More About i.q

Herewith a sampling of reader response to R. J. Herrnstein’s discussion of Intelligence, Heritability, and Environment in the September Atlantic.

SIR: I would agree with Professor Herrnstein’s position that questions regarding the heritability of intelligence and social and racial class differences should be “drawn from facts and reason.” However, although most everyone would agree that heredity is probably a significant factor in determining I.Q. differences, few would agree that a numerical value of 80 to 85 percent can be either easily calculated or meaningfully interpreted to give precedence to heredity as compared to environmental variables.
Heredity apparently plays a relatively minimal role in the development of pragmatic skills such as spelling, arithmetic, general scholastic attainment, and scores on the Stanford Achievement Test. These scholastic findings are in agreement with Herrnstein’s statement that “school performance responds to the environment substantially.”
Given that heritability of I.Q. may not be as important as Herrnstein claims, and, second, that individual differences in pragmatic abilities are very much influenced by environmental opportunity, some doubt may be cast on Herrnstein’s thesis that so-

cial reform, welfare, and educational enrichments will merely increase the “I.Q. gap” between classes and solidify classes based on inborn hereditary differences.
On the contrary, if (1) the heritability of I.Q. is less than proposed by Herrnstein, and (2) these pragmatic abilities of achievement are very much influenced by environment, and correspondingly play an important role in social adjustment, then the basic differences between individuals could be minimized except insofar as one pursued whatever social goals he desired.
FRED S. FEHR
Associate Professor of Psychology
Arizona State University
Tempe,Ariz.

SIR: There is little to be said about R. J. Herrnstein’s article except that some white editors are seizing on Arthur Jensen’s article to promote the cause of white supremacy. The foreword by the editors seemed especially racist. The author of the article managed to make it through twenty-one pages and never say a single good thing about the mental capabilities of black people.
An objective article would have noted that:
Black GI’s from two states outscored their white counterparts from several states in World War II testing.
The Los Angeles school with the highest I.Q. in 1969 was 90 percent black.

A black school led Virginia in reading tests in 1971.
Studies show black-white comparability on I.Q. tests in rural Canada.
Two separate papers at the 1971 convention of the American Psychological Association found no relationship between race and I.Q. when social class is held constant.
One of the highest I.Q. scores ever reported was made by a black girl in Georgia.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation reports that its black winners score well above the top 2 percent of the seniors in the nation.
Black inventors have filed 3000 patents since the inception of the patent office, including pioneering designs for the stoplight, blood plasma, ice cream, and potato chips.
Any black psychologist would have told an objective editor this before he went to press. I must therefore conclude that you did not want anything good about black mental capabilities printed in your magazine.
This is not new. Hitler’s propagandists used the same tactics in the thirties while his metal workers put the finishing touches on the gas ovens.
WILLIAM F. BRAZZIEL
Professor of Higher Education
The University of Connecticut
Storrs, Conn.

SIR: Writing as an economist, I am in no position to argue with Richard J. Herrnstein’s findings concerning the importance of heredity in determining intelligence. However, the major conclusions which he draws from his paper are economic and social, and in those areas Professor Herrnstein demonstrates dangerously little competence.
He implies that the day is rapidly approaching when people with low intelligence and their children will find themselves permanently unemployed. This will happen, Professor Herrnstein feels, because I.Q. is inherited and jobs, on the average, are becoming increasingly more demanding intellectually.
When he discusses psychological questions he normally overwhelms the reader with supporting evidence, but what does he offer in support of this latter assertion about the economy? He merely notes that “backhoes are putting ditchdiggers out of work.”
Obviously he hasn’t made much of a case, and I would offer that there isn’t much of a case to be made. My impression is, contrary to Professor Herrnstein’s, that jobs, in the main, have become simpler and simpler from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present.
The mental jobs that Professor Herrnstein feels have disappeared might well have disappeared because workers have, for one reason or another, been priced out of them. The remedy to the problem does not require a reversal of technical progress, as Professor Herrnstein suggests. One conclusion that an economist might draw from Professor Herrnstein’s single observation is that ditchdiggers now cost too much to make their employment profitable because workmen with their talents are in much greater demand now than they used to be.
I admit that I have not come close to proving that jobs today generally require less intelligence than ever before, but neither has Professor Herrnstein proved the opposite, nor has a serious study, to my knowledge, been made on the subject.
GARY D. MARTIN University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill. N. C.

SIR: The article on I.Q. by Richard J. Herrnstein is superb. However controversial some of its implications may prove to be, it is refreshing, in an era when so many act as if serious subjects can only be treated unseriously (whether with clever chic or “relevant” emotionality), to read a lucid and careful analysis of a complex subject by a first-class mind. If anyone disagrees with him, I hope at the very least they respond with the same respect for facts and intellectual dispassion he has brought to this subject.
JAMES Q. WILSON Harvard University
Department of Government
Cambridge, Mass.

