Education, Features, Genetics, Social Science

Linda Gottfredson’s Scientific Keynote Cancelled: Why?

Linda Gottfredson, Professor Emerita at the University of Delaware, has been disinvited from giving a keynote talk at the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance meeting in Sweden this October. She had accepted the invitation a year ago. This disinvitation is disappointing. What was she going to talk about? Why was it cancelled? Who is Linda Gottfredson?

Dr Linda Gottfredson

Let’s start with Dr Gottfredson. She is a little unusual in being a renowned, award-winning scholar in two distinct fields: occupational or counseling psychology, and intelligence research. The title of her planned talk was “What should I do? Ethical challenges in helping youth navigate career choices in a world where family expectation, ingrained stereotypes, social engineers and genetic proclivities compete for influence.” I haven’t seen the talk, but the title indicates its likely content: young people must find their way into jobs, how should counseling specialists advise them, given all the sound and fury? Why was such an unremarkable keynote talk cancelled?

The talk was dropped following four letters of complaint. Written no doubt by well-meaning scholars, the letters express great anxiety about intelligence research. The writers see this work as being incommensurate with the ethical standards of the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance. These include “avoiding and working to overcome all forms of stereotyping and discrimination (such as racism, sexism, ageism, classism).” There is nothing in Gottfredson’s work that contravenes these standards.

A profound discomfort with empirical findings emerging from intelligence research lies at the heart of the disinvitation. People who work in this field are equable about these findings (see, for example the open-access article ‘Top 10 replicated findings from Behavioral Genetics’) — they are, after all, descriptive not prescriptive.

Yet the dismay conveyed by the letters warrants some understanding. Their authors lament the incontrovertible fact that intelligence is heritable, and some studies show average intelligence test scores vary a little when they are gathered from samples that differ in ethnic ancestry. This is not the way the world would have looked, if the complaint-writing scholars had their druthers. Their core concern is that the findings justify inequalities.

Yet do findings about intelligence variation justify inequalities? Do they stigmatise and oppress people? Resoundingly no. Intelligence is a useful trait, but it is not the basis on which we value one another. Consider this: there is almost as much diversity in intellectual ability among people in the same family as there is between two people picked at random on the street. Ask anyone who comes from a large family: children invariably have differing aptitudes as well as interests. Does the tender light of parental love shine less brightly on the less adroit child?  Cognitive variation is not a social catastrophe whatever mixture of genetic and non-genetic influence it is caused by. By contrast, failure to look at such variation in the eye has a baleful impact on the less able.

Using a metaphor pinched from Gottfredson: the claim that being brighter doesn’t count for much is like rich people braying that money doesn’t matter. Well, it darn well does when you are skint. The informational environment is tremendously tough to navigate for anyone a little less nimble. How often do we take the time to walk empathetically in the cognitive shoes of others? Millions of people struggle to maintain their health, their jobs, and their finances for the blameless reason that they are a little less adept. Being oblivious of cognitive diversity costs lives.

Gottfredson has for years supported healthcare providers concerned with Type II Diabetes. Among the millions of patients some, inevitably, cope less well with this illness, which, by the way, is about as tricky to manage as a complex investment portfolio. Gottfredson uses her expertise to evaluate the cognitive burden entailed in diabetes self-care — such as figuring out how and when to take the medications, what to do in a crisis, and how to manage blood sugar levels. Rather than ignore the data on variation in intelligence, or soft-pedal its implications, Gottfredson works to reduce harms from this particular source of inequality.

The last point I want to make concerns her character. Dr Gottfredson was a generous mentor during my PhD. My dissertation is dedicated to her (and to another scholar). We have collaborated on a couple of papers. She is enormously exacting, a perfectionist, and there were several times when I wanted to slug her. Her hunt to-kill-missions on my solecisms were terrifying; her requirement that all analyses are endlessly re-checked to the 4th decimal point was exasperating — and this is exactly what you want from a serious scholar. Gottfredson is a punctilious truth-seeker. She is also endowed with enormous compassion, which she acts on.

It is disheartening that Dr Gottfredson has been disinvited from giving her vocational guidance keynote talk. We should be vigilant against threats to free speech, because free speech protects us from much that is evil. It is especially disappointing to see Gottfredson treated this way because she can be trusted. She does not shirk from telling the truth even when it hurts her. In this she combines rare fortitude with being a hugely beloved, generous person who is highly esteemed among her peers as a first-class scientist.


Rosalind Arden is a Research Associate at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics. Follow her on Twitter @Rosalind_Arden_

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  1. Cognitive diversity simply is not a subject for universities and political platforms in the land of lagom, better try in other nations!

    • martti_s says

      Seems that there is some heavy duty research going on on the subject in China and in South Korea. Thanks to the brain rot epidemic spreading from the US academic circles, all of the West will have adapted the convenient truths that support the idealistic leftist universe. Which by the way will self destruct once they have achieved the hegemony.

    • Dragon and his Wrath says

      Q: Etymologically speaking, what is the opposite of “diversity?”

      A: “University”

      And there’s your answer.

      • Witty, but not true of course, university means wisdom and scholarship of all directions, universal thus, so,, at the time of the first universities, not only theology, but also math, astronomy, music, rhetoric, logics and the like (because, biology, sociology, chemistry and the natural sciences would still have to wait for centuries to hatch). Nevertheless, I wonder whether at the time an atheist would have had the freedom to come forward with his dangerous ideas. Most probably, he would have been burned on the stake. More or less like these days, thus, though with other types of flames.

          • Yes, of course, all imaginable diversity, leftist and rightist universe all under one and the same umbrella. That’s how I know and remember my university. Though, the rightist (because of the money of industry and commerce) always had the upper hand, logically, of course. BTW, the humanities there had very little influence, for the same reason.

    • Steve Whetstone says

      Diversity is a contradiction to the search for absolutism. . Absolutism is the belief that their is one best answer or one best solution or one best argument and the others are wrong or inferior. For example, absolutism argues that their is one top of the food chain there is one person who is the smartest, there is one machine that works best.

      Diversity, in contrast agues that there are many tops of the food chain and a species may be bottom of one food chain while top of another food chain. Diversity argues there are several smartest people depending on the field of study or how you define smart and that a smart physicist might be a dumb accountant. Diversity argues that a hammer is not better than a skrewdriver for the task of connecting pieces of wood. Diversity says it depends on the details whether you should solve all problems with a hammer or a skrew driver. Without diversity, every wood screw looks like a nail that needs to be hammered down. Absolutism, just says that wood skrews are no good and nails are best and hammers will eventually replace all screwdrivers.

      • Hierarchical order = the sacred pentagram, personal freedom and rebellion demolishes it all (Valentin Tomberg, as I learned today in the very tail of the thread “Don’t get fooled….”

  2. BrannigansLaw says

    “Yet do findings about intelligence variation justify inequalities?”

