Talk:Cyril Burt

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Why does this article have a photo of Galton at the top? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:55, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

I am surprised by this article. After reading Stephen Jay Gould's essays on Burt, I was totally convinced that Cyril Burt did forged not only the data for the alleged twin study but also invented... the twins. The number of twins separated at their birth and then found many years later was incredible, for instance. Also, I didn't read _The mismeasure of man_ ( but it should be linked at this place, since it provides strong critics of some theories of Cyril Burt (and many others, in fact) about heredity of intelligence.

Christian Rinderknecht,, Wed Dec 8 00:24:43 KST 2004

I'd like to see source references on some of this stuff. I can't find much about Cyril Burt being cleared of all charges. The report linked to does not conclude this. It might be worth pointing out that Cyril Burt was the first president of Mensa.

update: This article reeks of whitewash from his disciples to me. Why doesn't anyone mention that he was a member of the British eugenics society, for instance? I'd say it's pretty relevant considering his field of research. And it should perhaps be noted that Leslie Hearnshaw, Burt's biographer, wasn't just anyone. He was a close friend of Burt. Nonetheless he concluded that Burt had committed serious fraud.Vintermann 10:53, Jun 11, 2005 (UTC)

I wonder about Burt being cleared also. There are other things that people have raised suspicions about that are not mentioned in the article. For example, Gillie noted that the women who supposedly collected the data for Burt, Margaret Howard and J. Conway, either do not exist or were not in contact with Burt during that time period. Also, Hearnshaw mentions all kinds of strange cases of fraud engaged in by Burt. For example, he wrote to his own journal under aliases, explaining how he was the pioneer of factor analysis in psychology, not Spearman. --C S 21:56, Dec 6, 2004 (UTC)

"It is now generally accepted that at least a majority of this research was fraudulent."[edit]

It is important to emphasize that Burt's findings, fabricated or not,have been corroborated by numerous independent studies dealing with the heritability of intelligence.

Is this really true? I was under the impression there was some debate about this. I thought Burt's study was special because of the number of twins it used. I don't believe there's been a study since that used so many. --C S 21:56, Dec 6, 2004 (UTC)

It is not generally accepted that the research ewas fraudulent. There are two issues at work here, that the files may have been claimed by the WWII bombings that destropyed data for a number of Universities. The loss of the data when Liam Hudson instructed his secretary to destroy his files after his death make this disputable. User BenGibson

It is a very difficult matter to decide the most probable fate for Burt's research material. It seems almost certain not to have been destroyed in one event. Certainly the fire after the bombing of University College on 16th April 1941 destroyed some material belonging to Burt. It is not fully known what was destroyed although it seems beyond doubt that it included a collection of children's drawings. However, it is also beyond doubt that a large amount of material was sent to Wales when University College was evacuated, Hearnshaw (1979, p.251) quotes a letter from Burt's housekeeper to his sister, Dr Marion Burt, reporting Burt's secretary as saying "they had not enough boxes, and so put a lot into sacks, which were thrown into a damp and dirty coal cellar on arrival at Aberystwyth". Hearnshaw (1979, p.248) comments "Burt's own extensive case and research material, however, was not kept at college...It was kept at his flat...". It is worth bearing in mind that Burt produced new work on twins in 1943 when based at Aberystwyth. This suggests that some twin data went to Wales and was used by Burt while he was in Aberystwyth.

I assume, without definite knowledge, that Burt's original data would in the main have been handwritten in ink on paper. The most likely ink is permanent blue black ink which was almost obligatory in British institutions. The alternative to permanent blue black ink would, I guess, have been washable aniline dye based ink, although I am uncertain how widespread this was before 1939. The most questionable of Burt's publications were the post-war twin articles which claimed an extended number of monozygotic twins separated during childhood, while retaining the same results correlations. Without going into lengthy arguments, it seems that Burt experienced difficulties after the war accessing his research material. It is possible to interpret Burt's subsequent publications as a rational, although dishonest, response to loss of original research data. After all, Burt 'knew' that his conclusions were correct, because all the evidence suggests that he did have extensive original research data before the war. Incidentally, not much attention seems to have been paid to the open minded attitude of the LCC (London County Council) in the early years of the twentieth century when accumulating large amounts of wide ranging research material through a network of LCC employees seems very plausible.