SIR: Professor Herrnstein’s historical review of the I.Q. measure underscores its arbitrariness. Indeed, it has not been possible to ascertain what intelligence is. However, instead of rebuking the founders of psychometrics for allowing such a lacuna to exist and be perpetuated, he goes on to commend Binet for his crafty evasion of this central issue.
Since the basic nature of intelligence is not known (that is, the number and nature of factors, their relative importance, and so on), and since all reported correlations derive from tests constructed in this climate of ignorance, we cannot intelligently determine the scientific significance of the relationships—no matter how useful they may be practically.
Since we have no idea precisely what features of the environment are essential to psychological development, all statements regarding the “equivalance” or “difference” of environments merely beg the question.
I cannot share Professor Herrnstein’s anxieties, nor can I muster support for his dire forebodings. That genetics may limit the number of “Negro” accountants is something we’ll not discover until we abandon the social practices that now set shameful limits on every phase of “Negro” life.
Even that unrelenting eugenicist, Plato, in the last Book of the Republic, reminds us that “Heaven is blameless.” Thus, before giving in to the divine DNA, let’s get busy on the obvious alternative.
DANIEL N. ROBINSON, PH.D.Associate Professor
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

SIR: Richard Herrnstein’s “I.Q.” falls clearly within the field of neo-phrenology and is almost too anachronistic to deserve commentary.
One would think that the pseudoscientific generalizations surrounding race and I.Q. had long been put to rest. But the ghoulish die hard. May I nevertheless say: “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”
NATHAN HARE The Black Scholar
Sausalito, Calif.

SIR: Had Richard Herrnstein been careful in analyzing the empirical data on social determinants of mobility and material success, he would have had to reach the following conclusions:
1. We use education as our first line of defense against upward mobility. Even though we have free public education, its spending pattern is regressive. At every level from kindergarten to Ph.D. candidacy, the number of tax dollars spent on a student varies directly with parental income.
2. Public schools are geared to place students at either their level of social origin or a slightly higher level. Regardless of a student’s intelligence and ambition, significant upward mobility is actively discouraged.
3. Our meritocracy is a misnomer, as it is not based on individual merit, but on academic credentials. No matter how intelligent and qualified a job applicant may be, he is automatically excluded from consideration if he does not have the required diploma or degree.
4. Our schools have not been too successful in holding the line, but have yielded to pressures from the lower classes, which produced a rise in the national level of education. To counteract the consequences of that, the meritocracy is being used as our secondary defense. Increased amounts of formal education are being required for given occupational payoffs. The high school diploma, the bachelor’s degree, and the master’s degree have all been devalued as a political maneuver to prevent or at least retard the mobility of lowerclass persons who earned them.
Herrnstein’s views on the necessity of a hereditary caste system are consonant with reactionary and repressive trends in American society, but they are not scientifically valid.
DAVID M. GRAY
Philadelphia, Penn.

SIR: What are the reasons for the fifteen-point difference between Negro and white I.Q.’s?11
1. Health differences, due to inadequate nutrition, eating lead paint chips in slum houses, and so on.
2. Lack of sufficient preschool parental instruction from parents who both must work, and in one-parent families.
3. The “goof-off” factor: many children, when confronted with an I.Q. test, may simply goof off and deliberately give silly answers through a lack of realization of the importance of the test.
It should, theoretically, be possible to factor out the effects of these three factors through large-scale tests within the Negro and within the white population (do white mothers who work, for instance, end up with lowerI.Q. kids than white mothers who stay at home, after allowing for average parent I.Q.?).
It should also be possible to run large-scale tests within the Negro population to determine the correlation between I.Q. and the degree of white ancestry (though it would require a brave researcher to conduct such a survey).
GLENN T. WILSON
Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville, III.

SIR: With the Liberal Repression still so much upon us, I was startled to see I.Q. and intelligence tests spread over the cover of The Atlantic. What has happened to the taboos? Is freedom of inquiry about to reassert itself—the freedom we once enjoyed to measure and describe the core variables that compose the human constitution? Praise be! And praise too for Herrnstein’s solid and forthright article setting intelligence in proper perspective.

