In response to:
The Tainted Sources of 'The Bell Curve' from the December 1, 1994 issue
To the Editors:
I wish to object most vociferously to the article in your journal by a Charles Lane, “The Tainted Sources of ‘The Bell Curve”‘ [NYR, December 1, 1994, pp. 14–17]. In there Lane cites (tars) me by name 4 times on pages 14 and 15. He uses Adam Miller’s “Professors of Hate,” Rolling Stone, Oct. 20, 1994. pp. 106–114, as one of his fundamental sources: Lane cites Miller no less than 8 times on pages 14 and 15. But that article is crammed with errors (any reader can get a free copy of a letter listing those errors from me at Population Studies Center, 3718 Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104–6298, tel. (215)–898–7750). In The New Republic, he had used this same article as a source. Charles Lane and somebody by the name of Jeffrey Rosen repeat the following canard: “[I]n fact, Rushton was censured by the University of Western Ontario for paying 150 participants at a local mall—one-third were black, one-third white and one-third Asian—for answering such questions as: ‘How far can you ejaculate?’ and ‘How large is your penis?”‘ (pp. 14–15). Since the event never took place, how could the University of Western Ontario censure Rushton for it? And, by the way, Rushton says he never said that in his interview with Rolling Stone.
There are so many errors in that article that it is almost comical. Miller has “Pearson…reportedly claim[ing] a role in hiding Joseph Mengele” (p. 113, Rolling Stone, Oct. 20, 1994). Reporting where? We aren’t told. Pearson never had anything to do with hiding Mengele in Europe or South America. And he has Rushton making some very strange and hurtful remarks about me on p. 112, remarks which turn out to be Miller’s, not Rushton’s. Miller has Rushton’s (p. 112) “measured manner evaporate” (did it? I doubt it) and saying the following about me: “I met him at a conference a few years ago [Rushton probably did say this, and Miller probably got it right in his very garbled notes], and it was hard talking to him for two minutes…. He was inappropriately insistent. He refused to let me go, almost like he wanted to practice [speaking] on me or something like that. I was thinking, ‘Go practice with your wife or somebody else like you, don’t practice on me.’ Sort of childish—like he wanted to take all the attention. I think he grabbed my hand or something, and I thought, ‘Who the hell are you, grabbing my hand?”‘ Miller put these words into Rushton’s mouth. Miller was right to be uncomfortable about me. I was intently studying him, trying to figure out what this creature was doing in my office and using all the tools I had available, including speech and hand-grabbing. I almost tackled him on his way out (I hadn’t figured him out) but thought better of it.
You are showcasing this piece of propaganda by Miller. It’s straight out of Goebbels’ workshop, to put it charitably. I would like this letter published somewhere. You’ve done damage to defenseless people, and they deserve to be heard.
Someone sent me a madman, for reasons unknown. Could I beg them here not to do so anymore? Even though I am funded by Pioneer and publish things in the infamous Mankind Quarterly, I don’t think I deserve being interrogated (tortured?) by lunatics. I have no straitjackets handy.
There are more important matters at stake here, besides my reputation, which you have harmed, probably irretrievably. The Pioneer Fund has about 5 million dollars in assets. The Ford Foundation has about 5 billion dollars in assets or is 1000 times the size of the Pioneer Fund: it has a beautiful headquarters building in New York and branches, with full paid staff, all over the globe, in places like Delhi, almost all the important cities in Africa (Cairo, Khartoum, Dakar, Johannesburg, Windhoek, Lagos, Nairobi and Harare), Dhaka, Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and Mexico City, whereas Pioneer has none of these things, to my knowledge. It has paid out over $10,000,000 to something called The National Council of La Raza between 1968 and 1992. What does “La Raza” mean in English? The Race. What is The Race? It is that special bronze blend of Spanish and Indian that predominates in Mexico. And yet there has not been a peep from the media on this. But there’s more. Henry Ford, whose fortune founded the Ford Foundation, not only authored The International Jew, a profoundly anti-Semitic book that Hitler greatly admired and that sold millions and millions of copies all over the world, but also received in 1938 the highest award, the Supreme Order of the German Eagle, that the 3rd Reich could bestow on a non-German, was the only American cited by name in Mein Kampf, and had a full-length portrait of himself in Nazi headquarters in Munich. Wickliffe Draper, whose fortune underlies the Pioneer Fund, on the other hand, was and did none of these things, to my knowledge. As for the Mankind Quarterly, it is published by some obscure outfit in Washington, D.C., that only has Pearson as paid staff. By the way, no fortune is clean: Carnegie, Rockefeller, Nobel, Guggenheim, etc., just had the good fortune of being either dead or very old men by the time Nazi Germany rolled around.
It puzzles me why this tiny foundation, Pioneer, is being picked on by the media (ABC World News even had a clip on it the other night), and it ought to puzzle any reader of this journal.
Daniel R. Vining, Jr.
University of Pennsylvania
Charles Lane replies:
I am puzzled by Professor Vining’s letter, since it seems his argument is with Adam Miller and Rolling Stone, not with me. He has apparently changed his attitude toward my article since November 28, 1994, when he sent me a letter reading, in part, “I enjoyed your piece in The New York Review of Books…I find only one error in your piece on myself. I am not a ‘former Mankind Quarterly editorial Board member.’ I am one now and have been for many years.” The letter went on to make several remarks about alleged inaccuracies in the Miller piece, and then to offer a short article for publication either in The New Republic or The New York Review.
As for Philippe Rushton, the record is clear. He has twice been formally reprimanded by the University of Western Ontario for conducting research on human subjects without first clearing the research with the appropriate ethics committees of the school.
The first instance occurred in 1988. Rushton distributed a survey to first-year psychology students, asking such questions as how large their penises are, how many sex partners they have had, and how far they can ejaculate, according to students who took the survey and were later quoted in the Canadian press.
The issue raised by Rushton’s failure to get prior approval involved not politics, but fairness and the need for full disclosure to his student subjects. At Western Ontario, first-year psychology students are required by the department to participate in approved surveys as a condition of their studies. If they choose not to, they must write five research papers. Also, many students feel subtle pressure to participate in order not to offend professors who may later be grading their work. However, if a study is not approved these requirements do not apply at all.
In other words, Rushton took advantage of students who didn’t know that in the case of his study they had the option not to participate without incurring additional work. As punishment, the psychology department barred him from using students as research subjects for two years.
The second instance also occurred in 1988. Rushton conducted a survey at the Eaton Centre mall in Toronto, paying 50 whites, 50 blacks, and 50 Asians $5.00 each to answer questions about their sexual habits. For this, he was again formally reprimanded, this time by the University of Western Ontario administration itself, because he had failed to submit the project for approval by the university’s ethics committee, as required for research projects off campus. This was “a serious breach of scholarly procedure,” according to the university’s president, George Pederson.