Race and intelligence  

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"The term "scientific racism" is generally used pejoratively as applied to more modern theories, as in The Bell Curve (1994). Critics argue that such works postulate racist conclusions unsupported by available evidence such as a connection between race and intelligence."--Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The connection between race and intelligence has been a subject of debate in both popular science and academic research since the inception of IQ testing in the early 20th century. There remains some debate as to whether and to what extent differences in intelligence test scores reflect environmental factors as opposed to genetic ones, as well as to the definitions of what "race" and "intelligence" are, and whether they can be objectively defined at all. Currently, there is no non-circumstantial evidence that these differences in test scores have a genetic component, although some researchers believe that the existing circumstantial evidence makes it at least plausible that hard evidence for a genetic component will eventually be found.

The first test showing differences in IQ test results between different population groups in the US was the tests of United States Army recruits in World War I. In the 1920s groups of eugenics lobbyists argued that this demonstrated that African-Americans and certain immigrant groups were of inferior intellect to Anglo-Saxon whites due to innate biological differences, using this as an argument for policies of racial segregation. Soon, other studies appeared, contesting these conclusions and arguing instead that the Army tests had not adequately controlled for the environmental factors such as socio-economic and educational inequality between African-Americans and Whites.

The debate reemerged again in 1969, when Arthur Jensen championed the view that for genetic reasons Africans were less intelligent than whites and that compensatory education for African-American children was therefore doomed to be ineffective. In 1994, the book The Bell Curve argued that social inequality in the United States could largely be explained as a result of IQ differences between races and individuals rather than being their cause, and rekindled the public and scholarly debate with renewed force. During the debates following the book's publication, the American Anthropological Association and the American Psychological Association (APA) published official statements regarding the issue, both highly skeptical of some of the book's claims, although the APA report called for more empirical research on the issue.

See also

national stereotypes, ethnic stereotypes




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