Miele, Frank 1948(?)–
Miele, Frank 1948(?)–
Born c. 1948. Education: University of Georgia, A.B., 1970, M.S., 1972.
Home—Sunnyvale, CA. Office—Skeptic Magazine, P.O. Box 338, Altadena, CA 91001. E-mail—[email protected]
Skeptic Magazine, Altadena, CA, columnist, advertising director, senior editor, 1994—.
Spinoza Award, Skeptics Society, 1994, for "Giving the Devil His Due: Holocaust Revisionism as a Test Case for Free Speech and the Skeptical Ethic."
Intelligence, Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen, Westview (Boulder, CO), 2002.
(With Walter Kistler) Reflections on Life: Science, Religion, Truth, Ethics, Success, Society, Foundations for the Future (Bellevue, WA), 2003.
(With Vincent Sarich) Race: The Reality of Human Differences, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 2004.
Contributor to Skeptic magazine and other periodicals, including, Mankind Quarterly, Perceptual and Motor Skills, and Intelligence.
Frank Miele has worked as a senior editor and frequent columnist for Skeptic Magazine, where he has interviewed such scientists as evolutionist Richard Dawkins, psychologist Robert Sternberg, ecologist Garrett Hardin, and anthropologists Donald Johanson, Lionel Tiger, and Robin Fix. His extended e-mail conversations with research psychologist Arthur R. Jensen resulted in the 2002 title Intelligence, Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen.
Miele, who grew up in New Jersey, first became interested in Jensen's theories of a possible genetic component to intelligence when he was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia in psychology, studying under R. Travis Osborne. At the time, he became a frequent contributor to the journal Mankind Quarterly, beginning his professional writing career with a review of the 1965 book The Hittites, by O.R. Gurney. Several other reviews followed, including one on M.F. Ashley Montagu's The Concept of Race. Shortly thereafter, Miele published an original article on the same theme, "The Race Concept." Working with his mentor, Osborne, Miele also authored "Heritability of Numerical Facility" for the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills in 1967. Two years later, Osborne and Miele wrote "Racial Differences in Environmental Influences on Numerical Ability as Determined by Heritability Estimates."
This was the same year that Jensen caused a stir in academia with an article published in the Harvard Educational Review maintaining that a person's IQ is mostly a result of heredity—including one's racial heritage—and that attempts to increase the IQ level are not very successful. The article, "How Much Can We Boost IQ and School Achievement?," was inflammatory because in it Jensen also argues that the fifteen-point difference in the average IQ range between whites and blacks is largely due to heredity rather than environment. This thesis was "construed as supportive of white racial superiority, and all hell broke loose," according to Booklist writer Ray Olson. Jensenism, as this hereditary theory of intelligence became known, was debated in the halls of universities and in the corridors of power in Washington.
Meanwhile, Miele, now doing postgraduate work at the University of Georgia, continued his research into the hereditary nature of certain types of intelligence. He also began to look into possible cultural biases in the WISC test, the primary tool for ascertaining IQ level. His "Cultural Bias in the WISC" was published in Intelligence in 1979. By 1994, Miele had begun to contribute articles to Skeptic Magazine, spurred on by a television interview of the magazine's founder dealing with Holocaust deniers. Miele's first article, "Giving the Devil His Due," explored the phenomenon of such deniers in the light of the rights of free speech and inquiry.
Soon Miele was a regular contributor to Skeptic, writing and interviewing on topics ranging from cloning to ecology to the controversial book The Bell Curve, another publication that stirred debate about race and intelligence. Miele ultimately became senior editor at Skeptic, but over the decades he had not lost his early interest Jensenism and the heritability of intelligence. Through a series of email interviews with Jensen, who became a University of California at Berkeley emeritus professor of psychology, Miele compiled his 2002 book, Intelligence, Race, and Genetics. A combination of "biography, autobiography, popular science, and polemical debate," according to Steve Sailer in VDare, "most of it in easy-to-digest Question and Answer style." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that Miele "draws out this scientist with tough questions, engaging him in debate about the initial reaction to his theories, the Bell Curve wars, and the bias in IQ tests." A contributor to Scientific American online noted that "Miele hopes the exchange will enable the reader ‘to decide for yourself whether Jensenism represents one man's search for provisional, not metaphysical, truth through the continuous and vigorous application of the methods of science.’" The same reviewer commented that the interview "read[s] like a conversation." On a similar note, Olson wrote: "This makes fascinating but often demanding reading and confirms that Jensen is no racist: exogamy, he says, facilitates higher intelligence." More praise for Miele's book came from Intelligence contributor A. Alexander Beaujean, who reported that "through his questions, Miele does an admirable job of presenting an overview of Jensen's colossal research, and he accomplishes this feat in an evenhanded and easy to understand fashion."
