Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 12, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Friday, May 17, 1972 THI tETHBRIDGC HERAIB _ 9 John Davy Do IQ tests revea racia mequa ity? of Lho most (iaunting laboos in our society which is now being broken is discussion of tho meaning of race. One reason for the taboo is not far Lo Hitler's Ger- many, where the doctrine of Hio Aryan master rate led to Ilia murder of six million Jews, still haimfs o u r imagination. These memories meet with the racial tensions of today, and make us recoil anxiously from debate. In the last three years, though, the dcbalc has teen forced Into the open by two scientists, professor Arthur Jensen in California, and Pro- fessor Hans Eysenck in En- gland. Both argue briskly, and sometimes aggressively, that we should face an apparently simple fact: the mean score of IQ tests of American Negroes is about 15 points loivcr than that of American whiles. Attempts to improve the scores of black children through special educational programs like Project Head- start, Jensen says, have Eysenck is convinced that Bri- tish attempts to give a semi- academic education to all chil- dren is to ignore genetic real- ity. Both arguu that IQ is main- ly inherited, and therefore un- alterable. Negroes arc there- fore doomed to inequality, at least in whatever capacity it is that IQ tests reveal. All this loosed a flood of angry counter-argumenl, much of which is now summed up in s collection of new essays (Race, Culture and Intelligence by Richardson and Spears-Pen- guin) put together by the Cam- bridge Group ol the Society for Social Responsibility in Sci- ence, together with collabora- tors at the Open University. The counter-attack is part so- ciological, part technical. It is obvious enough that IQ tests are an Invention of wliile, West- ern, industrial society. Both the tests themselves, and the way they are used, are thus inex- tricably entangled in the as- sumptions and cultiu'al preju- dices of [his society. There, has been much argu- ment about what IQ tests really measure. The only certain thing is that they measure the ability to do IQ tests. People's scores are often correlated with their performance at school. But this means simply that schools grade people by competitive tests which de- mand the related intellectual skills. The fact lhat good ex- amination results and Ugh IQ scores bring esteem, status and perhaps economic reward, re- Book Review fleets (he values attached to these skills by our particular society but this, Ihc sociolo- gical argument runs, has no- thing to do with the intrinsic in- feriority or suncriroly of differ- ent races. All this is no doubt true hut as a weapon for slashing at Jensen end Eysenck it is a two-edged sword. Jensen is per- fectly aware that tests are "culture-bound." His argument is that culture itself is genetic- ally determined: black men, he implies, are rcgrelably n o t equipped biologically to do well in the land of society which while men's genes have led them to creak. Jensen and Eysenck claim confidently that IQ is .80 per cent heritable, 20 per cent en- vironmental Jensen according- ly proposes "a not unreason- able hypothesis that genetic factors are strongly implicated in the average Negro-white in- telligence difference." In fact, the hypothesis, is not reasonable. It is a mere guess. Guesswork is a perfectly re- spectable scientific procedure but a scientist should make clear that he is guessing, and then explain hew his guess is Life in prairie towns yesterday "Raisins and by Frcdellc B r u se r Maynarcl (Doubleday, SG.50, 189 T HAD some reservations A when this book arrived on my desk because its title is ra- ther sticky. However when I noted mention of life in prairie towns I was in it up to my eye- brows and I say, buy it, buy it! Tt's a gem; a treat to be gob- bled at one sitting! Especially so if you know anything of small towns, one roomed schools, little general stores, rotten, mean kids and most espe- cially if you happen to be ish. This was the life so many of my own genre will remem- ber with nostalgia and some re- gret. Not because it was all that simple, but because we seemed (hen to have wr'l, dare I say individuality? Fredelle the author, is the Jcivish girl in town daughter of a local not-so-successful but enterprising merchant. Father always has high hopes, but nev- er much in the tills of the suc- cession of business ventures he opens in a half dozen little western towns. And mother, with her delightful Jewish tra- ditions and necessary frugabty, makes a warm, loving home for their daughters. She tries to implant Jewishness in her fam- ily but under the circumstances as a minority of one family, Fredelle keeps hoping she can share in Christian celebrations She gels to say a "piece'1 at the Christmas concert because she is talented, but will she re- ceive a Christmas present when the other kids do? When the family moves fo Winnipeg there is the inevitable scenes with the school bullies. So They Say I would