Re: Rich, poor....Gould
- Subject: Re: Rich, poor....Gould
- From: George Sheridan <gsheridan@BOMUSD.EDCOE.K12.CA.US>
- Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 21:24:49 -0800
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Since we recently commented on Stephen Jay Gould and his books _The
Mismeasure of Man_ and _Full House_, some list members might be interested
in the cover story in the November 1999 issue of Natural History magazine.
A number of eminent scientists (and assorted other personalities like
attorney Alan Dershowitz and cartoonist Gary Larson of "The Far Side")
comment on Gould's contributions to evolutionary theory, popular
understanding of science, teaching and the case law that has so far kept
creationism out of public schools.
Dan Kevles, director of the Program in Science, Ethics and Public Policy at
Caltech, praises Gould's "[S]harp dissection of British psychologist
Charles Spearman's 'g' factor and why it was meaningless as a measure of
Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, declares "Gould's
Mismeasure of Man--a frontal attack on the pseudoscience of racial ranking
according to intelligence--has become a classic in skeptical
debunking...Gould's skeptical (here read 'inquiring') 1970s critiques of
sociobiology and his 1990s critiques of its descendant, evolutionary
psychology, provided a necessary balance to the hyperadaptionism of some
proponents who sought to whittle the complexities of human behavior down to
a handful of pseudolaws."
In his regular monthly column in this issue, Gould offers an observation:
"Although their authors usually presented such pictures as supposedly
unbiased factual summaries, nearly all complex representations must,
whether consciously or not, express favored theories about patterns and
He is discussing charts depicting the history of life, but his point about
intellectual assumptions as the source of unconscious bias is directly
relevant to the critique of standardized tests.
Black Oak Mine Unified School District
P.O. Box 217
Cool, California 95633
Hope is...not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the
conviction that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
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