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The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life
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The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,822 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
The controversial book linking intelligence to class and race in modern society, and what public policy can do to mitigate socioeconomic differences in IQ, birth rate, crime, fertility, welfare, and poverty.
Paperback, 912 pages
Published January 10th 1996 by Free Press (first published 1994)
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Brian Pretty much everything which Herrnstein and Murray published in that book has been validated through follow-up research, no matter how unpopular it…morePretty much everything which Herrnstein and Murray published in that book has been validated through follow-up research, no matter how unpopular it might be to outraged progressives.

Identity politics is poisonous. Do yourself a favor and read before you speak next time. In particular, do not accept the opinions of others as a substitute for your own judgment.

By the way, kindly cite the page in his book where Murray promotes eugenics. You can't? What a shock!!(less)

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Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read the book fearful that it was politically incorrect to entertain alternative viewpoints regarding intellectual equality. I finished the book remaining skeptical of some of the more controversial conclusions about distribution of IQ among different ethnicities. Evidently, there are many skeptics that have raised some legitimate questions about the authors' research. That said, The Bell Curve has persuaded me that heredity has at least some role in intelligence and that IQ is not just a resu ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: current-affairs
minor editing 3/10/10

One would hope that decisions are made based on solid evidence and a modicum of rational thought. Often that is not the case, however Sometimes rehashed data and superficial analysis, particularly in the area of social policy, appeal to society because they reflect changes in society's perceptions of reality To some extent that explains the popularity of The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray. There seems to be an unconscious desire to locate society's ills
Dec 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: politics-history
At this writing, the United States has been *officially* free of segregation, slavery, and anti-miscegenation laws for 52 of its 234 years. (Though didn't Bob Jones University only just integrate in 2000?) Apparently this is long enough to convince many that any argument bordering on racism is a radical, persecuted concept. While all political ideas - no matter how old and tired and simplistic - should indeed be entertained, challenged and debated, there is something particularly perverse about ...more
What can be said about this hateful tract disguised as "science" that hasn't already been said? Herrnstein was once a respected animal psychologist who obviously went off the deep end before he died and Murray is a long-time political hack whose main qualification is being able to hold sinecures at well-funded think tanks.

The book is already based on two massive theoretical flaws, the first being that there is such a thing as general intelligence (the "g factor") which can be measured by IQ test
Ian Pollock
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the ultimate book that everybody knows is wrong, but nobody has read.

It's too bad. It's a fascinating collection of social science. We can split it up into (a) fact conclusions, (b) predictions, and (c) policy recommendations. The fact conclusions are separated from the other parts of the book and stand on their own. For me, they're the most interesting part.

The book is too expansive to summarize easily, but roughly:

(a) Fact conclusions: IQ is a neglected but extremely important variable
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was scorned when I attended college. It took ten years after I attended to read the book. First, there is one chapter on black and white differences in I.Q. It is not very controversial basically says the average white person has a higher IQ than the average black person. Of course what makes a person black or white? I could relate this to the 100m sprint, all sprinters except one that have run under 10 seconds are of West African descent. This of course is not controversial. There are ...more
Andrew Charles
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A controversial and misunderstood book. It has been accused, unfairly, of supporting racism, yet the authors take pains to stress that the intelligence of an individual, not the average intelligence of an ethnic group is what effects personal ability and achievement. After all, even if you agree with the authors that individual intelligence is most strongly an inherited trait, the average intelligence of any group is highly effected by socio-economic factors, including culture, religion, opportu ...more
Jun 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Nutshell: epsilons are not trainable, so no need to spend moneys on them.

Authors contend that giving IQ tests of questionable merit to impoverished persons who are lacking medical care and nutrition, are limited in access to education, and are resident in tenements contaminated with lead and whatnot--and then comparing their results with those from people who, yaknow, aren't, is a good measure of genetic ability.

The basic thesis--that class (however improperly defined & deployed) correlates
Sep 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book created a controversy (that endures today) when it was published in the mid '90s. Many people condemned it without having read it because it presented a thesis, backed with evidence, that blatantly violated the strictures of the nascent politically correct culture that now reigns in our society. Those who find this book's ideas convincing will often be branded with the scarlet "R" (racist), by people who are offended enough by the book's very existence that they fear to pick it up, muc ...more
Jonnie Enloe
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
It is totally politically incorrect to even read this book anymore much less give it any praise. But it is one of my favorite books. Statistics do not lie. And this book sheds light on unmentionable subjects about race that just infuriate people. I am not a racist but I still want to know the problems. If I don't know the problems to be corrected, how can I correct them or add my voice to those trying to correct them. Some people would simply rather bury this information and stick their heads in ...more
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“How good a predictor of job productivity is a cognitive test score compared to a job interview? Reference checks? College transcript? The answer, probably surprising to many, is that the test score is a better predictor of job performance than any other single measure. This is the conclusion to be drawn from a meta-analysis on the different predictors of job performance, as shown in the table below.” 0 likes
“Cognitive sorting continues from the time that students enter college to the time they get a degree” 0 likes
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