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The Bell Curve

Pearse Ward wardp at herald.usask.ca
Thu Feb 23 13:10:04 EST 1995

In article <3igqn8$ej9 at netnews.upenn.edu>, jweber at mail2.sas.upenn.edu
(Jill Ann Weber) wrote:

> It seems to me that we are being inundated right now with lots of new 
> studies (i.e The Bell Curve, the TV show on gender differences) because 
> the status quo is feeling threatened.  There seems to be this need to 
> legitimize the predominantly male and predominantly white authority and 
> power structure in this country.  

The "Bell Curve" was inspired by a right wing ideology that looked to
provide a pseudi-scientific rationale for disenfranchising poor people in
America by "proving" that they are incurably stupid due to genetics, and
therefore social assistance and education initiatives are a waste of time.
It did not focus on gender issues, and has been roundly condemned as bad
science by the majority of scientists, and as bad social policy byt he
majority of politicians. For you to extrapolate from this to a conclusion
of an incipient "backlash" by white males who feel "threatened" is as an
egregious an error as the authors of "The Bell Curve" made in concluding
that there was scientific basis for their claim of poverty due to genetic

>The best way to do this is, of course, 
> with these propagandistic studies.  Later, when asked why women make less 
> money for the same job and why fewer minorities -- especially blacks -- 
> hold certain jobs, then these same studies can be cited. 

In a recent study of recent college graduates, Statistics Canada found
that the starting salaries of recent female college graduates, were equal
to or higher than those of their male classmates.

The people who would cite "The Bell Curve" to justify racial or gender
bias do not need evidence to back up their claims. Bigots' minds are made
up and they won't let fact get in the way of their prejudices. 

> As a Ph.d 
> student in archaeology, I can safely say that this happens in ancient 
> history all the time.  

Exactly where it belongs. I think the attitudes you are concerned about
are part of history fo the majority of people.

>When do kings feel the need to create monumental 
> stelea extolling their virtues and power?  They do this when their power 
> is weakened and questioned.  I think we are observing the same type o 
> fthing right now.

As a PhD student in anything you should be careful of such shoddy logic.

1) Ancient Kings erected monuments at times coinciding with threats to
their power base (no evidence of causality, merely a correlation cited)

2) One widely condemned, poorly researched, book on inheritance of
intelligence and implications for US social policy is published and some
months later a TV show examines gender differences

ergo: This is clear evidence that males as a group feel threatened by
females rise in status and signals the launch of a conspiracy/backlash
against female advancement.

Your argument doesn't hold.

>  I heard or read somewhere that the major difference in 
> the November elections was the large amount of young white male voters 
> who went Republican.  They were afraid of losing money and jobs to gender 
> and race initiatives.  

More illogic.

 Large number of white, male voters vote Republican

Therefore, they are obviously afraid of gender and race initiative.

You give nothing to support either your premise or your conclusion. To
begin with, the majority of young white males did not vote in the last
election. Second, even if all the young white males (or all white males)
that voted had voted Republican, the Republicans could not have won the
majority they did had not a significant number of non-white males and
females of all varieties also voted Republican. Finally, there are enough
other reasons that young white males might have voted Republican that if
you are going to make the statement you did, you might at least cite a
single opinion poll that showed that the reason all of those young white
males went for the Newt was because they felt threatened by race and
gender initiatives.

>As ridiculous as some of the ideas expressed in 
> these studies and books are, I almost feel that women and other 
> minorities should feel proud for causing this great fear.

Feeling proud at causing fear is what those racist, sexist, bigots you
claim to despise have done for years. Does this mean that you intend to
abuse what power you have gained, just like them?

> Anyway, just a thought...
Or a distinct lack of one,

> Jill Weber
> jweber at mail.sas.upenn.edu


              "To someone with a hammer, many things
               look like nails that need banging in"

Pearse Ward
wardp at herald.usask.ca


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