"....most of the variance in 'rate of performance with practice' is quite narrowly task-specific and does not reflect a general learning ability independent of psychometric g."
A.R.JENSEN, 1986, 'g: artefact or reality?' Journal of Vocational Behavior 29

"For those of us unversed in the deeper arts of the ballet, [the ballet dancer, Joan Brady, Prologue] confirms our admiration and worst fears. It is an occupation both lush with emotion and asseverated by discipline.... The pyramid of pain, both physical and emotional, beneath apparently effortless adagios, pirouettes and pas-de-chat is carefully exposed.... [Brady] fell in love with [her mother's lover] when she was three.... [at 19] she visited the 50-year-old....directly after the death of his wife, stayed behind after the other guests had left....and became his lover, ruthlessly pushing aside her mother's own claims {and soon married him}."
Warwick COLLINS, 1994, The Spectator, 10 ix

"The factors of the Munich Model of Giftedness (intelligence, creativity, psychomotor ability / practical intelligence, social competence, musical ability) have been proven to be independent dimensions of giftedness [in N = 1,800 gifted children]. ....Multiply or many-sided gifted were found relatively seldom in the sample studied."
K.A.HELLER, 1988, to 24th International Congress of Psychology.

Upstream: the Heterodox Online
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"The intercorrelations of tests in the ability domain [across a wide range of talent] are overwhelmingly positive in sign and substantial in size."

Race, Evolution and Behavior' by J. Philippe Rushton

Horowitz, Irving Louis
Society, Jan-Feb 1995 v32 n2

An article in Rolling Stone (October 20, 1994) by Adam Miller called J. Philippe Rushton a "professor of hate," someone who "takes money from an organization with a terrible past" (the Pioneer Fund, a foundation said to have an orientation toward eugenics). He is accused of being "obsessed with intelligence and genetics" to the point of having "racist" attitudes by Jeffrey Rosen and Charles Lane in The New Republic symposium on IQ (October 31, 1994). They single out Rushton for linking ethnocentricism to genetic factors; this in turn subjects him to the broad brush of being, along with Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, "Neo-Nazis" Newsweek (October 24, 1994). In The Chronicle of Higher Education (October 26, 1994) critiquing Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve it is clear that Rushton is central to their negative imputations. To be sure, in a thoughtful and sympathetic early review of the Rushton book in The National Review (September 12, 1994), Mark Snyderman warned of the barrage to come. "Philippe Rushton has written his own epitaph. Any genetic predisposition toward the defense of one's race only adds to the near impossibility of rational response to the scientific study of race in a world that has seen the Holocaust and racial subjugation...Rushton's work may be ignored by the fearful, damned by the liberals, and misused by the racists. It is unlikely to be truly understood by anyone." Subsequent events have proved Snyderman prophetic; although Malcom Brown's review in The New York Times Sunday Book Review made a valiant effort at understanding and empathy.

Beyond slogans and slurs, what is the "flap" over IQ about? Why does it elicit this broad ranging discussion of the nature of social research in contemporary society? In particular, why does Philippe Rushton and Race, Evolution, and Behavior elicit such animus? After all, at one level, Rushton's book might be perceived as a small blip in the larger discourse on the status of intelligence and its racial correlates. Such a jaundiced view misses the point. Scandals over specific scholars or books become public issues because in some special way, in this instance through surrogates, they mirror larger themes and concerns of the century. And since this is the time of social science and ours the century of moral self-consciousness, the linkages of public policy and social research are as inevitable as they are at times misplaced.

Such issues go to the heart of media interest. Debates among social scientists permit the media to evince concern without expressing partisanship. Sensing that racial rifts seemingly grow over time, rather than diminish in direct proportion to a closure in the income gaps between the races, the media seek some way to tap deep public unease over volatile issues such as racial disparities in welfare receipts, criminal activities, drug intakes (euphemistically addressed as substance abuse), and the intimacies of personal behavior, without appearing to adopt a clear position of their own. They wish to respond to larger white racial dismay about black attitudes, and to do so without giving offense to minority views. In such a context, the work of someone like Rushton is a godsend. The media can point to independent, scholarly, data sets, without taking sides or making claims.

In such a context, the media drives the data as much as the data drives the media. Attention to racial elements in intelligence is hardly unprecedented. In the 1960s there was the work of the late William Shockley, in the seventies that of Arthur Jensen, and in the 1980s that of a group of people much closer to media studies, such as Stanley Rothman. These individuals sought media attention as a mechanism for making their policy views known. The fact is that for a non-discussible subject, the issue of race and genetics has been rather widely examined. The sequence has typically been to break out of the narrow professional journal literature first in a major book or, sometimes articles in general-interest magazines. The next step is the widespread publication of reviews and commentary in newsprint form, followed in quick order by cover stories in news weeklies, radio and television talk shows, and the conversion of the whole communication chain into an object of news unto itself. Behind the information curtain is generous support from funding agencies with special interests in publicizing issues of racial imbalance and inheritance. Indeed, a review of major figures in psychology supported by the Pioneer Fund, ranging from Jensen to Rushton, indicates a more than casual interest in those who work the area of racial genetics. Such foundations measure success as much by media coverage as by scientific results.

