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Curveball, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1362

Essay

One of the many contentious factors in philosophy is the problems that surround the use of IQ testing. There are many ongoing issues with IQ test that include that students that are economically disadvantaged and minorities tend to have lower scores, when compared to students that are apart of programs that are talented and gifted. IQ tests also are not supported by a plausible theory of how the brain operates actually, and cannot not measure accurately the modern ideas of what intelligence is. There are certainly many welcomed tests that help in gauging levels of intelligence; these include the most supported Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence, as well as others. While it has its critics in statistical measures not being able to validate its results, they have introduced new conventional approaches in identifying under-identified minority groups. Other issues that the bell curve represents in IQ test, is the problems that many schools and other institutions rely heavily on the scores from IQ tests in identifying the gifted students. Stephen Gould, is one of the many respected critics that was able to provide a more general critique that capture the problems that the book had in justifying racism, and social programs for immigration and welfare.

The Bell Curve is the start of important and fundamental assumptions in which make assertions, or draws conclusions that are based on the evidentiary data statistical analysis. This information also provide the following information for national-policy makers to make a wide range of recommendations. The problems with the bell curve are instituted in the comprehensive treatment of massive amounts of data on the American population’s intelligence in presenting multiple analyses on the impact of intelligence on the social structure of America. The issue that Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein presented in the release of The Bell Curve is the need in explaining how the dubious factor of general intelligence, also referred to as the “g factor” or “g”, in the assumption of the relation between IQ testing. Gould hit back at that assumptions in which that is not reason to assume that there is the existence of general intelligence, and certainly there is not g correlation that IQ tests can produce any results from testing these subjects. Stephen Gould in writing the “Curveball” was set to critique the now unremarkable findings that the authors made. Specifically as Gould points out, The Bell Curve, “with its claims and supposed documentation that race and class differences are largely caused by genetic factors and therefore essentially immutable, contains no new argument and presents no compelling data to support its anachronistic social Darwinism.” (Gould, 1994)  The success of the book during that time is a reflection of the time in which the depressing nature of the mood in cutting back on social programs was acceptable in using low I.Q. scores to argue for beneficiaries.

The problems that Stephen Gould addresses in his criticism of Murray and Herrnstein is by their two sequential arguments that use as a social philosophy, the claim of biological determinism. Gould points that in their first claim, is using the aspects of social Darwinism in which has been used for the argument of the evolution of the basic human differences of biological nature. In the particular social theory, it was dependent on the class stratification within the modern soceity and the ideal particularly where the inevitable fate was given to the genetically inferior that represented the poor underclass. Social Darwinism is a theory in which was born from egalitarianism. “As long as people remain on top of the social heap by accident of a noble name or parental wealth, and as long as members of despised castes cannot rise no matter what their talents, social stratification will not reflect intellectual merit, and brilliance will be distributed across all classes.” (Gould, 1994) This is an issue that not only Gould had, but a majority of readers had in the book, as well as the racially charged outdated theory. The theory continues that once the opportunity of true equality is attained, lower classes will become rigid, and smart people will rise to the top, in only the intelligently incompetent will retain. As Gould points out that, there has been a large amount of criticism directed at the authors and the book based on I.Q tests, and an interpretation of hereditary. For Murray and Herrnstein, as Gould point out is deriving intelligence from the formulation of the ranking individuals in lined order, affectability immutable, and genetically based. As Gould points out, The Bell Curve bombs because most of the assumptions and “theories” are invalid or fake. (Gould, 1994)

Another commentary that Gould comments on is the second claim that the authors make which includes the argument for the racial differences in IQ, caused by genetic differences and the innate cognitive stratification. According to Murray and Herrnstein, Asian has small superiority over Caucasians, and Africans are largely inferior to Caucasians. The statement is largely outdated and riddled with fallacies that have been proven before and since then numerous times. He gives a great analogy of how ludicrous the claims are. In measuring the height of male adults in poor Indian villages, which are mostly beset with the deprivation of nutrition that makes all adult males just an inch over 5’5 ft. This is passed down through several generations, in which a generation will tend to have shorter sons. When better nutrition is introduced, the height can increase over the generations. This can correlate to the substantial 15-point difference between African Americans and Caucasians in their IQ.

“With substantial heritability of I.Q. in family lines within each group, permits no automatic conclusion that truly equal opportunity might not raise the black average enough to equal or surpass the white mean.” (Gould, 1994) This fact only adds to the manner of the disingenuous nature of the authors in the way they are reluctant to acknowledge the consequences of the words they wrote, the misuse of statistical methods, and the omittance of facts. This was carried out by the Murray’s insistence that race was not a major part of the book and blamed the press for the criticism. The book, however, makes the inference in addressing the subjects of race and intelligence equally. “This book is about differences in intellectual capacity among people and groups and what those differences mean for America’s future.” (Gould, 1994) Racial differences are a crucial theme of concentration throughout the book. Gould further writes his commentary on the one-dimensional nature of the book, and the way it does not make an attempt to pay attention to history or the available data.

What Gould also points out in his damaging, and yet intricate critique of the book is that Gould was angered by the failure of the authors to justify any of their central claim, “then sine qua non of their entire argument that the number known as g, the celebrated “general factor” of intelligence.” (Gould, 1994) The ‘g intelligence” being a flawed theory is not discussed in its actuality in realizing the statistical data that is available about person’s performance. Gould goes on to discuss several other factors with The Bell Curve, and the way the authors handle the subject matter of race an intelligence. Other ludicrous claims that impact the book is the issues in which they think that since they have an unpopular opinion that it will not be heard, and Gould and I would agree.

However, the authors are truly wrong in their entire approach to the subject, from their misrepresentation of data, and their invalid theories, to their fake data that correlates how racial superiority is dependent on the genetic factors that make Caucasians and Asians superior to other races. Gould provides an excellent analysis and critique of a very controversial book that has impacted the philosophy world since the beginning of the establishment of the theory of social Darwinism. His closes his critique with a call to action in calling out the fallacies of the book, while supporting philosophies in which study the accurate human abilities, and factors that impact the testing of human intelligence found in tests such as I.Q., and others.

References

Gould, Stephen Jay. (1994). Curveball. The New Yorker. Print.

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