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This post was edited by E.T. at 2012-5-14 13:24|
Lynn On The Jews: Yes, It’s Intelligence—But There’s Something Else Too
By Steve Sailer on November 1, 2011 at 11:27pm
My favorite Sesame Street character is Count von Count, an amiable vampire who always refers to himself in the third person in his thick Transylvanian accent—"The Count loves counting!"—as he enumerates everything in sight.
I love counting, too, which is why I find Richard Lynn's books, such as 2002's IQ and the Wealth of Nations, irresistible: Lynn is another countaholic.
Lynn's latest, The Chosen People: A Study of Jewish Intelligence and Achievement, tabulates the consistently impressive performance of Northern European Jews—known as “Ashkenazi” Jews, as opposed to the Sephardic Jews from Spanish or Portuguese backgrounds, such as Benjamin Disraeli—across many fields in 17 different countries. Lynn, a psychology professor emeritus at the University of Ulster, calculates "Achievement Quotients" of how heavily Jews are represented in a broad range of desirable categories, from the professions to bridge champions.
To summarize Lynn's findings: Ashkenazi Jews do well in every country they inhabit, and in most every field in which they compete.
Jewish organizations devote much energy to counting the number of high-achieving Jews, as the many Jewish websites devoted to listing famous Jews attest. (For example, here is the Google search page for "Jewish baseball players").
So this information is available to anyone with an internet connection. But it is presently considered Just Not Done for gentiles like Lynn to take a scientific interest in such matters—no matter how appreciative their attitude.
In contrast, the federal government spends huge sums counting blacks, Hispanics, and whites for the purpose of rectifying white "overrepresentation" through quotas and lawsuits.
Lynn, however, blithely plunges ahead with his task. And he is quite right to do so. The impact of Jewish intelligence in the modern world could hardly be more important—or less studied.
For example, the Jewish record in winning Nobel Prizes is extraordinary. Lynn cites Nobel laureate data compiled by the Israel Science and Technology Homepage, a website run by biochemist Israel Hanukoglu, who was the chief science advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term as prime minister. Updating Lynn's Nobel numbers to include the recently announced 2011 prizes, we find:
- Medicine or Physiology: Jews have comprised 51 of the 199 laureates, or 26 percent
- Physics: 47 of 191, or 25 percent
- Chemistry 30 out of 160, or 19 percent
- Literature: 12 out of 108, or 11 percent
- Peace: 9 out of 101, or 9 percent
- Economics: 24 out of 69, or 35 percent
Of course, the latter three prizes are all dubious. The Literature Prize depends upon vagaries of taste and translation (there are likely more famous authors who didn't win the Nobel than ones who did). The Peace Prize is inherently political. And Economics is more ideological than scientific. While there are Republican and Democratic economists, nobody talks about Republican and Democratic chemists.
This is not to say there are no controversies about the hard science Nobels. For example, the only Nobel laureate I've had dinner with is among the most frequently cited as undeserving. When I was a student at Rice University in 1978, the new physics laureate Robert Wilson, a Rice alumnus, came to his alma mater to give a speech. A modest man, he pointed out that it was ironic that he and Arno Penzias had won the Nobel Prize for proving the Big Bang Theory, even though they had to have the cosmic importance of their discovery of microwave background radiation explained to them by astrophysical theorists at Princeton. And the Princetonians, as many other Princetonians have complained, didn't win the Nobel.
But when I mentioned this anecdote about Wilson to an astronomy professor last year, however, he replied: "Do you think it was a coincidence that they gave the Nobel to the best experimental astronomer of his generation, the guy whose technique was so good that he found what nobody else could find?" So even this notoriously controversial hard science Nobel turns out to be quite legit.
And winning a science Nobel should not be thought of as solely an individual achievement. To earn the chemistry prize, for instance, you need a good laboratory. Thus, it took the U.S. a long time to get started at winning Nobels. From 1901 through 1929, a period in which 30 people born in Germany won Nobels, only one native-born American was a laureate. There was plenty of talent born in America in the 19th Century. But America back then trailed Europe at the highest levels of technical sophistication.
Still, if you keep all that in mind, the Nobels are a good data source for Lynn to mine.
Jews have won 23 percent of the Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry Nobels. This is tremendously impressive because Jews have always comprised a small fraction of the world's population. Before the Holocaust, Jews might have made up about 2.5 percent of the population of Europe, North America, and Australasia. Today, they make up roughly 0.2 percent of the world's population.
It has long been predicted that Jewish achievement in science will slow down, as affluent younger Jews turn to more lucrative or fun careers, such as Wall Street and Hollywood. But we don't see that in the Nobel Prize data. In the 21st century so far, Jews have won 24 of the 91 science Nobels, or 26 percent, which is even higher than their 20th Century rate.
Of course, that doesn't tell us what is actually happening in the last decade. The awarding of hard science Nobels typically lag their discovery by at least a decade, as the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences has grown cautious about either rewarding work that might not bear the test of time or overlooking the greats of the past before they die. The 2011 winners were recognized for work first published between 1973 and 1998.
Inevitably, all this data raises the inevitable question: Who is a Jew? This is both a fascinating question and the kind of quibble frequently used to intellectually intimidate curious gentiles with the message: Move along, nothing to notice here.
Netanyahu's friend Hanukoglu offers one definition:
"This list includes only Nobel laureates who are Jewish by the strict definition of Halacha (interpretation of the laws of the Hebrew Scriptures) that requires being born to a Jewish mother or formal conversion to Judaism. Definition of being Jewish is similar to nationality and is independent of personal beliefs."