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Monday, August 19, 2019

Steven Pinker: "Jews, Genes and Intelligence"

I will be posting my interview with anthropologist R. Brian Ferguson very soon (finally) but while researching I found a recording, posted seven years ago on Youtube, of a talk Pinker gave to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research on the paper Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence (NHAI), a paper which Ferguson debunked in his paper How Jews Became Smart: Anti-"Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence".

Pinker's talk, entitled "Jews, Genes and Intelligence" reveals, not surprisingly that Pinker on the whole thinks it is likely that Ashkenazi Jews are intellectually superior, genetically, per the NHAI theory.

At the top of the lecture Noah Feldman explicitly warns the audience not to record the talk, and obviously somebody did anyway, but I expect the recordings - posted by at least two separate Youtube accounts by apparent fans of Pinker - to be removed from Youtube any day.

So I have the transcript here.

The video of the talk was posted in four parts because, I assume, when it was posted Youtube had a ten-minute maximum length on uploaded videos.

Ferguson discusses the NHAI theory and Pinker's boosting of the untested theory in the interview which I will post. Very soon.

And to nobody's surprise, Richard Lynn also jumped on the NHAI speculation to bolster his claims about race and IQ, in a talk posted on Youtube.

The transcript is after the cut.





STEVEN PINKER: "Jews, Genes and Intelligence"

TRANSCRIPT



PART 1

00:02
good evening my name is Noah Feldman on
00:06
behalf of Evo and is a member of the Evo
00:07
Board of Overseers it's a pleasure to
00:09
welcome you to this evening's lecture by
00:12
Steven Pinker on Jews genes and
00:14
intelligence before a few quick words of
00:17
introduction some basic housekeeping
00:19
please turn off your cell phones please
00:22
do not record tonight's talk and please
00:27
do not videotape tonight's talk and I
00:29
would even add please do not take flash
00:31
photographs during tonight's talk out of
00:33
courtesy for for our lecturer as Steven
00:37
Pinker is someone who is known to you
00:39
all he is Johnstone family professor of
00:41
psychology at Harvard University a
00:43
position that he came to after spending
00:45
more than 20 years teaching just up
00:48
Massachusetts Avenue at MIT where he was
00:51
director of the Center for cognitive
00:52
neuroscience professor Pinker is widely
00:55
known for his path-breaking work in
00:58
Experimental Psychology and in cognitive
01:00
neuroscience particularly on very rich
01:03
questions of the acquisition of language
01:05
and the question of the relationship
01:07
between evolutionary theory evolutionary
01:09
biology and the phenomenon of language
01:12
his work is as CV is so long that it
01:16
would literally take me the next hour
01:18
and a half to recite it so I will not
01:20
but he will be known to you from more
01:23
than half a dozen books some of which
01:27
are scholarly books of the kind that an
01:29
ordinary person like me would have
01:30
difficulty reading without a dictionary
01:32
next to him some of which are popular
01:35
books in the true sense of the term and
01:37
the best of which in my view are books
01:40
that are not quantifiable or
01:42
classifiable easily as either popular or
01:44
scholarly they are both they are that
01:46
rarest of things that one almost never
01:48
encounters in the academic world or in
01:50
the general world works of scholarship
01:52
of the first order that are also
01:54
composed and created in a way that is
01:56
wholly accessible to the general reader
01:58
that combination of research interests
02:02
skills and engagement with the general
02:04
public has made Professor Pinker the
02:07
leading voice on questions of the
02:09
relationship between evolutionary
02:10
psychology and public affairs and that
02:14
makes him particularly well-suited
02:16
to present on this evenings topic a
02:18
quick word about Evo and its connection
02:20
to this evenings topic Evo as most of
02:24
you know and I hope soon all of you will
02:27
know was founded originally for the
02:30
study and engagement with Jewish culture
02:33
Jewish social intellectual political
02:36
culture and it flourished until the war
02:41
years in that task and now is in a rich
02:46
and exciting process of refining that
02:48
task even as it maintains its historic
02:52
connection through its archival
02:53
materials to the past of European Jewry
02:57
through its unparalleled holdings of
02:59
archival material connected to that past
03:02
tonight because we'll be talking I
03:05
imagine in the question answers if not
03:07
in the lecture about not only the
03:10
palimpsest of history but the palimpsest
03:11
of human biology I think we are
03:15
particularly fortunate to be at Evo
03:18
hearing hearing this this talk on this
03:21
extremely important and timely topic so
03:23
without further ado I give you a
03:25
Professor Steven Pinker
03:35
thank you very much Noah it's a
03:38
tremendous honor to be speaking at Evo
03:41
but professionally and personally I grew
03:44
up steeped in Jewish and Yiddish culture
03:47
it was the language of my grandparents
03:49
in the first language of my parents my
03:51
mother spent her career as a vice
03:54
principal at the Bialik High School in
03:56
Montreal a school devoted to Yiddish
03:59
language and culture as well as secular
04:03
learning and I'm going to begin with a
04:06
story about one of the unit's speakers
04:09
in my family my grandfather my
04:11
grandfather Carl Weisenfeld my
04:14
grandmother Clara Weisenfeld had a small
04:16
necktie Factory on the outskirts of
04:18
Montreal and one weekend I visited them
04:21
when they were in the factory my
04:23
grandfather was not in the front office
04:25
where I would expect him but back in the
04:28
factory floor and he was there with a
04:30
large bench in a stack of cloth and a
04:34
circular saw that was used to cut the
04:37
blanks for the ties out of the stacks of
04:40
fabric following a template and I asked
04:43
how what what he was doing there and he
04:45
showed me that after the ties had been
04:48
cut out of the stack of cloth there were
04:52
remnants left over the negatives from
04:54
which the ties had been cut out and that
04:56
by cutting a little piece out of one
04:58
remnant and a little piece of another
05:00

