Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (14 September 2017, 23 Elul, 5777)
Why are Ashkenazi Jews the smartest ethnic group, on average?
I would suggest three reasons worthy of consideration in this regard.
Â 1. Learning
Â 2. Reverse Eugenics
Â 3. Intellectual Achievement Orientated
Â Jews learn. Jews have always learned. Epigenetic and other studies show that the behavior of ancestors can affect the preconditioning of offspring.
Â In Scandinavia it was found that people whose grandparents had suffered severe famine were differently conditioned physically than those whose ancestors had not been so.
Â There are numerous instances along the same lines not only among humans but also with animals.
Â Jews in the past learnt Torah for centuries generation after generation. They exerted themselves intellectually and this could have influenced the aptitudes of their descendants.
2. Reverse Eugenics
Â Eugenics roughly speaking holds that the better off humans from a biological point of view should be enabled to survive whereas the less fortunate should not.
Â EVERY NATION practices this to some degree or other. Social workers pressure the more unfortunate women in their charge to have abortions instead of adding to the burden of society.
Â These days doctors recommend the termination of pregnancy when there is a chance of malformation in the infant even if it is not certain.
Â In the past among the Gentiles there were high rates of infanticide and social mechanisms that deleted the less fit from the gene pool.
Â The problem is that they may have thrown the baby out with the bath water (irony intended).
Â The Jews traditionally acted in such a wayÂ MUCH LESSÂ than the others did. People with impairments were married either to each other or to â€œnormalâ€ partners.
Â Paradoxically in this way the Jews may have saved more of the good genes!
Â The article below argues for such a scenario in regard to the Tay-Sachs gene having possibly been concomitant with genes enhancing intelligence.Â
Â We would suggest that not only the Tay-Sachs gene but other genes as well.
Â In other words they who are genetically impaired in one direction may in other ways have genetic potential greater than the average.
Researchers Say Intelligence and Diseases May Be Linked in Ashkenazic Genes
Â By NICHOLAS WADEJUNE 3, 2005
A team of scientists at the University of Utah has proposed that the unusual pattern of genetic diseases seen among Jews of central or northern European origin, or Ashkenazim, is the result of natural selection for enhanced intellectual ability.
The selective force was the restriction of Ashkenazim in medieval Europe to occupations that required more than usual mental agility, the researchers say in a paper that has been accepted by the Journal of Biosocial Science, published by Cambridge University Press in England.
The hypothesis advanced by the Utah researchers has drawn a mixed reaction among scientists, some of whom dismissed it as extremely implausible, while others said they had made an interesting case, although one liable to raise many hackles.
"It would be hard to overstate how politically incorrect this paper is," said Steven Pinker, a cognitive scientist at Harvard, noting that it argues for an inherited difference in intelligence between groups. Still, he said, "it's certainly a thorough and well-argued paper, not one that can easily be dismissed outright."
"Absolutely anything in human biology that is interesting is going to be controversial," said one of the report's authors, Dr. Henry Harpending, an anthropologist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
He and two colleagues at the University of Utah, Gregory Cochran and Jason Hardy, see the pattern of genetic disease among the Ashkenazi Jewish population as reminiscent of blood disorders like sickle cell anemia that occur in populations exposed to malaria, a disease that is only 5,000 years old.
In both cases, the Utah researchers argue, evolution has had to counter a sudden threat by favoring any mutation that protected against it, whatever the side effects. Ashkenazic diseases like Tay-Sachs, they say, are a side effect of genes that promote intelligence.
3. Intellectual Achievement Orientated
Â Jews and some Orientals encourage intellectual endeavor among their children.
Â To excel in such activities is often taken for granted.
Â In such an environment a child who is even a little gifted will flourish far better than one who comes from a different background.