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The Mismeasure of Man: The Definitive Refutation to the Argument of the Bell Curve MP3 CD – Audiobook, 5 Sep 2011


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media Inc; MP3 Una edition (5 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452654107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452654102
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Review

"A rare book-at once of great importance and wonderful to read." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC, Socrates advised, should be educated and assigned by merit to three classes: rulers, auxiliaries, and craftsmen. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jan. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Most reviews of this book will focus on the question of Gould's treatment of biological determinism as one of this century's greatest follies. My own opinion is that those focusing on this issue are missing the point. While I do think that the eugenics movement is certainly one of the sadder chapters in our history, I found this particular issue, while beautifully developed and addressed, to be but an example of a larger, more fundamental question. What I see as the main thesis of this book is this: Scientists are people, human. They are prone to the same passions, desires, hopes, dreams, motivations, fears, ambitions, mistakes and biases as the rest of us. That is what makes the mistakes made 80-100 years ago (indeed 50 years ago, last year, yesterday) so relevant. The scientists of the last century were as brilliant as those today, but they viewed the world much differently. Biological determinism was a certainty, a constant. They simply assumed it was so and interpreted all data in this light. Given this premise, of course they would reach the conclusions that seem so horribly biased today. The real message of this book, (to me at least) is this wonderful (and frightening) idea that even today, all scientific "truths" need to be examined and re-examined and re-examined. We can never be sure of what we are seeing as we view all data through a societal lens. To a layman such as myself, often frustrated by the pretentiousness and aloofness of scientists (as well as the jargon-filled literature) this knowledge is one of great liberation. It makes science much less certain, but so much more enjoyable! It brings the scientist down from the priest's alter to the congregation. This is Gould's great gift he gives to readers in all his books, but most of all in this one.Read more ›
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
Review of Stephen Jay Gould's 1996 revised and expanded publication of "The mismeasure of man" New York: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1981)
In "Thoughts at Age Fifteen", the sub-title to the new Introduction to the Revised and Expanded Edition of "The Mismeasure of Man", Stephen Jay Gould (1996) calls himself a "working scientist by trade" (p. 24), then "a statistically minded paleontologist" (p. 25) and finally "an evolutionary biologist by training" (p. 41). The author of thirteen books, Mr. Gould currently teaches geology, the history of science and biology at Harvard University. His strong interest in intelligence initially arose from his desire to bring science and its discoveries to the attention of the nonscientist.
In considering the mainstream arguments made about "the theory of a measurable, genetically fixed, and unitary intelligence", Dr. Gould (1996, p. 21) became concerned about how the social sciences, especially psychology, were misused in the development of the concept of intelligence, in particular, the whole nature of intelligence testing itself. Over the past 19 years, Gould has well responded to such misuses with two timely publications. First of all, in 1981 he produced "The Mismeasure of Man" mainly to argue against the social and political results of those misapplications, more specifically, in response to Arthur R. Jensen's (1969) article "How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement?" Likewise, in 1996, Gould generated the revised version of "The Mismeasure of Man" as a response to Richard L. Herrnstein and Charles Murray's (1994) book "The bell curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life" (Gould, 1996).
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on 19 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Some critics complain that in The Mismeasure of Man Stephen J. Gould attacks a straw man: craniometry is, after all, no more than fin-du-siècle quackery with which no self-respecting scientist would dream of having truck these days. Likewise, the naïve early attempts at to link IQ with heredity that Gould spends so much time recounting have long since been soundly and uncontroversially demolished, so Gould at best is shooting fish in a barrel, and many suspect him of something more mendacious than that. Some suspect a political agenda. The late Stephen Jay Gould, you see, was a *Marxist*, after all.

That particular, ad hominem, charge has mystified me the more I've read of Gould's work. I first encountered Gould in discouraging circumstances where his evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium was subjected to a contumelious lambasting at the hands of (usually) mild-mannered philosopher Daniel Dennett, in his (otherwise) wonderful and thought-provoking book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.

Taken as I was by Dennett's general argument at the time (I'm less swooned by it these days), I thought his vituperative treatment of Gould was out of character - from what I can tell Dennett is a positively genial chap - but otherwise thought nothing of it, other than supposing Gould to be part of the problem and not the solution.

There I surely would have left it, and Stephen J. Gould, were it not for Richard Dawkins' silly entry to the "religious wars"
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