Not some of the ones I’ve been forced to deal with recently. Learning firsthand over the past 18 months or so that there are some, well, surprisingly dimwitted Jewish men walking around — like the “Too Stupid To Really Be Jewish” Truffles the Hobbit — has been a real blow to my whole worldview.
I’m still trying to process that… You think I’m kidding.
Why do we need endless “studies” to prove things we already know are true based upon our everyday observations, lived experience and centuries of folk wisdom?
Though Jews make up less than 3% of the U.S. population, they have won more than 25% of the Nobel Prizes awarded to American scientists since 1950, account for 20% of this country’s chief executives and make up 22% of Ivy League students, the pair write.
“People are perfectly willing to admit that some people are taller or some people are shorter,” Cochran said. “But no one wants to say ‘This group is smarter.’ “
Dr. Ari Zimran, director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s Gaucher Clinic in Jerusalem, thought he would get similar results by studying the very bright patients he treated for Gaucher disease, another Ashkenazi genetic disorder in which excessive amounts of a fatty substance build up in certain organs, causing pain, fatigue and other symptoms.
His small study in the 1980s found no difference between IQs of patients and unaffected relatives. A larger study might have done so, Zimran said. But he decided not to pursue it.
“There is enough anti-Semitism,” he said. (…)
Cochran and Harpending are the first to make a broad case linking multiple Jewish genetic diseases to intelligence. Their theory draws on history, statistics, neurobiology and population genetics.
Jews first came to Europe in the 8th and 9th centuries, long before they were known for intellectual prowess, Cochran and Harpending say. They worked as traders before taking financial jobs made available by Christians who were forbidden by the Church from charging interest. By 1100, local registries listed most Ashkenazi Jews as lenders.
That set the stage for natural selection to do its work, Cochran and Harpending theorized. Jews didn’t intermarry, keeping their gene pool closed. They were subjected to periodic persecution, which kept the population from outgrowing its professional niche.
According to the theory, the smartest individuals made the most money, and the wealthiest families had the most surviving children. The genes of the most intelligent Jews spread most, slowly raising the average IQ of the entire group.
Over 40 generations — roughly 1,000 years — an increase of just 0.3 points per generation would have added up to a cumulative advantage of 12 points, Cochran and Harpending theorized. Some of their other models projected a benefit of 16 to 20 IQ points.
They wrote up their theory and sent it off to a journal. It was rejected.