remnant and another piece of the third
05:01
one and sewing them together in a place
05:04
where the seam wouldn't show either on
05:05
the back of the tie or the part that
05:07
goes around your neck he could get a few
05:09
more ties out of every stack shipment of
05:12
cloth and I said oh uh that sounds
05:15
reasonable but why are you doing it why
05:18
don't you isn't this something but the
05:20
workers in the factory do during the
05:22
week he looked at me and he said oh I
05:24
shook up Gentile head now he wasn't
05:29
completely serious but he wasn't
05:32
completely not serious either
05:33
and indeed
05:35
the relationship of Jews to intelligence
05:42
is one with a long history and a
05:44
somewhat fraught history an ambivalent
05:46
relationship the one hand Jewish
05:48
achievement cannot be gained Sayed
05:50
according to a book by Seymour Martin
05:53
Lipset and Earl Robb despite the fact
05:55
that Jews make up no more than 2 to 3
05:58
percent of the American population they
06:01
make up 50% of the top 200 intellectuals
06:05
40% of the Nobel Prize winners in
06:08
science and economics 20% of the
06:10
professor's at the top universities 40%
06:14
of the partners in the top New York and
06:15
DC law firms 59% of the writers
06:19
directors and producers of the 50 top
06:21
grossing movies 37 percent of the
06:24
winners of the National Medal of Science
06:25
and 50 percent of the world chess
06:28
champions this is no secret it's well
06:33
known within the Jewish community
06:34
perhaps leading to a internet file that
06:40
has recently been circulated called new
06:42
words to add to your Jewish vocabulary
06:44
they include jubilation noun pride in
06:48
finding out the ones favorite celebrity
06:49
is Jewish you identify verb to be able
06:54
to determine the ethnic origins of
06:56
celebrities even though their names
06:57
might be st. John Curtis Davis or Taylor
07:00
and of course mine Stein my son the
07:04
genius
07:07
now the outsized Jewish achievement may
07:12
have an explanation in another fact
07:14
that's that is long been known that Jews
07:18
score on average higher on IQ tests than
07:21
any ethnic group for which there's
07:24
comparable data they mean IQ and IQ
07:28
tests is between 108 and 115 they mean
07:31
for the European population is by
07:33
definition a hundred which means that
07:35
the Jewish averages have to hold
07:39
standard deviation higher than the
07:41
average this is true even controlling
07:43
for income and socioeconomic status it's
07:47
an advantage that's seen more in verbal
07:50
analytical and mathematical tasks than
07:53
in spatial tasks and importantly even
07:58
though the effect is moderate on average
08:00
it's a mathematical fact about normal
08:03
distributions that is bell curves that
08:05
small effects in the average can
08:07
translate into huge effects at the
08:09
extreme so if you have two overlapping
08:13
normal distributions gaussians bell
08:16
curves whoops
08:18
has been on at all can I have the video
08:23
please
08:31
okay thank you I'm sorry that that
08:33
wasn't on before you have to overlapping
08:36
normal distributions even if in the bulk
08:40
of the curve there really isn't that
08:41
much of a difference in the proportion
08:44
of people at from the lower distribution
08:47
at a given score and the proportion of
08:49
people at the higher distribution the
08:51
farther you go in the tails the greater
08:53
the difference is so if you magnify that
08:55
part the farther out you go the bigger
08:57
the gap is so with a one standard
09:01
deviation difference between groups a
09:03
score that is three standard deviations
09:05
above the mean in the higher
09:07
distribution is four standard deviations
09:09
in the lower distribution which means
09:11
that there are 42 times as many people
09:14
at that cutoff from the higher
09:15
distribution even if the difference is
09:17
small in the central tendency on the
09:21
other hand the jubilation is somewhat
09:25
mixed because Jewish achievement is also
09:27
of course the fuel for conspiracy
09:29
theories you only have to check the
09:33
internet to see a number of sites that
09:34
supposedly monitor Jewish domination of
09:37
this that or the other thing there's
09:39
been a widespread repugnance at any
09:41
genetic characterization of the Jewish
09:43
people for a couple of obvious reasons
09:45
one of them is the Nazi pseudoscience
09:48
that predicated on the existence of the
09:51
so-called Jewish race and less obviously
09:53
the ideal of Zionism the idea that there
09:57
should be a Jewish state in former
09:59
Palestine could not very well be defined
10:03
as a racial state although it could be
10:07
defined as a national or ethnic state
10:09
just like any other nation-state and so
10:11
there is some pressure to avoid any kind
10:14
of genetic characterization of the
10:15
Jewish people so into this context came
10:20
a bombshell of a study reported in the
10:25
New York Times
10:26
more recently New York magazine and The
10:28
Economist that whose headline was
10:31
researchers say intelligence and
10:33
diseases may be linked in Ashkenazic
10:35
genes a team of scientists at the
10:37
University of Utah has proposed that the
10:39
unusual pattern of genetic diseases seen
10:42
among Jews of central and northern
10:43
European
10:44
virgin or Ashkenazim is the result of
10:46
natural selection for enhanced
10:48
intellectual ability this is a study by
10:50
Greg Cochran Jason Hardy and Henry harp
10:54
ending reported in 2005 in the Journal
10:57
of bio social science called a natural
10:59
history of Ashkenazi intelligence the
11:02
claim of this article was first of all
11:04
that the Jewish IQ advantage is partly
11:06
genetic that the difference was a
11:09
product of natural selection for
11:11
intelligence in middle man occupations
11:13
namely merchants moneylenders and state
11:16
managers in Ashkenazi history especially
11:19
the first 800 years of Ashkenazi history
11:21
from 800 to 1600 the Common Era that
11:25
because rapid selection of a single
11:28
trait is known in biology to bring along
11:31
deleterious byproducts because in
11:34
genetics as in life you can't just do
11:36
one thing if you select a trait then the
11:40
set of genes that give you that trait
11:42
will also give you a number of other
11:44
things in the organism so Ashkenazim
11:47
they argue are susceptible to diseases
11:49
caused by first of all recessive genes
11:51
that are harmful in homozygotes that is
11:53
people who've inherited two copies of
11:56
the gene one from their mother one from
11:57
their father but our intelligence
11:59
boosting in heterozygotes mean that is
12:02
carriers people who've inherited only
12:05
one copy of the gene from their mother
12:06
or their father phenomenon it's familiar
12:09
to biologists as heterozygote advantage
12:11
and a complimentary own example are that
12:15
diseases long known to be far more
12:18
common among Ashkenazi
12:19
taste sacks and go Jays disease for
12:21
example fall into that pattern an
12:24
analogy and very well-documented
12:26
is that in regions of the world that
12:30
have been susceptible to malaria over
12:32
the past few thousand years a certain
12:35
percentage of the population has a gene
12:38
that in a single copy gives them a trade
12:42
known as sickle cell trait which makes
12:44
them resistant to malaria but with two
12:47
copies in the homozygote it leads to the
12:49
disease of sickle cell anemia the
12:53
complementary prediction is
12:55
that there are some genes that are
12:57
dominant but only partly penetrant that
12:59
means that they affect only some of the
13:01
bearers not all of them sometimes for
13:03
mysterious reasons and the claim is that
13:07
those increase IQ in some of the bearers
13:11
of the gene but cause diseases in others
13:13
again after a phenomenon that's well
13:15
known to biologists as antagonistic
13:17
pleiotropy and an example of that would
13:20
be the disease of torsion dystonia so
13:23
I'm going to examine two questions about
13:25
the cochran hardy and har pending study
13:27
till dusk all CH h one of them is how
13:29
good is the evidence for the claim and
13:31
the other is what are the political and
13:33
ethical and ethical implications if any
13:36
of this kind of work so how good is the
13:38
evidence well it's a complicated theory
13:41
I going to break it down into seven
13:45
different hypotheses and examine them
13:46
separately the first one is that the
13:48
Jewish IQ advantage is largely genetic
13:51
now this itself is controversial for a
13:55
number of reasons beginning with the
13:56
most fundamental one which is that many
13:58
intellectuals are skeptical about the
14:01
existence of intelligence perhaps the
14:03
most famous is Stephen Jay Gould who in
14:05
the book this measure of man argued that
14:07
the notion of general intelligence was a
14:09
myth and it's a he's convinced many
14:13
people that that is the state of the art
14:15
now I find us actually rather remarkable
14:18
that so many academics would deny the
14:20
existence of intelligence because
14:23
academics are obsessed with intelligence
14:25
I don't know what they would talk about
14:27
to have five I couldn't talk about
14:29
intelligence they're obsessed it about
14:31
each other's intelligence that students
14:33
intelligence and so on and people who in
14:36
one form would deny that such a thing
14:39
exists in other forms would invoke it
14:42
readily say in talking about the fact
14:45
that lead paint causes a 6-point
14:46
decrease in IQ about the morality of
14:51
executing a convicted murderer with an
14:53
IQ below 70 or about the qualifications
14:56
of the current President of the United
14:58
States

