Jean Philippe Rushton is Dead

No matter how much one may have disagreed with a colleague in life, no matter how much damage one might feel a particular person’s work may have done, when that colleague finally dies one says a few good words, pays respect, and puts aside past differences.

But not in this case. I met Jean Philippe Rushton a couple of times but never got to know him as a person. But I do know that he was convinced of the inferiority of Africans compared to, for instance, himself, and spent his entire life improperly manipulating data, sometimes just plain making the data up, to “prove” this. If you look at modern “psychometric” studies you will find, as you trace back the data to earlier sources “demonstrating” the link between genes and behavior and how races are real and how we can use racial distinctions to predict criminality, intelligence, levels of sexual aggression, and so on, you will find Jean Philippe Rushton’s “scholarly” effluence amassed at or near the base of the literature like a cancerous tumor deep in the body cavity of a rotted and stinking corpse splayed on the autopsy table.

And now he’s dead. Ding dong.


  1. #1 Michael Haubrich
    Central Coast
    October 6, 2012

    Ahhh..that’s too bad. The world will (hardly) miss him.

  2. #2 gwen
    October 6, 2012

    No, I know some people who still reference him to support their own (racist) views.. His views have not rotted nearly enough.

  3. #3 Tom Levenson
    October 6, 2012

    Best news I’ve heard all night.

    Truly a blot on the culture. I’m not a nil nisi bonum kind of guy, and the world is better and smarter for his passing.

  4. #4 Scott McGreal
    October 7, 2012

    Ah the great racial theoretician, known for such “scholarly” practices as citing data from Penthouse Forum to provide “evidence” for his theorising – and I’m not making this up either!

  5. #5 Rose Lee
    October 7, 2012

    I am sorry to hear that!
    Hope she will be peaceful!

  6. #6 sailor
    October 7, 2012

    I wonder what it was in his life that made him so insecure that he would compromise his profession in order to convince himself he was somehow superior

  7. #7 eah
    October 8, 2012

    Simple question: Have you personally written, and had published in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, articles refuting any aspect of Rushton’s work? If so, please provide a reference. TIA.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    October 8, 2012

    NO, I’ve not. Nor have I written anything refuting Lemark or Lysenko, yet Rushton, Lemark and Lysenko have all been roundly criticized by me in my teaching (I’ve taught courses on race that addressed Rushton).

    I’m not sure why you would expect that.

  9. #9 Rusty Mayhew
    October 9, 2012

    Thanks for saying what needed to be said.
    Rushton was just a racist, not a scientist.
    I’m sure he will find a special place has been made just for him.

  10. #10 David Grant
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    October 12, 2012

    The death of Phillipe Rushon is great news. While you shouldn’t generally take pleasure in the passing of a human being, you have to make an exception here. Can anyone truly say that the world is made a better place because of his research apart from the racists, nitwits, nazis, and bigots? This kind of rubbish is real poison and it is used to justify the worst behaviour from those who would chose to treat other people unjustly because of their race, religion, or country of origin. Hopefully with his death will go the death of this type of science–if you can all it that!!!!

  11. #11 Emilia
    October 13, 2012

    I am not sure I would call Rushton a racist in the classical sense: that is, he did not seem to adhere to the belief that Whites were superior to all other races. He seemed to believe that Asians were more intelligent than Whites and that Blacks had greater sexual prowess. So Whites came across as fairly mediocre in Rushton’s scheme of things. Yes, I saw Rushton’s theories as preposterous and easily refutable, but I would not necessarily label him as a White Supremacist by the general definition of that term.

  12. #12 John
    October 19, 2012

    Before finding this blog, I happened on a blog extolling the virtues of Philippe Rushton and his scientific merit. Well, I’m aware of Rushton’s sloppy work and outright frauds and the only regret I have about his passing is that it didn’t occur sooner.

  13. #13 John
    October 19, 2012

    And before I forget, I can’t wait to read about the demise of the other two miscreants of race “science” – Arthur Jensen and Richard Lynn.

