Hilts article

Philip J. Hilts, "Group Delays Achievement Award to Psychologist Accused of Fascist and Racist Views," New York Times (8/15/97) p. A10

The American Psychological Association, which planned to give a lifetime achievement award to a psychologist who has specialized in intelligence and personality theory, has postponed it after protests that some of his writings were racist.

The association, which is holding its annual meeting in Chicago this weekend had announced that the psychologists, Dr. Raymond B. Cattell, would receive the award on Saturday in a ceremony there.

But Rhea Farberman, director of communications for the association, said in a telephone interview that the award had been postponed.

Ms. Farberman said a committee had voted to give Dr. Cattell the award "before it knew of the information that has since come to light," adding. "This new information has raised a lot of concerns, and we want to be thorough in making a judgement."

She said the association would appoint a blue-ribbon panel of senior research scientists "to thoroughly review Dr. Cattell's research and writings to advise the board on its further actions."

Dr. Cattell, who is 92, has created many of the standard tests of personality and intelligence in use today, and is the author of more than 40 books and 450 research articles.

After the association announced the pending award in its monthly journal, The American Psychologist, protests of the choice began.

One of Dr. Cattell's chief critics is Dr. Barry Mehler, a historian at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., and the director of the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism. Dr. Mehler wrote to the association and posted a statement on the internet saying, "The potential awardee has a lifetime commitment to fascist and eugenics causes and openly affiliates himself with Wilmot Robertson's work, which the Anti-Defamation League characterizes as racist and anti-Semitic."

Dr. Mehler maintained that Dr. Cattell has long espoused the view that human intelligence is declining on average and that those groups with low intelligence should be provented from having children. Dr. Cattell's work, he added, is commonly used by righ-wing extrimists to give an air of academic legitimacy to their racist views.

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, has also written to the association protesting the award saying it would give the groups "seal of approval to a man who has, whatever his other achievements, exhibited a lifelong committment to racial supremacy theories."

In a statement sent by fax, Dr. Cattell said that "my views of eugenics have evolved over the years," and that he now believes in eugenics only on a voluntary basis.

"There is absolutely no intention to involve the government in eugenics," he wrote. "Instead, the regulation of the family is left to the conscience of the individual, as say, when various religions support good morals and good lives. Eugenics is part of a religious movement, called Beyondism, which holds a conviction of the necessity of family sizes proportional to what the culture needs."

Dr. John Gillis, a biographer and confidante of Dr. Cattell, said Beyondism was not racist, but rather preached tolerance.

"Beyondism does not merely ask for passive tolerance of other peoples' right to exist and prosper, but strongly recommends that differences between humans be actively encouraged," Dr. Gillis said.

Dr. Gillis, who is traveling with Dr. Cattell from the psychologist's home in Hawaii to the association's meeting in Chicago, said Dr. Cattell was "very disappointed," and added: "The award is important to him. It's not just an ordinary award, but is something like a gold medal for a lifetime of work."

Dr. Mehler cited a number of statements by Dr. Cattell, including one published in a newsletter The Beyondist in 1994, when he wrote: "Hitler actually shared many values of the average American. He aimed at full employment, family values and raising the standard of living and countless other things, including the Volkswage, which he designed himself for the average family. The man turned out evil in his militarism and his treatement of the Jews and dissident Catholics, but that does not justify, to a rational person, calling all his attitudes mistaken."

"His attempt at eugenics broke the first law of eugenics: that it is the humane substitute for natual selection," Dr. Cattle continued. "It favors preventing the birth of those who would inevitably be miserable and incapable of living a normal, happy life. It encourages the birth of those who look after themselves and others, who invent and enrich the culture, who create jobs and who remain independent and self-supporting."

In a 1972 book, "A New Morality from Science: Beyondism," Dr. Cattell wrote: "At what point voluntary euthanasia of genthanasia by groups becomes appropriate is a difficult question. Scrupulous consideration is indicated before allowing a breed of humans - however maladapted - to become extinct." (Dr. Cattell coined the word "genthanasia" to mean a nonviolent intentional phasing out of a culture or group.)

"But it is realistically questionalbel how much space the more vital species will continue to allow for museum 'storage,'" Dr. Cattell wrote. "The manitenance of the status quo cannot extend to making ninty-nine (sic!) hundreths of the earth a living museum. Clarity of discussion on these solemn issues in the rise and fall of cultural-racial groups would be aided if genocide were reserved for a literal killing off of all living members of a people, and genthanasia for what has above been called'phasing out,' in which a moribund culture is ended, by educational and birth control measures, without a single member dying out before his time."