« And yet it moves! | Gene Expression Front Page | Mass hysteria in Cogee beach »
February 15, 2003

Generalizations-how easy when it's someone else

Just a thought prompted by the black beauty controversy-being someone to the political and social Right of most of my friends, I often get attacked for making generalizations about race & sex. The word "ignorant" often comes up (generally these outbursts decline as t -> long time). But, many of these same individuals will make generalizations about conservatives or religious people that those groups would consider "ignorant" too. The best corrective for this sort of behavior is to make sure that you encounter a wide variety of political opinions in your everyday life. Of course, this might explain why universities abound in the terms "ignorant" or "that's a generalization," since there isn't a center-Right corrective to the PC center-Left consensus (perhaps the same can be said of some churches in the reverse fashion, but the influence of conservative churches is different from that of universities).

Also, fellow thought-police transgressor Richard Poe has an amusing observation about the predilictions of a GNXP reader. Give Poe some props, not only does he say things about race that induce a barrage of opprobrium from the "respectable" Right and the Left, but he regularly gets into it with the enemies of us mud people and the seed-line-of-Satan (Jews). Some of those "white Aryan" chicks are pretty cute, but I guess they're not into the chocolate love....

Posted by razib at 02:24 PM

Poe is simply the man. I can't wait for his new book. I found his latest shout-out to gnxp a little odd though:

"It's not easy holding down the intellectual fort against the "Red-Brown Coalition" -- that swarm of post-9-11, neo-Darwinian, Bolshevo-Fascist Nazi spam-meisters whose locust-like infestations have become the bane of every forum moderator with the slightest inclination to permit free discussion of race and ethnicity on his Web site."

But we're the ones who are neo-Darwinists. What was that supposed to mean?

Posted by: Jason M. at February 15, 2003 04:52 PM

Siphoning traffic from Overthrow.com would accomplish nothing for me except to flood my forum temporarily with legions of nasty, long-winded boors whose only claim to literacy is having read a couple of overheated cyber-reviews of Kevin MacDonald's Culture of Critique.

Jews hate that book, don't they? They love to smear it and its author as being "anti-Semitic" but they've never refuted any of its points on the basis of the facts.

Posted by: Oleg at February 15, 2003 06:07 PM

Jews hate that book, don't they?

Settle down, Oleg. Ethnically Jewish people don't all think in unison. Richard Poe is Catholic and ethnically half-Jewish. Steve Sailer is Catholic and ethnically half-Jewish too, but MacDonald is part of Steve's discussion forum, and Steve has defended MacDonald against Tooby. I would like to respond to the book, but I haven't read it yet, so I will have to remain silent for now. From what I can tell there is a lot of bad thinking about Jews. So far I think the freshest commentary on Jews comes from Thomas Sowell, who really puts successful minority cultures who are at odds with majority cultures in world perspective. The Chinese in Malaysia and Armenians in Turkey, are pretty good analogies.

Posted by: Jason M. at February 15, 2003 07:02 PM

Actually, I'm not sure if Sailer defended Macdonald, but if not Macdonald makes it look that way:

Tooby states that I am not an evolutionary psychologist and that I am a fringe scientist. These are very troubling statements—highly reminiscent of typical behavior in political organizations, not scientific ones...Steve Sailer, a prominent journalist and moderator of the Human Biodiversity email discussion list—a high-profile list that includes a large number of public intellectuals, stated on the list that "it looks like Tooby has rendered Evolutionary Psychology's claim to be a legitimate branch of science kaput. Tooby appears to believe that it is his personal intellectual property. If so, he should not have given it the generic scientific name "evolutionary psychology", but instead should have given it a personal or ideologically-descriptive name like "Toobyism" or "Politically Correct Darwinism." Anyway, it was always excessively limiting to focus just on psychology, since the rest of the body is also molded by evolution and interacts in all sorts of ways with the mind. So, what should replace it? Should we go back to "sociobiology?" That term certainly has a more honorable history to it than evo psych." (Feb. 4, 2000)

I'm not sure exactly what the claims of "Culture of Critique" are, but I generally think of Jews (as a culture and ethnicity)in a pretty positive way. Ashkenazi at least. If Israel were to face extinction, I would definately want America to let it in all those good promising genes.

Posted by: Jason M. at February 15, 2003 07:18 PM

From what I can tell there is a lot of bad thinking about Jews.

Not in MacDonald's book per se, but in general.

