Rep. Don Edwards of California recently took issue with a Post editorial concerning charges of race and gender bias in Scholastic Aptitude Tests {"SATs: 'Unfair Shake' for Women," letters, July 28}. His doing so was all the more remarkable insofar as his obstruction of a serious investigation of such matters now threatens to abort a Commission on Civil Rights study of "testing validity in education and employment." That study, scheduled to begin in the next fiscal year, will be cancelled along with all other commission activities, as this agency expires in the death grip Rep. Edwards has placed on it from his seat in the House.

It is therefore hard to take seriously Rep. Edwards' professed interest in the civil rights questions involved. He manifestly rejects the view of civil rights as an intrinsic dimension of American citizenship, just as, in his letter, he manifestly misunderstands the debate over test scores. His supposed demonstration of the bias in SAT scores not only fails to account for the fact that the tests are not universally taken; he also neglects the fact that the "proofs" of bias work in opposite directions in race and gender cases. Regarding race, test results and performance are lower for American blacks than for others; while regarding gender the problem is that tests results for women are lower while their performance is superior.

The fact is, the same scale cannot assess these two opposite results. Nevertheless, those who charge cultural bias act as if it can do so. This is but the clearest example of the kinds of confusion that reign in this debate and the reason it is essential that someone actually competent to judge should undertake to sort it out.

Rep. Edwards is as resolute in preventing the opportunity for such clarification as he is to affect a posture of moral concern. He tends to what I have called the fallacy of slip-slop, in this case reaching for the cheap constructions of "racism" and "sexism" instead of serious reflection. WILLIAM B. ALLEN Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Claremont, Calif.