July 6, 2007

"Jews & IQ - An Exchange"

Commentary prints 20 Letters-to-the-Editor in reply to Charles Murray's "Jewish Genius," with a response from Murray.


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

59 comments:

DYork said...

Excellent stuff. For a mere Irishman Charles Murray is a pretty smart guy.

Can you imagine the elevated level of Irish IQ if the Irish priests and monks in history lived with the cultural pressure to marry and have children with the daughters of high achieving families.

Murray does a great job exposing the anti-intellectual bilge of Robert Pollack and Patricia Williams. It's amazing that those two clowns are actually college professors.

tommy said...

Aside from Murray's rebuttal of Williams and Pollack, I found Rushton's comment about the IQ of Sephardic Jews to be most intriguing. This is the first I've heard about the possibility Sephardic Jews possess above average intelligence. If true, it might alter some prevailing theories about Jewish intelligence.

Excellent stuff. For a mere Irishman Charles Murray is a pretty smart guy.

Am I the only one that has noticed the Irish seem to run the gamut more than other ethnic groups when it comes to intelligence? Maybe it's just my perception, I don't know.

David said...

what is this about the Irish now beating the English and Scottish on IQ tests? Has anyone else heard about this?

Fred said...

Charles Murray is a gracious man, even when he is intellectually bitch-slapping lefty academics. Thanks for linking to that, Steve.

"Am I the only one that has noticed the Irish seem to run the gamut more than other ethnic groups when it comes to intelligence?"

That hasn't been my experience -- I haven't met a lot of stupid Irishmen or Irish-Americans. Not that I haven't seen Irish-Americans act stupid, but that's a different story.

One dangerous ethnic mix I have seen though is Irish-Puerto Rican. Watch out for them.

Thursday said...

1. I made up a list of eminent individuals of Iberian Jewish descent here. It is quite the list and needs to be accounted for.
2. The minds of brilliant people are fascinating in their own right. Greg Cochran may be a great man, but he is not without his blindnesses. From what I've heard the man is brilliant, but, ahem, somewhat lacking in social graces. Furthermore, implying the Hebrew Bible is not much more of an intellectual achievement than the Book of Mormon is just silly. Perhaps, having the type of mind that makes you brilliant at analysing data tends to make you a lot less brilliant at more in-the-moment things like appreciating literature or aquiring social skills. It may make you less perceptive. Oh, well you can't win em all, and we should be very grateful for what the man does well.

Perhaps something I wrote, not too long ago is appropriate:

The chief difference between the work of the scientist and the work of the critic is that art is above all else about your subjective experience. There may be an objective reality behind that experience, but unless you experience it yourself, it is lost to you. Though a critic may reason, compare, and systematize much like a scientist, he cannot rely on anyone else’s data from which to do his work. Therefore, unlike a scientist, a critic doesn’t just need to be intelligent, in the sense of being able to reason well, he needs to be perceptive too. His own experience is the data from which he must reason. He may pay some attention to authority, but ultimately he can only rely on what he himself knows. If he is imperceptive, as many very high IQ people, especially in the sciences, are, he will not make good critical judgments. Interpreting art well requires more than just raw intellectual horsepower.

Doing well in the arts, whether as artist or critic, requires a certain amount of intellect, but, as the arts are based on feeling, perceptiveness is perhaps even more important. Cochran, brilliant as he is, apparently lacks the latter and perhaps should stay away from literary criticism.

Svigor said...

For Jews and their friends, it is a sign of great good fortune or a confirmation of a special place in God’s universe. For their enemies, it is a problem to be solved.

Pointing out the fact that everything interesting about the Jews leads back to ethnocentrism makes one an "enemy" of the Jews, at least according to most Jews. So, not exactly the most honest characterization there.

The fact I find over and over again is that Jews don't want anyone to admire them for their actuality (which is all I admire them for).

[I]t is inherited Jewish intelligence, as selected by pogroms, libels, quotas, and the Holocaust, that has permitted the survival of the Jews and their religion.

Nope, Jews aren't players here either, only helpless victims of evolution. Lol!

Mr. Murray suggests that “boiling off” was a common phenomenon among the Jews in medieval times—those who were not good at being Jewish fell away and joined the outside community, leaving high intelligence concentrated within. But there is no historical documentation of this among Ashkenazi Jews. If it was a common occurrence, we should expect to find traces of Middle Eastern DNA among the Gentile populations in Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. So far, none has been reported, so we are skeptical of the hypothesis. Within a decade or so, high-resolution genetic data from Eastern Europe and the Middle East should allow a proper test. Indeed, the only real resolution of our differences with Mr. Murray will come from data-driven quantitative models, not from swapping impressions.

That's pretty interesting. MacDonald refers to this boiling off, and I think I'd remember if he'd only asserted it. I'll have to go back at some point and check.

It has a companion in the idea one hears voiced from time to time that Christians are more compassionate because one has to be more compassionate to be a Christian. The reasoning in both cases offers little enlightenment.

That'd be brilliant, if Jews and Christians were analogs. They're polar opposites in this context.

Throughout the exile of the past 2,000 years, Jews’ chances for success and even physical survival were far greater when they joined the religion and culture of their host majority.

