- Faulty assumptions & comparisons
- My core argument
- Ashkenazi IQ: Genetic studies
- PGS & GWAS
- Conclusion and advice for future arguments
In 2020, I published an article expressing doubts that the average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is as high as they claim (108 to 115). There is no contention regarding the average IQ of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, which match that of Europeans (~100) and Arabs (~90), respectively. My skepticism stemmed from the logical assumption that an ethnic group renowned for, well, let’s just say “posting disinformation,” would not be entirely honest when studying their own average IQ.
2. Faulty assumptions & comparisons
I assumed that Ashkenazi Jews, like the Chinese (who are notorious for academic fraud and cheating), overinflated their average IQ through biased sampling. This assumption was partially based on the fact that the most commonly cited studies on Ashkenazi IQ were unreliable for a variety of reasons, such as tiny, unrepresentative sample sizes (as noted by Richard Lynn).
The commonly cited Chinese average IQ of ~105 is based on the educated, urban population in northeastern China. I do not doubt this figure — it aligns with the North East Asian ethno-states of Japan and Korea — but a 2019 study did find that rural Chinese IQ in Henan and Anhui is around 90.
It is also worth noting that there is no single “Chinese” ethnicity. It is a multi-ethnic empire that has assimilated several distinct groups into the “Han Chinese” identity. So, the average IQ of 105 cannot possibly apply to the entire population of China.
Unlike the Chinese, Ashkenazi Jews are an ethnically-homogeneous, entirely urbanized, and highly educated population. So, my comparison was faulty to begin with.
3. My core argument
Some of my original arguments were valid, while others were debunked (see this comment critiquing my article, for example). My primary argument, that the overrepresentation of Ashkenazi Jews cannot be attributed to their high IQ (or to their high IQ alone), still stands.
There are more high-IQ (135+ or top 2%) Whites in America alone than there are high-IQ Ashkenazi Jews worldwide, and similarly high-IQ groups (East Asians) are not overrepresented.
Ashkenazi overrepresentation is clearly a result of their ethnic nepotism/cooperation, ridiculously high in-group preference, and group-evolutionary strategy of undermining their primary ethnic competitors through “Affirmative Action” policies and so on. This is undeniably true, but proving it is outside of the scope of this article.
4. Ashkenazi IQ: Genetic studies
Recent genetic studies have debunked my hypothesis that Ashkenazi IQ is not as high as 108 to 115. In 2019, a study on Ashkenazi IQ (Dunkel et al.) was conducted by a team of scientists including Emil Kirkegaard and Michael Woodley. They are honest academics who do not shy away from politically incorrect topics. There is no reason to doubt their good intentions. Regrettably, I was not aware of this study prior to writing my original article.
The study constructed a polygenic score (PGS), based on data from genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which provides genetic evidence for Ashkenazi Jews’ high IQ. [Note: PGS & GWAS explained later]. The authors predicted that Ashkenazi IQ is probably around 110, on the lower end of the 108-115 range. Kirkegaard later confirmed that it is definitely not as high as 115.
Dunkel et al. used a relatively small sample size of 53 people, but it was found to be “fairly representative” of the US Jewish population by comparing the sample population’s socioeconomic characteristics (which correlate with IQ) to those of all US Jews.
The authors readily admitted that their study does not provide conclusive evidence of Ashkenazi IQ and that further genetic studies are required. However, their study has been externally replicated (Piffer 2019) and more genetic studies on Ashkenazi IQ are in the pipeline.
The replication included this handy visual representation:
5. PGS & GWAS
In layman’s terms, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) is the process of sampling/studying the DNA of a large number of people to find genetic mutations that are associated with specific biological characteristics (e.g. height). Researchers can then use this information to create a model that predicts how likely an individual or population is to exhibit these characteristics. This is represented by a number known as a polygenic score (PGS). It’s important to note that PGS only predict genetic predispositions and do not take environmental influences into account.
This is an extremely simplified explanation that does not address the underlying mathematics of GWAS and PGS but, hopefully, it is sufficient.
6. Conclusion and advice for future arguments
While my initial skepticism was, in my opinion, well-founded, I no longer support the claim that Ashkenazi Jews are not among the most intelligent ethnic groups in the world, if not the most intelligent. My intention has always been to post the truth and I believe that our arguments must be easily defensible and grounded in reality.
Claiming that Ashkenazi Jews are not smart, even in the face of decent genetic data produced by trustworthy scientists, is an indefensible cope and I apologize for helping to popularize this rhetoric. Future data on Ashkenazi IQ may vindicate my initial suspicions, but I doubt it.
Going forward, I recommend that people focus on and expand the easily provable and defensible argument laid out in my original article: Even if Ashkenazi IQ is as high as current evidence suggests (110), this does not explain their massive overrepresentation in positions of power and influence.
If IQ were the only predictor of power, success, influence, etc., then Ashkenazi Jews would not be overrepresented by hundreds of percent in all positions of power and influence. Their IQ is similar that of the more intelligent East Asian nations (e.g. Singaporeans’ 108 IQ), who do not even come close to their level of overrepresentation.
I may write an article on this topic in future but I’ll need to conduct a lot of research beforehand.