jensen's review of "The missmeasure of man". The title of the review is "The debunking of scientific fossils and straw persons" (Jensen, 1982) and it is among Jensen's very best book reviews. I would recommend it be followed up with Phil Rushton's review of the revised edition of the same book (Rushton, 1997). If you still need more criticism of Gould read Dennett's (1995) assessment of Gould. Alas as I write these words I find that S. J. Gould has been elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The only solace I can garner from this event is that the AAAS once elected Margaret Mead as its president (Freeman, 1983; Freeman, 1991; Freeman, 1992). Mistakes will be made, but some seem more egregious than others.


On Arthur Jensen's Integrity by SANDRA SCARR, University of Virginia, emerita  (from the journal of INTELLIGENCE, Fall 1998)

Notoriety

Art seems to have been genuinely surprised by the notoriety he attained from his writings on race and IQ. Others cannot understand his surprise. When one lobs hand grenades at the intelligence and potential achievements of others, one should anticipate a violent reaction. For Art to say that only 5% of the Harvard Education Review article concerned racial difference in IQ is like saying the only problem Lincoln had in the time he attended Ford's theater was the split second he was shot. Somehow, the percentage is not the critical issue in either case.

Anticipated or not, the consequences of his notoriety were severe and prolonged. Few can claim to be, or to have been, as sorely tested as Art has been in defense of psychology as a science. I have witnessed his steadfastness in the face of a screaming, unruly mob who disrupted his lecture on learning and intelligence and threatened his personal safety. I learned what it was like to be spat upon and to put my body on the line to get Art out of a University of Minnesota auditorium. It was shocking and frightening, as surely the radicals intended, but it was most of all infuriating, because no disciplinary actions were taken against those who assaulted us. Those were the wonderful 1970s.

As he mentions in his essay (this issue), his automobile tires were slashed, police had to open his mail, and his office at the University of California-Berkeley was stripped bare to protect him from a potential bomb. Art's office at Berkeley was more like a San Quentin cell than a typically cluttered faculty office. His family was threatened, and his personal freedoms seriously compromised -- all because he reported his conclusions about genetics and IQ, based on a serious scientific review of the research literature.

By his own account, he is no extravert. Nor, I may add, did warmth and humor soften the acrimonious exchanges he had with hostile audiences. One might also observe that insight into his violent, enraged opponents was lacking. The logical, unemotional Dr. Jensen would never behave in such an uncivilized manner, nor comprehend those who do.

Art Jensen has also endured abuse from thugs with pens instead of megaphones. Personally, I have no empathy for politically driven liars, who distort scientific facts in a misguided and condescending effort to protect an impossible myth about human equality (= identity). Art believes he understands the motives of the Marcus Feldmans, Steven Jay Goulds, and Leon Kamins of the intellectual world. They seem to speak his language, albeit with forked tongues. I find them despicable, because they have the knowledge and intellect to know that they deliberately corrupt science. To deny falsely the scientific evidence that nearly all measurable human traits are moderately to highly heritable is to deny parents and policy makers essential knowledge to run their own lives and the society as a whole. Self-appointed saviors of the equality myth are far more dangerous to an honest psychological science than a hundred outraged groupies who don't know that the lecture was supposed to be about, anyway.

All in all, with clear conscience, Art stands up for data, searches for the most logical and supportable explanations, and rejects all of the ad hominem garbage thrown his way.


Race, Intelligence, and the Brain: The Errors and Omissions of the Revised Edition of S. J. Gould's The Mismeasure of Man (1996)

Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 23, No. 1 (July 1997), pp. 169-180

J. Philippe Rushton; Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada


Summary - The first edition of The Mismeasure of Man appeared in 1981 and was quickly praised in the popular press as a definitive refutation of 100 years of scientific work on race, brain-size and intelligence. It sold 125,000 copies, was translated into 10 languages, and became required reading for undergraduate and even graduate classes in anthropology, psychology, and sociology. The second edition is not truly revised, but rather only expanded, as the author claims the book needed no updating as any new research would only be plagued with the same 'philosophical errors' revealed in the first edition. Thus it continues a political polemic, whose author engages in character assassination of long deceased scientists whose work he misrepresents despite published refutations, while studiously withholding from his readers 15 years of new research that contradicts every major scientific argument he puts forth. Specific attention in this review are given to the following topics: (1) the relationship between brain size and IQ, (2) the importance of the scientific contributions of Sir Francis Galton, S. G. Morton, H. H. Goddard, and Sir Cyril Burt, (3) the role of early IQ testers in determining U.S. immigration policy, (4) The Bell Curve controversy and the reality of g, (5) race/sex/social class differences in brain size and IQ, (6) Cesare Lombroso and the genetic basis of criminal behavior, (7) between-group heritabilities, inter-racial adoption studies, and IQ (8) why evolutionary theory predicts group differences, and (9) the extent to which Gould's political ideology has affected his scientific work.


Introduction

"May I end up next to Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius in the devils mouth at the center of hell if I ever fail to present my most honest assessment and best judgment of evidence for empirical truth" (p. 39). So swears one Stephen Jay Gould, justifiably worried that his activist background may have tarnished his reputation for scholarship. Critical examination of the new edition of The Mismeasure of Man shows that, indeed, Gould's resort to character assassination and misrepresentation of evidence have caught up with him.


Hailed in the popular media as the definitive deconstruction of the 'myth' that science is an objective enterprise, the original The Mismeasure of Man was in fact an ad hominem attack on eminent scholars, past and present, who have scientifically studied race, intelligence, and brain size. Despite the masses of empirical research using state-of-the-art technology published in highly prestigious journals that refute the obscurantist arguments Gould first served up in 1981, all the chapters of the initial edition have now been unapologetically regurgitated. Gould's failure not only to conduct any empirical research of his own but to even acknowledge the existence of any and all contradictory data speaks for itself. Revealed political truth may abhor revision but science thrives on it. Scientist that he is, Gould may yet regret agreeing to produce this 'revision'.


Rather than being appropriately revised, the original edition of The Mismeasure of Man has merely been expanded. Gould includes a 30-page preface on why he wrote the original and why the renewed interest in race, behavior, and evolution, required that he 'revise' it after 15 years, although he also maintains (p. 35) that his 1981 arguments needed no modification. Gould's 1996 book also contains five end chapters including essays on J. F. Blumenbach, the 19th century German anthropologist who developed the first scientific system of racial hierarchy, and Gould's own previously published reviews of Herrnstein and Murray's (1994) The Bell Curve.

 


After carefully reading the book, I charge Gould with several counts of scholarly malfeasance. First, he omits mention of remarkable new discoveries made from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which show that brain-size and IQ correlate about 0.40. These results are as replicable as one will find in the social and behavioral sciences and utterly destroy many of Gould's arguments. Second, despite published refutations, Gould repeats verbatim his defamations of character against long deceased individuals. Third, Gould fails to respond to the numerous empirical studies that show a consistent pattern of race differences in IQ, brain size, crime, and other factors that have appeared since his first edition went to press.

 


Brain-Size/IQ Relations: Where Was Gould During The Decade Of The Brain?

In the opening chapters, Gould charges 19th century scientists with 'juggling' and 'finagling' brain size data in order to place Northern Europeans at the apex of civilization, lower orders trailing behind in a great chain of being. He argues that, in effect, Paul Broca, Francis Galton, and Samuel George Morton, all erred in the same direction and by similar magnitudes. Implausibly, Gould asks us to believe that Broca 'leaned' on his autopsy scales when measuring wet brains by just enough to produce the same differences that Morton caused by 'over-packing' empty skulls using filler, as did Galton's extra loose grip on calipers while measuring heads!


Later in the book, Gould attempts to discredit such 20th century luminaries as H. H. Goddard, Lewis Terman, R. M. Yerkes, Charles Spearman, Cyril Burt, Hans Eysenck and Arthur Jensen who, Gould claims, mean-spiritedly set out to measure IQ and fabricate its heritability. Gould specifically charges psychometricians with the sin of reification, that is, treating hypothetical constructs as though they were real entities. His major target is the general factor of intelligence (known as g). Contrary to Gould, every major study shows that different IQ tests tend to be significantly intercorrelated (Carroll, 1993) and that g is the 'active ingredient' in IQ predictions (Brody, 1992).

 


Gould's omission of recent, devastatingly contradictory evidence constitutes at best shoddy and at worst dishonest scholarship. Even before Gould's (1981) first edition, Van Valen (1974) had reviewed the literature and estimated an overall correlation of 0.30 between brain size and intelligence. Gould (1981) neglected to even mention Van Valen's review. The 1990s have been called the 'Decade of the Brain' for good reason. Remarkable discoveries made using MRI confirm many of the relationships described by the 19th century visionaries defamed by Gould. Neither Gould nor his publisher show any scruples in releasing these chapters without the required revisions. Since Gould chose to withhold this evidence from his extensive readership, allow me to reveal it. (For more detail, see the review by Rushton & Ankney, 1996).

The published research that most clearly shows the correlation between brain size and intelligence employed MRI, which creates, in vivo, a three-dimensional image of the brain. An overall correlation of 0.44 was found between MRI-measured-brain-size and IQ in 8 separate studies with a total sample size of 381 non-clinical adults. This correlation is about as strong as the relationship between socioeconomic status of origin and IQ. In seven MRI studies of clinical adults (N = 312) the overall correlation was 0.24; in 15 studies using external head measurements with adults (N = 6,437) the overall correlation was 0.15, and in 17 studies using external head measurements with children and adolescents (N = 45,056) the overall correlation was 0.21. The head size and brain size correlation with the g factor itself, which Gould would have you believe is a mere artifact, is even larger --- 0.60! (Jensen, 1994; Wickett et al., 1996).

Further, the brain-size/IQ correlation is predictive from birth. The National Collaborative Perinatal Study analyzed data from 17,000 White babies and 19,000 Black babies followed from birth to 7 years (Broman et al., 1987). Head perimeters were measured at birth for all children. At age 7, head perimeters were remeasured and IQ assessed. For both the Black and the White children, head perimeter measured at birth significantly predicted head perimeter at 7 years, and head perimeter at both ages predicted IQ!


The first of these MRI studies were published in the late 1980s and early 1990s in leading, refereed, mainstream journals like Intelligence (Willerman et al., 1991) and the American Journal of Psychiatry (Andreasen et al., 1993). I know Gould is aware of them because my colleagues and I routinely sent him copies as they appeared and asked him what he thought! For the record, let it be known that Gould did not reply to the missives regarding the published scientific data that destroyed the central thesis of his first edition.

Further evidence of Gould's method is the way the 1996 edition deletes the very section of the 1981 edition that discussed the brain-size/IQ relation. In the 1981 edition (pp. 108-111), Gould cited Jensen's (1980) Bias in Mental Testing (pp. 361-362) in order to pooh-pooh Jensen's report of a 0.30 correlation between brain-size and IQ and a table from Hooton (1939) which showed that average head sizes differed by SES. Gould (1996) gives no reason for making this selective cut, which would have appeared on page 140 of the new edition. I can only infer that when Gould read Jensen's (1982) review of his book, which he mentions doing in the introduction, he realized that Jensen's citation of the 0.30 correlation between brain size and IQ was based on Van Valen's (1974) review and so could no longer be dismissed as just Jensen. I submit that Gould realized that repeating this section verbatim, given the weight of the new evidence, would destroy his entire thesis. Rather than revise his arguments in light of the truth, Gould chose to repeat them without change and to withhold any evidence to the contrary. Both Gould and his publisher owe it to their readers to explain why this supposedly 'new' edition studiously avoids any mention of all the new evidence.

Is it reasonable to expect that brain size and cognitive ability are related? Yes! Haug (1987, p.135) found a correlation of 0.479 (N = 81, P<0.001) between number of cortical neurons (based on a partial count of representative areas of the brain) and brain size in humans. His sample included both men and women. The regression relating the two measures is: number of cortical neurons (in billions)= 5.583 + 0.006 (cm3 brain volume). According to this equation, a person with a brain size of 1,400 cm3 has, on average, 600 million fewer cortical neurons than an individual with a brain size of 1,500 cm3. The difference between the low end of the normal distribution (1,000 cm3) and the high end (1,700 cm3) works out to be 4.2 billion neurons. That amounts to 27% more neurons for a 41% increase in brain size. The best estimate is that the human brain contains about 100 billion (1011) neurons classifiable into perhaps as many as 10,000 different types resulting in 100,000 billion synapses (Kandel, 1991). Even storing information at the low average rate of one bit per synapse, which would require two levels of synaptic activity (high or low/on or off), the structure as a whole would generate 1014 bits of information. Contemporary supercomputers, by comparison, typically have a memory of about 109 bits.

On Character and Character Assassination

Gould's faults extend well beyond sins of omission to include sins of commission. The 'new' edition repeats the same false accusations that have been well refuted since 1981. Thus, Gould leaves unmodified his denigration of Sir Francis Galton as a 'dotty Victorian eccentric' (p. 108) despite having been called to account for painting a thoroughly tendentious portrait by University of Cambridge statistician, A. W. F. Edwards (1983) in the London Review of Books. Edwards rightly excoriated Gould, as the author of a book full of references to correlation, regression (including multiple regression), principal components analysis, and factor analysis, for failing to inform his readers that this whole statistical methodology is derived from Galton's pioneering work on the bivariate normal distribution and linear regression.

Gould also repeats verbatim his (1981) claim that S. G. Morton (1799-1851), one of the giants of 19th American science, 'unconsciously' doctored his results on cranial capacity so as to prove Caucasian racial superiority, despite the fact that when J. S. Michael (1988) remeasured a random sample of the Morton collection he found that very few errors had been made, and that these were not in the direction that Gould had asserted. Instead, the errors were in Gould's own work! Michael concluded that Morton's research "was conducted with integrity...(while)...Gould is mistaken" (p. 353).


Other refutations of Gould's original edition of The Mismeasure of Man appeared in the 1987 and 1988 issues of the American Psychologist. Gould claimed to have detected "conscious skullduggery" in Goddard's (1912) study of the heritability of feeblemindedness in the Kallikak family and alleged that Goddard's photographs had been 'phonied' by inserting heavy lines to give the eyes and mouth a 'depraved', 'sinister', and 'diabolical appearance'. However, not only was such retouching common during the period and thus betrays no evil intent (Fancher, 1987), but the retouched photographs actually strike judges (when empirically tested) as appearing kind (Glenn & Ellis, 1988).


Similarly, Gould repeats his trashing of Sir Cyril Burt's reputation, citing the initial verdict against him by Hearnshaw (1977) and avoiding any mention of the new evidence that has since come to light. Recall that Burt (1883-1971) was the distinguished British educational psychologist who reported a heritability for IQ of 77% for identical twins reared apart. Subsequently, he was widely accused of fabricating his data. However, five separate studies of identical twins raised apart have now corroborated Burt's finding (Jensen, 1992; see also Bouchard et al., 1990; Pedersen et al., 1992). The average heritability from these studies is 75%, almost the same as Burt's supposedly 'faked' heritability of 77%. Moreover, two independently written, meticulously thorough books, one by Robert B. Joynson (1988) and the other by Ronald Fletcher (1991), have vindicated Burt and described how he was railroaded by those on both sides of the Atlantic dedicated to destroying hereditarian findings.

Early IQ Testers, Immigration, And The Holocaust

Gould's most inflammatory allegation consists of blaming IQ testers for magnifying the toll of those lost in the Holocaust (p. 263). Here he has followed the lead of Leon Kamin's (1974) The Science and Politics of IQ. The Kamin-Gould thesis is that early IQ testers claimed their research proved that Jews as a group scored low on their tests and that this finding was then conveniently used to support passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 which then denied entry to hapless Jewish refugees in the 1930s. Gould goes so far as to claim (1996, pp. 195-198; 255-258) that Henry H. Goddard (in 1917) and Carl C. Brigham (in 1923) labeled four-fifths of Jewish immigrants as "feeble-minded ... morons".

