OK, it's very weird that the non-Jew wrote this - Tami
While browsing Memeorandum this morning, I clicked on a link to read the answer to the question, Can teen sex prevent delinquency? because, well... it had the phrase "teen sex" in it. In case you're wondering, apparently people who lose their virginity earlier in life are less likely to wind up being delinquents. Who knew this would be the secret to my success?
As I was browsing the article, however, I came upon another link that drew me away from these titillating tidbits. It asked the questions, "Are Jews a race? Is Jewish intelligence genetic?"
This really caught my attention, because I had recently gotten into a fascinating discussion with a reader over at Middle Earth Journal on just this subject. I had opined that there was a distinct difference between being "Jewish" (as in a practitioner of one particular religion) and being an "Israeli" (as in a legal citizen of the country of Israel.) The comments section lit up a bit as one reader informed me that it wasn't quite so simple, as there were people who considered themselves to be "Jewish" by family history, but had never been a practitioner of the religion. The conversation really taught me a lot I didn't know about the history of the Jewish people, but at the same time, I told the reader that I'd never met nor heard of anyone else with that point of view, and I was confused as to how being "Jewish" could equate to a genetic lineage.
Apparently I was way off base.
The average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is 107 to 115, well above the human average of 100. This gap and the genetic theories surrounding it stirred discomfort in the room. Zoloth, speaking for many liberals, recalled a family member's revulsion at the idea of a Jewish race. Judaism is about faith and values, she argued. To reduce it to biology is to make it exclusive, denying its openness to all. Worse, to suggest that Jews are genetically smart is to imply that non-Jews are inherently inferior, in violation of Jewish commitments to equality and compassion.
My friend Dana Milbank, who's a better (if I may use that word) Jew than I am, watched the discussion, went back to his office, and wrote a column in the Washington Post poking fun at all the talk of superior Jewish intellect. The column, as usual, was really smart.
But what if Judaism as a genetic inheritance is compatible with Judaism as a cultural inheritance? And what if the genes that make Jews smart also make them sick? If one kind of superiority comes at the price of another kind of inferiority, and if the transmission of Jewish values drives the transmission of Jewish genes, does that make the genetics and the superiority easier to swallow?
So, at least in some schools of study, not only are Jews a different ethnicity, similar to Germans, Indians, Brits and Martians, but they are also smarter than everyone else. I guess if I were Jewish I'd have been smart enough to figure that out on my own. Damn you, Native American genetic code!