It’s a tough job to do on your own.

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Discussion (65)¬

  1. Smee says:

    Momentum will stop him!

  2. Tomas says:

    Wow, the email started working again! Haven’t seen a comic here in a looong time! (I do get them through Patreon).

  3. zachw says:

    Jesus saves. Moses invests.

  4. DocAthiest says:

    Author, thank you.

    Zachw, that joke is based on an antisemitic trope.

  5. Pengchau69 says:

    Given Mo’s previous comments about Judaism wasn’t he being somewhat hypocritical anyway.
    Also, the correct term is anti-Zionism or anti-Judaism as all Semites are not Jewish. Sadly the Zionists have hijacked the term, aided by compliant apologists.

  6. M27Holts says:

    I am anti-anybody who thinks its a good and moral or necessary thing to mutilate an infants genitals without a clinical reason for doing so. If you want to mutilate anybody, do it to yourself when you are old enough to make a sensible decision….if that makes me anti-anything I’ll be a descendant of a common ancestor with any living thing you like…if you go back in time long enough….

  7. Anonymous says:

    Author – panel 2, spelling of “exaggerated”…

  8. Pengchau69 says:

    @M27Holts, not to mention sucking on babies’ willies!

  9. Succubus ov Satan says:

    J & M discussing anti-semitism is on a par with the tories discussing child poverty

  10. Author says:

    Thanks, Anonymous. Fixed.

  11. Laripu says:

    Pengchau69, better terms are “hatred of Jews” or “Jew hate”.

    It mostly shows nowadays by people identifying some trait or aspect that many Jews share; they use that aspect as the thing to hate. Then they can think “I don’t hate Jews, I hate this thing that they do.” They can hate Jews without feeling bad about themselves for it. That can continue the old tradition hatred while pretending they don’t.

    The overwhelming majority of Jews (including atheists) believe that Israel should continue to be a country for Jews in exactly the same way that Italy is a country for Italians and France is a country for the French. That means: the overwhelming majority of Jews are Zionists. Especially the many generations that have been born and lived their entire lives in Israel, their only country.

    Then it’s “I don’t hate Jews, I hate Zionists.” (That is, 95% of Jews.)

    The overwhelming majority of Jews circumcise male children. Even those that are atheists (like my father was) do this as a cultural expression.

    Then it’s “I don’t hate Jews, I hate circumcision. I hate what Jews do to male children.” Never mind that almost no Jews care that this was done to them. Jews rarely perceive this as a cause for complaint, so those who rail against it aren’t doing that out of concern for the “victims”.

    Jews that follow the religion’s kosher rules eat animals that have been slaughtered according to those rules.

    Then it’s “I don’t hate Jews, I hate the way they kill cows.” Then it’s “my way of killing cows is much more humane than their way of killing cows”, as a reason for Jew hatred.

    Jews succeed at a greater rate than the general populations around them. That comes from 2000 years of unnatural selection, during which the stupidest ones were culled by making their lives more difficult, sometimes impossible. For 100 generations, the only means of earning a living, the kind of living that would make it likely that your children would survive, were those requiring numeracy, literacy, multi-lingual ability and prescience. If you raise the average IQ of a group by one tenth of one percent per generation … for 100 generations … by social pressure that preferentially kills off the stupidest ones… Then it’s exponential: 1.001^100. You do the math, see the result.

    Then it’s “I don’t hate Jews, I hate that they’re controlling medicine or the legal system or Hollywood or television or culture (choose the field).

    Then they choose one or two Jews to like, as evidence that they don’t really really really hate Jews. (Just almost all of them.)

    Then it’s “I don’t hate all Jews. See: I like Leonard Cohen / Albert Einstein / Lenny Bruce / Yehudi Menuhin”.

    The nuts that believe Jews “manipulate the levers of global power” are fringe. They’re only relevant when they shoot up an undefended Jewish kindergarten or community center. Their existence lets you think you don’t hate Jews because “I’m not like that, I don’t kill Jews with an AK-47”.

    The problem is exemplified everywhere because it is deeply embedded in global cultures and traditions. Smarter people are just better at calling it something else. But it’s still Jew hatred. It always has been.

  12. Author says:

    Excellent comment, Laripu. I’d just add that antisemitism does indeed mean “Jew hate”. It was coined in the 19C by a Jew-hater by the name of Willhelm Marr because he wanted to give “Jew hate” a more sciencey sounding name. It is an inaccurate neologism, but it means what it was meant to mean.

  13. Martin says:

    Fair comment, Laripu.

    But still, I’d like to see people actually use the word to mean “Jew-hater” rather than “You have a different opinion to me.” I don’t think Emma Watson posting “Solidarity is a verb” with a Palestinian banner is actually antisemitic, even if Danny Danon says it is.

    Similarly, it ought to be possible to criticise Israel foreign policy without being accused of antisemitism. But the assumption is automatically made that if you’re criticising Israel, you are criticising Jews and hence – surprise! – you’re accused of antisemitism.

