May 5, 2012

Jewish Daily Forward: "Jews Are a 'Race,' Genes Reveal"

From the Jewish Daily Forward, a review of Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People authored by Harry Ostrer, cofounder of the Jewish HapMap, and a geneticist at Yeshiva U. It's reviewed by my old pal Jon Entine:
Jews Are a 'Race,' Genes Reveal 
Author Uncovers DNA Links Between Members of Tribe 
By Jon Entine 
Published May 04, 2012, issue of May 11, 2012.
Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People
By Harry Ostrer
Oxford University Press, 288 Pages, $24.95 
In his new book, “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People,” Harry Ostrer, a medical geneticist and professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, claims that Jews are different, and the differences are not just skin deep. Jews exhibit, he writes, a distinctive genetic signature. Considering that the Nazis tried to exterminate Jews based on their supposed racial distinctiveness, such a conclusion might be a cause for concern. But Ostrer sees it as central to Jewish identity. 
“Who is a Jew?” has been a poignant question for Jews throughout our history. It evokes a complex tapestry of Jewish identity made up of different strains of religious beliefs, cultural practices and blood ties to ancient Palestine and modern Israel. But the question, with its echoes of genetic determinism, also has a dark side. 
Geneticists have long been aware that certain diseases, from breast cancer to Tay-Sachs, disproportionately affect Jews. Ostrer, who is also director of genetic and genomic testing at Montefiore Medical Center, goes further, maintaining that Jews are a homogeneous group with all the scientific trappings of what we used to call a “race.”

For most of the 3,000-year history of the Jewish people, the notion of what came to be known as “Jewish exceptionalism” was hardly controversial. Because of our history of inmarriage and cultural isolation, imposed or self-selected, Jews were considered by gentiles (and usually referred to themselves) as a “race.” Scholars from Josephus to Disraeli proudly proclaimed their membership in “the tribe.” 
Ostrer explains how this concept took on special meaning in the 20th century, as genetics emerged as a viable scientific enterprise. Jewish distinctiveness might actually be measurable empirically. In “Legacy,” he first introduces us to Maurice Fishberg, an upwardly mobile Russian-Jewish immigrant to New York at the fin de siècle. Fishberg fervently embraced the anthropological fashion of the era, measuring skull sizes to explain why Jews seemed to be afflicted with more diseases than other groups — what he called the “peculiarities of the comparative pathology of the Jews.” It turns out that Fishberg and his contemporary phrenologists were wrong: Skull shape provides limited information about human differences. But his studies ushered in a century of research linking Jews to genetics. 
Ostrer divides his book into six chapters representing the various aspects of Jewishness: Looking Jewish, Founders, Genealogies, Tribes, Traits and Identity. Each chapter features a prominent scientist or historical figure who dramatically advanced our understanding of Jewishness. The snippets of biography lighten a dense forest of sometimes-obscure science. The narrative, which consists of a lot of potboiler history, is a slog at times. But for the specialist and anyone touched by the enduring debate over Jewish identity, this book is indispensable. 
“Legacy” may cause its readers discomfort. To some Jews, the notion of a genetically related people is an embarrassing remnant of early Zionism that came into vogue at the height of the Western obsession with race, in the late 19th century. Celebrating blood ancestry is divisive, they claim: The authors of “The Bell Curve” were vilified 15 years ago for suggesting that genes play a major role in IQ differences among racial groups. 
Furthermore, sociologists and cultural anthropologists, a disproportionate number of whom are Jewish, ridicule the term “race,” claiming there are no meaningful differences between ethnic groups. For Jews, the word still carries the especially odious historical association with Nazism and the Nuremberg Laws. They argue that Judaism has morphed from a tribal cult into a worldwide religion enhanced by thousands of years of cultural traditions. 
Is Judaism a people or a religion? Or both? The belief that Jews may be psychologically or physically distinct remains a controversial fixture in the gentile and Jewish consciousness, and Ostrer places himself directly in the line of fire. Yes, he writes, the term “race” carries nefarious associations of inferiority and ranking of people. Anything that marks Jews as essentially different runs the risk of stirring either anti- or philo-Semitism. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the factual reality of what he calls the “biological basis of Jewishness” and “Jewish genetics.” Acknowledging the distinctiveness of Jews is “fraught with peril,” but we must grapple with the hard evidence of “human differences” if we seek to understand the new age of genetics. 
Although he readily acknowledges the formative role of culture and environment, Ostrer believes that Jewish identity has multiple threads, including DNA. He offers a cogent, scientifically based review of the evidence, which serves as a model of scientific restraint. 
... Jews, he notes, are one of the most distinctive population groups in the world because of our history of endogamy. Jews — Ashkenazim in particular — are relatively homogeneous despite the fact that they are spread throughout Europe and have since immigrated to the Americas and back to Israel. The Inquisition shattered Sephardi Jewry, leading to far more incidences of intermarriage and to a less distinctive DNA. 
In traversing this minefield of the genetics of human differences, Ostrer bolsters his analysis with volumes of genetic data, which are both the book’s greatest strength and its weakness. Two complementary books on this subject — my own “Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People” and “Jacob’s Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History” by Duke University geneticist David Goldstein, who is well quoted in both “Abraham’s Children” and “Legacy” — are more narrative driven, weaving history and genetics, and are consequently much more congenial reads. 
The concept of the “Jewish people” remains controversial. The Law of Return, which establishes the right of Jews to come to Israel, is a central tenet of Zionism and a founding legal principle of the State of Israel. The DNA that tightly links Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi, three prominent culturally and geographically distinct Jewish groups, could be used to support Zionist territorial claims — except, as Ostrer points out, some of the same markers can be found in Palestinians, our distant genetic cousins, as well. Palestinians, understandably, want their own right of return. 
... Ostrer’s book is an impressive counterpoint to the dubious historical methodology of Sand and his admirers. And, as a co-founder of the Jewish HapMap — the study of haplotypes, or blocks of genetic markers, that are common to Jews around the world — he is well positioned to write the definitive response.
In accord with most geneticists, Ostrer firmly rejects the fashionable postmodernist dismissal of the concept of race as genetically naive, opting for a more nuanced perspective. 
When the human genome was first mapped a decade ago, Francis Collins, then head of the National Genome Human Research Institute, said: “Americans, regardless of ethnic group, are 99.9% genetically identical.” Added J. Craig Venter, who at the time was chief scientist at the private firm that helped sequenced the genome, Celera Genomics, “Race has no genetic or scientific basis.” Those declarations appeared to suggest that “race,” or the notion of distinct but overlapping genetic groups, is “meaningless.” 
But Collins and Venter have issued clarifications of their much-misrepresented comments. Almost every minority group has faced, at one time or another, being branded as racially inferior based on a superficial understanding of how genes peculiar to its population work. The inclination by politicians, educators and even some scientists to underplay our separateness is certainly understandable. But it’s also misleading. DNA ensures that we differ not only as individuals, but also as groups. 
However slight the differences (and geneticists now believe that they are significantly greater than 0.1%), they are defining. That 0.1% contains some 3 million nucleotide pairs in the human genome, and these determine such things as skin or hair color and susceptibility to certain diseases. They contain the map of our family trees back to the first modern humans. 
Both the human genome project and disease research rest on the premise of finding distinguishable differences between individuals and often among populations. Scientists have ditched the term “race,” with all its normative baggage, and adopted more neutral terms, such as “population” and “clime,” which have much of the same meaning. Boiled down to its essence, race equates to “region of ancestral origin.” 
Ostrer has devoted his career to investigating these extended family trees, which help explain the genetic basis of common and rare disorders. Today, Jews remain identifiable in large measure by the 40 or so diseases we disproportionately carry, the inescapable consequence of inbreeding. He traces the fascinating history of numerous “Jewish diseases,” such as Tay-Sachs, Gaucher, Niemann-Pick, Mucolipidosis IV, as well as breast and ovarian cancer. Indeed, 10 years ago I was diagnosed as carrying one of the three genetic mutations for breast and ovarian cancer that mark my family and me as indelibly Jewish, prompting me to write “Abraham’s Children.” 
Like East Asians, the Amish, Icelanders, Aboriginals, the Basque people, African tribes and other groups, Jews have remained isolated for centuries because of geography, religion or cultural practices. It’s stamped on our DNA. As Ostrer explains in fascinating detail, threads of Jewish ancestry link the sizable Jewish communities of North America and Europe to Yemenite and other Middle Eastern Jews who have relocated to Israel, as well as to the black Lemba of southern Africa and to India’s Cochin Jews. But, in a twist, the links include neither the Bene Israel of India nor Ethiopian Jews. Genetic tests show that both groups are converts, contradicting their founding myths. 
Why, then, are Jews so different looking, usually sharing the characteristics of the surrounding populations? Think of red-haired Jews, Jews with blue eyes or the black Jews of Africa. Like any cluster — a genetic term Ostrer uses in place of the more inflammatory “race” — Jews throughout history moved around and fooled around, although mixing occurred comparatively infrequently until recent decades. Although there are identifiable gene variations that are common among Jews, we are not a “pure” race. The time machine of our genes may show that most Jews have a shared ancestry that traces back to ancient Palestine but, like all of humanity, Jews are mutts. 
About 80% of Jewish males and 50% of Jewish females trace their ancestry back to the Middle East. The rest entered the “Jewish gene pool” through conversion or intermarriage. Those who did intermarry often left the faith in a generation or two, in effect pruning the Jewish genetic tree. But many converts became interwoven into the Jewish genealogical line. Reflect on the iconic convert, the biblical Ruth, who married Boaz and became the great-grandmother of King David. She began as an outsider, but you don’t get much more Jewish than the bloodline of King David! 
To his credit, Ostrer also addresses the third rail of discussions about Jewishness and race: the issue of intelligence. Jews were latecomers to the age of freethinking. While the Enlightenment swept through Christian Europe in the 17th century, the Haskalah did not gather strength until the early 19th century. By the beginning of the new millennium, however, Jews were thought of as among the smartest people on earth. The trend is most prominent in America, which has the largest concentration of Jews outside Israel and a history of tolerance. 
Although Jews make up less than 3% of the population, they have won more than 25% of the Nobel Prizes awarded to American scientists since 1950. Jews also account for 20% of this country’s chief executives and make up 22% of Ivy League students. Psychologists and educational researchers have pegged their average IQ at 107.5 to 115, with their verbal IQ at more than 120, a stunning standard deviation above the average of 100 found in those of European ancestry. Like it or not, the IQ debate will become an increasingly important issue going forward, as medical geneticists focus on unlocking the mysteries of the brain. 
Many liberal Jews maintain, at least in public, that the plethora of Jewish lawyers, doctors and comedians is the product of our cultural heritage, but the science tells a more complex story. Jewish success is a product of Jewish genes as much as of Jewish moms. 
Is it “good for the Jews” to be exploring such controversial subjects? We can’t avoid engaging the most challenging questions in the age of genetics. Because of our history of endogamy, Jews are a goldmine for geneticists studying human differences in the quest to cure disease. Because of our cultural commitment to education, Jews are among the top genetic researchers in the world. 
As humankind becomes more genetically sophisticated, identity becomes both more fluid and more fixed. Jews in particular can find threads of our ancestry literally anywhere, muddying traditional categories of nationhood, ethnicity, religious belief and “race.” But such discussions, ultimately, are subsumed by the reality of the common shared ancestry of humankind. Ostrer’s “Legacy” points out that — regardless of the pros and cons of being Jewish — we are all, genetically, in it together. And, in doing so, he gets it just right. 
Jon Entine is the founder and director of the Genetic Literacy Project at George Mason University, where he is senior research fellow at the Center for Health and Risk Communication. His website is www.jonentine.com.

