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Review of The Mismeasure of Man by: Stephen J Gould Sarah A. Lechago Western Michigan University.

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1 Review of The Mismeasure of Man by: Stephen J Gould Sarah A. Lechago Western Michigan University

2 Main thesis The books seeks to refute the viewpoint of biological determinism The books seeks to refute the viewpoint of biological determinism Biological determinism: shared behavioral norms, and the social and economic differences between human groups (races, classes, sexes) arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, is an accurate reflection of biology Biological determinism: shared behavioral norms, and the social and economic differences between human groups (races, classes, sexes) arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, is an accurate reflection of biology

3 Main theme in biological determinism The book addresses a main theme in biological determinism from an historical perspective: The book addresses a main theme in biological determinism from an historical perspective: Worth can be assigned to individuals and groups by measuring intelligence as a single quantity Worth can be assigned to individuals and groups by measuring intelligence as a single quantity Two major sources of data support this idea Two major sources of data support this idea 1. CRANIOMETRY 2. CERTAIN TYPES OF PSYSCHOLOGICAL TESTING

4 Approaches to refuting biological determinism Sought to demonstrate 2 main aspects of biological determinism viewpoint Sought to demonstrate 2 main aspects of biological determinism viewpoint 1. Scientific weaknesses of studies upon which these viewpoints were founded (strengthened) 2. Political context

5 Gould asserts that science is NOT an objective enterprise Gould asserts that science is NOT an objective enterprise Science must be understood as a social phenomenon Science must be understood as a social phenomenon Science, since people must do it, is a socially embedded activity. Science, since people must do it, is a socially embedded activity. This viewpoint is in alignment with Whorfs view that language influences the way we attend to and interpret our environment This viewpoint is in alignment with Whorfs view that language influences the way we attend to and interpret our environment Viewpoint is also heavily aligned with Skinners (radical behaviorism) viewpoint that science is essentially verbal behavior as such, it is socially constructed Viewpoint is also heavily aligned with Skinners (radical behaviorism) viewpoint that science is essentially verbal behavior as such, it is socially constructed

6 Interestingly, Gould believes that a factual reality exists and that science can learn about it – but it does so in a manner that is influenced by the larger cultural context Interestingly, Gould believes that a factual reality exists and that science can learn about it – but it does so in a manner that is influenced by the larger cultural context This is much like Gieres views on science which hold 2 very similar ideas to Goulds: This is much like Gieres views on science which hold 2 very similar ideas to Goulds: 1. That scientists are very much influenced by the larger cultural context 2. Perspectival Realism : There is a factual reality out there that is too complex for scientists to know the whole of, but they can know 1 real aspect of a phenomenon from their unique perspective

7 Two main fallacies Gould attempts to refute 2 main fallacies associated with the abstraction of intelligence as single entity and its location within the brain Gould attempts to refute 2 main fallacies associated with the abstraction of intelligence as single entity and its location within the brain 1. Reification - tendency to convert abstract concept of intelligence into a real entity 2. Ranking – tendency to order complex variation as a gradual ascending scale – use numbers associated with skull or intelligence measurement and rank people accordingly into a series of worthiness

8 Polygeny and Craniometry before Darwin A climate existed which accommodated findings of craniometry A climate existed which accommodated findings of craniometry Thomas Jefferson wrote I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowment both of body and mind. Thomas Jefferson wrote I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowment both of body and mind.

9 Styles of scientific racism Monogenism – origin of human being comes from a single source and are a product of degeneration from Edens perfection. Races degrade to different degrees – whites the least and blacks the most Monogenism – origin of human being comes from a single source and are a product of degeneration from Edens perfection. Races degrade to different degrees – whites the least and blacks the most Polygenism – human races were separate biological species, the descendants of different Adams Polygenism – human races were separate biological species, the descendants of different Adams So popular in US it was called American school of anthropology So popular in US it was called American school of anthropology