It is apparent that after the war Burt had some research material (in his attic room) that was not readily usable, because it was jumbled or somehow else affected by the way it had been stored in the past. This would seem to be consistent with material that had been stored in "a damp and dirty coal cellar" for several years. I do not know precisely the address that Burt lodged at in Aberystwyth (Bath Street or Portland Road I think from memory), but any coal cellar would have been small, and probably used, unsurprisingly, for coal. Most likely his material was stored in the cellars below the building occupied by University College. I inspected these cellars in 1968 and those under the nearby Old College building in 1969. I estimate both cellars were at about the level of the highest tides and within a few yards of the Irish Sea - separated by a piece of lawn, a road and a pavement on the sea wall. The cellars are not as wet as might be expected, but they are distinctly damp and any paper not stored in sealed waterproof containers will rapidly absorb a lot of moisture. I feel certain that any washable ink would bleed badly very quickly and become unreadable within a few months. I am less certain about how documents written in permanent ink would behave. The ink would not run, the writing would still be legible, but sheets would stick together and tend to take up curved shapes in response to the pressure of overlying papers. Insects, mould and rodents would have an effect. After several years, it would take a much greater effort to extract useful information from the records. If this happened to most of Burt's twin data (remember this was contained within a much larger amount of general childhood data) it would fit in with Burt's subsequent actions; the reported difficulties in accessing research material at his post-war home; and the decision to destroy a significant amount of difficult to understand research material after his death (Hearnshaw, 1979, p.238-9) IainWallace 00:33, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Mismeasure of Man[edit]

The bibliography of this article somehow developed a discussion of the merits of Gould's book, which is not directly relevent to this article. I've removed it, and I'd suggest that if anyone feels that it added something important, it should be in a criticism section, or in the article on Gould's book, not in the bibliography of the Burt article. -Willmcw 19:53, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

London School[edit]

I see that Burt has been categorized with the as-yet uncreated category of London School. I'd like to suggest that that would not be a good category name. First off, for many people the first association would be the well-known London School of Economics. The other issue is that if it is a category of persons then it should be labelled as such. So a better, though lengthy, category name would be London School of Differential Psychology members.

Misspelled Name[edit]

His name is actually spelled "Burtt." However, since everyone insists on spelling it with only one "t," it may not matter anymore. This is a symptom of our declining literacy. 16:29, 18 September 2005 (UTC)Joe Pedant

Can you provide a source shoowing that it is the corect spelling? Thanks, -Willmcw 03:50, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Look at any Mensa Bulletin published circa 1967 — 1970. You will find the name always spelled "Burtt." But to try to prove this is like swimming Niagara Falls upstream.Lestrade 18:41, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Just because one organisation used a different spelling for some years does not make everyone else, including his family, wrong. The birth of Cyril Lodowic Burt was recorded in the General Register Office (now part of the Office for National Statistics) index of births in England and Wales for the June quarter of 1883:-

BURT, Cyril Lodowic St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 486

Cyril Burt’s father, Cyril Cecil Barrow Burt, had the same spelling, “Burt”, used when his birth was registered in the third quarter of 1857:-

September quarter 1857 Burt, Cyril Cecil Barrow Westminster 1a 281

Cyril Cecil Barrow Burt spelled his name “Burt” when he married in 1880.

September quarter 1880 BURT, Cyril Cecil B St Geo H Sq 1a 847

Cyril Cecil Barrow Burt spelled his name “Burt” on the 1881 census return. (National Archives, RG11, piece 116, folio 7, page 9)

The psychologist’s grandfather used the spelling “Burt” when he married in 1849:-

September quarter 1849 Burt George Edward I of Thanet v 560

IainWallace 21:12, 24 October 2007 (UTC)


Cyril Burt's birthplace was actually Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire (birthplace of another famous fraudster according to some!). Quite a biggie really, I'm not sure how the person who wrote this managed to get it quite wrong or why it hasn't been picked up on before! Check Encyclopaedia Britannica for a reference.