111 comments:

Saint Louis said...

Off-topic, but NPR ran a story on All Things Considered last night that seems to be right up your alley:

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/04/151956595/a-need-for-speed-inside-jamaicas-sprint-factory

Anonymous said...

So just how much play will this get in the non-HBD sphere of the media?

IHTG said...

The Inquisition shattered Sephardi Jewry, leading to far more incidences of intermarriage and to a less distinctive DNA.

I'd like to see the proof for this statement.

a very knowing American said...

"About 80% of Jewish males and 50% of Jewish females trace their ancestry back to the Middle East. The rest entered the “Jewish gene pool” through conversion or intermarriage."

To paraphrase the wife of the Bishop of Worcester:

Descended from shiksas! My dear, let us hope that is not true, but if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known.

Anonymous said...

The "Inquisition" (i.e., the Spanish Inquisition) had nothing at all to do with Jews. It dealt only with Catholics.

Anonymous said...

"Jews — Ashkenazim in particular — are relatively homogeneous..."

Not visually. Full disclosure: I'm Ashkenazi myself. Even if you look at the Hasidim, whom you wouldn't expect to have much recent Gentile admixture, there is a lot of visual variation. Hair color is all over the human spectrum - black, brown, red and blond. No eye coloration is rare - blue, green and brown are all well-represented. The facial features range from uniquely Ashkenazi to generically Mediterranean to generically northern. The latter type isn't very common, but exists, even among the Hasidim.

The proportion of Ashkenazim who, on looks alone, could not be mistaken for members of any other ethnicity IS higher than the similar proportion for most ethnicities. But the full range of Ashkenazi looks seems wider than that of most European and Middle Eastern ethnicities. Obviously, it's many, many times wider than the full range of Japanese or Korean looks.

I don't know what genetics says about this, but just from looking at faces I would guess that the Ashkenazi mix (original-Jewish + European) hasn't yet had time to homogenize itself even among the ultra-Orthodox.

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments to the review are pretty depressing.

Anonymous said...

This book written in the 60s is revealing view on jewish ethnic divisions by a Israeli scholar.

The Ashkenazi Revolution

http://jewamongyou.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/the-ashkenazi-revolution2.pdf

[enter username here] said...

"They [sociologists and cultural anthropologists] argue that Judaism has morphed from a tribal cult into a worldwide religion enhanced by thousands of years of cultural traditions" -- really? Can he name a few that seriously believe this? Walter Sobchak does not count.

Anonymous said...

The "Inquisition" (i.e., the Spanish Inquisition) had nothing at all to do with Jews. It dealt only with Catholics.

The Inquisition did target Jewish conversos i.e. Jewish (Sephardi) converts to Catholicism. The conversos were suspected of not having genuinely converted and of practicing their old religion. The suspicion wasn't entirely unwarranted since many did outwardly convert out of political expediency while maintaining their old faith in secret and practicing endogamy.

Anonymous said...