Posted by: Jason M. at February 15, 2003 07:27 PM

I have not read this book but have read reviews of it - the basic thesis seems like drawing a long bow to explain something that is very simple to explain. Allan Levite's book explains the phenomenon better but frames it in terms of rich people being disproportionately involved in left wing parties. However both are too reductionistic and they presuppose too much
Jews are disproportionately involved in left of center politics but they are also disproportionately involved in libertarian politics - Mises, Kirzner, Friedman the father and son, Caplan, Rand, the list goes on.
One part explanation is that the Communists and left were the only people decent enough to oppose Nazism in Germany and there is an almost historical gratitude for that. The other reason involves first distinguishing between different varieties of leftism. I see no evidence that Jews, once the 'grateful to commuism' factor among the older generation is discounted are more economically left wing - they are at most centrist and many are economically libertarian leaning - thus you get say the Robert Rubins of the Democratic party. The commonality is social liberalism and secularism and it simply goes withlut saying that this can be attributed to IQ. We find a similar relationship between broadsheet journalists/commentators. High IQ people are disproportionately scially liberal - you might argue about the reasons why this is so. For example, one reason may well be they're smarter and therefore don't feat competition from immigrants the way the dumber stiffs do. Another reason may be that high IQ people are more likely to be non-religious and non-religious people are more likely to be socially liberal. But whatever the reason it is there, no surprise why Mill called conservatives the 'stupid party'. Jews have high IQs, high IQ people are more socially liberal, QED Jews are more socially liberal. (Note there is a distinction between the socially liberal and the 'minorities' who benefit from social liberalism but are not necessarily liberal themselves but vote liberal for bread and butter reasons - e.g Hispanics.

Posted by: Jason Soon at February 15, 2003 09:02 PM

Richard Pipes reviewing Solzhenitsyn (One of the greatest men of the 20th century)in The New Republic:

"Still, it cannot be doubted that the proportion of Jews in the ranks of Russian revolutionaries significantly exceeded the proportion of Jews in the population at large. This fact, previously played down by Jewish historians, was confirmed a few years ago by Erich Haberer in his study 'Jews and Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Russia'. But what sort of criterion is this by which to measure the role of an ethnic group in public life? If Jews were prominent in socialist ranks, they also stood out in capitalist circles: in the judgment of the German historian Werner Sombart, they actually invented capitalism. They were also over-represented among physicists, chemists, mathematicians, medical doctors, chess players, university students, and the many other occupations that called for intellectual distinction. Indeed, if the standard is to be the share in the population at large, then it must also be noted that Jews were disproportionately attracted also to fascism. "In Italy there were innumerable Fascist Jews," Zeev Sternhell observed in The Birth of Fascist Ideology. "Their percentage in the movement was much higher than in the population as a whole." Conversely, they were under-represented among Russia's murderers and arsonists."

So what are we to make of all this? Only that, as Solzhenitsyn likes to stress, Jews are a highly dynamic nation: as such, they are over-represented in most fields of endeavor in which they participate.

I can't wait for the English translated version btw.

Posted by: Jason M. at February 15, 2003 11:08 PM

A review of Culture of Critique can be found here:


Posted by: Oleg at February 16, 2003 01:27 AM

i haven't read macdonald's work-aside from a few pages of Culture of Critique at the college library a few years back, but i do have a copy of Unto Others by david sloan wilson-who also accepts the "group evolutionary paradigm" that macdonald uses. the only problem i have with macdonald is that i have read/seen a few places where he seems to be like : "you are jewish, so of course you would have that opinion," not that one's social/ethnic status doesn't effect opinion...but macdonald seems to make an almost 1:1 correlation.

in any case, i'm not going to come down on macdonald for being anti-semitic-i haven't studied him or the topic of jews and their role in western history in detail enough. ultimately, if his ideas are falsifiable, they will be falsified. science in the one god that has never failed.... (broad sense :)

Posted by: razib at February 16, 2003 01:52 AM

Well, it's an excellent book. I'd definitely recommend you read it, especially since he talks a great deal about how Jewish anthropologists (like the infamous Boas) essentially created the idea that race doesn't exist/matter, so it relates a lot to human biodiversity in that aspect.

I read a lot of pro-Jewish statements here on Gene Expression, and I'm not so sure that they're justified. Sure, Ashkenazi Jews do seem to have substantially higher IQs than any other racial group out there. But so what? What positive contributions to mankind do Jews have to their credit? They've produced virtually nothing in the way of great art, music, or literature, they have contributed little to technological progress (although there have been some important Jewish physicists), and for what few positive achievements they can claim, there are many more negative ones (at least from my perspective, as one who opposes leftism, political correctness, militant feminism, multiculturalism, etc). So I don't get it - should we praise Jews merely for having high IQs even when most of their achievements could be viewed as negative from a non-Jewish perspective?