The evidence of birth registration (above) also settles the place of birth. Clearly the suggestion that he was born in Warwickshire, near Stratford on Avon, is incorrect as Burt’s parents did not move to Snitterfield until 1892 (Hearnshaw 1979, p.2). It gives me great pleasure to state that Encyclopædia Britannica is completely wrong on this point (I have pointed this out to them today). I believe that the St. Georges Hanover Square registration district did in 1883 include some parts of Westminster south of St. James’ Park; so possibly the Burts may have been living in the York Street/Petty France area close to Victoria street. IainWallace 21:15, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Social Utility[edit]

Society has an interest in proving Burtt wrong. That interest may influence the judgment of his work. If intelligence is largely inherited, then there may be no incentive for self-improvement. People may just accept their limitations with resignation and apathy.Lestrade 18:46, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

I looked at this page a few hours ago for the first time. I was going to add some additional facts, but on reflection have put these on this page in the hope of drawing out a civilised discussion. Almost everyone seems to have an entrenched position regarding Burt. It seems to me as if we should distinguish between:-

1 Consideration of Burt's conclusions, and

2 Consideration of his methods.

It is possible for Burt's conclusions to have been reasonable even though his methods were very seriously flawed, although of course flawed methods would not encourage us to believe his conclusions - we would need to satisfy ourselves that there were other independent reasons for accepting his conclusions. IainWallace 00:44, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Racist Test[edit]

If IQ tests are racist, why do many Middle Eastern (India, Israel), many Far Eastern, and certain Caucasians score high? What is the common racial property that these groups share?Lestrade 02:17, 11 October 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

There's no such title as "Racial Psychologist"[edit]

So why is it used in the article as a title?

The book, the Mismeasure of Man[edit]

Why has the notation that the book is considered controversial been deleted a number of times, yet it is offered (and been added by the same person making the above deletions) as the source for further reading WITHIN the biography for Burt? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:37, 8 January 2007 (UTC).

Labeling the book as "controversial" is inappropriate POV pushing. Regarding the reference within this article, it seems a relevant addition regarding the specifics being discussed. --JereKrischel 06:01, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
The book is already noted at the end of the article along with other related sources. If this book, which presents one side of the controversy, is appropriate, than all of the other books at the end of the article should be mentioned within the bio as soureces also. In addition, the fact that the Mismeasure of Man is a controversial book is not "point of view pushing." If you research you'll find that Mismeasure of Man has been controversial since it's publication. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)
There's no question that this book was controversial, but that doesn't mean we should so say. Rather, we should document the controversy. See Wikipedia:Avoid peacock terms. -Will Beback · · 23:44, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


Hi Skywriter, a reference to an academic journal is by definition a "supported claim," so I don't believe your revert is supportable under WP:RS.--Ty580 00:20, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

BTW, that article (as noted in this Wikipedia article) is published in Society, which is a sociology journal, not a holocaust-denial webpage. Maybe try to err on the safe side so you don't add factually incorrect information to the article.--Ty580 11:54, 21 July 2007 (UTC)


Hello. Your point is unclear. I certainly did not delete a journal article. I did delete the term "prominent" because it is someone's opinion, and now yours since you put it back in. So, instead of reverting you, it is now labeled as WP:PEACOCK for the weak writing that it is.

So far as the other changes, they were small copyediting changes.Skywriter 01:42, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

See the link I provided in my above comment. Thanks for just using the WP:PEACOCK label.--Ty580 03:30, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

OK, that was accidental. I continue to have a problem with the subsection title "The Burt Affair" as it fails to describe anything and suggests a romantic liaison. Can you come up with a more descriptive title for that scandal?Skywriter 03:36, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

The Burt affair seems to have common enough usage in the literature to be a good choice for the title.[1]--Ty580 11:55, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

OK. It should be reflected that it is a book title. Skywriter 20:17, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

First two citations to Britannica?[edit]

I don't think so. That's just copying another encyclopedia. Unless someone provides a really good reason for copying very short article in Britannica, it will be history very quickly.Skywriter 04:32, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

The article intro is based on both the Britannica and Columbia encyclopedia articles, and it doesn't seem to be similar enough to either to be in danger of copyright violation (Wikipedia:Plagiarism). The value of basing the wording on these articles is that it helps prevent endless POV debates on word choices.--Ty580 11:55, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Copyright law holds that the shorter the item, the higher the chance of copyright infringement. For example, the quotation of poetry or song lyrics is risky because they are short. Both of these articles are short. Copying any of the exact language in either of those texts could risk a lawsuit against Wikipedia by either of those encyclopedia companies. Averting debate about word choice is not a reason to copy a commercial outlet's wording. I again strongly urge no copying from these two sources. They are short articles and inappropriate as reference material.Skywriter 12:20, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Skywriter, "copying" single word descriptors is not a violation of copyright law, but deleting referenced acknowledgment of his status in the field because you dislike him is a violation of WP:NPOV.--Ty580 22:13, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