PART 2

00:02
in fact there's an enormous discrepancy
00:05
between this conventional wisdom and
00:07
what people who study intelligence have
00:10
found about 10 years ago in the wake of
00:13
the bell curve the American
00:14
Psychological Association put together a
00:17
panel to prepare a document on this the
00:20
scientific state of the art concerning
00:22
intelligence representing people from
00:24
all over the spectrum in terms of their
00:27
beliefs about intelligence and the
00:28
consensus report noted that intelligence
00:31
is a stable property of a person it's
00:35
well measured by IQ tests and it
00:37
predicts many life outcomes
00:40
moreover IQ is largely heritable within
00:43
populations accounting for anywhere
00:46
between 50 and 80 percent of the
00:47
variance depending on how you measure it
00:50
and at what age this is established by
00:53
many studies of tens of thousands of
00:57
identical and fraternal twins or
00:59
identical twins are more correlated in
01:01
their intelligence than the fraternal
01:02
twins of twins separated at birth and
01:06
who grow up in different environments
01:07
whose IQs are highly correlated and in
01:10
comparisons of biological and adoptive
01:12
siblings where the correlations are far
01:14
stronger among biological siblings than
01:16
among adoptive siblings and indeed
01:19
better predicted by the siblings
01:21
biological parents than by their
01:22
adoptive parents now importantly this
01:25
does not imply that the differences
01:27
between groups are genetic the textbook
01:29
example of this logical point is that if
01:32
you plot if you plant a number of
01:35
varieties of corn in a field then we
01:38
know that the heights of the corn plants
01:40
will vary because of the differences in
01:41
the genes of the different corn
01:43
varieties but if you plant half of them
01:45
in Iowa and the other half in Nevada
01:47
then most of the variation will of
01:49
course be environmental and it is quite
01:51
possible that when you look when you
01:54
compare different human groups as
01:56
opposed to looking at the difference
01:57
between one person and another within a
01:59
group the differences between groups
02:00
could be environmental even if the
02:03
differences within a group are genetic
02:05
well what about the difference then
02:08
between Jews and other Europeans this is
02:10
a test
02:11
hypothesis one can simply do adoption
02:13
studies and look at the correlations
02:17
between adoptive and biological parents
02:19
of Jewish and non-jewish parents and
02:21
children as far as I know none has been
02:23
done but it it could be done so the
02:26
current evidence then that the Jewish
02:28
non-jewish difference is genetic is
02:31
circumstantial it comes from the fact
02:34
that the advantage is so large as to
02:36
require a rather massive environmental
02:39
cause that there are few known
02:42
environmental causes of boosts and I
02:46
adult IQ of that magnitude that the
02:49
advantage is long-standing it's been
02:51
around for as long as they've been IQ
02:54
scores of Jewish populations and it is
02:56
not an artifact of socioeconomic status
02:59
or wealth that is it's also found in
03:01
lower SES Jewish groups so the evidence
03:04
is reasonable but circumstantial and
03:06
then it behooves us to look at the
03:09
environmental explanations via
03:12
alternatives and one of them is comes
03:15
from another word to add to your Jewish
03:16
vocabulary from the same list and that
03:19
is the word disk verified to drop out of
03:23
law school med school or business as
03:25
seen through the eyes of parents
03:27
grandparents and uncle Sid an excuse in
03:31
extreme cases simply choosing to major
03:33
in art history when Earth's son David is
03:35
majoring in biology is sufficient
03:37
grounds for disqualification
03:42
so the issue comes down to is it Jewish
03:46
genes or Jewish mothers as as Jennifer's
03:49
senior in New York Magazine put it now
03:51
the fact that there is an environmental
03:54
alternative doesn't mean that we could
03:56
give it a free pass
03:58
environmental explanations need to face
04:00
the same scrutiny as genetic ones and
04:02
it's not clear that the environmental
04:04
explanation has all that much direct
04:08
evidence in its support a major finding
04:10
in behavioral genetics one that gets a
04:12
lot less publicity than the fact that
04:14
heritability of intelligence is greater
04:17
than zero is that the non genetic
04:20
contribution to variance in intelligence
04:23
the fact that identical twins set race
04:26
together are not perfectly correlated
04:28
does not seem to be a result of familial
04:31
that is the shared environment either so
04:33
you might say well if intelligence is
04:35
say in a given population 50% heritable
04:38
that means the other 50% must come from
04:40
variations and families right well not
04:43
so fast because a very large number of
04:47
studies with an enormous number of
04:50
participants has shown that first of all
04:52
siblings separated at birth are as
04:54
correlated as siblings reared together
04:57
in adult intelligence and that adopted
04:59
siblings are not correlated at all so
05:02
all of those years of growing up in a
05:04
given home with the same mother and
05:05
siblings and books and TV sets and so on
05:08
seems to leave no lasting mark on an
05:11
adult's intelligence so there's
05:14
something other than families that
05:15
accounts for the non genetic variation
05:17
and intelligence possibly culture such
05:20
as a peer group or environmental
05:22
influences outside the home sheer chance
05:26
what whether some neurons in your brain
05:28
zigged or zagged on a particular and day
05:30
of development whether you inhaled a
05:32
virus or were dropped on your head as a
05:34
baby and perhaps nonlinear gene
05:38
environment interactions environments
05:40
that make one person go up in another
05:42
person
05:42
down very speculative so another
05:47
question one has to ask is it really
05:49
true that Jewish cultural norms favor
05:52
achievement in physics math economics
05:54
chess social science philosophy and
05:56
other spheres in which in the 20th
05:59
century Jews have excelled but which
06:01
aren't necessarily a part of the value
06:04
set of traditional Jewish culture it's
06:07
good I'll give a couple of anecdotes
06:10
which is all we really have my friend
06:12
Ned block when he told his father that
06:15
he was going to going into philosophy
06:17
his father said philosophy woofed err
06:22
and in a profile of my former colleague
06:26
Noam Chomsky in The New Yorker there's a
06:28
quote with from his mother who said that
06:31
when he decided to go into linguistics
06:33
she said I don't know I walk up up and
06:36
down the streets all day I never see a
06:38
sign that says help wanted linguist and
06:44
perhaps the most extreme statement of
06:46
this skepticism comes from me the
06:48
brilliant social psychologist Stanley
06:49
Schachter in his autobiography who wrote
06:52
for a seventeen year old boy from the
06:54
Bronx Yale in 1939 was hideous a preppy
