A Rebuttal to Rushton Jensen (2005) .pdf
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Title: Microsoft Word - Rebuttal to Manu Maheshwari
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First of all, I will cite passages from your beloved Rushton-Jensen (2005) and show parts where even
your heroes, owing to their need to at least maintain some academic integrity, are forced to come to
more rational and less racist conclusions than you do. There are also some parts which are so
ludicrous that no one could possibly put any faith in their logic or their argument. (Link here, for
anyone who wants - https://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/30years/Rushton-Jensen30years.pdf).
I’m going to try and stay within the confines of this article itself, but I will be citing certain other
articles and essays, which refer to Rushton-Jensen, as my data-set for rebuttal; these are –
1. “Of course, in referring to population or racial group differences we are discussing averages.
Individuals are individuals, and the three groups overlap substantially on almost all traits and
measures.” – page 238;
“It is a widely accepted fact of behavioral science that there is great variability within each
racial group and there is an ethical consensus that we treat people as
individuals.” – page 280.
“As E. O. Wilson (1978) aptly noted: “We are not compelled to believe in
biological uniformity in order to affirm freedom and dignity” (p. 52).” – page 285.
I have a feeling this part of the paper was the work of Jensen, who’s the more balanced and
less noxious of the two authors, and even this paper argues in favour of treating every
human individual, regardless of skin colour or race, with dignity and respect, which is
something your racist comrades do not believe in.
2. “Heritability has nothing to say about what should be. If a trait has a high heritability it does
not mean that it cannot be changed. Environmental change is possible. For example,
phenylketunuria (PKU) is a single-gene disorder that causes mental retardation but that can
be prevented by beginning a diet low in phenylaline early in life… the fact that the
heritability of IQ is between 0.50 and 0.80 does not mean that individual differences are
fixed and permanent.” – page 239.
Read this passage carefully. Even if, and that’s a BIG IF, IQ and ability had some differential
contribution from genetic factors depending independently on race, this would still not
mean something as simple as “Blacks are dumber than Whites” –the hereditarian viewpoint,
to which the authors, and presumably you too, claim allegiance, arises out of the work of
Charles Darwin, whose fundamental discovery of adaptation means that the attributes of
any biological entity, be it a plant, a fish, a lion or a human, are not static and fixed – we
respond to our environment and are moulded by it. So even genetic factors are effectively
controlled by the environment and culture in which we live.
3. “Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; that for Whites,
about 100; and that for Blacks, about 85 in the United States and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa.”
– page 240.
Now this finding is disputed, as many studies find that this 15 point difference between
American Whites and Blacks is out-of-date, and between the period 1965-94, this difference
has reduced by at least 5 points, if not 10 (I’ve linked to this finding in the three rebuttal
articles above, one in Slate magazine by Metcalf, one a peer-reviewed rebuttal article by
Nisbeth in Psychology, Public Policy and Law, and another peer-reviewed article by Dickens
and Flynn published in Psychological Science). Nevertheless, look at the values for subSaharan Africans and African-Americans – a 15-pt. difference, exactly the difference
between American Whites and Blacks. I wonder if this is because African-Americans receive
much better facilities and educational opportunities than sub-Saharan Africans, and that
consequently, if cultural differences between African-Americans and white Americans could
be reduced, maybe the IQ gap would reduce too.
4. “The review also showed that many of the factors that influence scores in Africans are the
same as those for Whites (e.g., coming from an urban vs. a rural environment; being a
science rather than an arts student; having had practice on the tests; and the welldocumented curvilinear relationship with age). Similarly, Sternberg et al.’s (2001) study of
Kenyan 12- to 15-year-olds found that IQ scores predicted school grades, with a mean r = .40
(p < .001; after controlling for age and socioeconomic status [SES], r = .28, p < .01).” – page
As you see here, your beloved hereditarians also admit the large role played by environment
and culture in test scores, regardless of race. Also, in a blow to the efficacy of IQ in
measuring real-world academic performance, the correlation between IQ and school
performance is a paltry .28. It’s also interesting how they absolutely refuse to discuss this
little piece of data at all, but go on and on and on about brain and skull size measurements
from pp. 253-256, sounding like Leo DiCaprio’s lunatic racist character from Django
5. “Could it make a difference that Africans have less experience in solving problems such as
those on the Raven’s, are less testwise, and have less access to coaching than non-Africans?