The facts are very different. Goddard wanted to find out if the Binet test was as effective at identifying 'high-grade defectives' (the term then used for those with mental ages between eight and twelve) among immigrants as it was among native-born Americans. By 1913, Goddard had translated the Binet test into English and arranged, over a two-and-a-half-month period, for it to be given to a subset of Jewish, Hungarian, Italian, and Russian immigrants "preselected as being neither 'obviously feeble-minded' nor 'obviously normal'" (Goddard, 1917, p. 244, emphasis added). Among this "unrepresentative" group (178 subjects in all), the tests successfully categorized 83% of the Jews, 80% of the Hungarians, 79% of the Italians, and 87% of the Russians. Goddard (1917) explicitly did not assert that 80% of Russians, Jews, or any immigrant group in general were feeble minded nor that the figures were representative of all immigrants from those nations. Nor did he claim that the feeblemindedness he was measuring was due to heredity. The vast majority of the many immigrants going through Ellis Island were never given mental tests. Nor was a random sample of any national group of immigrants ever tested. The only study by Goddard involving the testing of immigrants begins with the following sentence: "This is not a study of immigrants in general but of six small highly selected groups... "(1917, p. 243).


Gould's account of Brigham's (1923) A Study of American Intelligence is also misleading. Brigham examined the First World War intelligence tests given to 15,543 White officers, 93,955 White recruits, and 23,596 'Negro' recruits. The White recruits were subdivided into 81,465 native born ('Nordic' in origin) and 12,492 foreign born (categorized by country of origin as being primarily 'Nordic', 'Alpine', or 'Mediterranean'). Brigham found that U.S.-born White officers averaged a 'mental age' of about 17.3, U.S.-born White draftees about 13.3 years, foreign-born English speaking Nordics about 13.4 years, foreign-born non-English speaking Nordics about 12.6 years, foreign-born Alpines about 11.7 years, foreign-born Mediterraneans about 11.5 years, and Negroes about 10.7 years. Brigham made only passing reference to Jewish IQ (pp. 187-190) noting that no separate scores existed for them. But, by assuming that the proportions from the U.S. Census of 1910 were generalizable to his army recruits (implying that 50 percent of his Russian-born sample was Jewish, and that the Jewish subset scored about the same as other Russians), Brigham concluded that their mean mental age could be estimated at about 11.5 years. Brigham concluded that these data, taken at face value, did "tend to disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent" (p. 190), but he immediately qualified this by noting that the standard deviation of the Russian sample was the highest of any immigrant group and that talent searches in New York and California schools often found high ability among Jewish children. Nonetheless, he did remark, somewhat snidely, that "the able Jew is popularly recognized not only because of his ability, but because he is able and a Jew" (p. 190).


For all their faults, the true story of the early IQ testers is a far cry from Gould's attempt to label them as unindicted co-conspirators in genocide. What is especially vexing about Gould's account is that he repeats it despite widely disseminated refutations. Historian of psychology Franz Samelson (1975, 1982) began the process of setting the record straight with his review of Kamin's book in the journal Social Forces. Perhaps the most incisive of these refutations appeared in a paper by Mark Snyderman and the late Richard Herrnstein in the 1983 issue of the American Psychologist. Snyderman and Herrnstein fully corroborated Samelson's conclusions, pointing out that the testing community in general did not view its findings as favoring restrictive immigration policies like those in the 1924 Act. As far as Snyderman and Herrnstein could ascertain from the records and publications of the time, Congress took virtually no notice of intelligence testing. None of the major contemporary figures in testing were called to testify, nor were any of their writings inserted into the legislative record.


In his 1981 book In Search of Human Nature, the eminent historian Carl N. Degler took Gould to task for ignoring contradictory information. Degler pointed out, for example, that it was the evidence of high IQs in Jews and Chinese in California that led Lewis Terman to strengthen his view that the low Black IQ was heritable. Degler also pointed out that although the comparatively high scores of Orientals did not prevent them from being excluded from immigration, such scores would embarrass any attempt to make IQ the basis for ethnic bias in immigration. Again, in 1992, the noted columnist Daniel Seligman debunked Gould's anti-testing propaganda in his book A Question of Intelligence. Most revealing of Gould's scholarship, perhaps, is that Herrnstein and Murray (1994) also highlighted the issue in a special boxed section on page 5 of The Bell Curve, a book that Gould reviewed (twice!). Did Gould overlook these refutations? Why did he not respond to them in his 'revision'?


The early IQ testers were far more aware of the effects of environmental and cultural background on their test takers than Gould would have you believe. They clearly stated that many high-IQ groups had been excluded from the draft sample, including those in occupations exempted from the draft as being vital to the war effort. Gould acknowledges these facts (p. 252) but puts on the spin that if Yerkes (1921) knew of flaws in his massive monograph Psychological Examining in the United States Army, from which Brigham (1923) drew his data, this only made the conclusions even more obviously biased than they otherwise would have been.


The reality of g?

Eighty years of theoretical and applied progress, unrivalled in virtually any other field of psychology, have done nothing to diminish the fervor of Gould's anti-psychometric zealotry. In his review of The Bell Curve, Gould (1996, pp. 370-376) charges Herrnstein and Murray (1994) with 'disingenuousness'. First, Gould alleges disingenuousness of content, for he claims that The Bell Curve is really about race, but pretends to be about IQ. Second, he alleges there is disingenuousness of argument, for The Bell Curve fails to report openly the strength of statistical relationships. Finally, he claims there is disingenuousness of political program, for The Bell Curve attempts to justify cutting social programs while claiming to be in the tradition of Jeffersonian democracy.


Gould withholds from his readers that The Bell Curve is mainly an empirical work about the causes of social stratification and that it reached its conclusions only after fully analyzing a 12-year longitudinal study of 12,486 youths (3,022 of whom were African American) which showed that most 17-year-olds with high IQs (Blacks as well as Whites) went on to occupational success by their late 20s and early 30s whereas many of those with low IQs (both Black and White) went on to welfare dependency. The average IQ for African Americans was found to be lower than those for Latino, White, Asian, and Jewish Americans (85, 89, 103, 106, and 115, respectively, pp. 273-278). Failure to mention these data fosters the false belief that IQ tests are not predictive and are biased in favor of North Europeans.


In an afterword to the softcover edition of The Bell Curve, Charles Murray (1996) chides Gould and his reviews for being hopelessly out of date regarding the evidence for the biological basis of g and for dismissing as 'trivial' the predictive power of IQ in The Bell Curve sample. Murray invites Gould to "count the ways" in which g does in fact capture "a real property in the head". The higher the g loading of a subtest, the higher is its heritability, the higher the degree of inbreeding depression (an established genetic phenomenon) a test exhibits, the higher its relation to elementary cognitive tasks like reaction time, and the more it is related to physiological processes such as cortical evoked potentials and the brains consumption of glucose. Murray also accuses Gould of misleading readers by focusing on the R2 statistics given in the appendix, rather than on the IQ predictions given in the text. As Murray concludes "The relationships beween IQ and social behaviors that we present in the book are so powerful that they will revolutionize sociology" (p. 569).


Gould likes to leave his readers chanting the mantra that "g is nothing more than an artifact of the mathematical procedure used to calculate it". Jensen and Weng (1994) and Carroll (1995) provide detailed empirical and analytical demonstrations of the reality of g. Suffice to note for the purposes of this review that they find that g is remarkably robust and invariant across different data sets, different statistical procedures, or even simulated data, and that Gould avoids any mention of these studies.


Race and IQ: What Gould Doesn't Want You To Know

In his critique of The Bell Curve, Gould acknowledges (p. 369), and then quickly sidesteps the finding that Orientals have a small average IQ advantage over Whites and a large one over Blacks, despite being aware that The Bell Curve brought Richard Lynn's (1991) detailed compilation of these data to wide attention. Because Gould dodged the issue allow me to address it. Lynn (1991, 1996) showed that, on average, Orientals score higher on tests of mental ability than do Whites, both within the U.S.A. and in Asia, whereas Africans and Caribbeans score lower. Oriental populations in East Asia and North America typically have mean IQs falling between 101 to 111. White populations in Europe, South Africa, Australasia, and North America have mean IQs of from 85 to 115, with an overall mean of 100. Black populations living south of the Sahara, in the Caribbean, in Britain, and in North America, average IQs of from 70 to 90.

Especially contentious was Lynn's calculation of a mean IQ of only 70 for Black Africans living south of the Sahara. Many reviewers have expressed skepticism about such a low IQ, holding it impossible that, by European standards, 50 percent of Black Africa is 'mentally retarded'. But a mean African IQ of 70 has been confirmed in three studies since Lynn's review, each of which used Raven's Progressive Matrices, a test regarded as an excellent measure of the non-verbal component of general intelligence and one not bound by culturally specific information. Kenneth Owen (1992) found it (a mean IQ of 70) in a sample of over 1,000 South African 13-year-olds, Fred Zindi (1994), a Black Zimbabwean, found it in a study of 12- to 14-year olds in Zimbabwe, and Richard Lynn (1994a) found it in a study of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel. In a reply to Leon Kamin regarding these data, Charles Murray (1995) wrote:" When data are as carefully collected and analyzed as these, attention must be paid" (p. 22).


Speed of decision making (reaction time) in 9- to 12-year olds, in which children decide which of several lights stands out from others, shows that the racial differences in mental ability are not restricted to paper and pencil tests. All children can perform the task in less than one second, but more intelligent children, as measured by traditional IQ tests, perform the task faster than do less intelligent children. Lynn (1991) found Oriental children from Hong Kong and Japan were faster on average in decision time (controlling for movement time) than were White children from Britain and Ireland, who in turn were faster than Black children from South Africa. Using the same decison time tasks, Jensen (1993) found the same racial ordering in California school children.


Race and Brain Size: What Gould Doesn't Want You To Know

It seems unlikely that Gould's scornful remarks about early studies of racial differences in brain size were based on an objective assessment of the literature. First, investigation of the studies Gould does cite show him up to his usual tricks of hiding and distorting data. Second, although numerous modern studies have appeared since his 1981 edition went to press, he fails to make the corrections required by them or even to acknowledge their existence.


Consider, for example, a section titled "A Curtain Raiser With a Moral". In this, Gould (1996, 109-114) reviewed a technical debate over Black/White brain-size differences between Robert Bennett Bean (1906), a Virginia physician, and Franklin P. Mall (1909), Beans mentor at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Bean (1906) published a study finding that the weight of 103 American Negro brains at autopsy varied with the amount of Caucasian admixture, from 0 admixture = 1,157 grams, 1/16 = 1,191 grams, 1/8 = 1,335 grams, 1/4 = 1,340 grams, to 1/2 = 1,347 grams. Bean also reported that the 103 Negro brains were less convoluted than were 49 White brains and that Whites had a proportionately larger genus to splenium ratio (front to back part of corpus callosum), implying that Whites may have more activity in the frontal lobes which were thought to be the seat of intelligence. Mall (1909) disagreed and found that he was unable to replicate the results on genus/splenium ratios when he remeasured a subset of the brains under 'blind' conditions regarding the race of the brain. Gould elevated this disagreement on one of the findings into a morality play. (Mall "became suspicious"; "prior prejudice dictates conclusions"). What Gould neglects to tell us is that Mall himself (p. 7) reported a Black/White difference in brain weight of 100 grams and that he did not refute the data on racial admixture or on complexity of convolutions.


J. S. Michael's (1988) revelation of Gould's mistreatment of Samuel George Morton's 19th century data has been described above. Nonetheless, Michael remained doubtful that Morton's data could be used to examine race differences in brain size. Rushton (1989a), however, showed that Morton's data, even as reassessed by Gould, indicated that in cubic inches, Mongoloids averaged 86.5, Caucasoids 85.5, and Negroids 83.0, which convert to 1,401, 1,385, and 1,360 cm3, respectively. To be absolutely clear there is no misunderstanding about these data and to allow readers to combine the subgroups in their own preferred ways, Table 1 presents Gould's own retabulation of Morton's data (1981, p. 66, Table 2.5; 1996, p. 98, Table 2.5). Gould dismisses these differences as "trivial". But, as noted, a difference of 1 cubic inch (16 cm3) in brain size translates into a very nontrivial millions of neurons and hundreds of millions of synapses.

Table 1. S.J. Gould's ' corrected' final tabulation of Morton's assessment of racial differences in cranial capacity


Finally, consider the pattern of decreasing mean brain size going from East Asians to Europeans to Africans shown in Rushton's (1989a) reanalysis of Gould's retabulation of Morton's data. This pattern has been corroborated since 1980 by three different techniques: wet brain weight at autopsy, volume of empty skulls using filler, and volume estimated from external head sizes. Recently, a fourth technique, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), has confirmed the White/Black difference. The preponderance of evidence from studies using different techniques, conducted by different researchers, on different samples, confirms the conclusion that the brains of Orientals and their descendants average about 17 cm3 (1 in3) larger than those of Europeans and their descendants whose brains average about 80 cm3 (5 in3) larger than those of Africans and their descendants.


Consider the following statistically significant comparisons (sexes combined) from recently conducted studies using the four techniques mentioned above. Using brain mass at autopsy, Ho et al. (1990) summarized data for 1,261 individuals. They reported a mean brain weight of 1,323 grams for White Americans and 1,223 grams for Black Americans. Using endocranial volume, Beals et al. (1984) analyzed about 20,000 skulls from around the world and found that East Asians, Europeans, and Africans averaged cranial volumes of 1,415, 1,362, and 1,268 cm3 respectively. Using external head measurements from a stratified random sample of 6,325 U.S. Army personnel, Rushton (1992) found that Asian Americans, European Americans, and African Americans averaged 1,416, 1,380, and 1,359 cm3, respectively. Using external head measures from tens of thousands of men and women from around the world collated by the International Labour Office, Rushton (1994) found that Asians, Europeans, and Africans averaged 1,308, 1,297, and 1,241 cm3, respectively. Finally, an MRI study in Britain found that people of African and of Caribbean background averaged a smaller brain volume than did those of European background (Harvey et al., 1994).


Contrary to most purely environmental theories, racial differences in brain size show up early in life. Data from the U.S. National Collaborative Perinatal Project on 19,000 Black children and 17,000 White children showed that Black children had a smaller head perimeter at birth and, although Black children were born shorter in stature and lighter in weight than White children, by age 7 'catch-up growth' led Black children to be larger in body size than White children. However, Blacks remained smaller in head perimeter (Broman et al., 1987). Further, head perimeter at birth, 1 year, 4 years, and 7 years correlated with IQ scores at age 7 in both Black and White children (r = 0.13 to 0.24).


Sex Differences: What Gould Doesn't Want You To Know

An absolute difference in brain size between men and women has not been disputed since at least the time of Broca (1861). He assembled a series of 292 male brains and found an average weight of 1,325 grams, while 140 female brains averaged 1,144 grams, a difference of 181 grams. Gould claimed that the sex difference disappears when appropriate statistical corrections are made for body size or age of people sampled. However, when Gould used multiple regression to remove the simultaneous influence of height and age, he only succeeded in reducing the sex difference by one third, to 113 grams. Gould then invoked additional unspecified age and body parameters, claiming that if these could be controlled the entire difference would disappear.


David Ankney (1992) questioned Gould's methodology. He reexamined autopsy data on 1,261 American adults (Ho et al., 1980) and found that at any given body surface area or height, mens brains are heavier than are women's brains. For example, among those who are 168-cm tall (5' 7"; the approximately overall mean height for men and women combined), brain mass of men averages about 100 g heavier than that of women, whereas the average difference in brain mass, uncorrected for body size, is 140 g. Thus, only about 30% of the sex difference in brain size is due to differences in body size.