06:57
jock socialite paradise not meant for
06:59
the likes of me
07:00
I suppose it was what I deserved for I
07:03
went to Yale much against my father's
07:04
wishes
07:05
he couldn't have cared less about higher
07:07
education and wanted me to go to a
07:08
one-year laundry College no kidding out
07:11
in the Midwest and join him then in the
07:13
family business I've never understood
07:15
what this intellectually driven Jewish
07:17
immigrant business is all about it
07:19
wasn't true of my family and I know very
07:20
few families for which it was true to me
07:23
Jewish love of learning has always
07:24
seemed a myth perpetrated by a few
07:26
rabbis sons who weren't good at anything
07:28
much but going to school and then
07:30
spending the rest of their lives writing
07:32
novels about it
07:39
finally an environment of my mental
07:44
explanation in terms of cultural
07:45
explanations can only go so far you've
07:47
only you've heard the expression if
07:49
wishes were horses beggars would ride
07:51
would ride for you might want your son
07:55
to be an Einstein but that isn't enough
07:57
to make him one so I would say the
08:00
environmental explanation is also
08:02
unproven it has less evidence in favor
08:04
of it than the genetic one but it has to
08:07
be conceded that both of them are
08:08
possible so a second hypothesis of the
08:12
CHCH H paper is that there were high
08:15
rates of Ashkenazi endogamy that is
08:17
marrying within the group this is a
08:21
prerequisite for a rapid selection of a
08:23
trait again a standard finding from
08:25
evolutionary biology that low gene
08:28
inflow is a necessary condition for
08:30
rapid selection no matter what is being
08:32
selected for if new genes are coming
08:35
into the population through
08:37
interbreeding or in the human case
08:38
intermarriage that will dilute whatever
08:41
is being selected for and selection will
08:43
never have much of a chance to make an
08:45
impact
08:45
so our Ashkenazim unusually endogenous
08:48
CA CH h claim that they are and they
08:52
cite in as evidence the existence
08:56
I think known to many people in this
08:57
room of cultural traditions discouraging
09:01
and exogamy as my grandmother told my
09:05
mother it's just as easily to fall in
09:07
love with a Jewish man as it is a
09:09
non-jewish man and in fact what
09:12
historical records we have suggest that
09:14
there was little intermarriage over much
09:17
of Ashkenazi history and compared to
09:20
many other groups of course far less
09:22
conversion a contemporary accounts
09:25
historical accounts that is those
09:28
sporadic seem to bear this out and
09:30
describe Jewish life as one with little
09:33
breeding today we can answer the
09:36
question more precisely by
09:38
looking directly at jeans and I think
09:40
the current estimate is that anywhere
09:42
from that there was anything from a half
09:45
a percent to one percent of admixture of
09:47
non-jewish jeans per generation over
09:50
much of Ashkenazi history that would be
09:53
from conversions from intermarriage from
09:55
affairs from manumission of slaves from
09:58
rape and so on now by the way it's just
10:01
to be clear many do Jewish people I know
10:04
seem to believe that that there really
10:06
is a Jewish race that I've heard it said
10:08
that European Jews and Jews from the
10:13
former Arab countries and Yemenite Jews
10:15
and so on are more are very closely
10:18
genetically related more so than they
10:20
are to their neighbors that is probably
10:22
not true and I think the even though
10:24
there are signatures of genes that one
10:28
can find across Jewish populations a
10:30
half percent admixture per generation
10:33
multiplied over the many generations
10:36
over a thousand years will mean that a
10:38
large number of genes from neighboring
10:41
groups will get sucked into the Jewish
10:43
gene pool
10:44
anywhere from 35% to 55% depending on
10:47
what's measured third hypothesis is that
10:50
Ashkenazim were concentrated in
10:52
mercantile managerial and financial
10:54
occupations most prototypically
10:56
moneylenders that is that they were not
10:59
they did not do for a living what the
11:01
vast majority of people in Europe indeed
11:04
in the world did at the time namely
11:06
though they weren't primarily farmers
11:09
soldiers craftsmen or of course nobility
11:12
so the argument is that CH H reproduced
11:16
from a number of Jewish historians is
11:18
that there may have been an initial
11:20
chance advantage in these occupations
11:23
thanks to first of all literacy once you
11:27
have your children learn to read and
11:30
write unlike the vast majority of your
11:31
neighbors for religious reasons that as
11:35
a byproduct predisposes them to success
11:38
in more urban occupations because the
11:41
Jews lived in a diaspora after the
11:43
destruction of this at the Second Temple
11:45
throughout the Mediterranean there were
11:47
dispersed communities that could
11:49
serve as conduits for trade and they
11:53
were Jews were also convenient as a
11:54
go-between between the Christian and
11:57
Islamic civilizations in medieval times
11:59
that often didn't like to deal with each
12:02
other directly so at the beginning of
12:04
Ashkenazi history the Jews were funneled
12:08
into finance management and selling by
12:12
these initial chance advantages combined
12:14
with a Christian prohibition of usury
12:15
the prohibition and many times in places
12:19
of owning land and the exclusion of
12:21
medieval crafts craftsmen guilds so
12:26
among the historical estimates that CH H
12:30
site is a number of studies including at
12:32
least a number of claims I should say
12:34
been Sasana in his history of the Jewish
12:36
people and Arkin and aspects of Jewish
12:38
economic history by 1100 AD it may even
12:41
have been the majority of Ashkenazim
12:43
that made their living as moneylenders
12:44
and the pattern lessened after 1600 of
12:49
course Jews famously have been in a
12:51
number of middleman niches until
12:52
recently fourth hypothesis is that in
12:56
occupations that historically were
12:57
filled by Ashkenazim success was
12:59
correlated with intelligence that is
13:02
smarter people did better the evidence
13:06
that CH h cite is contemporary there's
13:09
an enormous amount of data from various
13:13
occupations much of it summarized by
13:15
Linda goranson that show that IQ is
13:17
predictive of occupational success in
13:19
income holding other things constant for
13:21
just about every profession but more so
13:24
for more professional professions and
13:28
indeed that financial and managerial
13:29
occupations have a higher minimum IQ
13:32
requirement than farming crafts or the
13:34
military but to be a merchant or a in
13:41
finance or money lending it requires of
13:44
course numeracy especially in the days
13:46
before spreadsheets literacy to keep
13:49
records and correspondence an ability to
13:52
predict the future and social
13:54
intelligence when it comes to giving or
13:57
not giving credit to people without
13:59
currently credit