Rushton's book, Race, Evolution and Behavior became a tagalong to the more popularly written and widely publicized book by Herrnstein and Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. Rushton became like Zelig of Woody Allen's movie by the same name: a minor, but very noticeable player peeking out and waving at the crowd as the totalitarian leaders of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy worked the crowds. Rushton's book is no less convincing or less worthy, but the media's pick-up of Rushton was as much an effort to create a sense of widespread academic contagion as a desire to investigate a deviant professional literature.

Media attention to Rushton was also fueled in part by the death of Herrnstein just weeks before The Bell Curve was published. Charles Murray has cachet as a journalist and conservative, but Herrnstein's death left an unmet need for a social science type who eschewed politics and policy. In addition, the networks competed with each other over coverage of this issue: CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, all felt compelled to follow the lead of the major print media. Spreading Charles Murray too thin was undesirable; having someone like Rushton, articulate, composed, soft-spoken and reminiscent of an Edwardian don, suited media requirements for foil and fop just fine.

Equally fascinating is the ripple effect within media life. While the television networks reach the masses, the news weeklies reach the television networks, informing them of what is hot and what is not, what is in and what is out. Thus, the fact that within one month in the autumn of 1994, we witnessed feature articles on intelligence and the IQ controversy in Newsweek, Time, and US News and World Report, a symposium in The New Republic, not to mention review essays in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, indicates the continued potency of the written word. The dirty little secret of media impact is that the print media supply the brains while the television and radio media supply the audience and the sound bytes.

This is heady wine for people like Murray who live on media glitz and foundations that covet media blitz. After all is said and done, both share concerns with the policy consequences of genetic differentiation. Although Philippe Rushton denies any such populist concerns, his desire to encourage attention to his work remains undeniable. In part, this is a normal impulse. Any author wants an audience. The media provide this missing link. For Rushton such attention is both a potent form of redemption and a revocation of years of obloquy from attacks on his scholarship and person at his home base, the University of Western Ontario. That in itself becomes a media "story", one that Rushton is not reticent to discuss, if for no other reason than to prevent his name from being tarnished.

Media interest is ultimately fixated on policy concerns, not empirical information. For broadcast journalism nothing is more deadly than a recitation of statistical tables. But that is precisely the world in which Rushton lives, and, he repeatedly asserts, the one in which he wants to live. Consequently, in interview and debate formats, Rushton comes off either as evasive or unconvincing. He becomes a pawn in the hands of the media rather than a shaper of events, a tool rather than a teacher. This is not to pass moral judgment on media activities in areas of race relations but rather to note that the impulses that lead the media to a Rushton, and for that matter, a Rushton to the media, are at loggerheads, preventing social science from seving as an instrument of enlightenment on the basic issues of the day.

Thus, Rushton was able to attract attention in a round of dismaying radio and television appearances, including the Geraldo Rivera show on NBC, Connie Chung for CBS, and several radio talk shows on WWOR and WMCA. Rushton was able to attract attention and certainly gain a larger readership than is usual for a scholarly treatise in psychology. But in simplifying his discussion of the genetic bases of racial differentiation among Mongoloid, Negroid and Caucasoid "races," he opened the door to questions about what the larger public should do, if anything with this assumption. Further, Rushton was unable or unwilling to enter into a policy discourse that might satisfy either a conservative or radical agenda. From Rushton's viewpoint, this is precisely what sets his work apart from, and puts it at a higher level, than that of others who share his approach. The difficulty is that such a self-evaluation does not still charges of racism and bias. In the absence of any policy agenda of his own, the policy agendas of others ranging from laissez-faire ideas of doing nothing for the poor to racialist policies of liquidation, have now been ascribed to him.

In Canada, the announcement of publication of Race, Evolution and Behavior may have stimulated renewed efforts to oust Rushton from his academic post. The Canadian context of the Rushton file provides a national and a university framework for media interest in Rushton. For example, in August 1991, a group of nineteen students asked the Ontario Human Rights Commission to investigate charges of human rights abuses by Rushton on the basis of the 1981 Human Rights Code and, specifically, Ontario's policy on race relations, which states in part that "All doctrines and practices of racial superiority are scientifically false, morally reprehensible and socially destructive, and are contrary to the policies of this government, and are unacceptable in Ontario." The complainants, while denying the racial categories adduced by Rushton, nonetheless declared that they were "Caucasian, Black and East Indians in origin". Evidently, those seeking Rushton's ouster in 1991 as a "racist who infected the learning environment at the University of Western Ontario" were not above utilizing his categories in so doing. They also sought action against the university on the grounds that by letting Rushton present his data, the university permitted actions that were "thereby aggravating the humiliating and degrading effect of Rushton's and their actions." The university response was difficult and courageous. George Pedersen, the president of the university, made it plain that academic freedom would be maintained, and that vigilante acts against Rushton would not be tolerated. His statement deserves attention as an affirmation of what a university is about. Its essential distinctions between professor and university are equally applicable to author and publisher.

"The principle of academic freedom is not new. It has been in force in all universities in North America for several decades. Academic freedom provides a university community with the protection that must accompany independent research and the publication of its results. Academics frequently express ideas that are at odds with other views within the university, and sometimes with the views of society or government. Academic freedom ensures that such ideas can be expressed without fear of interference or repression from university administrators, politicians or others.

