No Naked Ads -> Here!
No Naked Ads -> Here! $urlZ
The mismeasure of man, p.1
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       The Mismeasure of Man, p.1

           Stephen Jay Gould
 
The Mismeasure of Man


  BY STEPHEN JAY GOULD IN

  NORTON PAPERBACK

  EVER SINCE DARWIN

  Reflections in Natural History

  THE PANDA’S THUMB

  More Reflections in Natural History

  THE MISMEASURE OF MAN

  Revised and Expanded

  HEN’S TEETH AND HORSE’S TOES

  Further Reflections in Natural History

  THE FLAMINGO’S SMILE

  Reflections in Natural History

  AN URCHIN IN THE STORM

  Essays about Books and Ideas

  ILLUMINATIONS

  A Bestiary (with R. W. Purcell)

  WONDERFUL LIFE

  The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

  BULLY FOR BRONTOSAURUS

  Reflections in Natural History

  FINDERS, KEEPERS

  Treasures and Oddities of Natural History

  Collectors from Peter the Great to Louis Agassiz

  (with R. W. Purcell)

  THE MISMEASURE OF MAN

  To the memory of Grammy and Papa Joe,

  who came, struggled, and prospered,

  Mr. Goddard notwithstanding.

  Contents

  Acknowledgments

  Introduction to the Revised and Expanded Edition: Thoughts at Age Fifteen

  The frame of The Mismeasure of Man,

  Why revise The Mismeasure of Man after fifteen years?,

  Reasons, history and revision of The Mismeasure of Man,

  1. Introduction

  2. American Polygeny and Craniometry before Darwin: Blacks and Indians as Separate, Inferior Species

  A shared context of culture,

  Preevolutionary styles of scientific racism: monogenism and polygenism,

  Louis Agassiz—America’s theorist of polygeny,

  Samuel George Morton—empiricist of polygeny,

  The case of Indian inferiority: Crania Americana

  The case of the Egyptian catacombs: Crania Aegyptiaca

  The case of the shifting black mean

  The final tabulation of 1849

  Conclusions

  The American school and slavery,

  3. Measuring Heads: Paul Br oca and the Heyday of Craniology,

  The allure of numbers,

  Introduction

  Francis Galton—apostle of quantification

  A curtain-raiser with a moral: numbers do not guarantee truth

  Masters of craniometry: Paul Broca and his school,

  The great circle route

  Selecting characters

  Averting anomalies

  BIG-BRAINED GERMANS

  SMALL-BRAINED MEN OF EMINENCE

  LARGE-BRAINED CRIMINALS

  FLAWS IN A PATTERN OF INCREASE THROUGH TIME

  Front and back

  THE CRANIAL INDEX

  THE CASE OF THE FORAMEN MAGNUM

  Women’s brains

  Postscript,

  4. Measuring Bodies: Two Case Studies on the Apishness of Undesirables

  The ape in all of us: recapitulation,

  The ape in some of us: criminal anthropology,

  Atavism and criminality

  Animals and savages as born criminals

  The stigmata: anatomical, physiological, and social

  Lombroso’s retreat

  The influence of criminal anthropology

  Coda

  Epilogue,

  5. The Hereditarian Theory of IQ: An American Invention

  Alfred Binet and the original purposes of the Binet scale,

  Binet flirts with craniometry

  Binet’s scale and the birth of IQ

  The dismantling of Binet’s intentions in America

  H. H. Goddard and the menace of the feeble-minded,

  Intelligence as a Mendelian gene

  GODDARD IDENTIFIES THE MORON

  A UNILINEAR SCALE OF INTELLIGENCE

  BREAKING THE SCALE INTO MENDELIAN COMPARTMENTS

  THE PROPER CARE AND FEEDING (BUT NOT BREEDING) OF MORONS

  Preventing the immigration and propagation of morons

  Goddard recants

  Lewis M. Terman and the mass marketing of innate IQ,

  Mass testing and the Stanford-Binet