    It ought even to be possible to criticise circumcision on moral grounds. After all, FGM is now considered to be beyond the pale, even though it is usually done as a cultural expression. Is it not at least possible that some time, in the future, a similar argument might be made against circumcision? And just because it’s got years of culture behind it, and the vast majority of Jewish (and Muslim) men have had it done, and have no objection – in fact, encourage it – doesn’t change the fact that I, personally, find it hard to comprehend how anyone could allow this to be done to their new-born son. I do NOT accept that this makes me an anti-semite.

    Two of my daughters are vegetarian. They really disapprove of meat-eating, on moral grounds. But I don’t think that they hate all meat-eaters – which is fortunate, as I eat meat.

  14. Son of Glenner says:

    Laripu, Martin: Please note that there are such people as Jews opposed to infant circumcision. I don’t know how to create links, but it is very easy to find online material relating to persons who are proudly Jewish, whether religious or secular, but are opposed to the circumcision of unconsenting infants (and, of course, FGM) while accepting the right of adults to undergo the procedure by their own choice. I have seen a document, from such an organisation, approvingly adressed to the governing body of Iceland when it made infant circumcision illegal in Iceland some years ago. Try googling “Jews Against Circumcision”.

    I was interested to read Laripu’s Darwinian explanation of why Jews are disproportionately successful and influential. It makes a lot more sense than the belief that The Jews are God’s Chosen People!

  15. Dave says:

    zachw: But only Buddha gets a good return.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Martin and Son of Glenner,

    There is no problem with criticizing Jews, or things Jews do etc. Plenty of Jews (myself included) criticize Israeli policy. And plenty of Jews (myself included) think that Palestinians should have self rule, or possibly a country of their own. However… I think nearly 100% of Jews would not consent to being under majority rule from Palestinians, or Arabs, or Muslims, or people of those cultures. Jewish Israeli culture is a mix of cultures: genetic Middle Eastern, European, Russian, American, English, French etc. They will not accede to being “dhimmi”. Would you?

    Certainly there are Jews against circumcision. There are Jews who are against Israel. There are Jews that have any opinion you can think of. You can find Jews, if you look hard enough, that think covid vaccines will enslave you via a microchip from Bill Gates. Tiny minorities are not representative.

    The overwhelming majority of Jews have their male children circumcised at 8 days old, usually in a hospital. When the male children grow up, the overwhelming majority don’t perceive it as a problem. Unlike those women who have been subjected to FGM, their orgasms (and mine!) are completely satisfying. They don’t want any redress for their lost foreskins. So if the “victims” don’t give a flying fuck about how _someone_ thinks they’ve been victimized, then who is being protected by opponents of circumcision?

    Being against circumcision doesn’t make you an antisemite. No-one forces circumcision on you or on any family. Advocating laws that forbid Jews from doing regular hospital-based circumcisions is unjust. It is usually done by people who would prefer not to have any Jews in their countries.

    The ultra-Orthodox custom of “metzitzah b’peh” is widely criticized by Jews, even by religious Jews. The number who actually practice it is a tiny minority of even the ultra-Orthodox, who are themselves a tiny and unrepresentative minority among Jews. See:

    I’m certain that modern Anglicans would not want to be criticized for the actions of the Spanish Inquisition, or of this now-dead Christian:

    I’ll write about your “Darwinian explanation” in more detail later. Right now, my German Catholic wife is about to put some yummy salmon in front of me. I’ve been drinking Canadian whisky, and must cover it with food. 🙂

  17. Laripu says:

    Sorry, forgot to put the name. That was me.

  18. Laripu says:

    The salmon was excellent! And now the “Darwinian explanation” for the outsized achievement of Jews in the western world:

    Every time something bad was done to Jews, it added to the group’s average intelligence.

    When the Temple was destroyed, the religion changed from a priest-based ritual religion to become one that required learning many rules. It needed literacy for all adherents, at a time when that was rare. Even literacy for women, which was when rarer.

    Survival was difficult, food was important and communities supported their rabbis, the ones who could best memorize and explain. (No matter that the bible was mostly nonsense, because the techniques of remembering, understanding, speaking, and writing were the important part.) The learned men ate better than others, married sturdier and more educated wives, and passed their genes on with slightly more frequency.

    When Jews were kicked out of one country after another, survival meant quickly learning new languages. So people with that aptitude passed on their genes with slightly greater frequency.

    When Jews were forbidden by European cultures from most professions beside money-lending, the skills of record-keeping and numeracy produced wealth; so Jews with those skills had better-fed, better-clothed and and better-sheltered children and passed their genes on with slightly greater frequency.

    Those who were kicked out of a country, sometimes saw the wisdom of mobility. Some of those could use linguistic talent, record-keeping and numeracy to become international traders; and those who could, again passed on their genes with slightly greater frequency.

    The downside: the ones without these talents died in ghettos of malnutrition, or in pogroms, or in lands where they couldn’t speak the language and couldn’t make a living. And didn’t pass their genes on as frequently.

    What two centuries of persecutions did, starting with a people that were already literate and respected literacy, was to make it difficult for unintelligent Jews to live and pass on their genes. Smart Jews passed on their genes with slightly greater frequency. Over 100 generations, it made a difference.

    We see that difference today in the Nobel prize tallies.

