Race, Class and Intelligence


Part 1.  Anthropology and Race.

1.  Human Diversity.

2.  Heredity and the Inheritance of Complex Characters.

3.  Mental Capacities and Natural Selection.

4.  Genetic determination of Human Behaviour.

5.  Genetic and Cultural Changes.

6.  Superficiality of Physical Traits

7.  Environmental Determinants of Brain Function.

8.  Race and Intellectual Capacity.

 Part 2.  Intelligence and Scientistic Racism.

 9.   Nature and Nurture.

10. Human Achievement – the Nature of its Nurture.

11. Intelligence and Intelligence Tests.

12. Tests, Class and Education.

13. Tests and Ethnic Groups.

14. The Jensenist Heresy.

15. Jensen and Education.

16. Jensen and his British Critics.

17. Jensen and his British Support: Eysenck.

18 . Scientific Racism and its Role in Society.


This article has been written as a positive contribution to the continuing controversy in certain scientific and social circles concerning the inheritance of ‘intelligence’ and its alleged uneven distribution in and between populations due to racial, ethnic, and class origins. The following pages contain therefore a critique of the theories of Professors Jensen, Eysenck, and others in this country and the USA. My contention is that these individuals and other hereditarian elements are reviving racist concepts and bolstering them by reactionary pseudo-scientific theses concerning intelligence. It is the theme of this article that the concept of ‘scientific racism’ has been therefore introduced into research and knowledge under the thin guise of objectivity in order to perpetuate the inequalities and privileges prevalent in class divided capitalist society.

It is important therefore to see the dangers of such theories to the educational opportunities of the working class as a whole, as well as the various ethnic groups that comprise it. In this vein we can view educability as a species characteristic of Mankind, which confers ‘upon him the unique position which he holds in the animal kingdom. Its acquisition freed him from the constraint of a limited range of biologically predetermined responses. He became capable of acting in a more or less regulative manner upon his physical environment instead of being largely regulated by it. Man’s suppleness, plasticity, and most of all, ability to profit by experience and education are unique. No other species is comparable in its capacity to acquire new behaviour patterns and discard old ones in consequence of training’ (Montague, 1957).

Anthropologists have given the name ‘scientific racism’ to the assertion that the various groups of the human species are not equal in terms of their inherited characteristics. This reactionary view pays particular attention to the allegation that Negros are innately less ‘intelligent’ than Whites. Previous attempts to substantiate this outlook have sunk without trace, one in particular being a book by A. Shuey (Shuey, 1966). Recent efforts to re-animate scientific racist views with regard to intelligence are connected with A R Jensen (1969) and H. J. Eysenck. Professor A. R. Jensen (1972), wrote in 1972 that the ‘reaction against admitting the existence of a genetic complement in intelligence is an adverse reflection on the psychological make-up of the protestors. It is time to give up the egalitarian ideal in education and work towards an educational pluralism (my italics) that will allow greater self fulfilment for individuals at all intelligence levels.’ (Jensen, 1972). In 1971, H. J. Eysenck, the well known Black Paper pundit published his popular and polemical book (Eysenck, 1972), which was an enraged cry setting out specifically to justify Jensen’s views on race and intelligence. In this peculiar book Eysenck on the one hand repeatedly appeals to ‘science’ and the ‘facts’ as he and Jensen wish to see them, but on the other hand he ‘directs a flow of unbridled and irrational abuse at all those who take a different view’? (Simon, 1971).

This critique of the views of Jensen and Eysenck seeks to analyse the fundamental propositions upon which the erroneous outlook of ‘scientific racism’ is based. Furthermore, not only are the claims of scientific racism politically and sociologically dangerous, but they are hardly new, some of them having circulated for hundreds of years or more.

Part One

Anthropology and Race

 As far as the majority of anthropologists are concerned there are no inferior or superior ‘races’. One of the basic propositions of ‘scientific’ racism is that the human species is divided into a number of sub-species or races which differ from one another in a number of genetically determined characters. In scientific terms can we classify men into rigidly defined races or sub-species? What do biologists mean by the term ‘race’? In essence ‘race’ when applied to the study of living organisms means that populations exist within a species that are distinguishable from one another due to their possessing certain distinctive hereditary traits. Many anthropologists ardently deny that such a descriptive term can be of relevance in the classification of mankind. Certainly such a definition in the light of modern knowledge would imply that almost every small population, or even individuals, would constitute a ‘race’.

1.  Human Diversity

Anthropologists have attempted to achieve a definition of ‘races’ in terms of physical characteristics, many of which are quite superficial. A whole series of such racial classifications have over  years has been attempted, but the majority of anthropologists recognise the existence of only a few such ‘races’. For example, the anthropologist Blumenbach (18th Century) divided mankind into five races based on skin colour and these were: white Caucasian; yellow Mongolian; red Amerindian; black Ethiopian; and brown Malayan. There have been many alternative schemes employing various physical traits, including hair form and colour; skin colour; eye form and colour; head and nasal shape; stature; and more recently, blood groups and biochemical and physiological properties. Other anthropologists and geneticists firmly deny the existence of race or deny its applicability to human populations.

Most anthropologists now regard the term ‘race’ in the human sense to mean a population which differs from others merely in the relative frequency of specific hereditary characteristics. In this respect such a human group is preferably called an ‘ethnic’ group by many workers in the field. All present day members of the human world population are members of a single species — that of Homo sapiens. All human beings are capable potentially of inter-marriage, inter-breeding and the production of fertile off-spring. Marriage or breeding is however restricted by a number of factors, including distance (propinquity), geographical barriers, and a great number of social factors including class, caste, culture, and sanctions of varying types and severity. It is due to these restrictions that the species has become divided into a number of populations, which to varying degrees have become reproductively isolated from one another

The belief now exists that all efforts to create racial classifications are unscientific, untenable, futile, academic and time wasting pursuits. To the geneticist the problem of ‘race’ is only a ‘part of a much wider enquiry into the nature and evolutionary origins of human variation.’ (Boyce, 1968). Hence we can firmly say that skin colour differences and other superficial physical characteristics of various populations of the human species provide for some a convenient means of classifying people into groups for giving a scientific gloss to discrimination and persecution in order to maintain and enhance exploitation by profit-seeking minorities.

2.  Heredity and the Inheritance of Complex Characters

Heredity refers to the transmission of characteristics from parents to offspring, and in that process hereditary factors contained in a haploid set of chromosomes (half the total number as found in a single sperm or ovum nucleus), is thought to consist of between five and ten million genes. (Bodmer, 1972). Intelligence is an example of the inheritance of a complex character. The nature of intelligence is multifactorial and complicated, with its expression dependent upon the combination of the effects of the environment and the products of a large number of genes. In terms of genetic theory ‘the number of genes actually functioning in human development runs into hundreds of thousands; and that any particular trait is determined by the chance association of a considerable number of them, so that what they eventually contribute to the adult personality is determined not by the genes alone but by the associated conditions of development. (Lewis, ).