Posted by: Oleg at February 16, 2003 02:21 AM

well-i don't think i make explicitly "pro-jewish" statements, do i oleg? i try to stay out of the normative game personally.

but-i am curious, could you make a point by point statement on jews and their contributions as a group or lack thereof (again, as always, i'm going to have to say that i am sure [right oleg?] this does not apply to individual jews but is a position as a generality). i am open to any arguments you might make-but at least in america, i don't see jews controlling the strings on the gentile Leftist politicians (oh yes, they are *overrepresented* in Left-wing groups, but i am amenable to jason's explaination that that is due to the high g-weighting of Left-liberal social movements, which correlates to jewishness-gentile WASPy liberals still are likely a majority, if not an overwhelming one).

on an interesting point-i remember that a jewish reader of American Renaissance claimed that that white racialist periodical had a 20% jewish subscription-and micahel levin is author of Why Race Matters and one of that circles primary celebrities. my point? no matter the movement, if it is hyper-intellectualized, jews would be prominent. jews were the vanguard of the proletariat, but did the vanguard happen because of jews? or was the vanguard going to happen in any case, and highly intelligent individuals were the vehicles for its articulation in history (disproportianately the jews that formed the part of the core of dissident intellectuals in tsarist russia).

ok, i'm repeating myself, that's all i have to say.....

Posted by: razib at February 16, 2003 02:29 AM

ps-i do believe that jews are 16% of nobel prize winners, nothing to sniff at in terms of their possible contribution to technology, bohr after all, the father of quantum mechanics with heisenberg and schrodinger was half-jewish....

Posted by: razib at February 16, 2003 02:30 AM

High IQ tends to go with a certain tendency toward ivory-towerism. People who spend a lot of time "inside their heads" tend to create large scale "systems" that they then use to interpret the world. Such "systems" often become self-justifying: the idea becomes more important than reality, and every new piece of information is forced into the "system". (As Orwell said, "There are some things so stupid only an intellectual could make himself believe them."

Both leftism and neoconservatism/libertarianism are these sorts of "systems". High IQ people tend to be found on both sides, and sometimes can go from being the shrillest defenders of one "faith" to being the shrillest defenders of the other. (Think David Howowitz...)

This article from a few weeks back illustrates the tendency.

Posted by: jimbo at February 16, 2003 08:34 AM

Oh, and Oleg - Irving Berlin was the greatest songwriter of the first half of the 20th century, Bob Dylan the second. Although you could make the case that both achieved their greatness in large part by rejecting their Jewish identities...

Posted by: jimbo at February 16, 2003 09:02 AM

Oleg, you haven't done your research. Marc Chagall, Chopin, Irving Berlin as noted, Jewish physicists, mathematicians, authors like Isaac Bashevis Singer, the list goes on. There have been great contributions to arts AND sciences from Jews.

If you're going to say the overrepresentation of Jews in the Communist movement in Russia renders those contributions invalid, then you must agree that the presence of ethnic Russians renders the cultural accomplishments of Russians invalid. Or the cultures of Italy, Germany and Japan are overshadowed by their descent into "organized barbarity" in WWII.

While we welcome diverse viewpoints here at gnxp, I find yours veer toward the irrational.

Posted by: David at February 16, 2003 09:27 AM

Well, Jewish contributions to civilization? Where to begin ... Einstein? What did Bulgarians do, or Latvians, or Micronesians? Little? A lot? No pain, no gain. If a knowledgable, literate, 21st century person is asking that question, there's little use answering. This site draws those who see the insidiousness of mainstream media (a catch-phrase for so much else) telling them what to see and hear, rather than their own lyin' eyes and ears; but critical thinking is more than just perfervid criticism.

Posted by: MaryGavin at February 16, 2003 10:53 AM

They've produced virtually nothing in the way of great art, music, or literature, they have contributed little to technological progress

Is this opposite day? little to technological progress?! Jesus, they're near 30% of all American Nobel prize winners. As for the arts, Jews provide a lot of great artists. Some of my favorites in fact (I won't even go into directors, actors, broadway, etc, b/c it's clearly a significant amount). For modern music look at Billy Joel, Beastie Boys, Neil Diamond, Danny Elfman, Lou Reed, Gene Simmons, Slash, etc. For some cool authors, how about Shel Silverstein, Arthur Miller (!), JD Salinger, Kafka, Ayn Rand, etc. Cartoonists/animators- (which I take particular interest in) there's such biggies as Mel Blanc, Stan Lee, Fritz Freleng, Fleischer studio (betty boop, popeye, my favorite!), etc. And artists include Lichtenstein, Rothko, Annie Leibovitz (modern photographer), Seymour Schwast (graphic designer),etc.

