User:JereKrischel/Rushton draft

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Professor John Philippe (Phil) Rushton Ph.D , D.Sc (born December 3, 1943) is a psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, best known for his controversial work on racial differences.

Rushton holds two doctorates from the University of London, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American (APA), British (BPS), and Canadian Psychological Associations, and was a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1988. He is the current head of the Pioneer Fund.


Born in Bournemouth, England, Rushton's father was a building contractor, while his mother was French and gave him his middle name. Rushton was raised in South Africa during the reign of white-dominance and apartheid. Rushton received a B.Sc in psychology from Birbeck College at the University of London in 1970 and in 1973 received his Ph.D from the London School of Economics for his work on altruism in children. He then moved to the University of Oxford where he continued his work until 1974.

Rushton taught at York University in Canada from 1974-1976 and the University of Toronto until 1977. He then moved to the University of Western Ontario, and was made a full professor there in 1985. He received his D.Sc. from London in 1992.

Rushton has published more than 100 papers and articles, written a number of books, including a pair on altruism, one on 'scientific excellence', and a psychology text (co-authored). In 1988 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Following his work on behavioral genetics and sociobiology Rushton began studying racial differences.

Specific works[edit]

Genetic similarity hypothesis[edit]

Rushton began his career with studies on altruism. He has hypothesized a heritable component in altruism and is the creator of the Genetic Similarity Theory, which states that individuals tend to be more altruistic to individuals who are genetically similar to themselves, and less altruistic, and sometimes outwardly hostile to individuals who are less genetically similar. Rushton describes "ethnic conflict and rivalry" as "one of the great themes of historical and contemporary society" and suggests that it may have its roots in the evolutionary impact of individual from groups "giving preferential treatment to genetically similar others". Rushton argues that "the makeup of a gene pool [i.e., a human population's total reservoir of alternative genes] causally affects the probability of any particular ideology being adopted". Foreshadowing the massive controversy that would erupt over his later racial theories, Rushton writes "religious, political, and other ideological battles may become as heated as they do because they have implications for genetic fitness".


In order for Rushton's theory to be plausible, one must believe that individuals can discern genetic similarities and differences. Population geneticists, such as Cavalli-Sforza, have found that genetic differences within superficially identifiable groups (various "races") are in fact of much greater magnitude than genetic differences between such groups. This challenges Rushton's hypothesis by denying him a mechanism by which individuals can accurately determine who is more and who is less genetically similar.

His hypothesis is also challenged by counter examples indicating hostility between genetically similar groups, and peace between genetically different groups. A critique by John Tooby & Leda Cosmides stated, "For example, immigrants originally from neighboring villages in Italy were prevented from working together because of the serious violence that would erupt; yet these same individuals lived peacefully among Chinese immigrants (Sowell 1981)."[1]

Race evolution hypothesis[edit]

Rushton wrote the book Race, Evolution And Behavior: A Life History Perspective[2], in which he outlines an extremely controversial theory of virtually every aspect of human nature and the course of world history. Rushton claims that there are three main "races" of human-kind, Mongoloids (i.e. Orientals), Caucasoids (i.e. whites), and Negroids (i.e. blacks). He further asserts that these group fall persistently and repeatedly into the same one-two-three pattern when compared on a list of 60 different behavioral and anatomical variables.

The book grew out of his earlier paper, Evolutionary Biology and Heritable Traits (With Reference to Oriental[3]-White-Black Difference), which was presented at the Symposium on Evolutionary Theory, Economics and Political Science, AAAS Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA, January 19, 1989).

The book claims that Mongoloids, on average, are at one end of a continuum, that Negroids, on average, are at the opposite end of that continuum, and that Caucasoids rank in between Mongoloids and Negroids, but closer to Mongoloids. His continuum includes both external physical characteristics and personality traits.

Citing genetic research by Cavalli-Sforza, the African Eve hypothesis, and the Out of Africa theory, Rushton concludes that Negroids branched off first (200,000 years ago), Caucasoids second (110,000 years ago) and Mongoloids last (41,000 years ago). Rushton has claimed that this first, second, and third chronological sequence perfectly correlates with, and is responsible for, what he believes to be a consistent global multi-dimensional racial pattern on everything from worldwide crime statistics, the global distribution of AIDS, social disorder, technological progress, brain size and intelligence, sexuality and personality.

Rushton believes that if his model proves to be accurate, then two important predictions can be made about the course of world history. He expects Mongoloid populations could be expected to outdistance the predominantly Caucasoid populations of the Western world, and second, Negroid populations, given their alleged statistical bent toward promiscuity and social chaos, were especially at risk for AIDS.

Although Rushton acknowledges socio-economic and cultural factors, he believes they are more likely to be the product of the differences he describes rather than the cause, asserting that both socio-economic status and cultures are genetically determined.