For the past few years, inquiry into the biological determinants of human performance has withered under a chill of hostility—and it turns out that there are many ways to starve and stifle the research you disapprove of. Lysenko managed the suppression of genetics in Russia as long as he had the political muscle to ostracize those who opposed his environmentalism. The Lysenko syndrome, with appropriate variations, erupted in this country as an ally of the idealism that stokes the aspirations we all share for

equality and racial justice. At the fever stage of the syndrome, we saw the august assembly of the National Academy of Sciences squirm in discomfiture when goaded by one of its members to endorse research into the nature of racial differences.
In October, 1967, a statement read by the president of the Academy asserted that scientists had valid reason to shun such areas as “the separation of hereditary and environmental contributions to complex human behavioral traits and to racial differences in these traits.” The valid reason? “None of the current methods can produce unambiguous results.” Besides, data of uncertain meaning, it was said, might invite “misuse.” For those and other reasons, the statement proceeded to “question the social urgency of a greatly enhanced program to measure the heritability of complex intellectual and emotional factors.” Better to remain ignorant, perhaps, than to learn an ugly fact.
The Academy, remember, embraces the nation’s top scientists, the ones from whom calls for freedom of investigation have often reverberated throughout the land. High principles gave way to spasms of hand-wringing when a mob invaded an Academy meeting and prevented a member from speaking about I.Q. and inheritance. Individual members of the Academy were shocked and perturbed when other mobs drove teachers from their classrooms. The repressive hysteria was backed by no government sanction like the one enjoyed by Lysenko, but the effects were much the same.
So vital an issue as human inheritance could not be buried, of course, and the Academy appointed a distinguished committee to weigh the problem. This time, the genetic-environment interaction was certified as socially urgent, and, since the interdisciplinary problem seems undermanned in relation to its long-run importance, the committee recommended “positive action.” Research on the I.Q., its causes and conditions, may once again be in order. We shall see.
S. S. STEVENS Professor of Psychophysics
Harvard University
Cambridge. Mass.

SIR: As Professor Herrnstein points out, we women have trouble main-

taining our high I.Q.’s, and thus I must confess I had great difficulty getting through his dull-normal prose. Of course my lack of concentration could be explained by this emotional trouble he says we women show slightly more than men. Professor Herrnstein is one very bright man. It sure has been a psychological burden being a bright woman in our culture, especially with all those very good jobs going to all those very dull men. Oh, gee, it’s too late for me to get greater satisfaction out of my life by raising three sets of twins, like that striking case of the happy housewife with an I.Q. of 192. But maybe I can still find me a not-too-choosy writer who needs a hearty batch of stew cooked up for him every Sunday night, as Mr. C. Wright Mills explained to Mr. Dan Wakefield.
Don’t know what’s wrong with me—I sure have had plenty of role models. I too sat in Literature 311312 with Mr. Appel and Mr. Pynchon and all the other Cornell boys and watched Véra Nabokov knit while Vladimir lectured. So how come I still have aspirations?
SUSAN BROWNMILLER
I.Q. 162
New York City

SIR: The Herrnstein article is the most accurately informative psychological article I have ever read in the popular press.
ARTHUR R. JENSEN
University of California
Berkeley,Calif

SIR: Mr. Herrnstein’s article on I.Q. in the September Atlantic contains many errors of scholarship. The worst, I think, is his statement that once we discover what in the environment affects I.Q., our natural urge “to give everyone access to the favorable factor” will result in a uniform environmental influence. To use the same allegory as Mr. Herrnstein used, I know of no evidence, scholarly or otherwise, to suggest that the improvement of people’s diet (which seems to have caused an upward trend in height) has resulted in any trend toward uniformity of height. Nor is there any reason to believe that an improvement of the environmental I.Q. factor would or could be applied uniformly enough to cause a reduction in whatever percentage of environmental influence now exists.

I found many other problems with the Herrnstein report. His repeated references to the race issue and an almost total lack of factual description of racial I.Q. differences make me wonder why he was avoiding the real issue. Are the black-white differences in I.Q. really “statistically reliable”? Did the comparisons merely look at total populations, or did they attempt to cancel out social influences (for example, by comparing wealthy blacks with wealthy whites)?
Did the tests require any comprehension of written questions? And, after all is said and done, are we sure that the black children were actually trying to score well?
Concerning the failure of compensatory education to improve I.Q., I assume that Dr. Jensen was referring to such programs as Head Start. If so, it should be mentioned that these programs influenced the children only thirty or so hours out of 112 waking hours each week, or about 27 percent of the child’s waking hours each week. And that did not continue year round. The vast majority of those students’ time was still spent in the home environment, which, I assume, had not changed. Success or failure of the compensatory education should be judged on how it affected the child’s grades in school, not his I.Q. Did the compensatory education programs have any beneficial influence in this regard?
MICHAEL A. DUNIHO Laurel, Md.

SIR: It may be merely speculation to Professor Herrnstein that being bright is a liability to a woman in our culture, but I can cite at least one factual case. When I took an I.Q. test in seventh grade I deliberately did not answer the math part beyond the easiest questions because I did not want to be thought masculine. Since this was half the test, it obviously affected the score.