It is the essence of a university that independent research should be undertaken; this freqently involves highly controversial issues and sometimes highly controversial results and interpretations. It is a matter of historical record that members of the academic community, faculty and students alike, evaluate such results and interpretations. Conclusions are either sustained or refuted. The basis of this process is that the university must remain the center of such free intellectual inquiry and interchange.

In the specific instance that has occasioned this debate, the question has arisen concerning the relationship between the conclusions of Professor Philippe Rushton and the views of his University. The question can be addressed directly and succinctly: there is no relationship between Professor Rushton's conclusion's and any position which the University itself might take on the issues involved. In other words, in his capacity as a researcher and scholar, Professor Rushton does not represent the views of The University of Western Ontario. The University deplores bigotry, intolerance and racism in any form. To abrogate academic freedom would be to invoke those very attitudes which the principle of academic freedom itself rejects."

Since Canada, unlike the United States, has neither a Bill of Rights to protect the individual against government intrusion, nor a historical tradition of republicanism rather than royalism of both the British and French sorts, Pedersen's words are heartening for their commitment to academic freedom, as well as a sobering reminder to those who would shut down debate on race or any other subject of legitimate scholarship and research.


Race is hardly a new subject for American social science. Some of our earliest books were little else than warmed-over justifications for slavery. Books with titles like Treatise on Sociology, and Sociology for the South--both issued in 1854--were among the first to present racism as science. After the Civil War, discussions about race were taken up in anthropology; and the tradition persisted through Carleton Coon and his works on The Origin of Races in 1962, and Racial Adaptations twenty years later. Coon promulgated a multiregional hypothesis in which racial differences were attributed to races emerging at different times in evolutionary history, with distinctive physiological characteristics and adaptations to climate and temperature.

The nineteenth-century debates over nature versus nurture brought the issue of race and ability to the fore in ways not dissimilar to the present flap over the Rushton and Herrnstein-Murray books. Oddly enough, this earlier phase involved Charles Darwin's nephew, Francis Galton--who was a pioneer in the eugenics movement. For Galton, the number of famous men a race produces is largely due to hereditary factors; genius and fame were said to go hand in hand. Not surprisingly, in Galton's view Anglo-Saxons were the world's most superior group. Galton's studies had the unintended effect of mobilizing sociologists into a response. In his essay of 1897, "Genius, Fame, and the Comparison of Races" (published in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science) Charles Horton Cooley cut Galton to the quick. He noted that golden ages of creativity, peopled as they were with famous figures, could not be explained by sudden hereditary changes. "Every race probably turns out a number of greatly endowed men many times larger than the number that attains fame." Cooley concluded that "by greatly endowed I mean with natural abilities equal to those that made men famous in other times and places. The question which, if any, of these geniuses are to achieve fame is determined by historical and social conditions." Many social scientists continued to argue the case for heredity and society; nature and nurture.

By so doing, sociologists and anthropologists vacated the field of race differentiation in favor of studies of racial hierarchies. The emphasis shifted from biological to social causes of varied levels of achievement, focusing on opportunity, income, employment, housing and schooling. The high point in the social scientific use of race as a conceptual tool may well have been the work of Gunnar Myrdal in economics, Arnold Rose in sociology, and Kenneth Clark in social psychology that emerged in the juridical framework of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954. This cemented a relationship between juridical decision making and social science research that persists to this day. Notably, this relationship is influenced by a strong impulse toward egalitarianism evident in contemporary sociology and anthropology: in sociology it derives from its roots in social welfare; in the case of anthropology from a strong bias in favor of cultural relativism, and conversely, a denial of ethical or behavioral superiority of one culture over another. This is clearly characteristic in the classical works of Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict.

The egalitarian impulse, while theoretically modified over the past half century, continues to inform attitudes toward race within these two social sciences. Despite recent breast-beating among the experts, blaming themselves for everything from failure to predict that blacks would become social actors in their own right to the inability to render a meaningful picture of black innovators in their own culture, the support rendered by sociologists and anthropologists to black-white equity is incontestable. This impulse is at times misplaced. Sometimes researchers will dampen, even suppress, the racial variable, if its inclusion "distorts" normal curves and representative samples. Recently, a colleague of mine who did a study on children's attitudes toward work and the labor process simply discarded all the data he had on race, since attitudes of black children were radically at variance with those of white children. As a result, a study with a perfectly fascinating potential for helping us understand racial differences regarding work became a pedestrian examination of different attitudes among white children. This is unfortunately all too common, and may explain why we are so unprepared for a book that tackles issues of race with respect to a wide range of factors, as does Rushton's Race, Evolution and Behavior.

The history of psychology with the subject of race is quite different from that of sociology and anthropology. From Abram Kardiner's work on the neurotic basis of explosive aggression to more familiar efforts to isolate genetic factors in black educational underachievement, the focus on individual behavior rather than social conditioning points to major differences in the orientations, philosophies, and goals of each social science. While one might arguably claim that psychologists are no less partisan to the cause of black equity, the concepts they utilize, from "black rage" to the linkage of racial frustration to racial aggression lend themselves to meliorative approaches at the policy level. The extension of laboratory techniques to field research, when played out on a racial canvas, also provides psychologists with a range of risky analogues between the animal and human kingdoms that sociologists and anthropologists have generally abandoned.