Ankney's (1992) results were confirmed in the study of cranial capacity in a stratified random sample of 6,325 U.S. Army personnel (Rushton, 1992). After adjustment, via analysis of covariance, for effects of age, stature, weight, military rank, and race, men averaged 1,442 cm3 and women 1,332 cm3. This difference was found in all of 20 or more separate analyses performed to rule out any body-size effect (see Rushton, 1992; pp. 406-408). Moreover, the male/female difference was replicated across samples of Asians, Whites, and Blacks, as well as across samples of officers and enlisted personnel. The sex difference of 110 cm3 found by Rushton (1992) from analysis of external head measurements is remarkably similar to the 100 grams obtained in Ankney's (1992) analysis of brain mass (1 cm3 = 1.036 grams, Hofmann, 1991).


The brain size studies do present a paradox. Women have proportionately smaller brains than do men but, apparently, the same intelligence scores. This was recognized in stronger form over 100 years ago. Gould cites G. Hervé, a colleague of Broca's, who wrote in 1881; "Men of the black races have a brain scarcely heavier than that of a white woman." Gould's (1996, p. 135) response was a political one, namely "I do not regard as empty rhetoric a claim that the battles of one group are for all of us". David Ankney (1992, 1995) had a more scientific response. He suggested that the difference in brain size relates to those intellectual abilities at which men excel; that spatial and mathematical ability may require more "brain" power than do verbal abilities. Other theories are that men average slightly higher in general intelligence than do women (Lynn, 1994b); or that these particular differences in brain size have nothing to do with cognitive ability but reflect greater male muscle mass and physical co-ordination on tasks like throwing and catching.


Social Class: What Gould Doesn't Want You To Know

As mentioned earlier, Gould inexplicably deleted a table which showed that averaged head sizes increased with each of 8 steps of vocational status from Hooton (1939) that had appeared on p. 109 of his first edition. Numerous other nineteenth- and early twentieth-century data sets (Broca, 1861; Sorokin, 1927; Topinard, 1878) confirmed that people of higher status occupations averaged a larger brain or head size than did those in lower ones. For example, Galton collected head measurements and information on educational and occupational background from thousands of individuals at his laboratory in the South Kensington Natural History Museum in London. However, he had no statistical method for testing the significance of the differences in head size between various occupational groups. Nearly a century later, Galton's data were analyzed by Johnson et al. (1985), who found that the professional and semiprofessional groups averaged significantly larger head sizes (both length and width) than did unskilled groups. The results were striking for men but less clear-cut for women. Rushton and Ankney (1996) calculated cranial capacities from Johnson et al. (1985), of Galton's head-size data and found that cranial capacity increased from unskilled to professional classes from 1,324 to 1,468 cm3 in men but only from 1,256 to 1,264 cm3 in women (figures uncorrected for body size). Gould mentions none of this more recent work in his purported revision.


Natural Born Criminals: What Gould Doesn't Want You to Know

In his revised edition, Gould (pp. 151-175) continues to ridicule the 'ape-in-some-of-us' hypothesis proposed by Cesare Lombroso (1836-1909), the Italian physician and anthropologist who founded the discipline of criminology. Lombroso argued that many criminals were throwbacks to man's ancestral past, ill-suited to life in civilized society, and that therefore 'natural born criminals' could be identified by the presence of the anatomical signs of primitiveness he termed 'stigmata'. But, contrary to Gould, Lombroso was no monomaniac and also believed that criminal behavior could arise in 'normal' men.


Lombroso carried out several anthropometric surveys of the heads and bodies of criminals and noncriminals, including a sample of 383 crania from dead convicts. He claimed that, as a group, criminals evidenced many features he considered primitive, including smaller brains, thicker skulls, simpler cranial sutures, larger jaws, preeminence of the face over the cranium, a low and narrow forehead, long arms, and large ears. Lombroso also examined African tribes in the Upper Nile region finding so many of these allegedly primitive traits that he concluded criminality would be considered normal behavior among them.


While Gould delights in lampooning such early evolutionary thinking, he fails to tell his readers that though Lombroso's description of the individual trees was distorted by the prejudicial lens of his time, he correctly saw the forest. Lombroso was the first to understand how Darwin's theory of evolution provides a biological understanding for why some people are more prone to criminality than are others, how certain physical indicators allow us to predict criminality, and to recognize the critical role of the forebrain in inhibiting violent and antisocial behavior.

The reader of The Mismeasure of Man will search in vain for even a dismissing reference to any of the following recent studies of the biological correlates of criminal behavior. Raine (1993) reviewed several studies that used the state-of-the-art techniques of Computerized Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to study the brains of violent and sexual offenders. He tentatively concluded that frontal lobe dysfunction was associated with violent behavior including rape. Moreover, given the relation between brain size and IQ (Rushton & Ankney, 1996; see above), Lombroso's finding of a smaller brain in criminals relative to non-criminals is likely correct. Numerous American studies from those of H. H. Goddard in 1917 to the present, including The Bell Curve's 12 year longitudinal study of over 12,000 youth (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994), have established the predictive relationship between IQ and crime.

Nor does Gould feel compelled to let his readers know that Lombroso's ideas have received considerable support from recent work in behavioral genetics, a science that barely existed when Lombroso conducted his pioneering work. The same 1993 review by Raine (neither cited nor mentioned by Gould) describes 10 twin studies of adult crime based on official convictions. These studies yielded 13 analyses that together gave a concordance rate for criminal behavior of 52% for 202 monozygotic twins and only 21% for 345 dizygotic twins.


American, Danish, and Swedish studies of children who were adopted in infancy provide a means of testing the genetic theory of criminal behavior against the environmental theory. These studies support the findings of the twin studies and Lombroso's theory of 'natural born criminals'. Adopted children were at greater risk for criminal convictions if their biological parents had been convicted of a crime than if their adoptive parents had been. In a Danish study of some 14,000 adoptees, boys who had neither adoptive nor biological criminal parents, themselves had a 14% rate of criminal conviction. If the adoptive, but not biological parents were criminals, boys still had a conviction rate of only 15%. But if the biological but not adoptive parents were criminal, the rate increased to 20%. And, if both biological and adoptive parents were criminal, the rate increased to 25% (Mednick et al., 1984).


Studies that use self-reports of criminal behavior tell the same story as do studies of official arrest records. In one massive study, Rowe (1986) sampled almost all the eighth to twelfth graders in the Ohio Public Schools and found that MZ twins were roughly twice as alike in their self-report delinquency as were DZ twins, yielding a heritability of about 50%. Another recent study (Rushton, 1996) of 274 adult twin pairs used retrospective self-reports about destroying property, fighting, carrying and using a weapon, and struggling with the police and found a 50% heritability for such violent behaviors. Questionnaire studies of related traits such as altruism, aggression, and empathy in adults also typically show a 50% heritability (Rushton et al. 1986). Within the same family (that is, where socioeconomic status is identical), studies show it is the less intelligent and the more aggressive siblings who are more prone to delinquency.


Nor is Lombroso's concept of stigmata as far out as Gould would have you believe. In fact, the theory of bodily markers of abnormal behavior is making a comeback, albeit from an environmentalist as well as a genetic perspective. During gestation, an insult to the fetus (such as a drug in the mothers body) that disturbs brain development, may simultaneously produce a minor physical anomaly (termed an MPA) on the external body surface. For example, during the course of pregnancy, the ears start low on the neck of the fetus and gradually drift into their standard positions. An insult to development can prematurely stop this upward migration of the ears and result in low-set ears -- an observable MPA. Thus, the number of MPAs serves as a rough index of (perhaps hidden) central nervous system anomalies. For children raised in unstable families, Raine (1993) found that the number of MPAs at age 12 year was related to violent behaviors at age 21. More generally, Raine's review found that antisocial children often appear markedly less attractive than normal children. In one sample of over 11,000 criminals and 7,000 controls, 60% of criminals but only 20% of controls had facial deformities, as judged by expert plastic surgeons.


Finally, consider the striking racial differences in criminal behavior. These differences are consistent across time, national boundaries, and political-economic system, which argues strongly for their having some genetic component. For example, as far back as records go, in the U.S., Orientals have been underrepresented and Blacks overrepresented in crime statistics relative to Whites. This pattern is not specific to the U.S. but is repeated around the world. Analyses of INTERPOL Yearbooks throughout the 1980s show that African and Caribbean countries have double the rate for violent crime of European countries and three times the rate of the countries in the Pacific Rim. The combined figures for murder, rape, and serious assault per 100,000 population for 1984 and 1986 were Africans -- 142, Europeans -- 74, and Asians -- 43. For 1989-90, the pattern was unchanged: Africans -- 240, Europeans -- 75, and Asians -- 32 (Rushton, 1990, 1995a).


It is unfortunate that Gould does not even cite, let alone attempt to refute any of these studies. Even if all of them are in some way biased and all my reasoning flawed, Gould owes it to those who rely upon his work to explain how this is so. More unfortunate is that by dismissing out of hand the hypothesis of the inclination to criminal behavior by some sneering remarks on the early work of the long-dead Lombroso and ignoring the latest research, Gould is actively obstructing scientists from finding the biogenetic treatments and environmental intervention strategies that could spare both future victims and delinquents (who, in their own way, are victims of their genes and their environments). It is thus Gould who is -- in Lomboso's words -- the delinquent man.


Between-Group Heritabilities: What Gould Doesn't Want You to Know

Gould ( 1996, pp. 186-187, 369-370) continues to disparage the possibility of generalizing within-group findings to the causes of between-group differences. When environmentalists use nutrition as an explanation of both within-group and between-group differences this is (sensibly) not disputed. But when the exact same inference is made for heritabilities to explain both within-group and between-group differences, Gould argues it is inappropriate. But, if poor nutrition is shown to have an effect 'within' Whites and Blacks, it is sensible to suppose that nutrition has an effect on differences 'between' Whites and Blacks. If so for environmental generalization, why not for genetic generalization?


What Gould especially fails to mention is the striking and critically important finding that 'genetic weights on IQ subtests predict racial differences'. Although the White/Black IQ gap averages 15 points, the difference 'is more pronounced on subtests that are highly heritable within races than it is on less heritable tests' (Jensen, 1985, Rushton, 1989b). This observation is important because it provides a test of differential predictions. Environmental theory predicts that racial differences will be greater on more culturally or environmentally influenced tests whereas genetic theory predicts they will be greater on more heritable tests. Because higher heritabilities are stronger indicators of underlying genetic substrates than are lower heritabilities, the data support the genetic hypothesis, not Gould.


It is in fact an important 'empirical' question whether heritabilities for Blacks are the same as, or different from, those for Whites. Reason alone tells us that as environments become more benign and more equal, genetic sources of variation will become larger. For example, over the last 50 years, as environmental barriers to health and educational attainment have fallen, the variance in health and educational attainment accounted for by genetic factors has increased (Scriver, 1984; Heath et al., 1985). In animal studies, low heritabilities for body size variables are typically interpreted as showing the suppressant effect of the environment on natural growth (e.g. Larsson, 1993). The relevant question thus becomes: 'Are IQ heritabilities for Blacks lower than those for Whites?' Most of the evidence favors the view of equal heritabilities across the three major races. There is, however, some evidence of lower heritabilities in Blacks which would support the hypothesis of a more damaging environment. For example, Rushton and Osborne (1995) studied cranial capacity in several hundred Black and White twins and found a range of higher heritabilities (depending on corrections for age and body size) for Whites than for Blacks (47% to 56% vs 12% to 31%). The differences, however, were not statistically significant. These are, however, precisely the kinds of analyses Gould should be conducting if he wants to make a scientific, rather than a political argument about heritability!


Most transracial adoption studies also provide evidence for the heritability of racial differences in IQ. Studies of Korean and Vietnamese children adopted into White American and white Belgian homes have been conducted (Clark & Hanisee, 1982; Frydman & Lynn, 1989; Winick et al., 1975). As babies, many adoptees had been hospitalized for malnutrition. Nontheless, they went on to develop IQs 10 or more points higher than their adoptive national norms. By contrast, Black and Mixed-Race (Black/White) children adopted into White middle class families typically perform at a lower level than similarly adopted White children. For example, in the well known Minnesota Adoption Study, by age 17, adopted children with two White biological parents had an average IQ of 106, adopted children with one White and one Black biological parent had an average IQ of 99 and adopted children with two Black biological parents had an average IQ of 89 (Weinberg, Scarr & Waldman, 1992).


The only adoption studies Gould refers to (p. 370) are those showing IQ gains of very young Black children adopted into affluent and intellectual homes (presumably based on an earlier account of the Minnesota study when the children were only 7 years old) and a study of prepubertal mixed-race German children fathered by Black soldiers compared with those fathered by White soldiers which found 'no difference'. But these apparent exceptions may 'prove the rule'. In general, behavior genetic studies show that as people age, trait heritability increases while environmentality decreases. Differences not apparent before puberty often emerge by age 17.


Evolutionary Selection: What Gould Doesn't Want You To Know

Given that Gould doesn't believe that either brain size or intelligence differ by race and sex it is not surprising that he offers no evolutionary explanations for the origins of these differences. Gould (p. 399) acknowledges the accumulating evidence in favor of the 'Out of Africa' model of human origins. It holds that Homo sapiens arose in Africa 200,000 years ago, exited Africa with an African/non-African split about 110,000 years ago, and migrated east with a European/East Asian split about 40,000 years ago (Stringer & Andrews, 1988). But, Gould refuses to acknowledge any relationship between this evolutionary sequence and the parallel rankings of major racial groups in behavioral traits. Nor does he tell his readers that evolutionary selection pressures were different in the hot savanna where Africans evolved than in the cold Arctic where East Asians evolved.


Rushton (1995b) and others have proposed that the farther north the populations migrated, out of Africa, the more they encountered the cognitively demanding problems of gathering and storing food, gaining shelter, making clothes, and raising children during prolonged winters. Consequently, as the original African populations evolved into present-day Europeans and East Asians, they did so by moving in the direction of larger brains and greater intelligence, but also towards slower rates of maturation, lower levels of sex hormone, and concomitant reductions in sexual potency and aggressiveness, and increases in family stability and social conformity.


Such an evolutionary scenario fits the data from Rushton's (1995b) review of the international literature on race differences which found that on more than 60 variables Orientals and Africans consistently averaged at opposite ends of a continuum with Europeans averaging intermediately. For example, the rate of dizygotic twinning based on a double ovulation is less than 4 per 1,000 births among East Asians, 8 among Europeans, and 16 or greater among Africans. Multiple birthing is known to be heritable through the race of the mother. No known environmental factor can explain why Africans average the smallest brains and the highest twinning rates, East Asians average the largest brains and the lowest twinning rates, and Europeans average intermediately in both. Clearly, there is a need for a genetic-evolutionary explanation.


In fact, Vincent Sarich, who helped initiate the research program on biochemical taxonomy from which the 'Out of Africa' model developed (Sarich & Wilson, 1967), argues that Gould got his evolutionary ideas about race completely upside down. As Sarich (1995, p.86) pointed out, "it is the Out of Africa model, not that of regional continuity, which makes racial differences more functionally significant. It does so because the amount of time involved in the raciation process is much smaller, while, obviously, the degree of racial differentiation is the same -- large. The shorter the period of time required to produce a given amount of morphological difference, the more selectively important the differences become." Sarich (1982, 1995) has labeled the argument that natural selection would result in geographically separated populations evolving the exact same brain size 'behavioral creationism'. Although Gould is comfortable talking about the evolution of different body types in humans, he often writes as though he believes that societies, cultures, and mental differences spring into being full-blown, as if from the brow of Zeus or the hand of God.


With respect to the evolution of sex differences in brain size, Ankney (1992, 1995) hypothesized that differing roles of men and women during human evolution produced a sexual divergence in brain size and in abilities. Men roamed from the home base to hunt, which would select for targeting ability and navigational skills; women were relatively sedentary. Such additional abilities would have selected for relatively larger brains in men as it may require more brain tissue to process spatial information. Lynn (1994b) has also proposed that men evolved larger (more costly) brains because they enhance their probability of becoming socially dominant and thus more reproductively successful; female reproductive success is much less dependent on social status.


