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Learning In Practice

The standardised admission ratio for measuring widening participation in medical schools: analysis of UK medical school admissions by ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sex

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7455.1545 (Published 24 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1545

Rapid Response:

Re: Re: Re: The motivations of other scientists are problematic to interpret...

Probably the best way to comply with this request, and try and
explain the obvious, is to dissect once again this absurd paragraph of
McManus:

"Post-1945 Britain has been very much a meritocracy, with social
class strongly related to intelligence, extensive social mobility between
classes depends primarily upon intelligence [1,2], and intelligence
showing moderately high within-family correlations). Since intellectual
ability is also a major predictor of examination results and hence
university entrance, it is hardly surprising that individuals from social
classes I & II are accepted at higher proportions than their
representation in the population." [1]

So as to minimise any ambiguity, let us take it line by blessed line…

"Post-1945 Britain has been very much a meritocracy..."

No, it hasn't...and isn't.

"...with social class strongly related to intelligence..."

No, it isn't...

"...extensive social mobility between classes depends primarily upon
intelligence..."

No, it doesn't...

"and intelligence showing moderately high within-family
correlations)..."

No, it doesn't...

"Since intellectual ability is also a major predictor of examination
results and hence university entrance..."

IS IT? It depends what you mean by "intellectual ability," which
Chris McManus has had ample opportunity to define more clearly, but he has
declined to do so.

"...it is hardly surprising that individuals from social classes I
& II are accepted at higher proportions than their representation in
the population."

Open question...if the above string is incorrect, then how can the
conclusion be?

The other points I made in my responses concerned the alleged
usefulness of numerical and reductionist methods in social science, the
shortcomings of which I feel are much more significant than Chris McManus
does.

The paragraph Mr Lack refers to, concerning suicidal depression was
merely one example of the complex factors inherent to the term 'social
class' that are obviously irreducible to mathematical formulae, and which
formed part of my discussion of the limited applicability of reductionism
in social science.

I am fairly sure that covers the request of illuminating points
previously made at length. I hope that is now a clearer overview.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 October 2004
Peter Morrell
Hon Research Associate, History of Medicine
Staffordshire University, UK