The social sciences cut at least two ways with respect to the democratization process. Done with integrity, social science analysis can and often does serve the cause of democracy. On the other hand, social science research has supported the most evil forms of dictatorship, such as the German Nazi use of demographers to chart concentrations of Jewish people in urban centers like Berlin, Vienna, and Warsaw so that genocide could be committed efficiently and with minimum disruption of the economic order. How and when social research becomes a tool for human liberation or for human decimation is itself a subject worthy of independent consideration. More to the point, the question of how data generated by social research plays out on a larger social canvas is rarely addressed directly in the literature.

Many of the impulses that inspire individuals to enter the social sciences have their roots in moral issues of the most politically worthwhile sort. Indeed, deprived of such a moral base, I suspect that the social sciences would be far less hospitable or attractive; I know it would be for me. As Max Weber and a few courageous individuals of earlier years well appreciated, the problem is less with the word social than with the word science. For whatever else science is or does, it requires that the chips fall where they may. And for social science, that cuts both ways, making such research morally despicable or personally engrossing depending on one's point of view.

The fascination of these tough social science "cases" is as much about moral fibre as it is about scientific rigor. Once again, we have in J. Philippe Rushton an unusual person with a history of stubbornly pursuing the study of racial differentiation despite a most inhospitable intellectual climate. In his capacity as professor of psychology at Western Ontario University, Rushton has felt the lash of student protests, the threat of censorship, menacing legal actions to remove him from his tenured post, and the summary rejection of manuscripts and articles, at times under duress and after such material had already been accepted for publication.


Philippe Rushton's manuscript came to Transaction when a mutual friend suggested our firm as a possible option to a long and trying struggle with a university press which at first contracted and accepted Race, Evolution and Behavior for publication, and then rescinded that decision. I am not privy to the decision-making that went into the ultimate rejection, but I do have all of the evaluations of the manuscript that were solicited. The reports were glowing; all save one. When the manuscript was submitted to Transaction for consideration, we solicited two additional refereed reports (in addition to my own independent appraisal) and each of them urged publication. One added the prophetic comment: "While this is a brilliant manuscript, if I were you, I would get ready for the fireworks, or in the absence of firepower, just run for the hills." Given the sensitivity of the manuscript, I felt that at least one review had to be prepared by a psychologist, while given the broad nature of criticisms the other merited review by a sociologist.

All this is by way of noting that the decision-making process on this manuscript was done with great caution as well as care. When the results were in, they closely matched the previous reports. A denial of publication would have lost in academic decency what Transaction might have gained in decorum. In addition, the strength of independent encomiums the manuscript received after acceptance underscored the correctness of the decision to publish. Hans J. Eysenck, the doyen of British psychology, referred to the book as a "storehouse of well-integrated information...an unusual combination of rigor and originality." Richard Lynn, professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, called the book a "major syntheses of social science and evolutionary theory on the issue of race differences in intelligence and behavior." And Edward M. Miller of the University of New Orleans went so far as to assert that the Rushton's book "explains the distribution of poverty among nations."

Without wishing to dampen enthusiasm for the book, or to repeat what Rushton says, or what reviewers claim that Rushton says, it might be useful to summarize the major scientific statements and empirical claims made in Race, Evolution and Behavior.

First, race is a meaningful biological category, and not just a sociological construct. While a notion of three broad racial categories may be oversimplified, it provides a framework for analysis that holds up on a series of measures and over a wide spectrum of nations and regions.

Second, examinations of such disparate data as brain size, intelligence, sexual activity, law-abiding propensities, and social organization skills show such powerful variations between the races over time and space that differences can hardly be dismissed or reduced to environmental conditioning.

Third, such a key variable as crime indicates intense asymmetry: black assaults against whites, black violence unleashed against other blacks, strong racial patterns in assaults such as rape and homicide, indicate something more than economic deprivation.

Fourth, intelligence quotient studies all point in the same broad direction: while environmental impact is real, the differentials in "educational achievement" remain substantial, up to fifteen percent between whites and blacks, and five percent between whites and Asians--with the latter having the advantage. Intelligence is seen as related to speed of maturation, temperament, health and longevity, and as a result to patterns of behavior as such.

Fifth, race has been found to have strong "effects" on learning propensities, independent of social class. This signifies that a range of considerations from mental illness to sexual behavior cannot be reduced to class analysis.

Sixth, the physical properties of races differ, so that indicators ranging from penis size to testosterone level and cranial capacity exist; which, in turn, one can infer are directly related to concepts of the self, temperament, sexuality, aggression, altruism, and value-judgments.

Seventh, human beings form themselves into hierarchies of dominance, with those at the top of the hierarchy exhibiting higher levels of whatever traits make for success in a specific culture and in turn to gain greater than equal share of whatever scarce resources are available. This might be termed the Neo-Darwinian strain in Rushton's thinking.

Eighth, given the degree to which social organization varies with fertility, people who live within interpersonal social systems in one context frequently seek out each other for friendship and marriage. This might be termed the primary-group effect in Rushton's analysis.

Ninth, and finally, people create cultures compatible with their genotypes. Thus such tendencies rooted in genetic makeup not only relate to each other, but also to socio-political attitudes, that is, to macro questions of order vs. freedom, and demographic trends that occur in the sweep of history.