Those characteristics that are determined by the joint action of many genes in relation to the conditions of the environment (and stature and intelligence are two examples) are termed quantitative characters because they are measured on a continuous scale. Such hereditary traits are more susceptible to environmental influence than are the polymorphisms (distinct kinds of trait within a species that occur in fairly constant proportions within a breeding population). It is because the contribution of individual genes cannot always be                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  be recognised that there is a need to resort to complex statistical analyses to elucidate the relative contributions of the environment and heredity in the expression of a characteristic. This aspect of development is often referred to as the nature-nurture or specificity versus plasticity controversy and will be considered later. It is also here that we can mention a further basic proposition of scientific racism, which states that the character ‘intelligence’ is largely a genetically determined attribute that can furthermore be measured and quantified by tests fitting into the embracing term psychometry.

3.  Mental Capacities and Natural Selection

In order to understand the distribution of such an ill-defined concept as ‘intelligence’ in human populations it is necessary to consider the process of natural selection and its bearing on the mental capacities of mankind. Populations of individuals constitute common gene pools which are the starting points in the study of human variation.

The inherited characteristics which vary in populations can be divided into two types. Firstly, those traits showing a smooth and continuous variation from one extreme to another, and which are the result of the interaction of many genes with the environment in the course of development. Hence the appearance of many anatomical, morphological, physiological and behavioural characteristics in human populations. Secondly, there are those traits that exhibit a discrete rather than continuous variation. These characteristics are due to differences in single pairs of genes and are responsible for many of the serological and biochemical traits (such as the blood groups) which are more or less independent of the environment.

As we have already outlined many early anthropologists made a study of the physical characteristics in humans that showed continuous variation (e.g., Blumenbach and skin colour, hair colour, and differences in stature, weight and body shape), but in addition there are now many physiological traits under study (e.g,. basal metabolic rate, capacity of the lungs, sensitivity to disease or environmental changes, and the age of menarche). The study of discontinuous variation in humans began in 1900 with Landsteiner’s work on the blood groups. Since then genetics as a field of study has identified many traits that exhibit considerable variation from one population to another.

Human populations have been described by geneticists in terms of the average values shown by various traits that exhibit continuous variation, and in terms of gene frequencies those traits showing discontinuous or discrete variation. The pattern of similarities and differences that emerges is not a random occurrence. Genetic variation (and therefore diversity) is better known in the human species than in any other. All characteristics, whether physical, physiological, mental or morbid, show heritable variation as well as environmentally determined differences. We see from studies of human populations that they are clustered and differentiated on a continental basis. But what is of importance and also particular interest in this respect is why and how different groups possessing different traits evolved as they did.

But we must bear in mind that many traits that vary among populations are in fact those traits showing continuous variation and therefore susceptible to environmental influences during an individual’s lifetime. Disease, and nutrition can lead to marked changes in both physiology and morphology.

Biological heredity is transmitted by four major mechanisms. These are mutation; natural selection; genetic drift; and hybridization. Therefore the processes operating to bring about changes in the gene frequency of populations are of several types, and not all operating at the same time or with the same effect. Firstly, there are those processes which either introduce or remove genes from populations as seen by mutation, and gene flow via migration. Secondly, there are those changes in gene frequencies that occur through what is termed random sampling. Genetic drift and the founder effect are two examples.

Mutation is the inception of a heritable variation, by chemical change at a gene locus, to produce a mutant gene which may give rise to a mutant character. This is the only source of new genes. Mutation is such a random process occurring at regular but infrequent intervals that are in no way related to the demands of the environment in terms of enhancement of the individuals capacities.   It is selection not mutation that is the most powerful directional influence on genetic variation, and is the process of evolutionary adaptation whereby the influence of environmental agencies will either favour a trait or eliminate it, thereby favouring or eliminating genotypes (the genetic constitution of an organism rather than the phenotype or set of manifest traits) according to their fitness or ability to adapt.

Hybridization resulting from the interbreeding of two populations with different frequencies of alleles (genes that occupy the same relative position or locus on homologous chromosomes) will create a new population with a new gene frequency. Genetic drift is the least important way in which gene frequencies may change in a population. Drift means that chance itself acts as a factor which will determine the presence in one small group of particular genes which will spread to descendants of the group.

Therefore, if differences between individuals result in these individuals making a differential contribution to the generations that will succeed them, then we can say that the composition of the population will change. In other words ¬selection will be operating on that group or population. Any hereditary characteristics therefore that confer an advantage of this type on their possessors are described as adaptive. The interaction of these processes has thus set the pattern of human diversity — and this is why it becomes important to determine the relative contributions of these factors to such a variable as human ‘intelligence’.

There are many variations between populations that can be traced to selection that has taken place in the wide variety of natural environments that have been inhabited by members of the human species throughout its history. Selection has operated particularly through variations and alterations in such factors as disease, nutrition and climate. It was on a continental scale therefore, in response to environmental conditions, that in all likelihood the various and diverse human characteristics developed. The intrinsic relationship between this diversity and the environment indicates that any classification of the species into discrete, arbitrary races is bound to be artificial.

Biological adaptation takes two forms. Firstly, genetic specialisation with genetically controlled fixity of traits. Secondly, the ability to respond to a range of environmental situations, which is achieved by the evolution of traits that are favourable in those situations. This latter process is known as genetically determined plasticity. Human adjustment is achieved within and through a social environment, which is complex and undergoing rapid charges. This necessitates immediate adaptations that occur primarily in social relations, social practices, and in the mental rather than physical realm.

In terms of the inheritance of intelligence we can analyse the relative contributions and interactions of specificity and plasticity. A brain that was rigidly specified would be completely determined by a set of genetic instructions, by a code. This code is carried in the molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid that an individual receives from both his/her parents at conception. If this were the case then the individual would be predictable from the moment of birth. He or she would be pre-coded and `this specificity would then be expressed developmentally by the growth of the brain — more or less independently of interaction with the environment.’ (Rose, ). However, such is not the case because the author of that analysis goes on to elaborate that there is a measure of genetic specification and a measure of environmental plasticity. The problem is also to determine the relative contribution of each, bearing in mind that the mental capacities of man cannot be ‘reduced’ to the mere reflection of molecules comprising the brain structure. It is just as much a fallacy to insist that the ideas of men are ‘nothing but’ the arrangement of molecules as it is to insist that ‘intelligence’ is ‘nothing but’ the unfolding of innate propensity.

Natural selection has resulted in the uniquely social environments which are characteristic of the fully evolved human species. True, the human species may diversify in many of its characteristics, and because these variations are influenced by many thousands of genes, so human individuals will always differ. However, such as these differences are — they are more so within groups than between them. If human beings differ in their superficial physical characteristics why should it follow that they must also differ in their mental capacities? The truth of the matter is that conditions in human societies throughout their existence have never been rigid enough to allow the selective breeding of any types who would be genetically adapted for the different statuses or forms of social organisation as would occur.

4.  Genetic Determination of Human Behaviour.

To date no genuine scientific endeavour has provided any data or basis for believing that the various groups of the human species differ in their inherited capacity for emotional and intellectual development. In so far as the genetic determination of human behaviour is concerned there is no scientific evidence to support conclusions that the cultural differences between various groups have their basis in heredity. We cannot conclude that because some peoples do not possess the technology of other groups that there is an innate reason for the discrepancy. If we wish to determine such differences and the reasons for their existence we must seek answers in social development and not in human chromosomes.

