Re: S. J. Gould/ was Re: Buzzwords (was)Judging Beauty

From: m (
Date: Thu May 11 2000 - 07:43:59 MDT

--- Technotranscendence <> wrote:

[someone wrote]
> You see, already having discounted IQ testing at about age
> twelve, I did
> not
> > walk away from that book with that "goal" in mind. What I saw as
> his
> "goal"
> > was to show how even scientists who truly believe they are doing
> honest
> > research are mislead by their own beliefs, even him.

I agree. He was trying to show that the phrenologists probably made
systematic errors without really being aware of it. It is just that
certain seemingly commonsense decisions in the process actually
escaped clear thinking. Political influences, might have
favoured a particular result, and if research happened to lead to
results in accord with this, there may have been less motive
to check results thoroughly.

I think that the argument for cultural bias, at least in the earlier
versions of IQ tests, is well presented. The tests depicted in his
book were ridiculously parochial (like knowing details of certain
American sports), considering they were given to immigrants.

> IQ testing might be flawed, but the notion of general intelligence
> might not
> be. My point was not to support either, but to show that Gould is
> using
> faulty arguments. Specifically, the juxtaposition I talk about
> above.
> Also, if his goal "was to show how even scientists who truly
> believe they
> are doing honest research are mislead by their own beliefs," he's
> very
> one-sided.
> I've read several of his books and his view seems to be this.
> Anyone who
> supports a view which can be used against his egalitarian politics
> is
> obviously bad intentioned, while if someone knowingly distorts a
> view to
> support his eqalitarian politics, then that person is merely
> mistaken.

Even if Gould falsely one-sidedly motives to particular scientists,
this doesn't seem to me to discredit the basic idea of hidden
prejudices/ sloppy thinking. Whether deliberate or unconscious, the
result is distortion. Scientists *are* human, and although the
scientific method correctly applied ought to guard against mistakes,
they DO happen. People can have a lot on their minds.


> Surely, all sorts of thinkers
> err, but
> they do not always err because of their political views.
 No, but it can happen and should be considered.

 Hopefully some thinkers might change their politics instead.


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