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The Race-Intelligence Controversy: A Sociological Approach I - Professional Factors

Author(s): Jonathan Harwood

Source: Social Studies of Science, Vol. 6, No. 3/4, Special Issue: Aspects of the Sociology of
Science: Papers from a Conference, University of York, UK 16-18 September 1975 (Sep., 1976),
pp. 369-394
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
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Social Studies of Science, 6 (1976), 369-94
A Sociological
I - Professional
Jonathan Harwood
To understand why science
develops as it does. what one must understand
... is the manner in which a particular set of shared values interacts with the
particular experiences shared by a community of specialiststo ensure that most
members of the group wfll ultimately find one set of arguments rather than
another decisive
The debate about race and intelligence only begins to make sense when it is
seen as one intemal to academic life; between two groups of men who differ
in personality, in academic background, and in political and social allegiance.2
For over fifty years scientists, particularly in the United States, have
disagreed over the interpretation of a common observation: that
American whites score on average about fifteen points higher on
standardized tests of intelligence ('IQ tests') than do American Negroes.
Although many scientists familiar with the arguments have not
committed themselves on the issue, several have perceived the data as
favouring either an 'hereditarian' or an 'environmentalist' explanation
for this IQ gap.3 Since 1969, Arthur Jensen's monograph 'How Much
Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?'4 has provoked a re-
emergence of this controversy.
In this paper I focus on several environmentalists and hereditarians
in the current phase of the race-IQ controversy and attempt to explain
advocacy in terms of professional circumstances which incline
participants in the controversy to maximize their own discipline's
explanatory role. In a companion paper,5 I relate this controversy to
Author's address: Department of Liberal Studies in Science, The University,
Manchester, M13 9PL, UK.
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370 Social Studies of Science
the contrasting world-views of environmentalists and hereditarians,
manifest both in the content of their political commitments and in the
style in which their scientific positions are expressed.6
Thus, in this study, scientific controversy is approached 'sym-
metrically': both positions in the debate are seen as requiring
explanation. As the Popper-Kuhn debate has emphasized, 7 it is
increasingly unclear in what sense(s) theory-choice in accredited
scientific research is dictated solely by established methodological rules.
This uncertainty tends to undermine the long-standing distinction
between the ways in which true and false beliefs arise: namely, through
'rational' and 'irrational' processes, respectively. One response to this
situation is to declare even science irrational;
8 if one takes the
(traditional) view that only irrational beliefs are amenable to
sociological explanation, then the symmetrical approach stands.
Another response9 treats all institutionalized belief systems as rational,
socially constructed, and thus requiring (at least in part) a sociological
account. A third position, advocated by most philosophers of science,
treats the history of science as a mixture of rational and irrational
decisions. 'Rational' decisions are those which accord with the
particular philosopher's preferred epistemology and are seen to require
no special explanation. The 'irrational' remainder is then allocated to
sociologists and 'externalist' historians.1
Since philosophers of science
do not agree on the best epistemology, however, the third position does
not provide any consistent guidelines as to which portions of scientific
history are rational or irrational. Consequently the sociologist once
again must treat all scientific knowledge identically.
Urbachl 1 has recently applied Lakatos's model for the methodology
of scientific research programmes1 2 to the debate over individual
and group differences in IQ. Persuasive as his analysis is in showing
the heretofore 'progressive' character of the hereditarian research
programme and the 'degenerating' character of the environmentalist
one, such an analysis cannot be used to argue that the environmentalist
position is any less 'scientific' or more in need of sociological
(psychological, economic, etc.) explanation than the hereditarian
position. For Lakatos's model fails to specify the conditions in which
retention of a degenerating research programme becomes 'irrational'.13
From another angle, the race-IQ controversy is, in any event,
unresolved according to the hereditarians and environmentalists them-
selves. As I have argued elsewhere 14, both positions in the debate
are based on fundamental assumptions as to whether or not American
black and white populations can legitimately be equated for IQ-
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 371
relevant environmental factors. At present, there are no
scientific criteria for deciding which of these
assumptions is true
thus (on the traditional grounds described above) exempt from
sociological explanation. Each side of the debate includes
scientists and cannot easily be dismissed as 'hack science'. The
remains, therefore, to identify the 'sets of shared values' which
hereditarians and environmentalists to find different sets of arguments
One of the more conspicuous differences between hereditarians and
environmentalists is that the former seem on the whole more apt to
be biologists or to do research concerned with organic variables, while
environmentalists are more likely to be social scientists or
TABLE 1. Participants in the Controversy*
'Hereditarians' Discipline Methodological Orientation
A.R. Jensen*
psychology soft-hard
H.J. Eysenck** psychology hard
R.B. Cattell*
psychology hard
Dwight Ingle physiology
Richard Hernstein** psychology hard
A.H. Halsey sociology
J. McVicker Hunt** psychology soft
Martin Deutsch** psychology soft
Edmund Gordon education
Ashley Montagu anthropology soft
Christopher J encks sociology
Steven Rose neuro-biology
Richard Lewontin population genetics
Walter Bodmer population genetics
Jerry Hirsch** behaviour genetics
*referred to in this paper
*interviewed by author
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Social Studies of Science
educationalists.' S One physical anthropologist, caught in the crossfire,
illustrates this disciplinary split:
At Chapel Hill [site of the University of North Carolina], I serve both the
Anatomy Department, where I am considered a liberal, and the
Anthropology Department where I am considered a conservative. Some in
Anatomy apparently view man's behaviour differences as racial and thus
genetic; some in Anthropology apparently see these differences as purely a
matter of culture and view our biological inheritance as essentially uniform
since H. erectus. 16
Members of each group of disciplines typically stress the importance
of those variables which they study and of the literature with which
they are most familiar. Thus the race-IQ debate can be seen to some
extent as an example of a boundary dispute.' 7 One of the reasons for
such disputes is that the scientific training which the protagonists
undergone is necessarily highly selective. Consequently each side tends
to impugn the competence (and thus the right to participate in the
debate) of their opponents.' 8 For example,
some of Jensen's critics
have suggested that he is sociologically naive, while several environ-
mentalists' opposition to the hereditarian hypothesis on the race-IQ gap
has been based on the (mistaken) notion that, for example, high
heritability estimates for IQ mean that education can do nothing to
affect either an individual child's IQ or the distribution of individual
IQ differences in a population. Similarly, it is usually environmentalists
with social scientific training who have ruled out even the plausibility
of the hereditarian hypothesis; those environmentalists trained as
geneticists have tended to grant the plausibility of the hereditarian
hypothesis while arguing that the likelihood of it being true is low
(or at least that present evidence is inadequate). Thus differences
training could also account for some of the heterogeneity within the
environmentalist camp.
A second reason for boundary disputes concerns groups' perceptions
of their self-interest. Where shifting one's cognitive allegiances
difficult, members of a discipline will seek to maximize the number
and significance of phenomena that fall within the explanatory
of their discipline's theories. This strategy aids discipline members
securing professional recognition and thus occupational security.
such a strategy inevitably influences the emphasis to be found in
scientist's work is recognized by the scientists themselves.'
behaviour geneticist writes:
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 37 3
Differences among individuals can be compared with the small
part of
iceberg that shows above the water. Behaviour geneticists depend on individual
differences for their livelihood. As a result, they tend to overlook the
enormous amount of common heredity [shared by all human races] that
distinguishes man from dog or horse.20
Such selective attention to genetic differences might well predispose
geneticists or differential psychologists (in general) to emphasize larger
heritability estimates and to be more receptive than social scientists to
the possibility of genetic differences between populations. Similarly,
Cronbach has suggested that educational technologies which succeed in
reducing the range of individual differences in IQ (which compensatory
education has attempted) would ultimately put the IQ testers out of
Since many environmentalists have been committed to the
search for such technologies, and since several of the hereditarians have
been professionally concerned with the construction and validation of
objective tests, professional self-interest provides a partial explanation
for hereditarians' and environmentalists' disagreement over the
importance of group IQ differences and the alleged failure of
compensatory education.