Conclusion: Case Closed

Others have speculated on the extent to which Gould's political outlook has colored his scientific work (Davis, 1986; Dennett, 1995, Ruse, 1993). In Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Dennett (1995) brilliantly documents how Gould has been systematically misleading his readers for decades, attempting to smuggle anti-Darwinian mechanisms into evolutionary theory with a lot of clever talk of "spandrels" "punctuated equilibrium", and "dialectical processes". Gould notwithstanding, Darwinian adaptation is the way evolution works and the mechanism on which working evolutionary scientists base their research programs.


Gould himself tells us (1996, p. 19) that he originally considered titling his book Great Is Our Sin from Charles Darwin's remark: "If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." Gould avers that the scientific study of human differences in mental ability is nothing but an apology for elitist European enslavement and oppression of the rest of the world -- so it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen. This has become the Apostle's Creed of the Adversary Culture. (Do not blame criminals from poor backgrounds, they are but helpless victims of a wicked system; affirmative action and multiculturalism must be invoked to exorcise the demons of capitalist oppression, racism, and sexism). In Gould's (1996) benediction, he keeps the faith of "political correctness", while grudgingly confessing that many see it as "leftist fascism" (his words, p. 424).


In his preface, Gould describes his background and how it has affected his work. All his grandparents were Eastern European Jews whose entry into America, he believes, Goddard "would have so severely restricted" (p. 38). Thus the book is dedicated to "Grammy and Papa Joe, who came, struggled, and prospered, Mr. Goddard notwithstanding". Gould's father fought for the leftist International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War (p. 39). He himself actively campaigned against racial oppression in the U.S.A. and in England (p. 38). I for one admire Gould for having the candor to divulge this background. No doubt personal experience affects all scholarship (including mine). However, even the most deeply held values cannot justify withholding evidence, engaging in character assassination, and repeating unfounded charges despite published refutations.


No doubt we are all prisoners of our background as well as slaves to our genes, but facts remain facts. Brain size and IQ are correlated. Men do average larger and heavier brains than do women. Asians and Europeans do average larger and heavier brains than do Africans. Higher SES groups do average larger and heavier brains than do lower SES groups.


Perhaps more than any scientist in recent memory, Gould has wielded his influence not only as a professor of science at Harvard but also through the pages of the New York Review of Books and through broadcasts on educational television, to seriously and intentionally misrepresent the science and politics of IQ. By his own standard, Gould has consigned himself to the innermost circle of hell. But science, fortunately, is not religion or politics. Gould need only own up to the facts and end his career of relentless special pleading. The second edition of The Mismeasure of Man does not measure up to Gould's own standard of "honest assessment and best judgment of evidence for empirical truth".

HOW CAN EDUCATED PEOPLE CONTINUE TO BE RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS? A Talk by David Lykken [This entire article is available on a web site via a simple search.]

DAVID LYKKEN: How is that some scientists, psychologists like Leon Kamin, biologists like Steven Rose, even the odd geneticist like Richard Lewontin, or the odd paleontologist like Stephen Gould, continue to believe with John Locke that the infant human mind is a tabula rasa. How can they suppose that baby brains are as alike as new Macintosh computers fresh from the factory; indeed, even more alike because the computers at least have operating systems and various ROMs already installed? How can anyone imagine that, sometime in the Pleistocene, evolution mysteriously stopped, but just for one sub-system of one mammalian genus, the nervous system of the genus homo?

Without postulating that we possess ancestral inclinations, slowly acquired over many millennia, how could one explain why children tend to shy away from snakes and spiders but not from guns or electric sockets, which are much more dangerous? When the Minnesota Twins won the World Series in 1987 and again in 1991, when "our boys" had defeated those invaders from the National League, why did nearly four million Minnesotans, most of whom had never seen a game, proudly think that something wonderful had happened? When the Gulf War ended and "our boys" had killed a lot of Iraqis so the Sultan of Kuwait could return from the Riviera to rebuild his palaces, the entire U.S. Congress stood, some on their seats or desks, to cheer President Bush for his accomplishment. Those senators and representatives were not play-acting to impress their constituents; they really felt proud (but why?).

[. . . . ]

In their London debate, "The Two Steves" (Pinker and Rose) alluded briefly to why human parents love their babies. Pinker, a sensible evolutionary psychologist, thinks it is probably because those ancestral parents who were not somehow motivated to nurture their offspring were unlikely to have grandchildren and thus to become ancestors. I was never clear about what Rose thinks. But a more interesting question is why do Americans spend billions annually on dogs and cats and other pets? Assuming Pinker is correct, as assuredly he is, would natural selection continue fiddling with the machinery until parents felt nurturant about their own genetic offspring only? For some seals and sea birds that operate giant collective nurseries, where the young may wander off from their mothers, it appears that both mothers and offspring have evolved olfactory methods of identifying one another. But for most mammals, including the featherless bipeds, the danger of a parent "wasting" effort nurturing an unrelated baby was low enough so that a more precise targeting of maternal affection was unnecessary. The selection pressure favoring the more discriminating mothers was not great enough to produce a species change. Natural selection is parsimonious. It continues just long enough to fashion the ROM or module required to accomplish the necessary result in the environment of A recent news report tells of a lost dog that had been fitted with a radio collar and was finally located in the den of a mother bear. Each time the dog started to emerge in response to his master's call, the bear gently drew him back again to his new home. My wife and I, like millions of others of our species, are more like the bears than we are like seals in this respect. In most jurisdictions, a person who kills a neighbor's dog or cat is treated by the law like someone who destroyed the neighbor's lawn mower. If law-makers understood evolutionary psychology (or human pet owners) better, the offense would be treated much more seriously. My bull terrier is to me much more like my adopted child, if I had one, than like my lawn mower.

Another example of the parsimony of natural selection is our human xenophobia. We tend to distrust, fear, and dislike other humans who seem different than ourselves. This was adaptive in ancestral times when a stranger stepped out from behind a tree because that stranger might kill you, if you were a male, or to rape you or carry you off, if you were a female. A more selective mechanism would require both strangeness and threatening action to trigger our fear/dislike response. But just "stranger" turned out to be enough. Can this be why modem humans, both New Yorkers and the natives of Papua New Guinea, tend to paint and dress themselves in ways that immediately identify their group membership? And can this be one of the reasons why our contemporary Lockians want to believe in the tabula rasa mythology? "Let us not suppose that xenophobia is natural because then how could we hope to accomplish racial, religious, and social tolerance?" My three sons, white, non-theistic, Aryan types, are happily married to a Catholic, a Jew, and an African American, and have produced my ten beloved grandchildren. Reporting some early results of his celebrated study of twins who were separated in infancy and reared apart, my colleague, Tom Bouchard, pointed out that: "The genes sing a prehistoric song that must sometimes be resisted but which should never be ignored." Our xenophobia can be resisted, as my sons' example attests, but it should not be ignored, or we shall never be able to figure out what to do about Bosnia.

[. . . . ]

Another curious fact is that even some evolutionary psychologists, including Steve Pinker's mentors, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, believe that the genetic differences between people, the very differences on which, during ancestral times, natural selection worked to make us what we are today, no longer exist. "Yes, we all come equipped with species-specific behavioral proclivities. Our infant brains are not just general-purpose computers waiting to be programmed by experience but, rather, they have modules that are preprogrammed to give us a head start at being human. But they are all alike at birth, except perhaps for bits of noisy artifact." Are these folks just being politic, just claiming only the minimum they need to pursue their own agenda while leaving the behavior geneticists to contend with the main armies of political correctness?

The denial of genetically based psychological differences is the kind of sophisticated error normally accessible only to persons having Ph.D. degrees. Even the be-doctored tend to give up radical environmentalism once they have a second child. In our twenty-five years of twin research at Minnesota, monozygotic twins, who share all their genes, have been found to be twice (or more than twice) as similar as dizygotic twins, who share on average half their polymorphic genes, on nearly every trait that we can measure reliably. The few exceptions include birth weight, years of education, romantic choice, and a few interests such as blood sports, gambling, and religious orientation. (Variation in general religiosity, on the other hand, is strongly genetic.) Moreover, monozygotic twins separated in infancy and reared apart, are as similar on most psychological traits as are MZ twins reared together. Middle-aged MZ twins, whether reared together or apart, correlate in IQ more than .70, and this is so whether IQ is estimated from the nonverbal Raven Matrices test administered and scored by computer, or from a standard IQ test individually administered by different examiners in separate rooms. IQ is not all there is to "intelligence" but it is very important. If your child's IQ is less than about 115, she is almost certain never to get through medical or law school.

[. . . . ]


DARWINIAN NATURAL RIGHT: The Biological Ethics of Human Nature by Larry Arnhart, 1998.

Page 12: Creationists like to cite the criticisms of Darwinian "gradualism" and "adaptationism" by biologists such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, and Niles Eldridge as evidence that Darwinian theory has been refuted (Eldridge and Gould 1972; Gould 1989; Gould and Lewontin 1979). But Dawkins and Ernst Mayr have shown that the valid points made by these critics are fully compatible with modern Darwinian theory. The flaws in the argumentation of Gould and Lewontin are so serious that their work is now studied by rhetorical theorists as a model of sophistical rhetoric in science (Bazerman 1993; Borgia 1994; Charney 1993; Coyne and Charlesworth 1997; Wright 1990). In explaining order in the organic world, structuralist biologists like Gould emphasize formal causes, while adaptationist biologists like Dawkins emphasize functional causes. For a full explanation, we need to see the partial truth in both sides of this debate (Amundson 1996).

Page 42: Sociobiology, particularly as developed by Edward 0. Wilson (1975), has been perceived by its critics as attempting to explain human social behavior as controlled mostly by genetic inheritance, which seems to ignore the complexity and flexibility of human behavior as a purely phenotypic response to variable environments (Kitcher 1985). Behavioral ecology, however, is concerned precisely with such adaptive responses to environmental conditions. Even some of the critics of sociobiology have conceded that human sociobiology would be defensible if it were transformed into human behavioral ecology (Kitcher 1990).  With respect to sexual mating, for example, human beings have a biological potentiality for a wide range of behaviors -- including celibacy, promiscuity, monogamy, polygyny, and polyandry. Gould would have a strong argument in claiming that there are no specific genes that absolutely determine or "rigidly" predispose us to one of these behaviors. But he would be wrong to assume from this that we have an indifferent potentiality for any of these. Although we have a potential for choosing complete celibacy, most human beings find this too difficult because it denies our strong propensity or desire for sexual mating. Promiscuity is easier because it caters to our sexual propensities. Polyandrous marriage (one wife with several husbands) seems to be a very weak potentiality for human beings because the intense sexual jealousy of males incline them against it. In contrast to polyandry, monogamous mating has been universal to all human societies and polygynous mating (one husband with several wives) has been common, because they satisfy biological desires. In chapters 5 and 6, I will argue that this pattern of social behavior reflects the biological nature of human mating. An understanding of biological propensities or desires can explain why celibacy is difficult, promiscuity is easy, polyandry is rare, monogamy is universal, and polygyny is common, although none of these behaviors is "rigidly" determined by specific genes. Our nature predisposes us to favor some behavior over others, although the specific expression of our behavior will reflect the variable conditions of physical environment, social circumstances, and individual temperament.

Page 206: Gould might object to my reference to his lecture in South Africa on human equality. In arguing for human equality as a biological fact, he was careful to distinguish this from equality as a moral value. "I am, emphatically, not talking about ethical precepts," he insisted, "but about information in our best current assessment. . . . I can only view equality of opportunity as inalienable, universal, and unrelated to the biological status of individuals." This separation of facts and values is commonly thought to indicate that human biology (and human nature in general) has no relevance to moral reasoning. But if this fact-value distinction means that what is good for human beings has no relation to human abilities, needs, or desires, then it is implausible. So implausible is it that even Gould cannot adhere to it consistently. He says that if a species of australopithecines (Australopithecus robustus) had survived to the present, its existence would have created "all the ethical dilemmas of a human species truly and markedly inferior in intelligence (with its cranial capacity only one-third our own)" (1985, 198). If biological facts have no moral implications, why would the existence of a humanlike species evidently inferior to Homo sapiens present us with "ethical dilemmas"? Gould refers to South Africa in 1984 as "the nation most committed to myths of inequality," and he is surely disingenuous in claiming that he lectured the South Africans on the biological fact of equality without intending this to be a moral argument. Gould's lecture illustrates my general point: the debate over equality is one case where biological facts do have moral consequences.


DARWINIAN PSYCHIATRY by Michael McGuire and Alfonso Troisi, 1998; Oxford University Press.

Page 35:  By 1990, the intellectual climate had changed once again. The controversy that for 15 years had surrounded Sociobiology and evolutionary explanations of human behavior had subsided. Evolutionary theory had gained footholds in fields as diverse as sociology, computer science, philosophy, and the law, and classical ethology had undergone a resurgence. Critics of the evolutionary interpretation of human social behavior continued to voice their views (e.g., Gould, 1992), but their critiques were much the same as they had been a decade earlier. In 1991, Williams and Nesse introduced the term Darwinian medicine into medicine's vocabulary, and few people objected, and by 1992, the suggestion that evolutionary biology should serve as the basic science for psychiatry found few opponents. Yet, an in-depth exploration of the implications of evolutionary theory for psychiatry was a task still to be undertaken. It is to part of that task that we now turn.

Page 40:  Efforts to assess the adaptiveness or nonadaptiveness of traits -- adaptationism is the label sometimes applied to such efforts -- are not without critics (Gould and Lewontin, 1979; Lewontin, 1979; Symons, 1990). Gould and Lewontin (1979) made the point in this way: "It [adaptationism] proceeds by breaking an organism into unitary 'traits' and proposing an adaptive story for each considered separately" (p. 581). The criticism is sometimes valid. The concept of adaptation has been misused, for example, when a specific trait, such as a psychic defense, is discussed separately from related traits, environmental contingencies, and its functional consequences.
    Nevertheless, concerns about misuse are manageable provided the following points are kept in mind:
1.     Because of past evolutionary compromises and trade-offs, organisms are not optimally designed. Even the best adapted organisms possess many features that either have no apparent adaptive value (e.g., the chin, color of the blood) or for which more efficient designs might have evolved (e.g., muscles of the back, strength of bones). Less than optimal designs occur in part because in most instances the target of selection is the whole individual, not individual traits. While some traits, such as perfect pitch, appear to be distinct (discontinuous variation), and while other traits, such as poor visual acuity, are more likely targets of selection than other traits, such as ear lobe form, it is more accurate to view each trait as only one part of an interconnected anatomical-physiological-psychological-behavioral system on which selection works. In biology, speaking of individual traits is simply a shorthand convention, one acknowledging that selection occurs at the level of the individual but focusing on the history of individual traits. Dissection of phenotypes into! individual features is necessary because it is the only operational means of implementing the study of the function of a given feature. Thus, one moves back and forth from the individual to traits: 'The student of adaptation has to sail a perilous course between a pseudoexplanatory reductionist atomism and stultifying non-explanatory holism." Psychiatry, no less than evolutionary biology, continually struggles with similar interpretive problems.
2.     Selection does not optimize adaptive traits or strategies as much as it gradually eliminates unfit traits or strategies.
3.     Traits can differ in their degree of adaptiveness for reasons other than selection. Fetal poisoning, maternal viruses, and physical accidents can compromise maturational programs and, in turn, trait expression and refinement.
4.     There are important distinctions between the beneficial effects of traits that have been selected and the possible, non-selected beneficial effects of traits. For example, immunological responses to viral infections were probably selected not for their subsequent immunity, but to counter the short-term effects of diseases. A similar point may apply to emotions. Initially, emotions may have been selected because they led to rapid behavioral responses. Subsequently, they may also have come to provide information about the effectiveness of behavioral strategies.
5.     While there is a positive correlation between behavioral plasticity and the capacity of individuals to adjust, as noted, adjustment is not synonymous with adaptation. Adjustment to a pathological family environment may reduce intrafamily conflict, yet it may also diminish the chances of reproductive success in the person who adjusts.
6.     A trait that is adaptive in one social environment (e.g., verbal intelligence in the United States) does not predict its adaptiveness in other environments, for example, in an environment in which social intelligence has greater survival value than verbal intelligence.
7.     Adaptive behavior does not imply that the actors are aware of all the factors contributing to their behavior.


