The Mismeasure of Man


The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould

Synopsis: The definitive refutation to the argument of The Bell Curve.

When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits.

Yet the idea of biology as destiny dies hard, as witness the attention devoted to The Bell Curve, whose arguments are here so effectively anticipated and thoroughly undermined. In this edition, Stephen Jay Gould has written a substantial new introduction telling how and why he wrote the book and tracing the subsequent history of the controversy on innateness right through The Bell Curve. Further, he has added five essays on questions of The Bell Curve in particular and on race, racism, and biological determinism in general. These additions strengthen the book’s claim to be, as Leo J. Kamin of Princeton University has said, “a major contribution toward deflating pseudo-biological ‘explanations’ of our present social woes.”

Published: 1981 | ISBN-13: 978-0393314250

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One thought on “The Mismeasure of Man

  1. That Mr Gould has a brilliant mind is without doubt. Like many modern brilliant men he lives moves and thinks among the wealthy elite of the world. He is privileged to pursue an elite way of life in the same way as many of the famous scientists who work at the coal-face of knowledge.
    What then is the biggest mismeasure of man –of course it is wealth and always has been ; the great pyramid of wealth has existed even before we began to write and still exists today. It is the most consistent feature of mankind and with out it we would not have survived.
    While we build the biggest Hadron-Collider ever at enormous cost a third of the globe lives on less than $2 per day. While we plan to put men on the red planet many defecate in the open air. If ever there was an argument for a human pecking order then wealth disparity is the best.
    Even approaching nightmares like climate are unable to move the pyramid of wealth and that is proof enough that we do not control human activity in a prime way but retain our basic nature of survival. As an average layman I find the intricacies of biology hard to fathom , indeed most advanced science looses me but I can see the world for what it is and base my assessment on the evidence of reality.

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