June 16, 2009

A hilarious "oversight" in Nisbett's "Intelligence"

On the VDARE.com blog, I have a posting up about a striking omission in Richard E. Nisbett's book Intelligence and How to Get It.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

So what was, in fact, Rick Heber sent to jail for? What exactly did he do? He was charged with mishandling funds, yes, but did he NOT carry out the research, but only invented his data, or what?

Nanonymous said...

So what was, in fact, Rick Heber sent to jail for?

Tax evasion

gordon-bennett said...

Wiki's article on the Milwaukee Project doesn't mention it as a failure.


SF said...

"Tax Evasion"...
and two counts of theft, or embezzlement. (same reference)

Anonymous said...


He was sent to jail for putting his wife on the payroll for doing nothing.

beowulf said...

"He was sent to jail for putting his wife on the payroll for doing nothing."

Umm, unless he and his assistant Garber were practicing polyandry, no.

"Heber put Garber's wife on a UW-Madison payroll (for no work) so Garber could be reimbursed for travel expenses."

Anonymous said...

This is reminiscent of the Joan Peters book "From Time Immemorial". Despite being exposed as a mixture of fraud and plagiariasm (and quite a bit of plagiarism from fraudulent sources!), it is routinely cited in discussions of the Middle East.

ben tillman said...

The Milwaukee Project was a small study with some 20 experimental subjects and 20 control subjects. It was not reported on by the investigators in any refereed scientific journals, yet its cost was some $14 million, mostly in federal funds.

So that's $700,000 for each "experimental" child over six years, or $117,000 per child per year -- in 1960's dollars. Since 1967, we've had inflation of about 540%, which means that in inflation-adjusted dollars the program spent $750,000 per child per annum.

Even if the results weren't fabricated, the program obviously couldn't be replicated on a large scale.

Big Bill said...

Tillman's comment regarding the Milwaukee Project is equally applicable to the Abecedarian project: limited sample size, massive costs show that (at best)six figures per year per dumb student lead to modest improvements.

Most of the six figure costs are spent on School of Education grad students and researchers, natch.

V said...

Curiously, in Arthur Jensen's The g Factor (Chapter 10), the Milwaukee project is described in entirely respectable terms. There is no mention of Heber's conviction, and not a hint of doubt in the integrity of the data he presented. (Of course, Jensen does comment on the modest results considering the exorbitant cost. In his words: "In terms of the highest peak of IQ gains... the cost was an estimated $23,000 [over $100K in today's money!] per IQ point per child.")

Jensen obviously didn't have any incentive to paint a rosy picture of this project, so I have no rational explanation for this. I can hardly believe that he hadn't heard about the affair. What makes it even more puzzling is that, according to Jensen, "the originator and first director of the project, Rick Heber, died in an airplane crash and was not involved in the production of the final report." Yet the report is cited as written in 1988, while Heber died in 1992 according to the encyclopedia cited in the Vdare article. I'm puzzled.

Anonymous said...

The FOIA and counterpart State laws might be overdue to use in
revealing facts of the Heber anti-
Miracle. Sketchy info suggests
a coordinated prosecution of small
easily proven charges in various
venues that Heber plead "no contest" to. No trial as such
appears to have resulted anywhere.
The story has to be extracted--not
just picked up and processed.

Anonymous said...

It is not ad hominem in view of the
convictions of Heber and Flanigan
and one or two others in the Project, for the Project to be
deemed temporarily suspect and
off limits for citations, etc.,
pending an objective external
inspection to see that the actual
data collection, etc. did take place and the Project was not some
Hollywood mock up. Was'nt done.

Anonymous said...

The various charges Heber plead
"no contest" to seem somewhat
modest and somtimes typical of
persecution-prosecution. Known facts, however, suggest the likelihood that the coordinated
investigatons--state and fed--if laid open in a trial would have caused a lot of stigma to people at UW and in D.C. that were not guility of crime--just sloven.??

Anonymous said...

As far as Jensen's "g" Factor book
and mention of Heber's convictions--I believe?(not certain) that in
a book length interview about 2002
by Frank Miehle, Jensen did refer to the convictions. The issue seems to be that UW / HEW etc. never had the Projet data and research conduct examined to give
assurance Heber had not fiddled with it as he had with the funds.

