I picked up a book today called “The Skull Measurer’s Mistake” by Sven Lindqvist. Reading through it for a few moments, I noticed that Lindqvist did not seem to cite any racial research, done by leftists, that supports his position: that there are no substantial racial differences in cranial capacity. This is probably because leftists deny the validity of race as a biological concept. Since they claim race does not exist, they see no more reason to research it than to research the Easter Bunny. So any “research” done by them is strictly comprised of trying to find flaws in the research of “racist” scientists who preceded them. The circular nature of their beliefs never dawns on them. Since they deny the existence of race, they will not research it. Since they do not research it, they deny its existence.
Lindqvist tries to pick apart the research done by “racist” scientists. He accuses them of inconsistencies, of fudging the data, of bias and of sloppy methodology. Let us assume that all this is true – then those who wish to get to the bottom of the matter will conduct their own research and make sure they adhere to higher standards. Those who condemn the research of others, but refuse to do their own, are engaging in a sort of “negative science”. If they were actually interested in reaching the truth, then at least some of the multitude of leftist academic institutions would fund such research.
In a 1993 Discover Magazine article, Anne Fausto-Sterling mocks Rushton’s theories on the correlation of brain size and I.Q. scores. Though I am certain that her objections have already been answered by others, here I shall expose some of the fallacies behind her reasoning myself. It does not say much for Discover Magazine that they would allow such biased drivel to pass as “science” on their website.
Franz Boas, the pioneering Columbia University anthropologist, also studied skull sizes. His results present Rushton with a different problem. From 1910 to 1916 Boas published a series of studies showing that racial characteristics such as average height and the shape of the face and skull, which everyone had assumed to be unalterably inherited, change with the environment. He reported that the size and shape of heads (and hence cranial capacity) of American-born children differed markedly from those of their European-born immigrant parents. For example, U.S.-born Bohemians had shorter, narrower heads than their parents. U.S.-born Sicilians, on the other hand, had shorter, wider heads than their parents, while U.S.-born Jews had longer, narrower heads than their parents. Not only did skull shape change with different environments (presumably with different diets, among other factors), but the changes varied among people from different places in the world. Boas’s landmark study threw the entire concept of a fixed racial type into disarray. Yet it is precisely this idea that Rushton clings to in his Intelligence article.
One wonders how Boaz determined who was a “U.S.-born Bohemian” or a “U.S.-born Sicilian”. Did he present documentation proving that these people were the offspring of actual Bohemians and Sicilians? Inquiring minds would like to know – because, if he based his research on self descriptions, then how do we reconcile this with Sterling’s own words as follows:
To determine which race recruits belonged to, Rushton used the recruits’ self-descriptions. But that raises another problem, not just for Rushton but for any work involving race. First, enormous differences exist among the peoples designated as Asian, Caucasian, or black. Compare the tall, fair Nordic to the short, dark Italian. Or the tiny Pygmy to the giant Watusi. The variability of outward appearances is mirrored at the level of the gene, where there is almost as much variation within racial groups as between them. Furthermore, there has been a lot of mixing between peoples who were once geographically isolated from one another…
She goes on to write:
One need only look at a cross section of U.S. citizens whom we call black to see the problem. My black friends range from people who are dark brown to people nearly as white as me (a Jew whose ancestors come from Central Europe). They all identify themselves as black for historical and political reasons, but a quick glance shows that the name cannot denote biological unity. In fact, Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin concludes that broad racial classifications have no real biological meaning. If he is right, then Rushton’s interpretation of the Army data becomes mere illusion.
Is Sterling implying that those who call themselves “black” are, on average, no more likely to have a preponderance of negro genes than those who call themselves “Jewish”? From the above, one gets the impression that she never even bothered to read Rushton’s work – because he was obviously very much aware of the fact that American blacks are not usually pure negroes. This is why, according to him, they tend to be more intelligent than their African cousins.
Sterling spills much ink showing us how complex brain-size calculations have become and claims that they are pretty much worthless. She even questions the very concept of larger brain=higher intelligence:
But no matter which measure you choose, the fundamental question remains: Does size really count? Brain size can differ for lots of reasons. For example, children born with a medical condition called hydrocephalus (water on the brain) have huge, fluid-filled brains in which large amounts of nerve tissue have been irrevocably damaged. Some of these children suffer from mental deficiencies. Clearly in this case bigger is not better.
I have never heard of anybody seriously claiming that a larger brain always equates to higher intelligence – or that a smaller brain always equates to lesser intelligence. What we have here is a typical straw-man. I found myself wondering, as I read her words, if she also objects to brain size research of proto-humans. Does she deny that the human brain has gotten larger over the eons and that this increase in size has corresponded with higher intelligence? Perhaps she believes that Australopithecus and Homo Habilis could have been just as intelligent as modern humans. Maybe their rudimentary tools and short life-spans were the results of racism by the white man. If brain size does not matter, she should inform those racist paleontologists that they’ve had it wrong all these years. Oh but there is a big difference here: there are no Australopithecines or Homo Habilis alive today to get offended – so we may estimate their brain sizes and judge them accordingly. We cannot do this with blacks because they might get offended. Worse yet, they might riot (presumably to show us how intelligent they are).
In conclusion, yes it is true that there are serious challenges when it comes to measuring brain size. It is difficult to account for body mass, height, health and gender. Yes, it is possible that some brains pack more neurons into a smaller area. But, if it is possible to study the (now completely decomposed) brains of Australopithecines, then surely there is a way to study brains of living human populations in regard to size. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The problem seems to be that there is no will.