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Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined

2.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312172282
ISBN-10: 0312172281
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this volume, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, authors of the notorious The Bell Curve (Free Pr., 1994), are once again accused of specious methodology in their rationalization of a ("hoodoo") social science position that claims to validate an immutable genetic connection among low achievement, poverty, violent crime affecting an entire class of people (primarily African American), and I.Q. scores. The 44 contributors span a broad range of affiliation and focus. Similar to but more strident than those found in The Bell Curve Wars: Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America (LJ 4/15/94), these abundantly referenced essays criticize the validity of Herrnstein and Murray's thesis for use of questionable assumptions, reliance on racist scholars, rejection of contradictory evidence, and equation of correlation with cause. Part a product of an increasingly conservative society, part authors' bias, The Bell Curve is seen by the essayists as a seriously flawed, dangerous rearticulation of white supremacist/racist/class ideology. This thoughtful, readable anthology is highly recommended for academics, policy makers, and the general public.?Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Measured Lies more than measures up, presenting a sound refutation of the faulty hype, and hidden political agenda that made The Bell Curve a media phenomenon." --Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (March 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312172281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312172282
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,045,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Graham H. Seibert TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Since its publication a number of important books have been written substantiating the Bell Curve hypothesis. The most direct arguments are given in "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" and "Race Differences in Intelligence," and "The g Factor." Authors who pussyfoot around the factor of race in the heritability of intelligence, but whose work generally supports the thesis, are "The Journey of Man" by Spencer Wells, "World on Fire" by Amy Chua, and at the pinnacle, "The Blank Slate" by Stephen Pinker. I add in 2012, Earl Hunt's "Human Intelligence" offers a good, evenhanded survey of the field.

There is a marked difference in the tone of "Measured Lies" from these others. "Lies" is strident; the others have the measured calm of scientific works. While the others project scientific objectivity, "Lies" is insistently moralistically.

The argument does belong in the realm of morality. Lies' authors find it "hurtful" and "unutterable" even to discuss the possibility that there are differences among the average abilities of different races. On the other hand, observing the vast difference in the accomplishments of different races, not only in the U.S. but between and within countries throughout the world, a great many observers have come to one of two moral conclusions:

1) Certain peoples do not achieve because they are morally deficient: lazy, given to drugs, oversexed or whatever, or,

2) "Hegemonists" such as European nations or Caucausian people systematically and immorally frustrate the aspirations of other peoples through subtle racism.

Either way it is a blame game. And profoundly immoral, if the blame is not deserved.

The gauntlet is down.
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Format: Paperback
When I read the Bell Curve in 1994 and again this year, I found it convincing, though I don't consider myself a racist. I was looking forward to hearing the "other side" of the debate, and this book provided one of the first opportunities. But I was truly dissapointed.
I did start out biased in that I didn't expect to be convinced. But I expected the contributing writers (or at least some of them) to provide some scientific evidence behind their claims. Yet precious little is there.
Don't get me wrong, it is well written, eliquent, and entertaining, it just doesn't hold up to scrutiny. For one thing, so many of the writers clearly didn't even read the Bell Curve. They use ideology instead of science in a desperately vain attempt to make their point.
That point?
Most could guess before reading that all contributing writers feel that it is in fact environment and socioeconomic factors are the main (or only) things that contribute to who we become. They do not give an inch on their traditionally liberal views that all or nearly all the differences in behavior in blacks, whites, and other races are the result of society. Genes play no role in their world.
We must open our eyes. The Bell Curve is not correct on everything. But the genie is out of the bottle. There is just too much evidence in so many scientific fields to support the main thesis of the Bell Curve.
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Format: Paperback
The editors note in their introductory chapter, "One does not have to read far to discover [The Bell Curve, The] is obsessed with differences in intelligence between different races and classes of people... 239 of the book's 552 pages (43 percent) explicitly concern comparisons of black, Latino and white intelligence and its effects. Indeed, even when African Americans and Latinos are not specifically mentioned, The Bell Curve is hard at work justifying the genetic arguments which support the contention that Whites are innately superior. To argue that the book is not primarily about race is duplicitous." (Pg. 5)

They add, "A sizable number of the sources utilized by Herrnstein and Murray were produced by Pioneer Fund recipients... The `scholarship' supported by the Pioneer Fund is uniformly racist... Besides the Pioneer Fund another cornerstone of the scientific racism establishment is `Mankind Quarterly'---a white supremacist journal... [Herrnstein and Murray] used five articles published in `Mankind Quarterly' and seventeen scholars who had published in it as their sources in The Bell Curve..." (Pg. 39)

Another notes, "According to contemporaries, New York's `Hell's Kitchen' in the 1860s was full of atavistic Irishmen who made the streets unsafe. They too were seen literally as a race apart and were accused of reproducing at an uncomfortably high rate... Such myths about the relationship between `low intelligence' and `race' are basic to Western science at least since the mid-eighteenth century..." (Pg. 268)

An essayist states, "In
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(Helpful? Not? Please vote, so I know someone is reading these :^) :: When the by-line for this book screamed at me, "...the first thoughtful and reasoned reading of The Bell Curve,..." my jaw dropped. I thought *I* had performed the first thoughtful and well-reasoned reading! Admittedly, The Bell Curve was a pretty drudgerous read, and it was fairly unapologetic about its no-frills approach. However, I've scarcely seen regression analysis explained any better for a layperson's understanding (Levitt's "Freakonomics" is a close contender, FYI), nor elaborated much better in harder texts. As for this "Measured Lies" fiasco:

I think prior reviewers have mentioned subsequent studies, even better than the original Bell Curve fodder, have shown and supported high correlation between heredity and IQ. They have also shown that much of heredity *can* be overcome through nurturing environment, and good education, given generally-assumed minimal aptitudes. In short, fairly dull people can be successful; brilliant people can be abject failures. For all the tripe/blather, we all understand these writers'/contributors' *need* to really hope against hope that the playing field is level. We all agree it would be wonderful if everyone had the same shot at all life has to offer. Sadly, it is not so; we all know it isn't so.

My parents and grandparents (all educators, elem & h.s.) all knew it too. They shepparded the kids through who struggled, as they had done with their parents years before. IQ is hereditary, and it's not politically incorrect to know this, especially with reams of corroborating data in support.

It was my dream to win Olympic gold medals!
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