  14. #14 Founder
    October 25, 2012

    Intelligence is genetically based. There is only a few percent gene difference between a human and a chimpanzee, but the potential of intelligence is very different.
    Gene flow between populations has made it so you can’t speculate on genes based purely on racial characteristics.
    There always has been gene flow, even between neanderthal and homo sapiens.
    Unfortunately, racists make it impossible to talk about differences between gene groups without bringing up race.

  15. #15 David Grant
    Calgary, AB
    October 25, 2012

    I cannot for sure call Mr. Rushton a racist, I cannot look into his heart. His research, though, was celebrated by people who clearly had racist and discriminatory motives. It is difficult to know to what extent his research was used by those with these motives, but it wasn’t helpful at all to a world where are enough of these problems.

  16. #16 Doug1943
    United Kingdom
    October 31, 2012

    All races and both sexes are absolutely equal with respect to any desirable biologically-based cognitive ability.

    Any appearance of inequality is due to the social environment, is a result of deliberate design by those who wish to support the oppressive racist sexist classist status quo, and can be remedied via a government program.

    Anyone who doubts this and says so in public deserves the worst that can happen to them.

  17. #17 Tomas Strobert
    January 14, 2013

    “Ningún hombre es una isla entera por sí mismo.
    Cada hombre es una pieza del continente, una parte del todo.
    Si el mar se lleva una porción de tierra, toda Europa queda disminuida, como si fuera un promontorio, o la casa de uno de tus amigos, o la tuya propia.

    Ninguna persona es una isla; la muerte de cualquiera me afecta, porque me encuentro unido a toda la humanidad;
    por eso, nunca preguntes por quién doblan las campanas; doblan por ti”. ( si tambien por ti Gred Laden…)

    JOHN DONNE, Londres (1572-1631)

    Tambien puedes leer a Heminway …

  18. #18 tomas Strobert
    January 14, 2013

    No man is an island entire of itself.
    Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the whole.
    If the sea takes a piece of land, Europe is the less, as if a promontory, or the house of one of your friends, or your own.

    No person is an island, the death of either affects me, because I’m attached to all mankind; therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for you. (Mr Greg…)

    John Donne, London (1572-1631)

  19. #19 EA
    January 18, 2013

    Philippe Rushton is to my knoweldge one of few scientists who have received an entire journal article dedicated to their work: a recent issue of Personality & Individual Differences, a leading journal in psychology.

  20. #20 EA
    January 19, 2013

    Here’s E. O. Wilson on Rushton:

    I think Phil is an honest and capable researcher. The basic reasoning by Rushton is solid evolutionary reasoning; that is, it is 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.

  21. #21 Rusty Mayhew
    January 22, 2013

    “Personality & Individual Differences, a leading journal in psychology.”

    Uh..No. It’s one of two journals (the other being “Intelligence”) primarily used by scientific racists to promote psuedoscience. For example, that IQ test scores are a measure of human intelligence when they are obviously only a measure of how an individual scores on a specific test.

    Jensen, Rushton and Lynn’s belief in biological “races” shows their understanding of basic biology and high school genetics is lacking (i.e., non-existent).

  22. #22 Gerhard
    January 25, 2013

    The reason why Rushton’s theory of race differences (he did a lot of work in other fields, too) is still cited widely in the scientific literature is that it’s still the only game in town. The PC guys are too stupid to come up with theories of their own to explain (away) race differences in a way that does not offend the intellect.

  23. #23 Jacob
    January 30, 2013

    Bitter liberal full of hate that can’t deal with the truth, I will wish for your speedy death and celebrate it when it comes.

  24. #24 kate
    January 30, 2013

    Can’t deal with the truth? That’s Rushton, dear Jacob. He couldn’t deal with the truth of not being super special by accident of birth. And you, too, apparently. Scientists deal with the truth, seek it out, in fact. Rushton’s cheating and lying to advance a falsehood that is damaging to the progress of humanity is fair game for hate.

  25. #25 John
    March 19, 2013

    Emilia, how has Rushton been “easily” refuted? I don’t value his work, but most of you here have not provided any refutation of anything Rushton has proposed in science. You are not scientific, only emotional.