Furthermore there are many indications that research into the
possible relevance of genetic factors for explaining various social
problems or group behavioural differences is very unpopular, at least
among academic audiences in the United States at present, making
financial support for such research a scarce commodity.2
circumstance would help to explain why hereditarians have so strongly
promoted a 'no-holds-barred' approach to research and attacked what
they see as the suppression of their views by orthodox and dogmatic
environmentalism. The more strongly the hereditarians can argue their
case, the more likely they will be able to get grants for future research
in their fields and
just as crucial
the less grant money is apt to be
available for the study of environmental influences.
Along similar lines, in trying to understand the re-emergence of the
race-IQ controversy in the late 1960s, it may be pertinent to note the
institutionalization of the new field of 'behaviour genetics' at about
the same time. The first textbook in this area appeared in 1960,
followed by a number of published conference proceedings and reviews
in the '60s and the journal, Behavior Genetics, in 1970. During the '60s
the first of the (American) post-graduate training programmes in
behaviour genetics were introduced at several universities.23 It is not
surprising that several scientists in this new and growing field have
asserted behaviour genetics' right to be recognized by the other more
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Social Studies
established behavioural sciences as a legitimate field of inquiry and have
taken pride in what they perceive as the gradually diminishing
disciplinary opposition to the importance of genetic factors in
behaviour.24 While behaviour geneticists are by no means agreed on
the group-differences-in-IQ issue, it is reasonable to suppose that the
growth of a coherent behaviour-genetic literature and of an
academically respectable research area encouraged Jensen to re-
introduce the apparendy strengthened hereditarian position in the late
'60s. Consistent with this view was the publication in 1972 of a
'Statement on Behaviour and Heredity'2
which, in effect, gave
academic support to Jensen, Eysenck, Herrnstein and others whose
research had come under widespread attack,
especially on American campuses, since 1969. Of the fifty signatories
on the statement, five scientists ( in addition to Jensen, Eysenck,
Herrnstein, Cattell and Ingle) could be readily associated with the new
field of behaviour genetics.26 Conversely, the hostile environmentalist
response to Jensen may be interpreted in part as professional resistance
among some areas of the social sciences to the perceived threat from a
new sub-discipline flexing its alien genetic and quantitative muscles and
staking its claim to explaining group behavioural differences.
One of the, at the first glance awkward, facts with which the
'boundary dispute hypothesis' must contend is that throughout the
history of the nature-nurture debate, psychologists as a group have
hardly displayed what one could call a 'disciplinary' alignment; their
support has been scattered on both sides of the debate. Such split
allegiance, however, is of considerable interest in itself for psychology
has, since its beginnings in late 19tX-century Germany, been a
conglomeration of 'schools' with greatly differing subject matters and
methodological commitments. We must ask: Are hereditarian and
environmentalist psychologists associated with different schools of
psychology r If so, why?
Before dealing with the first of these questions, it is important
consider what form the fragmentation of contemporary psychology
might take. Two recent books have portrayed the prevailing approaches
to behaviour in very similar ways. In The Science of Behavior and The
Image of Man,2 7 Chein describes two sub-cultures in the behavioural
sciences which he calls 'clinicalist' and 'neo-behaviourist'. The former
is characterized by an attempt 'to understand every instance in all its
individuality', suspicion
of fixed schemes of classification and general
laws, distrust of statistical evidence,
reliance on intuition, and an
interest more in modifying or extending hypotheses
than in dis-
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 375
confirming them. The latter is characteristically committed to
'scientific method', experiment, quantification, reductionism, and a
stress on precision and certainty. In The Cult
Fact,28 Liam
Hudson locates psychology as a discipline between the natural sciences
on the one hand and the humanities on the other with most of its
practitioners attracted to one neighbour or the other. The 'soft'
tradition in psychology (including Freudian and social
is said to stress intuition and imagination, is 'concerned less with law-
making than with speculative exploration'2 9 and takes seriously
persons' thoughts and experiences. The 'hard' tradition (including
experimental, behavioural and physiological psychology) is 'self-
consciously scientific'30 and mechanistic, stresses measurement and
empiricism, and discounts the importance of individuals' self-awareness
and thoughts while trying to explain behaviour with simple laws.
Hudson writes of having watched his 'hard' young contemporaries in
psychology 'align themselves with the forces of enlightenment. . .'3 1
Such close correspondence between Chein's and Hudson's
characterizations bears fruit when applied to the first of the questions
raised above. The hereditarian psychologists
Jensen, Eysenck, Cattell
and Herrnstein - can all be readily identified with the 'hard' tradition.
Hunt and Deutsch -
the only environmentalist psychologists for whom
I have relevant information
would both, I think, be associated with
the 'soft' tradition.32 Significandy perhaps, the environmentalist Jerry
who is a professor both of zoology and of psychology
well-known, inter alia, for a trenchant critique of behaviourist
Why should this correspondence between hard/soft and
hereditarian/environmentalist exist amongst the psychologists studied?
Since these psychologists' membership of the 'soft' and 'hard'
subdisciplines precedes their involvement in the race-IQ debate, the
problem becomes one of explaining how such soft/hard orientations
might predispose a psychologist to take up an environmentalist/
hereditarian position. One might argue that the process of 'professional
socialization' (e.g., PhD training and/or actual experience within a
research tradition) confers upon the actor a set of preferences
concerning methodology, explanatory variables, and so on, by which he
orients himself when faced with a choice of intellectual positions. Thus
behaviourists would tend to favour positions which are experimental,
quantitative, non-introspective in character, while those of 'soft'
persuasion would lean toward positions which are non-quantitative
and rely more on the observer's intuition for the interpretation of
meaningful behaviour. The disadvantage of this explanation is that one
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376 Social Studies of Science
has no way of excluding the possibility that actors' methodological and
technical preferences are established well before they undergo pro-
fessional socialization and perhaps even account, in part, for the
academic disciplines in which they choose to be trained.34A more
productive line of inquiry consists of treating the soft and hard
traditions in psychology as 'styles of thought' whose features can
be identified in environmentalist and hereditarian writing.
In his essay 'Conservative Thought',3 5 Mannheim introduces the
concept of 'style of thought' in order to analyze the relationship
between a group's social situation and its intellectual productions.
He suggests that Weltanschauungen can be characterized not only
by what is said but by the way in which it is said: 'content' is
distinguished from 'form' (or style).