Says who? Stay with tribe, benefit from far greater cohesion and cooperation (and status); defect away from tribe, instantly lose all status, in exchange for lower cohesion and cooperation.

The math isn't difficult. Occasional progroms were the extreme exception. The rest of the time the Jews were generally on top.

Arthur Koestler and others have asserted that a good number of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe descended from the Khazars, a Turkic people that adopted Judaism as a state religion around 740 c.e. If this theory is valid

Low threshold for plausibility in the letters section, I suppose.

Jonathan Kurtzman
Brookline, Massachusetts


Bravo, Jonathan. At least you are willing to dip your little toe into the waters of Jewish historical self-authorship.

As it happens, I do not believe that intelligence explains the survival of Jews and Judaism

Ahahahaha! Smack!

Ethnocentrism is the obvious answer.

Luke said...

I second Thursday's comment above re: literature vs. science. Edmund Wilson, for example, whom I regard as our greatest modern critic of literature, was a poor student in high school and probably would not have been admitted to Princeton under present standards. Something important is hiding in that fact.

Anonymous said...

Jews, as a people, are certainly intelligent, and have been noteworthy for their high achievement. Their achievements however don't seem to be universally distributed among all fields.

They are over-represented in politics and law (and I am using the term over-represented in a purely neutral way, meaning at a percentage greater than their fraction of the population). Not in itself an achievement given the depredations that often flow from those endeavors.

In physics and medicine their numbers and their achievements have been stunning - no mistake about that. In engineering however, less so.

Many great musicians are jews, but relatively few of the great composers were. Only two come to mind - Mendelsohn and Mahler.

I found it interesting that Cochran and Harpending claimed, by way of making an argument, that mormons were not a particularly intelligent group. That hasn't been my experience. All the mormons I've ever met were fairly smart people. Obviously, that's not a statistically significant sample, but - for what it's worth.

Finally - regarding the intellectual prowess of the Irish, I can't help but repeat a quip my father was always fond of telling (back in the days when ethnic jokes were acceptable). The only thing dumber than a dumb irishman is a smart swede.

Mark said...

Throughout the exile of the past 2,000 years, Jews’ chances for success and even physical survival were far greater when they joined the religion and culture of their host majority.

Jews succeeded in moneylending in part because they belonged to a network - a network comprised entirely of Jews. Leaving that network would not enhance your lifestyle, and seldom would it enhace your chances of survival. Same goes for other Jews who may not have been in moneylending - they still benefitted from belonging to a high-wealth network of people.

And about that survival? When plebes did come to burn the ghetto, where did the Jews run for protection? To the local Bishop or Duke. In other words, the powerful looked after the.

Occasional progroms were the extreme exception. The rest of the time the Jews were generally on top.

Pogroms didn't begin in earnest until the Black Death, ca. 1348. Before then there was little persecution of the Jews of Europe.

We should also be aware that a number of factors—rising rates of intermarriage, the increasing insularity of some religious Jews—raise considerable questions about whether Jewish cultural and creative achievement will be as disproportionately great in the next 200 years as it has been in the previous 200. - Shalom Freedman

The source of Jewish intelligence is almost surely genetic. In that case it matters little whether Jews continue to breed amongst themselves or begin to intermarry - the gene(s) will filter out to everyone else through breeding. Pretty soon (in evolutionary terms) it will be as common to have a 115 IQ (in constant IQ points) as to have an opposable thumb. The genes for the thumb, blonde hair, blue eyes, upright walking, hairless bodies, etc. all had to start somewhere. In the case for (even higher) intelligence it started with an ancestor of the Jews.

This particular Zionist I quoted, in her huff about intermarriage, seems more interested in keeping it all with the Jews.

Mark said...

That hasn't been my experience -- I haven't met a lot of stupid Irishmen or Irish-Americans. - fred

Which proves the point that it ain't all about genetics, though sometimes we overemphasize that aspect. Given the economic and political ups and downs of the various nations over the centuries, one has to admit that culture affects success, too. You can't ascribe the changing tastes in women to genetics, can you?

Anonymous said...

IQ has an inheritability factor of .8
Various personality measures have inheritability factors of .3 to .6. Why focus only on IQ, when personality affects behavior?

Steve Sailer said...

Well, you may have answered your own question: less heritability of personality traits means that they they are more randomly distributed, and thus have less social consequence.

Fred said...

Mark,

"Which proves the point that it ain't all about genetics, though sometimes we overemphasize that aspect."

How does my observation that I haven't met a lot of stupid Irishmen or Irish-Americans prove your point? I agree with you (and Charles Murray) that intelligence isn't solely determined by genetics (if memory serves, Murray estimates intelligence is about 70% determined by genetics) but my anecdotal experience says nothing about to what extent the smart Irish folks I met are smart because of genetics or other factors.

The Irish have certainly punched above their weight in literature, and Ireland's current economic boom suggests they have a talent for technology and business as well.

Anonymous said...

Well, you may have answered your own question: less heritability of personality traits means that they they are more randomly distributed, and thus have less social consequence.

I found my reference source, so I can be more precise.