Steve Sailer wrote (ctrl+F jewish):

Jews makes up only about 2% of the population and 4% of the voters, but of course a larger fraction of Representatives (26 of 435), Senators (11 of 100), political donors, and public intellectuals. A few decades ago, one academic made up a list of the 200 top public intellectuals: 104 had two Jewish parents and 52 had one.

Those are some statistics I can't ignore.

talks a great deal about how Jewish anthropologists (like the infamous Boas) essentially created the idea that race doesn't exist/matter

You know Jews don't have some sort of magical ability to brain wash gentiles. Boas was a savvy fraud, but his ideas wouldn't have been accepted if they wouldn't have appealed to high IQ Leftists in general. It would also be dishonest not to note that some of the most important players on the hereditarian side of the isle, such as Arthur Jensen and Richard Hernnstein are Jewish as well.

Posted by: Jason M. at February 16, 2003 11:54 AM

Well, I guess with regards to art, literature, and music it could be considered a matter of taste. "Modern art" has been an overwhelmingly Jewish movement from Picasso on down, so I guess if you like it, then you'll be grateful to the Jews for creating it and if not then, well, not. Same goes for music and literature I guess (although someone above mentioned Chopin as Jewish - he's not).

I'll stand by what I said about technological progress though. Yes, there have been many Jewish Nobel Prize winners but this merely reflects the Jewish control of academia in general. In terms of practical inventions, Jews have contributed barely anything. If you don't believe that, just take a look at a car, a computer, a refrigerator, an airplane, or whatever and explain to me what Jews contributed to the development of any of it. Not much. For those who would respond to me with "Einstein!", please read this.

Posted by: Oleg at February 16, 2003 01:37 PM

About leftism: it's an understatement to say that Jews were merely overrepresented in leftism. Jews created leftism as we know it. To compare the Jewish involvement in anti-leftist movements to the Jewish involvement in leftist movements is laughable, really (although there has been a considerable shift of Jews toward neoconservatism, another essentially Jewish movement, in the past ~30 years, as the left has become more and more anti-Israel). I don't blame you for not accepting this idea out of hand, which is why I highly recommend that you read MacDonald's book or, short of that, read the review of it I posted above or the preface online. He provides a ton of evidence and I'm not going to bother to re-type it all here.

Posted by: Oleg at February 16, 2003 02:32 PM

Sam Sloan (Oleg's reference on Einstein):
"The claim is made that by working in the patent office, Albert Einstein had access to secret documents submitted by the leading scientists of his day. Albert Einstein essentially cut and pasted together these secret documents and published them as his own work. The scientists could hardly complain, as they had patent applications pending in his patent office."

Where are the many scientists who are clamoring for the recognition supposedly stolen from them by Einstein?

"Here are a few basic facts:

The Encyclopedia Britannica says of Einstein's early education that he "showed little scholastic ability." It also says that at the age of 15, "with poor grades in history, geography, and languages, he left school with no diploma." Einstein himself wrote in a school paper of his "lack of imagination and practical ability." In 1895, Einstein failed a simple entrance exam to an engineering school in Zurich. This exam consisted mainly of mathematical problems, and Einstein showed himself to be mathematically inept in this exam. He then entered a lesser school hoping to use it as a stepping stone to the engineering school he could not get into, but after graduating in 1900, he still could not get a position at the engineering school! Unable to go to the school he wanted, he got a job at the patent office in Bern."

Einstein's academic failures (I'm admittedly no expert but this is what I've heard) stemmed from the fact that he would laboriously ponder the intricacies of questions more than the avg or above avg student- making it more difficult for him to simply give an answer.

"Here are some curious facts:

After he died, the brain of Albert Einstein was taken out, preserved and studied. It is still in a glass jar somewhere. Scientists who have studied the brain say that it appears to be an average brain, no different from many others."

Does Sam Sloan know what the brain of a brilliant mind is supposed to look like? Does anyone? This is a nonsense argument- no one today knows what the exact genes, let alone the brain anatomy, of what a brilliant mind is.

"A nanny named Alice, who took care of me when I was a little boy, said that she knew Albert Einstein. She used to live in Princeton, New Jersey and he would walk by her house on the way to work every morning. She said that he appeared to be a very unexceptional and average man. She had heard but could hardly believe that he could be a great genius."

Well, my 3rd grade teacher knew a lawyer who knew a doctor who saw Einstein in a New York subway and was blown away by his intellect- whatever...