I neither like nor dislike him. He is relevant to other articles I edit, and when I came to find out about him, I found the absence of references and citations noted elsewhere on this page. I gave my reasons and provided the examples from poetry and short items that are copyrighted. I find it offensive that you assign ulterior motivation in the absence of indication. I suggest you go to the US copyright site and read, particularly the section on short presentations and poetry, which is central to not copying the exact words of another encyclopedia. Facts are not copyrightable but the way material is presented is, and that means phrasing. Copying exact phrasing from a short encyclopedia article is what is at issue. You have already stated you don't want to engage in POV debates. If that is true, then the addition of adjectives, adverbs and other such descriptors should be avoided. It is not your place or mine to evaluate information -- or to steal it from other encylopedias. If you insist on using another encyclopedia's words, this can be mediated.

Skywriter 22:54, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Let me be more specific. By "single word descriptors" I was referring to the only single word descriptor you deleted, which referred to the figure's work in one area as "pioneering." It is legal to use this word and reference Britannica for it.
There is a very important difference between work considered to have "pioneering" or "prominent" status and work that is not considered to have that status, so a blanket rejection of descriptors seems to reduce the accuracy of the article.
Your user contributions are open to the public, so denying you're involved in a broad POV warrior campaign doesn't seem useful.--Ty580 23:09, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

bio section[edit]

Nearly the entire bio section lacks references. Anyone know where that material comes from? If not, it is subject to deletion. thanks.Skywriter 20:18, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

W.D. Hamilton asserts that Burt did not commit fraud[edit]

"In one case where the attempt was made by various writers of nurturist and leftist persuasion to convince the public - claiming even proof - that one psychometrist, Sir Cyril Burt, had published fraudulent data, it later came to light that the tirade that had been either wrong or grossly exaggerated in a very high proportion of the claims it had raised (Joynson, 1989; Fletcher, 1991; Mackintosh, 1995). Muddle a-plenty of a minor nature was indeed evident in Burt's late-life publications on IQ and heritability but no case of fraud has been proven. Stimulated by the earlier tirades to look up some of Burt's books and papers, a field I have hardly ever touched, it seemed strange to me that a man collecting and writing so much about remediations for handicapped people, working and running clinics in London's poorest districts, should ever have been seen as an elitist bigot. What I read suggested the attacks on his early work must have been primed by a mere handful of paragraphs, seldom even making up whole pages (and these within large books that otherwise hardly addressed the topic of genetic quality), in which he dared to state that he regarded some of the conditions he described as hereditary, thus inevitable and likely to re-create their problems if their bearers had children. In spite of so much clear refutation of evidence, the writers of the original attacks (which began with what I can only call a cowardly immediacy once Burt had died and it had become known that all his notes and records had been burnt (this on the advice of one of his detractors) have never changed their accusations and continue to republish them (Rose, Lewontin & Kamin, 1989; Gould, 1996). Papers at least half-heartedly supporting of the tirades still emerge but the focus appears to have shifted more towards showing muddle and repetition by an old man as opposed to claims of purposeful inaccuracy (Butler & Petrulis, 1999). The idea that Burt led his field away from the truths now generally accepted, or even proposed unsustainably high values of heritability, seems now to be practically abandoned (Mackintosh, 1995)" (Hamilton 364-365)

Works Cited: Hamilton, W.D . "A review of Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations." Annals of Human Genetics 64(2000): 363-374.

One can access the above work at:

Chapeaubeau 04:05, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

The intro should be changed because Hamilton's and Mackintosh's point of view is notable. MoritzB 20:25, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
It's included in chronological order. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:51, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
I note that, though printed in a peer-reviewed journal, this book review was not edited due to the death of the author:
  • Editorial Note: This book review arrived here at the beginning of this year with a very apologetic note from the author, Bill Hamilton, about the long delay in producing the review and its ‘rambling essay format’. Sadly, Hamilton died just a few weeks later from complications following malarial infection. Several tributes have been published, such as Science (2000), 287, 2438, and we continue the tributes with a final unedited manuscript from the hand of this unique, colourful and idiosyncratic evolutionary theorist.[2]
I think we should not rely on it for contentious assertions. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:04, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
Hamilton sent the paper after he had finished it. Possible lack of adequate copyediting is hardly relevant and the paper is definitely a reliable source. Furthermore, the article currently contradicts itself as the intro implies that Burt had falsified research data although this is far from clear. In fact, all sources published in this decade state that Burt was not guilty of scientific fraud. MoritzB 21:37, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Is is grossly incorrect to assert that "all sources published in this decade state that Burt was not guilty of scientific fraud."

