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Race and Intelligence

Stanford Daily
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Education
  • Geography
  • Psychology


The Stanford Daily October 21, 1969 Science and Man fl Race and Intelligence b By Joshua Lederberg Professor Arthur R Jensen, of the University of California, Berkeley, has provoked wide controversy by his assertion that racial differences in academic achievement are based on genetic differences in intelligence. This controversy has, in part, arisen from what I believe to be a m:sinterpretation of Dr. Jensen’s assertions, often from a failure of popular commentators to heed the cautions that Dr( Jensen himself has attached to some of his speculations. In particular, he has himself remarked that “High heritability by itself does not necessarily imply that the characteristic is immutable. Under greatly changed environmental conditions, the heritability may have some other value, or it may remain the same while the mean of the population changes.” This remark is however counterbalanced by the contradictory stress that Jensen has placed on the futility of compensatory education, and on the utility of the I.Q. as a measure of biological competence. This leaves some uncertainty about whether Dr. Jensen subscribes to “Jensenism,” a popular exposition of his writings, such as appeared in an article by Lee Edson in he ’ New York Times Magazine for August 31, 1969. My criticisms, which follow, are directed to “Jensenism”. Questions Raised Out of many complex and intertwined questions raised by Jensenism, I extract two for separate discussion: 1) is the difference in average “intelligence” scores between races mainly hereditary? and 2) if so, what if any pragmatic meaning would this have? The arguments that Jensen has assembled for hereditary factors in the variation of intelligence within populations of white Englishmen and Americans have been discussed and accepted by geneticists for at least 40 years. The novelty of Jensen’s discussion is mainly that he is a psychologist, and most e’ducators and psychologists

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