"Albert Einstein had several children, one of whom he gave away for adoption. For a number of years, his descendants have been fighting a court case in the San Francisco Bay Area over the ownership of the original papers of Albert Einstein. I know one of the lawyers in that case. The case is still going on. None of the children of Albert Einstein are in any way exceptional. One is an invalid..."

How many descendents of great men (women) actually are able to live up to their forefathers's greatness? Go read about Gandhi's family:


IQ is supposedly only 50% heritable, and maybe Einstein's descendents wanted to do something else with their lives than pore through dense physics texts.

"I personally do not have an opinion on any of this..."

Understatement of the day.

Posted by: -R at February 16, 2003 03:35 PM

Einstein's academic failures (I'm admittedly no expert but this is what I've heard) stemmed from the fact that he would laboriously ponder the intricacies of questions more than the avg or above avg student- making it more difficult for him to simply give an answer.

It sounds like crap, to me. If he couldn't understand simple mathematics then how could he have come up with all that he is given credit for (most of which involves higher mathematics)? In any case, the fact remains that all of the discoveries attributed to Einstein can actually be traced to earlier scientists.

Posted by: Oleg at February 16, 2003 03:48 PM

Also, if you look at the bottom of that Sam Sloan page, you'll find a number of links giving the specifics of exactly which scientists Einstein ripped off, and when. It's irrefutable.

Posted by: Oleg at February 16, 2003 03:58 PM

Oleg, I find your comments disturbing. You sound like someone who discounts the accomplishments of Jews simply because they are Jews. Simple bigotry of the sort we've seen before.

Dismissing Einstein's Nobel prize and other Nobel prizes awarded to esteemed Jewish scientists because of "Jewish control of academia" smacks of anti-Semitism. Art may be a matter of taste, but to make the claims you do is simply refusing to acknowledge simple facts. When you're blinded to facts by some misguided antipathy to Jews, I question your character.

Posted by: David at February 16, 2003 08:56 PM

it might be recalled than einstein also made some contributions to quantum theory as well predicting the expansionary universe (though he discounted it and added the "cosmological constant" to keep it steady state). seems like too many hits to be a fraudster to me....

also-from what i recall, when they examined einstein's brain, there were more neural interconnections that normal.

Posted by: razib at February 16, 2003 09:12 PM

"Modern art" has been an overwhelmingly Jewish movement from Picasso on down, so I guess if you like it, then you'll be grateful to the Jews for creating it...

The Jews (tm) did not create modern art, oleg. I suppose that is an easy conclusion to make when its necessary to tie jews into everything you find destructive. Again it would be impossible to find basically any activity or movement (including fascism!) that didn't have jewish people in it. Their IQ is substantially higher than the gentile populations they live amongst, and this is going to give them distinction in basically anything they participate in. That said, modern art started in the early nineteenth century with the neo-classicists, romanticism, and realism. All of these movements were dynamic reactions against the rigid conservatism of the salon structure. Virtually none of this had much of anything to do with jews, yet it pretty much garaunteed the subsequent exploration of the limits of art in general. The leading figures of Impressionism and then those of Post-Impessionism such as Van Gogh, Cezanne (Picasso's biggest influence), and Gaugin were not Jewish to my knowledge. Matisse, the leading man of the wildly subversive Fauvists (who set the stage for Picasso) was not Jewish. Picasso I'm fairly sure was not jewish either, and neither was Georges Braque, the co-founder of Cubism. So it is quite a stretch to say that "Jews created modern art".

Yes, there have been many Jewish Nobel Prize winners but this merely reflects the Jewish control of academia in general.

It's that easy, huh? Seriously.

It sounds like crap, to me. If he couldn't understand simple mathematics then how could he have come up with all that he is given credit for

I agree, it sounds like crap that Einstein couldn't understand simple mathematics.

Scientists who have studied the brain say that it appears to be an average brain, no different from many others

This is false.

Posted by: Jason M. at February 17, 2003 12:52 AM

Dismissing Einstein's Nobel prize and other Nobel prizes awarded to esteemed Jewish scientists because of "Jewish control of academia" smacks of anti-Semitism.

I dismissed Einstein's Nobel Prize because everything he's given credit for was originally conceived by someone else. I provided the evidence for this, but you don't seem to have a counterargument.

As far as the other Jewish Nobelists are concerned, I've admitted that Jews have made some important discoveries in the world of physics. However, there's a big difference between discovery and invention, and in terms of invention Jews have produced little. There have been some Jewish inventors, sure, but they're certainly underrepresented here when compared to white Gentiles, an interesting fact considering that Jews have a full standard deviation advantage over white Gentiles in terms of IQ.

