Reflecting On James D. Watson: Why The Truth, Even About About IQ Differences, Will Indeed Set Us Free
ritual humiliation of America`s most prominent man
of science, James
Watson, for publicly acknowledging that there are
differences in average intelligence among the races,
highlights the extent to which today`s conventional
wisdom is hysterically hostile to
basic findings of the human sciences.
(Here, from the
Gene Expression blog, is
Jason Malloy`s comprehensive exposition of the
present state of scientific understanding concerning IQ
and race. Bottom line: “Everything
Watson got in trouble for saying was entirely correct!”)
But perhaps we don`t need to deal with all the
facts. Maybe we can
safely ignore the most unpopular ones.
Really, wouldn`t it be better if everybody just
shut up about IQ?
"Assuming that Sailer is correct … what good is it going
to do to non-whites?"
Mr. Vallejo is specifically concerned that:
"Don`t you think that making generalizations about the
level of intelligence of Hispanics (or other races)
as being lower than that of whites is detrimental for
those of us who are actually more intelligent than the
average white person?"
These intelligent minorities are not trivial numbers of
people. Somewhere around eleven million Hispanics and
seven million African-Americans have higher IQs than the
average white American. (Of course, you won`t see
estimates like this from those vilifying Dr. Watson—just
from those of us who
study IQ research seriously.)
And it`s often assumed that, if evil folks like Dr.
Watson and myself weren`t around to spill the beans,
nobody would ever notice with their lying eyes that
these racial differences exist.
American homebuyers (most of whom, I`m sorry to say,
are not VDARE.com readers) are obsessively interested in
ethnic make-up of local public schools. Without my
help, they appear to accept the “stereotype” that
white and Asian students will provide a more studious
peer group for their children than
blacks and Latinos.
Moreover, many middle class parents are obsessed with
getting their children into exclusive gifted and magnet
public schools. For example, the liberal
Los Angeles Times runs an advice column by
Sandra Tsing Loh called "Ask
a Magnet Yenta" that`s entirely devoted
upper middle class subscribers living in the huge
Los Angeles Unified School District catchment basin
maneuver their children into
elite public school programs. (The application
process for the desirable LA schools is so
convoluted that it weeds out lowbrow and unmotivated
So, even though any
MSM mention of average racial IQ differences is
ferociously punished, as demonstrated yet again the
forced retirement of Dr. Watson, home prices
nevertheless show that the average American has somehow
come to a rough but reasonably accurate understanding of
Mr. Vallejo writes that his son is in a gifted class:
I am quite sure I am not stupid. I have
two engineering master`s degrees and have always
been a straight A student. Neither is my son. His IQ is
above 140 and he`s in the gifted-student program in his
school, so he`s for sure not stupid."
But how did his son get into a gifted-student
program? Perhaps scoring above 140 on an IQ test had
something to do with it?
might also surmise that Mr. Vallejo`s
Graduate Record Exam scores helped him get into
advanced engineering programs.
And this gives us a glimpse of the heart of a
little-discussed dilemma: Americans demand what John
Milton scorned as "flattery and
fustian" in our public discourse about
intelligence, while practicing a gimlet-eyed
obsession with smarts in our
turn, that explains much about modern America. We have a
private sector that is extremely productive—in part
because individuals are often allowed to quietly make
politically incorrect decisions, such as, oh, getting
your son away from
normal public school students and in with
other high IQ students in a gifted program.
The vast wealth generated by our private sector allows
us to get by with a
notoriously dysfunctional public sector. One major
our public schools, say, are so
ineffective is that
nonsensical thinking about human beings is
encouraged to run amok,
while truth is silenced.
For example, in a sensible world, we`d evaluate public
school principals by their "value added." We`d
measure the IQs of incoming students and then track the
children`s relative changes in performance over the
years, rewarding the school administrations that did the
best with what they had to work with.
No Child Left Behind law put together by
President Bush and Senator Kennedy mandates that by
2014 all public school students test as "proficient"
above average). The only way this can be achieved is
through gargantuan fraud by the
state testing authorities.
It`s crucial to understand that the insanity of NCLB is
a consequence of the same hysterical horror of openly
admitting that there are racial gaps in average IQ that
brought down Dr. Watson. George W. Bush
say it is unfair to hold disadvantaged children to
rigorous standards. I say it is discrimination to
require anything less–the
soft bigotry of low expectations. Some say that
schools can`t be expected to teach, because there are
too many broken families, too many
immigrants, too much
diversity. I say that pigment and poverty need not
Child Left Behind – Part II,
By Governor George W. Bush CNS Information Services,
September 02, 1999]
a result, America has wasted years on a utopian scheme
based on politically-correct dogma that could have been
spent making feasible incremental improvements in school
near-universal hypocrisy in what Americans do versus
what they say about schooling is not an isolated
example. Instead, it reflects the currently widespread
assumption that there should be two completely divorced
realms of thought:
In the lower sphere of private life,
we figure out how to make mundane decisions like
where we`ll buy a house using all the
information and intuition available to us, such as
our awareness of racial differences in
academic performance and
In the higher sphere of public discourse,
however, where public policy is debated, much of
this knowledge is simply off-limits. As
Larry Summers, then the president of Harvard,
discovered, there is much in the human sciences
which we are never supposed to speak.