My main objection to the article is the assumed correlation of I.Q. points with “success” (mostly defined by economic criteria). There is probably an inverse correlation between very high scores and such success, since geniuses are usually too far beyond our criteria to be acclaimed in their lifetimes and those who don’t make it don’t show up in surveys. I also object to the slighting of other factors. Only toward the end does the author admit they might be crucial too. I would say the ability to deal with people is much more important in achieving success in most fields than the tested abilities. I hope one of the significant achievements of the feminist revolution will be to start emphasizing human values, such as empathy, which present tests ignore since they were created by men who derogated them.
VARDA ONE Everywoman
Los Angeles, Calif.

SIR: R. J. Herrnstein’s psychological argument is sound enough; and its central implications have been verified by the work of distinguished scholars and advocates of the cause of the “culturally deprived,” albeit reluctantly and usually with a rather different explanation. Thus both Frank Riessman and Christopher Jencks, I believe, have frequently noted that programs for “educational enrichment” intended primarily to benefit the lower-achieving—usually poor and/or black—children tend to widen the achievement discrepancy unless middle-class children are barred from the new facilities. Middle-class children are just that much better at using the kinds of resources available in schools—but that is what having a higher I.Q. means. It is also true that there is a major political problem—school administrators generally know quite well that, regardless of liberal rhetoric, they had better not allow the community’s established pattern of winners and losers to get reversed, and further discourage the poorer children. But, basically, Herrnstein is probably right.
When he leaves his strictly psychological and genetic argument for social generalization, however, it gets stickier. “Human society has yet to find a working alternative to the carrot and the stick,” he observes.
As a countervailing influence against hereditary stratification, there is apparently a built-in tendency for the sons of hard-driving, high-achieving, super-Yang, high I.Q. parents to be turned off the whole bit, and turn their own abilities, superior though they may be, inward, thereby making room for a lowly born, possibly less bright, but certainly less troublesome aspirant. He would almost certainly prove equal to the task. As Ivar Berg makes clear in his trenchant economic analysis Education and Jobs: The Great Training Robbery (Praeger, 1970), American business and industry have trapped themselves in a circular demand for more and more highly trained employees, without examining the available evidence that, for the roles actually available, education tends to be negatively correlated to both productivity and job tenure. Unless it gets you to the very top, high I.Q. in a highly bureaucratized society is likely to involve people in more hassles than it’s worth; though the longer record of certifiable schooling that usually goes with it may also gain them a higher place than their contribution to production warrants.
The implications of Berg’s work for Herrnstein’s argument are thus mixed, but tricky.
EDGAR Z. FRIEDENBERG Professor, Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

SIR: I want to congratulate you on R. J. Herrnstein’s extremely courageous, forthright, and thoughtful article on the highly controversial subject of the inheritability of intelligence.
Herrnstein is very emphatic that the confirmed data pertain to individual variation within the white population and leave considerable latitude for many of the differences among races to be accountable for by environmental factors. One would hope from the point of view of ideology and social policy that all of these differences might be so accountable. However, I would like to add one point apropos social policy that Herrnstein might well have made. Regardless of the origins of racial differences in intelligence, there is a vast overlap in the distribution of intelligence in both races, and this overlap suggests most vehemently that the proper means of assessing the potential of an individual for intellectual attainment is his own individual intelligence, rather than his skin color. This comment should hold in any instance, but it is most pertinent in the light of Herrnstein’s strong argument that existing tests are such efficient tools for assessing intellectual potential.
RAYMOND A. BAUER Associate Professor
Harvard University Graduate School of
Business Administration
Cambridge, Mass.

SIR: This is to lend my wholehearted support to your willingness to bring the important issues raised by Richard Herrnstein’s article before the public.
ROBERT A. GORDON
Associate Professor
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Md.

SIR: In Professor Herrnstein’s very fine and complex article, it seemed to me, there were two omissions.
First, there is insufficient attention to the impact of “anxiety.” The American psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan compared massive anxiety to a blow on the head—that is, actually causing an amnesia. Children who suffer great anxiety would do less well on intelligence tests.
Then, there is the question of language in their background. Language and words are the tools of thought. I would think that children living an underprivileged life, with uneducated parents, would not have sharpened their grasp of certain principles. In the internal cybernetic feedback between thought and language, they are inchoate.
A third point occurs to me—a most important one: motivation. Children not motivated to try hard at anything—and many underprivileged youngsters have not had incentives to try—would give up rather readily, and so not show up well.
A last point is that I attempt, wherever possible, to obtain psychological and intelligence tests on every new patient of mine. I find it very helpful, even though it may only confirm an impression I have. And there is simply no question in my mind of the accuracy of a carefully administered I.Q. test, as well as of the various psychological tests.
NATALIE SHAINESS, M.D.
New York City