Posted by: Oleg at February 17, 2003 01:02 AM


i know that engineering has been a field where quotas have traditionally worked against jews-for some reason i have noticed that while there are many jews in medicine & law, there are not as many in engineering. but engineering is usually established science, you can't have invention without discovery, so i don't see the point in valuing the former over the latter. one could make the case that the abstract intellectual culture produced by talmudic learning lent itself more to pure science in physics rather than applied engineering (though engineering was not very scientific until about the late 19th century from what i've read), but if jews were found in engineering, we would probably argue that the practical elements of talmudic study that led to halakhic interpretation predisposed jews toward applied sciences....

in sum, i think that your arguments tend not to establish a causal relationship, but rather i still think a correlative one is more likely. for instance, i don't think it is as so:
jews -> communism, but rather, communism -> jews. for instance, china, vietnam, north korea developed communism fine without jews. scandinavia seems to do well with socialism without jews (and PC politics in general). in contrast, the united states of america, the worlds judeo-topia, is a rock-ribbed classical liberal state (relatively speaking).

but oleg, i'll promise you this, i'll read macdonald's books after i read david sloan wilson, and get back to you....

Posted by: razib at February 17, 2003 01:38 AM

You might be right about the engineering thing. I admit that I can't really explain why it is myself. However, when you stack the Jewish percentage among Nobelists next to the Jewish percentage among major inventors, there's a pretty stark contrast.

Posted by: Oleg at February 17, 2003 01:57 AM

I dismissed Einstein's Nobel Prize because everything he's given credit for was originally conceived by someone else. I provided the evidence for this, but you don't seem to have a counterargument.

In any case, the fact remains that all of the discoveries attributed to Einstein can actually be traced to earlier scientists.

Also, if you look at the bottom of that Sam Sloan page, you'll find a number of links giving the specifics of exactly which scientists Einstein ripped off, and when. It's irrefutable.

Oleg, for all this big talking the evidence simply isn't as strong as you think it is. In fact it's really very weak. First of all, whoever Sam Sloan is he seems to be way more agnostic on the issue than you are, and he's the one providing all those "irrefutable" links:

This, however, is hardly conclusive. The mark of every great thinker is that he takes the ideas of others before him, combines them together, improves and comes out with a unified theory. If that is what Einstein did, then he fully deserves his reputation of being the greatest genius in human history.

So Sloan even admits that putting together the right combination of ideas (which TTO relativity clearly is), even if they were pre-concieved is still very remarkable.

Ok, now onto this rock-solid evidence. Of the three sources, two of them are from "white survival" literature, they are un-foot-noted and provide me no cross-referencing or any way to verify the claims being made. On top of that they both have a clearly agenda-driven goal of smearing Einstein, b/c he's a celebrated Jewish genius. Both of those links seem to be based on the third one, the book: Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist, By Christopher Jon Bjerknes. Now the funny thing about this book is that it is not the final word on the subject that you seem to think it is. It is not a scholarly or academic work, but primarily a work of entertainment. An Amazon reader tells us to take note and remember the disclaimer on page 4:

"This book is intended solely for entertainment purposes. Due to the possibility of mechanical or human error, this book may contain substantial errors, both typographical and as to content...."

So, there's your counter-argument, oleg. You're on a board of generally skeptical people with high epistemological standards. The evidence you have provided thus far is unverifiable and tenuous at best. None of this is to say that Einstein might not have understood basic math, plagiarized every idea he ever had from others, and put together a synthesis of those plagiarized ideas by blind luck or perhaps by even more plagiarism. It's just to say that we don't find the evidence for any of that very convincing at this time.

Posted by: Jason M. at February 17, 2003 06:54 AM

As for Jews in engineering: The Jewish-Gentile IQ difference breaks to roughly a 30 point Jewish advantage in Verbal IQ and an identical performance IQ with gentile whites. Given that verbal and nonverbal IQ show a very poor correlation at high levels, the jewish presence in physics might largely be a result of a larger fraction of jews having both verbal and spatial abilities to do hardcore physics.

Posted by: Rob at February 17, 2003 08:31 AM

on a historical note-the marginalization of jews in many fields before 1800 did not prevent catastrophes like the French Revolution-in which case the "vanguard" was mostly gentile because jews were excluded from the mainstream. also, the "ivory tower" ivy leagues had jew quotas (to differing extents) until the 1960s-and one could argue that they have pushed the cultural revolution since then, but they were almost certainly on the left end of the political spectrum a priori.

what i would be curious as to-compare jews & gentiles of the same IQ, and i betcha you would get many of the same characteristics.....