The primary determinant for the diversification of human patterns of behaviour is not heredity, but the cultural and social development and experiences each group has achieved — the mental and moral activity of the individuals comprising the group being conditioned in a social process of training and education, in their particular environment. Men as such make themselves, not as they please, but in relation to their surroundings, continually moulding and remoulding their environment, and forging new connections not only in their minds and between themselves but between themselves and their external reality.

5.  Genetic and Cultural Changes.

In the man-culture relationship during the period of the last million years, (or even the period up to about one hundred thousand years), it can be safely assumed that there was some biological factor in human evolution. However, during the last fifty, (or even hundred thousand years) there has occurred no evidence of an estimable advance of mental ability (13). It has further been stated that the view assuming the psychic unity, or even uniformity of mankind is now probably pivotal in the working philosophy of the majority of anthropologists, sociologists, and some biologists (Dobzhansky, 1970). It is maintained that biological evolution has run its course, that the genetic basis of culture has been established and is now a matter of evolutionary history. The only reasonable assumption for the study of variation is that the genetic basis of culture is uniform in its distribution.

There is no evidence that any mental selection processes are in operation among the diverse ethnic groups of mankind. Certainly none that could have acted differentially to produce different types of mentality. It is significant that to date it has been impossible to demonstrate any genetically deter-mined mental variations between ethnic groups.

6.  Superficiality of Physical Traits

To develop the argument it is valuable to point out that the physiological differences between ‘races’ is almost entirely limited to surface characteristics such as skin colour and facial characteristics.

In spite of statements made to the contrary, there are no microscopic or macroscopic variations that allow the expert to distinguish individuals from one ethnic group or another apart from the visible characteristics which lead to the social definition of ‘race’. And yet we get a statement alleging the opposite from a prominent geneticist reviewing Eysenck’s polemical work on race and intelligence! Thus we read ‘Intelligence can be studied by genetic and cytological, bio-chemical and anatomical methods as well as by those of pure psychology. Evolutionary, historical and experimental kinds of evidence connect with all these other methods and help to put the differences between human races and classes into a convincing picture.’ (Darlington, 1971). This same pundit has also on his own account elsewhere attempted to rewrite almost all of human history in the terms of genetics!’ (Darlingon, 1969).

The view has been expressed that there is every reason to believe that in certain areas of the human nervous system education can establish new connections. It is generally accepted that the nervous system of adult human beings possesses a neuronal arrangement the general outline of which is genetic — but many of the details of which are determined by the life experience of the individual, thus:- ‘In man and to a lesser extent in other animals the nervous system continues to develop long after birth. This post natal development is influenced by the experience of the individual and is more or less individual in pattern… the neurons which make up the nervous system of an adult man are therefore arranged in a system the larger outlines of which follow an hereditary pattern, but many of the details of which have been shaped by the experiences of the individual’ (Ranson, 1959).

The support for this view stresses that the material bases of brain structures which eventually function as the ‘mind’ are largely inherited in the same manner as other bodily organs — but in man this nervous system continues to develop long after birth, and as a result, is considerably influenced by the environment and the individuals life. Hence ‘no matter what the quality of the genetic potential for intelligence may be in an individual, the expression of these potentials will be significantly influenced by his total environment’ (Rose).

7.  Environmental Determinants of Brain Function

The brain, in essentials, is that organ which coordinates and integrates all nervous activity. As we have established, it performs these functions to a large extent according to the educational opportunities available to it. This educational pattern, as we have noted previously, is always culturally and socially (therefore class) determined and conditioned. An individual is therefore capable of behaving in accordance with the type (and extent) of the social and cultural life which he has experienced. The available information that he or she will have coordinated and integrated within their nervous systems will be in accordance with the individuals experience and opportunity.

It has been established that certain basic brain mechanisms are genetically determined, and it would be unscientific to deny this. It would be just as foolish to deny the effects of environmental factors in the critical period following birth. This is an important point to stress when we consider the developmental stages of brain growth during pre-natal and post-natal life. Malnutrition at this period can lead to permanent deficits in brain structure with parallel deficiencies in the interrelationships between the brain cells. Deprivation it of a less extreme type can lead to functional deficiency and therefore lead to forms of disturbed behaviour. It is now known that in common with other genetic potentials, the ‘development of intelligence is perhaps more than any other trait dependent on the kind of environmental stimulation to which it is exposed’ (Montague, 1974).

It must be stressed therefore that damage can be done to the genetic potential for intelligence by malnutrition. In human beings the childhood patterns of each generation influence the manner in which it later rears its children. It follows that the environmental factors affecting one generation can therefore exert an effect on a succeeding generation. These are known as transgenerational effects, and they can be quite substantial without the involvement of any genetically hereditary factors whatsoever (Rose). The effects of environment have been shown undeniably to result in entire series of definitive changes in brain structure and function.

When considering environmental determinants HC of behaviour in society we are studying a type of  brain ‘damage’ that is sociogenic in origin. These disorders that to a ‘significant extent’ are ‘due to social conditions resulting from an environment impoverished in the elements necessary for the maintenance of health’ have thus been termed sociogenic brain damage (Montague, 1974). That behaviour and performance in individual children can be altered by their environment is illuminated by the fact that quite subtle changes can lead to marked effects.

The period of childhood is of paramount importance and has to be borne in mind when assessing such a delicate component of the total human personality as intelligence. The expression of sociogenic damage can be seen in deficiencies not only of intelligence, but also of motivation, and learning ability. It has also been established that weight and height are also lower than normal in the children of malnourished mothers. In answer to the hereditarian propagandists we can say that their ‘physicalistic or biogenic bias seems to have been largely responsible for the failure to recognise the role played by social conditions in the causation of physical and behavioural deficiencies’ (Montague, 1974).

8.  Race and Intellectual Capacity

Every human being is born with a certain genetic potential and set of hereditary characteristics. This potential is one which is dependent upon the individuals familial genes, and not on race. Whether or not a person is allowed or able to develop their potential depends on many factors that are social, economic and political. The realisation of this potential is especially susceptible to the educational, social and cultural opportunities available to an individual, to a class, to an ethnic group.

A fluctuating concept such as intelligence (which is closely tied up with learning) cannot be reduced to the same sort of genetic explanation that would suffice for eye colour or blood groups. Those mental features that can be measured in humans and their respective groups appear to be differential characteristics that depend upon more than the nervous system. Alleged mental differences between various groups of people appear less considerable than the definite variation within groups. Because mental functions are so dependent upon social, cultural, and environmental factors, we are in no position to make judgements about any genetic similarity (or dissimilarity) between different groups. This is especially so since social and cultural conditions between groups are not comparable. In other words no statement concerning the intellectual capacity of an individual or group of individuals is of any value if it is not accompanied by specific information about the conditions of the social and cultural environment in which the particular ‘intelligence’ in question developed. Any attempt statistically or otherwise to calculate what is due to heredity (or Nature as it is so onesidely called) and what to environment (or nurture) is misconceived since, as we have seen, even the physical and neural potentialities of an individual’s genetic pattern are already a product of past social and cultural conditions

No discussion of so-called racial mental traits can be countenanced that ignores the consideration of all the relevant social variables. It is precisely these social and cultural factors that constitute the most important aspect in the creation of mental differences between (and within) groups. We can conclude that cultural achievements represent the outcome of social and historical experience — not reducible or separable from the expression of biological potentiality.