predict lhat the Equal (Sexual) Rights Amendment and many of (be oilier goal.; t'f its proponents will bring social disruption, unhappiness and in- creasing rates of divorce and desertion Is the Equal Rights Amendment to be the Gulf of the American social structure7 N. Pincus, M.D., associate professor at Yale Uni- versity School of Medicine. I shared this with Fredelle be- cause I well remember feeling insecure and awkward the first painful weeks I had to attend an urban school. How I wanted to stay home hut my familv wisely insisted lhat I'd be all right if I just kept a smile pinned on my face and sorted the unkind cuts from the nicer ores. The author was an excellent scholar. She did extremely well at university, going on to do post graduate work in the Uni- ted Stales where she taught, and later married a non-Jew. Her reminiscences win be poig- nant to many of us who can "remember when." I think my favorite chapter is the one on the "readers" we had in the o'ementary grades, with all (heir siories and poems of her oism. I too have a Grade IV one of that period and I think the stories arc better than some of the stuff the kids encounter today, if somewhat out of date. Mrs. Mayrard has a delight- ful style and wit: 1 only hope the book sells as well as it should. MARGARET LUCKHURST. Brewed from the choicest hops and malt ure Rocky Mountain spring water miWbera Welcome to the best in beer Welcome to the quality of Heidelberg. Heidelberg is brewed from only Hie best ingredients the finest golden barley malt, the choicest high prime Hallertau hops from Bavaria, and pure spring water, Welcome to the taste of Heidelberg. So bright, so lively, so brimful of Havour it brings more enjoyment to your drinking pleasure. Take your thirst lo Heidelberg today (or a happy welcome that will never wear out because every glass is as crisp and satisfying as your first. Welcome to Heidelberg. When you're looking for the best. Welcome to Heidelberg THE CARLING BREWERIES LTD, to bo tested. To test: Jensen's KUCSS would demand sonm rather elaborate experiment, probably involving (he separa- tion of large numbers of while and Negro identical twins at birth and rearing them in con- trolled environments. Our so- ciety fortunately does not per- mit such experiments. Meanwhile, the evidence Jen- sen docs adduce is simply not relevant, The fallacy is exposed by Walter Bodmer, Professor of Genetics at Oxford, in a quiet b u t unstoppable argument. (Neither Jensen nor Eysenck, it should IK remarked, are pro- fessional geneticists.) The point is that IQ is a capacity which is genetically complex, and which develops in a veiy com- plex environment. There is no way of working out in detail how they interact. By studying how different environments af. feet IQ in a particular popula- tion one may estimate the im- portance cf heredity (such stu- dies, involving white identical twins, and other more circum- stantial evidence, are tho sources of Jensen and Ey- senck's 80 per cent One may also try to study how gen- etically distinct groups are af- fected by the same environ- ment. But it is quite meaning- less to compare IQ figures for two different populations wiio live in different environments. We do not. in fact, know any- thing reliable about how the genetic potential of different races is influenced by different environments. But we do know enough to be extremely skepti- cal of Jensen's guess. There is a good deal of subsidiary evi- dence of the substantial way their environment can affect black men's IQ scores. These are, for example, affected by stress and social setting. Ne- groes score higher with black testers, and lower when re- minded that they are compet- ing with white men. Malnutrition can hamper brain development. Ard, a s several of these essays empha- size, the apparent failures of "Headstart" and similar ef- forts are more likely to reveal our ignorance of education and the sociology of black commu- nities than an inadequacy of black genes. (Particularly damning Is the fate of a project in Mississippi, wliich was scup- pered by white politicians as it began to look successful.) Behind all this, though, ara two deeper issues our atti- tude to psychometry (the mea- surement of mental pheno- mena) in general (including IQ and our attitude to race. There is no doubt thai are born, nol equal, but dif- ferently endowed. Properly used, IQ and other tests may be able to detect some of these en- dowments (although not neces- sarily the most important The problems arise not so much from the tests them- selves as from the way they .