Monday, April 24, 2017


"In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Charles Murray about the controversy over his book The Bell Curve, the validity and significance of IQ as a measure of intelligence, the problem of social stratification, the rise of Trump, universal basic income, and other topics."
"Charles Murray is a political scientist and author. His 1994 New York Times bestseller, The Bell Curve (coauthored with the late Richard J. Herrnstein), sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of IQ in shaping America’s class structure. Murray’s other books include What It Means to Be a Libertarian, Human Accomplishment, and In Our Hands. His 2012 book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 describes an unprecedented divergence in American classes over the last half century."


  1. Just listened to the first 15 minutes or so - great opening monologue! As a psychology student I witnessed firsthand the total lack of disagreement among professors about whether G is a legitimate measure despite the empirical evidence, and I distinctly recall one of my professors assert, with a great deal of discomfort, that G has a massive amount of empirical support and that no matter how "culture neutral" we make the tests we simply have been unable to remove discrepancies between groups. It's a shame that she had to be so sheepish about the facts. Meanwhile, one of my more social justice-y professors simply dismissed the notion out of hand and threw out his own definition of intelligence as "the ability to adapt to new situations" which is a nice thought but doesn't resolve the fact that G is correlated with every measure of success in the modern world. This was a couple years before the issues on college campuses started getting out of hand so things weren't quite as heated as they are now, but I am still frustrated that the evidence for G was intentionally obfuscated by some of my psychology professors for political reasons. It's great to hear Sam and Murray address these facts so honestly. ~ David Kile

  2. David Kile but see, therein lies the problem. You've got a bunch of largely white, highly edicated white folks, mostly men, trying to make tests culture neutral and then measuring their success by saying that IQ score on those biased test shockingly seem to correlate with outcomes in a biased, racist system. There are just too many variables.
    Plus, as Sam himself admits, what do you get in the end? Information that, even if true, is deeply useless at best and that can take us back down really dark roads at worst. Chris Goodson