Herrnstein and Charles Murray has provoked some of the sharpest debates and attacks in this decade. In subtle and not so subtle ways, the authors of The Bell Curve have used research in an attempt to substantiate claims that African- Americans are genetically inferior in intellectual abilities and capabilities to whites. The controversy that has boiled up over the book is a definite example of the use of consilience, the conglomeration of knowledge approaching an explanation. While the authors" attempt at that explanation falls quite short of the truth, the nation-wide reaction to the book brought the public much closer to it. The controversy thrives over a questionable foundation of their claim, ignorance of public policy, and overall racist structure.
Nearly all the research that Murray and Herrnstein relied on for their central claims about race and IQ was funded by the Pioneer Fund, described by the London Sunday Telegraph as a "neo-Nazi organization closely integrated with the far right in American politics."1 The fund's mission is to promote eugenics, a philosophy that maintains that "genetically unfit" individuals or races are a threat to society. Murray himself doesn't think that the research they relied on was acceptable. "Some of the things we read to do this work, we literally hide when we're on planes and trains," Murray told the New York Times Magazine. 2 But The Bell Curve cites, as its primary sources for this assertion, R. Travis Osborne, Frank C.J. McGurk, and Audrey ShueyL; all are recipients of Pioneer grants. Osborne, who has received almost $400,000 from Pioneer, used his "research" into black genetic inferiority to argue for the complete restoration of school segregation.
Many black or minority students who don't perform well on an IQ exam aren't necessarily unintelligent people; they simply don't excel in an academic world where public policy disadvantages them.