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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study      Home login  
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 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 2
Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-StudyPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
You're on pretty dicey ground there.

For instance:

He argues, for instance, that in the United States, Jews have attempted to gain as much cultural, economic, and sociopolitical clout and influence as possible because such a cultural strategy has evolved over time to be successful at furthering the reproductive output of its members.

That sounds pretty close to anti-semitism to me. I don't really think Steven Spielberg makes great movies because he's part of some Jewish cabal to control America; Philip Roth doesn't write great books to further an agenda.

But, I do think the Ashkenazi Jews are the product of a 1000 year long, brutal experiment in eugenics. If you look at European history until quite recently, the way in which people with means ensured their security was to buy a farm outside the city gates. It was the only way to guarantee they wouldn't starve. Jews were banned from owning land all over Europe, and barred from entry into many trades. The ways in which a Jew was allowed to earn money essentially meant that the smartest would have the most children survive to adulthood. Over a period of centuries, that does have an effect on the gene pool.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 3
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/19/2011 11:22:21 PM
The challenge of discussing this AREA of subject matter, is that the literature is PACKED with prejudicial nonsense, in turn calling up real facts, but misusing or misapplying them, so that EVERYTHING gets confused.

One such element in your post here:


<div class="quote">They cite various lines of evidence, inter alia, that Jews in Europe during the Middle Ages filled various economic middle-man roles, taking positions that required high intelligence, which effectively selected for high IQ within the Jewish community.

That allegation is without foundation, and relies DIRECTLY on prejudice, not about Jews per se, but about INTELLIGENCE, and about what JOBS require or encourage intelligence. I have read that in many areas in Western Europe then, that Jews did the money lending and accounting, NOT because they were SMARTER or BETTER EDUCATED than non-jews, but because the Catholic Church had forbidden Christians from lending money, at a time when the need to be able to borrow money was widely necessary (was there ever a time it wasn't?).

The suggestion that Jews handling banking in the Middle Ages has anything to do with intelligence development , requires that one first declare that all bankers are necessarily more intelligent than all other trades. I would toss THAT argument in the trash right away, base on the "clever accomplishments " we are right now suffering from, brought about by these "intelligent" bankers.
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 4
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/20/2011 2:30:20 AM
Does a beaver build a dam because his genes demand that he do it ?
Or, does the beaver build a dam because his mother taught him to ?

Some things are genetic and some things aren't.
A human child will learn to walk on it's own without any instruction, even without ever seeing a person walk .
However after a certain age , if it never hears a spoken word, the human child has trouble learning how to speak and will never do it well . And, the voice box is a genetic adaptation unique to humans.
 FrogO_Oeyes
Joined: 8/21/2005
Msg: 5
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/20/2011 5:16:00 AM
Whether the beaver builds because of education or because of genetics is essentially irrelevant to this hypothesis. The idea is basically that evolution [at its heart genetics]has led to an organism which creates an environment [dams, cities, culture, etc] which alter the selection pressures well beyond what they would have been without the artificial constructs. Take for instance the difference in predatory pressures on A.afarensis; a Masai with spears, a hut, and a thorn fence; and someone living in a Dar-es-Salam highrise. While genes do not create the structures, some genes will thrive because of them. The same too applies to cultural or religious regimes which close the community to outside genetic influence while also creating unique selective pressures. Some Jewish communities are just interesting case studies because they offer clear examples of such circumstances.

I would certainly not consider discussion of the subject to be anti-semitic. Discussion of scientific concepts does not become racist simply because the subject matter is "taboo". It is prejudice and discrimination which draw THAT line. Nor would I say that the entire matter is one of a prolonged exercise in eugenics - that suggests that all of the selective pressures are external. That is patently absurd. Sexual selection is not an external pressure, and cultural and religious demands are also not 'external' in this sense. It can't be reduced to a simple "Christians culled the herd" mentality, when Jewish parents and community provided their own influences on how children grew, learned, and behaved. There are always many pressures at work.

