Monday, October 17, 2005

N.Y. Mag: Are Jews smarter?

The New Yorker Magazine writer apparently hasn't studied Jewish American voting records.

This debate/discussion ten years ago was verboten. Read the entire article and determine if it is making you feel uncomfortable.

...Last summer, Henry Harpending, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Utah, and Gregory Cochran, an independent scholar with a flair for controversy, skipped cheerfully into the center of this minefield. The two shopped around a paper that tried to establish a genetic argument for the fabled intelligence of Jews. It contended that the diseases most commonly found in Ashkenazim—particularly the lysosomal storage diseases, like Tay-Sachs—were likely connected to and, indeed, in some sense responsible for outsize intellectual achievement in Ashkenazi Jews. The paper contained references, but no footnotes. It was not written in the genteel, dispassionate voice common to scientific inquiries but as a polemic. Its science was mainly conjecture. Most American academics expected the thing to drop like a stone.

It didn’t. The Journal of Biosocial Science, published by Cambridge University Press, posted it online and agreed to run it in its bi-monthly periodical sometime in 2006. The New York Times, The Economist, and several Jewish publications risked their reputations to legitimize it. Today, the paper has a lively presence on the Internet—type “Ashkenazi” into Google and the first hit is the Wikipedia entry, where the article gets pride of place...

The world’s proliferation of Einsteins—well, maybe not Einsteins exactly, but distinguished Jewish thinkers, particularly in math and the sciences—form the stark, quantifiable basis for Cochran and Harpending’s hypothesis. Though Jews make up a mere 0.25 percent of the world’s population and a mere 3 percent of the United States’, they account, according to their paper, for 27 percent of all American Nobel Prize winners, 25 percent of all ACM Turing Award winners for computer science, and 50 percent of the globe’s chess champions. (What the paper doesn’t say is that these numbers seem to be tallied for optimum Jewishness, counting as Jews those who have as few as one Jewish grandparent to claim; it also wrongly assumes these winners are all Ashkenazim. But still.) Cochran and Harpending also cite studies claiming that Ashkenazim have the highest IQ of any ethnic group for which there’s reliable data, perhaps as much as a full standard deviation above the general European average, which means, at the far end of the spectrum, that 23 per thousand Ashkenazim have an IQ over 140, as opposed to 4 per thousand Northern Europeans....

Recently, I also found myself quoting—with relish—Sarah Silverman’s reaction to being taken to task by a watchdog group for using the word chink in her stand-up: “As a Jew, I’m really, really nervous we’re losing control of the media.” ...

“I’m no demographer, but I think what’s happened in the U.S. is the normalization of the Jew,” says Leon Botstein, who, as the president of Bard College, has seen all sorts of students cross his field of vision. “They’ve become as complacent and culturally undistinguished as the average, suburban, white middle-class American.”...

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 12:53 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take that, Sefardim!

9:34 AM  

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