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Herrnstein

Intelligence/Heredity

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The surrounding Professor Richard Herrnstein's "I.Q." article in The Atlantic has increased dramatically in the past few weeks. Sustained opposition to the article by SDS and the University Action Group has provoked two responses a heightened awareness and criticism of Herrnstein's arguments, and a groundswell of faculty criticism of SDS and UAG. Both the article and the criticism merit a closer look.

Herrnstein's article builds a view of the future on a on of shaky scientific reasoning. Relying highly debatable theories of Arthur and similar theorists, Herrnstein maintain intelligence is determined heredity. From that, he a world of the future, a world in advances will dry up "low will be passed with the family bloodline." ...(In) as technology advances, the may run in the genes as certainly as bad teeth do . And furthermore, Herrnstein the beginning of his article that of it there is a powerful trend toward --the advancement of people on the , either potential or fulfilled, objectively."

the place for a detailed criticism of article. But his reasoning is at the best. I.Q. tests measure "in- An undefinable quantity, "in- in this context is identified as the that I.Q. tests measure. I.Q. tests are because a correlation exists between a student's I.Q. score and his performance in our society. In short, I.Q. tests are designed to predict success. So to say, as Herrnstein says at great length, that people with high I.Q.'s succeed in America is to spout a tautology and say nothing at all.

Herrnstein goes further. He calls those with high I.Q.'s "bright" and those with low I.Q.'s "dull." These sweeping terms ignore scientific data which indicates the cultural relativity of I.Q. tests. Herrnstein gives I.Q. an ontological status it does not possess. And in his discussion of the hereditary transmission of intelligence, Herrnstein deals inadequately with the effects of environment. For example, no one has measured the effects of the prenatal environment on the fetus. This factor alone casts a shadow of uncertainty on Herrnstein's "scientific" figures.

We are not experts in the field. But it is clear that Herrnstein has overlooked one side of an intellectual debate and based a potentially inflammatory argument on some highly disputable facts. Writing in a popular magazine, he has endowed his reasoning with a pseudo-scientific rigor that belies the controversial nature of his assumptions.

We uphold Herrnstein's right to publish his theory. But we are not convinced by the statement of 107 Faculty members which defends Herrnstein on the grounds of a vague "intellectual freedom." This freedom is apparently all-inclusive; at least, its proponents have not taken the time to define it. The boundary between ideas and actions is an academic distinction. The distinction, while fuzzy, is important. Generally, intellectual freedom guarantees that ideas will be opposed only by other ideas, and that a theorist will always have a place in the academic community. But in some cases, when theorists become policymakers, the distinction between idea and section vanishes. In such cases--for instance, when social scientists commissioned by the government draw up plans to expand the Vietnam War--the phrase "Intellectual freedom" no longer applies and the academic community can no longer offer sanctuary.

It would be a mistake to think that ideas are loss dangerous than actions. History shows otherwise, "Scientific" racists like Gobineau in the mid-nineteenth century and the anti-Semites of post-World War I Europe helped create atmospheres in which genocide was an intellectual possibility. More recently, some Cold War historians, describing a "monolithic Communist bloc," have given an academic cushion for an American government that indiscriminately opposes Communism.

Herrnstein's ideas also have potentially dangerous implications. His statement that contemporary society demonstrates "the advancement of people on the basis of ability" gives "scientific" fuel to defenders of the status quo. And his prognosis of a hereditary caste of the unemployable could leave ominous thoughts in the minds of some readers. It is unfortunate that Herrnstein decided to publish such an irresponsible article on a topic of immense social importance. But we question only his discretion, not his right to publish. And we agree that, in this case, the concept of intellectual freedom applies. Herrnstein's opponents should limit themselves to the arena of ideas.