Poor methodology[edit]

Rushton claims to use a methodology he calls the "aggregation" of evidence, in which he averages hundreds of studies, modern and historical, with equal weight to demonstrate the patterns he asserts. He claims that by averaging many studies, which may include those that used poor research methods, the results one gets can be very accurate.

Most other scientists have a very low opinion of his, including biologist Douglas Wahlsten, who in a review of Rushton's book wrote:

averaging does no thing to reduce bias in sampling and measurement, and such flaws are abundant in the cited literature. For example, among the 38 reports on brain weight, all but two gave figures for only one group, with most cases being people living in the nation of their ancestors, such as an article on Japanese living in Japan and another on Kenyans living in Kenya. The obvious differences in environment make all of these data of dubious worth for testing hypotheses about genetic causes of group differences.[4]

Wahlsten also further criticizes Rushton's particular use of data in the same book review:

The author is an earnest believer in genetically determined race differences, and he vows to cling tenaciously to his world view unless his opponents can provide conclusive proof to the contrary. In my opinion, this is the kind of approach to be expected from religious zealots and politicians, not professional scientists. A rigorous evaluation of the evidence cited by Rushton reveals the methods in most studies were seriously flawed and render the data inconclusive. If the evidence is so poor, the proper action for a scientist is to suspend judgment. In reality, there is not one properly controlled study of brain size comparing representative samples of races in the entire world literature.[5]

In a 1996 review of the book, anthropologist C. Loring Brace wrote that "Race, Evolution, and Behavior is an amalgamation of bad biology and inexcusable anthropology. It is not science but advocacy, and advocacy of 'racialism'" (Brace 1996). Brace argues that Rushton assumes the existence of three biological races with no evidence except Rushton's speculation as to what an extraterrestrial visitor to Earth would think. Brace also disagrees with Rushton applying the concept of heritability (normally applied in the context of individuals) to groups. Finally, Brace claims Rushton makes unsupported claims about sub-Saharan African societies.

Other critics have also charged that his interpretations, conclusions and methods are "sloppy" and "unscientific"[6].

Penis size claims[edit]

Rushton has made blanket assertions that intelligence is inversely related to penis size, representing a genetic trade-off saying "it's more brain or more penis. You can't have everything." Rushton has not provided any evidence to support this assertion.

Critics question Rushton's data on penis size, particularly one study, conducted in 1898 by an anonymous French Army surgeon who traveled through Africa and recorded the size of African penises, and from a second study comparing the penises of Nigerian medical students to Czech army officers. In this study, it turned out the Nigerians penises were longer, and the Czech's had greater circumference. Critics note that if penis girth is used instead of penis length, the Caucasoid sample averaged larger penises. Rushton glosses over this, asserting that in his "aggregations" across other studies, he finds that Negroid penises are not only longest, but thickest also. (See #Poor methodology for more information regarding Rushton's "aggregation" methodology)

Rushton referred to three WHO cited studies on penis size (used for procurement policies regarding condom size) to bolster his assertions regarding geographic distributions of penis size based on race.[7] Further FHI studies indicated no significant breakage and slippage rates for condoms based on racial groups, however, challenging the other studies.[8][9][10]

No biological basis for race[edit]

Defenders of Rushton, such as Arthur Jensen believe in the biology of race despite the genetic research which has found greater differences within "races" than between "races", claiming that "if the differences between the means of various populations were not larger than the mean difference between individuals within each population, it would be impossible to distinguish different populations statistically." Despite their claims, mathematically it is possible to distinguish arbitrary groups which have minor differences between means, but more differences within those groups. For example, blue and green bags of coins may differ as groups, by 2 cents, but within groups larger amounts:

Color-> Blue Green
2 4
4 6
70 72
72 74
Mean-> 37 39
Type-> Low Amount High Amount
2 70
4 72
4 72
6 74
Mean-> 4 72

Cavalli-Sforza[11], whose genetic research forms the basis for much of Rushton's work, also considers all racial classifications to be arbitrary.

There have been genetics studies which have identified general correlations between self-identification of race/ethnicity, and genetic cluster membership, (Tang et al. 2005)[12], which are cited by Rushton supporters - critics assert that it is a misinterpretation of them to suggest they support Rushton's positions.

Native American exception[edit]

Rushton's hypothesis has difficulty explaining why Native Americans, who are arguably Mongoloids and emigrated from the northernmost parts of Asia, do not currently have high scores on IQ tests or low crime rates, though their large crania are consistent with Rushton's model.[citation needed] Defenders of Rushton claim that genetic evidence suggests that Native Americans are an archaic form of Mongoloid[citation needed], and are thus according to Rushton's model, may not be quite as advanced as the rest of the Mongoloid race. Rushton (1995) also argues that lower scores of Native Americans can be attributed to the evolutionary relaxation of cognitive demands due to the more temperate environment and comparative ease with which North American fauna could be hunted. Skeptics of this defense note it can be argued that life along the fertile river plains in China was not particularly harsh, and it is also questionable that conditions in deserts are no less harsh but people living there do not currently score high on IQ tests.