In this essay Mannheim discusses how, in reaction to the ideological
pressure of the French Revolution, a 'conservative' style of thought
developed in 19th-century Germany, stressing precisely those elements
of thought which were absent in the 'Bourgeois liberal' or 'natural-law'
thought of the Enlightenment. Thus, for example, the methodological
characteristics of natural-law thought are held to be:
1. rationalism and a faith in the scientific approach
2. quantitative thinking and continuity
3. a preference for abstraction and theory
4. an atomistic and reductionist conception of wholes
5. an insistence on the universal application of principles
6. an orientation toward the future (and progress) rather than the past
7. 'static' thinking, in the sense that ethical justifications are made on
the grounds of 'the right reason' rather than in terms of historical
In contrast, conservative thought displays:
1. a stress on intuition and the limits of rationalist thinking
2. a stress on qualitative differences and discontinuity
3. a preference for the particular, the concrete and practice
4. the view that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and
that the individual parts can be understood only as parts of the
wider whole
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 377
5. an antipathy towards explanation in terms of general laws
6. an orientation toward the past and
7. a certain 'dynamism', seen in the use of concepts like 'dialectic'
and the stress on historical and developmental explanation/
It is reasonably clear that the natural-law style of thought resembles
the 'hard' tradition (eg., in features 1 to 5), while the conservative style
shares several characteristics with the 'soft' tradition (eg., features 1, 2,
3 and 5). More striking, however, are the many respects in which the
fundamental intellectual differences between hereditarians and
environmentalists fall into 'natural-law' and 'conservative' categories.
The evidence for such hereditarian and environmentalist styles of
thought is presented below.3 6
1) Rationalism vs. Intuition
Hereditarian writing abounds with statements stressing the importance
of rationality, careful scientific method, 'hard facts', logical argument,
objectivity, and the like, over against the evils of superstitiorlr.unreason,
Hereditarians have taken the view that more research into
the basis of race differences in IQ is desirable, and that while current
methods may not allow a conclusive test of the hereditarian hypothesis,
given adequate financial support - can be
counted on to sort out the problems; science is seen as a 'good thing'
and the more of it the better. Environmentalists have been far less
sanguine about scientists' ability to resolve this controversy in the
foreseeable future, and have correspondingly tended to oppose the
expansion of research in this area. Furthermore, hereditarians have
taken environmentalists to task for their failure to deduce precise,
testable hypotheses from clearly formulated, explicit theory.3 8
Environmentalists have defended their position on the grounds of its
plausibility. Insistence on methodological rigour is notably absent from
environmentalist writing. This contrast between hereditarian and
environmentalist approaches can be seen quite clearly in their dis-
agreement over the likelihood that as yet unknown environmental
factors (e.g., racism) could combine to account for the lower average
IQ of Negroes. Environmentalists tend to believe intuitively39 that the
long and continuing history of discrimination against American Negroes
must depress their mental test performances; here4itarians are sceptical
of this until it can be demonstrated that having a black skin is of
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378 Social Studies of Science
itself a cognitive disadvantage.40 Hereditarians stress the inadequacy
of known, measurable environmental variables in accounting for the
race-IQ gap (much as uniformitarian geologists insisted on explaining
the earth's history solely in terms of contemporary visible forces).
Similarly, environmentalists have played down the significance of
high heritability estimates for IQ on the grounds that manipulation of
as yet unknown IQ-relevant environments might reduce heritability
estimates markedly. The hereditarians prefer instead to take
heritability estimates seriously because these are seen to express the
relative importance of the only measurable environmental effects.
2) Quantitative-Continuity vs. Qualitative-Discontinuity
This aspect of the two sides' disagreement may be seen in their
approaches to matching Negroes and whites for IQ-relevant environ-
mental factors. Hereditarians tend to see Negroes' environmental
disadvantages relative to whites as merely a matter of degree;
matching Negroes and whites for socio-economic status is therefore
regarded as reasonably adequate.4
Socioeconomic status is perceived
as a single continuum along which environments vary quantitatively
in their stimulation of IQ. Middle-class Negroes are seen to inhabit
about as good environments as middle-class whites, and in any case
better environments than working-class whites. Environmentalists, on
the other hand, argue that the IQ-relevant environments of middle-
class Negroes and middle-class whites may be qualitatively different.42
The disagreement over comparing the IQ average of Negroes with that
of other coloured, deprived American minority groups is exactly ana-
logous. fIereditarians see such comparisons as fair and important since
various coloured groups are even more measurably (materially) deprived
than American Negroes. Environmentalists object that of these groups
only Negroes have a history of slavery, a qualitative difference which
could account for their uniquely low IQ average.4
Clearly, too, the hereditarian approach relies more heavily on
quantitative statistical methodologies (those central to psychometrics
and population genetics) than does the environmentalist, partly
because the environmentalist position has been developed by
social scientists whose methods tend to be relatively descriptive.
Hereditarians' contempt for the 'soft' non-quantitative methods of their
opponents, as well as environmentalists' suspicions of hereditarians'
abstract statistical manipulations, are often encountered.44
Another tendency in hereditarian thought is to refer to genetic
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 379
differences between individuals or groups as genetic 'inequality';
that is to say, qualitative differences are thereby translated into
quantitative ones along a single evaluative scale.4 5 This tendency has
been repeatedly criticized by several geneticists who have taken issue
with Jensen.46
3) A bstract-Theoretical vs. Particular-Concrete
Cattell has neatly pin-pointed this difference in outlook:
The difficulties that psychologists have had in their
complex subject in
developing unassailable concepts . have often resulted in a retreat from
abstraction and general laws to a safe (but dreary) particularism. In the
retreat of pure environmentalism from the scientific field it is now adopting
a scorched-earth policy of obscurantism and even downright conceptual
nih ilism.4 7
Hirsch's argument also illustrates this difference of perspective:4
High or low heritability tell us absolutely nothing about how a given individual
might have developed under conditions different from those in which he
actually did develop . . . Since the characterization of genotype-environment
interaction can only be ad hoc and the number of possible interactions is
effectively unlimited, no wonder the search for general laws
behaviour has
been so unfruitful, and 'the 'heritability of intelligence or any other trait must
be recognized as still another of those will-o-the-wisp general laws. And no
magic words about an interaction component in a linear analysis-of-variance
model will make disappear the reality of each genotype 's unique norm of
reaction. Interaction is an abstraction of matematics... Norm of reaction
is a
developmental reality
4) Atormism-Reductionism vs. Holism-Stress on Groups
This dichotomy occurs in the discussion of both scientific and social-
philosophicalmatters. First, in accounting for Negroes' lower IQ average,
the hereditarian explanation treats the Negro group as the sum of its
constituent individuals: a low population mean results from a relatively
large number of individuals with lower native endowment for IQ. The
environmentalist explanation, in contrast, focusses not on individual
Negroes but on their membership of a group, the consequence of
this membership being that Negroes are socially stigmatized as
inferior; this stigma is then reflected in poor IQ performance.
For an environmentalist, then, the individual can only be understood
in terms of the wider group of which he is a part.5 ?