SIR: First, I am writing to commend The Atlantic for publishing R. J. Herrnstein’s article “I.Q.,” the finest that I have seen outside of the professional literature.
Second, I am writing to correct one omission. Professor Herrnstein, citing Dr. Jensen, claims that estimates of the heritability of I.Q. are “based almost entirely on data from whites” and that “we do not know the heritability for I.Q. among blacks.” This argument has been frequently ad-

vanced in opposition to genetic interpretations of the observable fifteento-twenty-point mean difference between U.S. whites and U.S. Negroes on intelligence test performance (see A. Shuey, The Testing of Negro Intelligence, New York, The Social Science Press, 1966). However, there are published studies on the heritability of mental test performance among American Negroes.
Drs. Osborne and Gregor presented a paper at the Instituto Internacional de Sociologia in Madrid in October of 1967 on “Racial Differences in Inheritance Ratios for Tests of Spatial Ability.” The sample consisted of 172 pairs of identical twins and 112 pairs of fraternal twins from two Southeastern American states, of whom 43 twin pairs were Negro and 241 twin pairs were white. Eight different spatial tests were administered to the total sample, for whom four different heritability ratios were calculated. As much as 78 percent of the within-family variance was “accounted for by hereditary factors.” Only one spatial test—the Object Aperture Test—yielded consistently higher heritability ratios for white children than for Negro children. The authors concluded that “the hypothesis of the differential rate of genetic or biological contributions for whites and Negroes on spatial test performance must be rejected.”
In 1969 Dr. Osborne and Frank Miele published a paper in Perceptual and Motor Skills (Vol. 28, pp. 535-538) entitled “Racial Differences in Environmental Influences on Numerical Ability as Determined by Heritability Estimates.” Using the same sample of white and Negro twin pairs. Mukherjee’s Simple Arithmetic Test was administered to the group, and four different heritability ratios were found to be “not significantly lower for Negroes than for whites.” The authors concluded that “environment cannot be credited with playing a more significant role in the development of numerical ability of Negro than of white children.”
The above studies thus lend further support to a genetic interpretation of the mean differences observed between U.S. whites and U.S. Negroes on intelligence test performance.
DONALD A. SWAN, B.A., M.A.
International Association for the Advance-
ment of Ethnology and Eugenics. Inc.
Queens Village, N. Y.

SIR: Professor Herrnstein’s key error is in supposing that a society has no choice but to allocate its members to jobs in a manner as close as possible to that dictated by strict economic efficiency. He is perfectly correct in claiming that the social welfare is, to some extent, served by attaching unequally high rewards to the tasks which require the greatest amount of (scarce) high intelligence and which contribute most to the common good. The point, presumably, is that even those who must contribute to the high pay of surgeons or nuclear physicists by a reduction in their own incomes derive some benefit from having the ablest men and women in those sensitive positions. But it seems not to have occurred to Professor Herrnstein to ask two questions, the answers to which throw the inequalities in our society into a very different light.
First, how much of the unequal reward given to the intellectually elite is necessary to draw the best candidates into the key positions, and how much is, so to speak, surplus inequality which produces no additional social benefit worth the cost? Even if we grant that high pay and high prestige will draw the talented to brain surgery, is it really true that a potential brain surgeon must hope to earn ten times as much as a manual laborer before he will commit himself to medical training? If three times as much would do the trick, then the rest of his added reward would have no justification, even by Professor Herrnstein’s argument.
The second question is this: granted that we benefit socially by social inequality, do we value social equality highly enough to be willing to pay some sort of price for it? If the answer is yes, how high a price will we pay, as a society? Mightn’t we be willing to give up the added total productive output achieved by inequality, in order to eliminate that inequality? Perhaps we would be willing to sacrifice added excellence in the management of our corporations, but not in our hospitals. Such choices are not dictated for us by the logic of genetics or statistics. They are collective social choices which we, as a society, are free to make in a number of different ways. The closer we move to Professor Herrnstein’s genetically stratified society of the future, the less satisfied we may become with the principle “From each according to his inherited ability; to each according to his market value.”
ROBERT PAUL WOLFF Department of Philosophy
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Mass.

