There’s still no good reason to believe black-white IQ differences are due to genes
Our response to criticisms.
Updated by Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett Jun 15, 2017, 12:00pm EDT
Actually, however, it turns out that the three academics don’t agree among themselves. Turkheimer admits:
In fact, I will close by noting that not even the three of us are completely in agreement about it: I (Turkheimer) am convinced that the question is irredeemably unscientific; Nisbett accepts it as a legitimate scientific question, and thinks evidence points fairly strongly in the direction of the black-white gap being entirely environmental in origin; while Harden questions the quality of the existing evidence, but thinks more determinative data may be found in future genetic knowledge.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the younger academic, Harden, takes a less extremist stance than the two older professors. Dr. Harden will likely be around a lot longer than Turkheimer and Nisbett, so she’s more concerned about what the rapid advance in genomic science will uncover over the rest of her lifetime than are the two older guys.
Turkeimer more or less admits something I’ve believed since 1995: that anti IQ science denialism is largely driven by Jewish paranoia and prejudice against gentiles: many Jews worry that if Americans are allowed to notice the white-black IQ gap, they will also notice the Jewish-gentile IQ gap and then the peasants will come for the Jews with torches and pitchforks.
Or, more plausibly, that awareness that American Jews have a higher mean IQ than American white gentiles will lead to college / job quotas like Jews were burdened with in the 1920s.
I recall that back in the 1970s, many Jewish intellectuals such as Nathan Glazer were strenuously opposed to the new quotas benefitting blacks and Hispanics. But over time their opposition muted as they realized that quotas against whites in general tended to have a much less deleterious effect on Jewish career prospects than the quotas against Jews in the 1920s.
And, since 1969 Jews were able to construct a mighty firewall between it being respectable to express anti-white sentiments (e.g., #OscarsTooWhite / White Privilege) and it being completely unacceptable to express anti-Jewish sentiments (e.g., nobody talks about the parallel concepts of #OscarsTooJewish / Jewish Privilege).
To convince the reader that there is no scientifically valid or ethically defensible foundation for the project of assigning group differences in complex behavior to genetic and environmental causes, I have to move the discussion in an even more uncomfortable direction. Consider the assertion that Jews are more materialistic than non-Jews. (I am Jewish, I have used a version of this example before, and I am not accusing anyone involved in this discussion of anti-Semitism. My point is to interrogate the scientific difference between assertions about blacks and assertions about Jews.)
One could try to avoid the question by hoping that materialism isn’t a measurable trait like IQ, except that it is; or that materialism might not be heritable in individuals, except that it is nearly certain it would be if someone bothered to check; or perhaps that Jews aren’t really a race, although they certainly differ ancestrally from non-Jews; or that one wouldn’t actually find an average difference in materialism, but it seems perfectly plausible that one might. (In case anyone is interested, a biological theory of Jewish behavior, by the white nationalist psychologist Kevin MacDonald, actually exists.)
If you were persuaded by Murray and Harris’s conclusion that the black-white IQ gap is partially genetic, but uncomfortable with the idea that the same kind of thinking might apply to the personality traits of Jews, I have one question: Why? Couldn’t there just as easily be a science of whether Jews are genetically “tuned to” (Harris’s phrase) different levels of materialism than gentiles?
On the other hand, if you no longer believe this old anti-Semitic trope, is it because some scientific study has been conducted showing that it is false? And if the problem is simply that we haven’t run the studies, why shouldn’t we? Materialism is an important trait in individuals, and plausibly could be an important difference between groups. (Certainly the history of the Jewish people attests to the fact that it has been considered important in groups!) But the horrific recent history of false hypotheses about innate Jewish behavior helps us see how scientifically empty and morally bankrupt such ideas really are.
Turkheimer’s example is a bit of a misdirection, since it would be more straightforward in this debate over IQ to discuss higher Ashkenazi Jewish mean IQs.
My guess, however, is that most American gentiles, of whatever race, recognize that Jews tend to be smarter — e.g., 1/50th of the U.S. population makes up about 1/3rd of the Forbes 400 — and admire them for that fact.
While I oppose quotas, on the other hand, there is a reasonable concept, which I got from David Brooks, that smarter American ethnic groups should feel a sense of noblesse oblige toward the average people amongst whom they have thrived. (Brooks referred, gingerly, to “new meritocratic elites,” but obviously Jews are the dominant group within the new meritocratic elites who have displaced the old WASP elites.)
The most obvious form of noblesse oblige would be for Jews to become more self-aware about how self-indulgent and petty is their traditional urge to further deconstruct the American people via mass immigration. Some Jews, such as Mickey Kaus and Stephen Miller, are exemplars of 21st Century noblesse oblige, but even Brooks can’t bring himself around to promoting moderation and prudence on immigration policy.
This is not to say that all Jews feel that IQ science is not good for the Jews. Murray’s Jewish co-author Richard Herrnstein, for example, felt that honesty about IQ was good for the Jews. But, my observations are that the old question — “Is it good for the Jews?” — is what motivates a lot of the leaders of IQ science denialism, from S.J. Gould to Eric Turkheimer.