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What follows is excerpted from what I put forward in an online college forum. It is nothing new to readers here or to those who edify themselves with the work of those perspicacious thinkers who’ve graciously linked to me (links added here):

I do not disagree with this mood of frustration, although I hope we can collectively try to be more tactful. A conspicuous US presence in the Middle East has not been good for the Occident.

Creating refugees that must be absorbed is, in itself, reason enough to clamor for a withdrawal. The Islamic world is characterized by a few incorrigible attributes that, taken together, render it truly noxious:

Consanguinety. Unfortunately, it is rarely mentioned, but in Iraq, for example, over 50% of males are married to a second cousin or closer. The nepotism this engenders in business, and the tribalism it sustains in social life, makes national unity impossible unless forced under the iron fist of a tyrant. In the West, we tend to perceive the ‘clash of civilizations’ as one between (post-)Christendom and Islam. It is easier to get our minds around, as we’re all familiar with religion. We are not so familiar with how kinship over any concept of ecumenicism makes a non-partisan justice, governmental administration, etc, virtually impossible.

– That segues into a related obstacle, power concentration:

In Syria, the Alawite minority holds power over 90% of the population.

In Lebanon, the Christian ‘ruling class’ (and that’s progressively becoming a thing of the past) continues to fight off a census, as one hasn’t been taken in over seven decades. They’re no longer a majority. Not even close.

In Saudi Arabia, the corpulent House of Sa’ad engages in a perpetual balancing act, attempting to mollify hardline Salafists and Wahabbists while making ambiguous, often shallow overtures to the West. Al Qaeda despises the Royal Family even more than it does the neocons.

In Egypt, the secular Mubarak outlaws his populist opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood. And Coptic Christians? Better not to even go there. The tragedy that has befallen this ancient people makes any purveyor of lugubrious claims about Palestinian oppression blush.

The ruling Donmeh (a crypto-Jewish group that has worn an Islamic veneer for centuries) in Turkey are fervently secular, and their complete control of the officership in Istanbul’s military not only keeps a flailing Islamism under control, it also frustrates Turkey’s Kurdish population in the country’s southeast, which looks increasingly to an all-but-official country called Kurdistan to its east.

Libya? Qaddafi. UAE? Emirs, and international business interests (and the South Asian slaves they exploit). Kuwait? More of the same.

In Iraq, the iron fist was overthrown. The other side of the Middle Eastern coin is what Iraq has become and what the ‘West Bank’ has been for some time–infinite layers of tribalistic infighting, the worst sort of internecine bloodshed from the perspective of a Middle Eastern nationalist (of which there are so few today).

– Islam. This militant religion was founded by a militant leader. Muhammad besieged Medina and had most of the men from the ruling Jewish clans their executed. Then he felled Mecca. Eight years after he died, Muslims would march on and take Jerusalem. A religion that was founded over six centuries after the birth of Christianity had pushed the religion of Paul completely out of its place of birth, capturing all of Spain and making it as far as modern-day France, where the hordes’ expansion was finally stopped by Charles Martel more than a century after it had begun. It would be four centuries before a reeling Christianity would, under the auspices of Pope Urban II, be united and strong enough to strike back.

Whether it be Van Gogh’s body in the Netherlands, thousands of cars on fire in Paris, skyscrapers crumbling in New York, conflagrations in London’s subways, trains being blown off their tracks in Madrid, children being massacred in Chechnya, residents being beheaded in Indonesia, or women on buses being blown to bits in Israel, the inherent predilections for dominion, and the intolerance that necessitates, guarantees that unless the tenets of Islam change, its militancy will not.

Paraenthetically, a prerequisite to commentary on this point is a full reading of the Koran (keeping in mind that it is organized by sura length, not chronologically, so that the Medinan writings mostly appear at the front even though they came after the Meccan writings), and a familiarity with ‘hadith qudsi’ (roughly analagous to the Agragpha in Christianity–words of the prophet that did not make it into the holy book).

– Average IQ. The national estimates gathered by Professors Vanhanen and Lynn in their groundbreaking work, IQ and the Wealth of Nations:

Turkey: 90
Iraq: 87
Syria: 87
Lebanon: 86
Iran: 84
Egypt: 83
Afghanistan: 83
Saudi Arabia: 83
Pakistan: 81
Qatar: 78

There are no liberal, developed nations in this IQ range. We can cling to the idea of unfettered egalitarianism, incapable of separating it from isonomy or spiritual equality, or we can ditch the epicycles and try to make sense of the world as it is. This is a major roadblock.

So what to do? Disconnect. End Islamic immigration to the West. Arab Americans, for example (most of whom are Lebanese Christians), are among their country’s most liberal, best and brightest. Draining the region of these people will only make it more backwards. Europe continues its steady move to the nationalistic right as North Africans, Middle Easterners, and Central Asians settle in as members of a seemingly permanent underclass that is threatening the very fabric of the Scandinavian model of the welfare state that makes Finland or Norway such a nice place to live.

Meanwhile, our most promising are dying in the sands of Babylon, for the benefit of a Shia government and its Mahdi Army allies. We’ve irritated Turkey, destabilized Syria and Jordan, and made Saudi Arabia nervous while alienating much of the developed world with our incursion in Iraq. The greatest beneficiary has been our antagonist in the region, and Israel’s putative arch-enemy, Iran. Time to get out, pour what remains of the $2 trillion we’ll end up dumping into the Iraq miasma into a Manhattan Project for energy independence, and obselesce oil so that the Middle East can fall back into the seventh century if that’s where it thinks it belongs.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. I would love to see the reponse. Do you have a link?

  2. You piece together some great arguments, as usual, but like daveg, I want to see the context of the discussion overall.

  3. Revise that last comment:
    You do more than "piece together," you make great arguments.

    And it certainly would be interesting to see the discussion if at all possible.

  4. We've heard this all before. You are preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, it is good that you are promoting these points in a more public venue.

    I, too, would like to see responses to your comments.

  5. Thanks! It's on the university's server that requires a student account so I can't link it without giving away all my personals. But I'll cut+paste into the comments, and this brain trust can give suggestions for responses.

  6. IQ, hah! As if you can measure intelligence. IQ tests, like any other reasoning tests, more show your test-taking skill and the quality of your education. Honestly, I remember reading about this book when it came out. They're methods are statistically ignorant at best and fraudulent at worst. They only isolate for variables when the data doesn't correpsond to their premeditated conclusion. They even try to link IQ to race-but only selectively. Your little implication that Arabs are stupid doesn't go over really well.

    Also, way to have a 16th Century view on Islam. Scholars would actually point to Muslim rule of Al-Andalus as an example of religious tolerance and a place where diversity was successful. The story about Charles Martel is simply hyperbole, glorifying what was in essence a giant skirmish.

    Most Christians, by the way, welcomed the Islamic presence, because they were no longer persecuted for being a different sort of Christian. Spanish Jews immigrated to North Africa after the Reconquista. Your history is extremely irresponsible, and although I do commend you for acutally having a grasp of the facts at hand, it is in your conclusions and your analysis where you fall victim to the outrageous claims of pseudo-history.

    While around other people your history would seem unassailable, around me it falls flat on its face. We are not just 20-somethings spouting off on a message board, and it's high time people learned that.

  7. Are you aware of the HapMap project? Or the massive study of tens of thousands of Americans, all of whom had been given the AQFT that formed the basis for Herrnstein and Murray's famous work? Or the massive metanalysis undertaken in 2001 looking at eight decades of IQ data and finding a persistent gap of one SD between whites and blacks?

