J. Philippe Rushton

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John Philippe (Phil) Rushton Ph.D., D.Sc. (born December 3, 1943 in Bournemouth, England), is a psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada best known for his controversial work on racial differences. He holds two doctorates from the University of London.

Early life

Rushton's father was a building contractor, while his mother was French and gave him his middle name. Rushton received a B.Sc. in psychology from the Birbeck College at the University of London in 1970 and in 1973 received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics for his work on altruism in childen. 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 began his career with studies on altruism. He found a heritable component in altruism and is the creator of the Genetic Similarity Theory (http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/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. His work on behavioral genetics and sociobiology later led him to study racial differences.

He is the author of a highly controversial paper, Evolutionary Biology and Heritable Traits (With Reference to Oriental-White-Black Difference). The paper was presented at the Symposium on Evolutionary Theory, Economics and Political Science, AAAS Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA, January 19, 1989) claiming to show that Orientals¹ are on average genetically more intelligent than Whites, who are in turn more intelligent than Blacks. This is controversial because it argues the IQ gap is partially genetic, rather than entirely environmental; the gap itself is well-established. See also race and intelligence for a detailed discussion of this area of intelligence research. David Suzuki protested the book and spoke against Rushton in a debate at the University of Western Ontario.

The paper formed the basis for a later book, titled Race, Evolution And Behavior: A Life History Perspective, in which Rushton posits a panoply of physical and/or mental traits whose incidences run along an continuum with East Asians at one extreme, Africans at the opposite extreme, and Europeans in the middle. [1] (http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/Race_Evolution_Behavior.pdf) The book claims that Asians, on average, are the most intelligent, have the lowest crime rates, work hardest, are the least promiscuous, the least aggressive, have the largest brain size, lowest rate of birth to twins, the slowest maturation rates, greatest parental investment in child-rearing, lowest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, the longest life expectancy, the greatest degree of emotional control, and the least amount of body odor (due to their apocrine glands being smallest and least numerous). The book claims that Blacks average at the opposite end on all of these scales, and Whites rank in between Asians and Blacks, but closer to Asians. The book uses averages of hundreds of studies, modern and historical, to support these claims.

Rushton's ordering of the human races (excerpt)
Blacks Whites Orientals
IQ¹ 85 100 106
Cranial capacity (cm³) 1267 1347 1364
Lifespan Lower Intermediate Higher
Skeletal development Earlier Intermediate Later
Gestation time Shorter Longer Longer
2-egg twinning² 16 8 4
Intercourse frequency Higher Intermediate Lower
Law abidingness Lower Intermediate Higher
Cultural achievements Low High High
¹ All figures are group averages
² Per 1000 births
Source: [2] (http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/Race_Evolution_Behavior.pdf)

Rushton's theory is based on an attempt to extend the R/K selection theory to humans. He explains the patterns in the table by arguing that while all humans display extremely k-selected behavior, the races vary in the degree to which they exhibit that behavior. He argues that Africans use a strategy more toward an R-selected strategy (produce more offspring, but provide less care for them) while East Asians use the K strategy most (produce fewer offspring but provide more care for them), with Europeans exhibiting intermediate tendencies in this area. He argues that Europeans evolved more toward a k-selected breeding strategy than Africans because of the harsher and colder weather encountered in Europe, while the same held true to a greater extent for East Asians.

In a review of the book published in 1996, C. Loring Brace wrote that "Race, Evolution, and Behavior is an amalgamation of bad biology and inexcusable anthropology. It is not science but advocacy, and advocacy of 'racialism.'" Brace points out that Rushton assumes the existence of three "biological" races with no evidence except Rushton's unscientific speculation as to what an extraterrestrial visitor to earth would think. Moreover, Rushton misuses the concept of heritability, and makes unsupported (and unfounded) claims about African societies.

Since 2002, Rushton has been the president of the controversial Pioneer Fund, which funds studies that "advance the scientific study of heredity and human differences." The Pioneer Fund has funded Rushton's work with over a million dollars since 1981.


¹ Rushton has sometimes been mocked for using the word "Oriental", when most North Americans use the term "Asian" instead. Since the 1990s, Asian American activists have begun campaigns to stop people from using the word Oriental, claiming the term has offensive connotations. However, the term is 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.


  • Lynn, Richard. The Science of Human Diversity: A History of the Pioneer Fund. University Press of America, 2001.
  • Brace, C. Loring 1996 "Racialism and Racist Agendas" in American Anthropologist 91(1): 96-97

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