"But, in a twist, the links include neither the Bene Israel of India nor Ethiopian Jews"
^^ not sure how it will matter that this is at last acknowledged plainly, but people who chose to investigate below the surface of the subject have known it for a loooong time. Beta Israel, i.e. Christianity-to-Judaism converts who possess outsize symbolism for their statistical significance, are posing a recurrent political problem back at the base yet U.S. Jewish organizations blithely stage feel-good charity missions to kibbitz with their Ethiopian brethren. Issue #5,342 on which the American branch and the Israelis aren't on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe that the Lembas are genetically linked but not the Ethiopians.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't ethnicity be a more appropriate word to use than race? i.e. Jews are an ethnicity within the Caucasoid race?

Felix said...

So Steven, does this mean you're going to refrain from making the laughable assertion that white men run Hollywood?

Anonymous said...

But one that looks more like Woody Allen or Noam Chomsky than Michelangelo's Aryan David.

Anonymous said...

"So Steven, does this mean you're going to refrain from making the laughable assertion that white men run Hollywood?"

Doesn't Sony own a major Hollywood studio or something? So technically the Jews are running Hollywood together with the Japanese right...

Anonymous said...

Sony is on the path of becoming a subsidiary of Samsung.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't ethnicity be a more appropriate word to use than race? i.e. Jews are an ethnicity within the Caucasoid race?

Ostrer may be using "race" to emphasize genetics. "Ethnicity" tends to connote culture as well as lineage.

There doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule. If you look at literature from 100 years ago, you read people referring to the "Anglo-Saxon race", "Irish race", "German race", "Italian race", etc. along with "Caucasoid race".

Anonymous said...

Svigor: Maybe it's the outbreeding of the Sephardi rather than the Euro mixing of the Ashkenazi that is responsible for the Sephardi/Ashkenazi IQ discrepancy.

The role of the Talmud itself is probably responsible for the IQ increase. Take any population of sufficient size and require its members to understand a lot of complicated logical arguments, or leave that population. The defectors will generally have lower IQ, which increases the average IQ of those who remain. There will be a large effect over a few thousand years of this.

You will see several things:
1) Increased IQ
2) Increased incidence of diseases that go along with having increased IQ.
3) IQ that is geared towards competency in legalistic argument (e.g. high verbal).

You've got a few other traits that are also artifacts of the same process - the famous Jewish neuroticism, which if you read up on what Jews do as part of their religion, there is some religious practice they are required to do virtually every time they sneeze or wipe their ass.

It is probably also no accident that when some Jews defect, they contribute some amazing things to mankind. By defecting they are freed from all the burdensome overhead that goes along with their religion, and can thus devote all their brainpower to whatever tickles their fancy.

Glaivester said...

For most of the 3,000-year history of the Jewish people, the notion of what came to be known as “Jewish exceptionalism” was hardly controversial.

It's strange that putting one's own people first is seen as "exceptional." It seems to me that what we really have is "white Gentile exceptionalism" as we are the only group that things of such things as inherently bad.

"They [sociologists and cultural anthropologists] argue that Judaism has morphed from a tribal cult into a worldwide religion enhanced by thousands of years of cultural traditions

Well, only if you count Christianity as a form of Judaism. It seems to me that the religious traditions of Judaism are less important than the ethnic identity for a large number of Jews, perhaps the majority.

TGGP said...

I'm sure Japanese & Koreans appear homogenous to westerners, but that is because we focus on the traits which vary among westerners (eye/hair color being big ones). Blacks supposedly focus on the shape of certain facial features, and sometimes have a harder time telling whites apart than whites do. I'd expect the same is true among orientals.

TGGP said...

One thing I found amusing about Charles Lindbergh's notorious speech was his reference to "the British race", when Britain was more of a political unit containing Scotland, England, Wales, Cornwall etc.

Anonymous said...

The Lemba's origin myths describe that their ancestors lived farther north than they do currently, and at least their hereditary priestly group has been shown to have an elevated frequency of the "Cohen Modal Haplotype." This is not as perfect a marker of either Cohen (Jewish priestly) ancestry or Jewish ancestry as supposed when first published in the literature in the late '90's, but its presence in a geographically remote sub-Saharan African group is a clear sign of Middle Eastern admixture. AFAIK, autosomal studies of the Lemba have not been carried out, but almost certainly the amount of Jewish or Middle Eastern admixture is very small. The Lemba, including the priestly caste, have taken local women as wives for many generations.

From the way that European admixture in Ashkenazim is stated in Entine's article (i.e. number of men, number of women), it appears that Ostrer's book relies heavily on uniparental (Y-chromosome and mitochondrial) DNA studies rather than the more recent autosomal studies that cover much more of the genome. The autosomal studies almost certainly provide a more robust estimate of admixture for that reason and other reasons. One such study estimate a range of European admixture between 30 and 60%. Razib Khan's own experience with Jewish genotyping suggests European admixture in Ashkenazim of approximtely 50% (see his comment: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/10/when-genetics-comes-in-handy-in-politics/#comment-98502)

Anonymous said...

"Maybe it's the outbreeding of the Sephardi rather than the Euro mixing of the Ashkenazi that is responsible for the Sephardi/Ashkenazi IQ discrepancy."

In the Middle Ages the Sephardim played the typical mercantile minority role in Spain. I have a strong impression that on average they were wealthier than Spaniards. Yet modern Sephardim score lower than Spaniards on IQ tests. I don't know why this is. Some possibilities:

1) Mixture with north African Arabs. This should be testable.
2) The loss of the lucrative mercantile minority position leading to a change in internal selection pressures. Since Arabs are more clannish, less gullible than Spaniards, they might have simply forbidden Jews to engage in the sort of activities that made them wealthy in Spain. If Sephardim went back to low-skilled work, perhaps their internal selection dynamics would have changed.

3) All the smart ones converted to Catholicism or fled to Holland. I do have the impression that the Sephardics who went to Holland remained wealthy, unlike the ones who went to north Africa. The problem with this hypothesis is that the children of dullards tend to move back towards the population mean.

ben tillman said...

Yet modern Sephardim score lower than Spaniards on IQ tests. I don't know why this is. Some possibilities:

1) Mixture with north African Arabs. This should be testable.


You might want to test for Amerindian DNA as well since most of the Sephardim live in Latin America including the Southwestern U.S.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't ethnicity be a more appropriate word to use than race? i.e. Jews are an ethnicity within the Caucasoid race?

Jews are an ethnicity within the Arab race.

Anonymous said...

Yet modern Sephardim score lower than Spaniards on IQ tests. I don't know why this is.

Who is counted as Sephardim these days? Does it include those populations that emigrated to Holland?

I heard that Israeli IQ is not very high.

Anonymous said...

"3) All the smart ones converted to Catholicism or fled to Holland. I do have the impression that the Sephardics who went to Holland remained wealthy, unlike the ones who went to north Africa. The problem with this hypothesis is that the children of dullards tend to move back towards the population mean."

Environmental conditions in North Africa were less favorable to the larger brain mass gene shortcuts in Northern Eurasia?

There probably isn't any one cause for what happened.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:03 P.M.,

The Arabs overall are also part of the Caucasoid race, and the term encompasses signficant variation. Levantines are genetically differentiable from Arabs of the Arabian peninsula, for instance. Non-Muslim Arab populations are also differentiated from Muslim Arab populations in that they tend to have much less sub-Saharan admixture. The Middle Eastern ancestral component of Ashkenazim and Sephardim is primarily of Levantine origin.