  Terman’s technocracy of innateness

  Fossil IQ’s of past geniuses

  Terman on group differences

  Terman recants

  R. M. Yerkes and the Army Mental Tests: IQ comes of age,

  Psychology’s great leap forward

  Results of the army tests

  A critique of the Army Mental Tests

  THE CONTENT OF THE TESTS

  INADEQUATE CONDITIONS

  DUBIOUS AND PERVERSE PROCEEDINGS: A PERSONAL TESTIMONY

  FINAGLING THE SUMMARY STATISTICS: THE PROBLEM OF ZERO VALUES

  FINAGLING THE SUMMARY STATISTICS: GETTING AROUND OBVIOUS CORRELATIONS WITH ENVIRONMENT

  Political impact of the army data

  CAN DEMOCRACY SURVIVE AN AVERAGE MENTAL AGE OF THIRTEEN?

  THE ARMY TESTS AND AGITATION TO RESTRICT IMMIGRATION BRIGHAM’S MONOGRAPH ON AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE:

  THE TRIUMPH OF RESTRICTION ON IMMIGRATION:

  BRIGHAM RECANTS

  6. The Real Error of Cyril Burt: Factor Analysis and the Reification of Intelligence

  The case of Sir Cyril Burt,

  Correlation, cause, and factor analysis,

  Correlation and cause

  Correlation in more than two dimensions

  Factor analysis and its goals

  The error of reification

  Rotation and the nonnecessity of principal components

  Charles Spearman and general intelligence,

  The two-factor theory

  The method of tetrad differences

  Spearman’s g and the great instauration of psychology

  Spearman’s g and the theoretical justification of IQ

  Spearman’s reification of g

  Spearman on the inheritance of g

  Cyril Burt and the hereditarian synthesis

  The source of Burt’s uncompromising hereditarianism

  BURT’S INITIAL “PROOF” OF INNATENESS

  LATER ARGUMENTS

  BURT’S BLINDNESS

  BURT’S POLITICAL USE OF INNATENESS

  Burt’s extension of Spearman’s theory

  Burt on the reification of factors

  Burt and the political uses of g

  L. L. Thurstone and the vectors of mind,

  Thurstone’s critique and reconstruction

  The egalitarian interpretation of PMA’s

  Spearman and Burt react

  Oblique axes and second-order g

  Thurstone on the uses of factor analysis

  Epilogue: Arthur Jensen and the resurrection of Spearman’s g,

  A final thought,

  7. A Positive Conclusion

  Debunking as positive science,

  Learning by debunking,

  Biology and human nature,

  Epilogue

  Critique of The Bell Curve

  The Bell Curve,

  Disingenuousness of content

  Disingenuousness of argument

  Disingenuousness of program

  Ghosts of Bell Curves past,

  Three Centuries’ Perspectives on Race and Racism

  Age-old fallacies of thinking and stinking,

  Racial geometry,

  The moral state of Tahiti—and of Darwin,

  Bibliography

  Index

  Acknowledgments

  GENES MAY BE SELFISH in a limited metaphorical sense, but there can be no gene for selfishness when I have so many friends and colleagues willing to offer their aid. I thank Ashley Montagu, not on
ly for his specific suggestions, but also for leading the fight against scientific racism for so many years without becoming cynical about human possibilities. Several colleagues who have written, or are writing, their own books on biological determinism willingly shared their information and even let me use their own findings, sometimes before they could publish them themselves: G. Allen, A. Chase, S. Chorover, L. Kamin, R. Lewontin. Others heard of my efforts and, without solicitation, sent material and suggestions that enriched the book greatly: M. Leitenberg, S. Selden. L. Meszoly prepared the original illustrations in Chapter 6. Perhaps Kroepotkin was right after all; I shall remain with the hopeful.

