Utah researchers say that Ashenazi genetic diseases is what makes Jews so smart.
June 6, 2005.
I blush. I had second thoughts about running with this, but what the hell. Nick Wade of the New York Times says it’s legit and it is about to be published in a real journal.
Researchers at the University of Utah say that the pattern of genetic diseases that afflict Jews of eastern European (Ashkenazic) background is the result of natural selection for intelligence. Winning the coveted award for the most politically incorrect scientific paper of the year, the researchers (none of whom appear to be Jewish) said that because the Jews of the Middle Ages were locked in ghettos and forced into professions that required mental agility, natural selection selected the brightest.
For decades, going back to eugenics and William Shockley, scientists have erupted over the notion that intelligence was inheritable. Shockley, among others, destroyed his career by pointing out the obviousness of that claim. It still isn’t acceptable in polite scientific company.
The paper will be published in the Journal of Biosocial Science, (Cambridge University).
The diseases are similar evolutionary reactions to sickle cell, which occur in populations threatened by malaria. Evolution was forced to counter the threat by favoring any mutation that protected against it, even if it had side effects.
The notion derives from an theory propounded by Jared Diamond that Jews who were smarter than their fellows were more likely to survive the repeated persecutions brought on them. They also were more likely to succeed at the professions imposed on them, usually commerce, which required managerial and mathematical skills. The successful ones reproduced at a faster rate. In other words, your persecution made us smarter. I love it.
The Utah researchers said that the four Ashkenazi diseases—Tay Sachs, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher and mucolipidosis type IV, all manage chemicals called sphingolipids, which promote the growth and reproduction of brain cells.
I humbly point out that Jews represent 0.25 percent of the world’s population and have won 22 percent of the world's Nobel Prizes. The Utah researchers added that we represent 3 percent of the U.S. population and have won 27 percent of America’s Nobels. It can’t be the cuisine.