    Culture matters and is shaped very slowly. But a greater influence was the effect of the culling of the herd that the vicious European persecution afforded. It kept the numbers way down, but increased the characteristics that were selected for. Jews were unwittingly bred to be a small group with various different kinds of intelligence: literacy, numeracy, organization and linguistic skills. (Also political prescience: if you could figure out when the next pogrom was coming, you could leave before your family was killed. Clearly that was still a rare talent considering how many didn’t think of running away 85 years ago.)

    Jew-hating murderers made Jews, as a group, what they are.

  19. Pengchau69 says:

    @Laripu, a lot there.
    “hatred of Jews” or “Jew hate”. Ex`cfly what is a “Jew”.
    “The overwhelming majority of Jews (including atheists)” So is a Christian atheist a Christian? No.
    “Italy is a country for Italians and France is a country for the French.” Anyone who wants can be Italian or French so you are stating anyone can be a Jew?
    “That means: the overwhelming majority of Jews are Zionists.” Maybe, but what about the Semites whose lands they illegally occupied? And continue to annexe?
    “Especially the many generations that have been born and lived their entire lives in Israel, their only country.” See previous.
    Then it’s “I don’t hate Jews, I hate Zionists.” (That is, 95% of Jews.)” Having a homeland by persecuting others is untenable. It is like Putin trying to occupy Ukraine, same reasons. I have nothing against the state of Israel per se, just the ethos and actions of Zionist Israelis.

    “The overwhelming majority of Jews circumcise male children. Even those that are atheists (like my father was) do this as a cultural expression.” Rather a sad tradition the mutilation of babies and sucking their dicks. It is a Muslim cultural tradition as well. FGM is also a cultural tradition.

    “Jews that follow the religion’s kosher rules eat animals that have been slaughtered according to those rules.” You mean they pick and choose, please be honest.

    “Jews succeed at a greater rate than the general populations around them. That comes from 2000 years of unnatural selection,” Don’t be daft.

    “The nuts that believe Jews “manipulate the levers of global power” are fringe.” No they aren’t, they are mainstream.

    The problem is exemplified everywhere because it is deeply embedded in global cultures and traditions. Smarter people are just better at calling it something else. But it’s still Jew hatred. It always has been.” You seem intent on exacerbating the problem.

  20. Laripu says:

    Pengchau69, I won’t respond to everything, just to three things.

    You asked “what is a Jew”. I don’t think an exact definition is required. From what you wrote, you clearly have some idea. Being Jewish is not uniquely defined only by the religion. It has long been also a tribe, and a nationality. It can also be inherited, but only matrilineally. My father was an atheist, so am I, and I don’t attend any religious services. But I’m a native speaker of Yiddish, the European Jewish language that derived from German around 1000 years ago. I have a Jewish cultural background. Will you tell me that since I’m an atheist I cannot be “a real Jew” by some definition? 😀

    The second thing is that you said “Don’t be daft” in response to an explanation, using natural selection, of observable fact. Can you elucidate why you think that explanation was daft? I gave a more detailed explanation; perhaps you didn’t read that?

    Finally, I’d like to know more about why you think that people who believe that “Jews manipulate the levers of global power” are not fringe but mainstream.

  21. Pengchau69 says:

    @Laripu Cheers.
    “what is a Jew”. I don’t think an exact definition is required.” And therein lies a major problem with ““hatred of Jews” or “Jew hate”.” It means that people can play the persecution card and say it is anti-semitic, just like the TFG GOPer white supremacists et al try to play the persecution card. Why not use Israeli?

    “It has long been also a tribe” Tribes wasn’t it? Semitic ones, all of which were not Hebrew/Judean/Jewish, just Semites. But mainly a religion, as without the religion there was and isnothing, that is why there is Zionism.
    “and a nationality.” Only recently. Shouldn’t it be Judean (Yehudi)? Then we have to consider Abraham and Hebrew. After all, Judaism is an Abrahamic religion. So should the term be Hebrew?

    “It can also be inherited, but only matrilineally.” Indeed, but can one be a Jew and an atheist, as Jewish is generally accepted to be the religion and not a race?
    “But I’m a native speaker of Yiddish” You mean a Yid, as you would have been called in post war UK, if my memory serves me well?
    “Will you tell me that since I’m an atheist I cannot be “a real Jew” by some definition? 😀” Indeed I will.
    “Don’t be daft”. what you described was not in any way natural selection, it was a form of artificial selection, the discredited Lamarckian evolution type.

    “not fringe but mainstream.” Until relatively recently I believed there were fringe and mainstream but the last ten years have proved the fringe has taken over. Look at the USA as a prime example and the UK with Brexit and Al de Pf.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’m always impressed when someone who belongs to an oppressed minority disregards the rights of a minority within that minority…

  23. Son of Glenner says:

    Pengchau69: I don’t think you really understand the difference between Darwinian and Lamarckian concepts of evolution. Artificial selection in the likes of dog breeding was one of the things which inspired Darwin’s theory and Laripu’s account is a similar process. If Lamarck was right, persecution would have made individual Jews wiser within their own lifetime (although that is plausible!) and their offspring would, genetically, have inherited this improved wisdom, which is not the way genetics works (although Lamarck would not have known about Mendel’s experiments on genetics). The persecutors of Jews would certainly not be consciously selecting the “best” Jews for a breeding programme, but, as Laripu implies, they were doing so unintentionally.