In addition, several environmentalist writers have objected to what
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380 Social Studies of Science
they see as the mechanist-reductionist cast of hereditarian thought.5 1
The hereditarian position is, of course, reductionist in the sense that it
'reduces' average group behavioural differences (treating IQ as a be-
havioural trait)to gene frequency differences between the groups. Inter-
estingly, however, even though hereditarians acknowledge the contri-
bution of environmental influences to the race-IQ gap, Jensen at least
has stressed the importance of physiological factors (e.g., nutrition)52
rather than the more characteristically human ones (eg., psychological,
social, cultural) commonly invoked by environmentalists. Furthermore,
is it sheer coincidence that hereditarians have argued that the contribu-
tions of heredity and environment to individual differences in IQ are
largely additive (i.e., genotype-environment interaction and covariance
are negligible), whereas environmentalists have stressed the importance
of non-additive effects?5
It is quite striking how different in general are hereditarians' and
environmentalists' commitments to the individual versus the group.54
Thus, all of the major hereditarians are opposed to the use of quota
systems which select individuals for particular ranks on the grounds
of ascribed characteristics (e.g., social class, sex, race). This practice -
currently institutionalized in the United States in the form of, for
example, the 'Affirmative Action' programme
is seen as contrary
to the genetic facts of individual differences and antithetical to the
notion of equal opportunity. Far from being viewed as legitimate
compensation for several hundred years of discrimination at the hands
of a white majority or an attempt simply to equalize opportunities for
disadvantaged groups (as environmentalists in general perceive the
situation), quotas for Negro students and employees have been
attacked as 'reverse racism'.5
Hereditarians have made their
unease at the phenomenon of group consciousness explicit.56
Much the same objection has been voiced by several hereditarians
towards programmes of compensatory education,5 7and in one case
towards 'forced' racial desegregation in the United States.5 8
Environmentalists, in contrast, have been untroubled by the
introduction of quota systems or by the possibility that past and
present compensatory educational programmes might have infringed
the principle of equal
A.H. Halsey, for example, has
instead declared that now is the time for 'positive discrimination in
favour of the have-nots in education'.0 Interestingly, Halsey is able
to take this position without violating the 'equal opportunity' principle
because he defines 'equal educational opportunity' as having been
achieved only when social group differences in educational attainment
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 381
no longer exist.61 It is significant, too, that the Society tor the
Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), a branch of the American
Psychological Association with a relatively large number of prominent
environmentalist members6 2 and a history of opposition to
hereditarianism, has been involved in the development of Affirmative
Action programmes.6 3
A closely related aspect of the hereditarians' search for general
causal laws is their insistence on the universal application of principles.
This insistence is obvious enough in the discussion of quotas,
immediately above. A passage in Eysenck's Race, Intelligence and
Education makes this yet clearer.
However much one may sympathize with negro demands of this kind [for
favourable quota systems in educationl, they infringe the general rule laid
down above and are racist in nature; [admission to university on purely racial
grounds] is unacceptable in principle..
and later:
Racial grounds for acceptance and rejection are unacceptable regardless of
which race is favoured; it is
which is wrong. Each person must
be considered on his merits;. . .6
Here one notices also the 'static' quality of hereditarian thought; the
criticism of quota systems is justified on grounds of 'the right reason' -
in this case, 'equal opportunity'. Natural-law justifications in terms of
'the right reason' often take the torm of a strong attack on tradition,
dogma and that which is perceived as authoritarian. Characteristically,
hereditarians and their supporters have repeatedly criticized the
institutionalization of 'doctrinaire' or 'dogmatic' environmentalism,
especially in the United States.6 6
Thus hereditarians' and environmentalists' conceptions of social
justice are diametrically opposed; the hereditarians' conception is the
classic liberal belief in the primacy of the individual, while
environmentalists are committed to re-establishing what they see as
a just balance between major social groups.
5) Static-A bistorical vs. Dynamic-Historical Tendencies
One of the clearest expressions, not only of the static-dynamic
dichotomy but of several other 'conservative' vs. 'natural-law' contrasts,
can be found in hereditarians' and environmentalists' approaches to
the study of intelligence. Virtually all hereditarian writing in this
controversy has followed the psychometric tradition, while a substantial
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382 Social Studies of Science
number of environmentalist writers have been influenced by the work
of Piaget.67 As Elkind has pointed out68 these perspectives focus on
rather different aspects of intelligence:
a) Psychometrics is future-oriented in the sense that its tests are
designed for selection purposes. It is not concerned with how individual
differences in IQ arose but with their existence here and now. In this
sense it can also be considered a static conception. Piaget uses a
developmental approach which is concerned with the 'history' of
individuals' cognitive changes.
b) While nature-nurture studies in the psychometric tradition
are based on populations from which one derives a quantified statement
of the importance of heredity and environment for the average member
(an abstraction) of the population studied, Piaget focusses on the
concrete individual organism and investigates the dynamic and
'dialectical' relationship between the organism and its environment
during the various stages of its development.
c) Mental growth in psychometric work is continuous and
quantified, while in Piagetian studies so far emphasis has been placed
on the description of qualitatively distinct stages.69
The existence of hereditarian and environmentalist, as well as 'hard'
and 'soft', styles of thought raises many questions. One of them -
which cannot be dealt with here - concerns the social and historical
origins of the soft and hard traditions in psychology. Mannheim's per-
spective prompts one to look for the genesis of soft and hard styles
in the social situation of the founders of the respective schools of
thought.70 The central question which I deal with in the companion
to this paper concerns the origins of modern hereditarians' and
environmentalists' styles of thought. I assume that an individual's
style of thought - even in matters scientific - tends to reflect the
social situation of the groups of which he is a member.71 That the
hereditarians' and environmentalists' substantive and stylistic
differences extend to questions of social philosophy makes this
assumption plausible.
One type of group whose social situation has contributed to the
controversy has already been discussed: the protagonist's academic
reference group. While necessary in order to account for several
features of the controversy which were discussed above, the boundary
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 383
dispute hypothesis is at best a partial explanation. It cannot, for
example, explain why scientists of similar professional training and
affiliation occasionally adopt quite different positions on the race-IQ
debate.72 Nor does it account for the environmentalist
tendency of
American behaviourist psychology. Some of the most telling
evidence against the sufficiency of the boundary dispute hypothesis
is to be found in Herrnstein's and Jensen's intellectual biographies,
summarized below. These further suggest the inadequacy of explaining
scientific styles of thought solely in terms of professional socialization
(see also note 34).
Herrnstein has written that he was
slow to identify the [environmentalist] current that guided my work,
especially since almost everyone around me was caught in the same stream . . .
. . my confidence in the environmentalist doctrines broke
down ...
when he came to study mental testing and the importance of genes.
When Jensen's article came out I read it, and I was impressed by it. But I
knew very little of the current data in this field ... I was surprised by [the
article], that the case could be made so strong for substantial heritability.
In fact until I read that article I didn't really know what heritability was.
Q: You'd never had any genetics during your PhD training?
No. I'd had some biology courses but [they discussed elementary Mendelian
rather than population genetics] . I'd never worked through it in any way . ..
[So he
to talk over the
ensen article with
I started
Jensen up.' I said 'This is a great guy. Look what he's done!' And they said
'He's a racist.' I was shocked because he didn't come across in the Harvard
Educational Review like a racist. And they replied 'He's a shrewd racist.'
So I went back and read all the articles [Jensen had] reviewed to see if I
would come to a different conclusion. And the more I read the more
impressed I was with hisjudiciousness. He is a very excellent scholar?4
Jensen's paper provided the stimulus for Herrnstein to decide to write
his widely-read essay, 'IQ'.75 Thus despite being largely untrained in
biology or genetics, and working in a predominantly environmentalist
research area, Herrnstein responded favourably to Jensen's work.76
Even more striking, J ensen's professional training was strongly
rooted in the environmentalist and 'soft' traditions.77 Toward the end
of his PhD research, he first encountered Eysenck's critique of
psychoanalysis, whereupon, according to Jensen, his approach to
behaviour underwent a rather abrupt 'switch' to the hard tradition.