PART 3


financial success led to greater
00:11
reproductive success Darwinian natural
00:14
selection is fueled by some people with
00:17
some trouble organisms with some traits
00:19
having more surviving offspring than
00:21
organisms with other traits in the same
00:22
population this is of course not true
00:25
today where it's indeed in Europe in the
00:30
United States wealthier people have
00:31
fewer children but it was true in most
00:34
of the world before what's called the
00:35
demographic transition beginning in the
00:37
18th century and there are many studies
00:40
that show that all over the world in
00:42
pre-industrial societies wealthy people
00:45
did have more surviving children and
00:48
there's some evidence that this was true
00:49
of Ashkenazim in medieval and early
00:51
modern history and I spoke the Jews of
00:54
Poland Biddy wine rib said that more
00:57
children survived to adulthood in
00:59
affluent families than in less affluent
01:01
ones because of nutrition larger less
01:05
crowding availability of wet nurses
01:08
ability to move quickly if there was a
01:11
local plague and other causes and in
01:14
general this correlation until recently
01:16
was certainly plausible I call it so
01:19
let's call it toddlers law after the
01:20
famous quote of Sophie Tucker I've been
01:23
poor and I've been rich rich is better
01:28
hypothesis 6 many of the common
01:31
Ashkenazi genetic diseases are result of
01:33
natural selection rather than genetic
01:34
drift this is an important part of their
01:37
argument and one of the more
01:38
controversial ones biologists
01:41
distinguish between genetic drift and
01:43
natural selection as two possible causes
01:46
of evolution namely change in gene
01:48
frequency over time natural selection
01:52
I've already explained genetic drift
01:53
comes from the fact that in a finite
01:56
population there's going to be random
01:58
sampling of which genes are represented
02:00
in the next generation having nothing to
02:03
do with the advantage or disadvantage of
02:06
that gene on the organisms phenotype so
02:09
let's say in
02:11
a particular group of people or many of
02:15
the redheads get struck by lightning and
02:18
so the next generation there's no one
02:19
with red hair it's not that red hair was
02:22
disadvantaged is it advantageous it
02:24
wasn't that it attracted the lightning
02:25
it's just that stuff happens
02:27
statistically maybe organisms with a
02:30
particular gene that don't do as well or
02:31
do do well and gene frequencies are
02:35
known to change as a result this depends
02:37
crucially on population size as you can
02:39
imagine in a population of 200 million
02:42
people it's very unlikely that all the
02:44
redheads will be struck by lightning
02:45
but in a population of say 5 or 10
02:49
that's not such an unlikely event in
02:52
particular you see genetic drift in the
02:54
form of founder effects imagine let's
02:56
say you know Gilligan's Island a very
03:00
small number of people colonize an
03:02
island let's say that they are never
03:03
rescued and they are the founders of a
03:06
new population
03:07
well whatever traits happen to be
03:08
present in say the professor and ginger
03:12
would then characterize the population
03:14
of that Island several hundred years
03:16
hence having nothing whatsoever to do
03:18
with the advantage of those traits just
03:20
the luck of the draw
03:21
who came first this can also happen in
03:24
population bottlenecks when an initially
03:26
large population is decreased because of
03:29
disease or warfare and the particular
03:34
traits of the people alive at a given
03:38
time who then are progenitors of the
03:40
ensuing populations if there's rapid
03:42
population growth can also influence the
03:44
genetic composition of the population
03:46
kind of like in if everyone is voted off
03:49
the island except a couple of people
03:51
then their traits will characterize the
03:54
population thereafter so CH H proposed
03:59
four lines of evidence against what is
04:01
probably the dominant hypothesis about
04:04
the origin of
04:06
common Ashkenazi genetic diseases namely
04:09
they are consequences of genetic drift
04:12
perhaps in a founder population perhaps
04:14
as the result of a bottleneck so the key
04:17
assumption in testing these two
04:19
hypotheses is the drift by definition
04:21
affects all genes equally what happens
04:24
to the neutral genes what happens to the
04:25
advantageous genes what happens to the
04:27
disadvantageous genes is something that
04:30
is not affected by definition by the
04:34
process of drift so their first argument
04:37
is that Ashkenazim do not have less
04:40
overall hetero zygosity than much larger
04:44
neighboring populations such as Russians
04:46
or mixed Europeans so the idea is that
04:49
if your population your ancestors have
04:52
gone through a population bottleneck a
04:54
lot of the genetic variation that
04:56
existed beforehand will be lost that
05:00
therefore as the population rebounds the
05:03
smaller number of genes that were around
05:06
during the bottleneck will have many
05:09
many copies but many copies of a smaller
05:12
number of different variants therefore
05:15
it's going to be more likely that two
05:17
identical variants will find each other
05:19
from a father and a mother and therefore
05:22
if a population has undergone a
05:24
bottleneck you'll have less hetero
05:26
zygosity the claim is that Ashkenazi
05:30
Jews do not have that reduced hetero
05:32
zygosity compared to much larger
05:34
populations therefore they have not
05:36
undergone a population bottleneck and
05:39
the control would be small populations
05:41
like the Samaritans where they're so
05:44
small but you really would expect
05:45
genetic drift to increase to sorry to
05:47
decrease hetero zygosity and indeed in
05:50
ch ages analysis they do have less
05:52
hetero zygosity so it's not as if the
05:54
method is insensitive to these effects
05:57
were they to occur the second argument
05:59
is that Ashkenazi neutral genes are as a
06:04
statistical aggregate close to those of
06:07
mixed Europeans and are as different
06:10
from similar to mixed Europeans as the
06:12
Russians
06:14
sample is and they claim as the result
06:17
of some fairly complex simulations that
06:20
this is not compatible with a bottleneck
06:22
leading to a high frequency of
06:24
deleterious mutations in Ashkenazi
06:26
populations that a gene that that does
06:30
not that that hurts you as of course a
06:32
gene like Tay Sachs would is unlikely to
06:35
have reached a frequency of say 2% if
06:39
there was given what we know about how
06:41
similar Jews are to neighboring
06:44
populations
06:45
I should add though that tests for this
06:48
is my own editorial comment the test
06:49
both for and against bottlenecks from an
06:52
outsider's perspective do seem to be
06:54
sensitive to initial assumptions and I
06:56
could go either way
06:57
and that this is going to be a matter of
06:59
controversy between CH h and their
07:02
critics for for some years to come the
07:05
main argument though is that Ashkenazi
07:07
genetic diseases cluster in a small
07:10
number of metabolic pathways that is
07:12
disease-causing genes scattered across
07:15
the genome in different parts of the
07:17
chromosome or in different chromosomes
07:19
by an amazing coincidence cause diseases
07:22
in the same chain of biochemical events
