Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Science Without Political Correctness...

Recent editorials in this journal have defended the right of eminent biologist James Watson to raise the
unpopular hypothesis that people of sub-Saharan African descent score lower, on average, than people of European or
East Asian descent on tests of general intelligence. As those editorials imply, the scientific evidence is substantial in
showing a genetic contribution to these differences. The unjustified ill treatment meted out to Watson therefore
requires setting the record straight about the current state of the evidence on intelligence, race, and genetics.
In this paper, we summarize our own previous reviews based on 10 categories of evidence: The worldwide
distribution of test scores; the g factor of mental ability; heritability differences; brain size differences; trans-racial
adoption studies; racial admixture studies; regression-to-the-mean effects; related life-history traits; human origins
research; and the poverty of predictions from culture-only explanations. The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life-history variables, East Asians average a higher IQ and larger brain than Europeans who average a higher IQ and larger brain than Africans. Further, these group differences are 50–80%
heritable. These are facts, not opinions and science must be governed by data. There is no place for the ‘‘moralistic
fallacy’’ that reality must conform to our social, political, or ethical desires.
When one of the greatest biologists of the 20th
century, Nobel-Prize winner James Watson, noted
that people of African descent average lower on
intelligence tests than do Europeans and East
Asians, he was excoriated by the mass media and
elements of the scientific elite and forced to retire
from his position as Chair of the Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory [9,34]. Watson’s treatment was especially
egregious given that, in point of scientific
fact, more than a century-and-a-half of evidence
corroborates his statement. Moreover, supportive
new data and analyses appear regularly in mainstream,
peer-reviewed journals in the relevant scientific
disciplines. Evidence to the contrary is
exceedingly weak. Most of the opposition to the genetic
hypothesis consists of mere moralizing and
worse, the creation of a threatening and coercive
atmosphere incompatible with academic freedom,
free enquiry, and the civil liberties of a truly democratic
society. An enormous gulf separates the

politically correct gatekeepers and enforcers from
true experts in the behavioral sciences.
Nor is Watson’s case unique. He is but the latest
in a long line of academics that have been pilloried
and defamed (detailed accounts given in Hunt
[20]). The others include Nobel-Prize winner William
Shockley, Hans Eysenck, Linda Gottfredson,
Richard Lynn, Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray,
Christopher Brand, Glayde Whitney, Helmuth Nyborg,
and Tatu Vanhanen. The present writers too
have endured their share of attacks. The taboo
on race will surely become a major topic of investigation
by sociologists of knowledge. There is no
parallel to it in the history of science. It is uniquely
imposed, mainly through self-censorship, by members
of the Western intelligentsia in their own
academy – which prides itself on a tradition of academic
freedom, open inquiry, and the unfettered
discovery, systematization, and pursuit of knowledge
and its dissemination to the general public.

Because many consider the race–IQ hypothesis
incendiary, it is essential to thoroughly examine
all the relevant data. We did this in our 60-page review,
‘‘Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences
in Cognitive Ability,’’ which was published
as the lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology,
Public Policy, and Law, a journal of the
American Psychological Association [51]. In the
current article we summarize and update those
findings (more complete statistical details and references
can be found there). Again, the preponderance
of evidence argues that it is more probable
than not that the genetic contribution to racial
group differences in intelligence, brain size and
other life-history variables is between 50% and
-More here from Prof. Rushton and Prof. Jensen