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Many psychometric studies of have measured an above average IQ American and European Jewish populations. The degree of difference varies depending on the methodology and population being tested. Above average scores for both verbal and mathematical IQ have been found, along with below average visuospatial abilities. Some studies have found IQ scores amongst Ashkenazi Jews to be a fifth to one full standard deviation above average. A 2004 review of data found many such studies to have used sample sizes which were too small to give reliable results, and notes that there also exist studies which have found Ashkenazi groups to be below average intelligence. However, using vocabulary size as a measure, the review cites two findings which confirm the view that there may be a reliable advantage to Ashkenazi Jews of around 7.5 IQ points (half a standard deviation), specifically related to verbal intelligence. Most studies do not differentiate Ashkenazi from other Jewish populations. However, most such studies were conducted in the US, whose Jewish population is 90% Ashkenazi.
This paper elaborates the hypothesis that the unique demography and sociology of Ashkenazim in medieval Europe selected for intelligence. Ashkenazi literacy, economic specialization, and closure to inward gene flow led to a social environment in which there was high fitness payoff to intelligence, specifically verbal and mathematical intelligence but not spatial ability. As with any regime of strong directional selection on a quantitative trait, genetic variants that were otherwise fitness reducing rose in frequency. In particular we propose that the well-known clusters of Ashkenazi genetic diseases, the sphingolipid cluster and the DNA repair cluster in particular, increase intelligence in heterozygotes. Other Ashkenazi disorders are known to increase intelligence. Although these disorders have been attributed to a bottleneck in Ashkenazi history and consequent genetic drift, there is no evidence of any bottleneck. Gene frequencies at a large number of autosomal loci show that if there was a bottleneck then subsequent gene flow from Europeans must have been very large, obliterating the effects of any bottleneck. The clustering of the disorders in only a few pathways and the presence at elevated frequency of more than one deleterious allele at many of them could not have been produced by drift. Instead these are signatures of strong and recent natural selection.
Ashkenazi Jews pose two mysteries for biological science. First, why do they have so many genetic diseases that fall into just a few categories of metabolic function such as the sphingolipid storage diseases Tay-Sachs, Gaucher, Niemann-Pick, and mucolipidosis type IV? The rates of such diseases are so high that their incidence must be the result of either a recent genetic bottleneck where the Ashkenazi population was very small or natural selective pressures aimed at some other phenotype(s) selected for these genotypes due to advantages that those genotypes offer for other functionality. The second mystery is why are Jews so smart? Granted, a lot of Jews want to argue that they are just studious due to their culture. Also, lots of ideologues - particularly on the political Left - stand ready to attack anyone who argues that ethnic and racial groups differ in average intelligence.
But the higher average level of Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence is so glaringly obvious that I figure anyone who tries to argue otherwise is either engaged in intellectual con artistry or is ignorant or foolish. So again, why are Jews so smart?
Modern-day Jews are not God's chosen people, said Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, in a statement Wednesday evening.
"Do not believe their claims that they are God's chosen people, because it is not true," Shenouda said during his weekly sermon on Wednesday evening at the papal residence in Abbasseya.
When there were no believers on earth the Jews were really God's chosen people, but God's chosen people are now all those who believe in the existence of God and carry out all God's teachings, he added. Shenouda said he had spoken earlier with former US President Jimmy Carter, and explained to him that Jews were called God’s chosen people because they were the only worshipers on earth, while the rest of its inhabitants were pagans.
Once billions believed in the existence of God, the Jews no longer were God’s chosen people, he said, and now all those who believe in God and have true faith are God's chosen people.