The Mismeasures of Gould By J. Philippe Rushton

(Originally published in The National Review, September 15, 1997)
Mr. Rushton is professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario in London. This article is adapted from his review in the referred academic journal Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 23, pp. 169-180.

Gould occupies a rather curious position, particularly on his side of the Atlantic. Because of the excellence of his essays, he has come to be seen by non-biologists as the pre-eminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least on our side against the creationists.'' YEP, that's the Steven Jay Gould -- Harvard paleontologist, best-selling science popularizer, Natural History magazine columnist, and media superstar -- in the opinion of John Maynard Smith, one of the founders of modern evolutionary theory. Smith's skepticism about Gould is pervasive among his peers. Daniel Dennett's brilliant 1995 book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, was largely devoted to dispelling Gouldian misinformation. John Alcock, author of standard animal-behavior textbooks, recently described Gould as "consistently employing the same limited set of debating techniques and stylistic devices . . . while simply ignoring evidence to the contrary.''

This civil war among evolutionists has now burst into the open. Gould struck back, with his trademark deceptive elegance, in The New York Review of Books (June 12, June 26, August 14), house organ of the New York intelligentsia that has long been his real constituency. The point at issue between the evolutionists and Gould seems arcane. Does evolution proceed gradually or through "punctuated equilibrium'' -- immobility interrupted by transforming upheaval? Gould's preference for the latter reflects his left-wing politics -- for evolutionary upheavals, read social revolutions. Yet it may also be traced to his refusal to admit that systematic differences, probably evolutionary in origin, exist among human beings.

That same refusal regularly distorts Gould's 1981 The Mismeasure of Man, now reissued in a "revised and expanded'' edition (Norton, $13.95). The Mismeasure of Man (which in its first version sold 250,000 copies, was translated into ten languages, and became required reading for undergraduate and even graduate classes) dealt with questions that are delicate, controversial, and (to the scientific layman) even discomfiting: IQ, brain size, sex, and race. It did so by unscrupulously mishandling the evidence. The new version -- described by the publisher as "an acclaimed classic that refutes the conclusions of The Bell Curve'' -- is expanded but hardly revised. It regurgitates character assassinations of deceased scientists, misrepresents their work despite published refutation, and studiously withholds 15 years of new research that contradicts every major scientific argument Gould puts forth.

Perhaps the single most devastating development for Gould: new research on brain size. Was he asleep throughout the 1990s -- called, with good reason, "The Decade of the Brain''? Gould originally charged nineteenth-century scientists with "juggling'' and "finagling'' brain-size data in order to place Northern Europeans at the apex of civilization. Implausibly, he argued that Paul Broca, Francis Galton, and Samuel George Morton, all "finagled'' in the same direction and by similar magnitudes using different methods. Gould asks us to believe that Broca "leaned'' on his autopsy scales when measuring wet brains by just enough to produce the same differences that Morton caused by "over-packing'' empty skulls and that Galton caused with his "extra loose'' grip on calipers while measuring heads! Yet even before Mismeasure's first edition, new research was confirming the work of nineteenth-century pioneers. Gould neglected to mention that Leigh Van Valen had already established a positive correlation between brain size and intelligence in 1974.

Subsequently, of course, discoveries using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which creates a three-dimensional image of the living brain, have shown a strong positive correlation (0.44) between brain size and intelligence. And there is more. The National Collaborative Perinatal Study, as reported by Sarah Broman and her colleagues, showed that head perimeter measured at birth significantly predicts head perim-eter at 7 years -- and head perimeter at both ages predicts IQ. Recent studies also show that head size and IQ vary with social class. It is now clear that the nineteenth-century pioneers were right.

The first of the MRI studies were published in the late 1980s/early 1990s in leading, mainstream refereed journals like Intelligence and the American Journal of Psychiatry. My colleagues and I routinely sent Gould copies and asked him what he thought. He never replied. Now he has chosen to withhold all these data from his readers.

Indeed, in the 1996 edition he deletes the very section of his own 1981 book that discussed the brain-size/IQ relation. In 1981, he had pooh-poohed Arthur Jensen's report (in Bias in Mental Testing) of a 0.30 correlation between brain-size and IQ -- but he omits this dismissal, without explanation, from the revised version. I can only infer that when Gould read Jensen's review of his book (which he mentions), he realized that Jensen's correlation was based on Van Valen's 1974 review and so could no longer be dismissed as "just Jensen.'' And, given the weight of the new evidence, simply repeating this section verbatim would have destroyed his entire thesis. He therefore left it out.

Is it reasonable, however, to expect brain size and cognitive ability to be related? Yes. H. Haug in 1987 found a correlation of 0.479 between the number of cortical neurons and brain size in humans. Gould dismisses differences in brain size as "trivial.'' But a difference of one cubic inch in brain size translates into a very nontrivial millions of cortical neurons and hundreds of millions of synapses -- a significant difference in mental activity and potential.

It is, of course, relationships between brain size/IQ and sex and race which, understandably, arouse the most anxiety. Some critics have even suggested a social taboo on discussion and research in these fields. That would run counter to the entire tradition of scientific inquiry. Be that as it may, it is surely indisputable that if such research is to be conducted, it must be done accurately and scrupulously. And here Gould fails again.

An absolute difference in brain size between men and women has not been disputed since at least the time of Broca (1861). Gould, however, claims that the sex difference disappears when appropriate statistical corrections are made for body size or age of people sampled. But when he used multiple regression to remove the simultaneous influence of height and age, he succeeded in reducing the sex difference by only one-third. He then invoked additional unspecified age and body parameters, claiming that if these could be controlled the entire difference would disappear.

David Ankney in 1992 questioned Gould's methodology. He re-examined autopsy data on 1,261 American adults and found that at any given body surface area or height, men's brains are heavier than women's. His research -- since confirmed by my own 1992 survey of 6,325 U.S. Army personnel -- attributes only about 30 per cent of the sex difference in brain size to differences in body size.

Admittedly, the brain-size studies present a paradox. Women have proportionately smaller brains than men but, apparently, the same intelligence scores. Ankney suggests that the difference in brain size may relate to those intellectual abilities at which men excel -- namely, spatial and mathematical ability -- which may require more "brain power'' than do verbal abilities. Other theories are that men average slightly higher in general intelligence than do women, and finally that these particular differences in brain size have nothing to do with cognitive ability at all, but reflect greater male muscle mass and physical coordination in tasks like throwing and catching.

Similarly, Gould denies that brain weight varies with race. He repeats verbatim his 1981 claim that Samuel George Morton -- a giant of nineteenth-century American science -- "unconsciously'' doctored his results on cranial capacity to prove Caucasian racial superiority. Yet he must know that John S. Michael reported in Current Anthropology in 1988 that he had checked Morton's work and found very few errors -- and these not in the direction that Gould asserted. Instead, Michael found errors in Gould's work.

In my own published work, uncited by Gould, I have shown that brain sizes vary systematically by race -- but not to the benefit of Caucasians. For what it is worth, Mongoloids average about a cubic inch more than Caucasoids and over three cubic inches more than Negroids. This result has been corroborated many times since 1980, and by every available technique. And these findings are in line with the (by now) accepted IQ results: the average IQ scores for "African,'' "Latino,'' "White,'' "Asian,'' and "Jewish'' Americans are 85, 89, 103, 106, and 115, respectively. Of course, whether these differences are the result of genetic or environmental influences, and whether (or to what extent) they are remediable by purposeful action -- these remain matters of dispute.

GOULD'S faults extend well beyond sins of omission to include sins of commission. His "new'' edition repeats the same false accusations about individuals that have been thoroughly refuted since 1981. Thus, Gould leaves unmodified his denigration of Sir Francis Galton as "a dotty Victorian eccentric.'' This was rightly described by Cambridge statistician A. W. F. Edwards in the London Review of Books (1983), as "a thoroughly tendentious portrait.'' Edwards pointed out that Gould, in a book full of references to correlation, multiple regression, principal-components analysis, and factor analysis, totally failed to inform his students that this whole statistical methodology was pioneered by Galton -- and to measure human intelligence.

He also repeats his trashing of Sir Cyril Burt, the eminent British educational psychologist, who reported a heritability for IQ of 77 per cent for identical twins reared apart. After his death in 1971, Burt was widely accused of fabricating his data. However, five separate studies of identical twins raised apart have now corroborated his findings. Two meticulously researched books, by Robert B. Joynson and Ronald Fletcher, have vindicated Burt, describing how he was railroaded by anti-hereditarian zealots. Gould ignores them.

Gould's most inflammatory allegation is to blame IQ testers for increasing the toll of the Holocaust. His thesis is that early IQ testers claimed Jews as a group scored low on their tests. This finding was then allegedly used to support passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924, under which Jewish refugees were denied entry in the 1930s. Gould even claims that Henry H. Goddard in 1917 and Carl C. Brigham in 1923 labeled four-fifths of Jewish immigrants as "feeble-minded . . . morons.''

In both cases, this has repeatedly been shown to be untrue. For example, Goddard was testing to see if the standard Binet test identified what were then called "high-grade defectives'' as well among immigrants as it did among native-born Americans. (It did.) He explicitly did not assert that 80 per cent of Russians, Jews, or any immigrant group in general were feeble-minded.

Gould repeats his account despite widely disseminated refutations. Historian of psychology Franz Samelson began setting the record straight in the journal Social Forces as early as 1975. Mark Snyderman and the late Richard Herrnstein, writing in The American Psychologist in 1983, corroborated Samelson's conclusions and showed that the testing community in general did not view its findings as favoring immigration restriction, and that Congress took virtually no notice of intelligence testing in framing the legislation.

The eminent historian Carl N. Degler, in his 1991 book In Search of Human Nature, took Gould to task for ignoring contradictory information. He points out, for example, that the high scores of Orientals did not prevent them from being excluded from immigrating -- and that their scores would have embarrassed any attempt to make IQ the basis of immigration policy. Daniel Seligman debunked Gould's anti-testing propaganda in his book A Question of Intelligence. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, in their book, The Bell Curve, also highlighted the issue in a special boxed section. Gould reviewed The Bell Curve (twice!). Yet he ignores all these counter-arguments in his "revision.''

Indeed, in his account of The Bell Curve, Gould charges Herrnstein and Murray with "disingenuousness.'' He then withholds from readers the fact that their book was principally an empirical analysis of social stratification drawn from the 12-year National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Most high-IQ 17-year-olds, blacks as well as whites, went on to occupational success in their late twenties and early thirties. Many of those with low IQs, both black and white, went on to welfare dependency. Thus IQ tests are predictive.

Gould's attack on The Bell Curve focuses on its use of the "general factor of intelligence,'' or g, which psychometricians hypothesize underlies tests of mental ability. Gould likes to leave his readers chanting the mantra, "g is nothing more than an artifact of the mathematical procedure used to calculate it.'' But every major study shows that different IQ tests tend to be significantly intercorrelated, suggesting an underlying commonality. Thus Nathan Brody, Arthur Jensen, and John Carroll have all provided detailed empirical and analytical demonstrations of the reality of g (including, incidentally, a strong correlation with brain size). Gould ignores them all.

Gould employs another technical trick as well as attacking g: he continues to argue that findings about IQ differences within groups cannot be applied to differences between groups. (Curiously, he does not object when environmentalists use nutrition as an explanation of both within-group and between-group differences.) Research has found that racial differences are more pronounced on subtests that are highly heritable than on less heritable tests. This clearly supports the genetic hypothesis. Gould ignores it.

And most transracial adoption studies provide evidence for the heritability of racial differences in IQ. For instance, Korean and Vietnamese children adopted into white American and white Belgian homes were examined by E. A. Clark and J. Hanisee, by M. Frydman and R. Lynn, and by M. Winck et al. Many had been hospitalized for malnutrition. But they went on to develop IQs ten or more points higher than their adoptive national norms.

Gould does refer to adoption studies -- but only to a German finding of "no difference'' between pre-puberty mixed-race children fathered by black soldiers and those fathered by white soldiers. He also mentions a similar result in Minnesota which seems to refer to an early report of the famous Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study. That study has subsequently found, however, that marked black/white differences emerged by age 17. (Environmental influences typically wash out by adolescence.)

FINALLY, Gould continues to ridicule the "ape in some of us'' hypothesis proposed by Cesare Lombroso (1836 - 1909), the founder of criminology. Lombroso argued that many criminals were throwbacks to man's ancestral past, and that "natural-born criminals'' could be identified by anatomical signs of primitiveness. (Contrary to Gould, however, Lombroso also believed that criminal behavior could arise in "normal'' men.)

The reader of Mismeasure will search in vain, however, for even a dismissive reference to recent evidence that criminal behavior does indeed have a biological basis. Adrian Raine has reviewed several studies using MRI, Computerized Tomography, and Positron Emission Tomography to inspect the brains of violent and sexual offenders. He tentatively concluded that frontal-lobe dysfunction was associated with violent behavior, including rape. Further, it has been long established that criminals tend to have lower IQs than non-criminals. So, given the relation between brain size and IQ, Lombroso's finding of a smaller brain in criminals is probably correct.

Nor does Gould feel compelled to let his readers know that Lombroso's ideas have now received considerable support from behavioral genetics. Studies reported by Raine, David Rowe, and myself show that criminality is substantially more likely to be shared by identical twins than by fraternal twins. This clearly suggests a genetic factor, since both sets of twins share environments, but only identical twins have identical genes. Similarly, American, Danish, and Swedish studies of children adopted in infancy show that adopted children were more likely to be criminals if their biological parents -- rather than their adoptive parents -- were also criminals.
Even Lombroso's theory of bodily markers is not as far out as Gould would have you believe. It is now understood that drugs in pregnancy or other "insults'' to the fetus may disturb its brain development and simultaneously produce a minor physical anomaly (MPA). For example, fetal ears start low on the neck and gradually drift upward. An insult to development can stop this and result in low-set ears -- an observable MPA. Thus, the number of MPAs is a rough index of (perhaps hidden) central-nervous-system anomalies.

For children raised in unstable families, Raine found that the number of MPAs at age 12 was related to violent behaviors at age 21. More generally, Raine even found that antisocial children often had more facial deformities, as judged by expert plastic surgeons.

In suppressing the hypothesis that genetics matter in crime by sneering at the long-dead Lombroso and ignoring the latest research, Gould is actively obstructing scientists from finding ways to spare both future victims and delinquents -- who, in their own fashion, are also victims. It is thus Gould who is -- in Lombroso's words -- the delinquent man.

Gould tells us that he originally considered titling his book Great Is Our Sin, from Charles Darwin's remark: "If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.'' He avers that the scientific study of human differences in mental ability is nothing but an apology for elitist European enslavement and oppression of the rest of the world. This has become the apostle's creed of the adversary culture. However, even the most deeply held views cannot justify withholding evidence, engaging in character assassination, and repeating unfounded charges despite refutations.

"May I end up next to Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius in the devil's mouth at the center of hell if I ever fail to present my most honest assessment and best judgment of evidence for empirical truth,'' swears Gould on page 39 of his new introduction. By his own standard, Gould has consigned himself to the innermost circle of hell. But science, fortunately, is neither religion nor politics. Gould can save himself by owning up to the facts and ending his career of relentless special pleading.