Posted by: razib at February 17, 2003 11:22 AM

PS-the reason i'm spending so much time on the "jewish question," is like the assertion "there is no preference for light skin among blacks," it seems ridiculous to argue that jews have not contributed disproportionately to the sciences and are an innovative people-that like most people, they have positive and negative contributions, depending on your normative axioms. after scratching the surface and examing my assumptions, and with plenty of help from fellow skeptical intellectual iconaclasts, i am less than convinced by oleg's assertion....

Posted by: razib at February 17, 2003 11:24 AM

GC, MacDonald's table works for Orthodox jews. I believe groups with a dual code of morality are more successful. Also, Einstein is great and all but he is overrated. There were other great scientists during Einstein's time- he was maybe a "first among equals". If one scientist should be synonymous with genius it should probably be Newton.

Posted by: Jon Wilkins at February 17, 2003 04:50 PM

Sure there were great scientists of Einstein's time (a lot of whom were also Jewish:). Sure he was inspired by other scientists' works. That's how modern science works. Groups of people, collaborations, etc.

Newton was undeniably brilliant. Same with Darwin. They contributed amazingly original work--revolutionary as it were.

To use Oleg's word though, the contributions of Jews to the sciences and arts are, irrefutable.....and significant...and disproportionate to their population.

Posted by: David at February 17, 2003 06:37 PM


You have not refuted any of the claims in the article. The names and dates can all be easily verified independently. In fact, I was aware of some of the information in the article before I read it just from taking physics classes. For example in a physics class covering special relativity our professor explained that Lorentz was actually responsible for special relativity, which is why the mathematics behind it is called the "Lorentz transformation". I've searched the internet for a rebuttal of the article and there simply isn't one.


I've seen the Jewhoo list and it does give a few considerable achievements, but compare with any list of inventors over the past two centuries and you'll see that Jews are certainly underrepresented relative to white Gentiles. Also, I should make it clear that I'm talking about actual contributions here, not presence as university faculty (I'm well aware that any sort of university faculty will have plenty of Jews).

And about leftism in general, the claim has been made here repeatedly that the reason why Jews are disproportionately drawn to leftist movements is because they have high IQs, and high IQ people are drawn to leftism. I don't believe this is so. In my personal experience, high IQ white Gentiles are not drawn to leftism, and I'm not aware of any statistical evidence showing that they are. While some of MacDonald's generalizations about Jews may be false (I believe he even admits that the table you cited isn't conclusive), I still think his central thesis that leftism and its related movements, although ostensibly founded on such lofty humanitarian ideals, were started by Jews in order to further particular Jewish interests is a better explanation for the Jewish involvement in leftism than "high IQ = leftist tendency".

Posted by: Oleg at February 17, 2003 06:39 PM

oleg, the link went to 1800-1850, before the period of full assimilation of jews in western european life....

are you telling me that you think jews form less than 2% of inventors after 1900? {obviously, only the west counts in this period, and i believe the average number of jews is around 2% in the west).

Posted by: razib at February 17, 2003 07:18 PM

At the bottom of the page I linked you can click to go on to 1850-1900, and so forth. I said I was talking about the last two centuries.

Anyway, even post-1900, I'd still say there are not many Jewish inventors. Look at the Jewhoo page that GC linked. It contains about 60 names. Some of them are big names, sure. Others, though, invented things that were ever used, some aren't inventors at all, others invented fairly trivial things (the shopping cart?), etc. And Jewhoo is a pretty thorough site, so I doubt they missed any important people.

The 2% figure for Jews is frequently cited, but I'm not sure how accurate it is. In America, that would mean around 5.5-6 million Jews. However, even in the 1960's this was the listed number of Jews in the United States and there has been considerable Jewish immigration since then. Also, the surveys used to ascertain the number of Jews usually don't include half-Jews, non-practicing Jews, converts to Christianity, etc. (people all counted in that Jewhoo list). Including all these people, I'd say the "Jewish" population is probably more like 4-5%.

Regardless, I think I could say with reasonable certainty that it wouldn't be difficult to come up with a few thousand white Gentile names comparable to those given on the Jewhoo list. I'm not going to take the time to do this, but suffice it to say that Jews are probably represented around or below their fraction of the population in terms of inventors, which is quite astonishing given their 10-15 point IQ advantage, their extremely high average educational level, and their overwhelming overrepresentation in so many other fields.