There appear to be some personality traits that have more than a 1 SD deviation difference between Jewish and white non-Jewish populations. Andrew Greeley's book "That Most Distressful Nation" has a number of personality studies of different white ethnic groups on pages 147-161. On the personality trait of Authoritarionism, the Jewish sample is 1.8 SD from the next group closest group, 3.3 from WASP and 5 SDs from Slavic Catholics. (p. 147)

On the personality trait of "Trust", the Jewish sample is 3.3 SDs away from the next closest group WASP and 5.6 SDs away from the Irish. (p. 152)

So, the IQ difference is 1 SD, maybe less. The personality differences are greater in terms of SD AND the inheritability factors are lower from personality. Thus differential selection seems to be operating more on personality than IQ.

Sodfer said...

Why don't Jews intermarry more with blacks? This would have the effect of evening out their IQ differences and lessening societal resentment at their present respective levels.

Anonymous said...

from Greeley, page 152, The questions on the "Trust" survey include:

'It's all right to get around the law so long as you don't actually break it'
'Do you think most people can be trusted?'
'How often do you feel that you can't tell what other people are likely to do, at times when it matters?'
'If you don't watch out, people will take advantage of you.'

Fred said...

"Why don't Jews intermarry more with blacks? This would have the effect of evening out their IQ differences and lessening societal resentment at their present respective levels."

I don't know if anyone gets married with the goal of "lessening societal resentment", but marriages between blacks and Jews aren't unheard of. I'm not sure to what extent these marriages even out any IQ differences though. My guess is that most Jews who marry blacks are marrying high-IQ blacks. Perhaps someone has data on this, or wants to go through a list of prominent black-Jewish pairings to test my guess. At this late hour, the first such pairing that came to mind was Lani Guinier's parents. Checking Wikipedia, it appears that her Jamaican father was a Harvard professor.

The one black-Jewish couple in my hometown consisted of a Jewish man who was a city councilman (I forget what his day job was) and a black woman who was an English professor -- before she went to medical school in her forties and became a gerontologist. Their son, who was my age, went to Princeton.

Anonymous said...

Many great musicians are jews, but relatively few of the great composers were. Only two come to mind - Mendelsohn and Mahler.


In classical music Jews are noted for being players, not composers. But in American music-almost all the theatrical and film music that makes up what is often called "The Great American Songbook"-standards, songs made enduring by singers like Sinatra, Fitzgerald, etc-was written by Jews. Rodgers, Hart, Hammerstein, Berlin, Arlen, Kern, the Gershwins, all Jews.

However,the few non-Jews are disproportionally successful. Johnny Mercer is often considered the best lyricist the English language has yet seen. Hoagy Carmichael was also very hihg in any stats.

Vol-in-Law said...

Charles Murray is (he says) Scots-Irish, ie the descendant of mostly Protestant Ulstermen, not Irish. These are two distinct ethnic groups, with historically different achivements, aptitudes and IQ scores. Ulstermen tend to be science-oriented, with measured median IQ scores similar to English, Scots and other northwest Europeans. Historically, Irish Catholic culture was anti-science and measured median IQ scores were significantly lower, around 8 points (ca 92 vs 100 - qv eg 'IQ and the Wealth of Nations', Lynn/Varhannen).

This disparity may have changed over the past 15 years as Ireland has moved from theocracy to post-modernity, as claimed by this "2003 BBC" IQ test - not exactly a reliable source, but if true it would support the view that the previously low Irish IQ was due entirely to environment/culture rather than the absence of IQ-boosting alleles.

Anonymous said...

Why don't Jews intermarry more with blacks? This would have the effect of evening out their IQ differences and lessening societal resentment at their present respective levels.

If I remember correctly, Ashkenazi Jews already have about 3% sub-saharan mtdna, but it apparently hasnt had much of an "evening" effect.

ff said...

Mark,

"The source of Jewish intelligence is almost surely genetic. In that case it matters little whether Jews continue to breed amongst themselves or begin to intermarry - the gene(s) will filter out to everyone else through breeding. Pretty soon (in evolutionary terms) it will be as common to have a 115 IQ (in constant IQ points) as to have an opposable thumb. The genes for the thumb, blonde hair, blue eyes, upright walking, hairless bodies, etc. all had to start somewhere. In the case for (even higher) intelligence it started with an ancestor of the Jews."

That is terrible reasoning.

First, Jews don't have an advantage in maximum IQ. Ashkenazim just have higher mean IQs than Europeans (and by closer to half a S.D., not a full S.D., according to a study by Lynn).

Genes for high intelligence are already present in Europeans and East Asians. In absolute numbers, there are vastly more intelligent Europeans and East Asians than Jews. If higher IQ provided a reproductive advantage, IQ would be increasing without Jewish admixture. As it stands, the dumb are out-breeding the smart.

Second, if you've been paying attention, Cochran and Harpending have proposed that specific Jewish IQ-boosting genes are associated with some nasty diseases. Why would we want to follow the Jewish route to boost intelligence?

James said...

Murray misunderstood Marc Mayerson's letter. Or least his response to it wasn't really very effective.

Peewee said...

If the Jews keep on marrying Gentiles pretty soon almost everyone will have some Jewish relatives and even if the number of actual Jews goes below 1% the number of people of predominantly Gentile ancestry who nevertheless identify themselves with Jews will go up and up.

My family is a good example of this.

