Intelligence Quotient

supposedly a measure

The Mismeasure of Man is a 1981 book by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.[1] The book is both a history and critique of the statistical methods and cultural motivations underlying biological determinism, the belief that "the social and economic differences between human groups—primarily races, classes, and sexes—arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, in this sense, is an accurate reflection of biology"... Biologists and philosophers Jonathan Kaplan, Massimo Pigliucci, and Joshua Alexander Banta also published a critique of the group's paper, arguing that many of its claims were misleading and the re-measurements were "completely irrelevant to an evaluation of Gould's published analysis". They also maintain that the "methods deployed by Samuel G. Morton and Gould were both inappropriate" and that "Gould's statistical analysis of Morton's data is in many ways no better than Morton's own".... In a review of The Mismeasure of Man, Bernard Davis, professor of microbiology at Harvard Medical School, said that Gould erected a straw man argument based upon incorrectly defined key terms—specifically reification—which Gould furthered with a "highly selective" presentation of statistical data, all motivated more by politics than by science...Reviewing the book, Stephen F. Blinkhorn, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, wrote that The Mismeasure of Man was "a masterpiece of propaganda" that selectively juxtaposed data to further a political agenda.[26] Psychologist Lloyd Humphreys, then editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Psychology and Psychological Bulletin, wrote that The Mismeasure of Man was "science fiction" and "political propaganda", and that Gould had misrepresented the views of Alfred Binet, Godfrey Thomson, and Lewis Terman.

While the paper stops short of accusing Gould of fraud, it does say “most of Gould’s criticisms are falsified or poorly supported” and one author on the paper, physical anthropologist Ralph Holloway of Columbia University in New York City, adds that he believes Gould’s alleged misstatements were intentional, that is, motivated by the case he was trying to build against Morton. “I don’t think it was an innocent mistake,” he says. Holloway notes that there is no known link between brain size and intelligence. That appears to make the data essentially irrelevant for Morton’s racist purposes.

Edited: |

blog comments powered by Disqus