    The answer to this question is yes BUT it does not justify discrimination. Group differences exist and it is not a crime that Asians in America are overrepresented amongst graduates of mathematics or that women outnumber men in nursing or that 95% of workplace fatalities are male, etc…

    The two most important goals of a society are to ensure equality of opportunity ( != equality of outcome) by minimizing the barriers to social migration and to provide for the basic needs of it’s citizens.

    The existence of inequalities in such a society is naturally due to differences between individuals and differences between groups (though being vigilant regarding discrimination may still be necessary).

    • Andy Smedley says

      I know what you mean but would like to make a distinction I see as important. If we say that it is just that people who create value are rewarded, and people who are more intelligent generally create more value, then on one level some inequality is just.

      However, we should also consider the cosmic injustice that some people are born less intelligent than their peers, and that this injustice is compounded by the fact that their more intelligent peers will likely find it easier to be rewarded by society. It is not as though less intelligent people committed a great wrong in another realm or a previous life, or could have chosen the traits they would be born with.

      Of course the same principle can be extended to all traits that vary among humans (and all conscious beings?) and tend to influence their quality of life such attractiveness, conscientiousness and so on.

      This is all to say that I think variation in intelligence does not *ultimately* justify inequality, but there are insurmountable societal and biological constraints that mean the kind of equality that I see as ‘cosmically’ just is impossible to achieve.

      • Stoic Realist says

        While I appreciate the wordplay I think that we do ourselves a disservice when we apply moral concepts to the universe. The cosmos is a functioning set of complex systems. It is unconcerned with human intellectual constructs such as ‘injustice.’ It attends only to functionality. This is not to say that some elements of it are not unfair on a human scale. But if we are to address those elements we have to face them directly and honestly no matter how uncomfortable they are. Responses like this disinvitation are the equivalent of hiding under the metaphorical bed with our fingers in our ears. It has no constructive value.

        • BrannigansLaw says

          @Stoic Realist Well said. I was going to respond about the “social” concept of fairness but you articulated my feelings pretty well.

      • BrannigansLaw says

        “However, we should also consider the cosmic injustice that some people are born less intelligent than their peers, and that this injustice is compounded by the fact that their more intelligent peers will likely find it easier to be rewarded by society.”

        You’re assuming that low IQ people are entitled to equal outcomes regardless of whether or not they can contribute the same amount to society that a high IQ person can.

        Life and the laws that govern it are not fair by this reasoning. My questions are: is it possible to fix these ‘cosmic injustices’? If so, how? And at what cost? I could go on but you catch my drift.

        Personally, as I said previously, I think providing for the basic needs of all citizens and providing opportunities for all citizens are all that’s necessary for a functional and progressive society.

      • Paul Ellis says

        Variation in intelligence *is* inequality, as is variation in anything else. Not being of West African descent I was never going to be among the male 100m Olympics finalists of the last 40 years, because they have a genetic advantage I lack. I am unequal to them. Has this permanently blighted my life? No: I’ve chosen to do something other than sprinting.

        The article mentions dealing with Type II diabetes, how this can be extremely difficult for the less intelligent, and how Gottfredson has tried to ameliorate this disadvantageous inequality. Her methodology must owe something to her study of intelligence, and yet she gets disinvited for it. For work that strives to reduce inequality.

        Her speech would likely have included practical advice and methodology that others could have used further to ameliorate low-intelligence-based inequality. Now it won’t be given, and those people’s lives will remain harder than necessary.

        Show me the sense in that, for I can’t see it.

    • danielgonik says

      I agree with this but would also like to add that we can reduce inequalities through things such as income redistribution. True, perfect equality would be unattainable since it would reduce the incentive to work hard and innovate (as appears to have been the case in Communist countries), but there’s no reason as to why we can’t make things fairer for low-IQ people by redistributing some wealth from high-IQ people and giving it to low-IQ people so that they can live better, happier, and more fulfilling lives.

      • TarsTarkas says

        You’re suggesting a road to hell that has been walked many many times before. The redistributors of others’ wealth inevitably end up controlling the wealth to the detriment of all but themselves. And long before then the forced charity enrages those whose hard work is penalized and turns those who receive said wealth without earning it into shiftless envious clients of whomever promises them more of the same.

        • Debbie says

          @TarsTarkas said, “the forced charity enrages those whose hard work is penalized and turns those who receive said wealth without earning it into shiftless envious clients of whomever promises them more of the same.”

          I call this representation without taxation, and it is every bit as alarming as taxation without representation, and we know how that went.

      • Alan D White says

        Tell us how you would redistribute for less inequality without a totalitarian state.

    • reason pandemic (@reasonpandemic) says

      The author seems like an expert tip-toe-er. The bullies really have us all cowed, don’t they? We all know exactly what happened here, correct?

      Discrimination used to be thought of as a really good trait. “Discrimination” meant one could differentiate between things, tell the good from the not so good. Now we are brainwashed to believe that an attempt to differentiate people and suss out small but important variations at all is a terribly risky undertaking that might end in creating an Apartheid Vortex. One must justify at length and say magical words to keep such a Vortex from causing a fatal singularity from which Nazis from another dimension and racialist vapors might emerge, and better not to even attempt it.

      Its high time to stop apologizing and tip-toe-ing. Individuals vary enormously. Inequality is an inescapable reality. We do the best we can. The educational establishment has gone from pursuing truth to an epic wave of lying to hide truth so as not to hurt feelings. The funny thing about lying is that too much is never enough. You just keep lying and lying, and pretty soon you can’t even say things that might be LIKE the truth, in case it bring the truth to mind.

    • augustine says

      “Yet do findings about intelligence variation justify inequalities?”

      Better to ask, first, if findings about intelligence variation help explain inequalities. Questions of justice and morality can be informed by science but they belong to a different realm.

    • And intelligence is just one prerequisite to “success.” You may also need perseverance, socialization, punctuality, risk taking, opportunities/timing/location, etc.

  3. Bubblecar says

    “Asians in America are overrepresented amongst graduates of mathematics”

    It’s interesting that many people credit a seemingly “racial genetics” for the high performance of “Asians” in Western schools (disregarding that they usually come from highly motivated middle class families), and yet are unwilling to blame genetics for the backward nature of most actual Asian cultures, their reliance on adopting Western industry and technology in order to progress, the traditional hostility towards democracy and individual freedom within Asian cultures, and the fact that these Asian elite students are being judged by their ability to achieve long-established Western cultural benchmarks (e.g., the large number of Asian students who excel at Western classical music performance).

    If “racial genetics” is of such central importance in these matters, why are we so impressed by Asians for being good at Western culture, when their culture should presumably be superior?

    • BrannigansLaw says

      It’s a sub group of Asians (mostly East Asians). The environment and culture play a part but when you look at SAT scores and compare family incomes you’ll find that Asians in lower income brackets outscore Whites in higher income brackets (poor Whites also outscore wealthier Blacks).

      “If “racial genetics” is of such central importance in these matters, why are we so impressed by Asians for being good at Western culture, when their culture should presumably be superior?”

