Re: Moorad's comment is sound

From: <>
Date: Wed Jun 29 2005 - 18:13:38 EDT

In a message dated 6/29/2005 3:38:18 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
My point is that the so-called connection between intelligence and genetic
diseases does not follow. That's because genetic drift rather than heterozygote
advantage best explains the genetic diseases.

Unless you're deliberately selecting for a trait and concentrating
maladaptations due to your intense selection that JEWISH SCHOLARS THEMSELVES SAY IS WHAT
THEIR COMMUNITIES PRACTICE. Why is that so difficult for you?
Why do you refuse to address what they say about their own practices?
Since you know the self selection is occurring because that is the nature of
Jewish religion, why do you look for the cause elsewhere?
Of course, there are real bottlenecks in some populations, but that doesn't
mean they apply in the Ashkenbazi case, does it? And you haven't responded to
the fact that a deliberate increase in self selection might easily be observed
as a bottleneck since only a segment of the population increased their
selective behavior. Where's the drift? There's no drift. It's deliberate.

 While I take for granted that there are innate differences between
communities and ethnic groups, and that these may reflect biological as
well as cultural differences, I personally fall more on the “nurture”
side of the “nature versus nurture” debate when it comes to IQ and
intelligence. Because the authors relied too heavily on biological
explanations and mechanisms, they ignored cultural ones, and they failed
to grasp that Jewish populations are actually open and partially

  The emphasis on learning, the selective genetics involved in marrying
the scholar - even to the extent of giving one's fortune for it- and
the insistence on having children imbued with that value is reason
enough for the superb development of the Jewish mind.

Gee, Rich. They even use the words self selected. Are you saying that
Metzenberg, Lamm and the most important rabbis at Yeshiva University are lying? Or
are you saying that they are self selecting and their high intelligence has
nothing to do with their selections?

Knowing that self selection for intelligence is occurring and knowing the
central nervous system diseases occurring in that population you say self
selection has nothing to do with it? Say it. Say self selection has nothing to do
with the cluster of central nervous system diseases in Ashkenazi populations.
Please stop repeating the mantras of founder effect and bottlenecks.

Here's MacDonald (evolutionary psychologist) replying to Harpending on
Cochran et al note, "Another theory suggests that there was selective
breeding for Talmudic scholarship. This seems unlikely to have been an important
selective factor, since there weren’t very many professional rabbis, certainly
less than one percent of the population. A selective force that only affects a
tiny fraction of the population can never be strong enough to cause important
evolutionary change in tens of generations. A plausible variant of the Talmudic
scholarship model suggests that it was like a sexually selected marker and
that rich families preferred to marry their daughters to males who excelled (Weyl
and Possony, 1963; MacDonald, 1994) so that the payoff to intelligence was
indirect rather than direct as we suggest. Without detailed historical
demographic information it will be difficult to evaluate this hypothesis."
I just want to emphasize that my hypothesis involving the importance of
scholarship did not imply that effects would be limited to only a small part of the
population. I tried to show that what was critical was the entire system of
scholarship as a summum bonum and as a very important component of one's
ancestry in computing value on the marriage market, with rabbis at the pinnacle. For
example, I noted, "The result of these practices was a large overlap among
scholarship, control of economic resources, social status, and, ultimately,
fertility. Hundert (1992) notes that rabbis were often wealthy, socially
prominent merchants, manufacturers, or traders. Throughout most of the 18th century,
there was a Jewish aristocracy in Poland-Lithuania consisting of a small number
of prominent families who “held an astonishing number of rabbinical and
communal offices” (p. 117). " Wealthy men married their daughters to rabbis, and
people who became wealthy distinguished themselves in scholarship and developed
networks of business connections as a result of their intellectual promise.
One did not need to be a rabbi to be wealthy, and as we approach the modern era
it probably became less and less important. But in traditional Jewish society
being a rabbi meant you were part of a network of closely related business and
intellectual families that formed the elite of Jewish society.
The other difference (and Cochran and I have corresponded at length about
both these issues) is that whereas they view Ashkenazi selection for IQ as a more
or less passive consequence of their status as a commercial group in one
particular area and historical period, my view is that marriage practices
specifying the desirability of marrying wealth with scholarship were specified in the
Talmud and that there is excellent historical evidence that these practices
were were religiously (!) followed by important Jewish groups, including the
Sephardic Jews who became a dominant elite in Spanish society and occupied the
same commerical niche as the Ashkenazim in Eastern Europe. Jewish eugenics was
conscious in the sense that they believed that people should be very careful
about the characteristics of one's mate because they would affect one's
children. They were especially keen on the importance of marrying men who were
scholars, as specified in several passages in the Talmud. There is also a great deal
of evidence that the commercial niche so typical of Judaism long predates the
Ashkenazim and can be seen in the Roman empire as the Jewish population
gradually recovered from the events of 70 AD and came to be important commercial
players in the Empire, dominant in at least some areas of commerce (See Chap. 3
of Separation and Its Discontents). The enormous elaboration of commercial law
in the Talmud is another indication that Jews had entered this niche long
before Ashkenazi times. In general it is a myth that Jews took up the commercial
role because they were barred from other activities, such as farming.
But these are very minor points. The big point is that there was natural
selection for Ashkenazi IQ. I completely agree with this.
Kevin MacDonald
Department of Psychology
California State University-Long Beach
Long Beach, CA 90840-0901
562 985-8183; fax: 562 985-8004

Here's Harpending's reponse. Hardly an argument. he says," you may well be
Kevin my reading has been that they had a classical hypergynous dowry system
straight from Dickemann. In these systems women's families are essentially
buying their way into the capital of the male and/or his family. I will give you
your point that all kinds of ideology supports your model but I would really
like to see some data: in such and such a year Susie Q's family paid
so much money for her to marry the brilliant scholar from the poor family.

Having said that I do think you may well be right.


That's the end of the thread. I'm out of patience.
God knows I've tried.
rich faussette
Received on Wed Jun 29 18:16:02 2005

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