"It is of little, if any, scientific advance to argue that something is innate or has a 'biological basis', or to imply that this imposes some necessary constraints on our minds. What has been put in us, biologically, through natural selection, may be creative, inventive and liberating, rather than constraining." Ken RICHARDSON, 1989, Understanding Psychology. Milton Keynes : Open University Press.

"Man's brain lives in the twentieth century, [but] the heart of most men lives still in the Stone Age." Erich FROMM, 1941, Escape from Freedom.

"....there has never been a measure that has been so ardently endorsed and widely validated and yet so pervasively controversial as IQ." S.CECI, 1991, Developmental Psychology.
Upstream: the Heterodox Online
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EMANCIPATION, n. A bondman's change from the tyranny of another to the despotism of himself. He was a slave: at word he went and came; His iron collar cut him to the bone. Then Liberty erased his owner's name, Tightened the rivets and inscribed his own. G.J. [The Devil's Dictionary A.B.]

Upstream: Issues: The Bell Curve

'The attacks ... often read like an unintentional confirmation of our view of the "cognitive elite" as a new caste, complete with high priests, dogmas, heresies, and apostates. They have revealed the extent to which the social science that deals in public policy has in the latter part of the 20th century become self-censored and riddled with taboos - in a word, corrupt.' (Charles Murray)

This is a collection of materials relating to the book The Bell Curve (Free Press, 1994) by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Several reviews of the book can be found here, and have been divided into sections depending on their degree of balance (in the opinion of the editor - but make up your own mind). Read the book, since its representation in the media and elsewhere is thoroughly misleading.

See also: IQ, Genetics, Charles Murray, Arthur Jensen, Edward Miller, J. Phillipe Rushton, Roger Pearson, Richard Lynn, Christopher Brand.


  • Charles Murray's NLSY data files are now available online.

  • Richard Herrnstein, RIP obituary by Charles Murray.

  •  The Bell Curve and its critics by Charles Murray in Commentary.
    "when the Sturm und Drang has subsided, nothing important in The Bell Curve will have been overturned. I say this not because Herrnstein and I were especially far-sighted, but because our conclusions are so cautiously phrased and our findings anchored so securely in the middle of the scientific road."

  • Replies and Counter Replies in Commentary.
    Heckman, James J.; Kamin, Leon J.; Lane, Charles; Lewis, Lloyd B.; Loury, Linda Datcher; Nisbett, Richard E.; Rushton, J. Philippe; Ryan, W.H.; van den Haag, Ernest.

  • Statement by scientists in support
    "Since the publication of "The Bell Curve," many commentators have offered opinions about human intelligence that misstate current scientific evidence. Some conclusions dismissed in the media as discredited are actually firmly supported."


  • Skeptic Magazine's interview with Charles Murray.
    "There seems to be a reflexive, almost deep inner panic, in an awful lot of people to be on the right side of The Bell Curve issue. And the right side is being perceived publically that you are shocked that these authors would suggest that intelligence has an important role in social problems; shock to think that anyone would still suggest there are differences among the races in intelligence. I've seen people, who I thought were both smart and honest, lie when it comes to the book."

  • Murray Interview on National Public Radio

  • Skeptic Magazine's interview with Robert Sternberg
    " there is definitely some heritability of intelligence in the White population. Almost every psychologist believes there is some heritability of IQ and I agree. But the public may not understand just what that means. If you accept the use of the heritability statistic, about .5 is probably right."

  • Interview with Robert Gordon on Eugenics.
    "the most persuasive data that I've seen shows that after that early stage in a child's life, changing the IQ is almost impossible. The research that I've done on crime suggests that a family with low IQ levels will certainly contribute to the delinquency of a child. And the family's genetic background almost always has a determining effect on the child's intelligence and ability".

  • Thinktank Transcripts - Charles Murray
    "I am afraid, first, of racists taking what we say as a basis for conclusions that Dick Herrnstein and I think are utterly unfounded. I am worried -- we were both worried about all the ways in which people are too inclined to take something like IQ and make it into fate."

  • Thinktank Transcripts - Bell Curve Symposium 1
    Roger Wilkins, Linda Gottfredson, Douglas Besharov, Christopher Winship, Glenn Loury .

  • Thinktank Transcripts - Bell Curve Symposium 2
    Roger Wilkins, Linda Gottfredson, Douglas Besharov, Christopher Winship, Glenn Loury .

Book Reviews



  • Three Informal Fallacies in The Bell Curve by John Culbertson.

  • Goldberger and Manski

  • Bell Curve Bibliography. Various hostile references from the initial reception.

  • Wringing the Bell Curve by Devlin, Fienburg, Resnick and Roeder. In postscript!