  24. Pengchau69 says:

    @Son of Glenner
    “I don’t think you really understand the difference between Darwinian and Lamarckian concepts of evolution…. which is not the way genetics works” i.e. the traits, if there actually were any, would not be passed on.
    Thanks for proving me correct.

  25. Son of Glenner says:

    Pengchau69: SIGH! No-one is suggesting the inheritance of acquired characterists.

    Laripu’s point was that the “traits”, as you call them, which already existed in the genetic makeup of some Jews, increased the chances of survival of these individuals. By surviving, they were able to pass on these pre-existing “traits” to their offspring. Those who did not survive did not pass on any “traits”, good or bad, as they had no offspring.

  26. Son of Glenner says:

    “characterists” should be “characteristics”.

    I did not inherit the genes for perfect spelling, if indeed my parents had any!

  27. Son of Glenner [actually Pengchau69] says:

    SIGH! SIGH! Thanks for continuing to proving me correct.

  28. Laripu says:

    Son of Glenner, what you wrote is exactly what I mean.

    It has been shown that intelligence is highly heritable. Intelligent parents are more likely to have intelligent children.
    From that article: “Intelligence is highly heritable and predicts important educational, occupational and health outcomes better than any other trait.”

    If you kill off the stupidest people of a group with average IQ x, and you will get a smaller group with a slightly higher average IQ, x+ε.

    If you do this for 100 generations the size of the group will not increase as quickly as the size of the general population, but the average IQ will be greater, compared to the general population. E.g. Avg(1,2,3,4,5) =3, but Avg(2,3,4,5)=14/4=3.5.

    Forget intelligence for a moment. Take color in 1000 dogs. Allow them to breed. Imagine that every generation, you kill off the lightest colored 10% and their offspring. A dog pogrom, if you will. What do you think the dogs will look like after 100 generations? My guess: black.

    This would work for any heritable trait. You select for the heritable trait in a group by culling those in the group that least exemplify it, before they can breed.

    Now remember “Intelligence is highly heritable and predicts important educational, occupational and health outcomes better than any other trait.”

    So over the last 2000 years, there was relative rarity of intermarriage, together with the brutal treatment that Jews received in Europe. Then there was increased freedom and opportunity that Jews began to experience in some parts of Europe in the 1800s, which allowed them to participate. This is what gave rise to the outsized achievement of the last 150 years.

    I think this is a better explanation than either “chosen people” or “manipulating the levers of global power”. I don’t know any Jews that use “chosen people” except as a bitter joke, as in “chosen for special persecution”. (Shakespeare had it right in the Merchant: “hath not a Jew” etc)

    And I do think the belief that Jews conspiratorially manipulate society is a fringe belief. I’ve heard it only from the extreme right, the extreme left, and extreme Muslims. As with any extreme belief, it gets a forum on the internet, but it’s only about 35% that are attracted to such beliefs.

  29. M27Holts says:

    People who allow bits to be cut off their children should be presecuted. No ifs or buts…

  30. The real Son of Glenner says:

    All please note: I did not submit the remark under my name on April 8 at 11:48 pm. I presume it was from an unrepentant Pengchau69. See also Laripu’s following remarks at April 9, 7:04 am.

    M27Holts: In your comment at April 9, 9:12 am, does “presecuted” mean “persecuted” or “prosecuted”? They do not mean the same! You have inherited even fewer correct spelling genes than I have!

    Laripu: You are on shaky ground with your use of the term “IQ”. If you understand intelligence to be an absolute quality, trait, or whatever, your argument is sound.
    (Despite Pengchau69’s objections!) “IQ”, short for “Intelligence Quotient”, is a population-based measure of intelligence, with a high number of individuals around an average, so that, in your example, you should make it clear whether you mean the IQ of the general population or the IQ of the Jewish population.

    (Before anyone challenges my reference to “fewer correct spelling genes”, it’s meant to be a joke!)

  31. Laripu says:

    real Son of Glenner, who stole your identity? Can we judge by the SIGHS?

    real Son of Glenner, I use IQ as a measurable proxy for the kinds of intelligence that are being discussed here: memory, literacy, multi-lingual ability, logic, numeracy etc. I’m not talking about absolutes, only about statistical tendencies, so IQ is a good enough indication and has the benefit of being amenable to statistics. Again, not as an absolute, only as an indication. It tells you nothing about individuals, but it’s indicative when looking at populations.

    I do recognize that there are other kinds of intelligence that are also heritable to a degree, but that are neither measured by IQ nor were selected for in Europe.

    Here’s an example. As an ex-Canadian, I still love watching hockey. (Ice hockey of course. 🙂 ) The best players have a mental map of which players are on the ice and where they’re going to be, despite the chaos and speed of the game. They can sometimes make perfect blind passes to unchecked team members.

