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John Rushton

John Philippe (Phil) Rushton (born December 3, 1943) is a psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, who is most widely known for his controversial[1] work on intelligence and racial differences, particularly his book Race, Evolution And Behavior: A Life History Perspective[2]. Rushton also researches altruism.[3]

Rushton currently sits on the editorial board of Intelligence,[4] and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American, British, and Canadian Psychological Associations. He was a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1988, and holds a D.Sc. in psychology from the University of London and a Ph.D. in social psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the current head of the Pioneer Fund.[5]


Rushton was born in Bournemouth, England. During his childhood, he emigrated with his family to South Africa where he lived from age 4 to 8 (1948-1952) in the apartheid era.[6] Later, Rushton moved to Canada.[7] His father was a building contractor, and his mother, from whom he received his middle name, was French. Rushton received a B.Sc in psychology from Birbeck College at the University of London in 1970 and in 1973 received his Ph.D from the London School of Economics, working on altruism in children. He then moved to the University of Oxford where he continued his work until 1974.

Rushton taught at York University in Canada from 1974-1976 and the University of Toronto until 1977. He then moved to the University of Western Ontario, and was made a full professor there in 1985. He received his D.Sc. from London in 1992.

Rushton has published more than 100 papers and articles, written a number of books, including a pair on altruism, one on 'scientific excellence', and a psychology text (co-authored). In 1988 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Following his work on behavioral genetics and sociobiology Rushton began studying racial differences.


Genetic similarity hypothesis[]

Rushton began his career with studies on altruism. He has hypothesized a heritable component in altruism and is the creator of the Genetic Similarity Theory, which states that individuals tend to be more altruistic to individuals who are genetically similar to themselves, and less altruistic, and sometimes outwardly hostile to individuals who are less genetically similar. Rushton describes "ethnic conflict and rivalry" as "one of the great themes of historical and contemporary society" and suggests that it may have its roots in the evolutionary impact of individual from groups "giving preferential treatment to genetically similar others". Rushton argues that "the makeup of a gene pool [i.e., a human population's total reservoir of alternative genes] causally affects the probability of any particular ideology being adopted".

Race evolution hypothesis[]

Main article: Race, Evolution and Behavior

Rushton wrote the book Race, Evolution And Behavior: A Life History Perspective in which he outlines an extremely controversial theory of human nature and the course of world history, placing Blacks, Whites and Orientals on a "tri-level hierarchy" where Blacks are always on one end of the scale, Orientals are on the other, and Whites are in the middle.

"Race is more than “just skin deep.” The pattern of Oriental-White-Black differences is found across history, geographic boundaries, and political-economic systems. It proves the biological reality of race. Theories based only on culture cannot explain all the data..." -Rushton, Race, Evolution And Behavior: A Life History Perspective (Abridged), p. 12

The book grew out of his earlier paper, Evolutionary Biology and Heritable Traits, which was presented at the Symposium on Evolutionary Theory, Economics and Political Science, AAAS Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA, January 19, 1989).

Controversy and criticism[]

Popular science commentator David Suzuki protested Rushton's racial theories and spoke out against Rushton in a live televised debate at the University of Western Ontario. "There will always be Rushtons in science," Suzuki said "and we must always be prepared to root them out!". Rushton is accused by critics of advocating a new eugenics movement,[8] and is openly praised by proponents of eugenics.[9]

After mass mailing a booklet to psychology, sociology and anthropology professors across North America based on his racial papers, Hermann Helmuth, a professor of anthropology at Trent University, said, "It is in a way personal and political propaganda. There is no basis to his scientific research."[10] In his defense, Rushton said "It's not racist, it's a matter of science and recognizing variation in all groups of people."[10]

Since 2002, Rushton has been the president of the controversial Pioneer Fund, which aims "to advance the scientific study of heredity and human differences." Rushton's work has received grants from the fund totalling over $1 million USD since 1981.

Rushton has published at least ten papers in Intelligence a journal for which Rushton also sits on the editorial board along with seven other signatories of "Mainstream Science on Intelligence". Another signatorie, Douglas K. Detterman, is also it's founder and Editor-in-Chief.

Rushton has sometimes been criticized for using the word "Oriental", when most North Americans use the term "Asian" instead.[citation needed] Since the 1990s, Asian American activists have begun campaigns to stop people from using the word Oriental, claiming the term has offensive connotations.[citation needed] However, the term is widely used non-pejoratively in Great Britain to denote people of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean ancestry, since the term "Asian" there has historically referred to people from the Indian Subcontinent.[citation needed]

He has written articles for VDARE, a website that advocates reduced immigration into the United States.[11]

Rushton's sources, such as semi-pornographic books and the Penthouse magazine, have been dismissed by other researchers, or have been criticized as extremely biased and inadequate reviews of the literature, or simply false [12]. There have also been many other criticisms of the theory[13].


See also[]

External links[]

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:



Works by Rushton[]


fr:J. Philippe Rushton

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