J. said...

Great reading. For an European Jew like myself, it is most extraordinary to read a reasoned discussion of the Jews that has not even a remotest suggestion of antisemitism. With more people like Prof. Murray, the world would be livable for us.

I had also felt that Prof. G. Cochran thesis that Jews of the Antiquity were not endowed with high IQ (that it is a new, exclusively Ashkenazi phenomenon) is somehow wrong, and it beautiful how Prof. Murray solves that issue. One has only to read Tacitus's complaint about Judean lawyers in the Roman forum ("Look how powerful they are...") to understand that Murray is right. The mere volume of Greek and Roman anti-Jewish writings, and the accusations of their cheating and falsity also point to a higher Jewish IQ.

J. said...

PS.: Prof. Murray hits on the head of the nail when he answers that Greeks and Romans lacked the very concept of IQ and therefore could not articulate it. Reading the extensive anti Jewish literature of Antiquity, one is hit with the feeling that the wildness and implausibility of the accusations hides a powerlessness to articulate and to define what exactly is hurting them. Prof. MacDonald apparently noticed the same thing and attributes the writer's motives to Jewish "carnality" i.e. fertility. I think it is IQ. I am sure more data will solve the whole conundrum.

Josh said...

These bizarre comments about the Irish(and the dear Swedes,for that matter) sound like something out of the 1920's! :0 It seems akin to the bashing of JFK.Next time a guy like Andrew Greeeley says JFK is bashed because he is Irish,I will look more favorably on that. I guess some people need to counter what seems to be a massive butt kissing of the Jews festival going on here,by pretending they are smarter than Irish.Whatever,dude! George Will,a ferocious philo-semite, has a habit of starting his columns with old-time anti-Irish quotes:"As Lord Wiggins-Bottomley once remarked,the Celtic mind is not one given to overuse..."or some such drivel. :D As for Jews its obvious they are smarter than anyone--with the possible exception of Steves beloved Pharsee's. But would you watch a TV show about a group of single Pharsee's living in Manhattan?Me neither. But no one mentions the other aspects of the jewish mind---they seem to have more craziness. In some cases,much more. Not to mention "drive" which is obv related to IQ,but is a seperate quality. IMHO,Bush is our 1st Jewish president;tho he is a not very bright,he is a puppet for jewish-dominated Neo-Cons. These are the guys who started the Iraq war. How can we be so impressed with people who may have done such a profoundly stupid thing?? (PS: I like the way Jewish Dems like Chuckie Schumer and Rahm(Darth)Emmanuel pretend to be shocked-shocked!- by their buddy Scooter getting "commuted"! :)

Svigor said...

My guess is that most Jews who marry blacks are marrying high-IQ blacks.

Isn't all this talk of intermarriage and IQ ignoring regression to the mean? Or do I have that wrong?

Why don't Jews intermarry more with blacks? This would have the effect of evening out their IQ differences and lessening societal resentment at their present respective levels.

If lessening societal resentment about their success mattered that much to Jews, there'd be no "Jewish question." 3000 years is plenty of time to sort something out if it matters.

Anonymous said...

The recent boom in the Irish cant be all down to a sudden boom in Irish IQ.

There are many businesses locating in Ireland but they are mostly coming in from outside, not Irish start-ups.

Why?

Partly because of low taxes and Ireland's proximity to the UK. Hooray cry the libertarians. But lets not forget the large scale transfers of cash from the the EU that facilitated this. For a long time a disproportionate amount of that money came from the UK.

Peter said...

Can you imagine the elevated level of Irish IQ if the Irish priests and monks in history lived with the cultural pressure to marry and have children with the daughters of high achieving families.

Not as much as one might expect, if the recent theory about the IQ/birth order connection is true. In Ireland and elsewhere it traditionally was younger sons who entered the clergy. Older sons - the smarter ones, according to the theory - inherited the family property and seldom became priests.

DYork said...

Vol-in-Law said... "Charles Murray is (he says) Scots-Irish, ie the descendant of mostly Protestant Ulstermen, not Irish. These are two distinct ethnic groups, with historically different achivements, aptitudes and IQ scores."

That is so true. The list of Scottish achievers in science/technology/intellect/leadership is indeed remarkable.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that most Jews who marry blacks are marrying high-IQ blacks. Perhaps someone has data on this, or wants to go through a list of prominent black-Jewish pairings to test my guess. At this late hour, the first such pairing that came to mind was Lani Guinier's parents. Checking Wikipedia, it appears that her Jamaican father was a Harvard professor.

Per wikipedia: The Office hottie Rashida Jones (daughter of Quincy Jones and Jewish actress Peggy Lipton) and Lenny Kravitz, son of TV producer Sy Kravitz and actress Roxie Williams from "The Jeffersons".

I imagine it's a bad thing for high-IQ or wealthy blacks to disproportionately marry out. The end result is a genetic brain drain and more colorism within the black community.

tommy said...

There are hints that the selective process that we believe we identified among the Ashkenazim also occurred among the Sephardim of Spain and Portugal, though to a lesser degree. Certainly the experience and achievements of Spanish and Portuguese Jews in London and Amsterdam were similar to those of the Ashkenazim. But Sephardim from other lands show no sign at all of IQ elevation; indeed, this is a serious social and political issue in Israel today.