-ire applied and interpreted. For they have become one among a number of methods our so- ciety uses for grading peopla and for granting them access to different rungs on the socio- economic ladder. As long as our society re- wards some skills and attitudes more than others (irrespective of whether they are genetically or environmentally dele r- aptitude tests will car- ry an emotional charge, and are likely to be used (quite un- scientifically) to make value judgments of the worth of in- dividuals. This charge will dis- solve only in a society wliich asks from each according to his ability, but rewards lu'm according (o his need. Even in our existing society, however, which lakes merito- cratic reward for granted, the IQ debalc would not be con- fused with race questions if it were not for something else. For there are plenty of black men who have higher IQs Ihan many while men. The debate would therefore simply not exist in Jensen and Eyscnck's terms if we thought more often of individuals, and less of groups. But groupthink is common to many of 1'iose on both sides nf this argument. No doubt this represents something deep and highly problematic in human nature. Its results arc all loo familiar, and highly explosive. At the drop of a hat we will classify human communities into groups, and start ranking them in some order superior, inferior, in-groups, out-groups, and so nn. 11. he a great help, Ihough, if Ihe two problems the validity and use of psycho- mefry, and racial altitudes were more clearly distinguish- ed. The social and pohlical questions involved would Ihen be debated in Ihe only form that, is real huw lo manage social ju.sl.ic'p in coinmnnilirf, of very various individuals. (Written (fir Tho Hrr.ild and Tho Observer. London) May Let's look after it By It. C. Williams, rernlc Memorial Hospital 12, is Canada Hospital 17RIDAY Day. For many of us il Isn't until we get sick that the importance of the hospital Is brought home to us. But, evrn then, do wo fully appreciate what is involved? That it is not only a matter of doctors, nurses and orderlies, of tilting beds and gleaming instruments? That it is also the unselfish dedication of many individual those who serve as hospital trustees and give generously of (heir time and effort to make the decisions necessary lo maintain quality health care in our communities; those who make contributions in time or money to make the hospital a more pleas- ant place to be in: or Ihose who freely spend many hours as volunteer; to brighten a patient's day? Most of Ihe time we reel under the on- slaught of the figures being quoted to us, citing the unprecedented rales at which health care costs are rising. That, it seems, is something we have to live with. We can be" excused for groaning now and then under that burden. But, (he quotation "Man does not live by bread should be applied fo our hospitals. What kind of place would it bo, if all thai mattered were operating bud- Bets, salaries, capital expenses, and gov- ernment grants, and all it would buy? What is needed as much is people that feel it is important to maintain their local hospital as a viable insLitution IhaL is es> sential lo their community's v. ell being. Such a. feeling can he expressed in many ways, be it the contribution of however few dollars for that much needed expansion or the offering of personal to help doing whatever needs doing at a hos- pital. It can te expressed by bringing Ihe community into Ihe hospital by, say, a per- formance by a local church choir, or by bringing the hospital into the community by, for instance, inviting members of the staff as sp'iikers to local luncheon or din- ner meetings. All such things can servo to create stronger bonds between the hoso'ila! (he community it serves. Because of those very bonds a hospital can serve its munity better. They promote understand- ing for, responsiveness lo, and appreciation of this particular community's needs. A hospital should be. in the first instance, a community affair and not a mere admini- strative abstraction imposed by some level of government. To keep if a community affair requires community support and pride. As we are told on Canada Hospital Day: It is "the house the citizens built.1' Let's look after il. The road to alienation The Wall Street Journal TV ANY AMERICANS at 0112 time or an- other have dreamed of chucking it all. of turning their backs on the pressures of civilization and, perhaps like French artist Paul Gauguin, shipping off to some remote South Seas island. But for most of us the dream is never translated into reality. In- stead, we remain at home, to confront the workaday world of mounting taxes, bills and social problems. We notice, though, lhat a recent founda- tion-sponsored survey found that 30 per cent of college students would rather live in some other country. This attitude, we aro told, reflects the increasing belief among students that American society is "sick" and things are not working well in the U.S. It would be a mistake, we think, lo make too much of such attitudes reflected in public opinion polk, if only because cur- rent attitudes, like current fashions, are susceplable to frequent and even abrupt changes. But it would be equally short- sighted, in our view, to dismiss the poll as totally insignificant. For, even taking into account the inevitable shortcomings of any such survey (among students on 50 this pessimism is disturbing. It is disturbing for several reasons. First, because v-ith all its