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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Derbyshire and the Bell Curve

Timothy Birdnow

Daren Jonescu forwards this rebuttal to John Derbyshire and the Bell Curve believers by none other than the great Thomas Sowell.

From the Sowell article circa 2003:

"[Herrnstein and Murray] seem to conclude... that... biological inheritance of IQ... among members of the general society may also explain IQ differences between different racial and ethnic groups.... Such a conclusion goes... much beyond what the facts will support....

[T]he greatest black-white differences are not on the questions which presuppose middle-class vocabulary or experiences, but on abstract questions such as spatial perceptual ability.... [Herrnstein and Murray's] conclusion that this "phenomenon seems peculiarly concentrated in comparisons of ethnic groups" is simply wrong. When European immigrant groups in the United States scored below the national average on mental tests, they scored lowest on the abstract parts of those tests. So did white mountaineer children in the United States tested back in the early 1930s. So did canal boat children in Britain, and so did rural British children compared to their urban counterparts, at a time before Britain had any significant non-white population. So did Gaelic-speaking children as compared to English-speaking children in the Hebrides Islands. This is neither a racial nor an ethnic peculiarity. It is a characteristic found among low-scoring groups of European as well as African ancestry.

In short, groups outside the cultural mainstream of contemporary Western society tend to do their worst on abstract questions, whatever their race might be...."

End excerpt.

John Derbyshire was recently fired from his job at National Review for arguing, among other things, that blacks have an inherently lower intelligence level, and Sowell pointed out back in the early 2000's that the disparity is more cultural and educational than genetic. Daren recently took a great deal of heat at American Thinker for making that precise argument.

At any rate, the old "nature or nurture" argument is still alive and well.

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