Miele collaborated with anthropologist Vincent Sarich to write Race: The Reality of Human Differences. The book focuses on the authors' view that the study of race is a valid scientific pursuit as opposed to the scientific view "that race is meaningless—a ‘social construct,’ divorced from physical reality and poisonous in its implications," as noted by National Review contributor Dan Seligman. In addition to pointing out the obvious physical differences between races, the authors turn to the modern study of DNA to present their case that races exhibit important differences in genetics that go beyond physical characteristics. In the process, they make their claim that the Human Genome Project, which has mapped the entire DNA makeup of human beings, has shown that there are correlations between intelligence and specific races. The authors also write about the potential public policy implications of their theories concerning race. Vernon Ford commented in Booklist that the book "challenges both the existence and the value of America's obsession with color blindness." Seligman added: "It exposes the race-doesn't-exist arguments as involved nonsense. It is a treasure trove of memorable evolutionary insights."
Some reviewers believed that the book would undoubtedly raise controversy. "It is not hard to predict the response to this book, not just the general response, but the scientific, technical one," wrote Paul R. Gross in the New Criterion. "For here, as in no other domain of contemporary science except, perhaps, in global climate research, political correctness reigns. There will be denunciations of Sarich and Miele; it has already begun." Nevertheless, Gross went on to write: "There is no bombast in Race. It is an effort to define for the general reader, in broadest terms, those features of human genetics and anthropology testifying to a surprisingly recent origin of our lineage, but also to a long interval (before the present) of sufficient geographic separation of human subpopulations to have given rise to the currently recognizable races."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Journal of Human Biology, November-December, 2004, George W. Gill, review of Race: The Reality of Human Differences, p. 721.
Booklist, October 15, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Intelligence, Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen, p. 365; February 15, 2004, Vernon Ford, review of Race, p. 1031.
Intelligence, Volume 31, 2003, A. Alexander Beaujean, review of Intelligence, Race, and Genetics.
Library Journal, January 2004, David A. Timko, review of Race, p. 140.
National Review, April 19, 2004, Dan Seligman, "Facing Race," review of Race, p. 49.
New Criterion, April, 2004, Paul R. Gross, "Race: No Such Thing," p. 86.
Publishers Weekly, September 1, 2002, review of Intelligence, Race, and Genetics; January 12, 2004, review of Race, p. 50.
Quarterly Review of Biology, December, 2005, Leigh Van Valen, review of Race, p. 505.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2004, review of Race, p. 72.
Skeptic, Volume 2, number 4, 1994, Frank Miele, "Giving the Devil His Due: Holocaust Revisionism as a Test for Free Speech and the Skeptical Ethic," pp. 58-70; Volume 3, number 2, 1995, Frank Miele, "An Interview with the Author of The Bell Curve," pp. 34-41; Volume 3, number 3, 1995, Frank Miele, "An Interview with Robert Sternberg on The Bell Curve," pp. 72-80; Volume 3, number 4, 1995, Frank Miele, "Darwin's Dangerous Disciple: An Interview with Richard Dawkins," pp. 80-85; Volume 4, number 1, 1996, Frank Miele, "The (Im)Moral Animal," pp. 42-49; Volume 4, number 2, Frank Miele, "Living within Limits and Limits on Living: Garrett Hardin on Ecology, Economy, and Ethics," pp. 42-46; Volume 5, number 1, 1997, Frank Miele, "Souled Out … or Sold Short?," pp. 46ff; Volume 7, number 2, 1999, Frank Miele, "How Close Are We to Cloning Time?," pp. 48ff; Volume 8, number 3, 2001, Frank Miele, "Quick and Dirty Guide to Chaos Theory and Complexity Theory," p. 5; spring, 2005, Michael Shermer, "The Great Race Debate," review of Race, p. 87.
Times Literary Supplement, February 25, 2005, Jerry A. Coyne, "Legends of Linnaeus: When ‘Europeans Were Governed by Laws, Asians by Opinions and Africans by Caprice,’" p. 3.
Institute for the Study of Academic Racism (ISAR) Web site,http://www.ferris.edu/isar/ (May 6, 2003), "Bibliographies—Frank Miele."
Perseus Books Web site,http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/ (September 24, 2007), brief profile of Frank Miele.
Scientific American Online, http://www.sciam.com/books/ (May 6, 2003), review of Intelligence, Race, and Genetics.
VDare.com,http://www.vdare.com/ (December 1, 2002), Steve Sailer, "A King among Men: Arthur Jensen."