The first edition of The Mismeasure of Man appeared in 1981 and was quickly praised in the popular press as a definitive refutation of 100 years of scientific work on race, brain-size and intelligence. It sold 125,000 copies, was translated into 10 languages, and became required reading for undergraduate and even graduate classes in anthropology, psychology, and sociology.
"May I end up next to Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius in the devils mouth at the center of hell if I ever fail to present my most honest assessment and best judgment of evidence for empirical truth" (p. 39). So swears one Stephen Jay Gould, justifiably worried that his activist background may have tarnished his reputation for scholarship. Critical examination of the new edition of The Mismeasure of Man shows that, indeed, Gould's resort to character assassination and misrepresentation of evidence have caught up with him.
Hailed in the popular media as the definitive deconstruction of the 'myth' that science is an objective enterprise, the original The Mismeasure of Man was in fact an ad hominem attack on eminent scholars, past and present, who have scientifically studied race, intelligence, and brain size. Despite the masses of empirical research using state-of-the-art technology published in highly prestigious journals that refute the obscurantist arguments Gould first served up in 1981, all the chapters of the initial edition have now been unapologetically regurgitated. Gould's failure not only to conduct any empirical research of his own but to even acknowledge the existence of any and all contradictory data speaks for itself. Revealed political truth may abhor revision but science thrives on it. Scientist that he is, Gould may yet regret agreeing to produce this 'revision'.
Rather than being appropriately revised, the original edition of The Mismeasure of Man has merely been expanded. Gould includes a 30-page preface on why he wrote the original and why the renewed interest in race, behavior, and evolution, required that he 'revise' it after 15 years, although he also maintains (p. 35) that his 1981 arguments needed no modification. Gould's 1996 book also contains five end chapters including essays on J. F. Blumenbach, the 19th century German anthropologist who developed the first scientific system of racial hierarchy, and Gould's own previously published reviews of Herrnstein and Murrays (1994) The Bell Curve.