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384 Social Studies of Science
He then spent two years with Eysenck at the Institute of Psychiatry in
London, an experience which Jensen sees as having influenced, directly
or indirectly, nearly all of his (Jensen's) subsequent work.78 As recenty
as 1964, however, after a third year at the Institute of Psychiatry,
Jensen recalls that his position on both racial and social class
differences in IQ was still environmentalist.79 Only subsequently, on
gathering material for a book on educational problems of culturally
disadvantaged children, did he - despite being 'largely but not utterly
ignorant of the research on the genetics of mental abilities' - begin
to question environmentalist theories:
What struck me as most peculiar as I worked my way through the vast bulk
of literature on the disadvantaged was the almost complete lack of any
mention of the possible role of genetic factors in individual differences in
intelligence and scholastic performance . . . It seemed obvious to me that a
book dealing with the culturally disadvantaged would have to include a
chapter that honestly attempts to come to grips scientifically with the
influence of genetic factors on differences in mental abilities.8
These and other intellectual histories present the problem of
explaining why Herrnstein and Jensen, unlike others with similar
training, have abandoned to various extents the beliefs and practices
which they acquired through professional socialization. An adequate
explanation of the race-IQ controversy must consider the protagonists'
membership not only of scientific reference groups but also of groups
outside their respective research traditions. This aspect of the
controversy is dealt with in a companion paper, to be published in
Social Studies of Science, Vol. 7, No. 1 (February 1977).
An earlier version of this paper was presented to the Conference on the Sociology
of Science held at the University of York, UK, on 16-18 September 1975. The
research for this paper was done primarily at the Science Studies Unit, University
of Edinburgh, whose staff and students provided valued intellectual stimulus and
encouragement. Research costs were kindly met by the Woodhull Endowment
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Harwood: The
Controversy 385
and the History and Social Studies of Science programme at Sussex University.
I would like to thank Barry Barnes, John Law, Peter Halfpenny and my colleagues
in Manchester for helpful criticism of this paper in draft form. I am also grateful
to Professors Raymond B. Cattell, Martin Deutsch, H.J. Eysenck,
Herrnstein, Jerry Hirsch, J. McVicker Hunt and Arthur R. Jensen for having
shown an interest in this research and given generously of their time.
1. T.S. Kuhn, The Structure
of Scientific
Revolutions (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1970), 200.
2. L. Hudson, 'Introduction', in K. Richardson, D. Spears and M. Richards
(eds), Race, Culture and Intelligence (Harmondsworth, Middx.: Penguin,
1972), 14.
3. By 'hereditarians' I mean scientists who believe that the race-IQ gap arises
from both genetic and environmental causes. 'Environmentalists', on the other
hand, believe the gap to be exclusively environmental in origin. Since the
published contributions to this controversy have come from so many individuals,
I have had to base my analysis on five hereditarians and perhaps
a dozen
environmentalists (see Table 1). These individuals were chosen for study because
they (1) enjoy reasonably good reputations within disciplines relevant to the
race-IQ issue, (2) have made several contributions to the debate, and (3) have
taken a clear-cut stance on the issue.
Of the hereditarians discussed here, Richard Herrnstein does not accept the
hereditarian view of the race-IQ gap, but I have treated him nevertheless as an
hereditarian primarily because of his outspoken admiration for Jensen's work.
This assignment is, I believe, justifiable in view of several important respects in
which his social-political views resemble those of the other hereditarians
(discussed in the companion paper; see note 5).
The environmentalist group poses
something of a methodological problem.
Their view on heredity-environment issues run the gamut from accepting the
involvement of genes in individual but not in social class or race differences in
IQ at one end (eg., A.H. Halsey) to accepting the involvement of genes in
individual and social class differences and accepting the plausibility (but not the
likelihood) of a genetic component in race differences in IQ at the other. The
latter sub-group includes Walter Bodmer, Richard Lewontin and Jerry Hirsch.
Significantly, each of these three is a geneticist. Thus the environmentalists are
a heterogeneous group in respect of disciplinary orientation, too (see Table 1).
To have focussed on a more homogeneous sub-group of environmentalists would
have removed many of the methodological problems, but it would also have done
violence to the basically diffuse character of the environmentalist side.
Despite their inaccuracy, I have chosen to retain the traditional labels
'hereditarian' and 'environmentalist' because they continue to be used by
participants themselves. Such usage is interesting insofar as it reflects actors'
belief that the controversy is 'really' about the substantive issues of heredity and
environment. The fact that several 'environmentalists' come so very close to
accepting Jensen's genetic hypothesis while strongly criticizing his work in
general, however, indicates that the controversy is not solely about substantive
issues. Stricdy speaking, therefore, more appropriate labels for the two sides
would be 'pro-Jensen' and 'anti-Jensen'.
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386 Social Studies of Science
4. Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 39 (1969), 1-123.
5. 'The Race-Intelligence Controversy: A Sociological Approach; II -
External Factors', to appear in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 7, No. 1 (February
6. It is not my intention - nor, in my opinion, is it possible - to invalidate
either position in this debate merely by 'accounting for it' sociologically (and/or
psychologically, etc.). Future research could well vindicate either of these stances
on the race-IQ issue.
7. See for example I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave (eds), Criticism and the
Growth of Knowledge (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970).
8. P. Feyerabend, Against Method (London: New Left Books, 1974).
9. See J.D.Y. Peel, 'Understanding Alien Belief Systems', Brit. J. Sociology,
Vol. 20 (1969), 69-84; S.B. Barnes, Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory
(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974), Chapters 1 and 2.
10. I. Lakatos, 'History of Science and its Rational Reconstructions', in R.
Buck and R. Cohen (eds), Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 8
11. P. Urbach, 'Progress and Degeneration in the IQ Debate', Bnit. J. Phil.
Sci., Vol. 25 (1974), 99-135 and 235-59.
12. I. Lakatos, 'Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research
Programmes', in Lakatos and Musgrave, op. cit. note 7, 91-195.
13. See D.C. Bloor, 'Two Paradigms for Scientific Knowledge?', Science
Studies, Vol. 1 (1971), 105-15.
14. M. Banton and J. Harwood, The Race Concept (Newton Abbot, Devon:
David and Charles, 1975), Chapter 4.
15. (The entries in Table 1 suggest otherwise, but my 'environmentalist'
category contains a disproportionately large number of biologists.) Social
scientists' environmentalist predilections are, of course, neither a new
phenomenon nor are they restricted to the race-IQ controversy. See M. Bressler,
'Sociology, Biology
and Ideology', in D.C. Glass (ed.), Genetics (New York:
Rockefeller University Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 1968), 178-210; and
N. Pastore, The Nature-Nurture Controversy (New York: Kings Crown Press,
16. W.S. Pollitzer, article in L.
G. Omenn, and E. Caspari (eds),
Genetics, Environment and Behaviour: Implications for Educational Policy
(New York: Academic Press, 1972), 126-27.
17. Cf. B. Barber, 'Resistance by Scientists to Scientific Discovery', Science,
Vol. 134 (1 September 1961), 596-602.
18. See for example the sparring match between Rose and Eysenck in New
Scientist (1973): 14 June, 704; 28 June, 832; 5 July, 41; 19 July, 164;
26 July, 222.
19. The environmentalist sociologist Halsey makes essentially this point
'Biology and Sociology: A Reconciliation',
in D.C. Glass (ed.), Genetics, op.
cit. note 15.
20. S.G. Vandenberg, 'The Nature and Nurture of Intelligence', in Glass
(ed.), ibid., 22.
21. L.J. Cronbach, 'The Two Disciplines of Scientific Psychology', American
Vol. 12 (1957), 678.
22. Several of the signatories of a published 'Statement on Behaviour and
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 387
Heredity' (American
Vol. 27 [19721, 660-61)
have recounted
personal experiences to me which suggest that research proposals in this area
may have been rejected for reasons of social
responsibility in
science, in particular
out of a desire not to worsen race relations. The US National
Academy of
Science's reluctance to honour William Shockley's repeated requests for
ship in this area is well-known.
