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Customer Review

on April 8, 2001
Gould's book was well written and easily comprehensible. A number of excellent points were discussed. However, I was disappointed by his total refutation of the Bell Curve. The degree that "g" measures this abstract controversial, concept of intelligence is the the degree that the conclusions in The Bell Curve are correct. If "g" does not exist or is not a valid measurement of intelligence, the foundation of the Bell Curve will be destroyed. But I have met people with 90 IQ's and other with 140+; there seems to be a difference in their ability to grasp concepts and figure out problems. If 100 people with 140+ IQ's and 100 people with < 90 IQ's were pited against one another to solve a complex problem, I believe the 140+ would win most of the time. Dr. Gould is professor at Harvard; how much exposure does he really have with low IQ individuals?
Bernstein and Murray avidly admit that IQ tests do err (testing error). And "g" may not be the best measure of intelligence, but IQ does seem to have some merit. Unfortunately, people are placing far, far too much importance on a simple number. "g" is just a rough (very blunt) estimate of intelligence. Ranking of people is impossible because the testing error as well as other factors that create too much mismeasurment AND the potential invalidity of IQ or "g." People should not pigeon-hole individuals with superior IQ's as "cognitively superior" or those with low IQ's as "cognitively inferior"--other factors besides IQ should be considered! But again, IQ does have some merit--the debate is how much.
Yes, disadvantaged classes and races is an issue with IQ (group differences). The Bell Curve is not primarily about that. Read the Bell Curve; the main theme is that people have different cognitive abilities. However, Hernstein and Murray briefly discuss potential group differences, but the author reminds the reader of the overlap between groups and more important within group variance. Hernstein and Murray warn that people should not be judged by what group they belong to. In addition, other factors may explain group differences, which Gould explicates--in my opinion, Hernstein and Murray do not discuss the group differences adequately. But I still agree with The Bell Curve that certain people are more intelligent than other individuals (I disagree with the group differences). Read both "The Mismeasurement of Man" and "The Bell Curve" Both of them have great arguments for both sides.
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