The 107 faculty members who supported Herrnstein in a public statement have misrepresented the actions of SDS and UAG. In broad terms they have accused the two groups of making "personal attacks upon Professor Herrnstein--by false and offensive placards, leaflets, picketing, and threats to disrupt his classes," By lumping together these types of protest, the professors seek to eliminate acceptable forms of opposition to Herrnstein's thought. Herrnstein wrote an article with clear political implications. He and his supporters must expect opposition. Leafleting and picketing are justifiable tactics for his adversaries, but the tactics should focus on the ideas and not the man. The statement's claim of "distress to (Herrnstein's) family and friends" cannot be substantiated. A vague statement, it could preclude any criticism of Herrnstein's article.

The faculty statement has another disturbing aspect. Since 1969, the University has progressively narrowed the acceptable channels of political protest. The Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities already lists "personal harassment" as a punishable offense. The category is vague enough to permit broad interpretation. If the interpretation of these professors were accepted, effective political protest would be stifled.

Too many people have discussed this article without reading it. Too many people have accepted the ideas without challenging them. SDS and UAG have helped raise the issues in the Harvard community. Although their actions are clearly not punishable under any rational and equitable system, the two groups have at times lapsed into personal attacks and quoted Herrnstein out of context. But by publicizing the uncertainty of the ideas and the potential harm of their implications, SDS and UAG have performed a service.

Herrnstein should not be fired, as the two groups demand. Nor should he be censured. Neither the faculty nor the University has the authority to take a stand on a man who writes theories and not policies. Within the realm of ideas, however, individuals Faculty members have the right--and, in our opinion, the obligation--to challenge Herrnstein's article. Some Faculty members have done so. But a larger group has only attacked the most vocal segment of Herrnstein's critics. The threat of Herrnstein's ideas is more dangerous than the imagined threat of SDS and UAG to intellectual freedom.

Herrnstein's article builds a view of the future on a on of shaky scientific reasoning. Relying highly debatable theories of Arthur and similar theorists, Herrnstein maintain intelligence is determined heredity. From that, he a world of the future, a world in advances will dry up "low will be passed with the family bloodline." ...(In) as technology advances, the may run in the genes as certainly as bad teeth do . And furthermore, Herrnstein the beginning of his article that of it there is a powerful trend toward --the advancement of people on the , either potential or fulfilled, objectively."

the place for a detailed criticism of article. But his reasoning is at the best. I.Q. tests measure "in- An undefinable quantity, "in- in this context is identified as the that I.Q. tests measure. I.Q. tests are because a correlation exists between a student's I.Q. score and his performance in our society. In short, I.Q. tests are designed to predict success. So to say, as Herrnstein says at great length, that people with high I.Q.'s succeed in America is to spout a tautology and say nothing at all.

Herrnstein goes further. He calls those with high I.Q.'s "bright" and those with low I.Q.'s "dull." These sweeping terms ignore scientific data which indicates the cultural relativity of I.Q. tests. Herrnstein gives I.Q. an ontological status it does not possess. And in his discussion of the hereditary transmission of intelligence, Herrnstein deals inadequately with the effects of environment. For example, no one has measured the effects of the prenatal environment on the fetus. This factor alone casts a shadow of uncertainty on Herrnstein's "scientific" figures.

We are not experts in the field. But it is clear that Herrnstein has overlooked one side of an intellectual debate and based a potentially inflammatory argument on some highly disputable facts. Writing in a popular magazine, he has endowed his reasoning with a pseudo-scientific rigor that belies the controversial nature of his assumptions.

We uphold Herrnstein's right to publish his theory. But we are not convinced by the statement of 107 Faculty members which defends Herrnstein on the grounds of a vague "intellectual freedom." This freedom is apparently all-inclusive; at least, its proponents have not taken the time to define it. The boundary between ideas and actions is an academic distinction. The distinction, while fuzzy, is important. Generally, intellectual freedom guarantees that ideas will be opposed only by other ideas, and that a theorist will always have a place in the academic community. But in some cases, when theorists become policymakers, the distinction between idea and section vanishes. In such cases--for instance, when social scientists commissioned by the government draw up plans to expand the Vietnam War--the phrase "Intellectual freedom" no longer applies and the academic community can no longer offer sanctuary.