  A note on references: In place of conventional footnotes, I have used the system of references universally found in scientific literature—name of author and year of publication, cited in parentheses after the relevant passage of text. (Items are then listed by author and by year for any one author in the bibliography.) I know that many readers may be disconcerted at first; the text will seem cluttered to many. Yet, I am confident that everyone will begin to “read through” the citations after a few pages of experience, and will then discover that they do not interrupt the flow of prose. To me, the advantages of this system far outweigh any aesthetic deficit—no more flipping back and forth from text to end-notes (no publisher will set them all at the bottom of the page any more), only to find that a tantalizing little number yields no juicy tidbit of subsidiary information, but only a dry bibliographic citation;* immediate access to the two essential bits of information for any historical inquiry—who and when. I believe that this system of referencing is one of the few potential contributions that scientists, normally not a very literate lot, might supply to other fields of written scholarship.

  A note on title: I hope that an apparently sexist title will be taken in the intended spirit—not only as a play on Protagoras’ famous aphorism, but also as a commentary on the procedures of biological determinists discussed in the book. They did, indeed, study “man” (that, is, white European males), regarding this group as a standard and everybody else as something to be measured unfavorably against it. That they mismeasured “man” underscores the double fallacy.

  Introduction to the Revised and Expanded Edition

  Thoughts at Age Fifteen

  The frame of The Mismeasure of Man

  The original title for The Mismeasure of Man would have honored my hero Charles Darwin for the wonderfully incisive statement that he made about biological determinism to climax his denunciation of slavery in the Voyage of the Beagle. I wanted to call this book Great Is Our Sin—from Darwin’s line, cited as an epigraph on my title page: “If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”

  I did not follow my initial inclination—and I am sure that I made the right decision—because I knew damned well that my work would then be misshelved to oblivion in the religion section of many bookstores (as my volume of evolutionary essays, The Flamingo’s Smile, ended up in the ornithology division of a great Boston institution that shall remain nameless). Things can always be worse. I once, in an equally prestigious Boston emporium, found a copy of that 1960s undergraduate manifesto The Student as Nigger on a shelf marked “Race Relations.” My friend Harry Kemelman, author of the marvelous mystery series featuring theological sleuth David Small, told me that his first entry in the series—Friday the Rabbi …—once appeared in a list of children’s titles as “Freddy the Rabbit.…” But tables do turn occasionally. My buddy Alan Dershowitz told me that a woman successfully acquired his Chutzpah by telling the bookstore clerk: “I want a copy of that book whose title I can’t pronounce by the author whose name I can’t remember.”

  I eventually decided on The Mismeasure of Man because the essence of my book, in a paradoxical way that conferred staying power over these fifteen years since initial publication, lies in its limitation of scope. The Mismeasure of Man is not fundamentally about the general moral turpitude of fallacious biological arguments in social settings (as my original and broader title from Darwin would have implied). It is not even about the full range of phony arguments for the genetic basis of human inequalities. The Mismeasure of Man treats one particular form of quantified claim about the ranking of human groups: the argument that intelligence can be meaningfully abstracted as a single number capable of ranking all people on a linear scale of intrinsic and unalterable mental worth. Fortunately—and I made my decision on purpose—this limited subject embodies the deepest (and most common) philosophical error, with the most fundamental and far-ranging social impact, for the entire troubling subject of nature and nurture, or the genetic contribution to human social organization.

  If I have learned one thing as a monthly essayist for more than twenty years, I have come to understand the power of treating generalities by particulars. It is no use writing a book on “the meaning of life” (though we all long to know the answers to such great questions, while rightly suspecting that true solutions do not exist!). But an essay on “the meaning of 0.400 hitting in baseball” can reach a genuine conclusion with surprisingly extensive relevance to such broad topics as the nature of trends, the meaning of excellence, and even (believe it nor not) the constitution of natural reality. You have to sneak up on generalities, not assault them head-on. One of my favorite lines, from G. K. Chesterton, proclaims: “Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame.”