This bifurcated mental model is strikingly similar to
the conceptual map Renaissance natural philosophers,
such as Galileo,
inherited from the Ancient Greeks. According to
still-dominant cosmology, there was a fundamental
divide between the grubby "sublunary
sphere" where we humans dwelled, and the higher
celestial realm—where, by definition, perfection
The sun and the planets revolved around the Earth
embedded in crystalline spheres, the circle being the
most ideal of all shapes. To make the observed data fit
the presumption of circularity, the Alexandrine
Ptolemy elaborated a baffling system of "epicycles,"
smaller spheres embedded within larger spheres.
The Ptolemaic system is strangely reminiscent of the
Rube Goldbergian explanations popular today to
explain away the racial test score gap.
One example: Claude Steele`s theory of "Stereotype
Threat." Steele hypothesizes that stereotypes
make minorities so scared of scoring badly on tests that
their discomfort makes them score exactly as
badly as the stereotype predicted they would! It`s
unfalsifiable a theory as Ptolemy`s was for 1500
the conventional wisdom of 1600, the moon, like all
heavenly bodies, had to be a
dark spots on the
moon that been visible to man throughout the ages
were explained away as parts of the moon that absorbed
and emitted light differently than other parts — the
surface itself was perfectly smooth."
Moon–Then and Now (Rice University)]
When Galileo pointed his new telescope at the moon in
1609, however, he observed changing shadows that could
only be cast by mountains.
Moon certainly does not possess a smooth and polished
surface, but one rough and uneven, and just like the
face of the Earth itself, is everywhere full of vast
protuberances, deep chasms, and sinuosities."
This, and much other new evidence discovered with his
telescope, caused Galileo to doubt that the celestial
and sublunary spheres were fundamentally different.
Adopting the heliocentric theory of the solar system,
Galileo began to develop a theory of mechanics that,
unlike Aristotle`s, would work for both the heavens and
first, Galileo was the toast of Italy, long the most
intellectually sophisticated land in Europe, and a
friend of the Pope. Gradually, though, the political and
ideological climate changed. In
1633, the Inquisition forced Galileo to recant his
belief that the Earth went around the sun. ("And
yet it moves," he was later reported to have
muttered in defiance.)
Perhaps heliocentrism had seemed to the Inquisition to
be an esoteric issue of little practical importance—just
as many now assume that IQ is a trivial matter that can
be shouted down with little risk to the advancement of
cost to Italian science of the Galileo affair proved
immense. The English poet John Milton visited
Galileo in Arcetri where the now-blind astronomer was
confined. Six years later, Milton wrote in
Areopagitica, his defense of a free market in
this was it which had damped the glory of Italian wits;
that nothing had been there written now these many years
but flattery and fustian. There it was that I found and
visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the
Inquisition, for thinking in astronomy otherwise than
the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought."
Maybe Milton exaggerated the speed of the downfall of
Italian science. But he got the trend right. According
to the database Charles Murray sent me of the 4002
eminent artists and scientists he compiled from
authoritative reference books for his 2003 book
Human Accomplishment, from 1000 AD to Galileo`s
arrest in 1632, Italy furnished 34.7% of the world`s
scientific eminence. From then up through 1950 (the end
of Murray`s database), Italy only accounted for 3.46%.
The transition of intellectual leadership from Southern
to Northern European is famously symbolized by the year
1642, when Galileo died under house arrest in Italy,
while Newton, who would explain "the system of the
world" in 1687, was born in England.
The underlying trouble with
forbidding discussion of any single element of
scientific knowledge, whether the movement of the
Earth or the distribution of intelligence, is that all
truths are connected. Lies, ignorance, and wishful
thinking are dead ends. But if you follow one truth far
enough, it will eventually lead you to others.
That`s why the impact of the censorship of any one
scientific fact is as unpredictable, and as potentially
immobilizing, as removing one part from your
The symptomatic destruction of the careers of Dr. Watson
and Dr. Summers could prove as deleterious in the long
term as the trial of Galileo.
And that, despite the risk of hurting innocent feelings,
is why we at VDARE.COM are compelled to speak up for
features his daily blog.]