    This ability, to have moving 3-dimensional image in mind and extrapolate it mentally as a function of speed and the knowledge of your teammates, this ability also indicates a kind of intelligence and it isn’t demonstrated on IQ tests. It was not selected for in Europe, and Jews have it at levels similar to people in the general population; perhaps lower.

    M27Holts, suppose a country followed your advice and prosecuted people who circumcise their male children. The remedy would be either prison time or fines.

    I doubt it would be prison time. It would be easy to prove that the parents had no other defect of parenting except the circumcision of their male children. The country would not put children in orphanages for that. More importantly, the children would not grow up to be grateful for it.

    So the remedy would have to be fines. That would pretty much make Jews into “dhimmi”, where they would have to pay a circumcision tax. Or alternately, they’d simply leave the country and go where they were welcome.

    So those are the two real goals of prosecuting Jews for circumcision: to get money, or to get rid of them.

    Also, how would the authorities know about it? Jews who wanted to have their male children circumcised would do it privately, as it has been done for many generations. Would you force parents to bring their boys to the police to exhibit their penises? Would you have police stop Jewish boys on the street and make them drop their trousers? Would you force doctors to report it? When Jewish doctors refused to report it, would you no longer allow Jews to be doctors? For a “crime” that none of the “victims” have any complaint about?

    I’m curious: would you also prosecute parents who pierce the ears or noses of their small children? See

    What about abortion? In your moral framework, is it better or worse than circumcision?

  32. Laripu [Pengchau69] says:

    And I would also ask: how do the authorities know about female genital mutilation? Parents who want to have their female children genitally mutilated still do it privately, as it has been done for many generations. Would you force parents to bring their girls to the police to exhibit their vulvas? Would you have police stop girls on the street and make them lift their skirts? Would you force doctors from those communities to report it? When they refused to report it, would you no longer allow them to be doctors? For a crime that many of the victims have no complaint about, because they have been indoctrinated since childhood?

  33. Author says:

    Just to note that it was indeed Pengchau69 who pretended to be Son of Glenner a few comments ago. He has now been permanently banned.

  34. Son of Glenner says:

    Author: I presumed the hijacking of my moniker was due to keyboard accident or incompetence rather than a banning offence, but I do not challenge your reaction.

  35. Choirboy says:

    Laripu, it sounds a bit like a claim to ‘chosen race’ status by other means. To describe the process of natural selection doesn’t mean it applies only to a single group of people who are clearly not the only group historically to be persecuted.
    I suppose the suggestion that only the stupid ones were culled to allow the intelligent to thrive could be supported by the fact that six million were stupid enough not to imagine the unimaginable or to be in no position to flee even if they wanted to while the brightest survived to produce all those Nobel laureates.
    As the owner of a perfectly intact and healthy prepuce I am very pleased that my parents chose not express their love for me by hacking it off without my permission.
    What a surprise that those whose whole life has been spent without one don’t miss it or waste time and energy complaining. I wonder how many who are so pleased to be without it would opt to lose it as adults.
    Attacks on the physical integrity of babes in no position to give their permission is simply actual bodily harm and might be treated as such were it not for the claptrap of ‘respecting religious beliefs’. For that reason, yes parents who make holes anywhere in their kids before the age of consent should be prosecuted.
    It’s an interesting idea that laws to impose civilised behaviour shouldn’t be adopted because they might be difficult to implement. We could certainly save a few bob on police forces if that were pursued more widely. Abortion is a red herring.

  36. Laripu says:

    Author, he has also impersonated me, in the post immediately above yours. It is serious rudeness.

  37. Laripu says:

    Son of Glenner, I’m not as charitable. He has impersonated you and then impersonated me. Once might conceivably be a keyboard accident. Twice with different names? That’s intentional.

    Furthermore, Pengthing’s comparisons of male circumcision with FGM are like comparing firecrackers to hand grenades. Such a comparison is dishonest.

    Here is a website that is against male circumcision, yet agrees that the two are not in any way comparable.

    Furthermore, suppose it really was illegal in some country. For arguments sake, let’s say the US or UK. Children born to US or UK parents outside the parents’ country are still citizens of the country of their parents. Jewish parents who wanted to legally circumcise their male babies would simply travel to Israel some number of weeks before birth, give birth, have the circumcision done in a hospital 8 days later, and then return when everyone felt up to it. Israel would love that kind of tourism.

    I’m certain that if there were laws that required returning citizens to prove that a harmless procedure had not been done, in a country where it was legal, the motivation would be for only one purpose. And that’s not to protect eight day old boys.

    Choirboy, it is not at all like “chosen people” claim. It is an attempt to explain the outsized achievement of Jews of European origin. Firstly that’s real and there are statistics to prove it. Secondly, that statistical level of achievement is used to justify claims that a Jews control . Because if they didn’t control entertainment, then why are so many entertainers Jews? If they didn’t control medicine then why are so many Jews doctors. Then the legal profession, then finance then then then…

    Either the nutcase claims about Jews secretly controlling every damn thing are true (in which case I want my cut!) or there’s another reason. Mine is that 2000 years of selective persecution did it. Do you have a better one?