Anon at 9:05 P.M.,
Ashkenazim make up less than half of the Israeli Jewish population and significantly less than half of the total Israeli population if Arabs are included. That said, Richard Lynn'e estimate of Israeli average IQ (94) is higher than that of surrounding Arab countries.

For what it's worth, the European Sephardim, strictly defined to exclude Mizrahim (Middle Eastern Jews) have produced some great intellects. Baruch Spinoza, David Ricardo and Salvador Luria spring to mind.

Catperson said...

Psychologists and educational researchers have pegged their average IQ at 107.5 to 115, with their verbal IQ at more than 120, a stunning standard deviation above the average of 100 found in those of European ancestry

These numbers sound inflated. If Jews had an average verbal IQ 20 points higher than the average white (the 90%ile) it would be extremely noticeable. In the GSS vocabulary test, Jews have a verbal IQ if 107.5 and while the GSS test is not very accurate, it can't be that far oif.

Anonymous said...

For any question regarding Jews, Jewish publications like the Forward are invaluable. That's the key takeaway here. More people should read it.

Revy O. said that and he was right.

dearieme said...

What happened to the other ten tribes? I suppose they became part of the ancestry of the modern Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis and Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

The Sephardim and Mizrahim have their own scientists, artists, generals and billionaires:

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Haim David Guetta, Saban, Lev Leviev, Dan Halutz, Enrico Macias, Yaël Naïm, Claude Lelouch, Hélène Grimaud, Eli Cohen, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Attali, André Chouraqui, Shaul Mofaz,.....

Steve Sailer said...

It would be interesting to compare per capita accomplishment levels of Sephardim / Mizrahim to, say, Lebanese/Syrian Christians and Armenians. I would guess they'd be pretty comparable, but I don't really know.

Are there any Muslim subgroups that play in that league on a per capita basis?

Conatus said...

It is important to note that Jewish people are not white according to Mike Wallace at .20 of this clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeixtYS-P3s

Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it.

It's only true when they say it.

One standard for ... ah, what's the point.

Conatus said...

Regarding the Jewish over representation in the Ivy Leagues and the IQ Trades:
It is not just that they are smarter but it also must be something else since there are 32 times more Goys than Jewish people so the right tails of the bell curve for Goys contains more high IQ beings. Why are Goys underrepresented(25%) in the Ivy Leagues? Is there a quota?

From another blog someone said,
"Jewish over-representation appears to be a function of more than just IQ.

"For the sake of argument, let’s assume 200 million White Americans (IQ 100), 6 million Jewish Americans (IQ 115), Normal distribution at the tail ends of the distribution, standard deviations for both populations of 15. That would give us roughly 32 million White Americans with IQ 115 or higher vs 3 million Jewish Americans with IQ 115 or higher. For IQ 130 or higher it is 4.6 million vs 950,000. For IQ 145 it is 270,000 vs 137,000. For IQ 160 it is 6,340 vs 8,100. If it is only 105, IQ 160 would be 6,340 vs 1,400."

The average Harvard undergrads IQ is 130 and thus non-Jewish whites should dominate the Ivy League schools, however, that is not the case. Why?"

Simon in London said...

Steve Sailer:
"It would be interesting to compare per capita accomplishment levels of Sephardim / Mizrahim to, say, Lebanese/Syrian Christians and Armenians. I would guess they'd be pretty comparable, but I don't really know.

Are there any Muslim subgroups that play in that league on a per capita basis?"

I doubt it, but I have noticed that Levantine 'Arab' Muslims as far south as Jordan seem to be a lot brighter than Gulf Arabs on average. Maghreb 'Arabs', too. From the whole world, the Gulf seems very unusual in lacking anything that could be called an intelligentsia or high-IQ elite. There are lots of high-IQ indigenous people in eg sub-Saharan Africa, but not in the Gulf.

Anonymous said...

catperson,

The GSS wordsum has a very low ceiling. That, in addition to small Jewish sample sizes, make it only a very coarse estimate of Jewish verbal IQ. Also, don't forget that the GSS doesn't separate out Sephardim from Ashkenazim. In the U.S., the Ashkenazim are predominant, but it's not 100%. That could reduce the scores a bit.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3:00 AM,

You forgot Baruj Benacerraf, and people will quibble about Derrida.

Does becoming an Israeli general speak to extremely high IQ? I would expect that the generals are probably above 120 IQ and perhaps significantly higher than that but not as high as the scientists. Being a general is as much a political job as an intellectual one. Same issue for billionaires outside of the technology sector.

Anonymous said...

The Bin Laden family is quite successful...

Svigor said...

Svigor: Maybe it's the outbreeding of the Sephardi rather than the Euro mixing of the Ashkenazi that is responsible for the Sephardi/Ashkenazi IQ discrepancy.

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've been replied to before I even made a comment.

:)

Or did you get your tabs crossed?

Anonymous said...

The Arabs overall are also part of the Caucasoid race. The Middle Eastern ancestral component of Ashkenazim and Sephardim is primarily of Levantine origin.

Jews and other Semitic people are part of the Asiatic race. They are not White.

IHTG said...

It would be interesting to compare per capita accomplishment levels of Sephardim / Mizrahim to, say, Lebanese/Syrian Christians and Armenians. I would guess they'd be pretty comparable, but I don't really know.

Arab Christians in Israel seem to be smarter than Middle Eastern Jews, and I believe this has been the historic stereotype as well.

pat said...

There are a couple of what appear to be facual errors here. But of course I'm no biblical scholar. I'm sure someone will be happy to correct my errors.

The history of the Jews is not 3,000 years. Moses, assuming he was contemporaneous with Rameses II, was about three thouand years ago. But Abraham left Ur more like four thousand years ago.

Also and more importantly Jewish exceptionalism wasn't anywhere near that old. Vegetious the famous Roman writer - "If you want peace prepared for war" - actually analyzed the IQs of the various ethnic groups in the Roman world. He discussed most of them and concluded that the most intelligent people were - not the Romans - but the Greeks. He didn't even mention the Jews. He wrote well after the two (or three if you like) Jewish Wars. He certainly knew who the Jews were but they just didn't enter into the discussion. They were not exceptional.

Today of course it would be impossible to make a similar survey of brains and accomplishments without mentioning the Jews.

Albertosaurus

Matthew said...

"But the full range of Ashkenazi looks seems wider than that of most European and Middle Eastern ethnicities."

Not sure I buy that. Looking at an ethnic group from the inside one is likely to have witnessed the full spectrum of diversity, just as people more easily recognize family resemblances who aren't part of the family, just as members of one race tend to think that members of other races "look alike."

But I have attended a few Bar Mitzvahs, and the Jews present were definitely more diverse than most people give them credit for. More diverse than Englishmen or Swedes? Not certain.

Wouldn't ethnicity be a more appropriate word to use than race? i.e. Jews are an ethnicity within the Caucasoid race?"

This would depend on degree of similarity, no? Are Jews as distinct from Europeans as Europeans are from Orientals or Amerindians? Almost certainly not. It would also depend on the degree of intermarriage over the years. Nowadays intermarriage rates are very high. Most of the Jews I knew in high school or college have non-Jewish spouses - an overwhelming majority, in fact.