I don't think it was suggested at all that bankers are more intelligent and because such communities tended to produce many money-handlers, they were more intelligent. What was said was that such communities have more intelligent members on average, *period*. Becoming bankers was one consequence of that, not an indicator of it. Both the claim and the counter-claim call for the same thing - a measure of the subject's intelligence, and an attempted refutation of the intelligence of bankers is meaningless. Either way the premise is sound - these essentially closed communities have clear traits which have emerged along with their survival of a prolonged regime of external and endemic selective pressures. Such traits are a good indicator of how complex and artificial environments can exert complex and unexpected influences on a genome.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 6
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/20/2011 3:03:34 PM
Please pardon my being so thick, but I still find that you folks (or some other people you are talking about) are suggesting that it requires higher intelligence to be a banker than it does to follow most other professions. How you arrange the order of how you say so, whether to say that bankers being Jewish, or Jews being bankers has any provable cause or effect with regards to intelligence, is still the same thing. Whether you say the Jewish Bankers were the chicken and intelligence was the egg, or the other way around isn't the point. It still requires that one associate banking with higher intelligence than other fields of endeavor.

Despite my facetious approach to expressing it, I still contend that the investigation of the possibility of connection between profession and intelligence, requires the definition and investigation of BOTH of the elements, and I don't see where the discussion of them here does so.

If I missed some statement to the effect that the study of that connection WAS specious and flawed, I apologize.

I am not personally opposed to such investigations, by the way. My concern is with poorly executed investigations, and not with political or emotional considerations about the subject matter.
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 7
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/20/2011 7:17:33 PM

Some things are genetic and some things aren't.

The beaver, without having been exposed to the behaviour, will nonetheless exhibit it, even in an empty room with no trees.


I suppose... the Geek, without having been exposed to a computer will nonetheless go through the motions of surfing the internet, even in an empty room with no connection.

The debutante, with no knowledge of credit cards will seek to buy shoes even in an empty mall.

The Cheerleader, without a team will still go through the motions of cheering.

I think the giant organic computer we have inside our heads allows us to overcome the destiny of our genes.
We don't have to be what we were born to be.
 69captain69
Joined: 6/15/2011
Msg: 12
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/21/2011 7:35:33 AM

I thought with this being a dating site and all that wed be chatting about birds taking it up the wrong one.
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 15
Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/21/2011 10:44:08 PM
Will this also include studies in Russian, Iranian, Egyptian, Swedish, Finnish..ad naseaum behavior? Now that would be interesting. Group selection in evolution is only a part of a whole. As far as I am concerned the Jews have contributed richly and diversely and intelligently and wisely and painfully and joyfully to human existence.
 Hibernian1960
Joined: 9/13/2008
Msg: 16
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/23/2011 11:49:02 AM
It is a fact that Jews, particularly Ashkenazi Jews, are over-represented in certain fields, particularly Nobel laureates. Is this a genetic or cultural phenomenon?

One genetic theory is that production and retention of sphingolipids in the nervous system is increased, but this also results in the genetic diseases of Tay-Sachs, Niemann-Pick, and Gaucher's syndromes.

There are other cultures, principally Asian ones, which excel academically without such heritage. Moreover, pointing out such academic success in these groups is not derogatory and I fail to see why any part of this topic should be considered "ANTISEMITIC" or otherwise taboo.

More than likely to me, it is a cultural artifact.
 moonwalkerman
Joined: 2/19/2008
Msg: 22
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Group Selection in Evolution?: Jews as a Case-Study
Posted: 9/28/2011 12:46:47 PM
Extremely interesting subject, which certainly should be openly discussed. And I think your example of Jews is a good one. Jews are pretty much above average succesful wherever you go. I recommend visiting Israel, it is one of my favorite places to visit. I always wonder why it is that we have this oasis of development (Israel) surrounded by medieval wasteland (the rest of the Middle East). It has nothing to do with money, as most Arab states (thanks to oil) have enough of it. Cultural conventions probably are the root cause. My girlfriend is a gynecologist, and most of her work consists of monitoring problematic pregnancies. Most problems occur with Arab women, the reason being that inbreeding is almost fully accepted in most Arab societies. Due to the way Arab women are expected to live (stay inside) they do not meet other men than family members. That leads to a lot of marriages between e.g. full cousins, with pregnancies often resulting in handicapped or deadborn children. Those who live, well...
It is really quite shocking to get the inside view of this, which I happen to have. But evolution surely does not favor this group, and it is due to cultural conventions. The advantage most Western societies have is that its citizens are allowed to move around freely, which encourages genetic diversity.
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