Posted by: Oleg at February 17, 2003 07:43 PM

oleg-there are different numbers for jews, yes, but the number of jews in the US peaked ~ 1950-demographic decline has set in, and 3% is probably a good figure, 4-5% is what jews were at around 1950 (using your extra broad category).

the only other western country with more jews before WW II was poland-where they were often rather orthodox in religious practice and so self-selected themselves out of the cultural mainstream. france's jewish population owes much to the migration from north africa during & after independence (though there were jews prior, the large number due to the resettlement of many from algeria). england also had a large jewish population, but i believe that it too has been reenforced afte WW II by migration from the german jewry (75% of which survived the holocaust by migrating-it was mostly the unaccultured polish jews who were decimated).

i will explore you contention when time permits oleg-i am curious to see if i could be this wrong on such an easily confirmable empirical point....

Posted by: razib at February 17, 2003 11:40 PM

I agree that Einstein is overrated, but only because he's become some sort of iconic figure, a byword for genius - it's hard to justify that sort of a rep when you're surrounded by equals or near-equals. I would rate Von Neumann higher, myself; and maybe Feynman as well. But, too bad Oleg -, they're both Jewish too :-). My guess is that the processes of invention or physical instantiation that Oleg seems to value more highly than purely theoretical work involve more spatial skills and fewer symbol manipulation or pseudo-linguistic ones. And so we would not expect the jewish advantage to be as pronounced in those fields. Then too, one could argue that the mainstream anglo-saxon/german culture of the US had physiocratic prejudices that would steer the geniuses it produced into more concrete endeavors, where the jewish culture that valued abstract learning would not discourage its progeny from such pursuits as theoretical physics. It is worth remembering that until the success of the Manhattan Project, theoretical physicists were an arcane brotherhood with no public visibility - there was no reason to enter the field unless you really were interested in knowledge for its own sake...

Posted by: bbartlog at February 18, 2003 11:05 AM

My point is this. If you look at Nobel Prize winning physicists, you get a disproportionate number of Jews, certainly. But if you look at the major technological innovators of the past century or so, you get guys like Edison, Tesla, Ford, the Wright brothers, Farnsworth, Goddard, Shockley, etc., none of whom were Jews (or, for that matter, Nobelists, except for Shockley). There's a huge discrepancy between Jewish contributions to theoretical physics and Jewish contributions to technological innovation.

Posted by: Oleg at February 18, 2003 03:27 PM

I don't judge scientists by their mathematical equations. If the real-life version of the ape depicted in 2001 used a bone as a tool much sooner than any other ape would have and advanced prehuman society then that ape could be the greatest scientist/inventor ever.

Posted by: Jon Wilkins at February 18, 2003 03:30 PM

note that I didn't claim that jews were underrepresented in engineering, only that their advantage would not be expected to be *as* great. Of course, another explanation would be that theoretical physics requires even higher g than engineering, so that the disproportionate representation would be even greater there. One piece of data I would be interested in would be the proportion of jewish engineers in different specialties, for example in mechanical engineering (presumed to be highly spatial) versus say signals processing or electrical engineering (prima facie not spatial at all, unless, like Feynman, you like to construct visual analogues for complex non-spatial problems).

Posted by: bbartlog at February 18, 2003 06:44 PM

A little off the scientific front---iffy measure of human worth anyway. How many of us ever invent anything, yet we all think we're worthwhile. What really tells a lot about people is the way they treat animals. If I were a cat, I'd prefer to live in a Jewish state to a Moslem one, Persian cats notwithstanding (they are impostors anyway; they are no more Persian than a Jack Russell terrier) Dictators (Dr. Evil is not real) apparently have a horror of cats (Hitler was quite cowed by them and they really got up Napoleon's nose.) I lived in Israel for 2 1/2 yrs., 91-93. I am not Jewish, just worked there. Foreign, non-Jewish inhabitants noted that the horrific fate of stray cats & dogs abated slowly but surely since the Israelis set up humane societies, modest but unmatched elsewhere in the region. Nasty catophobics come in all varieties and so do catophiles. Arabs may also be good to animals and it is not the best luck to be Arab in Israel; but I don't think the gentleman who evoked this commentary on Jews, really gives a hoot about Arabs either. Yes, caring for animals is something of a luxury, but the unexpected kindness of grim looking Israelis was always a little startling.

Posted by: at February 19, 2003 07:17 PM


I don't know a rip about physics, but I do know that Feynman once said of Einstein's "miracle year" (1905), "I still don't know how he did it."

Regarding Oleg, why don't you all realize that he is about as immune to reason as Truthteller, or whatever his name was? The guy whose ISP was banned?

Posted by: Diana at February 26, 2003 07:13 AM