This is an interesting point. I've also been hard-pressed to come up with an explanation as to why the English Sephardim, for example, seem to have been so successful. Maybe there are really two groups of Sephardic Jews: those drawn form North Africa and the Middle East, who seem to have been mostly unremarkable, and those from Iberia (and later, following expulsion, Greece and other locales). Anyone have any idea about the percentages of Sephardic Jews by national origin in Israel? Are the large majority from the Arab world? Out of prominent Sephardic Jews in Israel, how many trace their origins to Europe versus elsewhere?

On an unrelated note, is Heather MacDonald Irish? She is one smart lass.

Anonymous said...

According to Andrew Greeley, who was cited twice in this thread, Irish Catholics are the second most successful white gentile group in America. Irish Catholics have plenty of talent, but are not adverse to diddling it away with drinking or gambling.

Anonymous said...

Josh:

"IMHO,Bush is our 1st Jewish president;tho he is a not very bright,he is a puppet for jewish-dominated Neo-Cons."

Could this George Bush be the original neocon?

Fred said...

Tommy,

I think the distinction you are looking for is between Sephardic Jews and Mizrahi Jews. Wikipedia also gives estimates of how many Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Mizrahi Jews are in Israel: 3-4 million Ashkenazim, approx. 700k Sephardim, and about 2.5 million Mizrahim.

Heather MacDonald is smart (and a sharp writer too). From the last name, I'd guess she's Scottish though (unless there are Scots-Irish named MacDonald as well?).

Mark said...

On an unrelated note, is Heather MacDonald Irish? She is one smart lass.

Now don't you be gettin' your Macs and Mcs Mcsd-up, Tommy O'Shaunessy!

Mac is the Scottish prefix (though many Macs have shortened it to Mc). So if you meet a Mc, he may be Scottish, but if you meet a Mac, he certainly is.

And, BTW, Miss Mac Donald prefers a space between Mac Donald.

Bryce Bryant said...

My guess is that most Jews who marry blacks are marrying high-IQ blacks. Perhaps someone has data on this, or wants to go through a list of prominent black-Jewish pairings to test my guess. At this late hour, the first such pairing that came to mind was Lani Guinier's parents. Checking Wikipedia, it appears that her Jamaican father was a Harvard professor.

Per wikipedia: The Office hottie Rashida Jones (daughter of Quincy Jones and Jewish actress Peggy Lipton) and Lenny Kravitz, son of TV producer Sy Kravitz and actress Roxie Williams from "The Jeffersons".



Lenny Kravitz and ex-wife Lisa Bonet were both "bluish".

High IQ Black out-mating-both in the cases of American Blacks marring whites or Jews, and in high-IQ Africans being "creamed off" (fundie church college programs that bring them here to be educated are a prime mover behind this-Mid-America Nazarene University is loaded with Africans who are of at least 100 IQ, which is the top decile in most of sub-Saharan Africa. Half don't go back permanently, at least.

Quincy Jones, a genius by the standards of any race, is a perfect example. Blacks NEED his genes-not those most commonly tossed around in "the hood".

Jews have always had a controlled level of genetic interchange with host populations-but as Dr. Oliver said, they know more about pruning their vines than any people extant. They let in only enough alien blood to make themselves LOOK like the host population. Amd matrilinearity can be understood far better now in light of mitochondrial DNA.

Mark said...

Genes for high intelligence are already present in Europeans and East Asians. In absolute numbers, there are vastly more intelligent Europeans and East Asians than Jews.

Well of course. But that's in absolute terms. Intermarriage would speed up the process even more. Remember, 30% of Nobel laureates in science are Jewish. That's pretty damn high.

If higher IQ provided a reproductive advantage, IQ would be increasing without Jewish admixture. As it stands, the dumb are out-breeding the smart.

There is certainly some concern about this. But is the reason the dumb outbreed the smart due to negative phsyical effects of IQ, of due to cultural reasons. Culture changes often and sometimes wildly, which definitely affects fertility.

Second, if you've been paying attention, Cochran and Harpending have proposed that specific Jewish IQ-boosting genes are associated with some nasty diseases. Why would we want to follow the Jewish route to boost intelligence?

Well even Murray doubts the Harpending thesis. I have yet to hear solid proof that the Tay-Sachs gene is related to intelligence. The early Rothschild clan was certainly both intelligent as well as highly inbred (cousins marrying cousins, uncles marrying nieces) yet they didn't seem to have high rates of infant mortality.

tommy said...

Fred,

I think the distinction you are looking for is between Sephardic Jews and Mizrahi Jews. Wikipedia also gives estimates of how many Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Mizrahi Jews are in Israel: 3-4 million Ashkenazim, approx. 700k Sephardim, and about 2.5 million Mizrahim.

Yeah. The distinction between the Mizrahi and the Sephardim isn't always made. (Also, I don't believe North African Sephardim would be considered Mizrahim.) I'm curious as to whether many of these IQ tests cited for the Sephardim actually draw that distinction. I doubt it, because I've heard nothing about Mizrahi IQ scores. The actual pool of Sephardim of Iberian descent might be a very small percentage of those conventionally labeled "Sephardic Jews."

It does seem to me that Iranian Jews are a pretty bright lot. They are typically classified as Mizrahim.

