Intelligence, Genes & Success - Scientists Respond to The Bell Curve
Devlin (Bernie), Fienberg (Stephen E.), Resnick (Daniel P.) & Roeder (Kathryn)
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Back Cover Blurb

  1. "Herrnstein (Richard J.) & Murray (Charles) - The Bell Curve - Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life" drew a lot of attention. But was it sound science?
  2. When it was first published in 1994, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's bestselling book The Bell Curve set off a firestorm of controversy about the relationships among genetics, IQ1, and various social outcomes. Much of the reaction was polemical and based on whether readers agreed with the authors' conclusions about welfare dependency, crime, and differences in earnings. But how valid were the statistical, genetical, and psycho-social arguments underlying the book's conclusions? In Intelligence, Genes, and Success, a group of respected social scientists and statisticians presents a scientific response to The Bell Curve.
  3. The book begins by summarizing Herrnstein and Murray's arguments on the heritability of intelligence and the relationship between IQ2 results and social success. Then separate chapters by various experts deal with more focused issues, including re-analyses of data relied upon by Herrnstein and Murray. Finally, the editors discuss the implications for American public policy and scientific research that arise from their interpretation of the data on social success, intelligence, and genetics.
  4. About the Editors
    • Bernie Devlin is the Director of the Computational Genetics Program and Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh.
    • Stephen E. Fienberg is Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
    • Daniel P. Resnick is Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University.
    • Kathryn Roeder is an Associate Professor of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University.

    Preface – v
  1. Overview – 1
    1. Stephen E. Fienberg and Daniel P. Resnick: Re-examining The Bell Curve – 3
      → The Bell Curve's Argument
      → The History of the Argument
      → Our Response to The Bell Curve
    2. Terry W. Belke: Synopsis of The Bell Curve – 19
      → Introduction
      → The Emergence of a Cognitive Elite
      → Cognitive Classes and Social Behavior
      → The National Context
      → Living Together
  2. The Genetics-Intelligence Link – 41
    1. Michael Daniels, Bernie Devlin, and Kathryn Roeder: Of Genes and IQ3 – 45
      → Inheritance versus Heritability
      → Estimating the Heritability of IQ4
      → Social Implications
      → Epilogue
      → Appendix: Model for Bayesian Meta-Analysis of IQ5 Studies
    2. Douglas Wahlsten: The Malleability of Intelligence Is Not Constrained by Heritability – 77
      → Heritability
      → Heritability and Plasticity
      → Plasticity of Intelligence
      → Heritability as Impediment
    3. Burton Singer and Carol Ryff: Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health: Environmental, Psychosocial, and Physiological Pathways – 89
      → Black/White Differences in Morbidity and Mortality
      → Racial/Ethnic Differences in Infectious Disease: The Case of Tuberculosis
      → A Life-History Approach to Health Outcomes: The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study
      → Physiological Substrates: The Character of the Current Knowledge Base
      → Discussion
  3. Intelligence and the Measurement of IQ6 – 123
    1. John B. Carroll: Theoretical and Technical Issues in Identifying a Factor of General Intelligence – 125
      → Is There a g? A Brief History
      → Concrete Example of a Factorial Dataset
      → Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Sample Dataset
      → Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Sample Dataset
      → Justifying a General Factor
      → Evidence from Selected Datasets
      → The Holzinger and Swineford Dataset
      → The Hakstian and Cattell Dataset
      → The Wothke et al. Dataset
      → Conclusions and Final Comment
    2. Earl Hunt: The Concept and Utility of Intelligence – 157
      → A Very Brief History of Intelligence Tests
      → What Is Intelligence? The Psychometric Evidence
      → The Revisionist Position: An Alternative Approach to Intelligence
      → Implications for Public Policy
  4. Intelligence and Success: Reanalyses of Data from the NLSY – 177
    1. John Cawley, Karen Conneely, James Heckman, and Edward Vytlacil: Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy – 179
      → Is Ability Unidimensional?
      → The Wage Premium for Ability
      → Conclusions
    2. Alexander Cavallo, Hazem El-Abbadi, and Randal Heeb: The Hidden Gender Restriction: The Need for Proper Controls When Testing for Racial Discrimination – 193
      → Earnings Analysis in The Bell Curve
      → Controlling for Gender: Testing Implied Restrictions
      → Detecting Discrimination
      → A Standard Wage Function
      → The Racial Wage Gap in the Standard Wage Function
      → Conclusions
      → Appendix
    3. Christopher Winship and Sanders Korenman: Does Staying in School Make You Smarter? The Effect of Education on IQ7 in The Bell Curve – 215
      → Methods and Data
      → Previous Research
      → Reanalysis of the Hernstein-Murray Model
      → Conclusions
    4. Lucinda A. Manolakes: Cognitive Ability, Environmental Factors, and Crime: Predicting Frequent Criminal Activity – 235
      → Method
      → Variables
      → Logit Model: Interpretation
      → Logit Model: Evaluation
      → Conclusions
    5. Clark Glymour: Social Statistics and Genuine Inquiry: Reflections on The Bell Curve – 257
      → Varieties of Pseudo-Science
      → The Aims of Inquiry
      → Reliability and Social Theory
      → Algorithmic Social Science
      → Factor Analysis and The Bell Curve
      → Regression and The Bell Curve
      → Scientific Search
      → Conclusions
  5. The Bell Curve and Public Policy – 281
    1. Edward Zigler and Sally J. Styfco: A "Head Start" in What Pursuit? IQ8 Versus Social Competence as the Objective of Early Intervention – 283
      → The Nation Declares War on Poverty
      → The Environmental Mystique
      → Evaluations of Cognitive Benefits
      → The Broader Picture
      → Attempts to Measure Social Competence
      → Improving Programs for At-Risk Children
    2. Nicholas Lemann: Is There a Cognitive Elite in America? – 315
      → The Evil Elite
      → Origin of Species
      → Who Is Really Elite?
    3. Daniel P. Resnick and Stephen E. Fienberg: Science, Public Policy, and The Bell Curve – 327
      → Science: The Genetics-Intelligence Link
      → Science: Intelligence and the Measurement of IQ9
      → Science: Analyzing the Outcomes Data
      → Genetics, Race10, and IQ11
      → Public Policy
      → Conclusions
    Contributor Biographies – 341
    Author Index – 359
    Subject Index – 365