  • Recently, senior fellows of the British Psychological Society campaigned to have Burt's case reheard so that a new verdict can be rendered. The Society agreed to reopen the case, causing some strong reactions on both sides of the debate. For now, Burt's reputation remains sullied, and his story reminds the field of psychology and academia in general of the importance of intellectual honesty. "The Cyril Burt Affair" Dr. Jonathan Plucker, Human Intelligence. Last Modified: 25 July 2007
  • Subsequent examination indicated that he had fabricated some of the data, though some of his earlier work remained unaffected by this revelation. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007.
  • Though initially credited with important research concerning inheritance and intelligence, evidence surfaced after his death indicating that he had falsified research data. Although these discoveries diminished his reputation, he is still credited for his important work in educational psychology. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.
  • Shortly after the death, in 1971, of Cyril Burt, a prominent British psychologist, the authenticity of his accounts of intelligence test results from the largest report sample of MZA's (monozygotic twins reared apart) was challenged. Charges of fraud by Burt's critics and countercharges by his supporters started an acrimonious battle of words in journals, books, and the mass media that seesawed over the decades. It is still not resolved. "What to do about fraud charges in science; or, will the Burt affair ever end?" Samelson F. Genetica. 1997;99(2-3):145-51.

Which sources, other than Hamilton, "state that Burt was not guilty of scientific fraud"? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:56, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Cyril Burt: Fraud or Framed? Edited by N J. Mackintosh (Oxford University Press 1995)
Review here:
Joynson: "The Burt Affair"
And Rushton (2002)
Hans Eysenck and Arthur Jensen have asserted since 1970s that Burt did not commit fraud. Their point of view should not be ignored in the intro. MoritzB 00:04, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Rushton writes: "Ten years later, however, two independently written, meticulously thorough books (Fletcher, 1991; Joynson, 1989) completely vindicated Burt. Both ‘‘missing’’ research assistants were found and the twin data were proven not to have been ‘‘cooked.’’"
The findings of other scholars should not be attributed to Rushton in the article. MoritzB 00:24, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Professor Mackintosh, in a detailed analysis of Burt’s twins and other kinship studies, comes to the damning conclusion that "We know that he [Burt] was sometimes prepared to adjust his data, and at other times to make false claims about them, in order to make them appear more convincing. On balance, I believe that the evidence makes it more probable than not that some of the data he reported existed only in his imagination, in other words that he fabricated them".[3]
How does that conclusion support the assertion that "Burt was not guilty of scientific fraud"? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:25, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Please revert your last edit. Rushton is not the source of the claim.

Since Burt was in no way responsible for the loss of the evidence, however, he ought here to be given the benefit of the doubt That said, there is no question that much of what Burt produced in old age was muddled and badly presented, and would never have been published had he not been the editor of the journal in which it appeared. But this is a long way from saying that it must have been deliberately fraudulent: indeed one feels that he could have made a much better job of it had he really intended to fabricate his data.

Professor Mackintosh, in a detailed analysis of Burt’s twins and other kinship studies, comes to the damning conclusion that "We know that he [Burt] was sometimes prepared to adjust his data, and at other times to make false claims about them, in order to make them appear more convincing. On balance, I believe that the evidence makes it more probable than not that some of the data he reported existed only in his imagination, in other words that he fabricated them".

With the loss of the original records, this is about as far as anyone can now go. But a belief that "on balance ... it is more probable than not" that Burt may have fudged some of his data is far from accepting that this has been established beyond all reasonable doubt. On the other side of the balance must be placed the fact that the supposed fabrications would have been done in his old age, when Burt was suffering from Ménière’s disease with all its psychological effects. And he knew that the new generation of educational psychologists were hostile to almost all of his earlier work. Many of the posthumous accusations have anyway now been shown to be groundless, as Mackintosh himself acknowledges. For example, the famous "missing ladies", supposedly fictitious assistants in the collection of data before the war, turn out not to have been missing at all: the last of them is known to have been married in Dublin, where she died some years ago but is survived by her grown-up children.

