The Third Rail Touched

I have already posted about Steven Pinker’s excellent book The Blank Slate, a salvo against the modern denial of innate human nature. In today’s Wall Street Journal Charles Murray, who as one of the co-authors, in 1996, of The Bell Curve was pilloried by the Left for suggesting that there might be inherent statistical differences among human genetic groups, has returned to the battle with an essay arguing that subsequent study has buttressed his position.

He has kept a low profile since his ruthless persecution by the Thought Police nearly a decade ago, but the recent tar-and-feathering of Lawrence Summers for suggesting that innate sex differences might have something to do with the low numbers of women at elite levels in science and mathematics was more than he could bear in silence. It is brave of him to speak up again, because he is sure to get little but contumely and derision for his efforts. I encourage all to read this essay, and to try to do so with an open mind.


  1. Bill says

    I read the essay when published, yesterday and posted on it as well. It was excellent. I heartily agree that we need to discuss these issues for the health and well-being of our society.

    Posted October 13, 2005 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Thanks for the comment, Bill.

    I think that the wall of taboo around this topic is beginning to crumble. This taboo, as Murray points out, existed for ethically admirable reasons, and there are sure to be those who will pounce on this emerging body of evidence with malevolent intent. But if we assimilate these truths wisely, civilization will be better off for it.

    I see that you have added a link to Waka Waka Waka on your own very interesting blog. Thanks! I have reciprocated in kind.

    Posted October 13, 2005 at 3:18 pm | Permalink
  3. Peg says

    Hi Malcolm–

    At Bill’s urging, I stopped by – and I’m glad that I did. (Bill is ONE smart fellow.)

    Not terribly much time – dashing off to a bridge tournament – but good post about these issues.

    While I am wary of revisiting old and destructive stereotypes, we nevertheless should not turn a blind eye to what is factual. Of course, sometimes what appears to be a certain way on the surface can have causes that are not what we think they are.

    More when I have more time!

    Posted October 14, 2005 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Thanks for visiting, Peg, and you are quite right – we must indeed be willing to face facts.

    We must be mature enough as a society to be able to consider Nature’s “is” in determining our cultural “ought”, and wise enough to understand the difference.

    I’ve always wanted to learn the game of bridge – I’m an avid chessplayer, and many of that game’s greatest champions were also enthusiastic and adept players of bridge.


    Posted October 16, 2005 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

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