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    March 19, 2013

    Well, he cooked the hell out if data that wasn’t very good to begin with, John.

  27. #27 Emilia
    May 12, 2013

    John, I won’t take up any extra space on Mr. Laden’s site, but if you want to see my arguments, I’ll refer you to an essay I wrote on the subject, at

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    May 13, 2013

    Well, he was a scholar who was very well aware of the fact that faking and manipulating data to prop up a racist pseudoscientific doctrine was wrong. That makes him a racist.

    It is quite possible to be a soft spoken very nice guy and still be a racist.

  29. #29 Emilia
    May 13, 2013

    Thank you for reading my essay. I suppose I should clarify that Rushton was not a racist in the classical sense of the term, i.e. that he believed that Whites were the pinnacle of humanity. Perhaps a better definition might be that he was not a White supremacist but that he was a racist.

    As I wrote in my essay, I think there is a bit of an ambivalent attitude towards Asians among White racists. For example, even Jean LePen (French opposition leader) seemed a little reluctant to bad-mouth Asians as he did Blacks, Muslims, etcetera. I think LePen felt he had to oppose the entry of Asians in France in order to be ‘consistent.’ So perhaps Rushton lauding Asians was not that radical.

    I’m actually sceptical of both the right and left wing’s view of race and racism, so perhaps that feeds into my view of Rushton.

  30. #30 Victor
    July 5, 2013

    I don’t see any faking or manipulating data. The IQ difference is true. I found it on many research articles. I feel sorry for Mr. Rushton. He just try to tell the truths. It is just like people’s first reaction of Einstein theory of relativity.

  31. #31 Scott
    July 7, 2013

    As poor Professor Rushton learned, scientific method is no match for political correctness. Critics can’t refute his findings, but that doesn’t stop their knee-jerk character assassination even after his death.

  32. #32 Daniel O
    August 14, 2013

    Sad to witness your gross disrespect to a dead person just because he proposed theories that you consider false. Please let me know which of Rushton’s proposed facts were ill-grounded and in what way. Or are you simply a dogmatic who can’t hear another view without screaming heretic at the messenger?

  33. #33 Jing
    November 1, 2013

    Good riddance! Why should someone like Rushton, who was a outspoken promoter of eugenics, the same ideologies spread by Adolf Hitler be missed?! Rushton should be buried in history and be forgotten!!!

  34. #34 John
    February 19, 2015

    I think this situation is really sad. Rushton proposed a relatively coherent scientific theory that attempted to explain why and how people from different parts of the world are different. Whether or not he was right or wrong is no excuse for the abuse and ridicule he was subjected to. There is a sad irony in that the hostility and hatred directed at him are just as bad as the racism he is accused of.

  35. #35 Greg Laden
    February 19, 2015

    John, it is impossible to believe that Rushton was honest about his research, and the long term negative effects of his bogus science have affected a lot of people. Probably not you, so maybe that is why you don’t care.

  36. #36 Marco
    February 19, 2015

    Greg, you may want to rephrase your first sentece in the comment above…

  37. #37 Greg Laden
    February 19, 2015


  38. #38 Marco
    February 20, 2015

    Well, thanks, I guess. Now my comment looks like that of an idiot!

  39. #39 Astrostevo
    Adelaide hills, South Australia
    February 20, 2015

    @ ^ Marco : Nah, not really, we can all read the comments and get the context.

  40. #40 Astrostevo
    February 20, 2015

    Racism rely is shit.

    (I can say shit here right?)


    “The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own “national security” to be paramount above all other considerations. There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.”
    – Isaac Asimov, Pages 419-421, ,‘ I Asimov : A memoir’, Bantam Books, 1995.

  41. #41 Astrostevo
    February 20, 2015

    I do know that he was convinced of the inferiority of Africans compared to, for instance, himself,

    Says all that needs saying and proof he’s wrong really desu ne? C’est ne pas?

  42. #42 Astrostevo
    Adelaide hills, South Australia
    February 20, 2015

    @ Daniel O :

    Sad to witness your gross disrespect to a dead person just because he proposed theories that you consider false. Please let me know which of Rushton’s proposed facts were ill-grounded and in what way.