  (My chosen title did get me into some trouble, but I make no apologies and relished all the discussion. The Mismeasure of Man is an intended double entendre, not a vestige of unthinking sexism. My title parodies Protagoras’s famous aphorism about all people, and also notes the reality of a truly sexist past that regarded males as standards for humanity and therefore tended to mismeasure men, while ignoring women. I stated this rationale up front, in the original preface—so I could always use unthinking criticism as a test to see who liked to mouth off without reading the book first—like Mr. Dole criticizing the violence in movies he has never seen, and would not even deign to watch. [I don’t, of course, mind criticism of the title based on disagreement with my stated rationale.] In any case, my title allowed my colleague Carol Tavris to parody my parody as a name for her marvelous book The Mismeasure of Woman—and I am at least mightily glad for that.*)

  The Mismeasure of Man resides in a threefold frame, a set of limitations that allowed me to contain one of the largest of all intellectual subjects within a coherent and reasonable comprehensive narrative and analysis.

  1. I restricted my treatment of biological determinism to the most historically prominent (and revealingly fallacious) form of quantified argument about mentality: the theory of a measurable, genetically fixed, and unitary intelligence. As I wrote in the Introduction to link the pseudoscientific claim with its social utility:

  This book, then, is about the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups—races, classes, or sexes—are innately inferior and deserve their status. In short, this book is about the Mismeasure of Man.

  This part of the frame also explains what I left out. I have, for example, often been asked why I omitted so influential a movement as phrenology in my account of quantified theories for mental functioning. But phrenology is philosophically contrary to the subject of The Mismeasure of Man. Phrenologists celebrated the theory of richly multiple and independent intelligences. Their view led to Thurstone and Guilford earlier in our century, and to Howard Gardner and others today—in other words, to the theory of multiple intelligences: the major challenge to Jensen in the last generation, to Herrnstein and Murray today, and to the entire tradition of rankable, unitary intelligence marking the mismeasure of man. By reading each bump on the skull as a measure of “domesticity,” or “amativeness,” or “sublimity,” or “causalit
y,” the phrenologists divided mental functioning into a rich congeries of largely independent attributes. With such a view, no single number could possibly express general human worth, and the entire concept of IQ as a unitary biological property becomes nonsense. I do confess to a warm spot in my heart for the phrenologists (do hearts have bumps of greater heat?), for they were philosophically on the right track—while they were absolutely just as wrong as the mismeasurers of this book in their particular theory of cranial bumps. (History often heaps irony upon irony. Cranial bumps may be nonsense, but underlying cortical localization of highly specific mental processing is a reality of ever-increasing fascination in modern neurological research.)

  In any case, phrenology, as a false version of the probably correct theory of multiple intelligences, would form a major chapter in a book on cranial mismeasurement in general, but falls outside the subject of this volume on the history of fallacies in the theory of unitary, innate, linearly rankable intelligence. If I exclude phrenology on the grounds of “right subject, different theory,” I also omit an ocean of material for the related, if opposite, reason of “wrong subject, same theory”—in other words, all claims for unilinear innate rankings based on biological arguments other than the quantification of intelligence. I therefore, for example, include no explicit chapter on the eugenics movement (though I treat the subject in its intersection with IQ) because most arguments relied on the putative possession of particular genes for innately determined traits, not on measurements of the insides or outsides of heads.

  2. I focused upon the “great” arguments and errors of historical originators, not on transient and ephemeral modern usages. Five years from now, who will remember (who would even care to recall) the rapiers of rhetoric, or the tendentious arguments of our current and largely derivative gladiators; but we can (and must) never forget the brilliance of Darwin and the truly great and informative errors made by his last generation of creationist opponents, Agassiz and Sedgwick? The foundation stones are forever; most current skirmishes follow the journalist’s old maxim: yesterday’s paper wraps today’s garbage.

  The Mismeasure of Man, as a second essential feature of its frame, restricted attention to the origins, and to the enduring founders, of the theory of unitary, linearly rankable, innate intelligence. This decision permitted a neat division of the book into two halves, representing the chronologically sequential centerpieces for this theory during the past two hundred years of its prominence. The nineteenth century focused on physical measurement of skulls, either the outside (by ruler and calipers, and by constructing various indices and ratios for the shapes and sizes of heads) or the inside (by mustard seed or lead shot, to fill the cranium and measure the volume of the braincase). The twentieth century moved to the putatively more direct method of measuring the content of brains by intelligence testing. In short, from measuring the physical properties of skulls to measuring the interior stuff in brains.

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment