July 6, 2010

"Parasite prevalence and the worldwide distribution of cognitive ability"

A reader writes in reference to the new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Parasite prevalence and the worldwide distribution of cognitive ability by Christopher Eppig, Corey L. Fincher and Randy Thornhill.
Steve, did you notice that The Economist finally decided to inform its readers about Lynn and Vanhanen's IQ estimates?
When Dr Lynn and Dr Vanhanen originally published their IQ data, they used them to advance the theory that national differences in intelligence were the main reason for different levels of economic development. This study turns that reasoning on its head. It is lack of development, and the many health problems this brings, which explains the difference in levels of intelligence. No doubt, in a vicious circle, those differences help keep poor countries poor. But the new theory offers a way to break the circle.

Of course it's only now that a politically correct explanation has been found 8 years later.

A subscription to The Economist is expensive, so subscribers should complain that the editors were covering up important information until a more polite spin could be found.

Actually, The Economist did cite "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" once before, in its May 15, 2004 issue (p. 26) when The Economist fell for that lowbrow Internet hoax about high IQ blue states and low IQ red states!

The Economist is doing a disservice to the long-term reputations of Eppig, Fincher, and Thornhill, since it's an interesting paper, and I recommend that you read it. I don't find anything novel about the idea that improvements in health are one of the reasons for rising raw IQ scores, but it's a good point to reiterate. 

Eppig et al don't actually support the Economist's spin, writing:
A nation of more intelligent individuals is likely to produce a higher GDP, but a wealthier nation is also more able to pay for public education, as well as public medical and sanitation services. An indirect link between education and intelligence may also exist, as a better-educated population may be more interested in public health measures—leading to increased IQ by reducing parasite stress—provided that education includes information about germ theory and hygiene. These sources of endogeneity must be considered when interpreting our findings (and see below). It should also be mentioned that we are not arguing that global variation in intelligence is only caused by parasite stress. Rather, variation in intelligence is probably caused by a variety of factors, including those we have mentioned here as well as factors that are yet unknown.

They make the point that I made last week:
We also propose a complementary hypothesis that may explain some of the effects of infectious disease on intelligence. As we mentioned, it is possible that a conditional developmental pathway exists that invests more energy into the immune system at the expense of brain development. In an environment where there has consistently been a high metabolic cost associated with parasitic infection, selection would not favour the maintenance of a phenotypically plastic trait. That is, the conditional strategy of allocating more energy into brain development during periods of health would be lost, evolutionarily, if periods of health were rare. Peoples living in areas of consistently high prevalence of infectious disease over evolutionary time thus may possess adaptations that favour high obligatory investment in immune function at the expense of other metabolically expensive traits such as intelligence.

Still, there are some problems with the paper. 

Their model correlates national average IQ and "disability adjusted life-years lost" owing to infectious disease. (Unfortunately, I can't find from following their footnotes where they got this data for 192 countries. I can only find it summarized by WHO by regions. If you can find the data for each country, please let me know.) 

But, of course, the obvious question is: Does Singapore have a high average IQ because it has a remarkably low infectious disease burden for it's tropical, sea-level, humid location, or does it have a remarkably low infectious disease burden because it's run by high IQ and hard-working officials, such as Lew Kwan Yew? 

In contrast, Afghanistan has terrible life expectancy and longevity figures compared to Singapore, indicative of terrible disease burden, despite having a climate rather like Colorado's. (Afghanistan's problem is less that its residents are empty-headed as that they are bloody-minded, with one of the most selfish, nasty cultures in the world.)

If Lagos has a similar climate to Singapore but worse disease burden, it that the cause or the symptom of the difference in average IQ? (Most likely both, of course, but it should be possible to allot causality.)

I think this key problem of causation could be tackled by using not the actual current disease burden but the predictions of a theoretical model of what disease burden would be based on the natural factors of each country. Eppig et al write:
The worldwide distribution of parasites is well known. Disease-causing organisms of humans are more prevalent in equatorial regions of the world and become less prevalent as latitude increases. Ecological factors contributing to this distribution include mean annual temperature, monthly temperature range and precipitation (e.g. Guernier et al. 2004). Similar trends of parasite distribution have been shown in other host species (e.g. Møller 1998).

So, there must be models that would predict that Singapore and Lagos would have similar disease burdens. Therefore, use the theoretical predictions of disease burden to correlate with IQ, not the current actual disease burdens.

My commenter goes on:
Eppig et al report a strong correlation between infectious disease burden and national IQ, using either Lynn's estimates or Wicherts revised estimates for sub-Saharan Africa.

Eppig et al repeat a number of related analyses to show that infection disease is the strongest, but they decided not to reanalyze the one variable that's stronger than infectious disease: skin color (r = -.92). Their argument for why they can ignore the results of Templer & Arikawa (2006) is an amazing feat of intentional misunderstanding:

"Although Templer & Arikawa (2006) found a positive relationship between IQ and skin darkness, we will not use skin darkness in our analyses for three reasons: (i) although evidence suggests that skin darkness is a measure of historical infectious disease intensity over evolutionary time, it is unclear exactly what kind of infectious diseases it is indicative of (see discussion); (ii) Templer & Arikawa (2006) argued that the relationship between skin darkness and IQ is not causal; and (iii) Templer & Arikawa (2006) did not sufficiently explain why the association between intelligence and skin darkness exists. Without a reasonable theoretical framework for this association, we did not feel it was appropriate to compare it with other variables for which there is a better theoretical rationale."

Obviously the explanation for the relationship between IQ and skin color given by Templer & Arikawa (2006) was a population's evolutionary history of cold climate with adaptation to UV exposure -- a genetic model.

Again, the correlation found by Templer & Arikawa (2006) for IQ and skin color (-.92) exceeds that found for IQ and infectious disease (-.82), but this fact is avoided by Eppig et al and by The Economist.

Interestingly, Eppig el al note:
Mackintosh (2001) presented comprehensive evidence that skin darkness and the associated cellular components (e.g. melanocytes) have an important role in defending against infectious disease. Moreover, Manning et al. (2003) found that, in sub-Saharan Africa, rates of HIV infection were negatively associated with skin darkness. Manning et al. (2003) attributed this relationship in part to lower infection rates of other parasites, especially bacteria and fungi, that lead to tissue damage in the genital tract and hence increased opportunity for contracting HIV. Templer & Arikawa (2006) concluded that, despite the strong negative correlation between skin colour and average national IQ, there must be an unknown mediating factor accounting for both because there is no obvious reason for skin darkness to reduce IQ. Given the previous research linking skin colour to infectious disease (Mackintosh 2001; Manning et al. 2003), the unknown factor linking skin colour and IQ may be infectious disease.

Also, Eppig et al admit that the Usain Bolt-producing part of the world is a pretty healthy place but just isn't all that super-smart.
The only world region in which this relationship [between IQ and disease] was not significant was South America [defined here to include the West Indies]. This exception may be owing to the presence of several outliers. The group of conspicuous outliers in which IQ was much lower than expected in the worldwide trend (figure 1) are all Caribbean countries (St Lucia, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Vincent and Grenadines, and Jamaica), which represent 4 of 23 nations in the South America analysis (St Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, and St Vincent and the Grenadines). Because these outliers are in the same geographical location, it is possible that local parasites that are not included in the DALY owing to infectious disease variable are causing these outliers.

46 comments:

tomf1027@hotmail.com said...

I saw the title and thought this was going to be an article about lawyers. Silly me.

Anonymous said...

Steve, it's 6:30AM on the East Coast, which means it must be 3:30AM out there.

Go to sleep, dude.

Anonymous said...

You know, the other really ugly thing they won't want to talk about is that stuff like the elimination of parasites and the introduction of iodine into the diet and the removal of lead from the environment might account for just about 100% of the Flynn Effect [if the Flynn Effect even exists - personally, I'm dubious].

I.e. it might be that the Flynn Effect doesn't have anything at all to do with greater exposure to intellectual life [via newspapers and radio and television and government-school edumakashun to include computer terminals wired to the internet] - instead, it could be that the Flynn Effect [if it even exists at all] is merely a public health artifact which accrues when you remove these folks from the squalor in which they would otherwise live and plop them down in Section 8 Housing with chlorine/flouride-treated water and enclosed sewers and non-lead paint on the walls and iodized salts in their AFDC/WIC diets.

Henry Canaday said...

I wonder whether there is any way to objectively characterize the nature-imposed physical isolation of different populations, which would seem also to be potentially linked to intelligence, both genetic and cultural. I have just been reading Alan Moorehead’s “The White Nile,” and the primitiveness of the life of the Central African peoples, especially in what is now Uganda, and the absolutely casual and meaningless violence of their rulers is astounding.

The first western explorers thought of them as a kind of savage children. Moorehead attributes much of their behavior to the fact that these peoples had had no contact with the wider world, even within Africa, for thousands of years. It took a technologically advanced western civilization, with several thousand years of accumulated skills, until the 1860s to get down the Nile from Egypt. Getting up the Nile, or much away from the lakes at the source of the Nile, was ordinarily beyond even the imagination of the peoples who lived there.

It is arguable that Africans have made the most amazingly rapid progress of any large group of people in the world during the last 150 years, and almost all of this progress has been simple exposure to different ideas and knowledge, the different moral rules that flow from them, different nutrition and different public health systems.

Anonymous said...

Jeez I wonder whats different about Latin America. Could it be the people have only been there a short time, only a few hundred years. It would take longer to evolve out of the high-disease low IQ equilibrium into the high-IQ disease equilibrium. Also if you read Plagues and Peoples, it suggests that the indus river valley, and the yellow river valley had the highest disease loads, and that they were the source of most western epidemics. So I kind of think their theory doesn't hold water. IQ of a group is as much a function of when your people started farming, 10,000 years ago for Europe, and 6000 years ago for sub-Saharan Africa, than it is of disease burden. Disease burden retards development of complex societies which develops with farming and selects for intelligence. The IQ differences between SSAs and Australian Aborigines has nothing to do with disease burden. It has to do 6000 years of farming and trading.

Pat Shuff said...

Of course it's only now that a politically correct explanation has been found 8 years later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

And Chris Brand recently sent me another highly relevant Orwell quote:

"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is "not done" to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals". -- George Orwell, 1945, Introduction to 'Animal Farm.'

http://www.isteve.com/orwell.htm

headache said...

Steve sez:But, of course, the obvious question is: Does Singapore have a high average IQ because it has a remarkably low infectious disease burden for it's tropical, sea-level, humid location, or does it have a remarkably low infectious disease burden because it's run by high IQ and hard-working officials, such as Lew Kwan Yew?


Without parsing the paper where spin and science seems to be within a hair of each other, I'd say Steve's comment above sums up the issue, at least for the current time period since WWII.

The rollback in healthcare and longevity gains in say Rhodesia and South Africa under their new black masters also proves the point. In fact the recently liberated black countries south of the Sahara offer excellent lab material for doing timeline studies on these issues. For some strange reason the myriad of sociologists pestering western society are not interested in digging into that bit of "diversity". All countries south of the Sahara were run by western governments at some point in time, and then "liberated" starting around 1960 onwards. Generally, as you travel back in time health and longevity increase until you get back to the first white governments. Obviously counteracting this trend is the development in the effectiveness of medicine. Offsetting that and adjusting for the usually disastrous "liberation wars", the difference between longevity in colonial/white days compared to “liberated" Africa is clearly the result of smarter policy choices under white governments.

Zimbabwe must take the cake since Mugabe managed to drill down longevity from around 75 years under Ian Smith to his current best of 35 years. The same trend is showing up in South Africa, where coincidently the drinking water has deteriorated so grossly since Apartheid was removed, that many homeowners are installing filtration systems to avoid contracting diseases from public drinking water. Some deaths have already been reported, something unheard of under white rule.

Such findings ought to put thumb-in-mouth outfits like the Economist in a tight spot, were it not for their well-honed skill in glossing over uncomfortable facts.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the inverse correlation between skin darkness and IQ constitute a hatefact? I'm not sure that's taught in schools LOL.

asdfasdfasdf said...

Southeast Asia must have been full of diseases. How come Chinese minority there has been smarter than the natives? Do SE Asian mosquitos and worms not feed on the Chinese?

If Einstein had intestinal worms, do you suppose he would have the IQ of 80?

asdfasdfsadf said...

How come Jews are smarter than whites in America? We must all have worms that Jews don't have. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!

safadfdsf said...

Worms and parasites also make a person weaker, but your average black African still seems stronger and more robust than well-fed Japanese or even many whites in the West.

Parasites do play a role but not THE role. I spoke to Asian-Indians and Chinese workers in the US, and they told me intestinal worms are still very much a reality in many parts of India and China. Indeed have been for as long as they can remember.

Anonymous said...

This study turns that reasoning on its head. It is lack of development, and the many health problems this brings, which explains the difference in levels of intelligence



That's a theory with zero supporting evidence. I don't see why everyone is now accepting it as scientific fact.

persona au gratin said...

Steve,
Are you aware of these studies:
http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bjmbr/v43n3/102.pdf

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/535807_3

The first deals with an allele that protects against cognitive impairment from severe childhood diarrhea, but is correlated with increased Alzheimer's risk.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but here's an spectacularly idiotic article that may be of interest to those in the steve-o-sphere:

America needs to make its bad jobs better
By Richard Florida

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e8e85ece-8865-11df-aade-00144feabdc0.html

No mention in this article, of course, that maybe it's not such a great idea to import a whole new underclass of people incapable of working in "good" jobs that have nontrivial cognitive requirements.

Instead, the proposal is to have the Federal government explain the secrets of successful management (which the Feds have obviously mastered) to service businesses.

Anonymous said...

The parasite question is very interesting, but doesn't "solve" the problem in the way a certain type of liberal hopes it does.

Of course, it is ENTIRELY possible that parasites - or something else that Africa has more of than other places - have contributed to the lower IQs found in Africa.

Something, or some combination of things, explains it, and I certainly don't believe its the "historic legacy" (the attempt to correct which has had absolutely no effect whatsoever except to enrich cultural-sensitivy consultants).

The issue of what is the cause of the IQ deficit is an entirely different question from the question of whether or not the IQ difference exists, although it's a perfectly legitimate object of inquiry.

Anonymous said...

the data table as an image is here:

http://media.economist.com/images/
20100703/201027STC756.gif

Anonymous said...

I think I posted on this before but I lost the post due to a connection problem - or maybe not. So if this sounds repetitious, apologies in advance.

As late as the time of Perry's Black Ships Japan had among the highest parasite loads of any population on earth. They bathed more than Europeans did in the sixteenth century when the Portuguese first appeared but they were more infested with worms and similar critters. I have a couple books on parasites and they both make this point.

The Portuguese did not report that the Japanese were dull and stupid, quite the contrary. They were impressed with the level of culture they found among these hitherto isolated peoples.

Saigo was the historical "Last Samurai". He was not very much like Ken Watanabi in the Tom Cruise movie because he had had elephantiasis of the testicles - a common Japanese parasitic disease of the day. Needless to say he didn't ride a horse.

Before modern medicine all societies had heavy parasite loads. The smarter peoples rid their lands of as many diseases as possible thus creating a correlation between disease and IQ.

There are of course some parasites that do diminish your brain power. For example the raccoon round worm eats the brains of humans. But I don't think that that's what the Royal Society meant.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that those with higher native intelligence typically show slower overall development during early childhood. In a place where disease is rampant, wouldn't it make sense to sacrifice a bit of intelligence for the ability to be fully functional at an earlier age?

Also: wouldn't an environment with high rates of infection also make the monogamy/moderate fertility/high investment in children/ social model less successful than polygamy/hypergamy/high fertility/low investment in children/ model?

neil craig said...

I like the long term disease patters as a driwer. However it struck me that south Cjina is much more tropical than the north & thus we could expect Hong Kong to have a lower average IQ than Beijing & anecdotal evidence doesn't seem to bear that out.

Bill said...

Another way to think about the reverse-causation problem is to imagine a world in which Northerners were poor and low IQ and in which Equatorials were rich and high IQ. Would we not then be hearing about the terrible effects of the burden of rickets on IQ?

syon said...

"St Lucia, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Vincent and Grenadines, and Jamaica": You know, for the life of me, I can't think of anything that this random assortment of islands might have in common. Perhaps they are suffering from a kind of reverse Moynihan effect, being so far from the beneficial influence of the Canadian border?

Anonymous said...

I am Lugash.

Regarding Afghanistan and parasite/hygiene, the Afghans seem to be making the choice to live with the poor conditions. In the book "Masters of Chaos" Army Special Forces soldiers repeatedly make the point that cooking, drinking and defecating should all be in separate areas, but the Afghans ignore them.

I am Lugash.

Anonymous said...

Actually, The Economist did cite "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" once before, in its May 15, 2004 issue (p. 26) when The Economist fell for that lowbrow Internet hoax about high IQ blue states and low IQ red states!



Liberals are perfectly wiling to believe in a genetic basis for IQ, as long as it suits their purposes. They're nothing if not unprincipled.

Anonymous said...

Read "Plagues and Peoples" by William McNeill to get some larger perspective on this.

asdfasdfsdf said...

Hey, how about giving white students parasitic worms? It might finally produce IQ equality.

Anonymous said...

I like the long term disease patters as a driwer. However it struck me that south Cjina is much more tropical than the north & thus we could expect Hong Kong to have a lower average IQ than Beijing & anecdotal evidence doesn't seem to bear that out.

Read "Plagues and Peoples" by William McNeill. The Chinese spent hundreds of years settling southern China and establishing agricultural civilization there, suffering numerous, massive die-offs as they encountered the heavy micro-parasitic load of the south. They eventually gained enough disease-experience by building up immunities and probably through intermarriage with indigenous peoples. So the IQs we see today in southern China are of those of relatively recent settlers (or at least admixture) from the north. There still could be a longer-term IQ-depressing effect being worked out on the population that we just don't see yet, or that the southern Chinese have successfully insulated themselves from so far.

dfasdfasdf said...

"Steve, it's 6:30AM on the East Coast, which means it must be 3:30AM out there. Go to sleep, dude."

STEVERMAN NEEDS NO SLEEP!!

Anonymous said...

OT: Great Ken Burns parody.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6xJzAYYrX8&feature=youtu.be

Whiskey said...

Yes Anon I saw that today. The FT is first-rate for business and basic economics, and clueless about anything regarding America. Florida is the idiot who thought America needed more gay cities to create wealth, or something. Because the gay brings money I guess.

Regarding Afghanistan, there are several parasitic diseases unique to the area, and the sand itself is quite toxic containing materials that create some chronic diseases. There was a report I read somewhere I can't find now.

gordon-bennett said...

I think those of African extraction who have lived in the UK for generations have much the same IQ as the people they left behind in Africa, despite the radically different disease climate.

I would therefore deduce that disease has little or nothing to do with IQ development.

This point seems so obvious to me that I wonder if I have completely misunderstood this post.

Anonymous said...

The low IQ of Afghanistan is solely due to islam

Pre-Islam they were buddhists

The largest buddhist monastery in the world was in Nau-vihar in Afghanistan

As early as 500BC, there was a Sanskrit university of Taxila in the Pushtun lands

Remember the Bamiyan buddhas

Anonymous said...

The low IQ of Afghanistan is solely due to islam

No kidding.

Just look at what Islam did to the Sassanid Empire.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Afghanistan and parasite/hygiene, the Afghans seem to be making the choice to live with the poor conditions. In the book "Masters of Chaos" Army Special Forces soldiers repeatedly make the point that cooking, drinking and defecating should all be in separate areas, but the Afghans ignore them.

I suspect that Afghans (and Africans) place so much value on their own traditions that they believe that good sanitation is some sort of Evil Whitey plot.

Anonymous said...

Afghan culture is tribalist, not selfish.

Anonymous said...

Steve, if you're not already aware, look at the many recent papers by the economist Garett Jones. He's becoming rather courageous.

Couchscientist said...

A natural question is whether the patterns persist in other animals. Are African mice dumber than European mice? Perhaps living in an environ with a smarter human population would force greater intelligence on an animal population. More sophisticated traps and hunting technique for starters, but moreover for the ever changing landscapes of the north would favor generalist species. But these differences could be controlled in the extremes environs where things have been more static. Is an artic moose smarter than it's closest African counterparts? I have never heard a claim that the Japanese snow monkeys are any smarter than the monkeys of hotter places in Asia, although they are pretty smart bastards.

dasdfasdfasf said...

Better healthcare for Africa will only mean population explosion--one even bigger than now--and even more dependency on MORE AID.

asdfasdfdf said...

I'll bet lot of Chinese eat a diet that is nutritionally deficient compared to what black Americans eat. So, how come they do better in school?

Melykin said...

Meanwhile, in Canada...
Search on for Africa’s Einstein

Toadal said...

Steve said: In contrast, Afghanistan has terrible life expectancy and longevity figures compared to Singapore, indicative of terrible disease burden, despite having a climate rather like Colorado's. (Afghanistan's problem is less that its residents are empty-headed as that they are bloody-minded, with one of the most selfish, nasty cultures in the world.)

Afghanistan is also desperately poor has undergone invasions by the Soviets and Americans. More interesting are wealthy Middle Eastern oil producing countries with modern infrastructures where one would expect a dramatic IQ increase to have occurred, but where, unfortunately none has.