    What part of “Africans are inferior” do you NOT understand and NOT understand is utterly racist and wrong exactly?

  43. #43 John
    February 20, 2015

    I’ve got to weigh back in on this, regarding comment #34 and #35 (not really sure about #36-38). It is not impossible to believe Rushton was honest about his research. It does not seem very likely he would have willfully destroyed his reputation and jeopoardized his career for something he knew to be false. That isn’t to say that his theory was correct, just that he more than likely sincerely believed it.

    I don’t think it is ok to hate someone for being wrong.

  44. #44 Greg Laden
    February 20, 2015

    John, he may well have been honestly convinced that racial differences for real. Actually I’m pretty sure that is the case. But he managed to convince himself that his research methods, which were roundly criticized and clearly wrong, were OK. To him, perhaps, the ends justified the means.

    But it doesn’t matter. The research is the research. Reducing the size of all brain volume measurements for African Americans by a constant factor because an unrelated archaic homo sapiens skull from thousands of years ago had a thick skull given that we’ve had modern human African skulls for decades (and they tend to have relatively large or normal size brains) is simply wrong. It totally invalidates most of his findings.

    His career was never jeopardized. He had tenure, and there was apparently room for a small number of people doing what he did. He was a big fish in a small pond. The idea that he would it would have made sense for him to protect his career does not apply, and also, does not obviate the bad analysis.

    I don’ t think it is terribly unreasonable for people to be upset at a researcher who promoted invalid research which helps supports a racist system that has measurable impacts on the lives of individuals simply because they have dark skin. A lot of people have bought into the race argument, the idea that people with dark skin are inherently inferior, intellectually, is based and supported by this bogus research. That idea is held by employers, teachers, neighbors, friends, relatives, policy makers, politicans and elected official, police officers, etc. etc. His work also promotes the idea of moral inferiority and primitiveness in behavior. All of that is bogus but fits with the overall racist theme. It is very very destructive to have everyone who looks at you assume you are an inferior human being because of the color of the skin.

  45. #45 john
    February 20, 2015

    Thanks for your response. I like your blog. I don’t know what you are referring to in the second paragraph.
    Although his career was not in jeopardy directly from the university due to his tenure (as you said) it most certainly was in jeopardy from the criminal investigations stemming from allegations of violating Canadian hate crime laws. Not to mention all the threats of violence, vandalism, verbal abuse etc. I don’t doubt that the stress contributed to his death.
    It seems unlikely anybody would be so committed to perpetuating something bogus in the face of such persecution.
    Anyway, the idea that groups of people from different parts of the world are different and that those differences are measurable should not and does not harm anyone. Value judgements of “inferiority” and “superiority” are attached to Rushton’s research mostly by people either looking to label him a racist or white supremacists trying to gain scientific legitimacy. I think both are wrong. A study of human variation (maybe oversimplified as race) does not need to be controversial, and unfortunately most scientists, unlike Rushton, are unwilling to risk their jobs and lives studying this topic. The sadness I expressed in my original post is not that Rushton is dead but that the close-mindedness of people who condemn his efforts are no better than the prejudice of bigoted racists who would judge a man based on the color of his skin.

  46. #46 Brainstorms
    February 20, 2015

    john, #45: There are many, MANY examples in history of people who have been quite willing to go to their death to defend their beliefs — including false beliefs. Rushton is not exempted from this.

    Anyone — and especially those in an academic position — who willfully and repeatedly falsify data, methods, etc. in order to arrive at a pre-conceived result that honest “efforts” repeatedly disprove and call out should be condemned for their dishonest “efforts”.

    To do so is hardly closed-mindedness, by any stretch. There is no way to justify the false balance that “all opinions about what can be (properly) scientifically demonstrated” are equal. They are not. To condemn someone who continues to insist and preach that 2+2=47 is not being closed-minded. To give credence to such is being simple-minded.

    I’ll express my sadness for those who cannot make this simple distinction and give misguided support for someone who is antagonistic regarding academic integrity and respect for their fellow man.

