“If it is ever documented conclusively, the genetic inferiority of a race on a trait as important as intelligence will rank with the atomic bomb as the most destructive scientific discovery in human history. The correct conclusion is to withhold judgment”.
Review of “Consensus and Controversy about IQ” by Eric Turkheimer, Contemporary Psychology, Vol 35, 428-430 (1990) p. 430,
Turkheimer’s review is interesting and informative, and worth reading. The final remarks jar somewhat with the general reasoned tone of the rest of the review. The phrase “genetic inferiority” inflames emotions. I assumed that this hyperbolic comment might have been attributable to the impetuosity of youth, but a 2007 essay on the subject seems to confirm that this is still his general opinion.
Race and IQ. Cato Unbound, November 21, 2007
- The important questions about the role of genetics in the explanation of racial differences in ability are not empirical, but theoretical and philosophical, and,
- When the theoretical questions are properly understood, proponents of race science, while entitled to their freedom of inquiry and expression, deserve the vigorous disapprobation they often receive.
I suppose that evaluating the 1990 prediction may hinge on what counts as “documented conclusively”, so it may be necessary to flesh that out a bit. I assume that within the next five years some researchers will be able to show that genomic analysis alone can account for non-trivial amounts of variance (say roughly 20%) of group differences in intelligence and scholastic ability. I assume it because no one will fund studies to resolve the matter, many secretly fear it to be true, and that on any reasonable reading of the results it is a probable partial cause of genetic group differences. However, that may not be the case. It could be another example of the censorious banning of a research result which turns out not to be replicable anyway.
However, it might be worth while to generate some predictions as to when results about genetic contributions to genetic group differences in intelligence will be “documented conclusively”. Apparently most people say “within 20 years” thus appearing wise whilst also giving themselves 19 years in which not to look foolish, by which time their prognostications may be forgotten.
More interestingly, what will such conclusive documentation look like? I assume the hard proof will be as follows: to be able to predict a person’s IQ to within 4 points, regardless of which major genetic group they are drawn from.