IQ Country GDP (Nominal)
=== ======= ============
78 Qatar $68,871
86 Kuwait $57,482
83 UAE $46,857
83 Saudi Arabia $23,701

For example, Qatar, because of its oil wealth, has the highest GDP per capita in the world. The country's Supreme Education Council serves as a model for other emirates. Average class size is 21.6 from grades 7-11 and 19.7 for grade 12. Class size for many private schools are ~10 or 11 pupils. Yet, after having purchased a first class, credentialed, and certified education system and having had it in place for more than a generation, Qatar had a combined PISA science literacy score of 349, second from the bottom.

These countries are known for having an expatriate non-citizen class that is sometimes five times the size of the citizenry. The expatriate class consists of many lowly paid manual laborers, but also technologists, educators, and administrators who basically manage the country, since the natives are incapable of doing so. On average, the citizenry is as thick as rocks sitting everywhere as a result of the region's 2.5" annual rainfall.

I recall an anecdote told me by my accounting professor. He was employed by a major Saudi Arabian university in the early sixties to teach accounting and help lay the foundation for what would become the Saudi Organization of CPAs. He and the university scourged the country for eligible male citizens to attend, unfortunately, there were too few who were qualified by his entrance examination to fill a classroom. Saudi Arabia outsourced its problem away.

Anonymous said...

OT? from the SF Chron:

The Luo people, including President Obama's paternal family, dominate this western province. It's a land of dire poverty and extreme polygamy, both of which contribute to one of Africa's highest rates of HIV and AIDS.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/04/MNCF1E6SGM.DTL

neil craig said...

Anon I know the southern Chinese are largely genetically the northern Chinese with relatively recent (several thousand years) different disease experience. That is a long enough time span for evolutionary pressure to have worked on the Jews let alone the Parsees while being short enough that the north Chinese can still be the control group.

Anonymous said...

More interesting are wealthy Middle Eastern oil producing countries with modern infrastructures where one would expect a dramatic IQ increase to have occurred, but where, unfortunately none has.

Also, a resource-based economy does not promote intellectualism and education. Call it the "gold rush" mentality.

Melykin said...

Toadal wrote:
"I recall an anecdote told me by my accounting professor. He was employed by a major Saudi Arabian university in the early sixties to teach accounting and help lay the foundation for what would become the Saudi Organization of CPAs. He and the university scourged the country for eligible male citizens to attend, unfortunately, there were too few who were qualified by his entrance examination to fill a classroom. Saudi Arabia outsourced its problem away."
=================================

Despite the wealth of the country, this too could be at least partly due to culture. Their schools are mired in fundamentalist Islam and plagued by corruption. Your accounting professor was probably administering the exam himself, so the students were unable to cheat or bribe their way in.

I have had students from that part of the world in my calculus classes. They often have a very weak background in math--indeed many of them don't know basic algebra. They are admitted into calculus because they have documents saying they have the prerequisites. I think you can buy grades in those countries. These students often seem stunned when I fail them. I remember last year a couple of them sat in my office for about an hour saying things such as "what can we do about this F?". They were NOT happy when I told them they would need to retake the course, and would benefit from taking remedial algebra first. I had to get quite short with them to get them to leave. It must have been particularly galling for them because I am a female.

Mind you, the schools in China are also know to be corrupt, yet most (but not all) students from China tend to have strong math skills.

Svigor said...

How come Jews are smarter than whites in America? We must all have worms that Jews don't have. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!

And we have to figure out what it is about Israel that's making morons of the Jews there, too. I was thinking about this yesterday, how odd it is that a population with such a clear supremacy in filmmaking isn't doing much of anything in their reclaimed homeland. We all know that directors, writers, and producers are wholly responsible for a film's quality, so the difference can't be explained by all the goyim holding cameras or lights or makeup brushes in America, as opposed to Israel (if anything, the difference should make us expect even more movie magic from Israel, not less).

I'd like to know what's in the water in Israel holding Jews down in finance, entertainment, publishing, etc.

Svigor said...

Also, a resource-based economy does not promote intellectualism and education. Call it the "gold rush" mentality.

Arabs really do seem very, very different. You see a lot of the sort of behavior MacDonald highlights when contrasting Euros and Jews. Just subtract the high IQ and you've got Arabs.

E.g., Saudis show every indication that, sans outside interference, they'd continue their radically different approach to "diversity" and "outsourcing" indefinitely. It seems more medieval than modern. And as I said in another post, their approach to legality and propriety seems to be the opposite of the traditional western approach: for westerners, the world's open except for what you can't do; for Arabs, the world's closed except for what you can.