One might expect 'power' to become a potentially important factor in the
development of scientific controversy whenever influential audiences -
professional and lay -
strongly favour one position in the controversy (See Y.
Ezrahi, 'The Political Resources of American Science', Science Studies, Vol.
1 [19711, 117-34). Such conditions currently obtain in certain areas of heredity-
environment research in the United States and are probably influencing to some
extent the course of the race-IQ controversy via such levers as the recruitment
of research students and the availability of research grants. It is not clear,
however, that 'power' is of any use in explaining the views of established
in many cases eminent -
scientists such as those I have studied here; high
status helps to insulate such scientists from the effects of public and/or
professional disapproval.
23. See G. Lindzey, J. Loehlin, M. Manosevitz and D. Thiessen, 'Behavioural
Genetics', Ann. Rev. Psychology, Vol. 22 (1971), 39-94.
24. For example L. Erlenmeyer-Kimling, article in Ehrman et al., op. cit.
note 16, 200-01:
... behaviour geneticists, as a group, have often kept busy just ini the
effort to gain from entrenched environmentalists some enduring
recognition of the need to reckon with heredity in behavioural studies.
In a similar vein see L. Heston (ibid., 102) and J. Hirsch, 'Behavior Genetic or
"Experimental" Analysis: The Challenge of Science versus the Lure of
Technology', American Psychologist, Vol. 22 (1967), 118.
25. Op. cit. note 22.
26. That this statement represented more than mere disciplinary self-interest,
however, may be inferred from the absence of the signatures of several well-
known geneticists with an interest in the race-IQ issue: Richard Lewontin,
Jerry Hirsch, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Walter Bodmer and L.L. Cavalli-Sforza.
Each of these absentees has been critical of the hereditarian position.
27. I. Chein (London: Tavistock, 1972), 303-15.
28. (London: Cape, 1972), Chapters 6 & 7.
29. Ibid., 88.
30. Ibid., 105.
31. Ibid., 101.
32. Hunt's concern with the effects of early experience on animal and
human behaviour grew out of his interest in psychoanalytic theory and
considerable clinical experience in psychiatry and abnormal psychology
(interview, 26.6.74 and Hunt's autiobiographical essay in T.S. Krawiec (ed.),
The Psychologists, Vol. 2 [New York: Oxford University Press, 19741, 13 5-202):
Martin Deutsch also held several posts in clinical psychiatry, and his research
in the 1960s would probably be classified as 'social psychology'.
33. 'Behavior Genetics and Individuality Understood', Science, Vol. 142
(13 December 1963), 143642.
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388 Social Studies of Science
34. It seems plausible that individuals with particular personality
characteristics or abilities would be attracted to certain disciplines' approaches to
human behaviour. Such individual characteristics might originate in previous
socialization (e,g., under the influence of school and/or home environments, or in
a prior university training in another discipline). Thus it is hardly accidental
that Cattell took his first degree in chemistry and that Eysenck wanted to read
theoretical physics when he first came as a student to the University of London.
Cattell writes:
It is no accident that the psychologists I find most congeiuial, and who
have contributed most to psychology, such as Hull, Thurstone, Godfrey
Thomson, Tolman . . . had been physical scientists, learning what science
means, before they became psychologists [in his autobiographical essay
in T.S. Krawiec (ed.), op. cit. note 32, 1041.
Similarly, D.L. Krantz has referred to Skinnerian psychology's marked tendency
in the 1940s and '50s to attract graduate students from the natural sciences rather
than from arts disciplines ('Schools and Systems: The Mutual Isolation of Operant
and Non-Operant Psychology as a Case Studv'.Jour. Hist. Behavioural Sciences,
Vol. 8 [19721, 86-102). Furthermore, Hermstein may have been attracted to
formal behaviourist psychology partly because mathematics has always been easy
for him (interview, 6.6.74). Much the same can be said of Jensen's early
educational preferences:
[In the third and fourth years of his undergraduate psychology course
he began to get disillusioned with the field] . . . too much of it seemed
too soft-headed to me, so I changed my major and switched to
physiology and zoology. [Had you always found maths or physical
sciences relatively easy?] Yes, they just were more appealing to me. I
liked subjects that involved more deduction and so on than things where
you just have to learn a lot of facts. I liked things that were systematic.
[Interview, 23.8.741
Consistent with this evidence is Hudson's impression that most of the
psychometricians whom he has met were of 'convergent' temperament (most
suited to high IQ test performance). On the relations between personality and
intellectual preference see L. Hudson, Contrary Imaginations (London: Methuen,
1966); Frames of Mind (London: Methuen, 1968); and especially The Cult of the
Fact (London: Cape, 1972), 129 and 132-33.
35. Karl Mannheim, 'Conservative Thought',in his Essays in Sociology and
Social Psychology (London: Roudedge and Kegan Paul, 1953).
36. In justifying the use of such a methodology, it may be worth noting
that it was only after I had been studying the race-IQ literature for about a year
that I came upon Mannheim's essay and was struck by the stylistic parallels.
Ultimately others familiar with this literature will have to judge whether I have
fairly categorized hereditarian and environmentalist writings.
As with all excursions in the sociology of knowledge, problems of imputation
exist (cf. note 3). It must be stressed that no single member of either hereditarian
or environmentalist group is likely to display all of the features of the natural- law
or conservative styles (respectively). This is partly due to group heterogeneity,
especially among environmentalists. I hasten to add, however, that I use
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 389
Mannheimn's two styles merely as exemplary 'tools' for tracing features of thought
to social circumstances. Recognizing the historically specific nature of his
one should not be surprised to find that hereditarian and environmentalist styles
(as well as the hard and soft traditions) only approximate natural-law and
conservative ones.
While one might be able to find some respect in which hereditarian writing
reveals 'conservative' elements (or environmentalist writing, 'natural-law' ones),
the most profound differences between hereditarian and environmentalist
assumptions are categorizeable in terms of natural-law and conservative
That this correspondence is not an artifact may be seen in the fact that the
characteristics of tne Droader 'hard' and 'soft' schools of psychology from which
many of the protagonists are drawn also bear a strong resemblance to natural-law
and conservative styles. Finally, stylistic analysis is justified by its heuristic value.
Many scientific controversies have hinged upon differences in viewpoint which
could be categorized in terms of natural-law and conservative styles; for example,
holist-reductionist debates, and the 'Uniformitarian-Catastrophist debate' in
19th-century geology. Can such a feature be explained in terms of relevant
scientists' existential circumstances?
37. See for example, 'The Dangers of the New Zealots', Encounter
(December 1972), and 'Humanism and the Future', in A.J. Ayer (ed.), The
Humanist Outlook (London: Pemberton Books, 1968). Also R.B. Cattell,
article in R. Cancro (ed.), Intelligence: Genetic and Environmental Influences
(New York: Grune and Stratton, 1971); R.B. Cattell, A New Morality from
Science: Beyondism (Elmsford, N.Y.: Pergamon, 1972); and A.R. Jensen,
Educability and Group Differences (London: Methuen, 1973), 4-5.
38. For example, H.J. Eysenck, Race, Intelligence and Education (London:
Temple Smith, 1971), 128-30;Jensen, ibid., Chapter 10.