Even in the past there were probably higher rates of intermarriage, perhaps not much inbound DNA, but plenty of outbound DNA, with Jews leaving the fold to live among Christians, perhaps because they couldn't abide the religious proscriptions or couldn't survive the economic restrictions. It would be a society in which the lower ranking members were expelled every generation. Eventually "society" morphs into "honor society."

You see this among Mormons, who take seriously their restrictions on alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and premarital sex. The result is that Mormons who remain active tend to be healthier and better educated than the ones who have left, largely because of the correlation between self-control and, educational attainment as well as longevity. If Mormons weren't so actively recruiting new members, they would eventually wind up a bit smarter than the surrounding population.


"Jews are an ethnicity within the Arab race."

At least some of the selective pressures on Askenazi Jews for the last 2,000 years have been the same as those faced by non-Jewish Europeans (i.e., pressures related to climate, disease, certain behaviors, etc.). This would tend to make them more European, even without regards to genetic admixture, no? That is, even if they had remained in Europe for 2,000 completely without admixture, they would look and behave a little more European due to selection for genetic variants already there?

Matthew said...

"The Sephardim and Mizrahim have their own scientists, artists, generals and billionaires: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Haim David Guetta, Saban, Lev Leviev, Dan Halutz, Enrico Macias, Yaël Naïm, Claude Lelouch, Hélène Grimaud, Eli Cohen, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Attali, André Chouraqui, Shaul Mofaz,..."

Not unimpressive, perhaps, compared to some ethnic groups, but notable by how sparse it is compared to Ashknezim.

Matthew said...

If we define Jews as another race, does that mean they'll start being limited by admissions ceiling, and that the media will start worrying about how poor whites are compared to Jews, and that the disparity must be the result of opppression?

As it is now, the race-obsessed worry endlessly that Ivy League student bodies are less than 13% black, but they'd be perfectly fine if Jews filled up 100% of the white quota.

Anonymous said...

"What happened to the other ten tribes? I suppose they became part of the ancestry of the modern Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis and Palestinians."

Did the tribes ever really exist, or were they a myth perpetuated by Babylonian Jews? Very little of the Pentateuch predates the Babylonian captivity, ca. 580 B.C.

Anonymous said...

"Vegetious the famous Roman writer - "If you want peace prepared for war" - actually analyzed the IQs of the various ethnic groups in the Roman world. He discussed most of them and concluded that the most intelligent people were - not the Romans - but the Greeks. He didn't even mention the Jews."

Right. I think that the first mentions of Jews being wealthy or smart belong to roughly the 500 AD - 800 AD period. It's my impression that before that Jews were regarded as super-ethnocentric, but not as smart or wealthy. The Radhanites, a Jewish group, were prominent in long-range trade during the Dark Ages - I think that was something new at the time. Phoenicians, close relatives of the Jews, most likely ancestral to modern Lebanese Christians, were very prominent in trade going back 3,000 years, but Jews were not. Come to think of it, ancient Phoenicians were not unlike pre-Enlightenment Jews in that they were wealthy, but did not make major intellectual contributions. The Greeks made the bulk of those.

Anonymous said...

The North African arabs are not smart at all...

Anonymous said...

"The history of the Jews is not 3,000 years. Moses, assuming he was contemporaneous with Rameses II, was about three thouand years ago. But Abraham left Ur more like four thousand years ago." - Albertosaurus

You buy that Abraham was a real person?

I don't buy that the history of the Jewish people, as a people "of the book," predates about 640 B.C. That's the oldest we can date date any book of the Bible, Deuteronomy.

Prior to that they were a people in the sense that they were a common ethnic group, living in Palestine. But the purported history of the Old Testament is myth supplemented by oral history of questionable veracity. Abraham's origin in Ur, the Egyptian captivity, Joseph, the plagues, the passover - all myth.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

I'm sure Japanese & Koreans appear homogenous to westerners, but that is because we focus on the traits which vary among westerners (eye/hair color being big ones). Blacks supposedly focus on the shape of certain facial features, and sometimes have a harder time telling whites apart than whites do. I'd expect the same is true among orientals.

I spend long periods of time in Japan, in areas where it is not at all uncommon to go weeks without even sighting a non-Japanese (or at least a "visible foreigner").

I can tell I've been over there for a while when the Japanese people stop looking "Japanese" to me and start just looking like people.

Anonymous said...

Felix:"So Steven, does this mean you're going to refrain from making the laughable assertion that white men run Hollywood?"

Why? This results say nothing about the fact that White men run Hollywood.

Anonymous:"Jews and other Semitic people are part of the Asiatic race. They are not White."

There is no such thing as the "Asiatic" race. North Africans and Middle Easterners are Caucasoids.

jody said...

so the research is that about 80% of jewish guys are genetically related at least to some degree, while about 20% of them are "jewish", but pretty much just genetically european? this jibes with what i observe anecdotally, outside of a scientific setting anyway. some of these "jewish" guys look so completely and totally european, no way they're not just plain old white guys who are very loosely associated with some old odd religion we call judiasm. it's interesting research.

but jon was still wrong about a lot of the stuff he said in his sports book. not that i disagree with him completely. i agree with him on lots of stuff in sports. but eventually i simply got to the point where i felt his message was "white guys can't play sports and should just leave this stuff to black guys" after all his "white guys can't do this, a white guy will never that ever again" and so on and so forth.

Anonymous said...

Matthew @ 11:22

"Are Jews as distinct from Europeans as Europeans are from Orientals or Amerindians? Almost certainly not."

Jews are genetically close to European populations, falling in an intermediate position between southern Europeans and northern Middle Eastern groups. As it happens, northern Middle Eastern population groups are much closer to southern Europeans than to any other continental population group. See the following figure from Razib at Discover Gene Expression:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/files/2010/06/jewfig2a.png

The figure linked above comes from this blog post, which discusses the Atzmon et al paper from 2010:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/06/genetics-the-jewish-question/

Anonymous said...

Matthew @ 11:22 wrote:

"At least some of the selective pressures on Askenazi Jews for the last 2,000 years have been the same as those faced by non-Jewish ... That is, even if they had remained in Europe for 2,000 completely without admixture, they would look and behave a little more European due to selection for genetic variants already there?"

Perhaps, but the population genetic studies work around that issue by using "junk DNA" (non-coding) that is not subject to selection.

Also, Pat,

It's "Vegetius" rather than "Vegetious."

Anonymous said...

For kicks, this is a link to the blog post at Discover Gene Expression covering 2010's other major Jewish population genetics paper by Behar et al:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/06/genetics-the-jews-its-still-complicated/

Anonymous said...

The Radhanites were big-time slave traders of European slaves, particularly of Slavic people. The etymology of the word "slave" is explained therein.

Matthew said...

"the population genetic studies work around that issue by using "junk DNA" (non-coding) that is not subject to selection. "

True, but not my point. Middle Eastern and Northern Europeans populations would have many of the same genetic variants, but in different proportions. My point was that some selection pressures would also work to make both groups more similar over time, making them more "related" even without admixture. It wouldn't matter how a Jewish population eventually came to more look like a European one, so long as they did. 2,000 years probably isn't long enough, however.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of fog in this thread. Caucasian does not mean exclusively white.

Anonymous said...

Gee whiz: "over-representation, by the group that refers to itself openly as The Tribe, cannot be explained by the numbers alone."

Have you ever heard of ingroup strategy? They call themselves The Tribe. Hello!

Anonymous said...

Re: Egyptian captivity

A recent discovery confirmed the workers who built the pyramids were not slaves at all, but high paid high skill workers with status.