Mark and Fred,

Heather MacDonald is smart (and a sharp writer too). From the last name, I'd guess she's Scottish though (unless there are Scots-Irish named MacDonald as well?).

Now don't you be gettin' your Macs and Mcs Mcsd-up, Tommy O'Shaunessy!

Good point. I should have remembered that distinction. Though my actual surname is German (Weisensee). My real first name is not, of course, Tommy.

AC said...

To Fred:

I just wanted to mention that I know the couple you are talking about. The world is small.

Anonymous said...

Here are few of those low IQ Irishmen:

1)Curtis McMullen, Fields medal winner

2)Dennis Sullivan, McMullens advisor

3)William Hamilton, created the Quaternions and the Hamiltonian

Anonymous said...

Another low IQ Irishman:

4)Andrew Gleason,former Harvard mathematics professor who made a very important contribution to the quantum measurement problem(Gleason's Theorem).

James Kabala said...

"Mr. Murray suggests that the creation of the Hebrew Bible and, later, of Christian theology as presented in the New Testament are signatures of a population with high intelligence. But while the Bible is indeed a cornerstone of our civilization, is it necessarily evidence of a population with high IQ? Revered documents have come from populations that did not stand out in terms of intelligence—take, as one example, the Book of Mormon and its followers. We would also be inclined to attribute the New Testament mostly to Greeks rather than to Jews."
Cochran and Harprending are a smart guys, but this is one of the dumbest paragraphs ever penned, flawed in so many ways. I am a Christian myself and therefore perhaps biased, but even intelligent non-believers (save crazed fanatics of the Hitchens-Dawkins) have generally recognized the Bible as a massive literary as well as spiritual achievement. In the Old Testament, look at Genesis, Exodus, 1 and 2 Samuel, Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah - these are great as any Greco-Roman literature. As for the New Testament, even liberal scholars would not deny that its core is Jewish.
Finally, I am not a Mormon and, while never having read the Book of Mormon in full, do agree that the parts I have read seem unpreposessing (and supposedly the first edition was laced with atrocious grammatical errors of the "we was" variety), so they are probably right about the book itself not being a sign of high IQ, but I believe Mormons today are a very high-IQ group. (Although Cochran and Harpending actually live in Utah, so maybe they've picked up something not clear to outsiders.)

ff said...

Mark,

You're clearly not in the running for any Nobel prizes yourself.

In this discussion, it makes no difference why the dumb are reproducing faster than the smart. They are, and Jewish intermarriage is not going to change that.

Your claim is that Jews have some magical intelligence gene comparable to "an opposable thumb" and that intermarriage will cause the IQ of the world's population to stabilize at 115 (which is probably a gross overestimate of Ashkenazi IQ, as I've already pointed out).

It doesn't matter what genes Jews have -- if they aren't being positively selected for in the population at large they will not lead to a noticeable intelligence increase in the population at large, since Jews are a tiny minority. (And, in fact, the selection pressure is undoubtedly negative, both because high intelligence is at present selected against and because specific Jewish IQ-boosting genes are also associated with disease.)

Murray is not a geneticist and he has not made any meaningful argument against Cochran and Harpending's theory. At this point, the only candidates for semi-uniquely Ashkenazi IQ-boosting alleles also have nasty side-effects (probably because at some point in Jewish history selection pressure for intelligence was higher than might be ideal).

Finally, Nobel prizes are not a strict measure of intelligence. Obviously, cultural and political factors affect who wins (who chooses science as a career, who networks more, etc.).

Fred said...

Bryce Bryant:

"Jews have always had a controlled level of genetic interchange with host populations... They let in only enough alien blood to make themselves LOOK like the host population."

By what mechanism do we Jews modulate this? My girlfriend is 1/4 German-Jewish, 1/4 Irish, and 1/2 WASP. I am 100% Jewish (ancestors from Poland and the Ukraine). If we get married and decide to have kids, is there some central authority or group of Jewish elders I'm supposed to check with to see if our combined admixture fits the approved parameters for 'alien' blood?

Tommy:

"It does seem to me that Iranian Jews are a pretty bright lot. They are typically classified as Mizrahim."

I don't know of any comprehensive data, but I wouldn't be surprised if Iranian Jews were brighter, on average, than Jews from Arab countries, as Iran is a little more advanced than most Arab countries, and has a richer intellectual and cultural tradition. The previous Israeli president (forced to resign over a sexual scandal) was an Iranian-born Jew, btw.

AC:

If you know that couple, then the world is indeed small. On the remote chance someone lurking here might want to invade the couple's privacy, perhaps we should refrain from further details.

Anonymous 8:21:

Don't forget Yeats, Joyce and the great contemporary playwrights John Patrick Shanley (who is also the Academy Award winning screenwriter of Moonstruck) and Martin McDonagh.

Vol-in-Law said...

DYork:
"That is so true. The list of Scottish achievers in science/technology/intellect/leadership is indeed remarkable"

OTOH the Scots-Irish in America are renowned more for their fighting prowess than their intellectual abilities. The Scots-Irish who remained in Ulster benefitted from the 'Great Awakening' and acquired the same love of knowledge, education and science as the Scottish and English in the 19th century; their kin folk in the USA did not. In the USA the education culture seems to have remained largely confined to the Puritan-influenced New Englanders.