      The Chinese had superior civilizations when compared to North-Western Europe for a long time. Human societies are extremely complex with geography, history, culture and group genetics all contributing to the successes (and failures) of civilization.

      Regardless, my claim is simply that apparent racial differences in IQ (of which intelligence experts believe about 60% of is due to genetic differences between the races), effects group outcomes in a way which will never guarantee equality of outcome in a non-discriminatory society.

    • E. Olson says

      IQ is the single biggest predictor of individual and group success, but that doesn’t mean it is the only contributor. Culture is also a major explanatory factor, and Asian cultures are more collectivist, while Western (European-based) culture is more individualistic. Collectivists tend to fear failure and be more suspicious of innovation than individualists, and hence are less likely to venture out (explore/innovate) and more likely to be isolated. Thus individualist cultures with sufficient IQ would be more likely to seek/invent/promote new things, more likely to question old ways of doing things, and therefore more likely to come up with new forms of governing, business, religion, arts, engineering, etc. in order to satisfy the individualist need to stand out. In contrast, collectivist cultures tend to discourage such “standing out” and more severely punish innovation related failure. Another possible explanation for the success of Western culture is that IQ dispersion is higher for whites than NE Asians. Sinc most major contributors to civilization are from the “genius” IQ people, this would mean that Europeans would be expected to have contributed more to the modern world because they have relatively more geniuses even if average European IQ is slightly lower. These are two likely/possible explanations for why the high average IQ NE Asians have contributed relatively less to the modern world than their IQ alone would predict, and why European originating people have been outsized contributors despite a lower average IQ.

      It should be noted, however, that the feminization of Western culture in modern times seems to be moving Europe and European settled countries in a more collectivist direction. Thus Western history is being rewritten to denigrate the contributions and hero-worship of white male leaders/inventors/scientists/artists, while politicians and social scientists promote “diversity is a strength”, and welfare states have been created and increasingly are taking from the makers and giving to the takers in an effort to level outcomes. Thus it might be argued we are moving towards a more Asian type collectivist culture.

    • Edward says

      “why are we so impressed by Asians for being good at Western culture”

      Being good at Western culture? What does this even mean?

      “Western industry and technology in order to progress”

      You’ll find that a lot of the technological innovation we see in the world comes from Asia.

      “disregarding that they usually come from highly motivated middle class families”

      Many Asian-American students come from poor backgrounds and still do well on tests of cognitive ability and on tests of academic performance, as a commenter above has pointed out. Indeed, the elite schools in New York City – which has a large population of relatively poor Asian-Americans – have had to change the admissions criteria to reduce the number of Asians attending these schools.

      Of course, being from a highly motivated middle-class family isn’t on its own going to do much for your IQ, as we know from studies of the heritability of intelligence. Thus, your comment simply disregards the large body of scientific evidence that has looked into this issue.

      “yet are unwilling to blame genetics for the backward nature of most actual Asian cultures”

      Backward nature? You’ll find that South Korea, Taiwan and Japan are prosperous liberal democracies and are some of the best places to live on Earth. Singapore is another excellent place to live.

      “the traditional hostility towards democracy and individual freedom”

      Again, there are many stable liberal democracies in Asia, from South Korea to Taiwan to Japan to India. All of these are ranked highly in Freedom House’s rankings and in the Democracy Index. South Korea and Japan, for instance, are more robust democracies than France, Belgium Portugal and Greece. All four of the aforementioned Asian societies are more robust democracies than Croatia, Hungary, Poland and many other countries in Eastern Europe.

      All in all, it looks as if you have a lot of grievance and resentment that you need to get over.

    • Paul Ellis says

      That depends on what you call ‘backward’, Bubblecar. Japan isn’t yet overrun by pomo. Personally I wouldn’t call that ‘backward’. Japan also has cultural subtleties and finesses beyond most other cultures I’m aware of.

    • Paul Ellis says

      “and yet are unwilling to blame genetics for the backward nature of most actual Asian cultures, their reliance on adopting Western industry and technology in order to progress”

      In general I like Australians immensely but I could ask, were I feeling mischievous, and when compared with the East Asians, exactly which innovatory contributions to world culture, science and technology have originated in Australia?

      • Lady from Oz says

        Wi-fi, spray-on skin and black box flight recorders. and best of all, Hugh Jackman. You’re welcome!

    • Alan D White says

      The serious problem is the large difference in capability between an IQ of 100 and one of 75 or below. There are few jobs left for the latter that haven’t been replaced by machinery. The Flynn effect is not going to help.

  4. E. Olson says

    A big part of the problem is the change in mindset among educators, education administration, and social workers. In the past the educational and social work sectors had the goal of trying to help people born with disadvantages (low IQ, deafness, blindness, physical handicaps, abusive parents, etc.) get the most out of life given their handicap, but with no real expectation that these “unlucky” people would ever fully catch up to “normal”. Thus we didn’t waste time teaching music appreciation to the deaf so that they might become composers, or counselling mentally handicapped that they could become US President if they tried really hard, or other “not going to happen” outcomes. Instead assessments were based on achieving realistic options and training/education/counselling were designed to provide only as much (or little) independence and life quality as was realistically possible to achieve.

    This realism among educators, education administration, and social workers (and the academic faculty that research on the topic and educate these people) is sadly missing in recent times, and hence the implications of low IQ and other uncomfortable truths regarding various handicaps are to be ignored or excused, as the focus has shifted to public policy “fixable” causes of life inequities such as discrimination against what used to be called retarded or crippled but who are now called developmentally challenged due to the euphemism treadmill. Dr. Gottfredson’s very useful work just doesn’t fit with the self-esteem, social justice, and equality of outcome for “victims” agenda that is now the dominant worldview of these sectors.

    • Alan D White says

      Among the progressives, equity outweighs survival. It matters not that we all return to a cavemen life style as long as it happens to everyone equally. Justice has been served.

  5. Conan the Agrarian says

    “…the ethical standards of the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance. These include “avoiding and working to overcome all forms of stereotyping and discrimination (such as racism, sexism, ageism, classism)….”

    I think the answer the author seeks is here. Education in the West–and particularly higher education–has adopted the goal “Diversity At Any Cost” (DAAC). They aren’t really working to “overcome stereotypes and discrimination.” That’s a meaningless platitude. They are ethically committed to diversifying education sexually and racially to shift power no matter what. Post-modernism is very open about this goal.

    The cost is the profound mediocritization of education itself. My brother is a professor of hard science, All his conferences and those he hears described from other hard scientists focus on how his field’s new primary goal is to rearrange skin tone and dong ratios in the lab. Whether they discover anything about the world has become an afterthought.

    “Written no doubt by well-meaning scholars, the letters express great anxiety about intelligence research…”

    Intelligence research is the enemy. Intelligence research is color- and sex-blind in a way that undermines DAAC, and that is simply unacceptable. It shifts focus from identity groups to exceptional individuals. It opens the door to abominations like “getting exceptional students into rocket science” as opposed to the proper DAAC approach of “getting women of color into rocket science” or some such.