Part Two

 Intelligence and Scientific Racism

 In this part it is intended to discuss the notion of ‘intelligence’ in relation to its development in terms of the nature nurture controversy, as well as to examine its ‘testing’ by psychometric methods. We will examine the nature of scientific racism and its modern application by Jensen, Eysenck, and others. However, the fundamental premise is that scientific racism is not an isolated academic phenomenon it is woven into the fabric of bourgeois ideology, being championed by the apologists of class divided capitalist society.

9.  Nature and Nurture

The question as to whether nature or nurture, heredity or environment, specificity or plasticity, is more important in the shaping of man’s characteristics is misleading. The basic premise that one or the other is more important is fallacious In respect to most human traits all human variation is the result, as we have discovered, of as much the environment as hereditary constitution. For those characters described as continuous we have come to the valid conclusion that genotype and environment are equally important, both are indispensable. Where exists the organism without genes? Where exists the organism without an environment? The expression of such traits as ‘intelligence’, health, and temperament are all determined by the interpenetration of the respective genotypes with their environments. The question therefore as to the respective roles of genotype and environment has been raised in certain scientific circles. To what extent, the question is often posed, are differences due to genotypic, and to what extent to environmental causes? Further, what part of an observed variance in a given trait in a given population is due to diversity of genotypes or diversity of environment? Diversity of environment we have already concluded includes educational opportunities dictated by the cultural, social, and class structure of the society in question. The apparent dichotomy of hereditary and environmental factors is a false one because any trait possesses both genetic and environmental components in varying degrees.

We have a particular responsibility to establish the relative contributions of specificity and plasticity to ‘intelligence’. Whether the 80% heredity, 20% environmental formulation of Jensen and Eysenck is the correct one we shall analyse later. The fundamental answer in this critique is that scientific racism is completely erroneous, and deliberately and irresponsibly very deceptive.

The nature-nurture debate has to be stated correctly. The answer depends on which differences, which features, characters, traits, are under consideration (or attack?). For example — blood groups (polymorphisms), or ‘intelligence’. Two aspects of the problem appear, and it thus becomes obvious to any serious student of the matter that the genetic and environmental variables may be quite different for different characters, as they are when we compare blood groups and intelligence. Hereditary components operate decisively in an individual to establish his or her blood group, but environmental factors operate for such a character as language. With regard to intelligence we are faced with an-interactive process in the formation of the mental capacities possessed by an individual.

We must once again stress the importance of social and cultural variables in the determination of the complexities of such a phenomenon as multifactorial inheritance. The relative weights of hereditary and social variables are not constant. They change in both space and time, and in doing so they forbid us to assume the existence in man of any population fixity of traits. Most human differences, as with many individual variations within species, lie between the extremes of rigid genetic and primarily environmental causation. It is therefore extremely difficult to estimate the relative contributions of the hereditary and environmental components to traits observed in organisms.

Environment is responsible for a part of the observed variance in stature. If for example people lived in an homogenous environment then we could conclude that any diversity in their height was due to genetics, but if they possessed hereditary homogeneity then we could invoke environmental factors to explain variation in stature. This problem has made itself apparent in studies of the earlier maturation, and increased height of today’s children, as well as other researches in human development. Such questions as have been posed are: what is the relation of genes and environment to increased stature, or the earlier onset of menarche? Or, what is the role of genetic potential in relation to better nutrition with so much less clearly conceived a trait as intelligence, and so much more multifactorial and individual’s character in any case? There can be no simple answer or single solution to the specificity versus plasticity controversy. In order for the results of studies to have scientific validity in respect of time and place, objectivity necessarily demands that each trait be studied separately, and that no unnecessary a unwarranted extrapolation be made from one group to another when populations are the object of scrutiny.

10. Human Achievement — the Nature of its Nurture

Animals unlike humans, have their ‘achievements’ systematised or consolidated in the form of changes in their biological organisation, on an organic basis — hence their genetic and developmental direction is to a great extent specialised in contrast to the relatively unspecialised nature of the evolved human species (Homo sapiens). Man has his development consolidated by his material culture, by his social heredity. He possesses material objects, tools, commodities — products of his labour. He transmits down the ages and over distances the results of his social creativity via the means of language, science, and knowledge. In this we have arrived at that feature of human development that has a bearing not only on the human species but that which helps to differentiate the species from other animals — education. On this level education becomes the key to the appreciation and understanding of human life and its development — not genes.

In the millennia since the evolution of Homo sapiens we have been affected by, and guided by social laws which have been enumerated as a result of the relationship, the struggle with nature. Mankind has not only determined many of the laws of nature; he has a result of his working activities arrived at the determination of a number of the social laws of nurture. Through such a complex development, and in consideration of the natural and social laws of their history, men have arrived at that higher aspect of human uniqueness — mind. Thousands of years of social development and change, labour, culture, (and that common characteristic, intelligence) have produced more than millions of years of biological evolution. The achievements so characteristic of mental development have been transmitted from generation to generation as social heredity — culture. Historical processes (when compared to the age long genetic) are rapid, accelerating, and quite out of proportion to the slower tempo of the evolutionary changes of characteristics in animal populations. Race is a biological and genetic concept which has a meaning within narrow definitive limits — where fixity of traits confers advantage. The mark of man is plasticity — man who changes himself, could never do so if restricted by the straitjacket of genetic rigidity. If so we would not even be here to debate the issue — let alone work towards the society where racism is as historical, and as dead, as its first protagonists.

We can summarise therefore with the note that heredity and environment cannot be heretically reduced to ‘nothing but’ a set of quantitative variables, models, paradigms, or definitive ‘tables of data’. We must not slip into the metaphysical pitfall of quantification for the sake of quantification, which inevitably leads to vulgar empiricism, mechanical determinism or narrow biologism. The reality of both history and genetic constitutions are complex and real. However, their relative merits and truths are unlikely to be discovered by any dogmatic scientific racism, the function of which is not to determine or publicise the truth, the factual, or the scientific, but to justify the inevitabilities, inequalities, and injustices of the bourgeois status quo!

11. Intelligence and Intelligence Tests

No discussion about alleged variations in mental capacities or the ‘tests’ which claim to measure it is of any use without an analysis of what ‘intelligence’ is, and also is not. It has been said that ‘intelligence’ is ‘the ability of one man to under-stand more than another, and to understand it more quickly. It is therefore a matter of life and death. It concerns how the young live and the old survive.’ (Darlington, 1969). To most people however the term implies a functional capacity that is revealed during a course of action. To others ‘intelligence’ means a quality of ‘mind’, a kind of essence that is inherited by a child at birth. To the hereditarian point of view the classic definition describes ‘intelligence’ as ‘inborn, all-round intellectual ability. It is inherited, or at least innate, not due to teaching or training; it is intellectual, not emotional or moral, and remains uninfluenced by industry or zeal; it is general, not specific, ie. it is not limited to any particular kind of work, but enters into all we do or say or think. Of all our mental qualities, it is the most far-reaching; fortunately it can be measured with accuracy and ease.’ (Burt, 1933). We would no doubt find complete agreement from Jensen and Eysenck that ‘intelligence’ is as defined above, nothing more than an innate general cognitive ability. But it will be noted that the definition is nothing more specific than general cognition, the generality of which is dressed up as a common essence, and its all importance.

