Re: Crank Science? [was White male discrimination (well sortof..)]

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 23:17:28 MDT

Olga Bourlin wrote:

> I keep hearing The Bell Curve being brought up. The Human Genome Project
> has denounced it. Everything I've read about it makes me think it's "crank"
> science. Does anyone know of a disinterested organization that has given
> The Bell Curve a good report card?
> Olga

Olga, we elect you as the disinterested organization. Check out a
copy at the local library and check it out. I do not endorse all the
conclusions of the Bell Curve, but I read it and learned a lot of
good questions, which led me to read Gould's Mismeasure of Man,
etc. I recommend the introduction to TBC as a thought provoking
passage. I have watched the racism thread on extropians with
interest to see if racism *can be* discussed rationally, or if as
some have suggested, the whole issue is best left alone.

If one were to try to invent a *single number* that measures physical
strength, what would that be? How would it be measured? By some
index of physical tests of some kind? An average of ratings between
1 and 10? Bench press? Number of pull-ups you can do?

Think it over: it may be impossible for one number to describe a
person's strength. Many of the Bell Curve's detractors argue that
one number cannot describe a person's intellect, and they may
well be right. However, we still know the difference between a
weak person and a strong person. And we know the difference
between a smart person and a dumb one. IQ does measure
*something*. SAT scores do indicate something.

If someone can suggest a way to come up with a physical analogy
to IQ, I will suggest some games we can play with it that were
inspired by the Bell Curve and its many detractors. spike

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