In a 1981 book, “The Mismeasure of Man,” the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould asserted that Morton, believing that brain size was a measure of intelligence, had subconsciously manipulated the brain volumes of European, Asian and African skulls to favor his bias that Europeans had larger brains and Africans smaller ones.
But now physical anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, which owns Morton’s collection, have remeasured the skulls, and in an article that does little to burnish Dr. Gould’s reputation as a scholar, they conclude that almost every detail of his analysis is wrong. (…)
Dr. Gould did not measure any of the skulls himself but merely did a paper reanalysis of Morton’s results. He accused Morton of various subterfuges, like leaving out subgroups to manipulate a group’s overall score. When these errors were corrected, Dr. Gould said, “there are no differences to speak of among Morton’s races.”
But Dr. Gould himself omitted subgroups in his own reanalysis, and made various errors in his calculations.
When these are corrected, the differences between the racial categories recognized by Morton are as he assigned them.
“Ironically, Gould’s own analysis of Morton is likely the stronger example of a bias influencing results,” the Pennsylvania team writes.
Yes! ‘Head size is correlated with cold weather’…but then so is IQ. (…)
This is hardly the first time an anthropologist has lied in the name of equality…
Two of the major superstitions of our time are the notion that man is merely a blank slate whose behavior is merely the product of the social environment and its sister, that race doesn’t exist. Yet one by one, the pseudo-scientific sources of these myths are being discredited by serious scientists, and last week, one of the biggest sources of all took a nose dive.
Franz Boas, often called the grandfather of modern anthropology and a pioneer pusher of the idea that race is not a very meaningful concept, merely a “social construct” not found in nature, probably ranks with Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud as one of the most influential thinkers of the modern age.
But it now turns out that Boas himself was guilty of no small degree of unscientific blunder—and maybe even fraud. (…)
In political terms, if human beings have few or no “fixed characters” and are shaped by the social environment, then what we know as modern liberalism is in business. So is communism, which also assumes that human beings can be transformed by manipulating the social environment.
It’s no accident that Boas was a lifelong sympathizer of Marxism.
Unfortunately, for the social and human engineers, the study has now been shown to be invalid.