Clearly, Rushton's work goes considerably beyond these main points, and his evidence, marshalled from a study of sixty racial variables presented in five times that number of tables, raises serious concerns about the extent to which genetic factors determine behavior. This is not to say that Rushton proceeds through his tables mechanically, but it does indicate a lifetime of concern about the more exacting importance of race in the competition of consensus and conflict in North America.

Rushton, and the study of race and IQ, have long had scientific critics. Alvin Poussaint detects a self-fulfilling mode in white prejudices against blacks. Stephen Jay Gould sees the tendency to emphasize broad statistical averages as pseudo-science disguising social prejudice. Urie Bronfenbrenner argues that nature and nurture ought not to be seen as polarized extremes; rather the heritability factor moves up when environmental conditions improve. David Perkins of the Harvard educational school, and Leon Kamin of Princeton and now Northeastern, postulate different types of intelligence (neural, experiential, and reflective), and thus the improbability of effectively using intelligence tests as even a crude measures of mental capability.

Since many critics in this most recent discussion of IQ have focussed on the Herrnstein-Murray book, they tend to aim wide of the mark of the concerns targeted by that "obscure professor of psychology, Phillipe Ruston," so called by Michael Lind in The Washington Post. But in this dismissive attitude, Rushton's claims that the scientific situation has been sacrificed on the altar of ideology tend to be confirmed. Given the accuracy of that charge, I should like to cite my own concerns.


The division of mankind into three races is far too simplistic to admit of statistically significant correlations. The neat fifty-fifty split between hereditary and environmental factors possesses little operational potential (For what it is worth, Herrnstein-Murray place the ratios at 60 percent environment and 40 percent hereditary.) At times Rushton appears to diffuse criticism by admitting the existence of environment, at other times, he writes with a certainty that suggests human behavior is a function of gene transplants.

IQ researchers' notion of a general intelligence, accepted by Rushton, is much too broad; implications as to the limits of pedagogic correctives are drawn much too narrowly. Some experiments, such as those of twins raised by separate sets of parents, produce sufficiently distinctive learning curves as to cast doubt on genetic determinations. However, it is clear that many major studies do support hereditarian assumptions.

It is not at all clear that test results involving blacks are radically different from those involving other Americans when measured at microscopic levels. Thus, in cases of twins raised in separate households, with different income levels, the actual disparities that can be traced to genetic rather than environmental conditions tend to be randomly distributed.

One must be concerned that observation of differences too readily slips into the language of superiority and inferiority. Thus Rushton is too ready to be dismissive of African cultural achievements and too celebratory of European standards of culture and learning. European highs are taken for granted. European lows (such as technological murder) are less well defined. This is not to say that genocide is exclusively a European invention, as we can see by recent events in Cambodia and Rwanda. However, the preponderant evidence is that such matters as depravity and bestiality are not confined to any single race.

There are problems of analysis that are simply not covered. For example, if Asians score highest on intelligence measures today, then why was the development of science stymied so thoroughly in China, despite a substantial initial lead in a variety of areas of discovery and technology? We are not able to extend over time racial disparities. However, if standardized tests uniquely determine or define achievement, than the huge advantage of the West over China in the classical period should not be so evident. On the other hand, if such a breakdown of science is a function of China's political experience, than can one not with equal vigor argue that such environmental factors are also at work in defining levels of African achievement?

An additional dilemma exists in identifying brain size with intelligence. In examining its form and function the brain per se is one of the smallest units in the nervous system. Few contemporary studies of the anatomy and functions of the human nervous system, or studies of nervous diseases and disorders, relate brain size to intelligence. Rushton's own data display such small variances along a racial axis that it is difficult to draw broad inferences. While it is true that the human nervous system differs from other mammals chiefly in the enlargement and elaboration of the cerebral hemisphere, studies do not offer a conclusive picture of intelligence capacities in human racial types as a direct consequence of brain size or weight.

Despite appeals to hundreds of tests and sixty distinctive variables, we seem to be in a realm of a more indeterminate physiological universe than the racially determined one Rushton offers. There is a reductionistic appeal to a single variable to explain various aspects of behavior, and the result is more problematic than predictive. For example, what does one do with the idea of Asians having lower sexual drives than Africans? This may or may not correlate with intelligence, but it certainly does not explain the huge birth rates in China over time. To be sure, the ability of the Chinese to develop policies that sharply reduce its birth rate indicates the strength, not weakness, of environmental factors.

If by hard science in contrast to soft science we mean the ability to define explanation by prediction, what might be called the Reichenbach standard of positivism, Rushton's fair-minded admission that his racial categories hardly define specific levels of accomplishment by individual black people casts doubt on the aggregate worth of his data. Levels of achievement may differ by racial category, but it is simplistic to explain such differences as genetically defined.

Having said this, it must be strongly stated that Rushton emerges from the pages of his work as a vigorous opponent to all forms of racial genocide or solutions based on experimental tampering with the human species. There are no notions of eugenics guiding his work, as was common among academics at the start of the twentieth century. Moreover, he is emphatic "that it is totalitarianism in the service of fanaticism that causes people to be murdered, not theories of human nature." But certainly these theories have been uniformly adopted by totalitarian regimes as a mobilizing force in underwriting ethnic supremacy and racial separatism throughout the century.