SIR: I found Professor Herrnstein’s article on the I.Q. a reasoned, careful, and objective treatment of the subject. My only reservation about the piece has to do with the implications (which I am sure Professor Herrnstein did not intend) that it may leave in the minds of some readers about current attempts to redress certain social inequalities. Let me be more explicit.
Professor Herrnstein correctly says that “Greater wealth, health, freedom, fairness, and educational opportunity are not going to give us the egalitarian society of our philosophical heritage” and suggests that inherited differences will be more rather than less pronounced as a result of a more equitable environment for the entire population.
What Herrnstein fails to make clear is the difference between absolute and relative variability. As the environment becomes more uniform, its contribution of heredity relative to the environment will increase. It is also true, however, that the absolute amount of variability of intelligence within the entire population will decrease. It is simply a statistical fact that if you eliminate a factor that contributes to the variability of a trait within a given population, the absolute amount of variability for that trait in that population will necessarily diminish.
We know that the frequency curve for I.Q. for blacks is displaced downward about ten to fifteen points below the comparable curve for whites. For blacks and whites together the absolute variability extends from the bottom of the curve for blacks to the top of the curve for whites. Now suppose that the difference between the two races were entirely attributable to environmental circumstances and that, by the grace of God, these were all eliminated. The two curves would now be identical, and the absolute variability for the population would be much less than before. The remaining variability, however, would be almost entirely due to heredity.
Now, what troubles me about Herrnstein’s presentation is that he might be read as implying that efforts to remove the environmental factors that displace the curve for black intelligence downward are not worthwhile, since they will not remove the inequality due to inherited ability but increase it. It is, nonetheless, still important to remove the environmental barriers to the full realization of intellectual ability. What we seek is relative, not absolute, equality. There should be as many blacks. Chicanos, and Indians, proportionately, at the upper ends of the intelligence curve as there are whites at that end. The fact that inherited differences will always be with us should not dissuade us from trying to make such differences equally distributed across the same range for all racial and ethnic groups in the population.
I only hope that Professor Herrnstein’s excellent article will not be used as an argument for discontinuing programs aimed at bringing the intelligence curves for minority groups within the same absolute limits as hold for the majority white population.
For almost a half century, American social science overemphasized the effects of the environment and denied the contribution of heredity. Today we are in danger of going to the opposite extreme and of adopting a “do nothing” attitude because it is “impossible” to fight hereditary givens. Surely the answer is somewhere between these extremes. We can, and should, continue to work toward human betterment in the modest hope that our efforts will help some minority-group individuals attain a higher occupational and economic status than they would have enjoyed had we not intervened.
DAVID ELKIND Professor of Psychology
University of Rochester
Rochester, N. Y.

SIR: I find the evidence completely convincing that different jobs require different minimum levels of intelligence and that different individuals are born with different upper limits on the development of this attribute.
However, the suggestion that high income and high status must of necessity coincide with high mental ability appears to be a statement about the status quo in Western culture, a separate proposition entirely from the first, with no inevitable relationship between the two.
The only “success” that is necessarily linked to intelligence is the achievement of competent performance in a given job or role. Granted that it is desirable to fit ability to job, does it follow that the best working conditions and the esteem of the community must also be matched with income differences of fiveor ten-to-one to achieve this result? Does Professor Herrnstein suggest that university professors would all become lumberjacks if the pay were the same, or even somewhat in favor of the lumberjack?
None of this detracts from Professor Herrnstein’s proposition that a more uniform environment, greater mobility, and a higher mix of skilled jobs in the economy will lead to a sharper segregation of groups according to inherited characteristics. This much seems inevitable. Must it be labeled undesirable?
By what strange path have we reached the conclusion that a professor “ought” to be paid more than a nurse or a policeman working shifts, weekends, and holidays? And that talented people will stop being engineers, doctors, and teachers without the kind of income differences that exist today?
A. D. HUTCHEON Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

SIR: For the past twenty years, I have worked off and on as a writer of test items. I believe that we test-item writers have something important to say about the race-intelligence correlation controversy.
The question whether race correlates with intelligence really boils down to the issue of how many items can be written which correlate with intelligence but do not correlate with race. If the answer is a very, very large number, then the race-intelligence controversy will lose its significance.
Unfortunately for black people, most of today’s intelligence test items were written long ago during an age of even greater racial prejudice than now. These items correlate with race, since it was a prevailing belief then that race was a criterion of intelligence.
Even today, I know of very few blacks employed as test-item writers, although they have certainly distinguished themselves as writers of other kinds of prose.
CHARLES W. SLACK, PH.D.
The University of Alabama
Birmingham, A la.

SIR: Among the Eskimos the big man is the one who can give the most away. The happy Eskimo, therefore, is the one who succeeds in catching the biggest fish, because he can then excel his neighbors in generosity. In our society we seem to encourage our ablest people to catch the big fish, which they then wave about in the faces of their neighbors, and being unable to eat it all themselves, they sit on it until it stinks.
M. J. HARRISON Georgetown, Ontario, Canada

SIR: Your article “I.Q.,” by Richard Herrnstein, is by far and away the most concise yet comprehensive and perceptive that I have ever read, and I read everything in that field I can get.
HERBERT NEFF Tennessee Wesleyan College
Athens, Tenn.