  38. Choirboy says:

    Laripu, because of the diaspora and the long established idea of ‘the wandering Jew’ and the possibly natural resistance of local people to strange outsiders, Jewish people have a cabalistic tribal (sic) attitude which is often absent from other groups.
    While the C of E has all but withered here, with churches turned into carpet showrooms or pubs, synagogues (and mosques) thrive. There remains a supportive social link in both those groups which have faded elsewhere. I was surprised when the prominent genealogist Professor Robert Winston declared that a vital element of his life was his synagogue, having not even been aware that he was Jewish.
    It has become something of a sitcom cliché that a Jewish mother (and Indian) wants her daughter to marry a doctor – for obvious reasons.
    My mother and eldest sister (rest their souls), born in 1904 and 1925 were extremely intelligent but respectively left school at 14 and having passed the examination for grammar school, couldn’t go because of the cost and the ‘no point in educating a girl’ attitude. This was entirely down to entrenched low expectations in the working class and absolutely nothing to do with ‘IQ’. Under different circumstances I am sure they both could have achieved success in the medical, legal or any other profession.
    The pernicious divisions in our education system constrained ambition for far too long and I’ve lost count of the successful people ( Alan Bennett?) who declare that they are the first people in their family to gain a degree and access to hitherto closed areas of opportunity ( me too). The recent black woman appointed to the Supreme Court is the descendant of slaves. I wonder how many of them had the necessary IQ to have achieved the same under different circumstances.
    Look at the present make up of our benighted government (UK) and maintain that high IQ is a prerequisite of success.
    I suggest that being in a close and supportive ‘tribe’ within a perceived alien ( and maybe genuinely unfriendly) environment contributes to an urgency to succeed which is missing among the wider population for various reasons. ‘IQ’ has nothing to do with it.
    ‘Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste it’s sweetness on the desert air’

  39. Choirboy says:


  40. Laripu says:

    Choirboy, you kind of misquoted me. I did not write “that high IQ is a prerequisite of success”, as you challenged me to maintain.

    I quoted fun an article that “Intelligence is highly heritable and predicts important educational, occupational and health outcomes better than any other trait.”

    Meaning: if you have two random groups of 100,000 people each, and group A has significantly higher average intelligence than group B, assuming the same standard deviation, then the number of people in group A with at least comfortable middle-class lives will be greater than the number from group B. And the difference will be statistically significant, not just luck.

    That’s what “predicts” means in this context; statistical, not determinative.

    Since intelligence isn’t a prerequisite and not determinative, there will also be plenty of very intelligent and uneducated poor people (like my father) and plenty of rich people of easily apparent dimness (some of whom could become president).

    Luck and family are also a factor, but large populations tend to equalize those factors between groups.

  41. Anonymous says:

    That should have been “from an article”, not “fun an article”. This hasn’t been fun. 😀

  42. Laripu says:

    Sorry, forgot the name again!

  43. jb says:

    It is well established that all psychological traits, including intelligence, are at least 50% heritable — more precisely; genes explain at least 50% of the variation between individuals. (In fact the estimates for intelligence range as high as 80%). This is only common sense: how else could humans have evolved high intelligence if intelligence were not influence by genes?

    The extraordinary high accomplishment of Ashkenazi Jews is also impossible to deny, and seems consistent with the fact (also well established) that on average their measured IQ is 10 to 15 points higher than that of the general population. Efforts to characterize these facts as being due to culture seem very strained. Are Jews really raised that differently than other people? The Jews I know would disagree!

    So it is at least plausible — and I think quite likely — that Jews as a group have in fact been selected for high intelligence. Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending include a chapter on this in their book The 10,000 Year Explosion. Their explanation though is not 2,000 years of oppression. They believe instead that there was intense selection during a briefer period during the early middle ages, when the Jewish population was much smaller than it later became, and Jews were forbidden from owning and farming land. The only occupations open to them were low status occupations with high cognitive demands, like money lending and pawn brokering, and those who could not succeed in these fields either failed to reproduce themselves or converted to Christianity. It’s an interesting book — I recommend it.

    There is a problem though. As V. I. Lenin once pointed out: “He who says ‘A’ must say ‘B'”. Once you acknowledge the possibility that some groups are more intelligent than others you must also acknowledge the possibility that some groups are less intelligent than others, and once you have done that you have transgressed the most fiercely defended intellectual taboo in Western society, and risk becoming an “unemployable pariah”. Much safer to talk about something else…

  44. M27Holts says:

    SOG. I had about 9 pints before that post…its a wonder I got anywhere near the word prosecute. I am on holiday in lancashire a posh lodge with a hot tub….

  45. M27Holts says:

    Dawkins got himself in lot of trouble by highlighting Jewish success in science nobel prizes….and the MP Keith Joseph ruined his career when he hypothesised that lower class people tend to produce lots of more lower class peoples….a hypothesis that could surely be tested…

  46. Laripu says:

    jb, concerning becoming an unemployable pariah… luckily I’m 65, nearing retirement, and don’t express such opinions at work.

    I also hold the following belief: I believe that since plastics are endocrine disruptors, the increase in alternate sexual expressions since the 1950s is due to the prevalence of plastics in our food chain. (Not that they are a cause of LGBTQ+ expressions, but that they are a cause of the increase in LGBTQ+ expressions.)