  • Howard Gardner
    "The Bell Curve is a strange work. Some of the analysis and a good deal of the tone are reasonable. Yet, the science in the book was questionable when it was proposed a century ago, and it has now been completely supplanted by the development of the cognitive sciences and neurosciences. The policy recommendations of the book are also exotic, neither following from the analyses nor justified on their own terms. The book relies heavily on innuendo, some of it quite frightening in its implications."

  • Culbertson
    "The Bell Curve consists of no dependable scientific evidence or consistent argument to suggest that there is a relation between ethnicity and cognitive ability. In fact, the body of data is so immense that, if one were to examine the appendices with no knowledge of the book's premise, a large number of varying inferences could be drawn about both the data and the topic of the book."

  • Arnold Barnett
    'All things considered, I believe that "The Bell Curve's" statements about race would have been better left unsaid even if they were definitely true.'

  • Steven Jay Gould
    '"The Bell Curve," with its claims and supposed documentation that race and class differences are largely caused by genetic factors and are therefore essentially immutable, contains no new arguments and presents no compelling data to support its anachronistic Social Darwinism.'

    • Gray on Gould
      "I was disappointed with Gould's math knowledge and his attack, in ignorance of logistic regression, on another's professionalism."

    • Sarle on Gould
      Gould's treatment of Jensen is almost as scurrilous as his trashing of H&M. While I have read and enjoyed some of Gould's work in the past, I now consider him thoroughly unreliable

    • The Harvard Salient on Gould.
      "Stephen Jay Gould, poster child of the cognitive elite, has not allowed facts to impede his effort to refute Murray and Herrnstein in print."

  • Lipschutz
    "The Bell Curve's conclusion that intelligence quotient is distinctly different for the two subpopulations hypothesized, cannot yield a normal distribution with the one subpopulation squeezed into the lower ten percentile. We are, from a theoretical point of view, not in the domain of the normal distribution."

  • Psychologists question findings of Bell Curve
    This is a highly innacurate piece from the APA Monitor describing its own report on intelligence. Perhaps the predilections of the reporter got in the way here?


  • Professors criticize best seller from Golden Gater Online.
    'The panel criticized the authors for not explaining what intelligence is. "(The authors) say they do not need to define it," said black studies Professor Laura Head. During the three-hour discussion, Head called the book "a piece of propaganda clothed in the skirt of science." ... Although Head has only browsed through the book, she has seen this kind of pseudo-science before'.

  • Response to The Bell Curve by Douglas Metzler

  • Robert Wright on heritablility, from The New Republic.
    "Upper-middle-class parents of pre-schoolers lately have been swapping anecdotes about how cd-rom software can help a child's reading and math skills. It's possible that even now technology is creating a new environment for early education, in which the i.q./heritability picture will look appreciably different."

  • Rawat's Phlegm
    This crosses the boundary into libellous territory, accusing Murray of KKK affiliations, and claims both authors are well-known racists. No citations for these claims are given, and my written request to the editors of the "journal" it appears in, for the citations, remains unanswered.

  • Donald Dorfman.
    Indulges in a fair measure of character assasination and attempted rank-pulling, not to mention repetition of his now discredited charges against Sir Cyril Burt (in an attempt to slur Herrnstein by association and innuendo).

  • Newspaper attacks
    "Herrnstein and Murray's book concludes that genetic differences are largely responsible for the fact that the average white IQ score of 100 is 15 points higher than the African American average." FALSE!

  • House and Haug
    "If there were such a thing as social science malpractice, these authors would be at risk. Not because of the topics they address, but because their analyses are inadequate and their arguments biased, even deceptive at times."

  • Lewis
    "Whites are smarter than Blacks, not because they choose to be it's in their gene pool. This argument is not based on racism it's based on genetics according to Hernstein[sic] and Murray." FALSE!

  • FAIR's Attack
    "For those who have managed to avoid reading about The Bell Curve, it's yet another resurrection of the pseudo-science of eugenics, which applies mock-Darwinian notions of evolution to human beings".

  • Cole
    'The best analysis of what they see as the statistical sleight of hand in "The Bell Curve," Olkin and other experts said, was done by Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould, who has written volumes about attempts to subvert science for the purpose of "proving" that one race, gender or ethnic group is superior.'

  • Meanderings

  • The Boston Book Review
    An appallingly bad review by Lucy Horwitz, claiming statistical fallacy while demonstrating none, triumphantly repeating everyone else's criticisms without checking them (repeats the elementary stats errors made by Gould) and generally showing no balance, no originality and no detachment whatsoever, to the point of self parody.

IQ and Race in General

See the sections on psychology, intelligence and race.

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