    How do you answer these statistically significant correlations between IQ and…

    Infant mortality: -.84
    Life expectancy: .85
    Net migration: .40
    PPP: .72

    Those are a few on the national level. I built state IQ estimates (and later Professor Michael McDaniel of Virginia Commonwealth University came out with numbers that were almost identical) using regression equations built using data from another of Professor Richard Lynn's work and applying them to both math and science NAEP test scores. The results are similar. Violent crime, for example, inversely correlates with IQ at .73 (for those not familiar with statistical analysis, an 'r' value–a correlation–of .6 is considered robust in the social sciences. Anything in the .7s and .8s is startlingly rigorous.)

    Regarding race–there is no variable that better determines the academic performance of a state than race. Expenditures per student, teacher salaries, and classroom size combined don't even come close.

    For the most part Jews, who were considerably wealthier than their Muslim rulers, were usually not forced into conversion, and instead only subject to the jizya. In the legal arena, Jews were worse off under the caliphate. The testimony of the dhimmi simply wasn't admissible.

    The idea that most Jews lived under Muslim rulers, or wanted to, is simply a myth. The vast majority of Jews lived in Europe/the West (today the US has the world's highest population) before the time of the first Crusade, and that hasn't changed for over a millenium.

    I suppose also, that you believe that persistent imbreeding has done nothing to cognitive performance. It's not my desire to go off-topic, but are you familiar with ASPM or microcephalin, and the distributional discoveries of these compounds?

    Of course, my 'implication' does stand. It is empirically correct, and I challenge you to give an example that counters it (it can be outside of the Islamic world, of course).

  8. wow, thanks for coming; i was really tired of offering meager arguments at best.

  9. Yes, it is too bad that the other countries in the study didn't have nearly such a large database. In fact, most countries in the world didn't have statistics at all for that book. Most that did, once again, had very small sample sizes

    Those tests still do not correct for differences in education-either in availability, quality, or the level to which it was pursued. The tests are also not really tests of intelligence-they are tests that more measure your test-taking ability than actual intelligence. Honestly, that book is a giant fraud.

    The difference in IQ test scores between whites and blacks can be accounted for by the massive gap in wealth between the two communities. You should read "Freakonomics", which evaluated test data over years from the entire Chicago Public School system that showed the factors that affect a person's education. When you control for factors like a parent's education (which has a HUGE effect on a child's performance), wealth, classroom size, et cetera, the white advantage disappears.

    And we all know that schooling and opportunities for blacks suck in this country, and were downright criminally appalling when their parents were in school (My hometown didn't integrate until the mid to late 70's, if you can believe that).

    Yes, exactly, Jews weren't forced to conversion, neither were Christians. EXCEPT under Christian rule, where they didn't have the right to worship, and were subject to the inquisition. The fact is that, in Europe, it wasn't until the Enlightenment and later that Christians approached the tolerance that Muslim rulers practiced.

    Dear, I never said that most Jews lived under Muslim rulers. Most, until WWII, lived in Eastern Europe, actually about 95%- However, those that lived in Spain were treated significantly better under Muslims than under Christians, and when Christians expelled them went to North Africa.

    No, you're little theory that Arabs are stupider doesn't stand. All you've given me are samples not large enough to be representative from a minority of the world's countries that don't correct for other variables taken from tests that can't measure intelligence in the first place.

    Here's one:

    Muslims in the United States are twice as likely to graduate college as the population as a whole. They are also more likely to be registered to vote. In the UK, they are among the least likely of all populations to be on welfare.

    Are you aware of the huge population of technocrats coming out of countries like Saudi Arabia (though Saudi's tend to emigrate for University) and Iran (many home-grown technocrats)? What about India (I realize it is only minority Muslim)? You'd have to be an idiot to tell me that Indian students don't perform tremendously well in the United States. Vietnamese? They kick ass. Chinese? What about Angolans? I went to school with tons of Angolans who fucking beat the intellectual shit out of my National Merit Scholar ass.

    You keep talking about interbreeding as if it were unique to the Arab world. I hate to tell you this, but interbreeding is still common among all non-Industrial societies. You can find it in the Orient, Africa, parts of Latin America, and other places. Polygamy was practiced in China until Mao came to power. Seclusion of women is still common among the indigenous peoples of Latin America. European nobility, even in the 20th Century, were all related to each other.