The following is from the book The Evolution Wars: A Guide to the Debates
by Michael Ruse, 2000

The best-known evolutionist active today is Stephen Jay Gould, of Harvard University. His books are read and enjoyed by millions. But if he is looking for glory and praise from his fellow evolutionists, he is out of luck. You expect that philosophers will sometimes turn a little nasty. That comes with the job. The less we connect with the real world, the more choleric we become. But you do not expect such bile of the leading evolutionary game theorist, John Maynard Smith, a man whose boyhood years at England's leading private school (Eton College) reflect in the courtesy and charm he shows in conversation and in writing. Yet, writing in the New York Review of Books—a place, admittedly, where unbalanced emotion is the norm rather than the exception—he suddenly swung from his allotted task (a mild review of something on another topic) and started declaiming against Gould and his false and sloppy thinking: "Gould occupies a rather curious position, particularly on his side of the Atlantic. Because of the excellence of his essays, he has come to be seen by non-biologists as the preeminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least on our side against the creationists. All this would not matter, were it not that he is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary biology." (Maynard Smith 1995, 46)

Sometimes a dignified silence, however difficult, is a strategy preferable to all-out counterattack. Such is not Gould's way. Labeling people like Maynard Smith and Richard Dawkins as "Darwinian fundamentalists," Gould lamented that although Maynard Smith has "written numerous articles, amounting to tens of thousands of words" about Gould's work, whereas those were "always richly informed," now alas he has been seduced into adaptationist fanaticism.  He really ought to be asking himself why he has been bothering about my work so intensely, and for so many years. Why this dramatic change? Has he been caught up in apocalyptic ultra-Darwinian fervor? I am, in any case, saddened that his once genuinely impressive critical abilities seem to have become submerged within the simplistic dogmatism epitomized by Darwin's Dangerous Idea [i.e., all-powerful natural selection], a dogmatism that threatens to compromise the true complexity, subtlety (and beauty) of evolutionary theory and the explanation of life's history." (Gould 1997, 37)

As we shall learn, there are different levels to this quarrel, but let us start with the most obvious level—that of the science.

Punctuated Equilibria
The year of the centenary of the Origin, 1959, was the heyday of Darwinian natural selection. After years of neglect and denial, finally the significance of selection as a mechanism was being recognized, in America as well as Britain. Great and long were the celebrations, with honorary degrees being handed out like candy to all of the major figures in the field. It is therefore no surprise that, when Stephen Jay Gould began his career in the mid-1960s as a paleontologist, specializing in the evolution of snails (Gould 1969), he was an orthodox Darwinian. Confirming this, an earlier review paper on problems of relative growth showed how things considered nonadaptive can be fitted readily into a selectionist framework that can be extended to explain nonadaptive characteristics (Gould 1966). But in a sense, American Darwinism was always skin deep remember—how Spencer had been a far greater influence—and, for all that George Gaylord Simpson labored in Darwinian fields, paleontology was always on the edge of the pasture. The fact of the matter is that paleontology cannot use selection directly, as can the student of today's organisms, such as the sociobiologist. Selection is not a tool of research where you can go out and discover and test and come up with results. You are working at a distance—a very long distance—with evidence (fossils) that is spotty and incomplete and very very dead. You are always having to take somebody else's exciting ideas and see if they do anything for you.

Those who know of the self-confident personality of Stephen Jay Gould—he is not about to take a back seat to anyone—could have predicted that he would not tolerate this. Before long, Gould would be moving forward to make his own mark on evolutionary studies. This mark would make paleontology a central focus of attention, arguing that the evolutionist needs paleontology not just for establishing the fact of evolution and for ferreting out the path of evolution but also for discovering the true nature and full extent of the causes of evolution. Expectedly, in the early 1970s, this prediction came true. Together with a former fellow graduate student, Niles Eldredge, Gould began pushing forward a supposedly all-new perspective on the paleontological record—a perspective that Gould and Eldredge somewhat inelegantly labeled "punctuated equilibria."

The two young palaeontologists started with the fact that traditionally, the course of evolution is seen to be one of smooth gradual change. This is something that comes about simply because natural selection makes sudden change highly improbable. The only way in which organisms can stay in adaptive harmony with their surroundings is by changing only minutely in each generation. Therefore, any apparently sharp breaks in the fossil record should not be explained in terms of major jumps from one form to another but should be put down to the incompleteness of the record and so forth. What Eldredge and Gould argued, to the contrary, was that the paleontological record is in fact much better and stronger than most people allow, and that hence a causal explanation must be found to explain this. One must accept that there are long periods of relatively little evolutionary change—periods of equilibrium, or stasis—broken, or punctuated, by rapid moves from one form to another. "The history of life is more adequately represented by a picture of 'punctuated equilibria' than by the notion of phyletic gradualism. The history of evolution is not one of stately unfolding, but a story of equilibria, disturbed only 'rarely' (i.e., rather often in the fullness of time) by rapid and episodic events of speciation" (Eldredge and Gould 1972, 84).

The controversial and exciting part of the Gould-Eldredge thesis was that an explanation can indeed be found. And interestingly, at this point, far from wanting to break from conventional (American) neo-Darwinism or the synthetic theory, Gould and Eldredge argued that it is precisely this theory itself that has the resources to explain the paradox! To make their case, the paleontologists turned to the ideas of Dobzhansky's associate, the major ornithologist and systematist Ernst Mayr. Some years previously, in order to explain speciation (the fact and causes behind new species), Mayr (1954) had proposed what he termed the "founder principle." According to Mayr, speciation results from a small group of organisms getting broken off or isolated from the main species population. Simply because of the new circumstances in which they find themselves, the members of this subpopulation start to evolve rapidly away from the parental form. In addition, argued Mayr, given the masses of genetic variation that occur naturally in a population, any small subpopulation will necessarily be atypical with respect to the whole group. There will therefore be a kind of shaking down as the members get used to each other and learn to do with much reduced genetic resources. Within the "founder population," there will be what one might call a "genetic revolution."

Mayr certainly thought of himself as being fairly orthodoxly Darwinian in his claims about speciation, although with hindsight one can see that what he was proposing was something much more in the spirit of Sewall Wright's shifting balance theory than Darwin's theory of the Origin. (Sewall Wright thought it was the shifting balance theory!) Mayr was arguing that a certain randomness, which occurs because of the breaking off of the subpopulation, is the crucial factor in the forming of new species. One has, as it were, a kind of genetic drift writ large. But whatever the true lineage of Mayr's ideas, this hypothesis was highly congenial to Eldredge and Gould. It suggested that new species will form very rapidly, not in the neighborhood of their immediate ancestors, but in new areas. You have species A in one place and then, almost overnight as it were, you have species B somewhere else. This could just be the kind of jerky fossil record that Gould and Eldredge thought was the true story to be read from the rocks. "If new species arise very rapidly in small, peripherally isolated local populations, then the great expectation of insensibly graded fossil sequences is a chimera. A new species does not evolve in the area of its ancestors; it does not arise from the slow transformation of all its forebears" (Eldredge and Gould 1972). In addition, the two paleontologists liked the way that Mayr was making the dynamics of populations (rather than the dynamics of isolated individuals) absolutely central to the evolutionary process. In the eyes of these paleontologists, factors operating over large periods of time, involving groups of organisms, yield the crucial causal keys needed for a full understanding of evolutionary processes. Here, for all that they drew on Mayr, Gould and Eldredge were starting to stand against population geneticists in the Dobzhansky tradition: scientists who looked at microevents often involving just a few individuals.

Yet at this point, although Gould was starting to embrace some ideas with but a loose connection to real Darwinism, he was not presenting himself as a dramatic revolutionary. This was to change in the next decade as Gould began to take a stronger and stronger position, setting himself more and more in opposition to prevailing orthodoxy. Why did he do this? There were a number of reasons. Undoubtedly, one was the fact that in the 1970s Gould immersed himself in a huge reading program in the history of biology. This was in preparation for Ontogeny and Phylogeny, his major work that appeared in 1977. Part history and part science, Ontogeny and Phylogeny argued that traditional links between embryology and phylogeny are better taken than people in the twentieth century had been prepared to recognize. At the same time—and perhaps in major part because of his reading program—Gould was growing increasingly sympathetic to elements of German evolutionism. He responded particularly warmly to that tradition going back, through Haeckel, to the morphology of the early nineteenth century that had so upset Cuvier: Naturphilosophie. Gould embraced with enthusiasm the Naturphilosophen's emphasis on form rather than function, their insistence that what really counts when studying organisms is the architectural nature of the underlying ground plan, or Bauplan (Russell 1916). He liked the turn to homology and the retreat from what the German thinkers regarded as a rather superficial cherishing of selection-caused functionality.

From this, it was but an easy step for Gould to move right into an attack on all-embracing adaptationism. Notoriously, in 1979, writing with a colleague in the department of organismic biology at Harvard, the population geneticist Richard C. Lewontin, Gould produced an article arguing that much to be found in the organic world bears little or no direct connection to adaptive advantage (Gould and Lewontin 1979). Gould, with Lewontin, argued that there are significant constraints on development: these constraints forming and molding organisms in nonadaptive ways. And, simply as part of developmental processes, even when selection is at work there are bound to be a great many nonadaptive byproducts. Much that seems to have purpose probably exists for no end-related reason whatsoever. With Lewontin, Gould drew attention to the triangular areas at the tops of pillars in medieval churches, things that they labeled spandrels (although it turns out that the true technical name is pendentive). These triangles—one finds them in St. Marks Church in Venice, as well as on the roof of King's College, Cambridge—are often used as vehicles for wonderful mosaics or carvings. They seem therefore to have a direct adaptive function. But, indeed, they really are simply part and parcel of the architectural constraints that were involved in medieval church building.

Gould and Lewontin argued that, analogously, many organic characteristics have no true adaptive significance. The human chin, for instance, seems to be something with a purpose. Surely, if naught else, it is part of the design of the face for sexual attractiveness. But, in fact, detailed study shows that the chin is really something that comes about simply as a result of trying to put together other adaptive facial features: the jaw and the teeth     and so forth. Seeming purpose should never be equated simplistically      with genuine purpose: "In King's College Chapel in Cambridge, for example, the spaces contain bosses alternately embellished with the Tudor rose and portcullis. In a sense, this design represents an 'adaptation,' but the architectural constraint is clearly primary. The spaces arise as a necessary by-product of fan vaulting; their appropriate use is a secondary effect. Anyone who tried to argue that the structure exists because the alternation of rose and portcullis makes so much sense in a Tudor chapel would be inviting the same ridicule that Voltaire heaped on Dr. Pangloss: 'things cannot be other than they are ... Everything is made for the best purpose. Our noses were made to carry spectacles, so we have spectacles. Legs were clearly intended for breeches, and we wear them.' Yet evolutionary biologists, in their tendency to focus exclusively on immediate adaptation to local conditions, do tend to ignore architectural constraints and perform just such an inversion of explanation." (Gould and Lewontin 1979, 583)

We are now at the end of the decade (1980). Gould was on a roll. He was mounting an all-out assault on the synthetic theory of Theodosius Dobzhansky and his colleagues. Gould (1980a) went so far as to argue that the synthetic theory is "effectively dead." At the same time, punctuated equilibria—which was now becoming more and more identified with Gould alone—was breaking entirely from any connections with conventional evolutionary thought. In particular, it was being presented now as an outright saltationary theory, that is to say as a theory where large jumps (presumably brought about by macromutations) are the key factors in. evolutionary change. There was an expressed likeness for "hopeful monsters": organisms that take phylogenies directly from one form to another form. Drawing on his deep knowledge of evolution's history, Gould was bringing forward evolutionists from the past who were supportive of saltationism: evolutionists who, so Gould maintained, had been unfairly belittled or denied credit simply because they were out of tune with the ideology of the then prevalent Darwinism. The synthetic theory, so he claimed, was little more than an extension of nineteenth-century liberalism, with its fondness for gradual change rather than revolution.

As you might have expected, conventional evolutionists—those working on fast-breeding organisms and concerned more with microevolution than with macro changes—started to get very tense. Here was a very public evolutionist—Gould's Ever since Darwin, published the same year (1977) as Ontogeny and Phylogeny, was a runaway bestseller—telling the world that their theory was not true science but merely washed-up Victorian ideology. G. L. Stebbins, the botanist member of the cohort who put together the synthetic theory, together with Dobzhansky's student Francisco Ayala, wrote an influential paper pointing out that natural selection is sufficiently powerful to bring about all of the so-called saltationary changes that Gould was demanding (Stebbins and Ayala 1981). In addition, these critics argued that although selection may seem fairly leisurely in the eyes of an individual human, from the perspective of geological time it is more than sufficiently rapid to bring about any conceivable macro changes: both those recorded and those not recorded directly in the fossil record. In other words, as Darwin and his followers had always argued, the gaps in the record are as much artifactual as genuinely representative of things that truly happened.

Continuing their counterresponse, these doughty defenders of tradition pointed out that no Darwinian has ever claimed that the course of evolution is always as smooth and gradual as is implied by Gould's caricature of their theory. It has always been recognized that the pace of evolution is something that speeds up and slows down, according to many different factors. There are impinging conditions imposed both from without the organic world, geological factors, for instance, and impinging conditions imposed from within the organic world, competitors and the availability of desirable ecological niches, for instance. It is true that Darwinism demands that immediate change be gradual—there is indeed no place for hopeful monsters—but over the time scales recorded in the fossil record, there is no reason at all to expect uniformity. "Living fossils" such as horseshoe crabs have persisted over hundreds of millions of years. Other organisms have evolved very rapidly. And in any case, the saltationists of the past, worthy scientists though they may have been in their time, are now simply outdated and wrong.

Gould has never been one to acknowledge directly that he is mistaken or even that he is walking on dangerous ground. There was certainly to be no dramatic retraction of any of the claims that he had made when he was writing at his most vehement level. However, over the next decade—that is to say, through the 1980s—in many respects, Gould did start to pull back from the more extreme positions that he had taken or floated. Not entirely accurately, he now denied that he had ever made the extreme claims ascribed to him. In particular, he denied strongly that he had ever been an outright saltationist. Gould (1982) now started to argue that he was not so much against Darwinism as such, but that what he had been advocating and would continue to push for was a kind of expanded Darwinism. This would be a vision where natural selection and adaptation are indeed very important aspects of organic life and of the evolutionary process. A vision, however, where there is a perceived need for the supplementation, sometimes dramatically, of selection by other processes.

More specifically, in Gould's opinion what one has now (at least, what one needs now) is less a single-level theory—as apparently was true of the synthetic theory—and more something that is hierarchical. The image here is of the Catholic church, with its different levels from the parish priest right up to the pope. Likewise in evolutionary theory, argued Gould, we need a layered perspective, going from bottom to top. Neo-Darwinism is good and right, as far as it goes, but it speaks only to a kind of midlevel to the hierarchy. Beneath natural selection working on individual organisms, one has a microlevel that involves molecular biology. Here, at this molecular level, it is pertinent to note that a number of theoretical biologists, particularly Japanese population biologists, have argued that there is ubiquitous randomness: what came to be known, naturally, as molecular drift. It is a well-known fact that at this molecular level, there is a great deal of redundancy. Different molecules encoding the DNA produce the same cellular products. Hence, there is every reason to think that these differences lie below the forces of natural selection and simply drift from one form or ratio to another. (The classic statement of this thesis can be found in Kimura 1983.)

Then, argued Gould, above the microlevels of individual selection, one has macrolevels involving vast periods of time. Here, other new forces come into play. And here, at this macrolevel, the expertise of the paleontologist comes into its own. One sees that individual selection makes no major difference and that such things as constraints on development start to be the major determining factors. Perhaps some of the ideas raised in the spandrels paper are important here. Initially, a certain Bauplan is the all-important constraint on what an organism (or a group of organisms) is and must be. A threshold is reached, and there is a rapid change from one Bauplan to another—a change that has nothing to do with natural selection, being rather a shuffling of the internal structure (morphological, biochemical, whatever) of the organism. Then selection comes back into play, refining and elaborating on the new form that has been produced. It is all rather as if a kaleidoscope had been shaken, and a new picture emerges from parts that had been fragmented and reassembled.

