Academic Questions

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 401–410 | Cite as

The De-rehabilitation of Charles Murray

  • John Derbyshire

When Charles Murray’s book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 (Harper Perennial, 2003) was published in 2003, I was assigned to review it. Forming my thoughts after reading the book, I recalled an earlier exchange I had had with the author. (We had some slight personal acquaintance by way of a private email discussion group we both belonged to.) I recorded that exchange in my review.

I once suggested to Charles Murray that the true object of his intellectual passion is not sociology, or psychology, or psychometry, but statistics. Murray: “If you had said ‘data,’ you would have been nearer to the truth.” That was when he was still at work on Human Accomplishment. Reading the book now, I see the wisdom of his reply. Murray is a master mariner of data—a datanaut, as it were. The science of statistical analysis supplies his tool kit—his sounding line and sextant—but his passion is for the numbers, and the truths that lie hidden in...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Derbyshire
    • 1
  1. 1.Newx YorkUSA

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