Another shocker? No. It shouldn't come as a surprise that histories are biased and fictionalized. Someone famous said "history is bunk"...

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of fog in this thread. Caucasian does not mean exclusively white.

Oh yes it does. Nice attempt at anthropological revisionism though.

Anonymous said...

The Radhanites were big-time slave traders of European slaves, particularly of Slavic people. The etymology of the word "slave" is explained therein.

That etymology is very doubtful. In all Slavic languages, "slav/slava" means various shades of "glory/celebration" and is not at all similar-sounding to "sclavus" which is known to be the origin for "slave". So slav = slave is purely co-incidental resemblance then. And in times where Slavs barely had a cogent identity formed, it would make absolutely no sense for Romans to start using their pride slogan as a generic term for slaves.

Anonymous said...

Middle Eastern Jews seem at least capable of producing a Vincent Tchenguiz and Robert Tchenguiz, unless they have a bit of Ashkenazi in them, whatever their intellectual capacities (although since these guys do not reflect positive Jewish stereotypes...!).

.....

Ashkenazi Jews (warning sample size 94) in the US seem to show up as self reporting less emotional stability (anger, depression, volatility, emotional withdrawal) and more extraversion (excitability, sociability) than the general White population of comparable IQ, as we could represent by Episcopalians.

That seems to line up with their stereotype as sociable and excitable (extraversion), but obnoxious and difficult (neuroticism).

They don't report lower levels of general agreeableness, which is unemotional fondness for others, politeness and empathy, so it's that they have fiery personalities and neuroses, and are more likely to be public with those, as their extraversion will draw them into the public view.

http://inductivist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/jews-and-big-5-traits.html
http://inductivist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/episcopalians-self-esteem-and-big-five.html

This may have assisted them in attaining their social position.

http://infoproc.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/earnings-effects-of-personality.html - This data seems to show extraversion as having a positive effect on income (equivalent t $600000 in lifetime earnings in this sample), while neuroticism doesn't matter (has no effect, positive or negative). So this would indicate this is possible.

Anonymous said...

Svigor: Just a continuation of the previous conversation in comments, where you raised the issue of Sephardic vs Ashkenazi IQ and the reasons for the discrepancy.

David said...

Who knew?

Anonymous said...

http://chronicle.com/article/The-Chosen-Genes/131481/

Anonymous said...

"And in times where Slavs barely had a cogent identity formed, it would make absolutely no sense for Romans to start using their pride slogan as a generic term for slaves."

According to this source, Latin sclavus didn't acquire the sense 'slave' until the 900s (i.e., long after the Roman period), and the original meaning was indeed 'Slav'.

Cennbeorc

Paul Mendez said...

Why, then, are Jews so different looking, usually sharing the characteristics of the surrounding populations?

Somewhere I heard the theory that this can be explained by mimicry. Just like natural selection favored the butterflies that most looked like the poisonous Monarch, being mistaken for a gentile during a pogrom would have its advantages.

Not saying I agree with this theory. Just passing it along for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

From a commenter at Mondoweiss:

It saddens me that there should be American Jews that would hesitate for a second to talk about their heritage and lineage. And I guess my sadness is more because of what it says about their environment and conditioning than what it says about them.

I would think any American would have an amazing sense of pride at having a Jewish lineage. As a thought experiment, what if you could remove from American culture everything that has been contributed by Jews and Blacks. You would still have an Anglo/Hispanic/Asian residue, but think how flaccid it would be compared to what America is. While not denying that Jews and Blacks have contributed independently, the effects of the combination of their talents have been immense. The huge impact Blacks have had on American culture, most of which has been post-WWII, would not have been possible if Jews hadn’t recognized their talents and promoted them. What would America look like without the “moon-walk” or Muddy Waters. We’d still be playing just Mozart.

As an American ex-pat who has lived mostly in Canada and New Zealand, to my mind, it is the Jews and the Blacks more than anything that sets America apart from the rest of the world, with special reference to the Commonwealth countries, our closest cousins, none of which have any culture at all if you remove what they imported from America. After centuries of patient struggle against horrible discrimination, the Jews and Blacks both finally found a level of acceptance and tolerance and freedom from bigotry in America that allowed them to “do their thing.”

What worries me most is that Nana’s past of discrimination could become American Jews’ collective future if they get caught in an antisemitic blow-back that would surely result of if the nuclear rogue Israel keeps going in the direction it’s going in and precipitates a nuclear war. Somehow, the Israel-firsters have to be identified now so that it is they, and only they, among American Jews, who are held responsible should the worst happen.

I am reminded of Hebrew University professor Martin Van Creveld’s comments in 2009 regarding the way Israel has every major European city targeted: “We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that this will happen before Israel goes under.”

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/i-always-knew-nana-was-jewish-but-it-only-came-up-once.html/comment-page-1#comment-449645

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:33 PM,

The 18th century anthropologist Blumenbach coined the term "Caucasian" with reference to the peoples of the Caucasus Mountains, whom he considered exemplars of its physical type. We now know that the peoples of the Caucasus are rather close genetically to Middle Easterners - even closer than Europeans are to Middle Easterners (which is pretty close when considering the global range of populations). The term "Caucasoid" has always been used more broadly than the term "white."

Anonymous said...

Jews can't be a race. I've been informed that there is no such thing as race.


Jews — Ashkenazim in particular — are relatively homogeneous


Oh, come on. Relative to what?

Anonymous said...

About 80% of Jewish males and 50% of Jewish females trace their ancestry back to the Middle East.



Not that anybody has ever bothered to look, but I'm quite certain that a minimum of 80% of Irish males around the world trace their ancestry back to Ireland. And the same is true for Germans, and Swedes, and Japanese, and so on.

For some reason it's regarded as utterly remarkable that Jews are a partly inbred family.

Anonymous said...

The GSS wordsum has a very low ceiling. That, in addition to small Jewish sample sizes, make it only a very coarse estimate of Jewish verbal IQ. Also, don't forget that the GSS doesn't separate out Sephardim from Ashkenazim. In the U.S., the Ashkenazim are predominant, but it's not 100%. That could reduce the scores a bit.



This seems to translate to - "Who cares what the stupid tests say, we KNOW that Jews are staggeringly intelligent!"

Which is not a very scientific approach to take.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite certain that a minimum of 80% of Irish males around the world trace their ancestry back to Ireland. And the same is true for Germans, and Swedes, and Japanese, and so on.




That is, they trace their ancestry back to their respective homelands.

Anonymous said...

Jews and other Semitic people are part of the Asiatic race. They are not White.


No, you are mistaken.

You have the same problem with the term "Caucasian". The actual people who live in the Caucasus region tend to look rather swarthy.

Coon's described the Caucasian race as encompassing not just the population of Europe, but also North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

Anonymous said...

You have the same problem with the term "Caucasian". The actual people who live in the Caucasus region tend to look rather swarthy.

The term Caucasian doesn't refer to "the actual people who live in the Caucasus." It refers to White people.

Anonymous said...

About 80% of Jewish males and 50% of Jewish females trace their ancestry back to the Middle East.


Via mitochondrial DNA.

Henry Louis Gates can trace his ancestry back to Ulster via his mitochondrial DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA has only a very loose connection to what we think of as "race".

Anonymous said...

The term Caucasian doesn't refer to "the actual people who live in the Caucasus." It refers to White people.