    “Well-meaning scholars” have put us on the pavement to hell. DAAC now burns out of control. Heather MacDonald does a superlative job of documenting this in her new book “The Diversity Delusion.” My brother and his colleagues are under so much pressure to diversify that they must admit graduate students from “marginalized groups” who are simply not capable of graduate-level work and in the end do their research writing for them, then unleash them onto the world. It’s fraud born of blackmail. Even then, they aren’t meeting their “quotas” and are threatened with defunding by the diversocrat overlords in administration. When they assert that they just don’t have the applicant with the right tone or tackle, they are told it’s all because racism and sexism and to be more welcoming, which is code for “change your standards.’

    The cancer isn’t limited to the academy. My cousin, a military officer, sees the same in his work. The results are tragic. In the last three years, two ship collisions he was close to were found to be the result of women officers being put into positions of bridge authority they weren’t qualified for yet because the captain was given the “or else!” ultimatum about giving them command experience and getting them promoted up the ladder. A total of 25 sailors died. He has sailors who rack up astounding numbers of infractions and derelictions of duty that he cannot get dismissed from the service because it would skew the diversity quotas of his division set from on high. (Yes, you read that right: some of the people who aim our missiles are diversity compromises.) He’s seriously thinking of leaving the service because of this problem. He does not want to be left holding the bag when more people are needlessly killed.

    There’s a saying in construction: “Fast, Quality, Cheap: pick one.” Goals MATTER. They shape processes. If excellence and competence continue to take a back seat to DAAC, we will pay a steep price as a society.

    • E. Olson says

      Funny how that women on the bridge information never made it into media reports of those “accidents”. As for your brother the scientist/academic, I guess he can be thankful that the first steps towards faculty diversity quotas were the opening of the various grievance study programs in the 1970s as a cheap and easy way to bring in diverse faculty who otherwise couldn’t meet the entry requirements of real fields of study, otherwise he would have been wasting his time on the diversity problem at least a few decades earlier.

    • Alan D White says

      The situation is as bad or worse than you say it is. Downgrading competence while rewarding incompetence on a national level can have only one result. Equality of opportunity is one thing; equality of result is a regression to the bottom, far worse than to the mean.

    • V 2.0 says

      And this is exactly why I try to fight this mindset everywhere I can. Because those of us (I am a woman in tech) who can actually do the job will be lumped in with the incompetents and eventually no one will trust us to be in charge of anything.

  6. martti_s says

    You might not believe this but Linda Gottfredson os on the SLPC:s list of extremists, listed as a White Nationalist.

    This is the vomitogenic way the New Left wages its war against real, honest scientists on their high horses.

    Dr. Gottfredson lost her job and her reputation and only thanks to a wealthy sponsor, she had the means to fight her honor back in court. Her science was found totally faultless, her data in agreement with the rest of the scientists of the field if not with the well-meaning idiots who call themselves ‘progressives’.

    It is a good idea to google her texts about the uphill battle people are facing in everyday life unless they have a high enough IQ that living in a modern society requires.

    Her science is actually HELPING people.
    One project was to make instructions for diabetic patients simple enough that they could be understood with an IQ of 85. We in the medical field tend to use professional jargon that is totally beyond the language skills of non-academic readers.

    She is one of the good people around.
    Isn’t being pointed out by the SPLC already a merit?

    Please visit her home page to see who we are talking about here:

    • Jack B Nimble says


      Is it a problem [ethically or politically] if someone is funded by tainted money?

      Lots of people on the left think so, and they identify big-dollar donors like the Koch Bros. and the Mercer family as being suspect.

      Lots of people on the right also think so, but they identify big-dollar donors like G. Soros [born György Schwartz] and T. Steyer as being suspect.

      What are we then to make of L. Gottfredson, who has been funded generously by the racist, eugenicist, nativist Pioneer Fund? From the Wikipedia article on the Pioneer Fund:

      “Pioneer Fund is an American non-profit foundation established in 1937 “to advance the scientific study of heredity and human differences”. The organization has been described as racist and “white supremacist” in nature, and as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.**

      Pioneer Fund was incorporated on March 11, 1937…..Wickliffe Preston Draper, the fund’s de facto final authority, served on the Board of Directors from 1937 until 1972. He founded Pioneer Fund after having acquired an interest in the Eugenics movement, which was strengthened by his 1935 visit to Nazi Germany….. Draper funded advocacy of repatriation of blacks to Africa. Draper also made large financial contributions to efforts to oppose the American Civil Rights Movement and the racial desegregation mandated by Brown v. Board of Education, such as $215,000 to the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission in 1963.

      ….The 1937 incorporation documents of the Pioneer Fund list two purposes. The first, modeled on the Nazi Lebensborn breeding program, was aimed at encouraging the propagation of those “descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States and/or from related stocks, or to classes of children, the majority of whom are deemed to be so descended”. Its second purpose was to support academic research and the “dissemination of information, into the ‘problem of heredity and eugenics'” and “the problems of race betterment”.

      ….The Pioneer Fund supported the distribution of a eugenics film titled Erbkrank (“Hereditary Defective” or “Hereditary Illness”)# which was published by the pre-war 1930s Nazi Party. William Draper obtained the film from the predecessor to the Nazi Office of Racial Policy (Rassenpolitisches Amt) prior to the founding of the Pioneer Fund….”
      **Gottfredson is listed on the SPLC web site because her research has been funded by racists.
      #Erbkrank (English: The Hereditary Defective) is a 1936 Nazi propaganda film.

      Directed by Herbert Gerdes, it was one of six propagandistic movies produced by the “NSDAP, Reichsleitung, Rassenpolitisches Amt” or the Office of Racial Policy, from 1935 to 1937 to demonize people in Germany diagnosed with mental illness and mental retardation.

      The goal was to gain public support for the T-4 Euthanasia Program then in the works. This film, as the others, was made with actual footage of patients in German psychiatric hospitals……
      Prior to World War II, the film was distributed in America through the Pioneer Fund.
      From Wikipedia.

      • martti_s says

        This issue has been cleared in the court of law where it was shown that the 250 000 dollars she had received had not in any way biased her method or results. Her university allowed her to continue to accept the donations as no fault had been shown.

        Guilt by association is one dirty weapon that I have seen the Leftist use without discretion.
        Of course, it is an efficient one, especially when used against people who do not know the subject.

        The dirt you threw at Linda Gottfredson landed and stuck on your own face.

        • Jack B Nimble says


          Not everything that is unwise or unethical is–or should be–illegal. To my knowledge, no one has alleged that Pioneer Fund, Inc. is in violation of the laws of the state of New York or that it operates outside IRS guidelines for 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organizations.

          So while it is not illegal to accept funding from the Pioneer Fund, such a decision is ill-advised, given the history of the Fund even up to the recent past**. L. Gottfredson did not [and should not have] lost her job at UDel over this, but it is a different matter when academic honors are at stake. Keynote addresses ARE a form of academic distinction, and the organizers of the meeting had the right to take Gottfredson’s prior funding record into account, when considering whether to invite her.

