An earlier article explored how many Jews rose to prominence in secular fields during the Nineteenth Century. Was this innate intelligence or simply the result of Jewish students burning the midnight oil? Could it be argued that the Jews’ intelligence resulted not from inspiration but perspiration? The answer to this mystery extracted a huge toll of human suffering.
The first person to scientifically investigate the measure of human intelligence was the infamous Francis Galton. Inspired by the theories of his half-cousin, Charles Darwin, Galton developed a theory of eugenics, Greek for “wellborn.” His idea was that just as people breed desirable types of cattle, so too, by eliminating “inferior” types mankind could develop into a race of supermen. The most extreme practitioners of his teaching were the Nazis who systematically exterminated not only Jews but also people certified as possessing very low intelligence.
In the course of his studies, Galton reasoned that intelligence too might be a hereditary trait and wrote a whole book about it. He writes the following in the preface of this 5629/1869 work, “Hereditary Genius.”
“The idea of investigating the subject of hereditary genius occurred to me during the course of a purely ethnological inquiry into the mental peculiarities of different races, when the fact that characteristics cling to families was so frequently forced on my notice as to induce me to pay especial attention to that branch of the subject. I began by thinking over the dispositions and achievements of my contemporaries at school, at college, and in after life, and was surprised to find how frequently ability seemed to go by descent. Then I made a cursory examination into the kindred of about four hundred illustrious men of all periods of history, and the results were such, in my own opinion, as completely to establish the theory that genius was hereditary, under limitations that required to be investigated. Thereupon I set to work to gather a large amount of carefully selected biographical data….”
He adds that “I feared, if I included large classes of foreigners, that I should make glaring errors…. I should have especially liked to investigate the biographies of Italians and Jews, both of whom appear to be rich in families of high intellectual breeds.”
In the ensuing chapters of his book, he investigates a variety of intellectual types including judges, statesmen, peers, commanders, literary men, scientists, poets, and musicians, basing his studies on what was later to become the bedrock of IQ testing, the “deviation from an average.” As he explains:
“The method I shall employ for discovering all this is an application of the very curious theoretical law of ‘deviation from an average.’ M. Quetelet, the Astronomer-Royal of Belgium, and the greatest authority on vital and social statistics, has largely used it in his inquiries….
“Suppose a large island inhabited by a single race… who had lived for many generations under constant conditions; then the average height of the male adults of that population would undoubtedly be the same year after year….” The point of this idea is to rank superior or inferior intelligence against a benchmark of “average intelligence.”
CRUEL TOOL OF DISCRIMINATION
The Frenchman Alfred Binet was the father of the first intelligence test which he developed from Galton’s ideas. American psychologist Lewis Terman invented the “Intelligence Quotient” (IQ), which sets the average benchmark of human intelligence at an IQ of 100, enough to get a college degree. According to this system, a ten-year old with the intelligence of a nine-year old gets an IQ of 90 and someone with an IQ of 140 is a genius. By 5679/1919, two million American soldiers had taken IQ tests to help determine whether to assign them to the officers’ corps or to potato peeling.
The IQ test had its downside. As a columnist complained in 5682/1922, “The intelligence test can be turned into an engine of cruelty. …It could turn into a method of stamping a permanent sense of inferiority upon the soul of a child.”
Worse still, the IQ test could stamp permanent inferiority on nations. As an earlier article discussed, Galton’s theories led to the US’s discriminatory immigration rules during the 1920s, as some of the greatest enthusiasts of IQ tests were avowed eugenicists. H.H. Goddard, for example, dreamt of a US super-society. “Testing intelligence is no longer an experiment or of doubted value,” he exulted. “It is fast becoming an exact science… Greater efficiency, we are always working for. Can these new facts be used to increase our efficiency? No question! We only await the Human Engineer who will undertake the work.”
