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Missing the Boat: NPR & the Pioneer Fund

By Heidi Beirich on October 30, 2007 - 7:06 am, Posted in Media Extremism, White Supremacist

On Oct. 23, Farai Chideya interviewed for NPR’s “News & Notes” program J. Philippe Rushton, a professor at the University of Western Ontario who heads the Pioneer Fund, which Chideya incorrectly referred to as the Pioneer ir111_rushton_200×266.jpgGroup (that error is still in NPR’s website promo today). The topic, “Race and Intelligence: Is There a Link?” was selected in the aftermath of DNA pioneer and Nobel Prize winner James Watson’s recent statement that Watson was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really.” (Met with a firestorm of academic criticism, Watson later said that race does not control IQ differences, but he did not retract his earlier comments).

Getting the Pioneer Fund’s name wrong wasn’t the only thing problematic about Chideya’s interview. Chideya also failed to mention several key facts about Rushton and the fund. Started in 1937 by textile magnate Wycliffe Draper, the Pioneer Fund’s original mandate was to pursue “race betterment” by promoting the genetic stock of those “deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.” Today, it still funds extremely controversial studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the “science” of breeding superior human beings. Pioneer, which has been listed as a hate group for many years by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has funded many of the leading Anglo-American race scientists of the last several decades as well as anti-immigration groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Rushton, who has been investigated for allegedly violating Canadian hate-speech laws, first courted controversy in 1989 when he published work focusing on the sexual characteristics of different races. His findings: Blacks have larger genitals, breasts and buttocks — characteristics that Rushton alleges have an inverse relationship to brain size and, thus, intelligence. Rushton has personally received over $1 million in Pioneer funds for his work. Rushton also has been ridiculed and attacked as a racist by many leading scholars, including Stanford population biologist Mark Feldman, who described one of his main books as “laughable.” University of Washington psychology professor David Barash wrote that “bad science and virulent racial prejudice drip like pus” from the same book.

This isn’t the first time that Rushton has been quoted by a gullible reporter. In 2006, CNN’s medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, put Rushton on the air to discuss a Rushton study supposedly proving that males, on average, are smarter than women. As in the recent NPR report, no mention was made of Rushton’s background or that of his Pioneer Fund.

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  • Brian

    “I believe we are undergoing a revivalism of social darwinistic beliefs eg: the “brights” is just the use of might over the vulnerable”

    In other words a meritocracy where those who do well academically end up being engineers, doctors and Wall Street Bankers?

    That has been the case for quite a while. What’s your proposed alternative?

  • http://http// Jan Sam

    The conservative element has always used fudging as one of the main tools of data collection. Brutality is also popular.

    see complaints board via subscriptions type in Samdra Sandoski for submissions.

    I believe we are undergoing a revivalism of social darwinistic beliefs eg: the “brights” is just the use of might over the vulnerable

  • Chun

    He has considerably more credibility than people who misrepresent his views and indulge in ad hominem attacks rather than engaging in open discussion.

    There is a well documented difference of 2/3 of a std deviation between Ashkenazi Jews and other whites on psychometric tests. East Asians (those of Chinese, Japanese, Korean ancestry) average slightly above the white mean.

    These differences show up in East Asian adoptees raised in white households, and also on reaction time tests which correlate strongly with psychometric measures. Similarly, there are average differences in brain volume as measured on MRI.

    These differences are most likely the result of divergent evolutionary paths (approx 50,000 years). It is also well documented that there are group differences in maturation rates between groups – Rushton’s ‘rule of three’ seems to hold up pretty well (that is any important difference (be it physical, mental, developmental, temperamental,or behavioral) that can be found between Asians and Europeans, a similar relationship will most likely be found between Europeans and Africans. Regardless of the correctness of Rushton’s theory for explaining this consistent relationship it appears replicable.

  • Paul de Souza

    You have to be a bit desperate to think Rushton has any credibility whatoever when clearly, he used data that included Female skulls for the African group of Cranial measurements. He used data from tests performed 100years ago. Smaller female brains and short people are not educationally sub normal. In 1997, 19.4 percent of all adult African immigrants in the United States held a graduate degree, compared to 8.1 percent of adult whites and 3.8 percent of adult blacks in the United States, respectively. This information suggests that America has an equally large achievement gap between whites and African/Asian immigrants as it does between white and black Americans.

  • Jim Sachsen

    You guys have missed the boat.

    “His findings: Blacks have larger genitals, breasts and buttocks — characteristics that Rushton alleges have an inverse relationship to brain size and, thus, intelligence.”

    This implies that Rushton argues that there is a causal linkage between size of genitalia and IQ. He does no such thing.

    Name calling won’t change the facts presented by Rushton. No wonder people of your ilk embrace investigation and prosecution by “hate speech” inquisitors.