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Race and Intelligence: Separating Science From Myth [Hardcover]

Jefferson M. Fish
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 2001 0805837574 978-0805837575 0
In recent years, reported racial disparities in IQ scores have been the subject of raging debates in the behavioral and social sciences and education. What can be made of these test results in the context of current scientific knowledge about human evolution and cognition? Unfortunately, discussion of these issues has tended to generate more heat than light.

Now, the distinguished authors of this book offer powerful new illumination. Representing a range of disciplines--psychology, anthropology, biology, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, and statistics--the authors review the concept of race and then the concept of intelligence. Presenting a wide range of findings, they put the experience of the United States--so frequently the only focus of attention--in global perspective. They also show that the human species has no "races" in the biological sense (though cultures have a variety of folk concepts of "race"), that there is no single form of intelligence, and that formal education helps individuals to develop a variety of cognitive abilities. Race and Intelligence offers the most comprehensive and definitive response thus far to claims of innate differences in intelligence among races.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805837574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805837575
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jefferson M. Fish, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at St. John's University, New York City, where he served as department chair and also as director of the PhD Program in clinical psychology. He is the author or editor of twelve books dealing with race, culture, therapy, and drug policy.

Dr. Fish's most recent book, The Myth of Race, draws on scientific knowledge to debunk a series of myths that pass as facts, correct false assumptions, and clarify cultural misunderstandings about the highly charged topic of race. Praise for The Myth of Race comes from former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, and from anthropologist Audrey Smedley, author of Race in North America. Secretary Cohen said, "Writing with stunning clarity, Dr. Fish poses profound and perturbing questions about race...The Myth of Race is must reading."

Here are some of the myths dealt with in the book:
* The myth that humans are divided into Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid races
* The myth that people cannot change their race
* The myth of the tragic mulatto
* The myth of biologically based differences in intelligence among the races

The Myth of Race demonstrates that the apparently straightforward concept of race is actually a confused mixture of two different concepts; and the confusion often leads to miscommunication. The first concept, biological race, simply doesn't exist in the human species. Instead, what exists is gradual variation in what people look like (e.g., skin color and facial features) and in their genes, as you travel around the planet--with more distant populations appearing more different than closer ones. If you travel in different directions, the populations look different in different ways. The second concept, social race, is a set of cultural categories for labeling people based on how their ancestors were classified, selected aspects of what they look like, or various combinations of both. These sets of categories vary widely from one culture to another.

Dr. Fish's personal background includes marriage to an African American anthropologist who studies the Krikati and related tribes of Brazilian Indians, two years as a visiting professor in Brazil (including a month with the Krikati), and, with his wife, raising a daughter in both the United States and Brazil. These experiences led him to an appreciation of human behavior as more varied than it may appear to psychologists who know only the United States.

Dr. Fish's website is, and his Psychology Today blog is Looking in the Cultural Mirror,

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By jdevoe
Very thorough, but for a good read consider Ste[hen Jay Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man."
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Race and Intelligence July 12, 2007
This is a great book. It takes readers from the origin of humanity to how far it has come including beliefs or myths created as populations drifted away from Africa. It's also a great analysis of how perception changes as we go from one environment to another.
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