OTOH, Scots-Irish in America do tend to be prominent in roles that require both brains and bravery, such as astronauts (Neil Armstrong, for one) and officers in combat units, such as Virginia Senator Jim Webb (and countless others).

Vol-in-Law said...

Re Mormons - it's interesting that as a group they seem to be selecting for high intelligence. I wonder if anyone will do a study on whether this is true, and if so, by what mechanisms.

My impression is there might be some political difficulty, but where with Jews it's "We know Jews are smart, but we don't want to talk about it", with Mormons I suspect it's more "We know Red Staters are dumb, and we don't want to see evidence to the contrary".

Re Heather MacDonald - yes, MacDonald indicates Scottish ancestry, it's not a common Ulster (Scots-Irish) name. Scots-Irish generally do lose the 'a', eg McBride, McCann.

Oliuf said...

"Jews have always had a controlled level of genetic interchange with host populations... They let in only enough alien blood to make themselves LOOK like the host population."

By what mechanism do we Jews modulate this? My girlfriend is 1/4 German-Jewish, 1/4 Irish, and 1/2 WASP. I am 100% Jewish (ancestors from Poland and the Ukraine).

Probably full plate modulation with push pull medium-mu triodes.

Seriously- I don't think there is a conscious process per se, but in a large enough population thare is at any given time, a general zeitgeist for exogamy or endogamy. In 1955, Jews were not dissuaded from shiksa chasing-Eddie Fisher, Arthur Miller-and in 1985 there was much more pressure to marry in the tribe.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention this low IQ Irishman:

Nobel prize winner-physics-Robert Laughlin. His work on the fractional Quantum Hall Effect is crucial to research in Toplogical Quantum Computers.

Mark said...

Finally, I am not a Mormon and, while never having read the Book of Mormon in full, do agree that the parts I have read seem unpreposessing...so they are probably right about the book itself not being a sign of high IQ, but I believe Mormons today are a very high-IQ group. - James Kabala

Well, I have read the book, in full, unfortunately - enough to come away with the same impression that Mark Twain had: "Chloroform in print."

The Book of Mormon is highly derivative, borrowing liberally from the King James Bible - sometimes quoting chapters on end. That's why the LDS Church today still uses the King James Bible to this day, despite the availability of superior translations (in literal, though not literary, terms).

Don't get me wrong: Old Joe Smith was clearly a smart and very charismatic guy. But his Book doesn't qualify as great reading material.

Are Mormons a high IQ group? I was looking for the SAT data but couldn't find it, but it showed them as ever-so-slightly above average. Early Mormon pioneers included mostly poorer New England WASPs as well as converts from Britain and Scandinavia, so one might ecpect them to have slightly higher IQs than average.

Although Cochran and Harpending actually live in Utah, so maybe they've picked up something not clear to outsiders.

I doubt it. It was just an immediate example for them to provide. The fact that pre-8th Century Jews wrote the Bible doesn't help their thesis any.

In this discussion, it makes no difference why the dumb are reproducing faster than the smart. They are, and Jewish intermarriage is not going to change that. - ff

No, it does matter, because human evolution takes place over millenia, not decades. Birth patterns could very easily change, because culture changes, and economic and environmental conditions change, too.. Indeed, birth rates have changed quite dramatically in just a few decades. Who's to say they won't change again?

Finally, Nobel prizes are not a strict measure of intelligence. Obviously, cultural and political factors affect who wins (who chooses science as a career, who networks more, etc.).

Well it ain't the high school dropouts who are choosing science as a career, I can assure you. There are a multitude of data points showing Jews are overwhelming represented among high IQ groups - usually by an order of magnitude.

Jews are about 2-3% of the US population, but 25-30% of the 400 richest Americans, for example, as well as 20% or more of Harvard undergrads.

No, it isn't all about intelligence. Other traits matter, as well. But the facts remain.

Fred said...

Mark,

I don't know of any comprehensive data on Mormon IQ offhand, but I think there are a couple of factors that select for intelligence and discipline among observant Mormons. One is the "words of wisdom" keeping observant Mormons on the straight-and-narrow; the other is the emphasis on global missionary work, with its corresponding language requirements.

That second factor, btw, has been the foundation of many Mormons' success in business. Mormons were in China

Mark said...

I don't know of any comprehensive data on Mormon IQ offhand, but I think there are a couple of factors that select for intelligence and discipline among observant Mormons. One is the "words of wisdom" keeping observant Mormons on the straight-and-narrow; - fred

The Word of Wisdom does drive out the more rash and impulsive Mormons. Not all of them, but a lot.

It's hard to overstate the moral demands of the Mormon Church. Other religions say they're against drinking. Mormonism demands that you not drink. Other religions talk about chastity. Mormonism demands it.

the other is the emphasis on global missionary work, with its corresponding language requirements. - fred

The polyglot nature of Utah's white, Mormon population is certainly something to behold. It has definitely helped the state economically, but less so than you might expect, because pulling in the opposite direction is the emphasis on a very conventional lifestyle.

The expectations that were drilled into me in Sunday School were: go to college a year, turn 19, go on a mission for two years, come back and then find a wife, preferrably while still in college. Not much room for experimentation. How would you, for example, fit "become a musician" into that? If Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had been die-hard Mormons do you think they ever would've founded Microsoft or Apple?

