James Robert Flynn

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James R. Flynn (2007)

James Robert Flynn FRSNZ (28 April 1934 – 11 December 2020) was a New Zealand intelligence researcher. Originally from Washington, D.C. and educated at the University of Chicago, Flynn emigrated to New Zealand in 1963, where he taught political studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin. He was noted for his publications about the continued year-after-year increase of IQ scores throughout the world, which is now referred to as the Flynn effect. In addition to his academic work, he championed social democratic politics throughout his life.


  • The question now is how to fill the void Jensen's death leaves, particularly for scholars open to scientific inquiry who challenge some of his conclusions. There is no substitute for someone of great intellectual caliber who disagrees with you. With Jensen no longer alive, we will have to invent him. But we cannot really do that, because no one is so constructed as to put the same energy and imagination into a fictitious opponent as we put into polishing our own ideas. No one can pretend to believe what they do not believe, but I hope there is a young scholar out there with the convictions and mind of Arthur Jensen. I am sometimes asked why I spoke so well of him. The answer is that it was easy.
    • Flynn, J. R. (2012). Arthur Robert Jensen (1923–2012). Intelligence.

Race, IQ, and Jensen (1980)[edit]

  • Today no one who wishes to clean even a minimal regard for reason or evidence can espouse racist ideology as it was in its heyday, a system as comprehensive as Marxism and to some clearly equally as satisfying. However, thanks to Jensen and Eysenck and Shockley, the racist can cling to the periphery of his ideology; for example, he can provide a reasoned defence of his position on certain issues such as immigration and foreign policy. I do not wish to minimize the ground he has lost: the retreat from world history to little more than immigration quotas is a great defeat for the racist and a great source of satisfaction for all of his opponents. I am quite convinced that the refutation of racism in the light of reason is almost complete (the effort to eradicate it as a social force is a different matter and may never be fully accomplished). However, the last stand of the racist is not without importance, something I will attempt to demonstrate by giving a racist ideologue his say. [not referring to any of the above mentioned persons].
    • p. 8
  • [Jensen] does not believe that [heritability] estimates alone can decide the issue of genetic versus environmental hypotheses. However, he argues that the probability of a genetic hypothesis will be much enhanced if, in addition to evidencing high [heritability], we find we can falsify literally every plausible environmental hypothesis one by one. He challenges social scientists who believe in an environmental explanation of the IQ gap between the races to bring their hypotheses forward. Given his competence and the present state of the social sciences, the result is something of a massacre.... Far too many of Jensen's critics have not taken up the challenge to refute him in any serious way, rather they have elected for various forms of escape, the most popular of which has been to seize on an argument put forward by the distinguished Harvard geneticist Richard C. Lewontin.
    • pp. 40, 54. Quoted from Nevin Sesardic, Making Sense of Heritability (2005), p. 136.

Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century (2012)[edit]

  • The collapse of the Ice Ages hypothesis does not, of course, settle the debate about whether there are racial differences in genes for intelligence. If universities had their way, the necessary research will never be done. They fund the most mundane research projects, but never seem to have funds to test for genetic differences between races. I tell US academics I can only assume that they believe that racial IQ differences have a genetic component, and fear what they might find. They never admit that the politics of race affects their research priorities. It is always just far more important to establish whether squirrels enjoy The Magic Flute.
    • p. 36, Box 4

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