Like Andrew Sullivan says:
The fact of human inequality and the subtle and complex differences between various manifestations of being human - gay, straight, male, female, black, Asian - is a subject worth exploring, period. Liberalism's commitment to political and moral equality for all citizens and human beings is not and should not be threatened by empirical research into human difference and varied inequality.Hateful actions have been justified by this kind of thinking. But if you believe that reason reigns supreme then you can't let that stop you in your pursuit of knowledge and understanding.
UPDATE: The "liberals" are responding. Atrios and Digby have some great points here. Matt thinks people who believe The Bell Curve holds up are fools, not bigots. Personally I don't have a strong opinion on this, although it seems clear that Bell Curve likely confuses levels of education with IQ.
All I know is this: Research shows strong parallels between "group psychology" (even for large groups like "society") and individual psychology. Thus, in the long term it does society no good to create taboos and suppress debate.
UPDATE II: I normally like Atrios, his writing is intelligent even though it's a little one-sided at times. But this is ridiculous:
The ignorance of Andrew Sullivan is shocking. A decade later, he still has no clue why the publication of racist pseudo-science reflects not a man who is "interested in the truth," but rather, as I said, a bigot, a fool, or both.Look, it may be that The Bell Curve is completely devoid of scientific merit. I really don't know. But please present some sensible arguments instead of resorting to name-calling. I read Atrios often and I find his "far-left" reputation to be much exaggerated. His grasp of economics and his ability to form coherent arguments makes him more of a moderate in my book. But like many liberals (and human beings in general I suppose) he completely undercuts his "moderate" credentials with occational posts like the one above that have no rational merits whatsoever.