10 Supporters of Polygeny Popular in the US Popular in the US Naturalist Agassiz converted to viewpoint when he moved to the US AFTER his first contact with black people Naturalist Agassiz converted to viewpoint when he moved to the US AFTER his first contact with black people Samuel George Morton – dubbed the empiricist of polygeny Samuel George Morton – dubbed the empiricist of polygeny Gathered and measure skulls from all over the world to test the following hypothesis: Gathered and measure skulls from all over the world to test the following hypothesis: Ranking of races could be established objectively by physical characteristics of the brain, particularly by its size Ranking of races could be established objectively by physical characteristics of the brain, particularly by its size

11 Mortons findings It is no surprise that Mortons cranial measurements supported the status quo of the time – status and access to power during his time accurately reflected biological merit (according to Morton and most of the scientific community) It is no surprise that Mortons cranial measurements supported the status quo of the time – status and access to power during his time accurately reflected biological merit (according to Morton and most of the scientific community) Gould went back and reanalyzed Mortons original raw data Gould went back and reanalyzed Mortons original raw data Found that the data were patch worked and fudged to support biological determinism ( the one that put whites in an advantage above everyone else) Found that the data were patch worked and fudged to support biological determinism ( the one that put whites in an advantage above everyone else) Interesting point: Interesting point: Found no evidence of conscious fraud – which suggests a general conclusion about the social context of science Found no evidence of conscious fraud – which suggests a general conclusion about the social context of science

12 Social versus Empirical Brings up the question Godfrey-Smith brought up of social structure of science s antithetical to the empirical view of science Brings up the question Godfrey-Smith brought up of social structure of science s antithetical to the empirical view of science The science of the day truly believed themselves using empirical approach to the study of racial ranking (skull measurement) – but clearly they were under the influence of each others findings and the political ambiance of the time The science of the day truly believed themselves using empirical approach to the study of racial ranking (skull measurement) – but clearly they were under the influence of each others findings and the political ambiance of the time

13 Mach too supported this social feature of science in his discussion of the origins of knowledge Mach too supported this social feature of science in his discussion of the origins of knowledge Emphasized that humans interactions with their environment constitute the rudiments of human knowledge Emphasized that humans interactions with their environment constitute the rudiments of human knowledge Scientist do not work independent of their environment –clearly highlighted in 2 major ways in Goulds book: Scientist do not work independent of their environment –clearly highlighted in 2 major ways in Goulds book: The sheer popularity of biological determinism within the scientific community and the culture at large at the time (esp. in the US) The sheer popularity of biological determinism within the scientific community and the culture at large at the time (esp. in the US) Agassizs radical shift to polygenic view in his move from Europe to the US Agassizs radical shift to polygenic view in his move from Europe to the US

14 Psychology tried to find its way Psychology sought to elevate itself to the ranks of a serious science such as physics Psychology sought to elevate itself to the ranks of a serious science such as physics Evolution and the quantification formed the unholy alliance – the union formed first powerful theory of scientific racism Evolution and the quantification formed the unholy alliance – the union formed first powerful theory of scientific racism Numbers have amazing powers to convince. Numbers have amazing powers to convince. Theories are built on interpretation of numbers Theories are built on interpretation of numbers Gould claimed that the interpreters of these numbers are trapped by their own rhetoric Gould claimed that the interpreters of these numbers are trapped by their own rhetoric Williams and Whorf – also emphasized how our verbal behavior influences the way in which we separate the world and understand the world, our viewpoint we bring to bear to our analyses is influenced by our language Williams and Whorf – also emphasized how our verbal behavior influences the way in which we separate the world and understand the world, our viewpoint we bring to bear to our analyses is influenced by our language

15 The many different ways numbers were used to support biological determinism Francis Galton ( ) – Francis Galton ( ) – Darwins cousin Darwins cousin Pioneer of modern statistics Pioneer of modern statistics Coined term eugenics (1883) – advocated regulation of marriage & family size according to hereditary endowment of parents Coined term eugenics (1883) – advocated regulation of marriage & family size according to hereditary endowment of parents Believed could measure anything – believed socially embedded behaviors had strong innate components Believed could measure anything – believed socially embedded behaviors had strong innate components Engaged in anthropometry – inheritance of intelligence – measured skulls and bodies Engaged in anthropometry – inheritance of intelligence – measured skulls and bodies Regarded as leading intellect of his time Regarded as leading intellect of his time