07:25
and hence lead to similar or diseases of
07:29
disorders of the same metabolic pathway
07:32
moreover that for a number of these
07:35
individual diseases a number of
07:37
different genes have arisen in Ashkenazi
07:40
populations that all lead to that
07:42
disease and that this is unlikely to
07:44
have occurred through chance that the if
07:48
there's a common denominator of a single
07:51
set of chain of biochemical events and
07:53
all the disease genes or a lot of them
07:55
seem to affect that pathway it's it
07:57
argues that it wasn't just the luck of
07:59
the draw of where you were on the
08:01
chromosome that determines their cause
08:04
to G's a gene variant to arise but
08:07
because they all had a converging effect
08:10
on a given metabolic process so an
08:13
analogy is that we know that in regions
08:17
of the world that
08:18
were host to malaria over the last few
08:21
thousand years a number of different
08:23
genetic diseases arose all of them
08:25
involving he became a globin which is
08:27
the molecule that the malaria parasite
08:29
likes to latch on to and so very
08:33
different genes that all affected
08:35
hemoglobin all led to variants that
08:37
conferred malaria resistance so the best
08:41
examples in the case of the Ashkenazim
08:43
were the sphingolipid storage disorders
08:45
bingo lipid means stinks like fat it's
08:49
found in cell membranes and also found
08:52
in the myelin sheath in neurons you've
08:55
all heard the difference between gray
08:57
matter and white matter in the brain
08:58
white matter is white because there is a
09:01
fatty sheath that insulates the axons
09:04
and allows neural impulses to travel
09:06
more efficiently sphingolipids are one
09:08
of the major components of that fatty
09:11
sheath it happens that in four of the
09:14
diseases that disproportionately affect
09:18
Ashkenazim tay-sachs Gosha niemann-pick
09:21
and mucolipin-1
09:26
single lipid gets stored leading to
09:29
malfunction even though genetically
09:31
they're very heterogeneous a second
09:34
cluster are in diseases of DNA repair
09:37
when your DNA unzips and gets a
09:40
replicated often they'll be copying
09:43
errors there are complicated mechanisms
09:45
that repair those basically repair the
09:49
zipper when it breaks
09:51
they include brca1 brca2 Fanconi anemia
09:55
type C and Bloom syndrome all of them
09:58
involve disruptions to the to this DNA
10:01
repair mechanism in the case of brca1
10:04
the acronym comes from breast cancer and
10:07
these are diseases that predispose
10:09
people to to women to breast cancer but
10:12
all of since all of them affect the same
10:15
molecular pathway they argue that it's
10:18
unlikely that it was a coincidence that
10:20
all four of them four of these mutations
10:23
or set families of mutations should have
10:25
increased in frequency
10:26
the Ashkenazim now how do you know that
10:29
they're not just kind of cherry picking
10:31
diseases that happen to involve the same
10:35
metabolic pathway after the fact well in
10:37
order to get a more quantitative
10:40
estimate of it of this CH H examined a
10:44
functional genomic database that is a
10:46
database of all known human genes and
10:49
but more importantly what they do so
10:52
that genes that are involved in the same
10:54
metabolic processes are grouped together
10:56
they developed a computer simulation
10:59
that randomly and repeatedly sampled 21
11:02
genes from this database and they got a
11:04
distribution of how often you'd expect
11:07
randomly selected genes to be involved
11:09
in the same metabolic process they
11:12
claimed they estimated than the
11:14
likelihood under an assumption of random
11:16
sampling that you would see the actual
11:18
clustering observed in the in these 21
11:21
in 21 Hodgkin as a disease genes that is
11:24
whether the probability of what the
11:26
probability is obtaining that degree of
11:28
clustering or greater degree of
11:29
clustering and the claim is that the
11:32
actual clustering is extremely
11:33
improbable hypothesis seven is probably
11:38
the most important which is that the
11:40
recessive disease genes tay-sachs for
11:42
example should boost intelligence in the
11:44
heterozygotes in the carriers and for
11:48
similar reasons the dominant disease
11:50
genes such as torsion dystonia should
11:52
boost intelligence in the
11:54
non-penetrating bearers well the there
11:58
is an alternative hypothesis that even
12:00
if you accept the hypothesis 6 that
12:03
these that there was a history of
12:06
selection rather than direct as an
12:08
explanation for the prevalence of these
12:09
genes they may have been selected for
12:11
something else such as resistance to
12:13
infectious disease and indeed CH h know
12:16
that some diseases common to Jews such
12:19
as cystic fibrosis almost certainly were
12:21
defenses against infectious diseases
12:24
perhaps cholera perhaps typhoid they
12:27
argue however that for most of the
12:29
Ashkenazi mutations there's no evidence
12:31
that they have any conceivable purpose
12:34
in resistance to infection
12:35
moreover the European neighbors of the
12:38
Ashkenazim suffered from the same
12:40
infectious diseases but don't have those
12:42
mutations they argue that the
12:45
sphingolipids storage diseases might be
12:47
a byproduct of the fact that a
12:49
moderately increased availability of
12:52
single lipids might increase well is
12:54
known in vitro to increase the growth of
12:57
axons that is the output fibers of
12:59
neurons or brain cells and can also
13:03
increase the growth of dendrites that is
13:06
the input branches in brain cells and
13:11
this is different sphingolipids has been
13:12
shown to have this effect in studies of
13:15
the brain development in mammals that
13:19
the brca1 gene based on complicated
13:23
statistical tests can be shown to be a
13:24
product of recent selection and they
13:27
speculate based on it's the role of the
13:30
normal version of the gene that it might
13:32
favor in the proliferation of neurons
13:34
early and brain development and it must
13:37
be noted that these are based in
13:39
experiments on rodents they're often in
13:43
vitro that is the growth of neurons in
13:46
experimental preparations the relevance
13:49
of this to human IQ is needles to say
13:51
highly speculative what about IQ in
13:54
humans that would be the more direct
13:56
test or they cite for phenomena one of
13:59
them is that a number of studies of
14:01
torsion dystonia show a 10-point IQ
14:05
advantage over the controls torsion
14:06
dystonia is a disease of uncontrollable
14:09
muscle spasms that often leads its
14:12
sufferers to spend their lives in a
14:14
wheelchair but people who have the gene
14:17
but not the disease of according to a
14:20
number of studies have elevated IQ
14:21
although I must say the samples are
14:23
rather small that in non-classical
14:26
congenital adrenal hyperplasia where
14:28
your adrenal gland produces too many too
14:33
high a dose of hormones seven studies
14:36
show higher IQ in the people who have
14:39
the mild forms of the disease and then
14:41
in Gaucher patients in Israel where
14:43
because of the National
14:45
health care system there can be an
14:46
exhaustive collection of all of these
14:48
sufferers of the disease they found 15%
14:52
of the sufferers were either scientists
14:54
or engineers compared to no more than 2%
14:56
in the population and 32%