Anonymous said...

In the lush grantmanship years
of the 60's and 70's,the easiest
way probably to have filched lots
and lots of money wouldve been kickbacks vis a role as a
within the archipeligo of MR researchprojects in North America. If hopping about on your own plane could get everywhere for a little
bit,you'd be immune to prosecution

Anonymous said...

The Heber matter sprung into
view from a series of investigative newspaper articles in a Madison (WS) paper--maybe
Capitol Times ?? about 30 years ago But the articles are not online and no brief
summary of them (who? what? where?)
is to be found. Accounts of the
Heber scandal are virtually non
existent online. Hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

As to Heber's death date and the
final report date--there is some
suggestion that Heber died in
December 1987--not in 1992. As
in so many ways, the facts of all
this are oddly sparse and very hard to pin down. I could find
no SSI Death Index for a birth date
of Jan. 12, 1932 AND any 1992 death
date. I have poor search skills.

Anonymous said...

As far as Jensen's "The g Factor"
not alluding to any prison time
for Heber, etc., I find this
interesting, too...but the content
of a book is tempered by the editors and their inhouse legal staff and often the prudent thing
about a non-essential fact that may arise from a cloudy context
is just to omit it. Relevant to
Jensen's book? I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Heber reportedly was an advisor
directly to the President of Egypt re MR and related health-education
issues. "Rick and Ann Heber" are
referred to often and with high
regard in bulletin boards dealing with the important and finishing
and breeding of fine Arbabian Horses. They had a stable
Ranchara Arabains at Merrimac
WI & later near Colo Springs.

Anonymous said...

Heber was convicted , along with an associate, of using increasingly elaborate schemes to misallocate research grants into their own personal accounts and to use the money for such things as purchasing golf clubs, etc. The unsuccessful defense was that they earned/deserved/ the money as payment for expert services, consultation, etc. Heber was also convicted in State court in at least one trial. He served time at federal "country club prisons" in Bastrop, Texas, near Colorado Springs, and finally in Utah. He was killed in the crash of small plane containing him and 10 other members of a tour he headed, this on August 03, 1987 just over the border of Zaire in very wild country within Rwanda. No survivors. He resided at the time in/near/ Monument , Colorado, where reportedly he continued his long involvement with the breeding and training of fine Arabian horses. Allegedly, he began getting "technical" and "Involved" with federal grants back in 1971 and just indulged, allegedly, in more and more sophisticasted schemes for misallocaing larger and larger amounts of money.

Anonymous said...

Heber and an associate, Patrick Flannigan, went to trial, apparently refusing to cop a plea, in an initial trial that lasted several days. Heber testified. It would be interesting to scrutinize the trial transcript to see why Heber felt he could defend against the charges. The parsimonious assumption is that Heber did really consider environmentalism as an established , vindicated truth and never detected early on the extent to which people in academia often express overtly what they privately disdain. He apears to have been a kind of con man who was enveloped by a Society that was doing a con job on itself about nature/hurture? HE spent very very little time on the Madison campus, although being a full professor for, what?, more than 15 years. IN fact, just in common sense terms, he was living in Colorado on his horse ranch (he imported, showed, and bred fine Arabian horses ) for at least a few years before his Project came under scrutiny about 1980. He appears to have been respected and trusted among horse fanciers, and the academic scandal appears not to have impacted that status. He also loved flying. The sense is that the Madison campus had long been simply a base of operations for him. He appears to have delegated almost everything to underlings willing to stay and work on campus. There were three prosecutions brought against him, at least two of them in State Court. One looks in vain online for transcripts of the trials, for the local newspaper reporting (there was almost no reporting beyond Madison ), for FOIA recovery of his grant applications, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

