The Mismeasure of Minds | Boston Review

The whole debate over intelligence a la The Bell Curve was crippled at the start, as Gould notes, by the moronic political bias of the ‘scientists’ perpetrating a version of racist class warfare. The strange reality of the last century is the rapid transformation of general intelligence and that the same critiques of intelligence apply generally. Modern (capitalist) culture can hardly be called ‘intelligent’: the whole discussion is curiously unintelligent.

In the 2006 revised and expanded edition of his masterwork, The Mismeasure of Man (1981), Stephen Jay Gould observed in his comments on the legacy of The Bell Curve that “innatist arguments for unitary, rankable intelligence” are “always present, always available, always published, always exploitable.” Resurgences in biological determinist thought, Gould wrote, consistently correlate with episodes of political retrenchment, particular with campaigns for reduced government spending on social programs, or at times of fear among ruling elites, when disadvantaged groups sow serious social unrest or even threaten to usurp power. What argument against social change could be more chillingly effective than the claim that established orders, with some groups on top and others at the bottom, exist as an accurate reflection of the innate and unchangeable intellectual capacities of people so ranked?

Source: The Mismeasure of Minds | Boston Review