In his final chapter, Mackintosh asks "Does it matter?". It does, and for two reasons. Firstly, if Burt has been wrongly condemned for deliberate scientific fraud, rather than mere muddle in old age, we owe it to his memory to say so. And secondly, if he was right that human intelligence and educability is to a significant extent genetically heritable, that has important implications for educational policy, which are still relevant today.

The results of Burt’s pre-war twins studies which would probably be judged unsatisfactory by modern standards, quite apart from the original records being no longer available, cannot now be safely accepted. But his methodology was sound enough, and the work has anyway now been repeated by T.J. Bouchard et al., 1990, (Science 250: 223-8) who, with a sample of more than 100 sets of twins and triplets collected well after Burt’s death, arrived at a figure of about 70% for the genetical heritability of IQ scores. Although those who don’t like the political implications of Burt’s own work are happy to dismiss it as fraudulent, nobody has suggested that the data used in this later study were fabricated, which has produced a result near enough to Burt’s earlier estimate of 77%.

Twenty years ago, with the enthusiastic agreement of the politically correct establishment, Sir Cyril Burt was being described as a "senile liar" and a "wicked old fraud" who was responsible for the "biggest scientific scandal since the Piltdown hoax", denying to generations the benefits of a fully comprehensive system of State education. But a better comparison would be with Gregor Mendel, whose results were shown by modern statistical methods to have been too good to be true, long after his death. It seems clear that Mendel had adjusted his figures by excluding results which he thought were due to experimental error or were otherwise anomalous. In the 1860’s that would have been considered a normal and proper thing to do, and there is anyway now no question that the conclusions from these experiments were both valid and important. Similarly, Burt’s conclusion that human intelligence and educability was to an important extent genetically heritable, and so not much affected by environmental factors operating after birth, seems now to be well established, however shaky its foundations may have been. This has important consequences for educational policy and practice, which now require serious consideration. Any system of education which takes it for granted that there are no inborn differences in children’s educability, when in fact there are, is not going to give the best results.

MoritzB 00:36, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Where did that block of text come from? As for Rushton, he was the only reference for two assertions. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:10, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
The block of text came from the review of Mackintosh's book. Rushton might have been the only reference but Rushton was simply quoting the findings of other scholars. It is inappropriate to attribute their findings to Rushton. MoritzB 01:17, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

"Ten years later, however, two independently written, meticulously thorough books (Fletcher, 1991; Joynson, 1989) completely vindicated Burt. Both ‘‘missing’’ research assistants were found and the twin data were proven not to have been ‘‘cooked.’’" - Rushton (2002) MoritzB 01:20, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Please don't keep re-inserting a lengthy defense into the short intro. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:40, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
The intro still violates NPOV because the position that Burt committed fraud is not better supported than the opposite point of view.MoritzB 15:21, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
The general view, as indicated by two encyclopdia entries and several academic journals or websites, is that Burt's later work is still discredited. I've added a line to indicate that there is a dispute, giving it equal weight. Detailed material does not belong in the intro, we've got a whole section devoted to the "Burt Affair". ·:· Will Beback ·:· 16:27, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
The authors of those encyclopedia entries have not considered evidence which has emerged in the 1990s and 2000s. This article should be based on the current scientific view. MoritzB 17:25, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
That's simply your surmise. An article published by Rushton in his own journal does not establish the "current scientific view". There are other publications from the 1990s and and 200os that still claim flasified data, including Mackintosh. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 17:33, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
"Intelligence" is not Rushton's "own journal". Mackintosh represents the strongest anti-Burt POV which is mainstream today.
MoritzB 18:10, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Rushton is on the board of editors of this journal, so a conflict of interest situation is always possible. Do you have any other quotes besides W. D. Hamilton (and Rushton) to say that Burt didn't falsify his data?--Ramdrake 18:48, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Fletcher, 1991; Joynson, 1989MoritzB 03:11, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
So the best sources are 16 years old or older? Do we know what Fletcher and Joynson actually wrote, or are we just going on what Rushton said they said? Whatever they wrote, they are significant (if dated) viewpoints. But there are plenty of newer sources that still claim Burt's later work is discredited. Butler & Petrulis, 1999, for example, make a strong case that the information was falisfied, based on their own research. I'm all for including the viewpoint of Rushton, but we cannot say that it is the acepted view of the scientific community. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:26, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Fletcher's, Joynson's and Mackintosh's books represent current mainstream POVs. The claims Leon Kamin made in the 1970s have been largely debunked. MoritzB 06:16, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
But Mackintosh said he falsified data. So do others. We can gauge the prevailing viewpoint by teriary sources like the other encyclopedias. But we should present all significant viewpoints neutrally. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:25, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
I think it is good now.MoritzB 06:45, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Ugly First Sentence[edit]

