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While the bogus science of eugenics — the idea that the human race can be improved through selective reproduction — has been nearly universally discredited, remnants of this belief system are still alive and well in modern research. One of the most glaring examples of this is the work of academic psychologist Richard Lynn.

Lynn’s work focused on researching human intelligence and the “national IQ” database he compiled on IQ scores from many countries has been cited in thousands of papers. This research was both deeply flawed and explicitly biased toward his belief that white, European people had higher intelligence.


“It’s ridiculously bad science,” said Rebecca Sear, a researcher who draws on anthropology, demography and human behavioral ecology at Bruntel University in London. Sear and science journalist Dan Samorodnitsky join the podcast this week to talk about Lynn’s explicitly racist research, how it is still being cited in medical journals to this day, and their efforts to get his papers and those citing them retracted from the scientific literature. You can read more from Samorodnitsky, Sear, and their colleagues in their First Opinion essay titled “Journals that published Richard Lynn’s racist ‘research’ articles should retract them.”

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