16 More numbers in support of biological determinism Robert Bennett Bean – English surgeon Robert Bennett Bean – English surgeon 1906 – published book comparing brain of white and black people 1906 – published book comparing brain of white and black people Compared genu (front part of corpus callosum where intelligence is) and splenium (back part where sensorimotor are located) Compared genu (front part of corpus callosum where intelligence is) and splenium (back part where sensorimotor are located) Found that whites have larger genu hence more powerful intellect and blacks a larger splenuim hence more suited for labor work Found that whites have larger genu hence more powerful intellect and blacks a larger splenuim hence more suited for labor work

17 Brocas numbers from his school of craniometry Paul Broca ( ) Paul Broca ( ) Professor of clinical surgery Professor of clinical surgery Founded Anthropological Society for Paris (1859) Founded Anthropological Society for Paris (1859) Believed that larger skulls associated with larger brains which are associated with greater intelligence Believed that larger skulls associated with larger brains which are associated with greater intelligence Treated egalitarian scientists harshly b/c they debased their higher calling as scientists b/c they allowed ethical hope to cloud their judgment and distort the objective truth Treated egalitarian scientists harshly b/c they debased their higher calling as scientists b/c they allowed ethical hope to cloud their judgment and distort the objective truth

18 Brocas findings Assumed human races could be ranked in linear scale of mental worth Assumed human races could be ranked in linear scale of mental worth Originally found whites to have the largest of brains Originally found whites to have the largest of brains But when faced with contradictory data – Asians had big brains - used criterion differentially where it would lend support to his a priori conclusion not only supporting biological determinism but the superiority of whites above all other races But when faced with contradictory data – Asians had big brains - used criterion differentially where it would lend support to his a priori conclusion not only supporting biological determinism but the superiority of whites above all other races

19 Measuring bodies in the name of biological determinism Ernst Haeckel – great German zoologist Ernst Haeckel – great German zoologist Proclaimed Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny – individual climbs his/her own family tree Proclaimed Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny – individual climbs his/her own family tree This was extraordinarily impactful concept to many scientific fields This was extraordinarily impactful concept to many scientific fields It also served as general theory of biological determinism It also served as general theory of biological determinism If adult blacks and women are like white male children, they are living representatives of ancestral stage in the evolution of white males If adult blacks and women are like white male children, they are living representatives of ancestral stage in the evolution of white males

20 Recapitulation Herbert Spencer – supported of social Darwinism Herbert Spencer – supported of social Darwinism Stated the intellectual traits of the uncivilized are traits recurring in the children of civilized Stated the intellectual traits of the uncivilized are traits recurring in the children of civilized G. Stanley Hall G. Stanley Hall Claimed higher suicide rated of women as sign of their primitive evolutionary status Claimed higher suicide rated of women as sign of their primitive evolutionary status

21 Criminal Anthropology Lombroso- Italian physician Lombroso- Italian physician Established criminal anthropology – theory of innate criminality Established criminal anthropology – theory of innate criminality Theory was specific evolutionary theory based on anthropomorphic data Theory was specific evolutionary theory based on anthropomorphic data Can tell a born criminal by his anatomy and even by some of this social traits such as: Can tell a born criminal by his anatomy and even by some of this social traits such as: 1. A special language that contains a lot of onomatopoeia – speak differently b/c they feel differently 2. Tattooing (WOW!) – reflects the insensitivity of criminals to pain and atavistic love of adornment Lombrosos stigmata were important criteria in many criminal trials Lombrosos stigmata were important criteria in many criminal trials

22 The Hereditarian Theory of IQ Binet – interested in intelligence testing as well but frustrated with what he called medical approach (craniometry etc) and decided on psychological method Binet – interested in intelligence testing as well but frustrated with what he called medical approach (craniometry etc) and decided on psychological method He developed the test originally b/c commissioned to do so by minister of public education in order to ONLY identify children who are not succeeding in regular classroom and therefore provide them with further support He developed the test originally b/c commissioned to do so by minister of public education in order to ONLY identify children who are not succeeding in regular classroom and therefore provide them with further support