faults, America still offers greater promise of meaningful reform, and is politically equipped to de- liver on that promise than any other largo nation. Speaking at Harvard last year, South Africa liberal writer Alan Paton said that America must regard itself "as the testing ground of the world, and of the hu- man race. If you fail it will not be Am- erica that fails, but all of us." Another for- eigner. French writer Jean-Francois Revel, recently said that America is in the van- guard of the "second world a revolution lhat allows dissent plus free ac- cess to information. Another, and perhaps more important, reason why the students' pessimism is dis- turbing is that many of them seem un- aware of the capacity1 for reform that our pluralistic society offers. They have heard all the bad about the U.S., including much that is outrageously absurd, but they have not heard much about the great vitality of America's political and social institutions. They heard a noted university president say, only last year, that Americans "have come to embrace Hillerism." They havg heard a well-known miter claim thnt "while America appears to be seriously considering the possibilities of mass exter- mination." They have heard again and again that America is "genocidal." In short, they have heard America assaulted and batlered and vilified on all sides by im- portant Americans. Is it any wonder, then, that they are pessimistic? The results of this college survey, In sum, say as much about the failure of Ameri- ca's intellectual elite its forfeiture "1 moral leadership, because of its refusal to make necessary distinctions as they say about student attitudes. There is much lo crilicize in contemporary America, and our political, social and cultural leaders would be negligent not lo point it out. But criti- cism must above all be fair and balanced. Otherwise, it can induce widespread alienation, tile kind lhat, beginning wilh in- difference and ending in contempt, can sap the vitality of even the most equitable so- ciety. JIM FISHBOURNE Taxpayer revolt against students ACCORDING to (he latest word from across the border, the laiest "wave" of student unrest hasn't amounted to much more than a ripple. The experts have ex- plained this to (as usual) their own satis- faction, and their reasons seem plausible enough. 1 think they may have forgotten one, however, and that is the fact lhat people just aren't all that interested any- more in students and their problems. Not too long ago, student protest was not only a new and diverting phenomenon, but. there was general public agreement, lhal whsl. students were saying and doing considerably more than just talking about made a good deal of sense. No mailer what cause studcnl.s were march- ing for, it seemed, there were always peo- ple to march with them. And if they were dealt wilh harshly by administrators or public officials, or bashed about by the forces of law and order, (here was an immediate and forceful hue and cry about mindless bureaucratic inf legibility o r police brutality. Now it's different. If there's a fuss on a university campus, whatever it is about, the probable public reaclion is a shrug and a "So what" kind of allilude. And because the public feels that way, administrators can be firmer, the enforcers louRbcr. anr) consequcnlly the student.1; are quieter. Largely as n consequence of this public fed-upness with unruly on (his side of the lino Ihorc's Ixien very lilllf. campus rxcilrnienl Ihis year, and lillln prospect of anything much happening be- fore next fall. Which may bo just as well, because with financial problems -.s cri'i' '-I as they are, university aclminislrnlois in no mood to put up with a great deal of nonsense from anyone, especially sluderts. I think that students generally have the good sense to recognize this, and are un- likely to start anything without real justifi- cation. As usual, (here's one group th.il doesn't seem lo have got the message. According to a recent article which appeared under a heading "Student's Union Ready for Bal- tic" (if you're a bit precious about any- thing so old-fashioned as spelling, you may wonder how one student forms a union the student body at Ihe University of Al- berta says it just can't lolcrsle HIP inhibi- tion reimposmg a fee lo meet health care costs which are not covered by pay. nicnfs from the Alberta Health Tare In- surance Commission." Now I realize that students generally are. a privileged class, and that university stu- dents are. now subsidized on so grand a crab thnl a few more dollars mailer a great deal lo anyone. But if I were a studenl, I think I'd worry jus! a hil how John Q. Taxpayer reads In Ihinps like this. He's read and pondered that bud- gels are going up while enrolment is going down. He knows his taxes keep coing up, loo. He's very npl to figure Ilial if sludrnts have to have services that are oulside. Ihc scope of the normal health cara scheme, and if someone bus lo pay extra for (hose services, perhaps it should bo the party that gets them.