    So maybe industrialization has something to do with it? Maybe the quality of education? Maybe the importance of education in the community? Maybe the efficacy of the tests? Maybe, you know, getting real statistics?

    Unfortunately for you, I read books, I've taken statistics, and I am not a pushover. Give it up while you're still way behind.

  10. to answer your question; it's not that they're incapable of being smarter, but that arab countries are not smart. you would be too if it was pounded into your head all your life that the best thing ever is throwing bricks and jews and becoming a martyr. there's no emphasis on education, and even if there was, there's no funding for it.

  11. While your right that there's no funding for education (Curiously enough, the same argument I was making. I guess great minds do think alike.), stop with this "throwing brick and jews and becoming a martyr" I've been over this time and time again. Shut up about it, you don't know what you're talking about.

  12. Without answering the statistical relationships this discussion is fruitless. What of test scores in rural China, where none of these advantages you suggest are present. Why still an average higher than that of the US or the UK?

    Huge number of technocrats? More than half of post-graduate degrees in Saudi Arabia are in religious fields. Yes, the US brain drains from the Arab world effectively, but most Arabs in the US are Maronite Christians, mainly from Lebanon. The same from East Asia and Brahmin from India (that is virtually all we have in the US). We need to institute a merit immigration system that does the same thing only more systematically while ending underclass immigration from Latin America.

    I'm quite familiar with Levitt's Freakonomics, and am friends with Steve Sailer who he has debated on several occasions. Of course the controls he offers are like saying, the average NBA player is as tall as the average North Korean when you control for the length of their pants. Are you familiar with the work on adoption by Bruce Sacerdote? Adopted children are more similar to their biological parents on a host of attributes, including educational attainment and income, than they are to their adoptive parents. In the same households, the biological children of the parents who are also adopting, however, perform very similarly to their parents. The only epicycle available here is to accuse the adoptive parents of treating the kids they've adopted the same way the adoptive parents have been treated. This, even when the adoptive parents have no biological parents of their own. And of course the children of poor East Asian refugees outperform more affluent blacks in the US consistently, both educationally and economically.

    Again, can you explain ASPM to me? Or microcephalin? How can these genes, both linked to neural development, and found in widely varying proportions depending on ancestry, be said not to have an effect on cognitive ability?

    Outside of the Muslim world, save for India, no nation experiences interbreeding at a rate higher than 10%. Nowhere in South America does this occur. You are simply wrong.

    As for the efficacy of IQ tests, of course they are incredibly useful. Why do you think the US military, US government, and secondary education refuse to give them up? The private sector uses them to the extent that it is possible (Bill Gates was absolutely obsessed with them in the nineties), although Griggs v Duke Power has made that a risky proposition.

    Harvard doesn't make students brilliant. They perform in the top 3% of either of the two major scholastic aptitude tests (proxies for IQ tests). Then, 96% of them go on to graduate. Testing allows for schools to take the best and the brightest, and that creates their reputations. If they were so effective at some how enchancing the intelligence of the student body, why would aptitude testing be needed in the first place?

    Your argument that a small portion of Jews liked living under Muslim rule because they were economically dominant there is tangential. I wonder if you extend the same logic today, noting that the US has the highest net migration in the world. Does that mean US policy is therefore superior to that of the rest of the world, since more people want to live here than anywhere else?

  13. Again, racial composition correlates with a state's estimated IQ (or NAEP performance, if you'd like) at .85. Educational spending, teacher salaries, and classroom size combined only correlate at .39. The examples of spending failing to make an appreciable difference are legion. The greatest example is in the metro area where I live–the infamous KCMO school district, which despite spending more than twice the national average per pupil in the nineties no longer even has accredidation.

