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Race and Intelligence

Separating Science From Myth

Edited by Jefferson M. Fish

Routledge – 2001 – 456 pages

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    April 29th 2015
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    July 31st 2001


In recent years, reported racial disparities in IQ scores have been the subject of raging debates in the behavioral and social sciences and education. What can be made of these test results in the context of current scientific knowledge about human evolution and cognition? Unfortunately, discussion of these issues has tended to generate more heat than light.

Now, the distinguished authors of this book offer powerful new illumination. Representing a range of disciplines--psychology, anthropology, biology, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, and statistics--the authors review the concept of race and then the concept of intelligence. Presenting a wide range of findings, they put the experience of the United States--so frequently the only focus of attention--in global perspective. They also show that the human species has no "races" in the biological sense (though cultures have a variety of folk concepts of "race"), that there is no single form of intelligence, and that formal education helps individuals to develop a variety of cognitive abilities. Race and Intelligence offers the most comprehensive and definitive response thus far to claims of innate differences in intelligence among races.


"This ambitious, well-edited, and well-researched collection provides a comprehensive response to so-called 'scientific' theories regarding differences in innate intelligence among humans….What makes this volume highly useful…is its multidisciplinary focus, clear organization, accessibility, and thorough documentation. Recommended for all levels."


"Race and Intelligence is an important book and makes a significant and major contribution to the literature in this area. It presents a convincing body of evidence to show that race is a non-scientific, non-biological concept that is best understood as a folk taxonomy. Moreover, it shows that efforts to demonstrate differences in intelligence between the so-called races is pointless, since race is a fiction and extant definitions of intelligence are problematic. The debate on the ontological status of race and its merits as an analytic category in the social sciences and in other fields will no doubt continue for some time to come, but this book goes some distance towards bringing the debate to an early conclusion."

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"Race and Intelligence: Separating Science From Myth is an up-to-date, engaging, and definitive treatment of the relationship between intelligence and 'race.' Most importantly, it shows that race is a socially constructed rather than biological category and hence that it is not even meaningful at a biological level to speak of relations between race and intelligence. This book is must reading for psychologists, educators, anthropologists, and policymakers interested in group differences in intelligence."

Robert Sternberg, Ph.D.

Yale University

"With the rapid growth of the new field of evolutionary psychology following publication of the Bell Curve (1994), dozens of new books have appeared to criticize the notion of inborn racial differences in cognitive ability. Sadly, these books have varied greatly in quality, sometimes constituting little more than the politically correct opinions of their authors. I find this new 400-page volume edited by psychologist Jefferson Fish clearly stands out in several ways, as probably the most penetrating book available to date arguing against TBC and the hereditarian position. Each of its 15 well-coordinated chapters is written by a recognized leader in a discipline--anthropology, biology, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, statistics, as well as psychology. As a result, the book contains much authoritative cutting-edge information on five separate aspects of the controversy--the concepts of race, racism, genetics, intelligence, and psychological testing today. Those seeking an authoritative critique of the hereditarian position cannot find a more cogent and scholarly book than Race and Intelligence, which is sure to raise this controversy to a new level of debate in coming years."

Harold Takooshian, Ph.D.

Fordham University


Contents: Preface. J.M. Fish, A Scientific Approach to Understanding Race and Intelligence. Part I: A.R. Templeton, The Genetic and Evolutionary Significance of Human Races. J.L. Graves, Jr., The Misuse of Life History Theory: J.P. Rushton and the Pseudoscience of Racial Hierarchy. J. Marks, Folk Heredity. J.M. Fish, The Myth of Race. Part II: A. Smedley, Science and the Idea of Race: A Brief History. K.C. Welch, The Bell Curve and the Politics of Negrophobia. Part III: M.N. Cohen, An Anthropologist Looks at "Race" and IQ Testing. E. Shanklin, African Inputs to the IQ Controversy, or Why Two-Legged Animals Can't Sit Gracefully. J.U. Ogbu, Cultural Amplifiers of Intelligence: IQ and Minority Status in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Part IV: N. Block, How Heritability Misleads About Race. J.L. Horn, Selections of Evidence, Misleading Assumptions, and Oversimplifications: The Political Message of The Bell Curve. Part V: M. Hout, Test Scores, Education, and Poverty. B. Devlin, S.E. Fienberg, D.P. Resnick, K. Roeder, Intelligence and Success: Is It All in the Genes? W.S. Barnett, G. Camilli, Compensatory Preschool Education, Cognitive Development, and "Race."

Name: Race and Intelligence: Separating Science From Myth (Hardback)Routledge 
Description: Edited by Jefferson M. Fish. In recent years, reported racial disparities in IQ scores have been the subject of raging debates in the behavioral and social sciences and education. What can be made of these test results in the context of current scientific knowledge about human...
Categories: Personality, Personality Tests & Assessments, Assessment