    Here are some supporting links:

  47. Rrr says:

    Oh Laripu, now you have REALLY made yourself unemployable – to imply that sexual deviance is plastic in origin.
    Just kidding, of course!

    But a case can be made, and indeed has been made, for lead exposure (Pb from paints, leaded motor fuel, water pipes i.a.) causing deteriorating brain functionality and increasing aggressivity in half a century’s generation of Americans, in particular a particular former Potentate from Queens.

    Leaded fuel has been banned at last. Time to get rid of the gigantic plastic spills globally; that has dire consequences. Aluminium is a little bit suspect too, IMO. And don’t even mention Polonium! (Except possibly served in tea for another Potentate …)

  48. Choirboy says:

    All of this takes as read the reliability of IQ testing which is in no way indisputable.
    It is well known that certain populations are less likely to do well in them dependent upon cultural and environmental factors. (the Tsiname give no words to shapes and fail significantly)
    The first of the parameters listed for success in IQ tests is ‘motivation’ and scores can be improved ‘based on motivation and coaching’ (Piantosi) Even polygraphs can be beaten by the right motivation and training.
    While the Ashkenazi score well on maths and verbal problems their visuospatial scores are noticeably lower than average Europeans.
    Apparently the studies concerned were based on that comparatively small group of Jews but is being interpreted more widely. JB does it in the space of two sentences. Or perhaps he only knows Ashkenazi Jews.
    I failed the 11+, a pernicious test based on the IQ system and was separated from my peers and condemned to a Sec Mod school to become a hewer of wood or a fetcher of water and was hit with a stick every day. At the age of thirteen it was discovered that my genes apparently had improved and I was given another test and transferred to a Grammar school and given the honour of doing Latin but dropping woodwork. I later became a teacher of English for thirty odd years and managed IQ scores of 130. I take all of those results with an extremely large pinch of salt.
    My youngest sister (1939!) was convinced at eleven that grammar school was for snobs and was determined to go to the Sec Mod with her mates. Guess what. She did. I wonder why the first parameter is motivation. She went on to do well for herself of course and has a much bigger house and car than I have but go check the stats for those years and there’s the proof in black and white that we were both stupid. Lies, damn lies…..
    I was outnumbered at grammar school by middle class kids, many bussed in from posher parts of the city. I wonder if it was their superior genes or the private tuition that got them through the 11+. Look at the results of the ridiculous SATS today and we can only assume that the lower orders have severely limited IQs; until you attend a darts match in the local and see the ordinary working bloke who can tell you instantly all the combinations of singles, doubles and trebles to win from any current score – or the one with an encyclopaedic knowledge of every fact in the history of football. Move those skills to economics and Greek mythology and what a different picture you see.
    I find it interesting that in the area of evolution, where 10,000 years are referred to as ‘recent’ we see, over maybe ten to fifteen generations, sufficient selective genetic development to produce all those Nobel laureates. Even given the higher rate of cerebral growth it seems a bit much.
    What is even more remarkable is that this development was selective by gender, there being obviously significantly far fewer females in the list than men. You could almost think it had something to do with opportunity, environment and motivation rather than a few points on a dodgy IQ measurement.
    I spent most of my career trying to motivate clearly clever working class kids to break away from parental apathy or downright bloody mindedness. (Ee’s gooin’ darn t’pit!) in a way that was never needed with immigrant minorities who had nothing to take for granted. The owner of the local Indian restaurant at a parents’ evening was astounded at my lukewarm response to the idea that his rather dim son would become a doctor and even his impoverished compatriots had the same ambitions.
    The old nature/nurture is ever with us, isn’t it but in this case I would still opt for the latter predominating every time.

  49. M27Holts says:

    I wasn’t allowed to take the 11+ exam. It was scrapped two years before I could prove my worth…i was still in the top set at secondary modern and did latin and classical studies and had to read more “classic” Literature…I still twitch when anybody mentions Thomas Hardy….feckin Tess O’derby vills ruined my life…

  50. postdoggerel says:

    America’s Lament
    (with apologies to Shalom Auslander)

    There simply are no excuses
    For republican’s many abuses.
    In their ignorant bliss
    Beside the abyss,
    Standing on their prepuces.

  51. Donn says:

    Over here on the American west coast, it’s Asians who seem to be our intellectual superiors. At least they do better in school. At least, they did, until further immigration muddied that picture. Extremely unlikely to have any genetic element at all.

  52. Donn says:

    Specifically for Jews, I’d be concerned that the idea of a Jewish Übermensch is not a healthy antidote for anyone who’s really concerned that Jews are “manipulating the levers of global power.”

    If it were clearly true, that Jews are verifiably more intelligent in some way … but it isn’t clearly true, it’s more or less in the same league as Shockley’s theory that blacks were genetically inferior.

    Theories like that really deserve a lot of skepticism for two reasons. One is what we’ve been discussing above to some extent, the difficulty of measuring intelligence without really knowing what it is, the interdepence with environment, etc. Plus some possible misconceptions about the role of genetics in evolution.