SIR: I was amazed that Professor Herrnstein could rate the I.Q. as a significant social influence, since it is just a number that reflects one form of general learning speed. A gross ratio is a vague indication, and in the final analysis the I.Q. does not measure anything real. Whole sums abstract the real meaning of specific subtotals, so that a brilliant aptitude can be lost in a mediocre I.Q. All that the I.Q. ratio does is to measure an average of processes along artificial tracks which converge to make the classroom. And that is where learning speed is all that counts for success. Once this is understood, it becomes clear why motivational quotients have a higher predictability accuracy of academic success than I.Q. scores.
In the real world learning speed is not as important as character and learned values; in other words, direction. People going in the right directions always win out over those moving nowhere at a faster speed.
I think that Herrnstein made his presentation too complicated. Not only he but Jensen, too, tends to confuse the reader when they attempt to link race to intelligence. I know that they really mean a statistical group related by racial and social characteristics. But since the genes for skin color and physique do not also function to determine intelligence, they should leave race out of the discussion altogether. Intelligence, according to their theory, is the product of a gene that should manifest itself only in social success, or an I.Q. test.
CARL SENNA English Department
University of Massachusetts
Boston, Mass.

SIR: The assumption that our minds should be exempt from the genetic laws that govern the potentials of our bodies has always seemed to me absurd. To that extent I can therefore only view Professor Herrnstein’s article on the I.Q. as long overdue. But when I see how environmental circumstances can ruin or enrich the dynamic qualities of our bodies, such as muscular strength, digestive capacity, sensory acuity, and so on—as distinct from static features such as body form, hair color, and so forth—I now find it difficult to believe that circumstances can have quite as little to do with how our minds perform as the geneticists seem to claim.
Very, very roughly speaking one might say that we inherit a machine for living, if Corbusier can forgive the misappropriation of his expression. The output of a machine, of course, depends upon the input as well as upon its design. The comparison of .95 heritability for white in the fur with only .30 heritability of milk yield in Holstein cattle is very interesting. Hair color is part of the machine, milk a product of its functions. Responses to intelligence tests are certainly an output of our mental machine and not a part of it. (It might conceivably even be argued that what we call our minds are actually functions rather than features of our persons, in which case responses to intelligence tests would be products of a product of ourselves.)
It is my ignorant impression that an I.Q. that showed great variability according to time and circumstances would be condemned as unreliable. The method of testing would either be discarded or improved upon till it gave more stable results. To ensure comparability, great efforts have been made to devise methods that would secure great consistency of measure-

ments under all conditions. If this suspicion has any foundation at all, however slight, the use of I.Q. statistics to disprove the significance of environmental factors is quite as irrational as the justly criticized disregard of genetic factors ever was. To get at the final truth perhaps we need an Environmental Quotient (E.Q.) for the development of our minds, quite as unaffected by the I.Q. as the I.Q. is by the E.Q. But, if my suspicions should be groundless, there are still other possible sources for concealment of environmental influences in the I.Q. statistics.
Much is made of the statistical persistence of innate superiority through all the years of life. But this measures only the product, not the sources and forces of production, and offers great dangers of falling into the trap of reasoning from population statistics to the dynamics of individual development. Of course, our genetic endowment does persist, but it is also true that the mentally alert child will have more stimulating interactions with its environment than the dull youngster, and so will accrue to itself more environmental benefits for the mind from the same surroundings, regardless of their quality. Mental superiority should therefore not only be expected to endure but to reinforce itself through life. The quantitative stability of the group relationship between bright and dull in population statistics therefore tells us very little about the role of the environment in the development of the individual. To get at that by mass statistics we would need absolute, not relative, measurements of intelligence.
It is difficult to argue with the logic of Professor Herrnstein’s prediction of a future world largely in the actual, if not the juridical, control of a hereditary meritocracy, so long as we assume that present value systems will endure. Perhaps it is only wishful thinking to look for other possibilities. But when we consider that the predicted development of our society would probably mean the de facto governance of the gay perceptual majority of mankind by a dour judgmental minority, the urge to search for alternatives becomes irresistible. The principal product of our intellect is material progress for the individual and for the species. The implicit, if not the explicit, definition of personal success used in Professor Herrnstein’s article clearly confirms this statement. But the intellect has already provided us with the means of supplying our material needs with very little effort, if we could only learn to do it in a rational and ethical manner, with service rather than creditable obsolescence as the criterion of desirability. When material needs cease to be of primary concern, is it not reasonable to expect that our esteem, and other rewards, for our fellowmen will gradually be transferred from the suppliers of goods and theories to the creators of joys and happiness to fill the easing hours of our well-fed existence? In other words, that prestige may come to be based more and more upon qualities of personality, with emphasis upon emotional attributes, rather than upon the characteristics most directly related to the I.Q.? Perhaps we are already witnessing the beginning of such a trend in the growing respect paid to charisma over logic.
ALBERT EIDE PARR Director Emeritus, The American
Museum of Natural History
New York City