Yet amongst many psychologists and workers in the field there exists no generally or mutually acceptable definition of intelligence, or for that matter a consensus on how to even measure it accurately or correctly. Whatever psychometric tests measure, and they exclude functional intelli-gence, appears to be just the ability to do the tests. Whatever is measured is not something that can be readily stated in a precise and definitive manner. It is an enormous demand of faith to accept such a proposition, especially as something so vague yet reputedly innate and measurable as ‘intelligence’ depends on a ‘test’ which can be taught and learned. Not only has the practice of testing been used to reinforce the unfair system of streaming in education since the 1930’s, it is now extended to the divisive tactics of racial bigotry and the propaganda of nascent fascism.

Intelligence tests isolate the individual from all of his established and supportive social relation-ships — therefore divorcing him from a ‘real-life’ situation. Under such conditions the tester proceeds to present the ‘victim’ with a series of symbols and items of a restricted nature which he has to manipulate. Such a situation is artificial and staged, bearing no similarity or comparison with the normal everyday processes of the individual’s life and environment. Questions asked during the test attempt to exclude (or succeed in excluding any emotional answers or reactions to questions or situations. Yet in real life situations the emotional responses and feelings of an individual play an essential and important part in the totality of his or her response. What possible value can there be in a series of mechanistic tests that have been deliberately elaborated in order to achieve a remoteness, a detachment from real life? As we can conclude that ‘intelligence’ is only that which can be determined by an ‘intelligence test’ and therefore an ill-defined subjective construct, we can also assume that psychometry lacks objectivity.

An important subjective aspect of the ‘intelligence test’ is that imparted by the participation and personal judgement of the ‘tester’. After all, who selects the questions? More especially—who determines the ‘correct’ answers? It is the subjective opinion (and ideology? class background? political persuasion? of the tester or compiler of the test that determines the items selected for a test or sub-test. In the opinion of the tester the answering of the questions of puzzles must appear to involve the exercise of intellect. It has been stated that if you ‘choose to call a test an “intelligence” test, then it is a natural assumption to suppose you are measuring intelligence. Starting from such an assumption it is easy, using the arrogance of statistics, to reach conclusions like those of Professor Eysenck.’ (Bono, 1971).

‘Intelligence’ tests do not measure mathematical or mechanical ability, and neither do they take into consideration such variables as moral outlook, imagination, emotional development and stability, initiative, or even non-establishment of rapport between tested and tester. Furthermore, we have already established that mental capacities or ‘intelligence’ (IQ) can be affected by malnutrition, illness and even accident (cerebral injury etc). The critical factor, the crucial variable in the entire set of questions, models or tests, is the cultural or environmental or social Psychometric tests or IQ tests are culturally biased. Whether this is intentional is another matter, but in all events and in all serious analysis it is unavoidable. All tests to varying degrees are influenced and determined by the cultural milieu (and therefore class outlook) of their compiler, and the needs of these who require the results! In other words the successful completion of, or performance in, a test, depends on the participation of the individual in the same cultural background as the test or tester.

One factor militating against the tests is that they incorporate ‘convergent thinking’ — hence there is only one correct answer. Such a deficit means that tests are quite unable to investigate ‘divergent thought’. However, with ‘thinking exercises’ which are not. IQ tests it has been found that results do not correspond with those from intelligence tests. Thus a person who can see all the answers to a problem or an ‘unobvious answer scores badly on IQ tests, but can do well in thinking ability (TA) since thinking requires concept richness and fluidity rather than fixity.’ (Bono, 1971). It is evident, then, that IQ tests do not measure general cognitive ability. They measure only particular mode of thinking favoured by those who invent them.

The cultural and social milieu of intelligence testing contains within it the methods and manners of socialization and education, so that culture biased tests will therefore favour individuals from the particular culture or level of society concerned. Any evidence of this is ignored by Eysenck, especially if it demonstrates the fact that we have to learn to learn

12. Tests, Class and Education

The fundamental point at issue in capitalist society is that ‘intelligence’ as a quantifiable attribute is in reality a class-conditioned capacity. In a class society psychometric testing has a valuable role to play in the provision of streaming in schools. The purpose of intelligence tests therefore is to help provide and justify different ‘types’ of school for ‘levels’ of education. Tests therefore function as a means of selection, of division of children into streams according to their alleged innate ability. Yet when we analyse this system further we find that ‘streams’ or classes in the various type of school only appear to vindicate the hereditarian argument. This is not in fact the case. The entire edifice of streaming is artificial — it has been deliberately created — it is not a true reflection of the mental capacities of the children as a whole, and neither is it a true reflection of ‘intelligence’ with regard to class or ethnic group. Why is it on first glance that it appears that the children of ‘upper’ or ‘middle’ class parents possess higher IQ results than working class children? We have already established that the tests involve a great amount of acquired knowledge for their success-ful completion. It is at this point that the tests militate against working class children. We are not saying however that Working class children in fact know less than children from other strata.

No, we are saying that they have not had, in the majority of cases, the opportunity to obtain the type of knowledge that the tests are testing. Even with the so-called culture free (and therefore fair?) tests the end results depend upon the level of education of the individual. The ‘fair’ tests include non-verbal exercises and symbol manipulation — but still, even reaction to and understanding of symbols is socially conditioned and educationally determined.

We have also established that there is a gap in the educational attainment of working class children compared with ‘higher’ class children. Furthermore a similar gap exists between the attainments of black children and white children. The reasons are the same — although additional cultural and historical factors are also in operation. The reason is to be found in the level and nature of educational opportunity, which is decided by class politics. As intelligence tests are accredited with some validity by the attempt to compare them with educational attainment we can see that they are class bound. Just as there is a close relationship between the results of tests and educational achievement there is also a close association between the results and social class. The questions set in the tests favour not the working class but the middle class child.

The questions, and nothing but the questions, determine therefore (as well as define) the type of ‘intelligence’ being tested or measured. Yet intelligence as measured by tests is far from pure intellect or complete mental capacity, not to mention thinking ability as mentioned previously. It is time that we accepted that ‘IQ tests test mainly the ability to do IQ tests and stop using the word ‘intelligence’ in connection with them.’ (Bono, 1971). IQ tests as class bound exercises can only determine what is in reality a class element deriving from educational opportunity and achievement, and expressed in the answers to loaded questions in the tests. Intelligence, as measured by the tests therefore, is a class conditioned attribute. The fallacious concept arises that the working class and the minority ethnic groups are innately less intelligent than middle class or upper class children — but this error is based upon a class orientated and mistakenly hereditary point of view. IQ tests are part of the armoury of educational policies saturated with bourgeois ideology and orientated to the requirements of capitalist society.

We have demonstrated so far ‘that IQ is not, and could not be, a measure of cognitive abilities abstracted from all social and motivational factors. In as much as IQ tests measure anything, they measure the likelihood of educational and social success in a particular society. This is not to deny that cognitive abilities do contribute to success, but rather to claim that it is impossible to consider such abilities in isolation from their social determination and expression. The assumption on the part of intelligence test constructors that this is possible, combined with their pre-occupation with the technical details of test construction, has given the concept of IQ a quite spurious aura of scientific respectability.’ (Ryan, 1972).