Crucial to this whole way of looking at things is the belief that what is going at this upper level simply cannot be explained in terms of the lower levels. Gould (like Lewontin) has long been an ardent critic of what he labels "reductionism": the assumption that the key to understanding the upper levels of reality lies in delving ever more deeply into the lower levels of reality. Gould does not deny that this assumption can be the basis of very fruitful inquiry in ecology, it may well be the vital method of investigation—but he is adamant that it is very dangerous if taken as an all-determining metaphysical principle. Sometimes one can and should try for an understanding at an emergent level—at a higher hierarchical level. And here the higher simply cannot be reduced to or explained away at the lower level. Specifically with respect to evolution at the macrolevel, one has things happening that cannot be explained at microlevels. Dobzhansky and his fellows were just plain wrong. Genetics, the science of the micro, must be supplemented by paleontology, the science of the macro. To argue otherwise is to slip into the dreadful sins of Panglossianism or the building of "Just So" stories (things encountered in this and the last chapter).

For the last decade or more, Gould has been refining his position, trying to build on and develop his own ideas, while at the same time wearing down the opposition: wearing down the Darwinian opposition, that is. One paper deals with the shapes of snail shells, showing that certain atypical forms of the shells—so-called smokestack shells—are a function of constraints on growth, rather than Darwinian selection as the synthetic theory would argue: "Evolution is a balance between internal constraint and external pushing to determine whether or not, and how and when, any particular channel of development will be entered. Natural selection is one prominent mode of pushing, but most engendered consequences of any impulse may be complex, nonadaptive sequelae of rules in growth that define a channel. Most changes must then be prescribed by these channels, not by any particular effect of selection. Natural selection does not always determine the evolution of morphology; often it only pushes organisms down a preset, permitted path." (Gould 1984, 191-192)

Another paper, coauthored by Gould, deals with the replacement in the same ecological niche of one organic form by another (Gould and Calloway 1980). Gould's claim is that such a replacement might as well be nonadaptive as anything fueled by selection. We may have "ships that pass in the night." To assume otherwise is simply to make a dogma of Darwinism. And yet a third paper deals with specific forms of nonadaptive characteristics, things that Gould has labeled "exaptations" (Gould andVrba 1982).

A major contribution to the cause was Gould's Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, a book published in 1989. On the surface, this is a work about soft-bodied organisms (dating back to the Cambrian) found fossilized in the Rockies of Western Canada. There are all sorts of strange forms, truly sparking one's imagination and seeming to defy orthodox classification. But the telling of the tale is only one part of what Gould is about. Truly, indeed, this is a work with a mission. Gould uses the Burgess Shale to launch an attack on what he sees as an incorrect picture of the history of life, an incorrect picture that has been brought illicitly into evolutionary studies by enthusiastic Darwinians. A particular bugbear of Gould is the idea of evolutionary progress—our old friend of upward change, from monad to man. He thinks this is a truly false picture of history, which is rather one of randomness and chance and lack of any significant direction. Certainly, humans came last. If they did not, we would not be around now, to tell the tale. But we are not the finest culmination of a directed process. Like everything else, we just happened. And the fossils of the Burgess Shale show that this is so. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful forms, all now extinct with very few exceptions (one of which may be a vertebrate predecessor), and any one of these might have been the progenitor of today's organisms. It was just chance that it all went one way rather than any other. Life has no ultimate meaning and history shows this. Those who think otherwise, Darwinians particularly, are just plain wrong. This continues as Gould's theme, even up to his most recent       major book, Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin            (1996): "If one small and odd lineage of fishes had not evolved fins capable of bearing weight on land (though evolved for different reasons in lakes and seas), terrestrial vertebrates would never have arisen. If a large extraterrestrial object—the ultimate random bolt from the blue—had not triggered the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, mammals would still be small creatures, confined to the nooks and crannies of a dinosaur's world, and incapable of evolving the larger size that brains big enough for self-consciousness require. If a small and tenuous population of protohumans had not survived a hundred slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and potential extinction) on the savannas of Africa, then Homo sapiens would never have emerged to spread throughout the globe. We are glorious accidents of an unpredictable process with no drive to complexity, not the expected results of evolutionary principles that yearn to produce a creature capable of understanding the mode of its own necessary construction." (p. 216)

Taking Things Apart
Whether or not evolution has many different levels or layers, Gould's arguments most certainly do. So let us take them apart and see what we get. At one level, the most basic level, you may say that we have a scientific argument. Is he right that the fossil record is as jerky as he claims and that this is something that a Darwinian cannot handle or explain? Whatever else, one can certainly say that Gould has drawn attention to the question of the rates of evolution. Intense effort has been expended on the path or course of evolution as revealed through the fossil record and on its putative support for the theory of punctuated equilibria. And the answer, I am afraid, is one of extreme ambiguity! Indeed, perhaps by now you might have been expecting that I would say this, because several times before in this book when we have come up to crucial points of decision, I back away and say that the facts cannot decide! Although an exaggeration, there is some truth in this. But I think it probably tells you more about science than it does about me. (Although my father used to complain that I could not open my mouth without telling you something about me.)

The truth is that when scientists hold different positions, it rarely is simply one of the physical facts. Both sides can summon up facts to suit their respective causes: Cuvier points to function, Geoffroy to form; Dobzhansky to heterozygosity, Muller to homozygosity; Stringer to Neanderthal differences, Wolpoff to Neanderthal similarities. The facts are not irrelevant, anything but, yet they are not decisive. And certainly this is the case here. There are cases where evolutionary change seems to have been very rapid indeed—so rapid, that it surely qualifies as sudden or jerky in the terms demanded by punctuated equilibria. It seems likely that the evolution of fish (cichlids) in East African lakes qualifies here—one can show that speciation has been so rapid an event that even if there were fossilization, it would be invisible in the record. (Williamson 1985). There are cases where evolutionary change seems not to have been so very rapid—slow enough, in fact, that the changes do come through in the fossil record. This seems true of the evolution of certain mammals, for instance. And there are cases where, depending on your inclination, you can interpret the record one way or the other. The human fossil trail seems to fall into this camp. It is not that punctuated equilibria theory is wrong and that the Darwinian alternative (what Gould calls "phyletic gradualism") is right, or conversely. Rather it is that the fossil record simply is not decisive.

But this is not the end of the argument, for there are other levels of debate. Just as I am always arguing that the facts are not decisive, so I am also always arguing that philosophical differences really count. I will not disappoint your expectations, for I do think that they are very important here. One thing that may seem important is Marxism. Notoriously, Gould has boasted of his connections to this philosophy—we are told that he learnt it "at his daddy's knee"—and he has certainly drawn attention to the way in which the Marxist view of world history is one of rapid revolutionary change, rather than gradualism (which Gould links with the liberal philosophy that was Charles Darwin's). Also, the antireductionism—seeing different processes at work at different levels is Marxist is a translation of Engels's law of quantity to quality. (Lewontin, who coauthored the spandrels paper, is an ardent Marxist. See also the comments in Gould and Eldredge 1977.)

But although I am sure that this is important, I doubt that it is all-important, even if we discount the fact that since Stephen Jay Gould became the Stephen Jay Gould, he has been rather backtracking his earlier influences and enthusiasms. In line with what we have seen, more pertinent to Gould's thinking, I suspect, is that whole Germanic approach to biology (which was, naturally, shared by Marx and Engels). It is the approach of the Naturphilosoph, who thinks that form takes precedence over function, who thinks in terms of hierarchy, whose philosophy of history is one of dialectic, swinging from one pole to another. Add to this a good swig of Herbert Spencer—the very name, "punctuated equilibria," reeks of the old man. More seriously, the obsession with equilibrium is very much a Spencerian concern for evolution (as opposed to Darwinian, where it plays no essential role whatsoever). And certainly in some of his writings Gould has shown a liking for the notion of "homeostasis," an idea developed on Spencerian lines in the 1930s by the physiologist Walter B. Cannon, supposing that organisms get themselves into a kind of balance and have a natural tendency to stay or return to the beginning point.

But the one big problem here with Marxism, Naturphilosophie, and especially Spencerianism is the matter of progress. All three of these philosophies are deeply progressive, with humankind as the culmination at the top. Gould has spent twenty years arguing against precisely this. How then can one suppose any significant links? Two points are relevant. First, Gould was not always an antiprogressionist. In fact, up to and including the writing of his Ontogeny and Phylogeny in 1977, he was in favor of progress, a process apparently triumphing with our own species. Then Gould swung round against the idea. Which brings in the second point, namely that this was just at the time of the heated human sociobiology debate, a matter on which Gould was as committed negatively as was his colleague Richard Lewontin. Gould—like Lewontin both a Marxist and Jew—saw Wilson's science as being a terrible travesty of the way in which real science should be performed. He saw it as a threat to all that he held sacred and something to be opposed with all his might.

There were various ways that Gould set about opposing biological progress. Some were less than subtle. I have told how Gould fingered Teilhard de Chardin for the Piltdown hoax (Gould 1980b). It is hardly contingent that Teilhard has been one of this century's greatest boosters of biological progress. If Teilhard could be removed from the scene as a hoaxer, then there surely would be a trickle-down effect against progress. More openly in his campaign against biological progress, Gould was led to write a book, The Mismeasure of Man (1981), detailing the ways in which biological approaches to humankind have had a long and ugly history of prejudice and bias. One should expect no more from human sociobiology. Another move by Gould was that taken with Lewontin and promoted from thenceforth by Gould. Since sociobiology is so deeply Darwinian, so deeply adaptationist, then a general attack on this is a particular attack on human sociobiology. The spandrels paper and its fellows are attempts to show that there is more to evolution than adaptation, and hence the very project of human sociobiology—so thoroughly adaptationist—is misconceived. And then a third move is the denial of progress. Gould is quite open that he believes in the possibility of social progress and that he sees one of its greatest barriers to be thoughts of biological progress, which latter he takes to be deeply Darwinian and very much part of human sociobiology. He thinks that the thought of and hope for biological progress has been behind many moves to oppress blacks and Jews and women and others. If there is progress, then some have to be higher than others, and this would be a natural and proper state of affairs. But obviously such a conclusion is unacceptable. Hence, the opposition to biological progress and to pure Darwinism that is seen to be part and parcel of the package.

There is one final item that should be added and then the case will be complete. Gould is a paleontologist. In the eyes of the general public, this is what evolution is all about: fossils, dinosaurs, Lucy and all of that. But as you must now realize, this is not at all the way that professional evolutionists see things. To them, paleontology is just the thing that they have had to escape in order to raise the status of their science. To get out of the museums and away from a quasi-religious system of hypothetical phylogeny building, they have had to turn to tight, mathematical, experimental, causal studies of fast-breeding organisms like fruit flies. I would hardly want to say that dinosaurs are an embarrassment, but even now there are echoes of the past. The past decade or so, for example, has seen a very public and indecisive debate about the origins of the birds (Feduccia 1996)—are they descended from the dinosaurs or from other non-dinosaur reptiles? If you cannot answer something as basic as this, what hope of a real duality science?

It is symptomatic of the state of affairs that when, in the early 1980s, Gould began suggesting that one must invoke one-step changes in organisms to account for the fossil record, he was slapped down and into place by the geneticists. Paleontology must do what it is told by the geneticists, rather than conversely. But now, with punctuated equilibria theory, the case is changed. Geneticists must sit up and take notice. Not only does paleontology have its own level or levels of understanding—levels that cannot be eliminated (reduced away) by slick appeals to genetics—but there are dimensions where paleontology can actually tell genetics what it can and cannot do. Equality is now in sight. And anyone who thinks that something like this is not of extreme interest to a person with the ego of Stephen Jay Gould, simply does not know the man. Upgrading his subject has always been high on Gould's list of things to do. No one wants to spend their professional lives in a subject that is regarded with disdain, if not contempt—the sociology of the life sciences. If Gould's program succeeds, if people do accept the need for an expanded Darwinism, then at long last paleontology will come into its own. It can stand shoulder to shoulder with genetics rather than lurk unobtrusively in the background, coming forward only when called. The title of a talk Gould gave back in 1982 tells all: "Irrelevance, Submission and Partnership: The Changing Role of Paleontology in Darwin's Three Centennials, and a Modest Proposal for Macroevolution." (The three centennials were for the birth of Darwin in 1908, the publication of the Origin in 1959, and the death of Darwin in 1982. We Darwinians like centennials.)

It is this, as much as anything, that accounts for the bitter note in John Maynard Smith's criticism quoted at the beginning of this chapter. The trouble is that people are starting to take Gould seriously, and that rankles. It rankles also that Gould does not fight his battles just in the professional journals, where only professional scientists would take notice. He gets into the public arena, with his monthly column in Natural History, and then in collections and monographs, as well as many other places, notably the influential New York Review of Books. For Maynard Smith, geneticist and sociobiologist, this is all the wrong way around. Gould should be judged against the standards set by Maynard Smith and his fellows and should not try to get around difficult points with philosophy and rhetoric. He should be more respectful of and appreciative toward the ideas that have been developed and inherited. And he should not remind the world of the shaky status of so much evolutionary theorizing for so long. It is not just that Gould's ideas are wrong. It is that they are presented as position of reason and tolerance and common sense, and the outside world believes him. That really irritates.

Hierarchy Theory
Let us pull away from the motives and countermotives, charges and countercharges. The really important question is whether Darwinism—an ultra Darwinism, which pushes selection without hesitation or apology—is enough, or whether one really wants and needs more to get a full understanding of the evolutionary process. Start with the level below the physical characteristics (the phenotype), the molecular level. At this level (as Gould noted), it has been hypothesized that selection can have only a minimal effect. Even if natural selection produces the hand and the eye, the molecules making everything up are another matter entirely. Selection may (for instance) decide between a blue eye and a brown eye, but suppose there are two ways (with different molecular patterns) of making a blue eye. Selection could not decide between them. Some biologists, extending this possibility, think that in real life there is a huge amount of molecular redundancy, and it was suggested by a leading Japanese population geneticist, Moto Kimura (1983), that at this level the molecules just drift up or down to total fixation or to elimination. In populations where the effects of selection can make themselves known, drift can operate only on small populations. But where selection is absent or minimalist, drift can (in theory) have major effects on large populations.

But is this true? Well, possibly in some cases. But in other cases it certainly does not hold. Where one is dealing with nonfunctional chunks of DNA (pseudogenes), no doubt drift is the player that counts. But overall the amount of drift at the molecular level has been subject to various experiments, some of which suggest strongly that selection is sifting through the molecules, choosing some and rejecting others. For instance, there has been detailed study of the molecular gene replacements in closely related species of fruitfly (Drosophila). If the genes are drifting up or down, irrespective of selection, then one ought to find the same orders of magnitude of differences between species as one finds within species. Everything is going according to random patterns, so interbreeding and like phenomena should make no difference. In fact, they did make major differences. Between species, one finds significant differences in the molecular genes, but within species although there is some variation, there is far less. This all rather suggests that within the species selection is acting in a positive way to cherish some genes and to eliminate others. A counter to the neutral theory (McDonald and Kreitman 1991).

Move next to the physical level: the phenotype. It is here that selection is supposed to reign supreme. But does it? The Darwinian—the ultra-Darwinian like Richard Dawkins—thinks selection is very, very important. But all important? In fact, no one has ever wanted to claim that selection works in a perfect fashion, forever producing adaptations at their "optimized" peak. One might for instance be dealing with something that had an adaptive function but that now no longer serves such an end. It could be that circumstances have changed, and selection simply has left the feature in place—perhaps selection is unable to reduce the feature. Paradoxically, one ultra-Darwinian has suggested that human sexuality might fall into this category (Williams 1975). Although this is a controversial issue and not all would agree, there are reasons to think that sexuality is really only of adaptive advantage to fast-breeding organisms in unstable environments. For humans, who breed slowly and who stabilize their environments, sexuality may be positively disadvantageous—a single female could do the work herself (as is the case in many mammals and to be candid many human families). But our anatomy and physiology have now become so specialized that we cannot relinquish sexuality. We are stuck with it, for all its problems.