It would be a mistake to think that ideas are loss dangerous than actions. History shows otherwise, "Scientific" racists like Gobineau in the mid-nineteenth century and the anti-Semites of post-World War I Europe helped create atmospheres in which genocide was an intellectual possibility. More recently, some Cold War historians, describing a "monolithic Communist bloc," have given an academic cushion for an American government that indiscriminately opposes Communism.

Herrnstein's ideas also have potentially dangerous implications. His statement that contemporary society demonstrates "the advancement of people on the basis of ability" gives "scientific" fuel to defenders of the status quo. And his prognosis of a hereditary caste of the unemployable could leave ominous thoughts in the minds of some readers. It is unfortunate that Herrnstein decided to publish such an irresponsible article on a topic of immense social importance. But we question only his discretion, not his right to publish. And we agree that, in this case, the concept of intellectual freedom applies. Herrnstein's opponents should limit themselves to the arena of ideas.

The 107 faculty members who supported Herrnstein in a public statement have misrepresented the actions of SDS and UAG. In broad terms they have accused the two groups of making "personal attacks upon Professor Herrnstein--by false and offensive placards, leaflets, picketing, and threats to disrupt his classes," By lumping together these types of protest, the professors seek to eliminate acceptable forms of opposition to Herrnstein's thought. Herrnstein wrote an article with clear political implications. He and his supporters must expect opposition. Leafleting and picketing are justifiable tactics for his adversaries, but the tactics should focus on the ideas and not the man. The statement's claim of "distress to (Herrnstein's) family and friends" cannot be substantiated. A vague statement, it could preclude any criticism of Herrnstein's article.

The faculty statement has another disturbing aspect. Since 1969, the University has progressively narrowed the acceptable channels of political protest. The Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities already lists "personal harassment" as a punishable offense. The category is vague enough to permit broad interpretation. If the interpretation of these professors were accepted, effective political protest would be stifled.

Too many people have discussed this article without reading it. Too many people have accepted the ideas without challenging them. SDS and UAG have helped raise the issues in the Harvard community. Although their actions are clearly not punishable under any rational and equitable system, the two groups have at times lapsed into personal attacks and quoted Herrnstein out of context. But by publicizing the uncertainty of the ideas and the potential harm of their implications, SDS and UAG have performed a service.

Herrnstein should not be fired, as the two groups demand. Nor should he be censured. Neither the faculty nor the University has the authority to take a stand on a man who writes theories and not policies. Within the realm of ideas, however, individuals Faculty members have the right--and, in our opinion, the obligation--to challenge Herrnstein's article. Some Faculty members have done so. But a larger group has only attacked the most vocal segment of Herrnstein's critics. The threat of Herrnstein's ideas is more dangerous than the imagined threat of SDS and UAG to intellectual freedom.

the place for a detailed criticism of article. But his reasoning is at the best. I.Q. tests measure "in- An undefinable quantity, "in- in this context is identified as the that I.Q. tests measure. I.Q. tests are because a correlation exists between a student's I.Q. score and his performance in our society. In short, I.Q. tests are designed to predict success. So to say, as Herrnstein says at great length, that people with high I.Q.'s succeed in America is to spout a tautology and say nothing at all.

Herrnstein goes further. He calls those with high I.Q.'s "bright" and those with low I.Q.'s "dull." These sweeping terms ignore scientific data which indicates the cultural relativity of I.Q. tests. Herrnstein gives I.Q. an ontological status it does not possess. And in his discussion of the hereditary transmission of intelligence, Herrnstein deals inadequately with the effects of environment. For example, no one has measured the effects of the prenatal environment on the fetus. This factor alone casts a shadow of uncertainty on Herrnstein's "scientific" figures.

We are not experts in the field. But it is clear that Herrnstein has overlooked one side of an intellectual debate and based a potentially inflammatory argument on some highly disputable facts. Writing in a popular magazine, he has endowed his reasoning with a pseudo-scientific rigor that belies the controversial nature of his assumptions.