What was Heber sent to jail for?
The trial in federal district court in Madison, WI in July 1981 resulted in Heber and an associate being convicted on all counts charged. But the monies diverted appear to have been not from the Milwaukee Project but from an attendant project to provide workshops in MR services (for school counselors, etc. ). The defense appears to have had such elements as the revelation of Heber's wealth and the lack of any motive to get in trouble for limited amounts of money (the cost of a used car, in one instance, etc) One count involved a phantom job for the wife of one of Heber's University cohort. But she pointed out that while the job did not exist, the "salary" paid was used entirely to pay for her husband's academic travels to Europe (workshops, etc.). It is astounding that the only fairly consistent news coverage given the Heber Affair was from the local
Madison Capitol Times newspaper. Apparently along about 1975 or so,
some of the funding he had consistently relied upon (and he got a helluva lot of money out of
the feds ), started "drying up"--someone was pinching the spigot.
One is left with the impression that the University (and others?)
generally succeeded in boxing up and burying the Heber story. The guy had huge power and prestige and was brilliant, if not sufficiently conscience laden. Perhaps the real story apropos America's insistence upon biologial equipotentiality is that
"You can not con an honest society but a dishonest one can be conned year after year, for about two decades!!!

Anonymous said...

Rick Heber was sent to (minimum security) federal prison for misuse of funds ($160k ) not directly involving the Milwaukee Project but involving workshops and short seminars offered by the Waisman Center (for research in Mental Retardation) that Heber had headed since its inception (1964 ff) at the Madison campus. Oddly,
there appears to be no record of investigation of funds used directly in the Milwaukee Project, and an estimated $14 million was spent in that Project--almost all of it from federal government grants at a time when the Freedom of Information Act would permit access to grant applicatons, approvals, IG surveys, correspondence, etc . How $14 million from the fed government to the Project flies off into the clouds without an accounting is indeed more interesting than the purported aims of the Project. The summary of the Milwaukee Project by Dr. Howard Garber was finally published in 1988, 22 years after the Project got underway and about 12 years after it ceased. In 1983 Garber told a regional newspaper that the report was finished and ready for publication. No one has revealed why five years elapsed before he could mail the manuscript to the publisher. Garber and his wife now live in Milwaukee, in deep retirment.

Anonymous said...

There is almost no primary source material re Heber. An official trial transcript appears never to have been compiled. The records of each day of testimony of the 09 day trial that almost certainly the University had made by its own stenographer observers of the trial appears to have been destroyed? And aside from Professor Ellis Paige of George Peabody, no academic appears ever to have used the FOIA to try to get information in a timely way.
If Heber was so evidently guilty, why in the hell did he choose to go to trial rather than cop a plea?
AS to the Garber matter---It is not unlikely that Heber did , in fact, "re-allocate" ALL ALL of the money allocated for a campus job into sending the Garbers to Sweden to conduct a seminar in MR (?) Now there was a stark candor in all this. There was no pretext of having a job. No fig leaf. No smoke screen. On University campuses in the 60's and 70's all manner of funds for campus jobs were diverted and the de facto standards were flagrantly permissible to the point of fiscal anarchy. The trial judge, however, appears to have prevented such contextual facts of life from being entered before the jury.
Look, basically you have in the Heber Affair what characterized the Burt Affair (Sir Cyril Burt of the UK)_ until until people started making a retrospective about it. In both instances, the mistake has been to "infer" motive backward from the alleged wrongdoings. When, instead, the larger biographies are looked at and then then a connection is sought between the persons as such and the alleged wrongdoing--than it might be a little hard to find a CRIMINAL motive for Heber's actions. IF he was criminally inclined (rather than being a consummate "hot to make it happen"
manipulator ) the Milwaukee Project with all its walls of security etc, would have been a far better plumb pick than the Waisman Center money dealings. About $14 million over a dozen years came into the Project. Yet, as far as I can determine, those funds were never scrutinized? Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Again, the "he said, she said, they said" sources for information about Heber and his career have a way of generating more rumor than realism. Heber had a reputation as a "living legend" in how to make things happen involving money and involving federal grants to campuses. He had a knowledge of money transfers on the order of what a Miami banker might have. He was charged essentially with mis-allocation of money. HIs attorney , Stephen Glynn (yet practicing in Milwaukee ) declared in his opening statement, "We will show that value was given for value received" THAT is not theft.
As nearly as can ge gleaned Heber's intensely private (a kind
of 007 type ) life was nonetheless free of charges of wrongdoing in the domain of Arabian horses (in which he had a giant reputation ) and in other business domains. In a tape recorded interview of about two hours in May 1979, made
for Archives at the U. of WI at Mad town, Heber said the Milwaukee Project was wrapped up and the data were being pulled together, etc. It is implicit that the Report is in the offing. Yet on Dec. 31, 1983, in the Milwaukke Sentinet, reporter Susan Trebach quotes Garber, then head of the Milwaukee Project, as saying he has just completed the Report and it is publisher ready and will soon be available. Yet by the time of Heber's mysterious death in Rwanda on Dec. 03, 1987, no report had surfaced. It took nearly as long to issue the Report as it did to carry out the Project. The Project was cloaked in about five layers of "Langley like" secrecy but represented a total of about $14 million in grants over about 14 years--most of it by 1971 or so. IF IF Heber were simply a con man and thief, why would he not have milked the Project? Yet there appears to have been no investigation of the Project or Projedt Funds. This whole matter and the U. of Wisconsin evasions about it ought to be a matter of careful retrospective at the Madison campus.