While it might be true, as Rushton claims, that "there are no necessary policies that flow from race research," it remains the case that some forms of totalitarianism have historically adopted racial doctrines to justify everything from medical experimentation on human beings to mass murder ostensibly for the greater goal of the improvement of the human specie. In such cases, the unnatural selection of indicators rather than the natural adaptation of gene pools to particular environments determines and defines human performance.

It is not quite the case that the situation in intelligence research is the same as in physics, from which came Enrico Fermi's warning, which Rushton repeats, that "whatever Nature has in store for mankind, unpleasant as it may be, men must accept." For it is precisely the indeterminate status of social behavior in contrast to the determinate behavior of atomic matter that distinguishes social from physical sciences. To speak of racial difference as assisting our sense of human diversity is fine. To assume that such differences somehow measure human success or failure is less convincing.

The "Darwinian Perspective" is less one of evolutionary differentiation than one of social adaptation to precisely the global village to which Rushton pays homage. The drawing together of races, the factor of intermarriage, the growing secularization of cultures, all point to a decline in the racial factor as a unitary variable of analysis. On the other hand, fundamentalism of all sorts, the revival of religious and linguistic separations, the emergence of exclusionist doctrines of superiority among the former colonial peoples, do indeed point to a continuation of race and ethnicity as a dividing line, if not a detriment. But all of these social (in contrast to behavioral) factors are obscure footnotes to the Rushton approach. In this, he is not alone. An entire cluster of researchers has aligned itself to reductionist schemes as a way of doing scientific business. All social science that seeks answers in single variables must be held to strict accountability, for analytical no less than ideological and valuational reasons.


The contradictions in Rushton's thinking were essentially brought about by himself. By a steady, unyielding claim that he is operating only at the level of empirical data, his strong suit turned into a public relations weakness. With an increasing number of public appearances, ranging from network extravanganzas on Cable NBC with Geraldo Rivera, radio superchannel shows on WWOR, and the Connie Chung show on CBS, the discussion quickly changed from the empirical information to the policy consequences of Rushton's line of reasoning, and here Rushton fell short. In effect, Rushton wanted to have it both ways. Had he declined a vast array of public appearances, in a climate of intense racial feelings, he might have carried off the positivist vision of scientific behavior: "Here are the data on the subject of race and intelligence. Do with it as you will." Rushton might then have claimed the mantle of objectivity and avoided the censure that has dogged him from the start of his research work.

By accepting a round of radio, television and newsweekly interviews--often with individuals less than kindly disposed to his information, or how it was derived--Rushton placed himself in a policy environment, or at least in an environment that cried out for remedial action. Charles Murray that understood this well in his approach, which can readily be summarized as a combination of Adam Smith in economics and Darwinian sociobiology. But Rushton, does not claim, either in his book or in his appearances, that remedial measures like Head Start or a variety of affirmative action measures are total failures. Indeed, since he admits to a fifty-fifty relationship of inheritance to environment he would be hard put to make this claim. He might have warded off criticism by taking the policy bull by the horns to begin with.

For example, it might have been quite feasible to say that the set of data on racial differentiation is real unto itself, and that the same data sets used by Herrnstein-Murray are used by Rushton. But it is just as reasonable to claim the reverse from the data. Far from leading to the belief that educational and cultural remedies do not work, or work only marginally, and hence should be cut or eliminated, one might just as reasonably argue that the data compel one to reassess the problems of black inheritance no less than black environment, and that the support levels should be doubled, even tripled, as a serious approach to closing the gap in measures of health, education, work, and environment.

Since Rushton credits environment with being 50 percent of the explanation of racial differentiation, one could argue that working double time and twice as hard on that end of the scale could offset supposed genetic variabilities. In that way, a liberal rather than conservative policy analysis might be derived from the data. That Rushton chose not to do this, but instead insists that he operates only at a level of fact, and that the facts do not support the idea that such programs as Head Start change intelligence quotients, only disarms him, and makes him vulnerable to the charge that he--along with Charles Murray--really believes that no sort of remedial policies have long-term merit.

One of the calamities of pure positivism in the social sciences has been the erection of a high wall between information and policy. Yet, the public demand for remedies, if not solutions, to major social problems like crime and drug addition, cannot be slaked by a mere recitation of data showing the racial disparities of such things as incarceration. And of course, the notion of a social science cannot be served by its reduction to a behavioral science. And on this, the historic problems of psychology themselves become problematic, in the research environment no less than in the larger system.

Rushton's work stems from a tradition in which one measures differences in intelligence and behavior between cats and dogs, between mice and monkeys. In the animal kingdom, given the absence of a theory of improvement or a belief in correction (or at least not much of one without human assistance) one can argue the positivist cause with some persuasiveness. But the same sort of measures when applied to human variabilities collapse precisely on the shoals of humanity as such. That is to say, policy is intrinsic to the very nature of social science.

The incapacity of the author of Race, Evolution and Behavior to draw out its policy-making implications is a liability, and his recourse to bald empiricism serves to weaken his larger claims. Far from standing on the solid bedrock of fact, Rushton finds himself mired in the sands of speculation. In the nature of the democratic impulse of western societies, Rushton would have served his interests better by avoiding media pitfalls and asserting, as he tries to do, the empirical base of his research data. He would have done even better by fashioning a set of policy options that might flow from the nature of such data.