We uphold Herrnstein's right to publish his theory. But we are not convinced by the statement of 107 Faculty members which defends Herrnstein on the grounds of a vague "intellectual freedom." This freedom is apparently all-inclusive; at least, its proponents have not taken the time to define it. The boundary between ideas and actions is an academic distinction. The distinction, while fuzzy, is important. Generally, intellectual freedom guarantees that ideas will be opposed only by other ideas, and that a theorist will always have a place in the academic community. But in some cases, when theorists become policymakers, the distinction between idea and section vanishes. In such cases--for instance, when social scientists commissioned by the government draw up plans to expand the Vietnam War--the phrase "Intellectual freedom" no longer applies and the academic community can no longer offer sanctuary.

It would be a mistake to think that ideas are loss dangerous than actions. History shows otherwise, "Scientific" racists like Gobineau in the mid-nineteenth century and the anti-Semites of post-World War I Europe helped create atmospheres in which genocide was an intellectual possibility. More recently, some Cold War historians, describing a "monolithic Communist bloc," have given an academic cushion for an American government that indiscriminately opposes Communism.

Herrnstein's ideas also have potentially dangerous implications. His statement that contemporary society demonstrates "the advancement of people on the basis of ability" gives "scientific" fuel to defenders of the status quo. And his prognosis of a hereditary caste of the unemployable could leave ominous thoughts in the minds of some readers. It is unfortunate that Herrnstein decided to publish such an irresponsible article on a topic of immense social importance. But we question only his discretion, not his right to publish. And we agree that, in this case, the concept of intellectual freedom applies. Herrnstein's opponents should limit themselves to the arena of ideas.

The 107 faculty members who supported Herrnstein in a public statement have misrepresented the actions of SDS and UAG. In broad terms they have accused the two groups of making "personal attacks upon Professor Herrnstein--by false and offensive placards, leaflets, picketing, and threats to disrupt his classes," By lumping together these types of protest, the professors seek to eliminate acceptable forms of opposition to Herrnstein's thought. Herrnstein wrote an article with clear political implications. He and his supporters must expect opposition. Leafleting and picketing are justifiable tactics for his adversaries, but the tactics should focus on the ideas and not the man. The statement's claim of "distress to (Herrnstein's) family and friends" cannot be substantiated. A vague statement, it could preclude any criticism of Herrnstein's article.

The faculty statement has another disturbing aspect. Since 1969, the University has progressively narrowed the acceptable channels of political protest. The Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities already lists "personal harassment" as a punishable offense. The category is vague enough to permit broad interpretation. If the interpretation of these professors were accepted, effective political protest would be stifled.

Too many people have discussed this article without reading it. Too many people have accepted the ideas without challenging them. SDS and UAG have helped raise the issues in the Harvard community. Although their actions are clearly not punishable under any rational and equitable system, the two groups have at times lapsed into personal attacks and quoted Herrnstein out of context. But by publicizing the uncertainty of the ideas and the potential harm of their implications, SDS and UAG have performed a service.

Herrnstein should not be fired, as the two groups demand. Nor should he be censured. Neither the faculty nor the University has the authority to take a stand on a man who writes theories and not policies. Within the realm of ideas, however, individuals Faculty members have the right--and, in our opinion, the obligation--to challenge Herrnstein's article. Some Faculty members have done so. But a larger group has only attacked the most vocal segment of Herrnstein's critics. The threat of Herrnstein's ideas is more dangerous than the imagined threat of SDS and UAG to intellectual freedom.

Herrnstein goes further. He calls those with high I.Q.'s "bright" and those with low I.Q.'s "dull." These sweeping terms ignore scientific data which indicates the cultural relativity of I.Q. tests. Herrnstein gives I.Q. an ontological status it does not possess. And in his discussion of the hereditary transmission of intelligence, Herrnstein deals inadequately with the effects of environment. For example, no one has measured the effects of the prenatal environment on the fetus. This factor alone casts a shadow of uncertainty on Herrnstein's "scientific" figures.

