Race and intelligence : science's last taboo.

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Is there a race gap in intelligence? Although today's society is multi-racial, some top scientists still believe that there are differences in IQ according to racial groups. Rageh Omaar attempts to resolve the debate. James Watson is the most recent respected scientist to suggest there is a race gap - he has publicly apologised for his remarks on the subject and said his comments were based on research by Richard Lynn, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Ulster. Lynn speaks to Omaar frankly about his research to show that different racial groups have a higher IQ level than others - Aborigines are at the bottom of the curve, East Asians are at the top. Vivian Hill gives Omaar some intelligence tests which she says really don't measure intelligence so much as different cognitive abilities in different areas. This seems to be key - if the test is not relevant to the abilities of a particular racial group, how can they possibly score highly on it? Omaar looks at the history of IQ testing, showing how at the worst points of history, it led to eugenics programmes. Is there any evidence that those with a high IQ will have a more successful life? And is IQ genetic or to do with upbringing? J. Philippe Rushton, the most controversial authority on the subject of race and intelligence, speaks to Omaar and explains why he believes that intelligence is genetically determined. Professor Steve Jones from University College London suggests that although there are genetic differences between racial groups, this is ultimately meaningless as other factors, such as values and up-bringing, come into play to affect intelligence in each individual. Neuroscientist Steven Rose agrees and believes the debate is only continuing because our society is still underpinned with a great deal of racism. James Flynn's research into IQ testing shows that since WWII, black people's IQ test scores have increased at a greater rate than those of white people. This is known as the Flynn Effect. The reason for this, he says, is that black people haven't become more intelligent, they've just learned to conceptualise the world differently due to environmental factors and Western education.


UK : Channel 4, 2009.

Physical description

1 DVD (75 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Copyright note

Windfall Films.


Broadcast on 26 October, 2009.

Creator/production credits

Filmed, produced and directed by David Hickman.



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