          FWIW, I do think that pulling an invitation that had already been issued made everyone involved look bad.


    • Alan D White says

      That is more a comment on SPLC than it is on Dr.G. Nothing new there.

  7. Edward says

    “Yet do findings about intelligence variation justify inequalities? Do they stigmatise and oppress people? Resoundingly no. Intelligence is a useful trait, but it is not the basis on which we value one another.”

    Spot-on, and I particularly liked the analogy to the intellectual diversity in typical family. Some commenters here appear to have missed the point of this passage, which is that we cannot derive ‘ought’ statements from ‘is’ statements. Science gives us the facts, but can’t tell us what to do with them. Moreover, as Steven Pinker has argued, suppression of inconvenient truths helps no one; it simply allows more extreme views to fester. Ergo, scientists with left-leaning views would do better to argue in favour of their values, whatever the research indicates.

    To me, it’s clear that we need to help to improve the lives of low-IQ people as much as possible, and that some redistribution of wealth is justified. Even in the current system, which involves a relatively open economy but with some redistribution, we’re seeing signs of cognitive stratification, as Charles Murray and others have argued. This is damaging to social cohesion, as indicated by the fallout from the Brexit and Trump votes.

    • D.B. Cooper says


      There’s something strange with this particular passage, and I don’t think the problem only lies with the reader(s). I’m sure you noticed this, yourself; but, as I sit, this passage has been commented on as much or more than any other in the article. What’s odd about this selection of sentences is not that there’s a difference of opinion concerning the veracity of the claims, but that there’s a difference of opinion over what claims are being made.

      So, take the first sentence, for example. You summon up David Hume and his guillotine in an attempt to correct what you believe is faulty reasoning – deriving prescriptive (normative) statements from descriptive statements. You say,

      Some commenters here appear to have missed the point of this passage, which is that we cannot derive ‘ought’ statements from ‘is’ statements. Science gives us the facts, but can’t tell us what to do with them.

      Now, when I read that first sentence of yours, I thought to myself, ‘This is a, rather, confused proposition.’ Consider the author’s initial claim and only that claim, she asks, “Yet do findings about intelligence variation justify inequalities?

      Affirming this statement doesn’t take you from descriptive to prescriptive. All the author asks is, “Does empirical evidence about trait variation justify a belief in X inequalities?” We know the ‘findings’ are empirical, and the subject is ‘intelligence’ which is a trait, and the belief we’re being asked to assess is ‘inequalities’. Now, all we need to do is to determine whether or not we have JUSTIFICATION for properly holding that belief. Does the JUSTIFER (empirical evidence/findings) allow us to hold a justified true belief about intelligence variation and its relationship to inequalities? Obviously, the answer will ultimately depend on the strength of the empirical evidence/findings and the implications contained therein. Does the empirical evidence warrant holding the belief? YES/NO

      Having said all that, there’s no normative statement to be had. Does the evidence warrant the belief? That’s it. What made this confusing, unfortunately, was that some people interpreted “justify” as “justice” and then the other thing that made if confusing was the author’s 4th sentence. “Intelligence is a useful trait, but it is not the basis on which we value one another.” Now, if you were to disagree with this statement, then you could say it was a naturalistic fallacy. I have no idea why the passage was constructed like that, but that’s what I think the problem was. But hey, maybe I got it all wrong? If you think I did, let me know.

      • Edward says

        Thank you for your reply. That the author was referring to normative judgements seems to be implied by the fact that she subsequently wrote: “Intelligence is a useful trait, but is not the basis on which we value one another”.

        The author is most plausibly referring to inequalities of outcome that we see in society. Empirical findings about intelligence variation justify a belief in the notion that there are cognitive inequalities, but that’s a trivial matter. The author clearly believes that there are cognitive inequalities. Moreover, the author clearly believes that these cognitive inequalities result in other inequalities, such as socioeconomic inequalities.

        The author is aiming her writing at those who do disagree with that statement, and who commit the naturalistic fallacy.

        • D.B. Cooper says


          The author is most plausibly referring to inequalities of outcome that we see in society. Empirical findings about intelligence variation justify a belief in the notion that there are cognitive inequalities, but that’s a trivial matter.

          Once more into the breach…

          I agree with you that the author was most plausibly referring to inequalities of outcome that we see in society, but how exactly are inequalities of outcome in society materially different than the socioeconomic inequalities that you agree the author clearly believes are the result of cognitive inequalities – “the author clearly believes that these cognitive inequalities result in other inequalities, such as socioeconomic inequalities.”?

          What is the difference between “inequalities of outcome that we see in society” and “socioeconomic inequalities”? How could there be a difference? And, yet, you’re saying that the author rightly rejects the former and clearly affirms the latter. How is that possible to do? It’s nonsensical.

          Furthermore, there’s no need for empirical evidence to tell us that intelligence variation justifies a belief in cognitive inequalities. You’re right, it’s trivial. If two or more things vary they are, by definition, unequal. It’s true by necessity. A tautology, if you will.

          In summation, it is for these reasons why I don’t think a naturalistic fallacy occurred. To be fair to you though, the author may have thought she meant something other than she said, but how would one know? To your point, her statement that “Intelligence is a useful trait, but is not the basis on which we value one another,” muddied the water a bit; which is why I said the passage was confusing. The author’s correct insofar as intelligence not being the basis on which we value one another, but even that claim is a bit slippery, depending on how utilitarian you are. For example, do we not “value” our spouses, friends, employees, etc. because of the specific traits that they have? I certainly do, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t’. The more accurate claim might have been “intrinsic value/self-worth.” At any rate, I appreciate the conversation.

  8. Darwin T of BC Humanists says

    It would have been lovely to know how Dr. Gottfredson responded to being disinvited. Probably with aplomb but still her response is a valid missing piece here.

  9. ccscientist says

    Let us posit that some minority is not quite as “nimble” as the author puts it. The disadvantage that this causes is nothing compared to the disadvantage that arises from adopting a criminal lifestyle, going to jail, quitting school, growing up without a father. The solution of these problems would cut the economic gap between whites and blacks far more than the IQ difference.

    • E. Olson says

      Unfortunately, many of the other disadvantages you describe are also highly correlated with IQ. The jails are full of low IQ people, school drop-outs are almost invariably low IQ, low IQ women are much more likely to be single mothers.

  10. Jim Austin says

    Science is supposed to be about induction, reasoning from observation, experimentation, etc. to conclusions. Supporting data is expected to be available to all for verification. Debate is supposed to be about whether the methodology is applied correctly. If it is, then the conclusions are true. If not, conclusions are rejected.

    Leftists have tried to make science deductive, as in, conclusion oriented. Championed by Stalin’s pet scientist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, while going through some motions of data collection, the actual decision turns on whether proposed conclusions are acceptable to a specific ideological outlook. If politically correct, conclusions are accepted and the data adjusted. If not, then conclusions are rejected and their proponents silenced — permanently.