23 IQ However, Binets test was since taken and definitely not used for its original purpose – Binet declined to call IQ a measure of inborn intelligence However, Binets test was since taken and definitely not used for its original purpose – Binet declined to call IQ a measure of inborn intelligence But hereditarians who got a hold of the test used it as a way to measure inborn intelligence and then rank people accordingly – this affected But hereditarians who got a hold of the test used it as a way to measure inborn intelligence and then rank people accordingly – this affected Education certain groups of people received Education certain groups of people received Certain Jobs people were considered for Certain Jobs people were considered for

24 Intelligence Tested Misuse of intelligence tests arises from 2 fallacies: Misuse of intelligence tests arises from 2 fallacies: 1. Reification – intelligence is this real, singular thing a person possesses 2. Hereditarianism – not simple claim that IQ is heritable but 2 false implications drawn from this idea 1. Equation of heritable with inevitable 2. Confusion of within- and between-group heredity

25 Hereditarianism Hereditarianism equates heritable with inevitable Hereditarianism equates heritable with inevitable Gould stated that genes so not make specific bits and pieces of a body; they code for a range of forms under an array of environmental conditions Gould stated that genes so not make specific bits and pieces of a body; they code for a range of forms under an array of environmental conditions Midgley and Morris (1992) support this idea in their paper where they essentially asserted the notion that the nature nurture is a false dichotomy. Nothing including instinct is genetically determined without environmental input Midgley and Morris (1992) support this idea in their paper where they essentially asserted the notion that the nature nurture is a false dichotomy. Nothing including instinct is genetically determined without environmental input

26 Prominent figures in the introduction of intelligence testing in the US H.H. Goddard – first popularizer of Binet scale in America developed scientific term moron – those just under normal intelligence H.H. Goddard – first popularizer of Binet scale in America developed scientific term moron – those just under normal intelligence Lewis M. Terman – mass marketing of the innate IQ – wanted to sort children to their proper stations in life Lewis M. Terman – mass marketing of the innate IQ – wanted to sort children to their proper stations in life R.M. Yerkes – Army Mental Tests – faculty at Harvard – massive testing with army recruits – established the superiority of whites over all others, wealthier over poorer, and certain types of white Europeans (e.g. Nordic) over other types of white Europeans (e.g. Mediterraneans) R.M. Yerkes – Army Mental Tests – faculty at Harvard – massive testing with army recruits – established the superiority of whites over all others, wealthier over poorer, and certain types of white Europeans (e.g. Nordic) over other types of white Europeans (e.g. Mediterraneans)

27 Boring – applied intelligence test in army with Yerkes – statistical interpretation of test which gave whites distinct advantage Boring – applied intelligence test in army with Yerkes – statistical interpretation of test which gave whites distinct advantage C.C Brigham – published (1923) book A Study of American Intelligence – which became primary vehicle for translating army results on group differences into social action C.C Brigham – published (1923) book A Study of American Intelligence – which became primary vehicle for translating army results on group differences into social action Ability to immigrate in the US – several Jewish individuals who anticipated the holocaust fled to seek refuge in the US and were denied on the basis of assumptions of their worth that were assigned to them by these intelligence tests Ability to immigrate in the US – several Jewish individuals who anticipated the holocaust fled to seek refuge in the US and were denied on the basis of assumptions of their worth that were assigned to them by these intelligence tests

28 The Bell Curve In 1994 Herrnstein and Murray published: The bell curve: the reshaping of American life by difference in intelligence In 1994 Herrnstein and Murray published: The bell curve: the reshaping of American life by difference in intelligence In this book, Gould refutes the arguments put forth by this book In this book, Gould refutes the arguments put forth by this book

