Saturday, June 04, 2005

That Which Does Not Kill Me...

Well this is nice. Apparently Ashkenazi Jews are indeed smarter than the rest of y'all--because we had to self-select for intelligence to keep from being killed off throughout the last 500 years (tip: Andrew Sullivan).

Talk about your historical ironies.

Today's a travel day for me--finally going home! So, I'll see everybody on the flipside when I get into Maryland--at 12:23 AM. It would be faster, but I have to go through Atlanta. Because Minneapolis to Atlanta to DC isn't a huge triangle or anything.

UPDATE: I should have hoped it clear that breezily linking to an NYT article on my way home from college does not constitute an endorsement of biological determinism with respect to IQ. I thought the article was amusing in that it literally was making a "That which does not kill me makes me stronger" claim (particularly with regard to some nasty genetic diseases Ashkenazi Jews are prone towards), and it's funny when historical tragedies are asserted to have this sort of rebound effect. I actually would not be surprised if there is a cultural basis for Ashkenazi Jews having a sharp academic bent that was related to Jewish social position in Europe at this time, but even for groups that are relatively small and had been relatively reproductively isolated for some period of time (which may or may not describe Jews in Europe prior to their immigration to America, but certainly doesn't describe American racial groups), the claim that IQ is inheritable strikes me as pretty dubious on a variety of grounds.

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