The Public Interest

Who Has Donned Lysenko’s Mantle?

Bernard D. Davis & Stephen Jay Gould

Spring 1984

I HAVE rarely departed from Jonsons advice that “calumnies are answered best with silence.” But Bernard D. Davis’s diatribe against me (“Neo-Lysenkoism, IQ, and the Press,” Fall, 1983) is so egregious on all counts—so extraordinarily unfair, even cruel, in its personal characterizations and so poorly argued in its general claims and factually false in its specific charges—that I must make some response.  Davis’s article, largely an attack on my book The Mismeasure of Man, begins with (and rests upon) a false premise: that a troubling paradox inheres in the supposed fact that my book, while lauded in the popular press, was damned by experts in technical publications.  Davis writes: “The reviews in the scientific journals were almost all highly critical”; and “It is important for the general public to understand why scientists close to the field have reacted so negatively to The Mismeasure of Man.

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