For the correct definition of "white people", that is literlly true.

I suggest you take the trouble to research the term "Caucasian race" if you really imagine that it means "Europeans".

Anonymous said...

The term Caucasian doesn't refer to "the actual people who live in the Caucasus."


You're kind of stupid, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

"Mitochondrial DNA has only a very loose connection to what we think of as 'race'."

That is true for Y-chromosome as well. It only takes one ancestor at the right point in the genealogical tree to provide a whole family with an outlier Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA haplogroup as in the case of Henry Louis Gates.

The apparent reliance on uniparental markers (Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA) years after broad-spectrum autosomal data have become available is one of the disappointing features of this book. It leads to "clunky" phrasing to express admixture and does not accurately express the amount of admixture. Jewish ethnicity was inherited patrilineally throughout the biblical period, and the matrilineal pattern of inheritance emerged only much later at the behest of the rabbis whose debates and sayings are recorded in the Talmud. Since most of the admixture in Ashkenazim is thought to have occurred before Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, it follows that Y-chromosome markers would show more fidelity to the location of ethnogenesis and therefore underestimate admixture.

Anonymous said...

The apparent reliance on uniparental markers (Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA) years after broad-spectrum autosomal data have become available is one of the disappointing features of this book.



It does give the impression that certain Jews are starting off with their desired result and then casting around for any evidence, even tenuous evidence, which can be interpreted to support that result.

hbd chick said...

@steve - "It would be interesting to compare per capita accomplishment levels of Sephardim / Mizrahim to, say, Lebanese/Syrian Christians and Armenians. I would guess they'd be pretty comparable, but I don't really know. Are there any Muslim subgroups that play in that league on a per capita basis?"

@ihtg - "Arab Christians in Israel seem to be smarter than Middle Eastern Jews, and I believe this has been the historic stereotype as well."

part of the reason copts are so disliked in egypt -- or, at least, one given reason for why they are so disliked -- is because they're perceived as wealthier/more successful than muslim egyptians. on average, i suppose. don't know if this perception is based on reality or not.

hbd chick said...

does this mean it's ok to talk about race now? (~_^)

Anonymous said...

"being mistaken for a gentile during a pogrom would have its advantages."

Not much relevance, though. It's doubtful that Jews were much more likely to die in a pogrom than Christian men were to die in, say, a war. I could safely wager that over the course of European history the life expectancy of the average Jew was longer - perhaps far longer - than that of the average Christian. If pogroms were more common that would not have been the case.

The truth is that life in the Middle Ages sucked no matter who you were. We're only ued to hearing the Jews bitch about it, though.

Life wasn't miserable for Jews. They were granted almost exclusive access to a profession that even today is still the most profitable of all - finance. Over 40% of business profits today are in the finance industry.

Anonymous said...

About 80% of Jewish males and 50% of Jewish females trace their ancestry back to the Middle East.



I'm American. Drilling down a level from that, I'm of European ancestry - English and Irish for the most part.

Of course the English and Irish did not spring up from the soil in England and Ireland. They arrived in those countries a little less than 2000 years ago. Go back 3000+ years and they, like all Europeans, originated in the Middle East.

So what is it supposed to mean to say that some large percentage of Jewish males can trace their ancestry back to the Middle East? It would be shocking if this was not the case.

Anonymous said...

Life wasn't miserable for Jews.

They weren't allowed to work the land and were forced into professions like medicine, banking, and law.

Svigor said...

Jews were not barred from working the land. That's an insanely Jewish Supremacist spin. They were barred from being landholders, i.e., not allowed in on the racket of directly exploiting the peasantry via land (and people) ownership.

Boo hoo, we don't get to exploit the peasants; poor, persecuted us.

They didn't want to be farmers.

Svigor said...

The goyim outside Israel are barred from working the land in Israel. RACISM!!!

Anonymous said...

it follows that Y-chromosome markers would show more fidelity to the location of ethnogenesis and therefore underestimate admixture



It's also the case that "markers" are a tiny subset of ones DNA. And that every person in the world has many different genetic "markers" - there isn't one little piece of genetic code which says "your ancestors came from here".

Each individual has a lot of ancestors, and while the number of markers is not going to equal the number of ancestors (which can be in the millions once you look back far enough) it is going to be a pretty good sized number.

You can say with perfect scientific accuracy that some individual (let's call him "Howard") can have genetic markers which tie him to Ireland, Syria, and various points in between.

Which one of those points Howard chooses to signify his "true identity" is entirely arbitrary and rooted in psychology.

IHTG said...

Of course the English and Irish did not spring up from the soil in England and Ireland. They arrived in those countries a little less than 2000 years ago. Go back 3000+ years and they, like all Europeans, originated in the Middle East.

Your timing is way off. Your ancestors have been in Europe for at least 10,000 years and likely far more than that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:47 P.M. wrote:

"there isn't one little piece of genetic code which says 'your ancestors came from here'."

I am well aware of this. However, genetic markers are useful for inferring ancestry because they are found in different proportions in different groups. In the caes of uniparental haplogroups defined by characteristic mutations, it is also possible to make (admittedly imperfect) inferences about likely region of origin for the mutations and to infer patterns of migration. Estimating age of mutations is trickier, hence the wide variability seen in the studies.

Anonymous said...

"Life wasn't miserable for Jews. They were granted almost exclusive access to a profession that even today is still the most profitable of all - finance."

Medieval finance amounted mostly to tax farming and small-time lending that made the practitioners extremely unpopular with the people from whom they collected taxes and who owed them debts. Moreover, lending at interest was heavily stigmatized by the Church, and the profits were punishingly taxed by the potentates.

As for being "forced into the professions," only a tiny fraction of pre-emancipation European Jews worked in medicine. They were barred from practicing law and barred from the trade guilds. By the 18th century, the average German or East European Jew made his living as a small-time trader and was quite poor.

Matthew said...

"Of course the English and Irish did not spring up from the soil in England and Ireland. They arrived in those countries a little less than 2000 years ago. Go back 3000+ years and they, like all Europeans, originated in the Middle East."

Your timeline is way off. A good fraction of the population of the Isles is descended from people who arrived not long after the beginning of the Holocene, ca 11,000 years ago. Many of their ancestors were living in Europe tens of thousands of years before then. Even those who settled in Britain later - like the Saxons, Vikings, and Normans - were descended from ancient European populations.

Those who brought agriculture from the Middle East in the last 10,000 years form only a small share of the ancestry of Europeans.

The cave paintings at Chauvet are ~30,000 years old. Those at Lascaux (and hundreds of others like it) are ~17,000 years old or more. Europe has been well settled for quite some time. Cheddar Man, who lived in Britain ca. 9,100 years ago, has been found through DNA analysis to have three "relatives" (from just 20 tested) living in the village where he died.

There's a reason Europeans (Northern Europeans especially) have a look very distinctive from that of anyone else, including those from the Middle East, and it's not because they arrived in Europe just yesterday.

Anonymous said...

"By the 18th century, the average German or East European Jew...was quite poor."

Right. And everyone else in Europe at the time was rich rich rich!

As I said, it's not that the Jews didn't have it hard - it's that everyone else did, too. Overall the life of Jews in Europe was no worse, and probably better.

And the whining about pogroms demonstrates a bad intellectual habit of some Jews: tossing every non-Jewish person into the generic "not Jewish" category. Every European "gentile" is held accountable for pogroms occurring only in Russia. "Don't blame our ancestors for killing Christ [and I don't], but we'll blame everyone for the occasional pogrom, whether his ancestors participated or not."