39. I am not suggesting that the environmentalist position is irrational nor
that the environmentalists' work in general is less rational or 'scientific' than the
hereditarians'. Nevertheless the environmentalists' stance on this very central issue
in the debate relies on a speculative assumption which they regard as intuitively
plausible (if not obvious) rather than on replicable experiments which are widely
acknowledged by environmentalists. The hereditarians' position on this
by contrast, rests quite firmly within the standard practice of behaviour and
population geneticists (cf. Barnes, op. cit. note 9, 132-35). In this rather restricted
sense I think it is justified to contrast the two positions as 'rational' vs 'intuitive'
(although the stylistic approach explored here is in no way dependent upon the
adequacy of this particular distinction).
40. Thbis characteristic of the hereditarian position has been observed by
of race discrimination
accounting for the IQ gap] is
something that Jensen doesn't quite tum over in his mind. .. It's an
incalculable thing and just because it's incalculable Jensen tends to be
very concrete and tends to dismiss it . . . [Interview, 6.6.74J
Asked about the likelihood of this possibility, Jensen replied that he thought
it unlikely because:
. .. I would think that one's personality and the degree of neuroticism
... would perhaps be
by being discriminated against more
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Social Studies of Science
than cognitive abilities would be affected . .. and that doesn't seem to
be the case. . . I don't see why cognitive abilities [such as
would be
so drastically affected whereas other demanding tasks like memory
tests are not affected.[Interview, 23 8.741
The words I have italicized also serve to emphasize that scientists' judgement on
this particular likelihood is not governed by strictly technical
consequently one cannot understand a scientist's assessment
of such a likelihood
without considering his individual personality and/or his social situation and its
associated complex of ideas about race discrimination. The problem is to under-
stand why hereditarians and environmentalists differ over their assessment of this
41. For example, Eysenck, op. cit. note 38, 119 and 107-Q3g.
42. See, for example, T. Gregg and P. Sanday, 'Genetic and Environmental
Components of Differential Intelligence', in C.L. Brace, G.R. Gamble and J.T.
Bond (eds), Race and Intelligence, Anthropological Studies No. 8 (Washington,
D.C.: American Anthropological Association, 1971).
In addition:
What is implied [by the hereditarian position] is that all disadvantage
is essentially the same and exists only in differing quantities. Actually, of
course, it is impossible to avoid recognizing that there are qualitative
differences between environments and that these are probably bighly
relevant to any discussion of envirownent-behaviour relationships.
example, in superficially comparing Indians and Negroes, Jensen
completely ignores the special conditions of American Indians: their
history, their current social organization, and their schooling. [Emphasis
added; M. Deutsch, 'Happenings on the Way Back From The Forum',
Science, Heritability andlQ, Harvard Educational Review Reprint Series,
No. 4 (1969), 76-77.1
43. A general distaste for the idea of qualitative differences in mental
characteristics between groups of people also finds expression in Eysenck's
writing, for example, op. cit. note 38, 79:
We must conclude that just as there is not one physics for Aryans, and
another for Jews, so there is not one intelligence for whites,
quite different type for blacks.
See also ibid, 75. The fact that Eysenck here chooses an analogy from
Germany of the 1930s, plus his expressed antipathy for the 'group-mind' concept
(Encounter [December 19721, 79), may not be mere coincidence and is discussed
in the companion paper.
44. See J. McV. Hunt, 'Has Compensatory Education Failed? Has it been
Attempted?', in Environment, Heredity and Intelligence, Harvard
Review Reprint Series, No. 2 ( 1969), 134; Brian Simon, Intelligence, Psychology
and Education (London:
Lawrence and Wishart, 1971), 23 and 244; Eysenck,
Times Educ. S
pe p
ent (12
December 1969); Cattell, Abilities: Their Structure,
Growth and Action (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1971), especially 280-87;
Cattell, article in Cancro (ed.), op. cit. note 37, 6 and 7. See also Eysenck,
Inequality of Man (London: Temple Smith, 1973), 82 and 83. Cf. note 49.
45. For example Eysenck, op. cit. note 38, 118, and The Inequality of Man,
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 391
46. Notably T. Dobzhansky, in Glass (ed.), Genetics, op. cit. note 15, as well
as in Dobzhansky's Genetic Diversity and Human Equality (New York: Basic
Books, 1973); also R.C. Lewontin, 'Further Remarks on Race and the Genetics of
Intelligence', Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 26, No. 5 (1970), 25.
47. In Cancro (ed.), op. cit. note 37, 24.
48. A similar point has been made by Hunt in Intelligence and Experience
(New York: Ronald Press, 1961), Chapter 8.
49. Hirsch article, in Cancro (ed.), op. cit. note 37, 102, emphasis added.
Steven Rose has made a rather similar remark: 'They go on playing with their
figures and equations to give an aura of science, even though the basic data is
garbage . . . Do not confuse a statistical phenomenon with a biological reality'
(cited in 'The Times Diary', The Times, 19 September 1974).
50. One of the clearer expressions of this holistic stress in environmentalist
writing is to be found in Ashley Montagu's Statement on Race (New York:
UNESCO, 1972); for example (p. 134):
What men want is to feel related to
. . Man does not want
independence in the sense of functioning separately from the interests of
his fellows. That kind of independence leads to lonesomeness and fear.
What man wants is . . . the feeling that he is a part of a group. It is a
common observation that the happiest persons are those who most
strongly feel a sense of connection with the whole community.
51. For example M. Deutsch and C. Deutsch, New York University
Education Quarterly (Winter 1974) refer to the '. . . inherent human tragedy in
hereditarians making biologically deterministic and mechanistic assumptions
regarding individual potential. ..' (p.7) They declare their opposition to this
approach, saying
values ... are quite divergent from those in the
psychological community who . . . establish in the area of heredity and
intelligence what are ephemeral reductionist and simplistic models of human
behaviour and development.' (p. I 1)
Another critique of certain reductionist points of view has been made by
Steven Rose. See, for example, 'Science, Racism and Ideology', Socialist Register
(1973), 235-60; The Conscious Brain (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1973),
275-84, and H. Rose and S. Rose, 'Do not Adjust Your Mind; There is a Fault in
Reality: Ideology in Neurobiology', in R. Whitley (ed.), Social Processes in
Scientific Development (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974).
52. Cf. Jensen, op. cit. note 4, 65-74.
53. For the hereditarians' position see Jensen, op. cit. note 4, 3841;Jensen,
op. cit. note 37, 173-74; and Eysenck, op. cit. note 38, 72-74. For the
environmentalists' position see C. Jencks et al., Inequality: A Reassessment of the
Effect of Family and Schooling in Amenica (New York: Basic Books, 1972),
Appendix A; D. C. Layzer, 'Heritability Analyses of IQ Scores: Science or
Numerology?' Science, Vol. 183 (29 March 1974), 1259-66; Hirsch's article in
Cancro (ed.), op. cit. note 37, 97-98; and Hunt, op. cit. note 48.
54. This feature of the debate has been observed independently by William
Havender in 'A Comment on Arthur Jensen's Critics', unpublished paper, 10 and
55. Dwight Ingle, article in M. Meade, T. Dobzhansky, E. Toback and R.
Light (eds), The Race Concept (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968),
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392 Social Studies of Science
113; and Eysenck, op. cit. note 38, 143.
