Happy Hanukkah, From the Superior Race

Content Providers(s): CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki [Public domain]
Content Providers(s): CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki [Public domain]

On the Sixth night of Hanukkah, it was revealed to me that I’m apparently inherently smarter than all of you. According to the New York Times, citing to a paper that I’m sure is not written by at least one notorious racist nor a guy who thinks being gay is caused by a disease, “Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average I.Q. of any ethnic group for which there are reliable data”. That’s just science. Apparently.

This kind of thing has been around for a while but I, being so much smarter than all of you, wasn’t just going to trust sources with names like phreneology today. But now that the most important paper in the country has weighed in, I feel like it would irresponsible not to take their word for it.

The whole idea of inherent racial intelligence differences is fringe at best, and at worst only promoted by the absolute dregs of society. So if there wasn’t overwhelming evidence that had suddenly come out, why would the paper of record be willing to print such otherwise racist garbage?

Because I’m so much smarter than all of you, I assumed that there would be no way the NYT would publish something like this without multiple careful citations to scholarly works and so I went through the article looking for them.

Here’s what I found: a citation to a WSJ review of someones book, an NYT article about the aftermath of escaping the holocaust, and article about hate crimes against Jews in Brooklyn, and nothing else. So, because I’m so much smarter than you, I can tell that apparently that one study by the guys who are in no way biased or physicists is overwhelming proof. Because clearly the NYT wouldn’t have published racism otherwise.

And because I’m so smart, once I realized I couldn’t get in touch with anyone involved in this process I reached out to the editors brother for comment (he happens to be my senator). I’ll update this when I hear back, which I obviously will.

Now if anyone would like to debate the point, I’m going to need to see some skull measurements and IQ scores. Because I’m so much smarter than you.



  1. Jesus fucking Christ!


    Holy Moses!

  2. The NYT opinion section is hot garbage and I actually canceled my subscription over Bret Stephens (I can’t tell you which of his nonsense was the last straw, but it was an accumulated frustration). I’d made a point to try to support “real” journailsm, and no doubt the NYT does plenty of it, but there is no excuse to having such human garbage writing opinions.

    If we emerge from this shitty timeline, I hope that the era of propaganda and the downfall of journalism is studied by students of history.

    • Meanwhile, the guy who runs the opinion section is in consideration to run the whole place.

    • NY Times Opinion editor James Bennet is an old vet of The Atlantic, and if you ever read some hack you don’t know parroting the cliche of “I’m a liberal on many issues BUT…” — odds are that hack published at The Atlantic.

      Michael Kelly, Andrew Sullivan, Bari Weiss — the list goes on and on of dim witted Atlantic pseudo intellectuals who claim some kind of socially liberal ideas — supports pot, gay rights, um… child care tax credits? — then you get the BUT. But those liberal college students protesting conservative speakers. But those patronizing liberals driving away salt of the earth working class diner patrons in Ohio. But those feminists who neuter young men just wanting a kiss.

      One miserable thing about these hacks is how rote and repetitive they are. They have been recycling the same screeds about liberal campuses, filtered through the dubious lens of a skeptical rational thinker, for the past 60 years. And yet publications like The Atlantic continue to frame them as daring originalistsm speaking the hidden truth.

      They are the Cambridge and Brooklyn version of Fox and Friends, but instead of searching desperately through AP Wire stories for some hint of someone saying “happy holidays” they plow through their alma mater’s newspaper looking for hints of a frat brother who had assault charges dropped.

      Atlantic alum James Bennet has brought on Atlantic alum Bret “I oppose Trump BUT..” Stephens, and so the hack takes continue.

    • Every once in a while I think I’ll quit the cesspool that is twitter and then something like Bret Bug or Feral Hogs comes along and I just can’t quit you.
      The fact that the NYT publishes his drivel is something else.