13. Tests and Ethnic Groups

There exist four major reasons why the comparison of IQ tests from different groups are notoriously unreliable. These are: schooling; language; motivation; and socio-economic background. Intelligence tests fail to take into consideration cultural differences when applied to different ethnic groups. As we know — psychometric tests are not only class biased they are also culture biased. Anthropological and ethnological studies exist to prove that no meaningful results can be obtained from the comparison of test results obtained from different cultural groups. In other words, different IQ achievements within the USA or within Britain reflect the particular discrimination, cultural and class positions of Black, or Irish and other sections of the population defined by racial ideology and practice. The fact that the tests cannot be extended to the populations of other societies and their cultures proves that they measure the divisions created within the societies in which the tests were devised.

In so far as schooling is concerned the score achieved in an IQ test is influenced by the length and quality of that education as well as by such factors as overcrowding, adequate facilities, and teachers, and by level of motivation. Language presents a problem, due to so many of the tests being based upon verbal ability. It is compounded by any linguistic difficulties of minority, ethnic and immigrant groups. In so far as motivation is concerned we have to recognise that not all individuals are equally interested in performing IQ tests, especially when the test situation can be complicated by diffidence, caution, mistrust, and outright alienation by testers’ attitudes. The provocation of anxiety, resistance, or the arousal of suspicion, can all contribute to a deterioration during test performance.

It has been found with Black Studies in the USA that the very under-privileged status of black pupils in the ghetto schools has led to the development of harmful teaching attitudes. Such attitudes have developed into declarations that such black children are un-teachable. In such a climate the children are then classified as inferior, which in turn has a severely limiting affect on the effectiveness of subject matter in the creation of self-esteem and self-confidence. In Britain criticism has been justifiably levelled at factors operating against the educational achievements of West Indian children in certain schools. For the majority of immigrant children educational achievements are as for the indigenous children — but this is where conditions permit such an attainment. It is postulated here that due to cultural differences between the indigenous groups and the immigrants (or more precisely the children of immigrants who are in fact born here) far too many black children are being classified unfairly as educationally subnormal. Not only are they being classified erroneously as a sub-species, they are being ascribed as sub-cultural, when in reality they are a genuine sub-culture within the given population as a whole.

In the majority of cases they in fact share a common socio-economic background with the white working class (who themselves possess subcultures that are regional and stratum orientated). In such a situation where cultural deprivation of both ethnic groups and white working class is so pervasive and enduring within society is it any wonder that children from such circumstances have little concern for education and intellectual pursuits?

With regard to the educational attainments of West Indian children in Britain it has been stated that ‘the dismal failure of successive British capitalist governments to take into consideration the special needs of West Indian pupils underlies the precipitous situation obtaining in schools with West Indian children… guiltless of their own demise, [they] are underachieving in many schools because their special needs are being detrimentally neglected by the Authorities.’ (Cambridge, 1972). The only conclusion was the one drawn — that West Indian children are forced into the lower ability streams due to no fault of their own. In terms of opportunity we have not yet sunk to the level of the fascist minded education system that prevails in South Africa, but one wonders how much the Jensen’s and Eysenck’s, of this world sympathise with the view that the white South African’s duty ‘to the native is to Christianise him and help him on culturally.  Native education should be based on the principles of trusteeship, non-equality and segregation; its aim should be to inculcate the White man’s view of life…’ (South Africa, 1948).

In consideration of the resurgence of racism and racialism in Britain represented by ‘Powellism’ and the activities also of the National Front and other fascist groups, can we further understand the reason for the appearance of the works of Jensen and company? In view of the polarisation of attitudes to race in both this country and in the USA we can indeed claim a relationship between the views of the scientific racists and the political climate.

A constant danger to be reckoned with is the possibility of the spread of the ideas of the scientific racists. In the controversy there is an imperative need to prevent the permeation of the bourgeois mentality, to combat the notion that IQ is a real and quantifiable part of the human intellect. We can equate a ‘high’ IQ with the bourgeois doctrine of ‘selfish individualism’, with the bourgeois determination to ‘get ahead’ — all of which constitutes much of the ideology of capitalist education policies. It becomes increasingly clear that the idea that man is ‘nothing but’ a machine fits very neatly into the mechanomorphic view that all the working class is fit for is repetitive ‘robot’ production work.

In relation to class power we can see that the theories of the innate and immutable determination of ‘intelligence’ are part of the outlook of scientific racism — which is itself part of the ideology of the bourgeoisie. In other words scientific racism is part and parcel of the total means whereby the ruling class maintains its power over the working of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The question of race and intelligence, the issue of class and intelligence — neither are mere academic issues. Neither are simply right wing versus left wing political controversies. It is not a simple issue of black versus white; labour versus conservative; or liberal versus radical. It is part of the whole struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It devolves to the fundamental issue — in whose hands shall lie economic and political power?

Yes, the pundits do have the ‘intelligence’ to see the writing on the wall, they are fully aware of the inevitability of the capitalist system being replaced by scientific socialism, and it is for this reason that they must divide the people on spurious racial issues, and deprive them of opportunities for their intellectual development. But for all of the Jensen’s and Eysenck’s of this world nobody will prevent the eventual victory of the common people with the release of their boundless potential and development of their intellectual abilities.

The bourgeoisie is desperate, it is in crisis, it is in decay and disarray — it is therefore more dangerous than ever. The theories of scientific racism are a pointer to its direction, and we dare not forget that the ideology of nazism and fascism still today lurks within the womb of imperialism. The ‘bitch is in heat again’ as the baying hounds in the form of Jensen and Eysenck fully show! It is the ‘intelligence’ and the abilities of the ordinary people, white, black, brown, and yellow who will inevitably and inexorably prove the unscientific absurdity of the views of scientific racism. Jensen and Eysenck are destined to become as much a part of the garbage of history as the system that spawned them. It is painfully obvious to many that they have the ‘intelligence’ to appreciate the fact ¬because of their furious and specious defence of the status quo!

14. The Jensenist Heresy

The theories of Jensen on educational attainment and the ‘heredity’ of intelligence have become the bone of a fierce controversy. The current argument was initially provoked by Jensen’s views published in the USA and in Britain. Jensen who as professor of educational psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, is of the opinion that ‘individual differences in intelligence, that is IQ, are predominantly attributable to genetic differences, with environmental factors contributing a minor proportion of the variants among individuals.’ (Jensen, 1972). Jensen proceeds to argue that a genetic hypothesis to account for observed differences between whites and blacks in the USA is not unwarranted. He calculates the IQ heritability factor as 0.8 or 80%. His main theme is therefore obvious — it is none other than the discredited view that the variations in IQ between individuals is due predominantly to hereditary factors, and that this applies both within and between groups.

Developing his platform Jensen proceeds to argue that a dysgenic trend exists within the negro population in the USA. In other words we have a rehash of the theories of the ‘fall of civilisation’, or as Jensen sees it, the higher birth rate of low IQ families will lead to a general decline in the intelligence of the negro sub-group. It is also the view of Jensen that different mental abilities are differentially distributed amongst different social classes, as well as racial groups. Two of these abilities mentioned by Jensen are associative learning and abstract reasoning.