56. For example, Jensen, op. cit. note 37, 9-10, and:
Most environmentalists I've run into are not really individualist. They're
the ones usually who think in terms of quotas... 'Take care of the
individual and let the groups fall where they may' is the philosophy I
would advocate. And I think that 'group-thinking' is really half the
problem. It's what's creating much of the difficulty in this whole thing -
thinking in terms of group identities and group loyalties, chauvinistic
attitudes about your own group membership and so forth. I think it's
very harmful ... [Interview with Jensen, 2 3.8.74]
I have written of possible average white-Negro differences in genetic
endowment because this [U.S.A.] and other countries are torn and
threatened by some of the coercive efforts to abolish the average
achievement gap between whites and Negroes. I refer to social actions
based upon 'racial' identity rather than individuality. [Ingle, Midway
(Winter 1970), 114]
Herrnstein has expressed a very similar view [Interview, 6.6.74).
57. Herrnstein, IQ in the Meritocracy (London: Allen Lane, 1973), 133 and
152, as well as in interview (6.6.74). See also Eysenck, 'The Rise of the
Mediocracy', in C.B. Cox and A.E. Dyson (eds), Black Paper II - The Crisis in
Education (London: Critical Quarterly Society, 1970), 37.
58. Ingle, article reprinted in J. Baker and G. Allen, Hypothesis, Prediction
and Implication in Biology (Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1968), 107. Ingle
argues that Negroes' eligibility for integration into white middle-class
neighbourhoods ought to be based on individual qualifications, merit, behavioural
standards, etc., rather than on simply 'being Negro'.
59. One environmentalist, for example, believed minority quotas to be
uncontroversial because they have had, as he saw it, essentially no effect on
student admissions-
As a result there is no strong move against it. The existence of the
programme salves the consciences of liberals but its relative ineffective-
ness does nothing to disturb the status quo so that both liberals and
conservatives can more or less ignore it. It is only those on the extreme
right, who, under the guise of principle (principle being of course the
chief preoccupation of all people on the right) insist that the affirmative
action programme is destroying American education and is unfair to
Martin Deutsch expressed a comparable view (interview, 12.6.74).
60. A.H. Halsey,
Times Higher Educational Supplement (5 April 1974), 3.
61. 'Towards a More Noble Alternative', The Guardian (27 May 1975), 20.
This view is of course also the assumption upon which one environmentalist's
well-known culture-fair IQ test was constructed (see note 7 7).
62. For example, Martin Deutsch, Marie Jahoda and Otto Klineberg (all
former chairmen), as well as Jerry Hirsch, Irwin Katz and Thomas Pettigrew.
63. SPSSI Newsletter, No. 133 (March 1973).
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Harwood: The Race-Intelligence Controversy 393
64. Op. cit. note 38, 143,emphasis added.
65. Ibid. 144, emphasis added.
66. See, for example, Jensen, article in Environment, Heredity and
Intelligence, op. cit. note 44, 215, and Ingle (op. cit. note
56) who have drawn
attention to the official (environmentalist) position of various US government
departments and agencies on the question of group differences in mental abilities.
See also A.G.N. Flew, 'Reason, Racism and
New Humanist
1973), and Eysenck, 'The Dangers in a New Orthodoxy', same volume, 82-83.
67. One book which has had considerable influence on
environmentalism has been Hunt's Intelligence and Experience. In this book as
elsewhere (Tbe Cballenge of Incompetence and Poverty [Urbana, Ill.: Illinois
University Press, 19691, and Hunt and G. Kirk, article in Cancro, op. cit. note
37), Hunt's admiration for Piaget is clear. Among other environmentalist writings
inspired by Piaget are the paper by J. Radford and A. Burton in
Intelligence, op. cit. note 2, 19-35; Richards, Richardson and Spears' concluding
essay in the same volume, 179-96; and the article by G. Voyat in J. Hellmuth
(ed.), The Disadvantaged Child, Vol. 3, Compensatory Education: a National
Debate (New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1970). See also the article by Edmund
Gordon in Cancro (ed.), op. cit. note 37, 245-46, and Deutsch, op. cit. note 42,
68. 'Piagetian and Psychometric Conceptions of Intelligence' Harv. Educ.
Rev., Vol. 39 (1969), 33847.
69. One might want to object at this point that the notion of 'style' is
superfluous in distinguishing hereditarianism from environmentalism on the
grounds that the intellectual substance of one's position on the race-IQ debate
virtually determines the style in which it can be expressed: the hereditarian view
is based on genetics and therefore could not be other than 'hard' in its
formulation (conversely for environmentalism). There are several reasons why this
objection does not hold up.
On the one hand it is not difficult to envisage a hereditarian programme
couched in the 'soft' style. For example the Piagetian niodel is perfectly
compatible with hereditarian notions (and has in fact recently been appropriated
by psychometricians). Negroes' intelligence might have been conceptualized as
qualitatively different from whites', rather than quantitatively so. Furthermore,
the hereditarian position necessitates neither an atomistic conception of society
nor an attack on compensatory discrimination.
On the other hand, an environmentalist programme could easily have been
formulated along 'hard' lines. The American behaviourist psychological tradition
through most of this century illustrates this possibility. Modern environmentalist
writing could have been littered with acknowledgements to 'scientific method'. It
could have been based on a static and abstract psychometric model of
intelligence. It could have attempted to explain the IQ gap, not in historical terms
as the complicated and as yet unquantified legacy of racism, but in biochemical
terms, for example, as the consequence of Negroes' brain function being impaired
by various toxic substances to which they are differentially exposed. This brand
of environmentalism might well be combined with an atomistic social philosophy
and a critique of compensatory discrimination.
70. Although I am arguing the differential recruitment of hard and soft
psychologists to the hereditarian and environmentalist platforms, respectively, I
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394 Social Studies of Science
do not want to suggest that all hard/soft psychologists, past and present, would
share such views; American behaviourists, for example, have traditionally tended
to take an environmentalist position. Nevertheless there are clearly strong
methodological similarities between the early work of Loeb and Watson and
71. This kind of approach has been used by Donald A. MacKenzie and S.
Barry Barnes in a recent discussion of the Mendelian-Biometrician controversy,
in N. Stehr and R. Konig (eds), Wissenscbaftssoziologie (Kolner Zeitscbrift fur
Soziologie und Sozialpsycbologie, Vol. 18) (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag,
1975), 165-96.
72. For example, Bodmer and Lewontin have taken an environmentalist
position despite their training as population geneticists, and sociologists such as
Christopher Jencks and Bruce K. Eckland accept that social class differences in IQ
are partly genetic and are receptive, at least, to the possibility that the racial
difference might have a genetic component.
73. Commentary (April 1973), 53.
74. Interview with Herrnstein, 6.6.74.
75. Atlantic Monthly (September 1971), 43-64.
76. Compare this with the extremely critical response of Jerry Hirsch - a
behaviour geneticist - in 'J ensenism: The Bankruptcy of "Science" With
Scholarship', Educational Theory, Vol. 25, No. 1(1975), 3-28.
77. Jensen's masters degree adviser was Kenneth Eells, one of whose major
research interests was the development of a culture-fair IQ test which would show
no social class differences in performance (cf. K. Eells et. al., Intelligence and
Cultural Differences [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951] ). Jensen's
Ph.D. dissertation at Columbia ('Aggression in Fantasy and Overt Behaviour')
involved him in the Freudian psycho-dynamic tradition, and his thesis adviser
there, Percival Symonds, was psychoanalytically-oriented. Cf. J ensen's
autobiographical essay in T.S. Krawiec (ed.), op. cit. note 32, 203-44.
78. Psychology Today (December 1973), 102.
79. Interview, 23.8.74
80. Jensen, Genetics and Education
(London: Methuen, 1971), 8.
81. Ibid., 7 & 8, emphasis added.
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