    The former Soviet Union would send dissenting scientists to the Gulag. In the U.S., leftists have to settle for character assassination, legal harassment, boycotts.

    • martti_s says

      It would be a great mistake to let the ‘Progressives’ anywhere near the politically correct writings of Trofim Lysenko. He thought that Mendelian genetics was ‘bourgeois’ a bit in the same fashion as the screechers call the STEM scientists male supremacists. Their logic is that when it is impossible to attack the argument, attack the person. Smear words change, but the method remains the same.

      From Wiki: “Unable to silence Western critics, Lysenko tried to eliminate all dissent within the Soviet Union. Scientists who refused to renounce genetics found themselves at the mercy of the secret police. The lucky ones simply got dismissed from their posts and were left destitute. Hundreds if not thousands of others were rounded up and dumped into prisons or psychiatric hospitals. Several were sentenced to death as enemies of the state or starved in their jail cells”.

      What the modern researchers of intelligence are saying that as well as other aspects of our phenotype, also our intelligence is a subject of genetics, evolution and the interaction between the individual and its surroundings. The holy mantra of ‘Tabula Rasa’ that the social scientists chanted in the seventies was proven false decades ago.

      The genetic differences in body size, the visible color of hair, skin, and eyes are naturally accepted as hereditary. Some people are born to run fast, jump high and throw a ball.
      Here comes the glitch: As the only organ in the known biosphere, the human brain is considered to be outside of the realm of genetics.

      The data to show that the opposite is the case has been available –and ignored– for decades.
      People like Linda Gottfredson and her associates have lost their jobs and their honors in suggesting that there are genetic determinants and that these determinants are different in various racial groups.

      Now as the mental age of the chattering classes seems to have hit 12 years and “I want, I want, I want” is considered as a valid argument, the progress that the scientific approach had made in the field of intelligence studies is again under threat.

      It is a pity that the US has such a commanding position in the Western culture.
      The progressive brain rot is oozing out and infecting previously sane societies with the harebrained PC ideology.

      • I notice that poor Lysenko is always parading on Q. because of his later negative anti bourgeois view on genetics, nature and nurture. But, one should not forget that Lysenko could afford himself that influence (because, at his time, there were also a lot of clever and famous geneticists and agronomists) due to his new theories and useful practic of socalled jarowisation process (I mentioned this 2x before),resulting in millions of extra wheat for the nation and the people. You can compare it with the Saudi prince Bin Salman. Also, he can afford (or thinks he can) more now in the political scene than before, because he lifted the ban on female driving licences. With that positive gesture, one can, consequently, afford more (sometimes without much criticism) of ones own liking.

  11. Robert A. Gordon says

    Jack B Nimble’s (sic) description of the Pioneer Fund’s charter as having been directed toward, among other things, “race betterment,” takes advantage of the electric connotations of the word “race” in our politically correct times to leave a misleading impression. In fact, the two-word phrase was simply a synonym for eugenics early in the last century, when “race” often served as a proxy for “biological.” An entry found after a Google search corroborates what the phrase meant: “Race betterment was a concept originating in the early 20th century that promoted the improvement of the human race . . .” The concept would have applied just as well if there were only one recognized race, instead of many, the number depending on whether a lumper or a splitter definition was intended. The Race Betterment Foundation was founded in 1911, even earlier than the Pioneer Fund, by a member of the Kellogg family to further eugenic research, yet no one suggests that we not eat cornflakes. Opposition to the Pioneer Fund stems mainly from its having funded some researchers who thought that genetic differences might underlie persisting IQ differences between groups, just as they are known to underlie no end of other traits of a more obviously physical nature. Where we have data, such phenotypic IQ differences are the rule rather than the exception, and they vary in size depending on which pairs of groups are considered. Opposition to hypothesizing and researching the possibility of genetic differences has been intense to the point of irrationality, despite there being what amounts to an 18-point valid mean IQ difference between US blacks and whites that has remained surprisingly stable over time, notwithstanding major changes in society and virtual elimination of the race gap in years of schooling completed.

    Apparently, opponents of such inquiry insist on assigning a subjective probability of zero to there being any genetic difference, thus disregarding what Bayesian statisticians know as “Cromwell’s Rule.” Once a prior probability of zero is attached to any hypothesis, no amount of evidence can possibly lead one to change one’s mind under the rules of Bayesian inference. Cromwell’s Rule would have us assign at least a small nonzero probablility to the prior hypothesis, in order to hold open the possibility of changing our minds in light of new evidence, however indirect. The Rule takes its name from the last seven words in the famous statement of Oliver Cromwell to the governing clergy in Scotland, who sought to install Charles II on the British throne after his father had been deposed and beheaded. Cromwell pleaded with them: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” Cromwell defeated the Scots in the ensuing battle. The wisdom of holding open the possibility that new data at variance with one’s favored hypothesis might appear is widely recognized by decision theorists.

    As to the board of the Pioneer Fund, it often had persons oif different views on it, as any good board should. The eugenic movement included persons with a wide variety of policy proposals. Frederick Henry Osborn, an influential longtime board member, was noted, for example, for promoting only positive eugenics, that is, the reproductive encouragement of those who showed greater fitness, such as an IQ that was not so low as to hinder one from being a contributing and thriving member of society. Positive eugenics remains visible, in fact, in the longtime practice of using medical residents, average IQ about 125, as sperm donors in cases of spousal infertility. Choosing a donor at random, perhaps getting one who was by chance mentally retarded or schizophrenic, would probably be looked upon as malpractice. John Marshall Harlan was another Pioneer Fund board member. He was the grandson of Justice John Marshall Harlan, who was known as a civil rights supporter on the Supreme Court, where he cast a dissenting vote in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The grandson too later went on to serve on the US Supreme Court.

    Treating people who hold different views on questions as important to human welfare as these as evil is no way to approach important scientific problems, and applying to those persons a highly pejorative sense of the term “racist,” which originally meant only a person who too casually attributed supposed differences between groups to genetics, perhaps with animus, is despicable. Proposing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group of lawyers, as an authoritative arbiter on scientific issues would be risible were it not so obviously self-serving. The SPLC promiscuously includes extreme and violent groups together with serious scholars as “haters,” thus seeming to discredit the latter while in effect functioning as little more than a cat’s paw for uncritical leftist elites and misguided donors.