The first sentence of a Wikipedia article is very important. In the case of a person, it should succinctly state why that person is notable and in what way. In this article, the first sentence brings in another person and claims that the subject of the article took credit for his work. Is that a primary, overarching, most notable fact to be known about the subject of this article? If not, it should be changed. If I don't see any objections I will change it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:24, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


...when the journal was redacted by Burt.

What does this mean? I imagine that the intent is "while Burt was the editor of the journal". (talk) 00:42, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Intelligence Citations Bibliography for Articles Related to IQ Testing[edit]

You may find it helpful while reading or editing articles to look at a bibliography of Intelligence Citations, posted for the use of all Wikipedians who have occasion to edit articles on human intelligence and related issues. I happen to have circulating access to a huge academic research library at a university with an active research program in these issues (and to another library that is one of the ten largest public library systems in the United States) and have been researching these issues since 1989. You are welcome to use these citations for your own research. You can help other Wikipedians by suggesting new sources through comments on that page. It will be extremely helpful for articles on human intelligence to edit them according to the Wikipedia standards for reliable sources for medicine-related articles, as it is important to get these issues as well verified as possible. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 20:47, 30 June 2010 (UTC)


When I read this article I came away with the impression that his later research vis a vis the twins was widely considered to be false and that only a few revisionists still supported him, but the Genetic IQ Heritage page seems quite sure that not only was his overall assertion correct but his specific rate of inheritance was very close to the modern accepted number. This seems a bit odd, that one page treats him as a questionable researcher while the page on his subject seems to vindicate him. Perhaps the section on the Burt Affair should be rewritten? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:53, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Which other page do you mean? Is this a Wikipedia page?

There is pretty much a consensus among mathematically literate people that the Burt data looks thoroughly faked. The equality among correlations is just one bit of evidence - what is most damning is the fact that the normal distribution fits his data much too well. If anything, the page as it stands gives too much space to people who try to exculpate Burt on spurious grounds - that his probably fraudulent data is close to what they would like real data to be like, etc. Feketekave (talk) 19:17, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Burt may have fumbled his data, but the genetic correlations he reported are practically identical to those later reported in multiple independent studies. Earl Hunt's take, which I added to the article recently, sums it up well:
According to Earl B. Hunt, it may never be found out whether Burt was intentionally fraudulent or merely careless. Noting that later studies of the heritability of IQ have produced results very similar to those of Burt's, Hunt argues that Burt did not harm science in the narrow sense of misleading scientists with false results, but that in the broader sense science in general and behavior genetics in particular were profoundly harmed by the Burt Affair, leading to an unjustified general rejection of genetic studies of intelligence and a drying up of funding for such studies.--Victor Chmara (talk) 11:30, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
'Fumbling' is a very kind take. The nearness to later studies is neither here nor there; one can conduct a fraudulent study giving roughly correct conclusions. (Indeed, in the physical sciences, that would be the norm rather than the exception.) At the same time, please note that the "mutiple independent studies" statement in the current version of the text is not supported by citations to the said studies, but to an ad-hominem piece by Rushton. Feketekave (talk) 14:03, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The multiple independent studies statement is supported by Rushton, Jensen, and Hunt. The article does not refer to those particular studies because Wikipedia articles must be based on secondary sources.--Victor Chmara (talk) 20:56, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
We can and should refer to studies, if they are published. Feketekave (talk) 10:13, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think so. This article is hardly the place for a general discussion of twin studies. There are five MZA studies apart from Burt's -- Bouchard et al. 1990a, Juel-Nielsen 1965, Newman et al. 1937, Pedersen et al. 1992, and Shields 1962. They report IQ correlations ranging from .64 to .78, with a weighted average of .75, compared to Burt's .77.[4]--Victor Chmara (talk) 13:02, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Can we know the correlations reported by each of them? Allow me to note the obvious, viz., that only two of these studies is relatively recent, and that one dates to 1937. Feketekave (talk) 10:16, 16 January 2012 (UTC)