Jensen therefore attempts to show that negro performance is not as good as that of whites when it comes to doing IQ tests. The difference he ascribes to the operation of genetic factors. Jensen derives all of his evidence from psychometry, believing that whatever the tests measure must constitute intelligence. By claiming that both racial and class differences are due to heredity he is further intimating that such differences are impervious to the effects of education or socioeconomic policies. As he says ‘these genetic differences are manifested in virtually every anatomical, physiological, and biochemical comparison… one can make between representative samples of identifiable racial groups… there is no reason to suppose that the brain should be exempt from this generalization.’ (Jensen, 1972). Jensen’s argument about IQ tests measuring intelligence is far removed from what we have already established concerning the hereditary potential of mental capacities.

15. Jensen and Education

Jensen’s instigation of his scientific racist platform was due to the failure of the compensatory education programmes in the USA. The so-called ‘Headstart’ programmes. Jensen argues that their failure was due to ignorance of the alleged inherited component of intelligence. The aim of these compensatory education programmes was to provide intensive education sessions to boost the IQ and therefore educational and occupational opportunities of poor children — especially black ghetto children.

The four major groups of mankind are represented in the Americas, and these are the African, the Mongolian, the Amerindian, and the Caucasian. The United States is furthermore an area where an extensive process of miscegenation or mixing of genetic factors has taken place on a large scale. Likewise, in the context of our previous conclusions and the population structure of the USA we cannot attempt to define ‘race’ in biological terms. In view of this ‘race’ can only have  a ‘sociological’ connotation. It is here that Jensen exposes some of his unscientific views. He employs asocial concept of race and then proceeds to regard this group as a biological entity, in order to confer upon it the validity of a sub-species.

The limited and experimental programme of ‘Headstart’ only took place in periods of months or vacations. Jensen wrote his first polemic in 1969 at a time when the USA was preoccupied with racial differences, and he based his arguments on the failure of the Headstart project with an attempt to lay the blame on the heads of the children themselves. In fact Headstart had hardly started, when Jensen began his work, and it later showed results of having boosted IQ until the children returned to their un-boosted environments and achieved their former levels again.

For those of the like of Jensen ‘how comforting to find a “scientific” view which suggested that the racial differences were rooted in genetics and beyond environmental manipulation.’ (Richards, 1973). Further to this Jensen has proposed that class variants in intelligence were explained by two different genotypic processes. These were termed level 1 for ‘associative ability,’ and level 2 for ‘conceptual ability.’

Whites in general were supposed to have performed better than Blacks on general IQ (i.e., conceptual ability) and the poor working class (including Black children) better on associative rather than conceptual tests.

What is the implication here? Certainly it means that poor (black) children due to their having low IQ’s would benefit from rote learning, which in the opinion of Jensen means boosting their opportunities for associative learning. Low IQ white children however would benefit only from boosted conceptual learning opportunities

16. Jensen and his British Critics

Since Jensen’s protestations in the USA we have had a battery of supporting articles, books and ‘researches’. An extreme example has been the view of William Shockley with his proposal that low IQ negroes should be sterilized and that a programme with such an aim should be inaugurated (Jensen, 1972). William Shockley is a professor of engineering at Stanford University, and Nobel Prize winner in 1956 for electronics, has repeatedly tried to persuade the US Academy of Sciences to finance research to reduce what he terms the environment/ heredity uncertainty. In this field Shockley is worried about much the same issues as Jensen, but he expresses himself without the smokescreen of verbal qualification that is part of the normal trappings of science and a noticeable item in Jensen’s armoury.’ (Gillie, 1970).

In July 1970 Jensen came to Britain and defended his position in the debate at the Cambridge Union which was sponsored by the Cambridge Society for Social Responsibility in Science. The Society had its own views, which it made quite obvious in an introductory leaflet to which Jensen naturally took exception. The leaflet pointed out the main political theme of what we have come to view as scientific racism when it said the constant harping on pseudo-scientific ‘biological differences’ between children is only the expression of a political wish to retain the worst social inequalities of the British and American political systems’

In a similar vein to his statement Jensen took his critics to task with his usual excuse that he is objective and everyone else is blind. He objected to an opposition indulging in ‘well meaning wishful thinking… ostrich-like dismissal of the subject and taboos against open discussion.’ (Gillie, 1970). Yet critics of Jensen have correctly pointed out that the IQ test is a political weapon, not a neutral means of ‘measuring” intelligence’. Just because the Head-start project proved a near disaster is no reason to think that it is useless to attempt any environmental or educational improvements. The crux of the matter is as stated — the `possibility that genetic factors play a part in IQ differences between different racial groups is quite irrelevant to the educational problem of aiding the opportunities of a particular disadvantaged child’ (Morris, 1970).

17. Jensen and his British Support: Eysenck

In Britain support was voiced by Eysenck for the racist ideas of Jensen. The support took the form of a particularly mendacious book which appeared two years after Jensen’s salvo of 1969. Eysenck in 1971 published the first of his assaults on the mental capacities of the ethnic groups and working class of this country. Following in the Galton-Burt-Jensen tradition Eysenck had previously established a reputation as a Black Paper pundit, having written on one occasion that ‘an elite, pre-destined and predisposed to intellectual leadership and to the enjoyment of the fruits of education’ had to be developed on the basis of these characters being genetically determined. Echoes of Gobineau’s ‘born to rule’ minorities (Eysenck, 1969). Associated with Eysenck in the preparation of this particular paper were Kingsley Amis, Robert Conquest, and of course — Sir Cyril Burt. The central theme and policy was opposition to ‘free play’ and discovery methods in primary education; opposition to comprehensive education; opposition to the expansion of higher education; opposition to expenditure of funds on deprived educational areas. In addition this pernicious group supported selection at the age of eleven; IQ tests and the consequent streaming; grammar schools; and the continuation of the traditional system of examination.

As a matter of policy both Burt and Eysenck common with Jensen are devoted and committed exponents of psychometry. All three are avid supporters of the Galton paradigm with its attendant dedication to the preservation of an elite as a necessary prerequisite for social progress. Whereas we could call Galton the father of ‘scientific method’ as applied to human variation, we owe the elaboration of the first ‘intelligence’ tests to the Frenchman Binet at the turn of the century. Yet, to the credit of Binet, he never intended that they should be used as they were. Indeed, Binet himself protested at the vulgarisation and misuse of his tests.

Eysenck has adopted the position whereby he champions the views of Jensen as a service to humanity, stressing further that the educational implications of his work indicate the necessity for selection and streaming. Eysenck is also firmly of the belief, as is Jensen, that compensatory policies for the educationally under-privileged and deprived will be valueless. Not only this but that remedial measures can only do harm, because as he says ‘with limited resources available for all of education, special help to some means less education for others’.

In his polemical work Eysenck demonstrated in a very loose and unscientific manner that in all truth he could offer no tangible proof of his theories. With regard to anthropological studies he could only make pathetic comparisons, as for example the ‘constant discovery of new blood genes has forced experts to increase the number of races recognised’. Intelligence is a multifactorial and continuous genetic trait heavily inter-dependent on the environment and culture. Blood groups are discrete and discontinuous traits — and since when has a blood gene been regarded as a racial indicator anyway? With equal conviction Eysenck further states that ‘North American negros are certainly hybrids’. It can safely be assumed that North American whites are also hybrids.

