Friday, November 02, 2007

Why are Jews so smart?

Slate Magazine has an article on this old, and uninteresting question that sheds little light on the subject. It cites a man named Murray who argues "anyone who was Jewish and stupid 2,000 years ago found "it was a lot easier to be a Christian."

Let's not embarrass the man for his math mistake (there were no Christians 2,000 years ago.) Say, 300 years ago instead. Why would the stupid people switch sides? Usually, those who left went at the point of a sword, or because there was money to be made in the outside world. Not because they were intellectually embarrassed.

Update: The explanation we passed around in Yeshiva went something like this: Among the Jews, the smartest people were most likely to become Rabbis. Rabbis were most likely to have large families, and rabbinical families were most likely to be protected when Cossacks came calling. Ergo, lots of brainy offspring. Meanwhile, among the Christians, the brightest lights entered seminaries and had no children. After several hundred years of this, the difference can be seen in the IQs. How's that for natural selection?

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