Table 1. “Yes-But" Rejoinders Used to Ignore Key Scientific Findings on Intelligence and Race

Gambits for ignoring links in chain of evidence

“Yes, but racial differences in intelligence are…”


Bedrock finding about intelligence that is conceded


False claim asserted as true to justify ignoring the bedrock finding


Sample of Disproved hypotheses, Irrelevant truths, and Emotional appeals employed to support a false claim

1. Nonexistent Yes, there’s a black-white gap in IQ scores But, there is no such thing as “intelligence” (there is no general mental ability or g factor) Why? Disagreement over its definition (I); Too complex to measure (D); Only a cultural artifact (D); Undemocratic (E).
2. Mismeasured Yes, IQ tests measure (developed) intelligence But, tests culturally biased against blacks Why? Tests created by whites (D, I); Require cultural knowledge (D, I); Ruse for justifying discrimination (E)
3. Unimportant Yes, black-white IQ gap reflects gap in average intelligence But, intelligence is not important in real life Why? Important only when treated as such (D); Only a narrow academic ability (D); Not a measure of human worth (E).
4. Malleable Yes, intelligence has practical importance But, intelligence is malleable Why? Brains, skills, & knowledge change with age & experience (I); Must not “give up” on less able persons (E).
5. Just environmental Yes, differences in intelligence are stubborn (resistant to intervention) But, intelligence is not genetic (not heritable) Why? Abilities not “fixed” (I); Differences explained by family advantage (D); Would create a caste system (E).
6. Disproved Yes, differences in intelligence within a race are quite heritable But, average black-white gap is definitely not genetic Why? No gene for race (I); Race only a cultural artifact (D); Poverty can explain the gap (D); Racists are hereditarian (E).
7. Unthinkable True, the genetic hypothesis for black-white gap fits the evidence But, gaps must not be (or thought to be) genetic Why? Dangerous if hypothesis false (E); Even more dangerous if true (E); Hitler thought the gaps genetic (E).