The Flynn effect[edit]

The most devastating challenge to Rushton's worldwide data on IQ scores concerns the Flynn effect and the now well documented fact that industrialization and urbanization causes the average IQ of entire countries to rise by massive amounts. In the Rising Curve, James Flynn argues that whites born in the 19th century were scoring lower not only than contemporary African Americans but obtaining scores perhaps even lower than contemporary blacks in the third world. This directly contradicts Rushton's assertion that Negroids are lower on the IQ scale than Caucasoids.

Rushton has responded to the Flynn Effect by simply claiming that the low IQ's of pre-WWII whites have little to do with general intelligence (the g factor), while the low IQ's obtained by contemporary blacks (even in the third world) are somehow valid reflections of cognitive functioning. Skeptics find that defense particularly weak, finding no reason to believe that a set of results that contradicts his hypothesis should be dismissed arbitrarily.

Social Class Theory[edit]

Rushton asserts that the r and K traits he claims differentiate the races, also differentiate the social classes within each race, though to a much lesser extent. The lower class, claims Rushton, tend to display characteristics more associated with an r-strategy (low IQ, short lifespans, large families, high crime rates etc). Rushton further contends that these class based differences help explain the rise and fall of civilizations observed throughout the course of world history. He hypothesizes that the more K selected individuals build the civilization, but once the society becomes wealthy, the more numerous off-spring of the r selected members are given the resources to survive. Then, according to his model, as r selected individuals become more numerous, the society lacks the intellect, industriousness, and social order to maintain itself, and thus collapses. According to Rushton, the collapse of the society creates scarce resources and leads to intense competition which favours the more intelligent K selected members. Finally, he asserts that as the K selected members become more numerous, the society is able to rebuild its civilization and the cycle continues.


Casual inspection of world history clearly illustrate large gaps in his hypothesis, which does not account for external effects of invasion, disease, migration and politics.

Psychologist Zack Cernovsky offers criticism of Rushton's application of r/K dimensions:

The r/K dimension is derived from an extremely wide range of species. Its dogmatic application to the drastically reduced variance within contemporary Homo sapiens is statistically naive (for more detailed explanations, see Cernovsky, 1992). It is not even necessary to be a competent statistician to avoid similar errors. If Rushton (1988, 1990a) could heed Jerison's (1973) warning that racial differences in brain size are at most minor and "probably of no significance for intellectual differences," he would not attempt to extend Jerison' s findings across species to subgroups within modern mankind. Instead, Rushton (1991) misleadingly refers to Jerison in a manner that implies an expert support from this famous comparative neuropsychologist, without mentioning their disagreement on the most central issue.[13]

Controversy and criticism[edit]

Popular science commentator David Suzuki protested the theory and spoke out against Rushton in a live televised debate at the University of Western Ontario. "There will always be Rushtons in science," Suzuki thundered "and we must always be prepared to root them out!". Rushton is accused by critics of advocating a new eugenics movement [14], and is openly praised by proponents of eugenics.[15]

Rushton has been considered by many scholars to be more of a self-promoter than serious scientist. After mass mailing a booklet to psychology, sociology and anthropology professors across North America based on his racial papers, Hermann Helmuth, a professor of anthropology at Trent University, said, "It is in a way personal and political propaganda. There is no basis to his scientific research."[16]

Since 2002, Rushton has been the president of the controversial Pioneer Fund, which aims "to advance the scientific study of heredity and human differences." Rushton's work has received grants from the fund totalling over $1 million USD since 1981.

Rushton's sources, such as semi-pornographic books and the Penthouse magazine, have been dismissed by other researchers, or have been criticized as extremely biased and inadequate reviews of the literature, or simply false [2]. There have also been many other criticisms of the theory [3][4][5][6][7][8][9]. Actual recent data show that blacks are not more psychopathic [10], nor do they differ from whites when testing for the big five personality traits [11], differences in sex hormones between whites and East Asians are best explained by environmental differences [12], and the fundamental prediction of the theory that blacks have a higher frequency of twins is disputed by some sources [13]. However, the rate of twin births in the US has doubled since 1971, the time of the study Rushton cited, due to older mothers (for which twin births are naturally more common) and fertility treatments,[14] both demographic characteristics that are more common among Whites.[15]

Professional opinions[edit]

Some scientists have come to Rushton's defense, including biologist E.O. Wilson who said, "I think Phil is an honest and capable researcher ... The basic reasoning by Rushton is solid evolutionary reasoning; that is it's logically sound. If he had seen some apparent geographic variation for a non-human species-a species of sparrow or sparrow hawk, for example-no one would have batted an eye."