Raven (2000) showed that students who were encouraged to engage in complex cognitive
tasks increased in self-direction, understanding, and competence. In South Africa, Skuy and
Shmukler (1987) applied Feuerstein’s (1980) Mediated Learning Experience and raised the
Raven scores of Black high school students. Skuy, Hoffenberg, Visser, and Fridjhon (1990)
found generalized improvements for Africans with what they termed a facilitative
temperament. In an intervention study with 1st-year psychology students at the University
of the Witwatersrand, Skuy et al. (2002) increased Raven’s test scores in both Africans and
non-Africans after intervention training. Both experimental groups improved over the
baseline compared with their respective control groups, with significantly greater
improvement for the African group (IQ score gains of 83 to 97 in Africans; 103 to 107 in nonAfricans).” – page 243-44.
As you can clearly see here, test score gains can be improved by proper coaching. Now this
could be because of two reasons – (i) IQ scores are not really reflective of intelligence, and
teaching strategies can be effective in raising scores without boosting general intellectual
ability; however, if this is so, then your whole high IQ – high intelligence argument falls to
pieces and Rushton and Jensen are walking on fluffy little clouds, or (ii) better and more
equitable educational opportunities means higher intelligence – notice how students of
African origin made much higher gains than non-African ones did, almost as if cultural and
environmental problems had been holding them back and now they can finally express their
true intellectual ability.
6. “In her review, Shuey (1966) found that in 16 of 18 studies in which skin color could be used
as a proxy for amount of admixture, Blacks with lighter skin color averaged higher scores
than those with darker skin, although the magnitude of the association was quite low (r =
.10).” – page 260.
“Molecular genetic technology was unsophisticated in the 1970s. In the future,
the issue may be resolved by calculating individual admixture through the use of
DNA markers as already occurs in medicine (Risch et al., 2002).” – page 262.
The idea that race is a social construct is quite well-accepted in most of social science, apart
from the lunatic fringes you like to cite, and there are some good reasons for that, some of
which are elaborated in this article by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic
(http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/what-we-mean-when-we-say-raceis-a-social-construct/275872/) – specifically, how do you decide someone is Black and
someone is White? Is Beyoncé black or white? What about Obama? Let’s go further into the
rabbit-hole. What about Maya Rudolph or Wentworth Miller or Louis C.K.? In this day and
age, there are no stereotypically “pure” races, unless there has been severe inbreeding – in
this kind of situation, people are often clubbed into whatever ethnicity they identify as. This
makes it even more difficult to identify if someone who identifies as Black but has relatively
fairer skin has faced the same historical oppression that someone with darker skin has. To
answer this question, and I guess to make discrimination on racial grounds easier, your
heroes advocate genetic profiling of the entire population. Do you even understand the
levels of depravity to which these people have fallen? Do you understand what you are
7. “One culture-only hypothesis currently enjoying much support is based on the secular
increase in test scores, known as the Flynn effect because of the repeated demonstration by
James Flynn (1984, 1987, 1999) that the average IQ in several countries has increased by
about 3 points a decade over the last 50 years. Some have suggested that the Flynn effect
implies that the 1 standard deviation difference in the mean Black–White IQ difference in
the United States will gradually disappear over time (Flynn, 1999).” – page 269.