PINKER 4


00:00
and were in high IQ demanding
00:01
professions compared to again a much
00:03
lower base rate in the population so
00:06
these were sufferers and I believe
00:07
they're actually these are actually
00:09
patients not their relatives so the
00:12
evidence that Ashkenazi disease disease
00:14
Jesus boosts intelligence is I would say
00:16
at present quite iffy on the other hand
00:20
it is a highly testable hypothesis and
00:23
all you have to do is compare the IQ of
00:26
siblings where one of them possesses the
00:30
deleterious gene namely as a carrier
00:32
another one lacks the deleterious gene
00:35
and the prediction is that carriers
00:37
should have a higher IQ now this it
00:41
would be straightforward to do and I
00:43
think by the criterion that a good
00:46
scientific theory is one that offers
00:47
instructions as to how to prove it false
00:49
by that criterion the this claim even
00:54
though it's crucial and as yet only
00:55
sketchy supported is a good example of
00:59
falsifiable science so in some I think
01:02
there's reasonable prima facie evidence
01:04
for each of these seven component
01:05
hypotheses however all of them would
01:08
have to be true for the overall CH H
01:10
theory to be true some are
01:12
circumstantial and the most important
01:14
hypothesis namely the IQ boost of
01:16
disease genes has the least evidence
01:19
nonetheless the theory is highly
01:21
testable and therefore deserves to be
01:23
taken seriously well
01:27
this is the question that I think occurs
01:29
to most people when they hear about this
01:31
study as everyone's grandmother said so
01:34
tell me is this good for the Jews or is
01:36
it not so good for the Jews
01:37
well one interpretation is that it is
01:40
good for the Jews that Jewish
01:42
achievement is not itself controversial
01:46
or hidden or a secret it's obvious to
01:48
anyone with eyes the only issue in the
01:51
population at large as what is its cause
01:53
the idea that Jews are so successful
01:56
because on average there have a higher
01:59
represent representation of intelligent
02:01
people is a more palatable hypothesis
02:05
than most of the other ones that are out
02:06
there such as that the concentration of
02:09
Jews in the influential positions as a
02:11
result of some conspiracy or as a result
02:13
of traits like ruthlessness aggression
02:16
and so on and indeed this kind of
02:19
analysis could be part of an antidote to
02:21
the widespread hatred of middle men
02:23
minorities in general that throughout
02:25
the world
02:25
not just in the case of the Jews but
02:27
other minorities that are specialized in
02:29
money lending being merchants and so on
02:32
such as the Armenians in the Ottoman
02:34
Empire the overseas Chinese in Malaysia
02:37
the Indians in Africa and so on have
02:40
also been targets of persecution partly
02:42
because the middleman niche is one
02:45
that's I think rather difficult for the
02:47
untutored mind to grasp middlemen
02:50
moneylenders and retailers don't make
02:54
stuff they're not like farmers or
02:56
craftsmen where they cause useful things
02:58
to come into being all they do is they
03:00
move them around in space in the case of
03:02
retailing or move them around in time in
03:04
the case of money lending to many
03:06
peoples this has as a Hayek put at the
03:09
stench of sorcery and middlemen have
03:13
commonly been singled out as parasites
03:15
and bloodsuckers and have therefore been
03:19
the target of expulsion and genocides
03:22
perhaps a more sophisticated
03:25
understanding of what it takes to be a
03:27
middleman and the necessity of middleman
03:29
in world economies could be a antidote
03:32
to this widespread hatred and indeed
03:35
some public Jewish figures such as a
03:39
Foxman head of the anti-defamation
03:41
league was quoted in the article in New
03:44
York Magazine as having no problem at
03:46
all with this finding on the other hand
03:50
it's not so innocuous either I think no
03:54
one is terribly offended by the idea
03:56
that they come from a group with a
03:57
higher than average intelligence but
03:59
what if you start looking at personality
04:01
traits we know that personality traits
04:04
can be measured that within a population
04:07
they're highly heritable although again
04:09
that doesn't say that there that
04:10
differences between populations are
04:12
necessarily heritable we know that there
04:15
are small statistical differences
04:16
between ethnic groups again not
04:18
necessarily genetic but the question
04:21
could be asked was there selection for
04:22
Ashkenazi personality traits that were
04:25
conducive to success in financial
04:27
managerial and entrepreneurial niches
04:29
and I'll leave it to your imagination
04:30
what those traits might be and indeed
04:34
how would a finding like this I actually
04:37
doubt that this will happen but if it
04:40
were to happen how would this be
04:42
interpreted for example in Cairo or
04:45
Kuala Lumpur or the suburbs of Paris
04:49
also it opens the door to possible
04:53
emphasis of Ashkenazi Sephardic
04:55
differences the article by CH H was
04:59
about Ashkenazi intelligence and in I
05:02
asked Cochrane about what the
05:05
predictions are with regard to Sophie
05:07
safar demand he said that it probably
05:09
the similar story would apply although
05:11
not as cleanly not with as much strength
05:15
and of course this has implications for
05:17
the status of civil harmony in Israel
05:20
for example and of course once you open
05:22
the door to any group differences being
05:25
examined in terms of their possible
05:26
genetic causes you get to far more
05:29
politically fraught issues such as the
05:32
source of the
05:33
difference in IQ scores between African
05:36
American and European American
05:37
populations and so not surprisingly they
05:41
were off they're also been some
05:42
denunciations of the CH H study it was
05:44
caught and called bad science as having
05:47
no positive impact and I call the study
05:50
if I didn't feel its idea we're
05:52
so insulting all of them you can find in
05:55
the New York Magazine article I think
05:57
this is part of a larger repugnance
05:59
among intellectuals to any genetic
06:01
explanation of anything I've written a
06:04
book on this topic the blank slate the
06:07
modern denial of human nature now the
06:09
idea that any aspect of human talent or
06:11
temperament has any biological basis has
06:14
often been seen as politically and
06:16
morally and emotionally incendiary in
06:18
most of the 20th century and in the book
06:21
I tried to analyze how one can
06:25
sensitively deal with discoveries of a
06:29
biological basis of human personality
06:31
and intelligence including possible
06:34
discoveries of other genetics of group
06:35
differences I think it's safe to say
06:38
that the current approach at least the
06:40
approach for in recent decades was to
06:42
deny the existence of intelligence I
06:44
mentioned the miss measure of man as the
06:46
foremost example to deny the existence
06:49
of genetically distinct human groups
06:51
there is a widespread myth that there is
06:53
no such thing as race whatsoever that
06:57
there are that it's purely a social
07:00
construction and to call the people who
07:02
don't do this Nazis but on the other
07:06
hand there is a quotation I don't know
07:09
who's responsible for it
07:10
reality is what refuses to go away when
07:12
