Pioneer Fund

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The Pioneer Fund is a U.S. non-profit foundation.

The Pioneer Fund

The Pioneer Fund is a U.S. non-profit foundation established in 1937 "to advance the scientific study of heredity and human differences. Named to honor the early pioneers who built America, our mandate is to support pioneering research in those fields." It uses contributions to "fund vital research projects into the basis and correlates of human ability and diversity, and for the dissemination of that research to the public."[1]

The social and behavioral sciences were dominated by a blank slate perspective excluding biological views in the period after WWII and until the recent breakthroughs in genetics and brain research. The Pioneer Fund argues that it in this period helped keep alive a biological perspective by funding important research projects. Eventually it contributed to restoring a more biological perspective to fields such as "anthropology, psychology, and sociology, as well as fostering the newer disciplines of behavioral genetics, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and sociobiology."[1]

Wickliffe Preston Draper, seen here in American military uniform.

Wickliffe Preston Draper was the main early benefactor of the Pioneer Fund. The third president was Harry F. Weyher, Jr. He was followed by J. Philippe Rushton.[1]

Grantees include:

Criticisms and support

Much of the Pioneer Funded research, such as race and intelligence, has been enormously controversial. It has been accused of being "racist", being created and funded by racists, funding racists, associating with racists, and racists using the research. The dissemination of research findings has been seen as political advocacy. The association with the earlier mainstream eugenics movement has been another criticism. Also its funding methods has been criticized.

The Pioneer Fund has provided detailed responses to the criticisms on its webpage. See the external links section below. The criticisms have also been seen as ad hominem where persons instead of the scientific arguments are attacked. The director J. Philippe Rushton has rejected the label of racist and its many negative political assumptions and stated that he and many of the researchers associated with the Pioneer Fund are race realists.[2]

Two books have been written about the Fund. Richard Lynn's positive The Science of Human Diversity: A History of the Pioneer Fund and W. H. Tucker's negative The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund. Ulric Neisser, who was the chairman of the American Psychological Association's report Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns on intelligence research, reviewed both books and stated "Lynn's claim is exaggerated but not entirely without merit: 'Over those 60 years, the research funded by Pioneer has helped change the face of social science.'" He criticized what he saw as political advocacy but stated that it had had little practical effect. Neisser concluded "Lynn reminds us that Pioneer has sometimes sponsored useful research - research that otherwise might not have been done at all. By that reckoning, I would give it a weak plus."[3]

Recent history

"In August 2012 Philippe Rushton transferred half the assets of the Pioneer Fund to the Charles Darwin Research Institute, of which he was the president. At the same time he resigned as president of the Pioneer Fund and nominated Richard Lynn as his successor. Philippe Rushton died on 2 October, 2012, and left the Charles Darwin Research Institute in the control of his son, Stephen Rushton, an associate professor of education at the University of South Florida."[4]

External links

The Pioneer Fund



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Pioneer
  2. "Many researchers associated with Pioneer, including this author, can be fairly and accurately described as race-realists." THE PIONEER FUND AND THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF HUMAN DIFFERENCES
  3. Neisser, U. (2004). Serious scientists or disgusting racists? Contemporary Psychology, 49, 5-7.
  4. The Pioneer Fund.