Date: Thu Dec 05 2002 - 21:40:35 EST
In a message dated 12/5/02 9:05:03 AM Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
So when Israel recognizes in the story of its ancestor Jacob its own story,
it sees that ambiguity - cleverness, the ability to outwit enemies &c, but
also the dishonesty to which those traits are easily applied. & in any case,
I think that trying to connect this part of the Jacob cycle with the story
about his breeding of sheep in order to say something about the intelligence
of Ashkenazi Jews is quite forced.
You say when Israel recognizes - what is your reference in scripture?
Israel recognizes it by telling the story of "Israel" as part of its story,
part of the inspired witness to God's historical revelation. By repeating
this story Israel
confesses it to be its own story. That is done, e.g., whenever Israel tells
the story of its past as part of its own confession of faith - e.g.,
Who is Israel? You say dishonesty - where is the moral judgment against
cunning to which you refer? or is it simply your interpretation?
Do you consider lying to your blind old father so that you can steal the
blessing he intends to give to your brother _honest_?
You can characterize my interpretation as forced but my comments were correct
regarding the scriptural account and the behavior of today's ashkenazi Jewry,
and if not which of my remarks were incorrect? This is extremely important
so please be specific.
If A, B & C are all true, it doesn't follow that A + B => C .
I didn't make the connection in the story. The connection is there. Jacob is
outraged by Laban's switching of leah for rachel. Jacob retaliates by
weakening laban's flocks and strengthening his own. Laban is his kin. What
other justification does genesis provide for Jacob's action?
There is no indication that Jacob's actions to get the flocks of Laban have
anything to do with being "outraged" at the switch of Leah for Rachel - that
mentioned in any of the relevant conversations 30:26-34, 31:4-16, or
31:36-54. Jacob is undoubtedly upset to begin with about getting Leah instead
but he gets Rachel anyway after another week (29:27-30). There is no
indication that any resentment about Laban's switch played a significant role
in the later events. As far as "justification" is concerned, it's simply "He
cheated me so I'll get what's coming to me by cheating him." Rather amoral
but that's the way people behave.
But he had to work 7 more years for Rachel, and there are subsequent
I maintain that when God predicted 'the elder shall serve the younger' he was
referring to the fact that Jacob would come to his older brother's birthright
because he was cunning and in this respect God approves of cunning. I also
suggested that when Laban gave Leah to Jacob instead of the promised Rachel,
Jacob was slighted because his next generation's birthright would go to the
sons of a less vivacious, less spirited, less intelligent woman. Would it be
more precise biologically to say a less vigorous woman? And that in this
respect, Jacob understood the mechanisms of selection and how to breed
vigorous sons and that the message of Jacob, stealer of birthrights is that
there are no birth 'rights.' Birthright is won by cunning. I conclude
intelligence/cunning is favored by God over birthright. The weakening of
Laban's flocks is an analogy using the shepherd, the primary Biblical symbol,
to illustrate the method one uses to maintain a desired trait (in men,
intelligence, in sheep, general vigor) in a population, through good
I add the following evidence which I had never noticed until receiving your
response, George. After re-reading Genesis and parts of Exodus I found that
the judgment of God is borne out perfectly in the sons of Jacob (see Genesis
The sons of 'dull-eyed' Leah, Jacob's first wife imposed on him by Laban:
Reuben, the first born defiles his father's concubine. His father says he
will not excel.
Simeon and Levi the next two sons of Leah have spades that become weapons of
violence. They are cursed by their father.
Judah sells Joseph into slavery and marries a Canaanite woman.
The son of vivacious Rachel, second wife but the true intended mother of
Jacob's first born:
Rachel's firstborn, Joseph, who should rightfully have carried the birthright
in Jacob's and God's eyes becomes counsel to the Pharoah through his greater
intelligence and ruler of his older brothers and so - the elders serve the
younger. Jacob's breeding skill with the flocks is reflected in his choice
for first wife as manifest in the fate of his sons.
It is precisely the same lesson to be drawn in the story of each generation,
Jacob's generation and Joseph's generation. Breed for cunning. Cunning always
wins out, even over physical violence. Even when your rightful inheritance is
usurped cunning eventually reverses your position.
I further suggest that the disparity in IQ between groups of deeply religious
Ashkenazi Jews and the general population is the expected result of a
'Darwinian' interpretation of Genesis and an adherence to 'God's Law.' They
are breeding their communities for high intelligence which is precisely the
viewpoint of Jacob and God as described in Genesis and the judgment of God
manifest in the differences between the fates of the sons of Leah and the
sons of Rachel.
To say that orthodox religious people would be doing anything but what they
believe their Scriptures are telling them to do would be the departure from a
rational parsimonious approach. The issue is what are the Scriptures saying?
Wouldn't we expect to find orthodox behavior reflecting the wisdom of the
texts? Above, I have told you what I believe the Scriptures are conveying
when you consider the biological information embedded in the texts.
Below is some information on Jewish social behaviors:
"For 1,500 years Jewish society had been designed to produce intellectuals.
...Jewish society was geared to support them... rich merchants married sages'
daughters;... quite suddenly, around the year 1800, this ancient and highly
efficient social machine for the production of intellectuals began to shift
its output. Instead of pouring all its products into the closed circuit of
rabbinical studies;... it unleashed a significant and ever growing proportion
of them into secular life. This was an event of shattering importance in
A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson, 1988, ppg.s 340-341
"Taken together, the data suggest a mean IQ in the 117 range for Ashkenazi
Jewish children, with a verbal IQ in the range of 125 and a performance IQ in
the average range. These results, if correct, would indicate a difference of
almost two standard deviations from the Caucasian mean in verbal IQ - exactly
the type of intellectual ability that has been the focus of Jewish education
and eugenic practices."
A People That shall Dwell Alone, Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy,
Kevin MacDonald, p.190
Breeding for intelligence is in the Bible and some people are still
religiously devoted to it.
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