  1. The publication of Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life in the fall of 1994 was accompanied by a major marketing campaign that saw the book mount all of the best-seller lists in the United States. It quickly produced an engaged public response, with reviews in a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals, many of which were colored by political perspectives. Critics on the left described the authors as “un-American” and “pseudo-scientific racists” and the vision of American society painted by their book as “alien and repellent.” Defenders on the right characterized the authors as “brave and respectable scholars,” simply explaining the overwhelming scientific evidence on the role of IQ12 and its large heritable component. They described the book as “lucid” and “powerfully written,” and the reported analyses as “overwhelmingly convincing.”
  2. What had captured the critics’ and the public’s attention? It is the portion of the book that discusses the stark difference between the IQ13 distribution of African and Caucasian Americans. Although they never explicitly accept either a genetic or environmental explanation for the disparity, Herrnstein and Murray employ seemingly elaborate statistical analyses and cite evidence from diverse scientific studies, all of which seem to point to a genetic explanation for intelligence and the impact of intelligence on a host of different social outcomes. Their claims and work, we believe, require careful examination.
  3. This volume began in an innocuous fashion as Daniel Resnick was asked to prepare a background paper by the Carnegie Commission Task Force on Early Primary Education regarding the scientific content of The Bell Curve following its publication in 1994. That background paper ultimately gathered three co-authors and, although it remained unpublished, it did lead the four of us to write a pair of reviews of the book, which appeared in Chance and in the Journal of the American Statistical Association. While we worked to prepare those pieces, we realized that an in-depth examination of the scientific claims and, in particular, the reported statistical work in The Bell Curve would require much input from others, and considerable space of the sort not available in the usual professional journals or in standard nontechnical publications. Thus we conceived of an edited volume of response that attempted to take stock, in depth and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, of the claims in The Bell Curve.
  4. The contributors to this volume were selected both for their expertise and for their interest in The Bell Curve. Many have written separate reviews of the book, and the chapters in this volume often contain follow-ups and technical details. No prior publication survives here intact, but we are grateful to The Atlantic Monthly for permission to include the chapter by Nicholas Lemann in a form that resembles its earlier appearance in that magazine.
  5. We were fortunate to have a series of early discussions with John Kimmel, Statistics Editor for Springer-Verlag, who encouraged us to focus on a scientific response to The Bell Curve and not to rush to print with what was readily available. While that advice and our other professional activities and preoccupations delayed the completion of the present volume, we believe the final product is far better than what we had originally proposed to do. John has counselled us throughout the subsequent two years and played a major role in bringing this book to print. We are deeply indebted to him for his advice and support.
  6. By now, hundreds upon hundreds of reviews of or commentaries on The Bell Curve have appeared in print. We conclude this volume with a bibliography of the bulk of these reviews and commentaries. Much of the nontechnical commentary focuses on the theme of racial differences in IQ14 and often reads into The Bell Curve conclusions that Herrnstein and Murray did not draw explicitly. Many of the harshest criticisms appear to come from those who scarcely refer to statements and claims actually found in the book! Nonetheless, the diversity of previously published material has probably influenced our work, even as we tried to distance ourselves from it.
  7. There have also been several book-length compilations of reviews and readings related to The Bell Curve. Several of the reviews referred to earlier have been reprinted in Fraser and Jacoby and Glauberman. The volume by Kincheloe et al. is far less technical and much more emotional in its response. More comprehensive and technically detailed are the volumes by Schultze et al. and by Fischer et al., but they are far from complete. We see the present volume as an attempt to give a fuller description of the scientific criticism, with sufficient detail that the reader can also understand its implications for public policy.
  8. The Bell Curve has also provoked several “spinoffs.” For example, there is a new best-seller "Goleman (Daniel) - Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ". It contains only one reference to The Bell Curve and gives a broad review of the role of emotion in success. But the success of this book owes much to the theme trumpeted on its cover — “Why it can matter more than IQ”15 — clearly aimed at readers and critics of Herrnstein and Murray’s book. There is also the new 1996 edition of Stephen Jay Gould’s best-seller, "Gould (Stephen Jay) - The Mismeasure of Man", which on the cover claims to contain “[t]he definite refutation to the argument of The Bell Curve.” In fact, the additions to the original consist of a new 30-page introduction and two final chapters based on his review of The Bell Curve for The New Yorker and another related essay. Gould is someone whose work we have read with interest, but his new edition of Mismeasure is not a replacement for the volume we have assembled.

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