Another reason for nonoptimality of adaptation is relative growth (allometry). Sometimes features are linked together, with one part growing faster than other parts. In fact, this is a well-known and studied phenomenon, and it turns out that the usual relationship is logarithmic—the fast-growing part grows at a very much faster rate than the other parts. It could be that such a fast-growing part is of crucial importance in breeding, but unfortunately it then peaks and goes over into nonadaptive status as the rest of the organism matures and reaches full size. It is thought that possibly the massive horn growth of the extinct "Irish elk" (actually a deer) could have come through such a process. For early breeding purposes, big horns are a decided advantage. But then the horns just keep growing even though they are maladaptive. Unfortunately by this stage the damage is done—the next generation have the potential for big horns—and so the adult maladaptation is perpetuated.

Something similar occurs when one has sexual selection working against natural selection. Big tails are sexually desirable in the peacock, but from a natural selection viewpoint—escaping from predators—they are no good at all. Such characteristics are adaptive in one sense and maladaptive in others. And then finally let me mention pleiotropy. Sometimes more that one characteristic is produced by one gene. If the one characteristic is very valuable in the struggle for life, then it can balance other characteristics that are less valuable or even harmful. In a way, this is an individual phenomenon somewhat akin to the group effect that you get with balanced superior heterozygote fitness, where the homozygotes are less fit than the heterozygote—where, indeed, a homozygote may be so unfit as to be absolutely lethal.

So you can see that, although they are all selection connected, the Darwinian certainly sees a place for nonadaptive features. Moreover, turning now to Gould's counterarguments, the Darwinian would challenge many of Gould's supposed examples of nonadaptive characteristics. It would be argued that these features are indeed rooted in adaptive advantage, as brought about by natural selection. Take the key example of vertebrate limb number. Gould suggests that the fact that vertebrates have four limbs rather than six (as insects have) is purely a matter of contingency or constraints on building vertebrates or some such thing. Having four rather than three or five can be explained through adaptive advantage—five legs would be lousy for running, although I suppose the kangaroo, with two legs and a tail, might make one pause about three—but why four rather than six or even eight (like arachnids)? However, Maynard Smith (1981) has seized on this example as precisely one where selection does count! He points out that the early vertebrates were sea creatures, with the need to go up and down rapidly in the water. This, as with airplanes in the air, is best effected by two wings or limbs fore and two wings or limbs aft. In fact, there were vertebrates with other numbers of limbs, but selection favored the four-limbed variety. Today, we live with the relict of this need. It may be that we could get by with a different number like snakes, whales, and chickens obviously do—but that is not to deny the fact that four is rooted in selection, contra Gould's claim. And as we have seen, it is certainly not part of the Darwinian case that all features must have maximum adaptive value right now, and always. The point is that such features are connected to selection in some way, at some point in time.

But there is more than this. Thus far we have been rather defending selection. The strong Darwinian would want to go on the attack. He or she would be aggressive about his or her adaptationism. Even though there may be reasons why full adaptive advantage cannot be reached, until forced to assume otherwise the correct attitude is one of attack. One can and should build "optimality models" showing just how and where selection might have worked. Gould may sneer at these as "Just So" stories, but the fact is that they are valuable and extremely fertile tools for analyzing nature. By way of example, let me draw your attention to a series of papers written by Edward O. Wilson. As you know, he is an expert on the social insects. This series, written at the beginning of the 1980s, focuses specifically on the caste system in certain groups of the ants. Using the metaphor of a division of labor, Wilson was concerned to find why and how it is that the ants have so many different forms. One goes all the way from tiny workers within the nest to large soldier ants outside the nest, protecting their siblings from attackers of all kinds. Wilson worked exclusively on the so-called leafcutter ants, a genus known as Atta. They send out forgers from the nest looking for vegetation, leaves and the like. Once they have spotted something, they proceed to cut their bounty into small pieces, which they can then carry back into the nest. Another caste now takes over, cutting up the leaves into even smaller pieces and treating them with enzymes on which they grow a kind of fungus. Finally, yet another caste takes the fungus and feeds it to the young. "The fungus-growing ants of the tribe Attini are of exceptional interest because, to cite the familiar metaphor, they alone among the ants have achieved the transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural existence" (Wilson 1980a, 153).

Wilson is an ardent Darwinian, so his working assumption was that, from the viewpoint of morphology as well as from behavior, we should find that the ants have been shaped by natural selection. We should find that their body shapes and behavior are about as good (optimized) as is possible to be. Taking this assumption as a tool of research, as much as an established empirical hypothesis, Wilson turned first to the question of the whole overall caste pattern and distribution to be found in Atta. Striving to show that there is indeed a division of labor, Wilson's work here was as much descriptive as experimental. First and most obviously, one finds that the soldiers (who take on the roughest work) are bigger and stronger than any of the others: a hundred times bigger than some of their nestmates. Then one finds that those out foraging are in the middle range. Finally, back home in the nest, one finds that here is the place of the most minute and delicate ants.

Why does one have this division? "The elaborate caste system and division of labor that are the hallmark of the genus Atta are an essential part of the specialization on fresh vegetation. And, conversely, the utilization of fresh vegetation is the raison d'etre of the caste system and division of labor" (Wilson 1980a, 150). And how does this all come about? Wilson was able to show that from a biological point of view, it is done fairly easily. It is a question of relative growth or allometry, combined with a degree of behavioral flexibility. In primitive species, nest members are not differentiated and anyone can and does do any task. "Most of the monomorphic attines utilize decaying vegetation, insect remains, or insect excrement as substrates, in other words, materials ready made for fungal growth" (p. 153). In the Atta, with specialization, some members of the nest do some tasks and other members do other tasks. But body forms are not radically different; rather they are developed proportionately to their ends.

The point is that if one is going to have a kind of specialization that the Atta have developed, namely, the ability to feed on fresh leaves and to grow fungus on them, one needs much more specialization than one finds with primitive monomorphic forms. But, can one then show experimentally that there are adaptive reasons behind this? "Is the colony as efficient in its basic operations as natural selection can make it, without some basic change in the ground plan of anatomy and behavior?" (Wilson 1980b, 157). In what way is one to answer this question? "The ideal way in which to test the natural selection hypothesis and to estimate the degree of optimization is to first write a list of all conceivable optimization criteria, deduced a priori from a knowledge of the natural history of the species. The next step is to conduct experiments to determine which of the criteria has been most closely approached, and to what degree. Finally, with the results in hand, the theoretician can alter behavioral and anatomical parameters in simulations in order to judge whether the species is capable of still further optimization by genetic evolution. If the approach actually taken by the species cannot be significantly improved by the simulations, we are justified in concluding that the species has not only been shaped in this particular part of its repertory by natural selection, but that it is actually on top of an adaptive peak." (p. 158)

One question that interested Wilson centered on the nature of the ants that would be most efficient for going out foraging, cutting up leaves, and bringing them back. Why should one find that the middle-range ants do this? Why not bigger ants, who could also act as soldiers, or smaller ants, who could also act as nest tenders? Wilson's hypothesis was that the middle-range ants are the best adapted to their allotted task: it is they who make optimal use of the energy resources of the nest. To test this hypothesis, Wilson ran a number of experiments using the so-called pseudomutant strategy. Wilson removed foragers under certain circumstances and saw whether the other castes, who were left in the nest, were more efficient at foraging, or whether the foraging dropped off. For instance, was one better off with smaller foragers or larger foragers? Or was it truly the case that something in between, as one has at the moment, is the best? (Wilson took note of the fact that in natural conditions, the vegetation available to the Atta is of a particular kind. In the rain forests, the vegetation is tough. One must therefore recognize that an ant that is good at cutting up rose petals might not function at all well in nature. One needs an ant at least capable of cutting up rhododendron leaves.)

Wilson showed that his hypothesis and research strategy pay off. "What A. sexdens has done is to commit the size classes that are energetically the most efficient, by both the criterion of the cost of construction of new workers ... and the criterion of the cost of maintenance of workers" (p. 164). More than this, Wilson found that the nests are adapted more to the kind of vegetation that they would experience in the wild than to any general range of vegetation. One has natural selection working flat out, most efficiently. The ants are adapted in such a way as to optimize the overall behavior of the nest. In other words, the colony "sits atop an adaptive peak."

You can make up all of the belittling metaphors that you like. You can jeer all you will—although it is interesting to note that critics like Gould seem never to want to focus in on work of this nature—but the fact of the matter is that, through his adaptationism, Wilson was able to throw very considerable light on intricate aspects of hymenopteran social behavior. That ultimately is the answer of the Darwinian to those who would belittle or deny their work and its worth.

Macroquestions
Finally, what about the upper
level of the hierarchy? No one is going to deny that you are going to get effects at the macrolevel—that is, over long periods of time—that are more than just microeffects stitched together. I am not sure that there is anything mysterious or "holistic" about this, but the fact is that the course of history over millions of years simply does not follow from the changes in a fruitfly cage. If this is what antireductionism means, then we are all antireductionists. One does not need an Engels to tell us as much. Take, for instance, the whole question of extinction. Not only do individual species go extinct, but sometimes you get a whole range of species going extinct at the same time: "mass extinction." Such events saw out the Devonian, the Permian, and most famously (when the dinosaurs went) the Cretaceous. No one could have inferred these extinctions from microevents, but then no one would ever have pretended to. Clearly, some other factors—possibly random and possible not, possibly extraterrestrial and possibly not—were involved. Everybody knows that the popular hypothesis for the end of the Cretaceous is that an asteroid or some such thing hit the earth, causing a great dust cloud and blocking out of the sun, and that as a consequence there was cooling and paucity of food and that this [killed] the dinosaurs (as opposed to the mammals who were just weedy little runt-sized nocturnal animals). This is not something that could have been predicted by population genetics, but it is something that is part of the causal story of life's history (Alvarez et al. 1980).

It has to be granted then that the macroevolutionist—the paleontologist—will tell us something about evolution as the path that we cannot get from elsewhere. And this will surely lead into discussion of evolution as cause, as one tries to understand and explain the path. The causes might not be directly biological, but they are part of the picture. I am not sure that there is any question of downward causation—of the paleontologist teaching and instructing the geneticist—but there is certainly some measure of autonomy to the macrolevel. But can one go on from here? Are there biological patterns at the macrolevel that would not be expected from the macrolevel? Can the macroevolutionist show and explain biologically fueled events that do not appear at smaller levels with shorter times?

In principle there seems no reason why not, and in fact we do find that some workers have tried to provide explanatory models of this nature. By example, let me take a problem that has long puzzled students of life's history, namely the so-called Cambrian explosion. Nearly 600 million years ago, life suddenly started to explode in diversity and number. From fairly sparse numbers and types, at least as revealed in the fossil record, huge numbers and varieties made their appearance, almost overnight as it were. Now there are a number of questions that you can ask—for instance, about why the explosion happened at all. And some of the answers will surely be framed in terms of adaptive advantage. For instance, it may be that the seawater was carrying much more oxygen, thanks to photosynthesis caused by algae, and this then made possible the sustenance of many more and more complex life-forms than previously.

But what about the actual pattern of the explosion? John J. Sepkoski Jr. collected huge amounts of data about the numbers of different kinds of organism that have been recorded as living back then at the time of the explosion. He found, plotting numbers on a graph, that the picture is roughly 'S' shaped (sigmoidal)—a rapid rise up, and then a flattening out. To explain this, Sepkoski turned to a well-known ecological hypothesis about the colonization of islands by organisms, formulated in the 1960s by Princeton biologist Robert MacArthur and Harvard entomologist Edward O. Wilson (one of Sepkoski's teachers). The island biogeography hypothesis specifies that organism species numbers will reach equilibrium (a function of distance from the mainland and island size) after a period of (exponential) growth—new species arriving on an island will equal the old species leaving or going extinct. Reasoning that colonizing in time is much like colonizing in space, Sepkoski (1976) was able readily to show that one can model the sigmoidal rise of organisms in the Cambrian using the MacArthur-Wilson hypothesis.

The first models produced by Sepkoski were understandably crude, but they were sufficiently promising to stimulate him to further effort. He worked diligently to expand his database—for technical reasons he focused on marine animals—and as the material piled up, he found that he needed to refine his theory. Instead of a nice smooth upward rise, a sigmoidal curve carrying one through the Cambrian and beyond, there is a midlevel break as the growth pauses before picking up again to continue the movement upward (Sepkoski 1979, 235). Tantalizingly, those organisms that seem most successful during the Cambrian reach their peak at the time of this pause, before they start into a long, slow decline.

Tantalizing but suggestive. Surely what is needed is a second set of equations, superimposed on the first, with a second curve therefore taking off on the back of the first. The Cambrian organisms (marine fauna) reach their peak halfway up and then start to decline. But in the meantime, rather like a second-stage rocket that takes over when the first stage is exhausted and is now falling down to the sea, the next batch of organisms has taken over and is rising up through the Paleozoic. "The two-phase kinetic model ... seems to provide an adequate description of the fundamental patterns observed in the early Phanerozoic diversification of marine metazoan families" (p. 242). This is just a description of what is happening, but the temptation is strong to speculate on causes, and some hypotheses come at once to mind. Could the earlier organisms be rather "generalized" in some sense, good for flourishing and increasing when there is lots of empty ecological space, and could the later organisms be rather "specialized" in some sense, good for flourishing and increasing when the ecological space is much more crowded? Are we looking at the replacement of organisms that have "relatively broad feeding and habitat adaptations" by organisms that "might be expected to exhibit lower rates of speciation and extinction and, as a result, lower rates of diversification but higher equilibria" (p. 243)? Are these replacing organisms better at utilizing crowded or restricted environments, so that we end with "more finely divided and stable ecosystems which can be described as having high equilibrial diversities" (p. 243)?

We are not done yet. As more data flowed in, Sepkoski discovered that the new, replacing organisms ran out of steam at some later point, peaking and then going into a slow decline. But now he knew just what to do! A third set of equations yielded a third curve, with a new set of organisms taking off on the back of the second set. After the great extinction at the end of the Permian, life picked up again, increased in diversity, and grew with some force and speed right up to the present (Sepkoski 1984). Humans, of course, are messing things up at the end. The ways in which we are destroying habitats and the denizens thereof has a major impact. But the overall picture of life's history makes good sense.

Moreover, perhaps we can even try our hand at predictions. Humans aside, we seem to be in a bit of a lull right now. Could it be that there is a fourth group of organisms waiting in the wings, ready to take off on the backs of today's animals, ready to scale yet higher peaks? It seems improbable but cannot be discounted entirely. In the plant world, with the arrival of the Cretaceous, we got a new fourth kind of flora, the angiosperms (the flowering plants). Could not the same be true of the animal world? "By analogy to the plant record, we can speculate that one or more unpredictable innovations of importance comparable to angiosperms might appear among future marine animals, leading to major changes in faunal composition and driving diversity to yet higher levels" (p. 264).

The point is made! Sepkoski is certainly not against Darwinism, meaning explaining evolution through selection. Rather, he is interested in somewhat different questions. To be honest, if I were looking for a predecessor, someone in whose shoes he stands, I would opt for Herbert Spencer rather than Darwin. All of the talk about moving up to a plateau and then a period of stability or equilibrium sounds very much like the synthetic philosophy updated. Which would fit in with the influences under which Sepkoski fell. He was a student of Gould as well as Wilson, and both of these men are Spencer-influenced: the fact that they fell out bitterly is almost what you expect from family members. Moreover, since in the case of Sepkoski we have a paleontologist who came into evolution via an intense interest in computers—he never took biology courses as an undergraduate—there is really no reason to seek for strong naturalist influences. I mean that we should not expect to find, nor do we indeed find, influences leading to a fondness for selection.

But however you analyze Sepkoski—on content or on influences—the fact is that he works at a level that is above and beyond that of the Darwinian working on selection-related problems, trying to understand features of and changes in today's organisms. In this sense, Gould is truly right to think of evolutionary theorizing as hierarchical. Darwinism is not the washed-out, inadequate theory he pretends it to be, but there may well be more to the history of life and to our understanding than ultra-Darwinians sometimes claim. In the end, Steve Gould is much like the rest of us. Sometimes he is wrong. And sometimes he is right!