The researches of Eysenck are completely irrelevant to the needs of education, as well as the problems that surround it. There can be no value to the work of Eysenck and his fellow racists ¬only fuel for confusion, and weapons for supremacists, fascists, and those with a vested interest in a class divided social system. Certainly in terms of Eysenck’s ideas it is obvious that he is unacquainted with the recent advances in neurobiology and brain physiology. If he is aware of these advances then we can only conclude that he has deliberately ignored them.

Both Eysenck and Jensen argue that the 80% heredity and 20% environment equation for ‘intelligence’ is correct and unalterable. We have to examine this superficial analysis in terms of modern population genetics theory. To find out what the influence of heredity is, the unit within which the heredity factor is being measured must be a genetic unit, i.e., a common gene pool; and any discussion is of necessity restricted to within a fairly homogenous group in terms of genetics and cultural experience.

The 80/20 ratio tells us only about a variation within a population at a given point in space and time. It can as a consequence tell us nothing about the inherited diversity existing within another group — especially if there is little or no miscegenation or interpenetration of genes between the two separate groups. Without a free and open process of interbreeding, as well as free and equal social and cultural exchange the 80/20 hypothesis remains un-testable and therefore untenable. And any conclusions that differences in IQ test performances between statistically and socially defined groups must be genetic because 80% of IQ ability is inherited are also untenable. They remain not only pseudo-science but pernicious propaganda.

18. Scientific Racism and its Role in Society

We can bring our investigation and critique of the racist views of Eysenck and Jensen to a conclusion by analysing the purpose and role of their theories in modern capitalist society. There is nothing at all ‘scientific’ about psychometry. The batteries of tests represent a pretension that IQ tests are objective, absolute, sophisticated and a true reflection of innate ability. We cannot arrive at an all-round understanding of the issue of ‘intelligence’ unless we consider all the factors involved. A refutation of scientific racism in purely genetic terms is as little use as is a purely sociological refutation. The entire polemic concerning the distribution of ‘intelligence’ and its connection with ‘race’ and social class is permeated with elements of ‘biologism’ and the other ammunition of scientific racism.

The revival of biologism and other obsolete doctrines must not be viewed in isolation from the crisis that imperialism is going through — the decline of capitalism brings forth many outmoded outlooks, as well as reviving old positions and analyses to hold back the development of the democratic and socialist forces in the imperialist states and the developing countries. In its ever increasing frustration the ruling capitalist bourgeois frantically scrape the barrel for any weapon to use in the class struggle. As such the ideologists and apologisers for capitalism have encouraged the dissemination of biologism which has the intention of describing and interpreting the activity of human beings in terms of biological urges, instincts, innate propensity and animal behaviour. Unwarranted extrapolations from animal to human societies are made in order to justify the status quo, maintain class oppression and to give credence to war, persecution and reactionary policies.

We have seen such doctrines popularised throughout the field of anthropology, biology, and human science. Such examples can be seen in the polemical pseudo-science of Desmond Morris, Robert Ardrey, as well as Jensen and Eysenck. The theory of intelligence fits very neatly into the ideology that attempts to ascribe human development mainly in terms of the biological and in disregard of socioeconomic factors.


 Montague, M. F. A.  (1957).   The Direction of Human Development, Watts, London

Shuey, A. M.  (1966).  The Testing of Negro Intelligence.

Jensen, A. R.  (1969).Environment,’Heredity and Intelligence, Harvard Education Review vol 39

Jensen, A. R.  (1972). Genetics and Education, Methuen

Eysenck, H. J.  (1972).  Race, Intelligence and Education, Temple Smith

Simon, B.  (1971).  Review of Eysenck’s text, Morning Star, London.

Boyce, A. J.  (1968).  New Scientist (18.10.68)

Bodmer, W. F.  (1972).  Race and IQ: The Genetic Background in Race, Culture and Intelligence, Penguin

Lewis, J.  The Uniqueness of Man,  Lawrence & Wishart, London.

Rose, S.  The Conscious Brain, Weidenfield & Nicholson,

White, L. A.  (1949).  The Science of Culture.

Dobzhansky, T.  (1970).  Mankind Evolving.  Yale U P.

Darlington, C. D.  (1971). Review of Eysenck’s 1971 text.

Darlington, C. D.  The Evolution of Man and Society. Allen & Unwin.

Ranson, W. & Clark, S. L.  (1959).  The Anatomy of the Nervous System, 10th Ed.

Rose, S. (1972). Environmental Effects on Brain and Behaviour (in Race, Culture and Intelligence, Penguin)

Montague, M. F. A.  (1974).  Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race, Fifth Ed. OUP.

Burt, C.  (ed). (1933). How the Mind Works.

Bono, E. de.  (1971).  eview of Eysenck’s 1971 text.

Ryan,  J. (1972).  IQ — The illusion of Objectivity (in Race, Culture and Intelligence, Penguin 1972)

Cambridge, A. X. (1972).  Education and the West Indian child ¬a criticism of the ESN school system. The Black Liberator, 1972; and Bernard Coard, New Beacon, 1972

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‘There are biological reasons why significant racial differences in intelligence, which have not been found, would not be expected. In a polytypic species races adapt to different local conditions but the species as a whole evolves adaptations advantageous to all its races, and spreading among them all under the influence of natural selection and by means of inter-breeding. When human races were evolving it is certain that increase in mental ability was advantageous to all of them. It would then have tended over the generations to have spread among them in approximately equal degrees. For any one race to lag definitely behind another in overall genetic adaptation the two would have to be genetically isolated over a very large number of generations. They would, in fact, have to become distinct species; but human races are all interlocking parts of just one species’ (G G Simpson, Biology and Man. Harcourt, N Y, 1969).

Sir Cyril Burt (deceased 1970) was recently accused by Oliver Gillie (Sunday Times, 24.10.76) of the perpetration of scientific fraud with respect to certain of his researches into IQ. The charge against Burt is that he knowingly published false data and invented crucial facts to lend support to his theory that intelligence is largely inherited. The four major accusations levelled against Burt are that (1) he assumed parental intelligence during interviews and then proceeded to regard such assumptions as actual facts; (2) that two of his associates (who were credited with joint authorship of some of his papers) may not have been real individuals; and (3) Burt supposedly produced identical answers with an accuracy of three decimal places from separate sets of data (which in reality is a statistical impossibility); and further (4) Burt actually tailored data to fit his predictions in order to justify his pet genetic beliefs.

A Sunday Times investigation apparently came to the conclusion that certain elements of Burt’s work were therefore a perpetrated fraud and deliberate distortion. Burt’s data was collated by Dr L J Kamin (Princeton University) and serious variations became apparent. Further to this investigation a Dr A Clarke and a Professor A Clarke (University of Hull) also investigated the consistency of Burt’s data. Not only was there no trace of Burt’s alleged associates—but the Clarke’s came to the conclusion that scientifically Burt’s results are a fraud.

Within the context of this article not only is the ideological framework of the immutable hereditary determination of intelligence seen to be untenable and unscientific, but also that in order to justify the innate theories of Burt there was the deliberate falsification and manipulation of data. But whether or not Burt did falsify his data is not really relevant to the theme of my present critique.


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