Anonymous said...

22 Jan. 2014.
The question of just what the hell
Heber was convicted for, is yet
another specific matter that is part of the extraordinary "cloud cover" that Heber put over his activities and that the UW Madison
appears to have concurred with (??) Heber did not plead "no contest" to the basic federal case
brought against him in federal district court in Madison, WI , in
April 1981 and tried in July that
year in a nine day trial. He plead "no contest" to State charges that simply overlay the financial issues in his federal
trial---tax issues. But scholars
have NOT translated the complex financial issues of the federal trial or of the State charges into
any social ethos framework. Heber
went to a federal detention center
("Country Club prison") at Bastrop, Texas--no prison clothing issue; no iron bars, etc.
Any number of people get sent to
such "detention centers" for what
is often translated into social
judgement as trying to do something OK but doing it in the wrong way. Heber's brilliant defense attorney in his opening
statement said "We will show that my defendant gave value for value received." Heber was a very bright guy. He was sophisticated in the management of money as well as in research design, grantsmanship, etc. Heber's main academic role was as a money making consultant. He was excellent in such work. The University obviously cooperated with him in this vast archipelago of consultation contacts and the
Money, Brains, Power, Influence, skills it represented. Heber was involved in a vast network of research cooperation, etc., that
was a real orchard of quid pro quo possibilities for himself and for the University. No details seem to be known about much of any of this. For the amount of cloud cover over Heber's academic career, one would assume all this took place in the USSR--not the
USA. Heber was a hell of a risk taker, and got a lot of excitement out of pulling off great ploys. Want to find out how something can be done that others say can't be? See Rick Heber, was the legend. To know much about any aspect of his career would require massive "evacuation" of facts.

Anonymous said...