On the other hand, if Rushton insists on remaining true to his positivist proclivities, to which he is entitled, then his travels on the media and lecture circuit become of dubious merit. To enter the larger fray of racial politics armed with the slim pickings of psychological tests is a bold, if not suicidal thing to do. Such tests prove to be a mighty small instrument on which to play new chords. For example the fact that black on white crime is 60 times greater than white on black crime may in part be a function of disproportionate economic holdings of blacks and whites, as much as supposed incivilities of black people. That holdings of wealth are no less in evidence as differentials in measures of intelligence can be adduced as an argument against a hereditary vision. This is especially the case, since Rushton readily, even happily, admits a 50 percent environmental conditioning; just how Rushton and his associates allocate proportions in this nurture-nature mix remains wide open.


Not only Rushton as an individual but the science of psychology as a whole, must come to terms with these issues in a far bolder sociological way than they have in the past. What we are faced with in the furor over Rushton's work is no less dangerous ground for social science as a whole than are racial attitudes in particular. It represents a return to older struggles between psychologism and sociologism. There is no point in denying the strength of the data indicating racial and ethnic differentiation. There is great point in asserting that such differentiation points to a need for, rather than avoidance of, policy analysis, to help us to understand the sources of decision-making and implementation.

Over the years, I have engaged in a hybrid activity that might best be described as the journalistic investigation of social science "scandals." Indeed, I think it fair to say that my reputation in part rests on the frank discussion of the Department of Defense use of social science as civic action in The Rise and Fall of Project Camelot, the ideological struggles over a social science component in an agency known for its contributions to physics, chemistry and mathematics in my article on Struggle In Paradise: The Institute of Advanced Studies, the cogitations of the social sciences in relation to marginal religious movements that were examined in Science, Sin and Scholarship: The Politics of the Unification Church, and the struggles between individual conscience and the collective anthropological will in my examination of the Mosher Case at Stanford University in which a student of modern China was denied his doctorate for daring to raise the ethics of infanticide as official policy in Maoist China. There have been other, arguably less important papers that I wrote on social science in federal agencies--especially in wartime conditions.

In this peculiar matter of the Rushton file, and as head of Transaction Publishers, this lifelong professional concern with the "scandals" of the field, comes together with equally life-long publishing considerations. So the stuff of analysis is at least in part the substance of self-evaluation. In this connection, I must draw attention to two cases in which advertisements for Race, Evolution and Behavior were rejected. The first instance involved The American Spectator, an erstwhile "conservative" publication that informed our publisher of a problem and later a decision not to accept the Rushton advertisement. John Funk, in a pair of sad letters wrote to Transaction [and here I paraphrase!, stated that "The American Spectator is declining the opportunity to publish the advertisement for Race, Evolution and Behavior. As a policy, they do not comment as to reasons for a rejection. He claimed to be simply carrying out the policies and duties of his position. A second letter from Mr. Funk indicated that he made the case before his editorial people, but it was not enough to carry the day. Clearly, this decision was made by the editorial directors of The American Spectator, and as a result, I wrote to R. Emmett Tyrrel Jr., who, whatever his politics, always struck me as a courageous individual. In this instance, a long letter (and two follow-up letters) was met by silence. The contents warrant partial reproduction:

"I am not dogmatic on such editorial concerns, and indeed, appreciate the anguish that goes into all such supposedly cut and dried decisions about publishing advertising materials for specialized publics such as those we serve. We come then to Professor Rushton's book.

The advertisement lists no fewer than eight distinguished psychologists and educators who are enthusiastic about the quality of scholarship involved in this book. It is also plain spoken on what the book is about, and the position it takes on racial differentiation with respect to 60 variables related to everything from cranial size to intelligence, crime and sexual behavior. If anything, its findings celebrate Asian achievements, with Europeans occupying an intermediate position, and people of African background at the low end of the scale.

It may well turn out that this sort of analysis is a crock. Indeed, not a few psychologists have heatedly claimed just that. By the same token, we are publishers of a wide ranging series of books on the African presence in Asia and Egypt, with claims of African origins in science and culture. These too have had their detractors (not a few of which have been published in Society by the way). Scholarship is an uneven and rocky road. While for the most part, issues of such fundamental antipathies do not occur, it is precisely the safeguarding of just those works which dare to tread on dangerous ground that need the most protection.

The decision by The American Spectator to reject a paid advertisement for Race, Evolution and Behavior will not make issues of genetics and race dissolve. Only by the fullest exploration of the issues raised by Rushton will we arrive at a higher ground. But for a journal as fiercely concerned with political truths as yours to spurn apriori, publication of such a statement indicates that your affection for scientific truths may not be equally great."

My letter went on to indicate that in the nearly four thousand titles that Transaction has published over the years, not a single one has been recalled for faulty scholarship; although many have been sharply criticized. But the decision to accept or reject advertisements should be taken with caution, not only on professional but on civil libertarian grounds. Despite this letter, more an appeal in retrospect, and two subsequent letters, our concerns have been met by stony silence.