    The other is that in practice, it’s irrelevant. Let’s say we had a theory that peaches harvested from the upper southwest branches of the tree were sweeter, by 2%. You’re in the grocery store, and as an adherent of this theory you’re delighted to see that the grocer has set aside a bin of upper southwest peaches, just for customers like yourself. At a somewhat higher price. Well, if customers like you really fall for that, you’re a bunch of suckers. Whether the theory is valid or not, it doesn’t in any way guarantee that the peach you buy will be 2% sweeter, if the range of sweetness between one peach and the next is far greater than that anyway. Even if you buy a handful of them to make a peach pie. You’re paying more for nothing. The same for people who look to the Jews for smart people – you’re getting snookered on a myth, even if there’s some statistical validity behind it.

  53. Son of Glenner says:

    Donn: It might be interesting to know what percentage of the commenters on the J&M strip identify as Jewish.

    Laripu for a start, and he gives several indications of his superior intelligence – say one tenth of one percent above average (on compound interest of course). Are there any others?

    I am not aware of any recent Jewish connection in my own family tree, but I do believe that Laripu and I share a common ancestor. (Not necessarily name of Adam of course!) However, I do not know when our ancestral lines diverged.

    However, whether or not we share a recent ancestor, I’d be happy to share a few pints (or drams) with Laripu at the old Cock & Bull pub. But without the company of impersonators of course!


    Son of Glenner – the original and still the best!

  54. Donn says:

    It’s kind of cruel to put him within one percent of average, the average being what it is.

    Among the people I speak to, where I would have some notion of their intelligence, I don’t find any sense that it’s a simple factor fits on a scale. One person for example whom I interact with a good deal depends heavily on others’ judgement and has a very undisciplined and unreliable reasoning faculty, but can process data much faster than I can, in real world situations, has a quick wit, and overall has a superior ability to know, if not what’s right, at least what’s good. Maybe I should have said “unrigorous” rather than undisciplined, because the latter suggests an environmental factor and I’m not sure it is … maybe? (And then, unfortunately, “unrigorous” apparently isn’t a word.) What if that lack of discipline has its source in the motivating emotional faculties, so intelligence here is to some degree dependent on emotional stability? We will never understand ourselves, I think – that will have to fall to some other intelligence that can perceive us objectively.

  55. Son of Glenner says:

    Donn: “It’s kind of cruel to put him within one percent of average, the average being what it is”

    But don’t forget the compound interest! – Every generation!

  56. Rrr says:

    Donn: Quite the maverick you are there, really sticking it to the sticklers!
    “unrigorous” apparently isn’t a word <- what a fast backtrack from a once revolutionary standpoint … 😉
    (runs & hides)

  57. M27Holts says:

    Donn…aren’t you drifting into the “all points of view” are equivalent lane? Clearly, peoples intelligence must be subject to methods of calculation that could be empirically tested. And skills attributable to brain chemistry and structure must be subjected to natural selective processes. So intelligence must be evolutionary? No?

  58. Donn says:

    “Clearly …” – I don’t know how to say any more clearly than I did, that what you’re saying is clear is not at all clear, or even likely true. We do not fully understand intelligence.

    The mechanics of Laripu’s proposed selection for intelligence make sense on a simple Mendelian level, but I’m just skeptical that this kind of pop science understanding of genetics and evolution really matches the reality. How many genes are involved here? Do the intelligent individual’s own offspring really benefit by having more offspring? Etc. I’m not an expert in this field.

  59. jb says:

    Donn — Will you at least acknowledge that this is an open question? That even if it’s not what you would hope to be true, attributing the high achievement of Jews — (as well as the differing average IQs of various other groups) — to genetics is a plausible hypothesis that a reasonable person might believe to be true, and that might actually be true? It certainly hasn’t been proven, and might not be true, but there is definitely evidence for it, and to reject even the possibility strikes me as denialism. (In many circles of course simply acknowledging even a hypothetical possibility would already transgress the taboo I mentioned, and would be a thoughtcrime serious enough to get you thoroughly cancelled. I see this as a bad thing — don’t you?)

  60. Donn says:

    I don’t really care whether it’s true or not. As I said above, it’s irrelevant – and most unhelpful. Let me draw up a case for how circumstances produced the crafty Jew. Cool, that’s just the idea we need.

  61. jb says:

    I didn’t ask whether you cared. I asked whether you would acknowledge that it was a non-trivial possibility, and it appears you won’t. This is the point I was making about taboos: that there are some questions good people just know shouldn’t be asked.

  62. Donn says:

    Who knows? That’s my non-trivial possibility answer. You didn’t ask why I cared, but I’m kind of curious why you care?

    I mean, let’s suppose the proposition is subject to a true/false validation (though I am not at all sure it is, in view of our cloudy understanding of intelligence itself and its genetic/physiological basis.) Let’s suppose that it has some practical meaning (though that isn’t my position either.) So … it’s either true or it isn’t; you don’t claim to have the evidence either way. In principle, since it isn’t a closed question – we don’t have that evidence – then it’s evidently open. Does it make any difference for people to “acknowledge” that? Just feel like I’m missing something here.


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