Professor Herrnstein replies:

Several of the writers scorn the idea that society will continue to arrange a scale of occupations, with some carrying greater standing, and perhaps also income, than others. Can we not, they wonder, be like the generous Eskimo sharing his catch or the thoughtful runner waiting until all the competitors can cross the finish line together? But what happens to those Eskimos and fleet Pacific islanders to make them so admirable? What rare and not necessarily wholesome circumstances conspire to blot out overwhelming human differences—in both natural endowment and social effectiveness? It is all very well to yearn to end the blight of differential rewards, but the cure may hurt more than the disease. Nothing in history says that we can disregard the scale of value in human effort and still preserve a productive, densely populated, and influential society.

Professor Wolff believes in the gradient of social standing, but wonders how steep it really needs to be. I do not know the answer to his question. He may be right when he implies that it is too steep. But he may be wrong. At some point, if the gradient is shallow enough, able people will no longer be drawn into the socially more useful and demanding occupations. There are some people who feel that that time is upon us already.

Professor Robinson is still uneasy with the pragmatic definition of intelligence, based largely on our expectations for a test of intelligence and on technical requirements for reliability and convenience. But, to recall a point in the original article, that is not peculiar to intelligence or even to psychology. All measurement starts as a bootstrap operation, as the inventor tries to achieve his goals with instruments that are reliable, understandable, and useful. In the case of I.Q., the high heritability plus the high correlations with success in school and work proves that the bootstrap was worth pulling.

Mr. Gray finds me “reactionary and repressive” because he thinks I advocate a hereditary caste system. He, in contrast, would prefer increased social mobility and improved education. Unfortunately, as my article recounted, the greater the opportunities for social mobility and for equal education, the greater the social stratification according to biological factors, like inherited intelligence. This does not make me disfavor social mobility, nor do I welcome hereditary classes. But whatever we like or think, the former will tend to create the latter.

Mr. Duniho is confused about heritability and environmental enhancement. Improving the environment (for height or I.Q.) does not make either height or I.Q. uniform; it makes the environmental contribution to the variability in height or I.Q. more uniform. And when the environmental contribution is more uniform, the heritability goes up, as the article said.

Professor Fehr implies that there is little correlation between I.Q. and scholastic achievement. Apparently, he is a hard man to impress, for the correlation is about 80 percent between I.Q. and objective tests of scholastic achievement. Professor Fehr further says that “doubt may be cast” on the I.Q. gap between classes if we discover “pragmatic” abilities that respond to environmental improvement. His textbook non sequitur is readily countered; the I.Q. gap between classes refers to the I.Q. gap between classes, not to pragmatic abilities, whatever they are.

Professor Senna says that the I.Q. is just “general learning speed,” and “does not measure anything real.” The former assertion has been experimentally tested and disproved; the latter is metaphysics.

Professor Martin finds me deficient in economics because I supposed that automation tends to shrink the labor market for people with low I.Q.’s. Although he knows of no contrary evidence, he thinks my supposition wrong. I refer him to a paper by R. W. Weiss, E. Harwood, and D. Riesman, “Work and Automation,” in Contemporary Social Problems, edited by Robert K. Merton and Robert Misbet (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971). There he will find ample data confirming the (to me) self-evident supposition that automation tends to shift available work toward higher intellectual requirements. This is not to deny that it has also displaced master bakers and master carpenters. The question is whether the average I.Q. in the jobs outdated is higher or lower than in those newly created, and the answer seems clear.

Concerning racial and ethnic differences in I.Q., I am not ready to move from the agnostic position I took in the original article. Mr. Swan feels that the evidence for some degree of inborn racial differences is stronger than I acknowledged, while Professor Brazziel faults my failure to come to the opposite conclusion. But whatever the right answer about group differences, it is already perfectly clear that the individuals within all those groups, minority and otherwise, span the entire range of abilities, from top to bottom. Group differences, in other words, provide no warrant for racial or ethnic discrimination for or against individuals, whether the group differences prove to be genetic or not. The high heritability of neither I.Q. nor height can be used as a proper argument against environmental enrichment, whether more milk for children or educational innovation. In either case, the genetic potential must be realized in some environment or other, which we should strive to make as wholesome as we can for everybody. In that sense, I concur with Professor Elkind’s cautions against the misuse of the facts about I.Q. □