22 Jan. 2014
A specific example of how facts about Heber have to be excavated is demonstrated from his death in a yet mysterious place crash in Rwanda on Dec. 03/04, 1987. When one bird dogs details that appeared in the Amarillo, Texas,
and Dallas, Texas , newspapers,
then one can reasonably extrapolate that what was overtly seen as a "safari" or "photo safari" was, in fact, a field research trip and Heber was not merely the "tour guide" but was an academic consultant to the whole matter. It involved an
evolutionary psychology approach to human locomotion--toward enhanced understanding of neo-natal, infant, and early childhood behavioral disorders in locomotion. OK, the bevy of health science professional from
the Amarillo area were centered around Associate Professor of pediatrics at the Amarillo Health Sciences Center of Texas Tech University--one Dr. Mary A. Slater, M.D. Slater had been a student under Heber and then an assistant to him at Madison from
1972 up through Heber's resignations, and then, herself, on up to about 1984 when she gravitated to Amarillo. Heber was doing , then, in Nov./Dec 1987
what he had been doing probably since 1963?---making money by giving damn good insight to academic ventures in return for ample fees. The plane carried
12 Americans--one of them a hitchhiker to the trip--and a poorly trained Kenyan pilot. There was an onboard explosion of some sort (mechanical? more lurid?) according to witnesses on the ground (at take off). The plane never really got into flight trajectory. It is most likely that Heber took over the plane? It verred in and out of control for about 16 minutes. He had in moving in a large circle, more or less, and had the most frightened of the passengers pushed up to the open windows of the twin prop plane where their screams alerted the indigenous very rural population on the ground. He also had the passengers throw out of the plance at intervals, items of clothing and some items of personal identification wrapped in clothing. Passengers were waving their arms and yelling, etc. Everyone on the ground was attentive to the situations. The engines apparently could not be
slowed down. Heber (?) finally
skimmed tree tops to slow it down and then crash landed it into a tree trop for at least several seconds before the running engine dislodged the place and slammed it into a mountainside in a ball of flame that incinerated all of the people beyond eyeball recognition. As far as I can find out thus far, no one knows what happened to the plane. The Amarillo paper gives details about the efforts of the relatives of the victims to find out about the incident and to see
about the return of the bodies. They got so many varied stories that only protests from members of the Texas congressional delegation got any degree of clarity from the State Department (?). Heber and his wife refused to register to vote for reluctance to make public the amount of personal information that voter registration involved. He would not allow himself to be photographed. When he was Directing the JFK Panel on Mental Retardation, he would not agree to be interviewed for archival purposes. The only interview he
ever gave, to my awareness, is one on May 14, 1979 at Madison to
a University archival project--this as something he was expected to provide. It is quixotic to complain about the Milwaukee Project lacking transparency under Heber's direction . The question is why was a Howard Hughes type person like Heber ever put in charge of the Project
(as distinct maybe to advising it)

Anonymous said...

22 Jan. 2014
The concealments and "cloud cover" over about everything Heber did seems to be illustrated by what an reasonably be extrapolated regarding his death.
He died in a yet mysterious small plane crash in Rwanda in early
December 1987. On the surface it
was a "safari" that had been tour guided by one "Franz Heber" of Monument , Colorado. One and the same. The safari was almost certainly a field research trip for work on the evolution of human locomotion that his former student and assistant at Madison
was then into as herself an Associate Professor Pediatrics with a focus in neo natal and early childhood disabilities--one Dr. Mary A. Slater, PhD. M.D., then at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Amarillo. Now, if they were photographing mountain gorillas in this context, it would have been a gaping omission not to have photographed the indigenous population , also. A very very
sensitive issue. But no under the guidance of someone as brainy and ballsy as Heber. The plane had an onboard explosion of some sort soon after take off from Goma, Zaire, as it entered Rwandan air space--just as it entered Rwandan air space. Most likely Heber, reportedly an accomplished pilot,
took over the almost out of control plane and moved it in a wide circular path as he tried to
get better control. The engines could not be slowed, it seems. He had passengers pushed to the open windows, where some of them were screaming. He had items of clothing thrown out and sometimes with items of personal identification in the clothing. The rural indigenous population knew from the outside that something was wrong and that it would be interesting to "stay tuned". It is likely he started skimming tree tops to slow down the plane and then attempted a crash landing into a tree top. Some of the passengers were alive
at that point. ONe woman had her legs out of the plane onto a tree limb but could not extract herself from her safety belts. The engines caused the plane to dislodge from the tree top and slam into the mountain side into a ball of flame that incinerated everyone of the 12 Americans and the single poorly trained Kenyan pilot. The Amarillo newspaper (nine of the victims were from
that community ) carries interesting information about the weird reports given the next of kin from Rwanda as to return of the bodies. It is likely Heber,
mentioned as a "tour guide" was
in fact the academic consultant to Slater's work. If so this is the sort of consultation that he
had done since probably 1963 or so, from the UW Madison campus
base of operations. When a persona like Heber leads a Howard Hughes life of concealment, he is not suitable as the Project Director of a $14 million research Project like the Milwaukee Project. It is quixotic to focus upon the cloud cover that enveloped the Milwaukee Project when the real issue is why in the hell the University had Heber direct it (as distinct from avising it )??