  14. Anecdotes don't get us anywhere. Empiricism does. The National Longitudinal Study of Youth, the most massive long-term study of youth including scores from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (a g-loaded intelligence test the military uses to divide potential recruits into five intelligence categories), gathered ongoing data from participants (which makes it so valuable). From the 917 participants who took the aptitude test and the SAT, the two scores correlated at a statistically significant .82. That's extremely vigorous. If you want to argue that IQ only measures education, etc (despite its tenacity from the age of six), go ahead. But IQ and performance on scholastic tests are related.

    No, scholastic tests are not IQ tests, and they can be prepared for to a limited extent (what Kaplan doesn't tell you, of course, is that brighter students are more likely to opt for test-prep in the first place, and that is likely skewing the results that are presented as if ceteris paribus), but they proxy quite well for them. That's why the most selective schools will never give them up, nor allow for your less endowed potential subjects to run through their curriculums.

    I'm not sure how much emphasis to place on the genetic basis for the reticent black-white IQ gap that has lasted, unchanged, for seventy years (even as the black standard of living has gotten substantially better relative to that of whites during the same time). Certainly the frequency of ASPM and microcephalin in people of European ancestry relative to those of African ancestry suggest at least a partial genetic explanation. Breast-feeding and proper nutrition (vitamin A, iodine, etc) is likely responsible for some of the gap, as we see quite clearly in sub-Saharan Africa. I still wonder how you explain the stellar IQ scores of impoverished East Asians relative to the (relatively) wealthy underclass in the developed world. I eagerly await the collapse of the reprobate Kim Jung Il–I predict the destitute North Koreans will have average IQs in the triple digits.

    Regarding the splitting of infants into more and less desirable families, your argument is a bit of a strawman (although I again refer you to Sacerdote's study on Korean adoptees showing that adoptive parental education and income had no effect on the adopted children's attainment). I never claimed that nature was everything, only an important something. You seem to be arguing that if biology it isn't everything, it is meaningless. But that's a false dichotomy. Our public policies are chalk full of environmental considerations, but pay little attention at all to less malleable innate qualities of people. Thankfully, pioneers like McDaniel, Lynn, Vanhanen, Murray, Gottfredson, Jensen, Cochran, and a host of others are on the cusp of a paradigmatic shift that ever-cheaper genetic sequencing is creating.

  15. Arabs are tribally inbred, so not a uniform population. It's tough to get good IQ studies in countries with so many sub-ethnicities due to inbreeding. But it's pretty clear that arabs in particular, and muslims in general are not very sharp.

    On the bright side, Arabs are inbred, true, and they generally have low IQ's, true, but they make really good middle eastern food!

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Thanks for taking the time to post a fuller discussion. You clearly had more answers (and actually more class). He could not answer you except for Levitt and a few personal anecdotes about his own observations. He didn't even realize that your Sailer analogy was a joke.

    I had to laugh at the commenter who thanked you for coming to the debate.

  17. well again, the black-white difference in iq is culturally based. black kids are always being told that selling weed, being a basketball player, and drinking colt 45 is cool, and being smart is bad.

  18. Ok not to be the rain on anyone's parade. This conversation is hella intelligent and all, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what it has to do with the Troops in the Middle East.

  19. Well, it started as a commentary on the Middle East.

  20. Steven,

    The hip-hop culture is pathological. It is also neo-tribalistic, glorifying self-ornamentation, perceiving work as something to be ridiculed as the activity of those who are forced into it due to an inability to be supported otherwise (rather than something of intrinsic value), vitriolically misogynistic and anti-homosexual (and pretty homophobic as well), emphasizing immediate gratification, and it puts social rebellion on a pedestal, as something to strive for simply for the sake of bucking convention.

    But while it's tragic, it's hardly a full explanation. The SD gap has remained almost exactly the same for at least seventy years, even as the white-black culture gap has not. Also, black students, on average, spend virtually the same amount of time doing homework, on average.


    I go wherever the discussion takes us. Avoiding digression is not a strong point…

  21. The SD gap has remained almost exactly the same for at least seventy years, even as the white-black culture gap has not.

