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

From: Chris Hibbert (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2001 - 19:11:08 MDT

Lee wrote:
> At least one member was
> expecting "The Bell Curve" to be very wrong in its claims. That person,
> Chris Hibbert, a longtime contributor to this list (and who I am pretty
> sure does not mind me saying this), came away after reading the book
> pretty convinced by it.

Actually, what I've said for a while
( is "I didn't want to
read this book, because I expected Herrnstein & Murray to convince me
that IQ was innate and at least somewhat related to race. I was right."
>From the reviews I had read, I wasn't expecting to disbelieve them, I
was expecting to reach a distasteful conclusion.

Fortunately, though they convinced me that there's enough evidence on
innateness and correlation with race to accept them as facts, they also
said that there's enough overlap in the ranges of different races that
it makes no sense for anyone to treat individuals any differently than
if they weren't facts.

The more important content of the book, as Lee pointed out, are a
detailed look at what it is that IQ tests measure ("g"), why that's a
useful thing to look at, and what the consequences are for society of
business' increased sensitivity to intelligence. (My emphasis here
differs from Lee's. He said "the effects on society this last century
due to the widespread use of IQ tests.")

My interpretation of the most important message of the book is something
like this:

Business has become more sensitive to differences in intelligence
between employees. (Smarter employees make a bigger difference than
they used to.) So businesses spend more effort finding, identifying,
and rewarding smarter employees. So more smart people (of all races!)
are attracted to places where their efforts make more of a difference.
This leaves many places where intelligence isn't as crucial all the time
without the wise older people who used to make everything work better.
Not all construction workers or cooks need to be really clever, but it's
useful if there are a few around. Since bright people can get better
rewards elsewhere, there aren't as many around in the lowest paying jobs.


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