Psychologist David P. Barash wrote in a scholarly review:

I don't know which is worse, Rushton's scientific failings or his blatant racism. [...] At least Rushton has a theory, namely, r- and K-selection. In brief, he argues that `Negroids' are relatively r-selected, `Mongoloids' K-selected, and `Caucasoids' in between. All racial distinctions are then seen to derive from this grand pattern, from differences in genital anatomy, to reproductive regimes, to IQ, etc. He even points to the higher frequency of low birth weight babies among black Americans, data that are undeniably consistent with an r-selection regime, but which might also be attributed to poor nutrition and insufficient prenatal care, and which, not coincidentally, have other implications for behaviour, IQ not the least. [...] I suspect that r- and K-selection does in fact have some relevance to variations in human behaviour, notably the so-called demographic transition, whereby economic development characteristically leads to reduced family size, and, moreover, a greater reliance on a variety of `K-type' traits. But this is a pan-human phenomenon, a flexible, adaptive response to changed environmental conditions of lowered mortality and greater pay-off attendant upon concentrating parental investment in a smaller number of offspring [...] Rushton wields r- and K-selection as a Procrustean bed, doing what he can to make the available data fit"

Barash ends his lengthy review with the sentence: "Bad science and virulent racial prejudice drip like pus from nearly every page of this despicable book".

Rushton supporter Arthur Jensen had a more favorable opinion, "This brilliant book is the most impressive theory-based study...of the psychological and behavioral differences between the major racial groups that I have encountered in the world literature on this subject."


  1. ^ Kin selection, genic selection, and information-dependent strategies by John Tooby & Leda Cosmides (1989). Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12, 542-544.
  2. ^ Race, Evolution And Behavior: A Life History Perspective by J. Philippe Rushton 2nd Special Abridged Edition
  3. ^ Rushton has sometimes been criticized for using the word "Oriental", when most North Americans use the term "Asian" instead. Since the 1990s, Asian American activists have begun campaigns to stop people from using the word Oriental, claiming the term has offensive connotations. However, the term is widely used non-pejoratively in Great Britain to denote people of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean ancestry, since the term "Asian" there has historically referred to people from the Indian Subcontinent.
  4. ^ Book Review of Race, Evolution and Behavior
  5. ^ Book Review of Race, Evolution and Behavior
  6. ^ Sloppy Statistics, Bogus Science and the Assault on Racial Equity
  7. ^ FHI Report
  8. ^ Neupane S, Abeywickrema D, Martinez K, et al. Acceptability and Actual Use Breakage and Slippage Rates of Standard and Smaller Latex Condoms: Nepal and Sri Lanka. Durham, NC: Family Health International, 1992.
  9. ^ Joanis C, Brookshire T, Piedrahita C, et al. Evaluation of Two Condom Designs: A Comparison of Standard and Larger Condoms in Ghana, Kenya, and Mali. Durham, NC: Family Health International, 1990.
  10. ^ Andrada A, Ravelo N, Spruyt A, et al. Acceptability and Functionality of Standard and Smaller Latex Condoms during Human Use: Philippines. Durham, NC: Family Health International, 1993.
  11. ^ Cavalli-Sforza
  12. ^ The methodology of this study required severe classification constraints (e.g. the groups in question are assumed to be mutually exclusive with no multi-racial cases). Also, the study only looked at United States ethnic groups ("white", African-American, and Hispanic) and Taiwanese (East Asian) samples that would potentially obscure continuously distributed gene frequencies. In short, the results of these studies are not at all incompatible with Brace's concept of morphological diversity across geographic clines.
  13. ^ On the similarities of American blacks and whites: A reply to J.P. Rushton. Vol. 25, Journal of Black Studies, 07-01-1995, pp 672.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Website including prominent reference to Rushton's works
  16. ^ UWO Gazette Volume 93, Issue 68 Tuesday, February 1, 2000 Psych prof accused of racism

See also[edit]


  • Barash D.P (1995) Book review: Race, Evolution, and Behavior. Animal Behaviour 49:1131-1133.
  • Lynn, Richard. The Science of Human Diversity: A History of the Pioneer Fund. University Press of America, 2001.
  • Brace, C. Loring (1996). "Racialism and Racist Agendas". American Anthropologist. 91 (1): 96–97. 
  • Rushton, J. P. (1995). Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective (PDF) (2nd special abridged edition ed.). Port Huron, MI: Charles Darwin Research Institute. 
  • Rushton, J. P. (2000). Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective (3rd ed.). Port Huron, MI: Charles Darwin Research Institute. ISBN 0965683613. 

External links[edit]