  3. As an Ashkenazi Jew, I approve of this article and all sources therein.

  4. For anyone needing a quick rundown of why Stephens is spouting nonsense, here is a quick rundown.

    — The idea of intelligence as a cohesive thing is a puzzle. It may well be that people are just combining and conflating multiple mental capacities in wildly inappropriate ways. Is memorization and recall part of intelligence? Is speed of computation relevant? What about spatial memory, musical ability, vocabulary size…? Scientists aren’t really sure how connected these are in isolation, let alone as some kind of cohesive unity.

    –Measuring intelligence in individuals is a problem. Tests vary, testing conditions vary, test subjects are all over the place. Without really understanding what intelligence is, how do you measure it? Is creativity intelligence? What is creativity? How the hell do you measure it? How do you then somehow put this into an overall measure of intelligence, even if you could measure it?

    — Combining individual measurements into group measurements is even more difficult. What is a group? The Ashkenazi Jews cited by Stephens aren’t a highly heterogeneous bunch despite what he and his racist sources might claim, and the groups he compares them to are even less so. Sampling errors in group measurements are typically huge. Definitions of groups are wildly inconsistent.

    — Sorting out effects of environment vs. inheritance is a nightmare. Environment not only has to do with upbringing and early socialization, it has to do with maternal health during pregnancy, gut biology, exposure to chemicals such as lead, and a ton of other factors. We don’t have a good handle on what are the breakdown of factors contributing to a highly discrete physical condition such as peanut allergies, and yet Stephens wants to make claims about intelligence?

    — Adding to the problems of sorting out effects of individual environment, trying to understand intelligence measures in a larger social context is even harder. Can you really tease out the social effects on a defined ethnic group when comparing upbringings in rural Canada, NYC, and small town Brazil? How then do you try to compare different defined ethnic groups?

    — There is enormous room for error, or outright mischief in the data crunching. Definitions, sampling, data collection, combining of data sets — these and many other things are subject to hidden biases, errors, and outright nonsense. No honest researcher pretends there is anything but a vast swamp of unanswered problems.

    — Against this backdrop is the looming problem of the reproducability crisis in many sciences, including psychology. Many foundational experiments have been found to give very different results when reconducted, and the net result is that psychology is undergoing a difficult period of reexamining basic research in many areas, including intelligence.

    Nobody speaking in good faith could say what Stephens said if they had done any serious research or carried out any analytical thought. The man is a horrible hack, and the NY Times ought to dump him and especially his editor.

    • it’s true what they say…there are lies, damn lies & statistics…

      I don’t know which seems most egregious – the fundamental dishonesty regarding the concept of intelligence or the flagrant manipulation of available data sets to bolster a weak argument in support of a specious theory…

      do thank you for the cliff notes,though…for all that the subject arguably deserves a more discursive breakdown it’s no easy task since once you get into it the vestigial point the was looking to make more or less vanishes without trace…

      • I get into similar rantin’ and ravin’ when it comes to evolutionary psychology. It’s not that there isn’t some kind of possibility of inherited brain functions — there almost certainly is. But the second I see what people are doing in any kind of popular setting with behavior, intelligence, ethnic group, gender, etc. it makes my eyes start to twitch. It’s just phrenology, palmistry, aromatherapy — not science.

        • …clearly I still have some things to learn about the way this works – meant the comment with the geertz.pdf link in it to be a reply to yours but it looks like it didn’t post that way…

        • I admit, I am a believer in reverse phreneology. There are very few conditions that cannot be treated with the well placed addition of a few bumps on the head.

          But evo psych is the scientific name for looking at a behavior and saying, “dude,what if that’s because chimps used to do something.”

  5. I always liked Clifford Geertz’s version of things where cultural & physiological evolution ought to be considered in concert &/or parallel rather than sequential…


    but in any case it seems (at least on the basis of various friends’ experiences) that much of the difficulty in making headway with such things lies in the necessity to swim against a tide of specious interpretation of prior work leading to widespread misconception of the details involved…

  6. A+ work on the header image.

Leave a Reply