I stop believing in it that in a way it
07:15
doesn't matter whether what our
07:18
emotional reaction is to various
07:20
findings they are what they are and
07:22
they're going to stay that way
07:23
regardless of whether we think that it's
07:25
good for the Jews or good for anything
07:27
else or not the truth cannot be
07:30
anti-semitic the it's crucial I think in
07:35
thinking through these issues that we
07:36
distinguish between the concept of
07:38
fairness and the
07:39
of sameness when the Declaration of
07:42
Independence said we hold these truths
07:44
to be self-evident that all men are
07:45
created equal it was not saying we hold
07:48
these truths to be self-evident that all
07:50
men are clones rather a commitment to
07:53
political equality is a policy
07:55
prohibiting discrimination against
07:57
individuals based on statistical
08:00
averages of certain groups that they
08:02
belong to such as their race ethnicity
08:04
or sex and by aiming policies at
08:07
individuals rather than groups it
08:09
doesn't matter what the statistics of
08:11
the groups do or don't turn out to be in
08:13
terms of your implementation of
08:15
political equality well granted that it
08:19
makes no sense to legislate a priori
08:22
what a an empirical result ought to be
08:24
one could still suggest that perhaps we
08:28
shouldn't go there that perhaps this
08:29
question shouldn't be asked if we're not
08:32
prepared to accept some of the possible
08:34
answers and one could imagine that broke
08:38
restricting this kind of research
08:40
because of its possible socially harmful
08:42
consequences as we do say in the case of
08:45
protection of human subjects in
08:46
biomedical research safeguards of
08:49
patient confidentiality and the
08:51
moratorium excuse me of on recombinant
08:54
DNA research in the 1970s the problem is
08:57
the reason that I don't think we can do
08:59
that is first of all that they perceive
09:01
danger in this case does not come from
09:02
the activity of the research that is who
09:04
will be harmed by the actual conduct of
09:07
the research but by the content of the
09:09
ideas and that makes any kind of probe
09:13
prohibition I think quite dangerous
09:15
ideas are connected to other ideas and
09:18
any restriction based on content could
09:20
distort both freedom of inquiry and
09:22
indeed the entire intellectual landscape
09:24
and history is rife with examples where
09:28
empirical claims were thought to have
09:30
great moral import contrary ideas were
09:35
suppressed or punished and science and
09:39
indeed humankind suffered as a result
09:41
indeed there many positive reasons for
09:44
studying genes and groups genomic
09:46
medicine is the most obvious one
09:50
genetic diseases are horrible things
09:51
that's why there has been so much
09:54
attention to them both in Ashkenazim and
09:57
other groups and in understanding the
09:59
cause and possibly cure of a disease one
10:01
has to understand all of its causes and
10:04
consequences including population
10:06
concentration and possible effects on
10:08
the central nervous system genetic
10:11
studies have been a tremendously
10:13
exciting source of information on Jewish
10:15
history in prehistory it's been results
10:18
of genetic studies that have shown that
10:19
there indeed is a common root in the
10:21
Middle East of most excellent Jewish
10:23
populations and that there's a common Y
10:26
chromosome haplotype that is pattern of
10:28
adjacent genes among the Kohanim dating
10:31
back to the period of the probably the
10:34
Second Temple and therefore giving
10:36
genetic support to the idea that
10:38
priestly status among Jewish men was
10:41
conferred along the paternal line and
10:43
there are many other absolutely
10:44
fascinating discoveries about Jewish
10:46
history that we can expect thanks to
10:49
these techniques it also helps us with a
10:51
history of under documented regions the
10:54
Africa the Americas Oceania Australia
10:58
where because of the absence of written
11:00
records were enormous ly ignorant of how
11:02
the people got there and when and under
11:06
what circumstances the deep prehistory
11:09
of all of humankind before they were
11:11
written records how did the Europeans
11:14
get to Europe how do the Japanese get to
11:16
Japan
11:17
how do why do we find peoples the way
11:19
they are how did languages diversify
11:21
which are opened up to us by study of
11:24
genetic differences among groups
11:27
genealogy is another Vista that has been
11:31
opened up by genetic studies indeed some
11:33
of the most avid consumers of genomic
11:36
analyses are America are
11:37
african-americans who pursuing the new
11:40
roots have their DNA sequenced in order
11:44
to trace their ancestry back to
11:45
particular regions in Africa
11:47
a long sought after substitute to the
11:52
tragic obliteration of any historical
11:55
record of their genealogies and also of
11:57
course doing studies of genetic
12:01
similarities and differences among
12:03
groups could disprove some claims about
12:05
invidious group differences and
12:07
therefore help rather than hurt public
12:10
perceptions of differences between
12:12
groups so I'm going to end with a final
12:14
some final thoughts on the genomic
12:16
revolution what has been wrought by the
12:19
publication of the sequence of the human
12:21
genome in 2000 and its various
12:23
consequences there's been an enormous
12:25
amount of hand wringing over what we can
12:28
expect from the revolution in human
12:30
genomics it was the impetus for for
12:34
example for the presidential Council on
12:36
bioethics in which the two most commonly
12:39
cited fears are the possibility of
12:42
cloning and the possibility of human
12:44
genetic enhancement so-called designer
12:46
babies putting genes for intelligence
12:50
musical or athletic ability into your
12:52
unborn child
12:53
I actually think these fears are
12:56
misbegotten clones are just twins and I
12:59
think once people realize what cloning
13:01
is namely it's a way of having an
13:02
identical twin as your child instead of
13:05
some other child that you might have had
13:06
and it's not a form of resurrection I
13:08
don't think that many people will would
13:10
opt for it even if it were available and
13:12
indeed if see HHR right genetic
13:15
enhancement will be extraordinarily
13:17
difficult and I predict that it will not
13:19
happen in our lifetimes if ever simply
13:22
because genes with large effects on IQ
13:24
are also likely to have deleterious side
13:27
effects we know that there are well we
13:30
have reason to believe their genes that
13:31
enhance intelligence for example the
13:33
torsion dystonia gene if you put it in
13:35
your child there it would give the child
13:37
a 10% sorry 10 point IQ boost it would
13:41
also give your child a 10% chance of
13:43
spending his or her life in a wheelchair
13:45
with uncontrollable muscle spasms I
13:47
think that's the kind of choice that
13:49
parents are going to have
13:51
enhancement and I think that will
13:52
probably stop it in its tracks I think
13:55
what the most fraud outcome of the
13:57
genomic revolution is going to be is not
13:58
cloning and not designer babies but
14:01
rather the power to uncover possible
14:03
genetic and evolutionary causes of some
14:05
group differences and that the current
14:07
intellectual world is ill-prepared to
14:09
deal with this prospect thank you very
14:11
much
14:12
[Applause]