Jewgenics: Jewish intelligence, Jewish genes, and Jewish values is the latest by William Saletan in Slate. If you can, ignore the ethnic side of the story and concentrate on this excerpt: Entine laid out the data. The average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is 107 to 115, well above the human average of 100.
Note the word “data”.
Saletan accepts it without question. So do most of us. Since the dawn of the Industrial Education Revolution, we have accepted the notion that our most distinctively human quality — our intelligence — is measurable on a single scale. We speak of a person’s IQ (“Intelligence Quotient”) as if it were a measure of a fixed quantity, like body fat or hemoglobin, that each of us posesses in differing amounts. Thus we assume that and IQ tests no less diagnostic than blood pressure guages or engine dipsticks.
Yet IQ tests are puzzle-solving exercizes that in fact say no more about you than whether or not you’re good at solving those puzzles. Every Soduku or crossword puzzle is an IQ test as well. We just don’t use them to tell schools, parents, children and entire races or ethnic groups what they’re worth.
And that’s what we do with IQ tests. We do it as institutions, and we do it as individuals.
If I tell you I have an IQ of 125, can you forget that number? Can it not color what you think of me for the duration?
In fact my known IQ scores have an eighty point range (none of which is 125, for the nothing that’s worth). One of the high scores placed me in the “fast” group in kindergarten, and one of the low ones scores placed me on the loser track to vocational-technical high school at the end of the ninth grade. From the first through the eigth grade my IQ scores declined steadily, along with my disinterest in school itself. If my mother hadn’t been a teacher in the same school system, and if my parents hadn’t believed in my innate worth as an intelligent kid, I would have been shunted down the system’s loser track.
Today I’m sure I’d do much worse on an IQ test than I would have done in my teens or twenties. Does that make me dumber? Fact is, I’m a helluva lot smarter, and far better informed, even if my memory isn’t nearly as good and I’ve been losing neurons steadily for decades.
“I was never measured, and never will be measured”, Whitman said. “I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter’s compass.”
The measure of us all is what cannot be measured. And with it the ability to prove all measures wrong. We need to remember that.
See ya at Defrag.
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