29 Critique of The Bell Curve Book was well received at the time it was published (1994) b/c of the general social climate of the time – an ungenerous climate looking to cut social programs and can very justified in this by the argument that: Book was well received at the time it was published (1994) b/c of the general social climate of the time – an ungenerous climate looking to cut social programs and can very justified in this by the argument that: Beneficiaries of these programs cant really be helped b/c of inborn cognitive inability expressed in the form of the IQ Beneficiaries of these programs cant really be helped b/c of inborn cognitive inability expressed in the form of the IQ

30 Critique of The Bell Curve The Bell Curve rests on 2 arguments: The Bell Curve rests on 2 arguments: 1. Rehashing Social Darwinism which is evolutionary argument about biological basis of human differences 2. Extends argument for innate cognitive stratification by social class to a claim for inherited racial differences in IQ – small extension for Asian superiority over Caucasian but large extension for Caucasian over people of African descent

31 Critique continued Central fallacy of Bell Curve: using substantial heritability of within group IQ is explanation for average difference between groups Central fallacy of Bell Curve: using substantial heritability of within group IQ is explanation for average difference between groups The authors in interpreting the results of IQ tests, omitted facts, misused statistical methods (see above), and seemed unwilling to admit the consequences of their book The authors in interpreting the results of IQ tests, omitted facts, misused statistical methods (see above), and seemed unwilling to admit the consequences of their book

32 Critique continued The authors were disingenuous with content The authors were disingenuous with content Murray denied race as in subject important in the book – blamed media for this Murray denied race as in subject important in the book – blamed media for this But race was 1 of 2 major themes in the book and their claims about group differences had major political impact But race was 1 of 2 major themes in the book and their claims about group differences had major political impact

33 Critique continued Authors were disingenuous about the argument Authors were disingenuous about the argument Book hid behind many complex numbers and figures Book hid behind many complex numbers and figures The book is very one-dimensional – all the analysis rests upon a single technique applied to a single set of data The book is very one-dimensional – all the analysis rests upon a single technique applied to a single set of data Authors failed to supply any justification for central claim: reality of the IQ as a number that measures a real property in the head Authors failed to supply any justification for central claim: reality of the IQ as a number that measures a real property in the head In one part of the book, the authors essentially state that ….. you cannot predict what a given person will do from his IQ score but in the very next statement they made the strong causal claim, We will argue that intelligence itself, not just its correlation with socioeconomic status, is responsible for these group differences. In one part of the book, the authors essentially state that ….. you cannot predict what a given person will do from his IQ score but in the very next statement they made the strong causal claim, We will argue that intelligence itself, not just its correlation with socioeconomic status, is responsible for these group differences.

34 Take home point Science is a social endeavor – scientists bring their cultural values to their analyses Science is a social endeavor – scientists bring their cultural values to their analyses When biological determinism dominates, the consequences at the scientific, social, and political level can have a tremendous negative impact When biological determinism dominates, the consequences at the scientific, social, and political level can have a tremendous negative impact Biological determinism espouses the idea that traits, especially cognitive abilities are innate and societys structure should reflect these natural, biological differences Biological determinism espouses the idea that traits, especially cognitive abilities are innate and societys structure should reflect these natural, biological differences Gould conducted a reanalysis of the data collected by the most prominent scientists past and present, and demonstrated that these data were collected and interpreted on shaky scientific/statistical grounds under the influence of the cultural climate of their times Gould conducted a reanalysis of the data collected by the most prominent scientists past and present, and demonstrated that these data were collected and interpreted on shaky scientific/statistical grounds under the influence of the cultural climate of their times

35 Take home point The main point here is that these biological determinists were the most eminent thinkers/scientists of their time The main point here is that these biological determinists were the most eminent thinkers/scientists of their time They did not purposely commit fraud with the data they collected They did not purposely commit fraud with the data they collected They truly attempted to conduct good science but were still very much influenced by the greater cultural context They truly attempted to conduct good science but were still very much influenced by the greater cultural context Skinner was right – science is verbal behavior and verbal behavior is behavior like any other, subject to the same environmental influences as all other behavior Skinner was right – science is verbal behavior and verbal behavior is behavior like any other, subject to the same environmental influences as all other behavior


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