  47. #47 Greg Laden
    February 20, 2015

    “Anyway, the idea that groups of people from different parts of the world are different and that those differences are measurable should not and does not harm anyone. Value judgements of “inferiority” and “superiority” are attached to Rushton’s research mostly by people either looking to label him a racist or white supremacists trying to gain scientific legitimacy.”

    This, I’m afraid, is just wrong. The assertion that there are meaningful racial differences is wrong. (This is not the same as heritable variation across humans.) His research suggested that these are differences in intelligence, morality, and criminality. Those are not things attached to his research. These are things his research tried to demonstrate.

    We are not talking about closed mindedness here. We are talking about bad research.

  48. #48 john
    February 24, 2015

    I waited a couple days to check back on this blog. I kind of figured the replies would be derogatory and hostile. They weren’t. Thank you.
    I was not aware Rushton had willingly and repeatedly falsified data. If that is the case he has no relevance to anything but I’m not sure that is the case. The bulk of his research involved using studies other people had done, and aggregating them. In studying Rushton’s work I haven’t seen any evidence of deliberate manipulation of data., much less the pervasive academic dishonesty you allege.
    Most of the “refutations” I have seen have been people yelling “racist!” then that being the end of it with little or no discussion of his actual research. See the youtube “debate” with Dr. Suzuki.
    Rushton understood very well that variation within human populations is greater than variation between human populations and just because there are group differences is no reason to treat individuals from a certain group differently.
    To say that there are no meaningful differences is to discount the wonderful diversity of the human race, our evolutionary history, our adaptability to different environments and paints a bland, erroneous (albeit politically correct) image that everyone everywhere is the same.

  49. #49 Greg Laden
    February 24, 2015

    John, Rushton chose to decrease the estimated size of all “Black” skulls in the sample by a factor based on a non-modern human fossil found in Africa. He decreased all three samples (to account for skulls), using somewhat questionable data to decrease Asian skulls the least, “White” skulls a bit more, and used highly questionable data to subtract out “Black” skulls a lot.

    “To say that there are no meaningful differences”

    A lot goes into that statement. What I’m saying here is that he introduced a meaningful looking difference that was fabricated. He fabricated the difference. This is not about everybody being the same (or not). It is also not about political correctness. It is about good (or not) science.

  50. #50 Jennel
    March 17, 2015

    I actually just happened to run across a study by Rushton for the first time today, which lead me to this blog. It was his study on IQ differences between males and females using the SAT…the SAT, as well as the ACT, are standardized tests that colleges use to predict success in their program. Apparently Rushton completely missed the lesson on Validity and Accuracy where the test you use has to actually measure what you are trying to measure. It’s been scientifically proven time and again that success (which the test he used attempts to measure) does not correlate with IQ. That’s an example of how he “cooked the numbers”. It also fails to take into account stereotype threats, environmental development differences that are still too prevalent to really compare gender and IQ and so many other factors. These are huge flaws….how anyone could understand the scientific method and support these findings based on his methods is…devastatingly sad.

  51. #51 John
    April 6, 2015

    I did not know and cannot find what you are referring to in the reduction factor based on non-modern skulls. Can you post a link to that?

  52. #52 John
    May 20, 2015


  53. #53 Greg Laden
    May 21, 2015

    John, some literature is only found on paper. You simply need to read his original research.

    August 3, 2015

    I taught at an all-black elementary school in NE Phila. Out of the entire school, I doubt that one child had a 100 IQ. That, coupled with the fact that, if mankind is “out of Africa” precious little else is. Sub-saharan Africa, other than whiter South Africa, produces no autos, computers, technology…not even the guns that they use to kill each other with such frequency. Of course, it’s not that the rest of the world isn’t adept at killing, but we also invent and create.
    I’m just beginning to research Rushton, but it seems that it’s you who is unscientific, or at least lost in liberal fantasy. There are so many who won’t admit anything that doesn’t fit into their nice, polite fantasy castles. I need to study it further, but it sounds as if you’re whistling past the graveyard.