That second factor, btw, has been the foundation of many Mormons' success in business. - fred

Serving a mission is as much a sales experience as a religious one. It definitely teaches more young Mormon men to be more assertive in their lives (and to learn a language). And it also teaches a certain amount of self-discipline - or else pushes you towards mental breakdown.

Dave said...

Has it been suggested that Mosaic Law could have raised average Jewish IQ way back in the Holy Land? Selecting out people with IQs low enough to molest a donkey in front of two witnesses, for example. Always suspected that's how they eliminated the predisposition to alchoholism.

tommy said...

Has it been suggested that Mosaic Law could have raised average Jewish IQ way back in the Holy Land? Selecting out people with IQs low enough to molest a donkey in front of two witnesses, for example. Always suspected that's how they eliminated the predisposition to alchoholism.

No, predisposition to alcoholism is low among all people in the Mediterranean region. This may be something of a fluke of genetics or it may be related to the spread of grain agriculture from the Middle East. The latter idea is that agricultural societies in the Mideast and the Mediterranean would have been exposed to alcohol much earlier than northern and western Europe. Incidentally, I believe that Ireland was among the last places that alcohol spread.

mepo said...

Remember that IQ has an environmental component. That component doesn't show up much in twin studies from middle-class adoptive homes, but when you're comparing across different cultures, it may. For example, Mormons tend to (generalizing wildly) avoid alcohol and caffeine and various hard-living excesses. They have kids younger, and have bigger families. They don't divorce or do the single mom raising five kids from six fathers thing much. Those all have an impact, which might very well show up on IQ even if there's no genetic difference.

The biggest long-term difference is demographic. Big families, early first births. Salt Lake City is weirdly different from other medium-sized cities for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is the demographic difference. There are about three times as many young people as you expect from living on the East Coast. A lower average age changes a lot about a culture. 40 year old only children having their first kid just look at the world differently than 22 year old brothers of seven siblings doing the same thing. I sometimes wonder how much of the whole rise of safety nazis and scare tactics about children (mollestors under every bed, snatchers lurking ever outside, no playing outside without an adult, no walking to school) have to do with first-time parents being too old and fearful.

Anonymous said...

Many great musicians are jews, but relatively few of the great composers were. Only two come to mind - Mendelsohn and Mahler.

Not true. Cole Porter was just about the ONLY popular American composer of his day who wasn't Jewish.

There was Irving Berlin (composed the soundtrack of "Top Hat," among other hits), Jerome Kern ("The Way You Look Tonight"), Harold Arlen ("Over the Rainobw"), George Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Alex North ("Unchained Melody"), and I need hardly mention Richard Rodgers (see: almost any Broadway classic).

Later came Marc Blitzstein, Cy Coleman, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Frederick Loewe ("My Fair Lady"), James Horner ("Searching for Bobby Fischer")and Leonard Bernstein. Possily Max Steiner, the greatest film-score composer of all time, is also Jewish.

Mark said...

I sometimes wonder how much of the whole rise of safety nazis and scare tactics about children (mollestors under every bed, snatchers lurking ever outside, no playing outside without an adult, no walking to school) have to do with first-time parents being too old and fearful. - mepo

Safety Nazis have done more damage than we'll ever know. Forget the worries about child molesters around every corner. Try a more prosaic one: car seats, and the legal requirement to use them.

When I was a kid and the family went someplace, mom just threw us all into the back of the station wagon. Time from out the door to out the driveway: 35.2 seconds.

Try that when every kid from 1 to 11 has to be buckled into a car seat, or mommy goes to jail.

Sure, without car seats some kids will suffer permanent injury or permanent death. But I wonder how many kids have never even been born thanks to nanny police state. How much of the West's demographic death dive owes to overregulation of parenting? A lot, I'd bet. When it comes to parenting, everyone in the West needs to drop a massive dose of buspirone in their Perrier.

And of course I won't even get in to how much more costly it is to buy a good house in a good neighborhood during the present immigration invasion, but that's a factor, too.

reseauplate said...

Many great musicians are jews, but relatively few of the great composers were. Only two come to mind - Mendelsohn and Mahler.

Not true. Cole Porter was just about the ONLY popular American composer of his day who wasn't Jewish.


Porter, Carmichael, Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke, Johnny Mercer, Eddie deLange, Frank Loesser.

Anonymous said...

This idea of one group being "smarter", on average, than other groups is odious and sounds like the rationale of the Nazis. You Jews engaging in this nonsense ought to be ashamed. Such differences are the result of environment, not one group's inherent superiority.

What a bunch of hateful rubbish. I'm Greek, should I name ridiculous reasons why the Greeks might be considered superior to Jews? No, that would be rubbish too. By the way, my IQ is 156.

Especially comical are the arguments regarding the number of musical "composers" that various groups can claim. Excelling in a certain genre of music is supposed to indicate what, exactly? How many Jews excel at playing the Chinese lute, or a bouzouki?

The very validity of intelligence claims based on IQ test results can be debated endlessly. Judging instead by the posts in this discussion, there seems to be an awful lot of stupid Jews with keyboards.

There is one area in which Jews certainly do excel above all others: arrogance.