My ancestors came overhwhelmingly from Britain. Not any pogroms there for over 700 years.

There was a discussion about Denmark and its immigration policy where some Jewish figure proclaimed that Denmark doesn't need to protect its culture and identity, because there are lots of other gentile, Christian countries besides just Denmark - as if the Danes had no unique identity and no right to preserve it.

Anonymous said...

Your timeline is way off. A good fraction of the population of the Isles is descended from people who arrived not long after the beginning of the Holocene, ca 11,000 years ago



The Angles and Saxons arrived in what became England after 400 AD. The Celts arrived in Ireland about 2000 years ago.

In other words, the English and Irish arrived in those countries a little less than two thousand years ago.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason Europeans (Northern Europeans especially) have a look very distinctive from that of anyone else, including those from the Middle East


Northern Europeans do not look distinctively different from Northern European Jews, who supposedly are "from" the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

The cave paintings at Chauvet are ~30,000 years old.


The notion that the modern French are the direct lineal descendants of the people who painted the caves at Chauvet is every bit as silly as the Jewish fantasy that Steven Spielberg is the lineal descendant of the Jews of King David's time.

The correct response to silly Jewish myth-making is to point out that it is silly Jewish myth-making, not to engage in similar nonsense ourselves.

Anonymous said...

By the 18th century, the average German or East European Jew made his living as a small-time trader and was quite poor.


"Quite poor" compared to who? Certainly not compared to the average Central European.

Anonymous said...

Your timing is way off. Your ancestors have been in Europe for at least 10,000 years and likely far more than that.



You are mistaken. It's true that there are signs of human habitation in Europe dating back that far, but they are not us. And by "us" and I mean you and me.

The Indo-European language groups spread out from the region near present-day Iran about 3000 years ago. You should read up on the Kurgan hypothesis. (No connection to the Highlander movies!)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurgan_hypothesis

There's some interesting genetics information at the link as well.

Anonymous said...

"Northern Europeans do not look distinctively different from Northern European Jews, who supposedly are "from" the Middle East."

Are you blind?

Anonymous said...

Are you blind?



Northern European Jew Jerry Bruckheimer.

Northern European (non-Jew) Boris Becker.


Are you blind?

Anonymous said...

"The Angles and Saxons arrived in what became England after 400 AD...In other words, the English and Irish arrived in those countries a little less than two thousand years ago."

And when the Saxons and Celts arrived...there were people already there. A people they did not eliminate, by any means. As proven by Cheddar Man's DNA analysis.

Further, where the hell do you think the Saxons and Celts were living before they arrived in Britain? Did they fly in from Damascus on a 747? There were living in Europe, as they had been for millenia.

A very large fraction of the ancestors of the present-day British were living in Britain 9,000 years ago. An overwhelming majority of them were living in Britain or Europe nine and possibly even thirty thousand years ago.


"The notion that the modern French are the direct lineal descendants of the people who painted the caves at Chauvet is every bit as silly...

Probably half the world (or more) is descended from the men who painted Chauvet, Lascaux, and Altamira. Even most/all Chinamen probably have few lines going back to Chauvet. The French probably inherit a very large fraction of their DNA from these men.

"Are you blind?"

Jews have been living in Europe for 2,000 years. There was early admixture with the European population, by various estimates anywhere from 30-50%. To go with this admixture they've had 70+ generations of various selective pressures to effect their appearance: lighter skin for more northern climes, the benefits of looking less foreign and more like the natives, etc.

Anonymous said...

"The Indo-European language groups spread out from the region near present-day Iran about 3000 years ago."

4500 years ago, minimum. But as the fact that so many blacks, Hispanics, and Asians now speak English attests (not to mention European-Americans of every ethnic background), spoken language isn't inherited genetically.

Anonymous said...

Probably half the world (or more) is descended from the men who painted Chauvet, Lascaux, and Altamira.


That's probably true. But it's a very different thing from being "direct lineal descendants".

We all have very large numbers of ancestors. If you go back far enough all sorts of people have at least one ancestor who belongs to a surprising group of people - Obama's Irish connection is an example. In some sense it is correct to say that he has "Irish ancestry". But it's a truth which omits a great deal.

You and I are descended from the painters of Chauvet in the same sense that Obama is descended from the Irish. A little bit, but not much.


when the Saxons and Celts arrived...there were people already there. A people they did not eliminate, by any means. As proven by Cheddar Man's DNA analysis.


About 10% of the population of Europe carry haplogroup U5, the one which Cheddar Man has. So you can say that they are not "eliminated".


There was early (Jewish) admixture with the European population, by various estimates anywhere from 30-50%



30-50% of what? Genes are not all created equal. Blacks and whites share a hell of a lot more than "30-50%" of their genes - it's the fraction of one percent which makes the difference.

The oft-repeated claim on HBD blogs about there being a "30-50% genetic admixture between Jews and Europeans" is meaningless gibberish. Anglo-Saxons and European Jews share 99.999something percent of their genetic material. Including the genetic material controlling appearance and intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Boris Becker's mother is Jewish.

Anonymous said...

"The oft-repeated claim on HBD blogs about there being a "30-50% genetic admixture between Jews and Europeans" is meaningless gibberish."

Anyone with a solid biological science background, including the popular HBD and population genetics bloggers, is aware that all human populations are very similar genetically. However, the variation between populations is still significant as proven by the British geneticist A.W.F. Edwards in opposition to Lewontin's claims. When enough markers that characterize population difference are known, they can be used to predict to what population group an individual belongs. When an admixture statement is made, it essentially means that the admixed group is roughly that proportion more similar (above baseline similarity) to one of its respective parent populations than the parent populations are to each other.

The Euroepean admixture range for the Roman Empire-influenced cluster of Jewish populations (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Syrian) established in the Atzmon paper was 30-60% with the inference that the Ashkenazim are the most admixed of that group. I posted a link in this discussion thread to one of the GNXP posts where Razib Kahn stated (in the comments) that in his experience with the autosomal genotype data, the European admixture among Ashkenazim tended to be close to 50% and is predominantly southern European rather than northern European.

Matthew said...

That's probably true. But it's a very different thing from being "direct lineal descendants".

No, you are a lineal descendant of anyone who is your ancestor - whether he's your grandfather or your 1200th great-grandfather. You probably don't inherit any DNA from a man by virtue of being his 1200th great-grandson - you inherit it by virtue of being his 1200th great-grandson along literally trillions (trillions of trillions) of lines.

The modern population of Europe is primarily descended (probably ~80%) from populations who outlasted the last glacial maximum in Southern and Eastern European refugia. The amount contributed by Neolithic farmers, who arrived 6000-8000 years ago, not 3000 years ago - is around 20%, at most. This figure, of course, excludes the current invaders to whom Europeans are so joyfully surrendering their patrimony.

Anonymous said...

Matthew,
That 20% Neolithic ancestry figure may turn out to be inaccurate. It is largely based on early Y-chromosome research from a decade ago, and recent developments in ancient DNA research have made it hotly debated. The most common Y-haplogroup in Western Europe may be a relatively recent entrant to Europe, and if one believes the link between R1a and the Indo-Europeans, it also may be a relatively recent entrant. Dienekes Pontikos has summarized some of the more recent papers at his blog.