We are not experts in the field. But it is clear that Herrnstein has overlooked one side of an intellectual debate and based a potentially inflammatory argument on some highly disputable facts. Writing in a popular magazine, he has endowed his reasoning with a pseudo-scientific rigor that belies the controversial nature of his assumptions.

We uphold Herrnstein's right to publish his theory. But we are not convinced by the statement of 107 Faculty members which defends Herrnstein on the grounds of a vague "intellectual freedom." This freedom is apparently all-inclusive; at least, its proponents have not taken the time to define it. The boundary between ideas and actions is an academic distinction. The distinction, while fuzzy, is important. Generally, intellectual freedom guarantees that ideas will be opposed only by other ideas, and that a theorist will always have a place in the academic community. But in some cases, when theorists become policymakers, the distinction between idea and section vanishes. In such cases--for instance, when social scientists commissioned by the government draw up plans to expand the Vietnam War--the phrase "Intellectual freedom" no longer applies and the academic community can no longer offer sanctuary.

It would be a mistake to think that ideas are loss dangerous than actions. History shows otherwise, "Scientific" racists like Gobineau in the mid-nineteenth century and the anti-Semites of post-World War I Europe helped create atmospheres in which genocide was an intellectual possibility. More recently, some Cold War historians, describing a "monolithic Communist bloc," have given an academic cushion for an American government that indiscriminately opposes Communism.

Herrnstein's ideas also have potentially dangerous implications. His statement that contemporary society demonstrates "the advancement of people on the basis of ability" gives "scientific" fuel to defenders of the status quo. And his prognosis of a hereditary caste of the unemployable could leave ominous thoughts in the minds of some readers. It is unfortunate that Herrnstein decided to publish such an irresponsible article on a topic of immense social importance. But we question only his discretion, not his right to publish. And we agree that, in this case, the concept of intellectual freedom applies. Herrnstein's opponents should limit themselves to the arena of ideas.

The 107 faculty members who supported Herrnstein in a public statement have misrepresented the actions of SDS and UAG. In broad terms they have accused the two groups of making "personal attacks upon Professor Herrnstein--by false and offensive placards, leaflets, picketing, and threats to disrupt his classes," By lumping together these types of protest, the professors seek to eliminate acceptable forms of opposition to Herrnstein's thought. Herrnstein wrote an article with clear political implications. He and his supporters must expect opposition. Leafleting and picketing are justifiable tactics for his adversaries, but the tactics should focus on the ideas and not the man. The statement's claim of "distress to (Herrnstein's) family and friends" cannot be substantiated. A vague statement, it could preclude any criticism of Herrnstein's article.

The faculty statement has another disturbing aspect. Since 1969, the University has progressively narrowed the acceptable channels of political protest. The Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities already lists "personal harassment" as a punishable offense. The category is vague enough to permit broad interpretation. If the interpretation of these professors were accepted, effective political protest would be stifled.

Too many people have discussed this article without reading it. Too many people have accepted the ideas without challenging them. SDS and UAG have helped raise the issues in the Harvard community. Although their actions are clearly not punishable under any rational and equitable system, the two groups have at times lapsed into personal attacks and quoted Herrnstein out of context. But by publicizing the uncertainty of the ideas and the potential harm of their implications, SDS and UAG have performed a service.

Herrnstein should not be fired, as the two groups demand. Nor should he be censured. Neither the faculty nor the University has the authority to take a stand on a man who writes theories and not policies. Within the realm of ideas, however, individuals Faculty members have the right--and, in our opinion, the obligation--to challenge Herrnstein's article. Some Faculty members have done so. But a larger group has only attacked the most vocal segment of Herrnstein's critics. The threat of Herrnstein's ideas is more dangerous than the imagined threat of SDS and UAG to intellectual freedom.

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