    Many academics in various departments and lawyers such as those in the SPLC have succeeded in recruiting journalists, media personalities, entertainment celebrities, and self-righteous campus activists to join them in denouncing and thus discouraging the application of scientific ingenuity to the solution of human problems stemming from race and other differences in IQ. Meanwhile, more and more nonintellectuals closer to the experiences of everyday life, such as alarmingly high crime rates, are showing increasing distrust of such self-proclaimed authorities, thus opening up a widening schism in American society. Before one complacently assumes that everything one nowadays learns in most college classrooms about racial problems can be depended on as a guide to sound policy, one should perhaps consider that in 1997, 52 experts in mental testing and on intelligence signed on to a list of 25 propositions as to what in fact constituted “mainstream science on intelligence.” This list was published in the journal Intelligence. The 22nd such proposition contained the following relevant statements: “There is no definitive answer to why IQ bell curves differ across racial-ethnic groups,” and “Most experts believe that while environment is important in pushing the bell curves apart . . . genetics could be involved too.” Reported in1988, a survey of experts on mental testing found that three hundred, more than half, of those responding to a question concerning the source of the black-white difference in IQ thought that both environment and genetics were likely involved. But they had not made their presence known in debate, or even to those few experts who were already publicly on record that genetics needed to be seriously considered. Instead, the 300 responded only when they could do so anonymously, out of concern for their own futures, apparently. These facts alone ought to lead any thoughtful person to question prevailing dogma, and instead, in accordance with Cromwell’s Rule, assign other than a zero probability to the hypothesis that includes a genetic contribution. Once this realistic step is taken, there is little rational excuse for opposing research on that hypothesis or for calumniating those who undertake it. Such a change is long overdue.

    • martti_s says

      @Robert A. Gordon

      Thank you, you have a lot more knowledge and patience than I do.
      Even your language is better than mine.
      More light should be shed upon the SPLC, and its unquestioned (until Maajid Navaz sued them and won 3.4 million dollars in compensation!) judge on the issues of hate and racism.

      In their books, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an anti-muslim extremist!

      They have vast resources, and they are using them ruthlessly to play power politics.
      They get money from well-meaning virtue signallers like Apple, and remarkably, 100million dollars ‘from abroad’ –which might explain their enthusiasm to expose anti-Muslim hate even where it does not exist.

      Get an idea of the SPLC money:

      and Maajid:

    • Jack B Nimble says

      @Robert A. Gordon

      In the early 20th century, many intellectuals including some progressives held what we would now call eugenic or racialist ideas. You can look it up. Thomas C. Leonard wrote a whole book on the subject, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era. To take one example, birth-control champion Margaret Sanger held opinions that many now call racist. So it is not surprising that the Pioneer Fund originally had directors with a wide array of political opinions. We tend to forget that–100 years ago–ideas like compulsory sterilization of the disabled were respectable and just viewed as common sense.

      But here’s the important point that is missing in your very long post: Most intellectuals in the US abandoned eugenic and racialist ideas when the horrors of the Nazi regime became clear between 1935-45, just as many intellectuals abandoned support for communism when the horrors of Stalinism became clear.

      The Pioneer Fund, however, has persevered in its original aims. For example, its long-time director [until his death in 2012] J. Philippe Rushton authored a book Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective that distorts ecological and evolutionary theories to support his bogus ‘race science.’ Evolutionary biologist David P. Barash said that “….Bad science and virulent racial prejudice drip like pus from nearly every page of this despicable book…”

      I encourage interested readers to see the Wikipedia articles “J. Philippe Rushton” and “Race, Evolution and Behavior” for more detailed criticisms and links regarding Rushton’s ideas. Note that many of the scientists offering positive reviews and comments on Rushton’s book [Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin, Richard Lynn, and Linda Gottfredson] had previously been financially supported by the Pioneer Fund. Is that a coincidence?

      I believe that there are almost no heroes or villains in science. But scientists can hold bad or evil ideas, just like other people, and it is important to challenge those ideas. Present-day scientists who challenge Rushton and the Pioneer Fund are determined not to repeat the mistakes that T. C. Leonard writes about.

  12. Rob G says

    Nothing to do with the implications of the “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” statement published in the Wall Street Journal in 1994 being sufficiently widely understood?

  13. Wikipedia is about as biased as the Southern Poverty Law Center when it comes to human variation in intelligence. Hardly an appropriate source for the research or researchers on intelligence. Or on the Pioneer Fund.

    A factual error in your post: Harry Wehyer was the long-tjme president of the Pioneer Fund. Rushton took over when Harry passed away.

    A lawyer, Harry worked for John Marshall Harlan in New York before he was elevated to the US Supreme Court. Harry was a gentleman of the highest order. When I met him in the 1980s, he was funding some of the most renowned psychologists of the 20th century for studies they could not get funded elsewhere –like Tom Bouchard’s now-famous studies of identical twins reared apart.

    See my online vita for my festshrift articles for three: Phil Rushton, Art Jensen and Hans Eysenck.

    There are various books and articles purporting to “expose” the Pioneer Fund. They consist mostly of recycled falsehoods, innuendo and circular citation. I know, because some colleagues and I did the historical research the Fund’s detractors never have. Did it in late 1980s when my university invoked my Pioneer-funded research in an attempt to block my Pioneer funding and fire me. We checked out all charges against the Fund. Harry Weyher searched the Fund’s files for us, from its founding. He was good and honorable man.

    By all means challenge ideas you not accept! But please do so with empirical evidence, not ad hominem critiques. Thanks.

    • BrannigansLaw says

      “Wikipedia is about as biased as the Southern Poverty Law Center when it comes to human variation in intelligence. Hardly an appropriate source for the research or researchers on intelligence. Or on the Pioneer Fund.”

      True. Unfortunately many people treat Wikipedia with the same esteem as a peer reviewed journal. Keep up the good work. There appear to be too few intellectually honest scholars out there these days.

      • martti_s says

        Wikipedia? The whole Internet is biased!
        An unfortunate amount of people do not understand what Wikipedia is.
        If you scroll down, you can find the actual sources.
        Then you can judge.
        Unless, of course, you are one of the typical cyberwarriors with the attention span of a bumble bee.

        • BrannigansLaw says

          @martti_s Yes you can find the sources but can you read them (are they behind a paywall)? And if you can, do they back up the claim in the article? I’ve traced Wikipedia citations that don’t back the claim made in the article.

          And if they do, is the claim backed by other sources? Is the claim made in the source the consensus view or just an outlier or fringe view?

      • What do you mean with -the same esteem as for a peer reviewed journal-, Bran? Journals like Gender, Place and Culture, Fat studies and Sex Roles?

        • BrannigansLaw says

          @ dirk Good point. I know that there’s some pretty bad papers that get published (especially in the social sciences) but in general it’s better to base one’s scientific views on hypotheses that have been peer reviewed and replicated (ideally a lot over a significant period of time).

    • D.B. Cooper says

      Not to be too pedantic, here, but technically the intellectual dishonesty took the form of an ad hominem, twice over! The professional dilettantes not only attacked you personally (rather than the data), they attacked you by way of attacking people who have or do associate with you.

      While I agree with your advice on challenging ideas with empirical evidence, expecting such people to have a reconciliation with the facts is almost certainly, a losing bet. Why? it’s like you say, “Because the untruth insists that differences cannot be natural, they must be artificial, manmade, manufactured. Someone must be at fault. Someone must be refusing to do the right thing.” (Gottfredson)

    • martti_s says

      @ Professor Linda Gottfredson

      I took notice of your work with the Latino patients who left the doctor’s appointment with instructions that they could not decipher for various reasons.
      A creole nurse ‘translated’ our French instructions to Creole, using simple expressions and words that anyone can understand.