A second case had to do with the scholarly journal, Evolutionary Anthropology, which also rejected the advertisement. It was assumed that the journal editor, John G. Fleagle, had decided against publication of the advertisement--and Rushton wrote to the journal protesting its cancellation. At the same time, I wrote to the publishers of this journal, John Wiley & Sons, also protesting this decision. It is a tribute to the qualities of Wiley as a great independent American publishing house, that its Vice President acknowledged that the decision to cancel the advertisement was made in the publishing house, not in the editorial room. More important, upon review, the Vice President and General Manager of Wiley decided to rescind its decision, acknowledge its error, and move ahead with publication of the advertisement. Wiley's letter requires reproduction, not only for its candor, but to provide a sense of the everyday nature of the struggle for a free press in social science as in other areas of life:

"I have your recent letter regarding an advertisement for J. Philippe Rushton's book Race, Evolution and Behavior. You are quite correct in your observation that freedom of the press must be practiced with respect to advertising as well as editorial matters. While there are appropriate limits to the application of that freedom--FDA restrictions on pharmaceutical advertising and the rejection of phone-sex ads in scholarly journals come to mind--advertising a scholarly book, however controversial, from a scholarly publisher in a scholarly journal hardly transgresses such limitations.

I have therefore instructed our advertising department to run the advertisement on receipt of Transaction's insertion order for a paid advertisement. You might want to assure Professor Rushton that the decision to reject the advertisement was made here and not by the scientific editor of the journal. It is not Wiley's policy to engage in the suspension of 'the free and unfettered exchange of ideas' in any form, but we do make mistakes. You and Professor Rushton have my apologies for this one."

The task of a professional publisher in social and behavioral science is not to stand in absolute judgment, but to offer the latest information and best theory available on subjects of general concern and professional competence. Transaction has published a series of ten titles by my dear colleague at Rutgers, Ivan Van Sertima. In a nutshell, he uniformly claims the priority of discovery and the centrality of the black race in the creation of culture, science and institution-building in place as far apart as North Africa and Central Asia.

The work of Professor Van Sertima has generated significant discussion and criticism, sometimes even in the pages of SOCIETY. Thus, Mary Lefkowitz, in the March-April 1994 issue, argues that the idea of Greek indebtedness to Egyptian sources is untrue and fraudulent, and that some of this misinformation (although not explicitly referring to Van Sertima's works) deserves "a place on the shelf of hate literature..." This is the same sort of rhetoric that one hears--in reverse--with respect to the Rushton book.

That the writings of Rushton, and a few earlier efforts on the IQ controversy, have generated a similar brand of heated rhetoric is hardly the sort of intellectual outcome that should occasion surprise in the current climate of academic divisiveness. Nor must one presume that the truth is somewhere in between, or that the claims made on the "left" by Van Sertima are either more or less correct than those made by Rushton on the "right". Indeed, it is the belief of these scholars that they are not speaking in ideological tongues, but reciting plain truths that others seek to avoid.

These opinions are sufficiently reasonable and thought-provoking to merit review in the court of scholarly opinion. But I must confess not to be persuaded by either position. Indeed, I am far less concerned with staking claims for racial superiority--whether based on ancient history or modern genetics--than I am with finding a way to reach racial comity, so that American, and world society, can move ahead in concert. To what end is the research on theories of superiority to be put? This, it seems to me is a reasonable question that cannot be dodged by claims that a specific theory is empirically or historically grounded and hence not subject to policy scrutiny.

If this is indeed the case, then we have a right to inquire why figures at both ends of the racial spectrum seek out media fame and public notoriety by appearing on many radio and television broadcasts, granting interviews to a variety of hysterical media personalities, and lecturing on circuits in which academic substance gives way to ideological ballast--either stated frankly, or surreptitiously, and hence less convincingly, as a function of analysis.

It might well be the case that in a generation it will be determined that environmental techniques and remedies have failed of their purpose. But since Rushton argues that environmental-genetic factors are a statistical toss-up, the argument for accelerating support to African-Americans in need cannot be rejected out of hand or in parlor-talk fashion. I find that many of the new breed of genetic psychobiologists have not pursued the implications of their work, preferring by inference to let the data speak for itself, when in policy terms, data does no such thing. What in fact takes place is a deterministic rendition of data. Pessimism becomes the overarching leit-motif. Race differentiation is somehow held to be immutable, like the sun rising or the earth traveling about the sun in its proper orbit. It is this sense of the physics of race relations that undermines claims to objectivity. It is appropriate for an author to limit his field of analysis and interpretation. It is rather less proper for an author to ignore the limits of his data.

The position of a social science should be unequivocal in the presentation of information: to support unpleasant and innovative opinions even when they go against the grain of current prejudices is at the core of liberal society. But the tasks of social science are also to make clearer the limits of the evidential basis of such thinking, and to insist upon a public acknowledgment of policy consequences by those who invite public notoriety--not on the basis of their evidence, but on the implications of what they write. These are a complex set of factors to digest, much less to operationally implement. It is precisely this set of relationships that the modern university must juggle. It is precisely this set of relationships that elevates social science above and beyond empiricism in theory or racism in practice. For these reasons, Professor Rushton is and must be considered a valued member of both the academic and scientific communities to which he contributes. We need to be reminded that those truths held to be self-evident are those which are most in need of reexamination.

ia_archiver 16/11/104 07:38:59