In pursuit of this goal, he and cohorts from the Vineland Training School of New Jersey prowled the docks of Ellis Island during 5672/1912, measuring the IQs of the new immigrants streaming on shore. After studying a group of 35 Jews, 22 Hungarians, 50 Italians, and 45 Russians, he and his team came up with the admittedly astounding result that forty percent of the Jewish immigrants “would be considered feebleminded” and “we cannot escape the general conclusion that these immigrants were of surprisingly low intelligence.” For example, he claimed that their tendency to define “a table” as “something to eat on” indicated inferior intelligence as this definition was too obvious and all inclusive. Of Goddard himself it can surely be said that just because someone is smart doesn’t mean he isn’t stupid.
Goddard’s claims led to huge numbers of immigrants being turned back to Europe during the next two years and contributed to the US’s instating low immigration quotas from Eastern Europe that later prevented many Jews from escaping the Holocaust.
His spurious conclusions were forcibly disproved in 5714/1954 when tests revealed that out of 28 children in the New York public schools with IQs over 170, 24 of them were Jewish. This level of intelligence is enjoyed by about one person in 11,000. Since then it has been calculated that the average Jew in the US has 12 IQ points above average. Of course, this is only statistically speaking and does not guarantee smartness or otherwise of any specific individual.
THE NOBEL PRIZE
These IQ discoveries were paralleled by the Jewish Nobel Prize track record. Even a notorious Nazi eugenicist, Fritz Lenz, couldn’t help but mention the Jews’ intelligence a number of times in his 5691/1931 work “Human Selection and Race Hygiene (Eugenics),” even writing at one point, “one naturally regrets the one-sided anti Semitism of National Socialism. Regrettably, it appears that the political masses need such antagonisms in order to be moved to activity.” After all, he could hardly say otherwise in the face of the fact that Jews had won 10 out of 32 Nobel Prizes won by Germans during the previous 26 years. In the US, Jews have claimed about 27 percent of its Nobel Prizes.
Last year, this trend inspired an Iraqi researcher, Samir ‘Ubeid, to raise a bitter grievance on the Al Jazeera station, “Why has the prize been awarded to 167 Jews, and to only four Arabs out of 380 million Arabs?” he complained. “… Are we Arabs not included in the transfer of the scientifi c genetic code? We, the descendants of Al-Khawarizmi, Al-Jahez, Al-Razi, Avicenna, and Ibn Al-Haytham, are we all born idiots? Is there not a single scientist among us? Are we not included in the genetic code? Is intelligence not transferred down among us Arabs? …
Democracy does not explain how it was awarded to 167 Jews, from among those 15 million scattered around the world, while abandoning 1.5 billion Chinese, a billion Indians, and 380 million Arabs. This is racism… This prize stems from the core of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Ridiculous and dangerous as this rant may sound, it does touch on one valid point, that some people regard the Yiddisher Kop as something of a mystery. Social scientists have raised a number of suggestions for it such as Yehoshua ben Gamla’s instating of Torah education for all boys shortly before the Churban, the insistence of the Gemara (Pesachim 49a) that a person should sell everything he has in order to marry the daughter of a talmid chacham and marry off his daughter to a talmid chacham, as well as the tendency of Jews to engage in intellectual trades like commerce and banking rather than brainless old-time farming, but these social scientists are ultimately left scratching their heads.
The Gemara (Sanhedrin 104b) provides a solution: “Two people were once captured in Mount Carmel and their captor was walking after them. One of them said to the other, ‘The camel walking ahead of us is blind in one eye and carrying two barrels, one of wine and one of oil, and two people are leading it, one a Jew and one a non-Jew.’ He [the captor] said to them, ‘Stiff-necked nation, how do you know?’ They said to him, ‘The camel before us is eating from the side it sees and not eating from the side it does not see. It is carrying two barrels, one of wine and one of oil, that of wine is dripping and [the drops] are sinking [into the dust], that of oil is dripping and floating [on the dust]. And two people are leading it, one a non-Jew and one a Jew; the non-Jew is doing his needs in the road and the Jew is doing his needs at the sides.’ He raced after them and found as they had said.
“He came and kissed them on their heads and brought them to their homes and made them a great feast and danced before them and said, ‘Blessed be He Who chose the seed of Avraham and gave them of His wisdom, and wherever they go they are made princes of their masters.’ And he freed them to their homes in peace.”