    Funny, because I keep hearing about how poverty and crime has been going up wildly in the black community since 1978, and that the rich/poor and black/white divide in this country is growing.

    What you say about hip hop culture is definitely true, but you seem to continually downplay its effects by clinging to this statistically fraudulent, circular argument of yours, go ahead. Since I've seen his last big response, I've been busy, and now I have to go hand out with my sister, so I can't properly respond immediately.

    In the mean time, why don't you readers educate yourselves on this book, its methodology, and the valididty on IQ testing in general. Notice how the book doesn't isolate for variables, have any standardized testing, doesn't address the majority of nations, uses ridiculously low sample sizes (with the exception of the US and a few other countries), and, for many countries, doesn't take any samples at all. For North Korea, for example, they arrived at the figure by averaging the figures for Japan and North Korea. Apparently, the figures for two wealthy, industrialized nations that put an emphasis on education and have relatively transparent governments are completely acceptable for figures for an extremely poor, authoritarian state ofte on the brink of starvation with no figures available for it.

    Well, it must be true because they're Korean also, right?

    No, you've invented statistics backing that up by inventing North Korea's figure by presupposing a conclusion.

    This is fraudulent. Derek is not the empiricist he claims to be. Look this book up, guys, its a f[$*@!] joke.

  22. Gabriel,

    "Funny, because I keep hearing about how poverty and crime has been going up wildly in the black community since 1978, and that the rich/poor and black/white divide in this country is growing."

    Yes, that's exactly what I've been arguing. The IQ gap has remained the same, even as black fortunes relative to whites increased into the sixties and seventies, fell in many ways in the late eighties and early nineties, ameliorated later in the nineties, and are sliding back into relative sufferance today. The social environment has fluctuated. The IQ gap has not. That suggests something other than an environmental explanation.

    Regarding Lynn and Vanhanen's methodology, my North Korean prediction is just prognostication. In the hopeful future, when North Korea opens up to the modern world, you presumably expect the population to perform significantly worse than South Korea and China on IQ and other aptitude tests. I predict they will fare quite well, as well or better than most of the Euro nations. That is something only time will tell.

    For those who have only a cursory understanding of statistics,

    The less vigorous the statistical methods of collection are, the less a true relationship is going to be discerned. Gabriel doesn't seem to realize that the existence of correlations given limited sample sizes and data from just under half of the world's countries, strongly suggests that IQ is even more important than the authors are able to conclude given limited data. And, not surprisingly, Lynn's follow up book, using four times the quantity of data, does just that, suggesting an even stronger relationship between IQ and a host of outcomes. For example, in creating my state IQ estimates, I used the incredibly strong relationship between scholastic testing and IQ that Lynn found (.87 for mathematics tests, .81 for science tests; astoundingly high, although Lynn argues that adjusting for attenuation yields an even higher virtually perfect correlation).

  23. Very interesting dialogue. It appears that the more intelligent university student will inevitably be something of a rebel.

    Soldiers of the status quo such as Gabriel are a dime a dozen. They do not need to learn to think in the modern university–by all means let your professors do all your thinking for you.

    Intellectual diversity is the only type of diversity with any meaning in education.

  24. warning
    This is a very important message about a terroristic Attack.

    کیر بزمجه عربستان و مصر تو کس ننه هرکی سیده.
    سنده ملت جهان تو کس ننه حافظان شریعت اسلام

    کیر خوک تو کس ننه فاحشه => پاسدار یا بسیجی یا اطلاعاتی یا جاسوس اسلام یا سید یا حزب اللهی

    گوه خوک تو ننه امام حسین شد امام حسن

    سنده شیطان تو حلق محمد رسول الله قرآن شد.

    خرطوم فیل تو کس ننه پیامبر اسلام.

    الله اکبر
    خامنه ای عنتر
    مرگ بر دوست ولایت فقیه
    درود بر آمریکا

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