The Flynn effect is one of the most persuasive phenomena in favour of a strongly culturecentric view of differential IQ test performance. It shows that human beings, as an entire
species, have started to perform better and better on IQ tests – and the reason is, as Flynn
notes, "Our ancestors in 1900 were not mentally retarded. Their intelligence was anchored
in everyday reality. We differ from them in that we can use abstractions and logic and the
hypothetical to attack the formal problems that arise when science liberates thought from
concrete situations. Since 1950, we have become more ingenious in going beyond previously
learned rules to solve problems on the spot." Basically, we’re educating ourselves better as
an entire species and this has a powerful effect on IQ test scores and general intellectual
Ok, now that this is done with, secondly I’m going to proceed to attack the credentials of these two
authors of your review article. Quoting Metcalf’s article in Slate, “J. Philippe Rushton is the head of
America's most dedicated subsidizer and promoter of eugenic research, the Pioneer Fund.” Quoting
from another Wikipedia article on the history of the race and IQ debate, “Rushton found himself at
the centre of another controversy in 1999 when unsolicited copies of a special abridged version of
his 1995 book Race, Evolution and Behaviour, aimed at a general readership, were mass mailed to
psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists in North American universities. As a result,
Transaction Publishers withdrew from publishing the pamphlet, financed by the Pioneer Fund, and
issued an apology in the January 2000 edition of the journal Society. In the pamphlet Rushton
recounted how black Africans had been seen by outside observers through the centuries as naked,
insanitary, impoverished and unintelligent. In modern times he remarked that their average IQ of 70
"is the lowest ever recorded", due to smaller average brain size. He explained these differences in
terms of evolutionary history: those that had migrated to colder climates in the north to evolve into
whites and Asians had adapted genetically to have more self-control, lower levels of sex hormones,
greater intelligence, more complex social structures, and more stable families. He concluded that
whites and Asians are more disposed to "invest time and energy in their children rather than the
pursuit of sexual thrills. They are 'dads' rather than 'cads.'" J. Philippe Rushton did not distance
himself from groups on the far right in the US. He was a regular contributor to the newsletters of
American Renaissance and spoke at many of their biennial conferences, in 2006 sharing the platform
with Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party.” Quoting from yet another Wiki on Rushton,
“In 2009 Rushton spoke at the Preserving Western Civilization conference in Baltimore. It was
organized by Michael H. Hart for the stated purpose of "addressing the need" to defend "America’s
Judeo-Christian heritage and European identity" from immigrants, Muslims, and African Americans.
The Anti-Defamation League described the conference attendees as "racist academics, conservative
pundits and anti-immigrant activists".”
Quoting again from Metcalf, “Arthur Jensen has spent the last 40 years arguing against
"compensatory education," or the idea that programs like Head Start have any efficacy in alleviating
black underachievement. (Think about it: Jensen began claiming that black mental inferiority was
intractable a mere five years after the Civil Rights Act, four years after the Voting Rights Act, and
four years after Head Start was created.) Since the late '60s—i.e., since the heyday of civil rights and
the inception of such "compensatory education" programs as Head Start—blacks have made huge
gains vis-à-vis whites on a wide range of standardized tests. For obvious reasons, Rushton and
Jensen refuse to acknowledge these gains.” The idea that two men with ingrained attitudes such as
this can look the data over a 30 year-period and come to an unbiased conclusion on this debate is
Thirdly, I’m going to finish this by citing a report by the American Psychological Association (APA),
published soon after the release of the Bible of hereditarian social science, The Bell Curve. The APA,
by the way, is the organization which published Rushton-Jensen’s 2005 review article.
"African American IQ scores have long averaged about 15 points below those of Whites, with
correspondingly lower scores on academic achievement tests. In recent years the achievement-test
gap has narrowed appreciably. It is possible that the IQ-score differential is narrowing as well, but
this has not been clearly established. The cause of that differential is not known; it is apparently not
due to any simple form of bias in the content or administration of the tests themselves. The Flynn
effect shows that environmental factors can produce differences of at least this magnitude, but that
effect is mysterious in its own right. Several culturally-based explanations of the Black/White IQ
differential have been proposed; some are plausible, but so far none has been conclusively
supported. There is even less empirical support for a genetic interpretation. In short, no adequate
explanation of the differential between the IQ means of Blacks and Whites is presently available."
Knowns and Unknowns, 1996.