Author asserts genetic roots of Jews’ peculiar ‘genius’
Recent research into human genetics has revealed a startling fact: Jews may really be the chosen people.
Testing the limits of political correctness, author and think-tank scholar Jon Entine told a synagogue audience in Somerset it may be no accident that Jews seem to dominate in academia, science, and law.
“Jews overall have a higher IQ than the rest of the population,” said Entine, giving the annual Dr. Michael Fink Memorial Lecture Nov. 16 at Temple Beth El of Somerset.
Entine cited research showing that among those in the “genius” category — people with IQs of 130 or higher — Jews outnumber members of other ethnic groups 45 to one. In the verbal category, the Jewish average is 123, significantly above the rest of the population, which, said Entine, may explain why there seem to be so many Jewish lawyers and comedians.
“There is no question culture influences genetics and education,” said Entine, acknowledging that the traditional Jewish respect for scholarship may have something to do with the statistics. But, he suggested, has genetics had an influence on the culture?
Entine is the author of the 2007 book Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People. He previously wrote the best-selling Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It.
He admitted that the conclusions he was citing raise “prickly questions.”
In a presentation that explored various theories about Jewish descent and how DNA is passed from generation to generation, Entine said Jews over thousands of years have tended to remain insular, with little intermarriage until recent decades. They have become “a cultural and genetic gold mine” for researchers, who have uncovered some remarkable findings, including that 80 percent of Jewish males can trace their ancestry to the Middle East. (Entine said the statistics are limited to Ashkenazi Jews because Sephardim had more intermarriage following their expulsion from Spain.)
Even more remarkable, he said, has been the finding that kohanim, descended from the priestly class, share distinct DNA.
In the Jewish community, the author noted, the wealthiest and smartest individuals also tended to be “the rabbi who had 15 children” and the money lender “who had 13 children” who would often arrange marriages between their offspring, who passed their intellect on to the next generation of their own 15 children.
“Meanwhile, the poor butcher had maybe one child,” said Entine. “That is eugenics. In the Christian communities, the smartest guy was encouraged to be a priest, who really didn’t have that many kids.”
In all ethnicities, mutations — which Entine likened to “a piece of dirt on a copier that keeps being copied over and over” — began to appear, accounting for genetic diseases and both desirable and undesirable traits. Many “negative mutations” became naturally extinct over time since those afflicted were undesirable as mates.
However, certain negative traits continue to be passed down because they also have certain positive effects.
For example, Jewish genetic predisposition for breast cancer, Tay Sachs, and dysautonomia survived because they neurologically caused Jews to have a higher IQ, claimed Entine.
The lecture was established eight years ago by Lori and Robert Fink and is held around the anniversary of the death of their 27-year-old son, who died from a brain tumor shortly after receiving his doctorate in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.