      My colleagues (from Continental France) did not accept the idea at all.
      According to them, it was ‘condescending’ and racist against the Creole population.
      Launching the instructions as a cartoon got a similar reaction.

      Where did you get your gift of patience to keep on going, facing the ocean of ignorance and false pride?

      • Good point martti, and everybody who has worked in the third world or in other strata of society as they themselves are in, will immediately recognize, and agree or disagree. I think, it has a lot to do with personality and character, some people have a strange idea of equality and universality. I also think, that it has to do with sex, was that nurse a woman maybe? I bet so.

    • Jack B Nimble says

      @Linda Gottfredson

      Persons with notable scientific accomplishments and awards can have bad/incorrect ideas. I would put Rushton, J. D. Watson, H. Harpending, W. Shockley and probably some others into this category. All of the people I listed have distinguished fellowships, prizes and/or National Academy memberships, but that doesn’t validate their ideas on intelligence. Trying to defend someone’s bad ideas by citing their acclaimed work in other areas is sort of a reverse-ad-hominem argument.

      As others have noted in this thread, Wikipedia requires articles to include original sources and links to be listed at the bottom. Why not edit the articles on Rushton and Pioneer Fund and add more sources?

      You asked for a critique of Rushton’s ideas. Here’s an outline of what I think the major problems are:

      First, naive typology. Rushton divides humans into “Negroid, Caucasoid and Mongoloid races.” No anthropologist takes this simple categorization seriously, as it ignores some groups like Australian aborigines and lumps genetically heterogeneous groups into three super-categories.

      Second, naive ecology. Rushton says that humans are r-selected in tropical/African environments and K-selected in temperate and sub-arctic environments. Yet most ecologists, following T. Dobzhansky, have assumed that populations in varying, seasonal temperate environments are r-selected whereas populations in less varying, aseasonal tropical environments are K-selected. Rushton also ignores the ecological complexity of Africa, which includes savannas, rainforests, deserts, montane and other habitats.

      Third, naive evolution. Rushton says that since the ancestors of Europeans and Asians migrated out of Africa roughly 200K years ago, Africans have more primitive or ancestral traits compared to Europeans or Asians. But population genetics models show that, after a lineage splitting event, either descendant lineage can gain derived traits, through some combination of selection, mutation and/or founder event. Rushton’s ideas on human evolution appear to be motivated by folk wisdom that views Africans as ‘primitive’ and ‘savage.’

      • estepheavfm says

        “bad/incorrect” = “morally inconvenient / politically incorrect”

        • Jack B Nimble says


          I wrote a 300-word comment, and that is all you have to add? I bet the IQ of everyone who read your comment dropped by at least 5 points, from being exposed to such inanity.

  14. Pingback: Linda Gottfredson’s Scientific Keynote Cancelled: Why? | Unhinged Group

  15. Dear Linda

    Of course, I would never begrudge you your keynote talk in Stockholm on your lifework. But, bad feelings about this disinvitation, I think, are also not logical, the people behind this refusal just do what they think is proper and civil. Just imagine, a thought experiment: a Swedish professor (your ancestry?) doing research among the Lap population in the north and having found out (oh miracle) that the IQ of those rendeer keepers and tundra dwellers is way below that of the ordinary citizen. Example: that of the 50+ Laps is just 75, that of the 15-25 youngsters(many of them having had lower education, and quite a few even high school) a robust 85. Now, this professor is very proud of these results, it has cost her long dark weeks suffering up north, and wants to deliver a speech on these results where besides Stockholmers, also Norwegians, Germans, Dutch, French and , yes, also a few Laps have been invited.
    The head of department , after short discussion with colleagues, refuses. Would you be surprised?

    Your colleague psychologist Sternberg already puts questionmarks behind that IQ as a measure of being succesful in life, he has shown it’s just something measuring school smartness, academic performance, not more than that. From Laps having dwelled in their own environment of wildernis and tundra, it would be complete nonsense to expect an IQ of 100, even if they belong to that famous Asian (yellow) tribe where city dwellers score 105 or more. Nevertheless, it would be highly disagreeable for the invited Laps on that special, festive occasion to hear from a professor on the stage that they are way dummer than the real Swedes from the more Southern areas.

  16. NickG says

    >Their authors lament the incontrovertible fact that intelligence is heritable, and some studies show average intelligence test scores vary a little when they are gathered from samples that differ in ethnic ancestry. <

    The IQ test score difference between Australian Aboriginals and Ashkanazi Jews is – on average – more than 3 standard deviations – 45 IQ points. Between sub Saharan Africans and Northern Europeans around 2 SD, between black and white Americans around 1 SD.

    These differences are not 'a little', they are significant and have a profound bearing upon life outcomes. The prevailing social science blank-slate dogma results in differences in outcome being attributed to malign discrimination, when reality is far more nuanced and way less PC.

    This denial has all sorts of other policy implications from education through to immigration with profound social engineering effects. This denial of reality creates massive resentment. It would be far better if we formed policy and discussed this fully accepting the reality rather than calling people who point this stuff nasty names and unpersoning them.

  17. estepheavfm says

    I have had personal experience with “Vocational Counseling” based in government and “non-profit” do-gooder agencies. It is a complete know-nothing disaster. All they know to ask is “What do you want to do. They ignore IQ. They cannot grasp aptitude and think a resume can only represent what one has been “trained” to do rather than being evidence of general transferable “skills” (APTITUDE). Pedagogy (Columbia Teachers College influenced) and Social Work MSW are a disaster. They are utterly crippled by the absolutist “social construction” superstition.

    Take a look at new research on how social work is 100% blind to male psychology here: “The Unheard Gender: The Neglect of Men as Social Work Clients”

    The cult of social justice (“social contructionism”) that has infestted social work has created a suicide machine. The Social Work cure is worse than the malady. Deadly.

  18. markbul says

    I just found Dr Gottfredson’s work over the last week, and I’ve learned much from it. When integrity goes up against ideology, ideology wins – because ideology fights dirty.

  19. Donkey Dongs says

    “Yet do findings about intelligence variation justify inequalities? Do they stigmatise and oppress people? Resoundingly no. Intelligence is a useful trait, but it is not the basis on which we value one another. ”

    Yet another Quillette article where the “honorable sentiment” in the article by a more centrist author is refuted by the comments below who show that this is exactly what happens (at least with the right-wing audience this site attracts).

    “By contrast, failure to look at such variation in the eye has a baleful impact on the less able.”

    Yes, while looking at it gets you the comments under this article. Haha

    • But, Donkey D., why do you think that scientist Linda G, has honorable sentiments? Is she not, first of all, a valuefree scientst?
      What’s more relevant, maybe, why the choice, all the time, of such type of articles, here, on this blog? What are they after???
      Who makes the choices? And why?????

  20. Area Man says

    Disinviting a female expert? One might be inclined to blame The Patriarchy.

  21. Pingback: Professor avinviterad från pedagogikkonferens: forskning om intelligensskillnader ”i konflikt med etisk standard” »

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