Earlier: Bret Stephens In The NYT: "The Secrets of Jewish Genius"
From The Guardian’s news section (I try to distinguish between what is labeled “News” and “Opinion”):
New York Times columnist accused of eugenics over piece on Jewish intelligence
Bret Stephens faces backlash after suggesting that Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than other people
by Edward Helmore
The rightwing New York Times columnist Bret Stephens has sparked furious controversy online for a column praising Ashkenazi Jews for their scientific accomplishments, which critics say amounts to embracing eugenics.
In a column titled The Secrets of Jewish Genius and using a picture of Albert Einstein, Stephens stepped in the eugenics minefield by claiming that Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent than other people and think differently. …
That prompted furious accusations that Stephens was using the same genetics arguments that informed Nazism and white supremacist thinking.
“It’s hard to read this column as expressing anything other than a belief in the genetic and cultural inferiority of non-Ashkenazi Jews; it’s hard to tell if that’s intentional or due to appalling sloppiness, but either way it’s not the sort of thing the Times should be running,” tweeted Tim Marchman, editorial director of Vice.
New York Times contributor Jody Rosen offered on Twitter: “Speaking as both an Ashkenazi Jew and a NYT contributor, I don’t think eugenicists should be op-ed columnists.”
“A Jew endorsing the idea that certain races are inherently superior to other, lesser races, what could possibly go wrong?” asked the journalist Ashley Feinberg on Twitter.
In contrast, here is Steven Pinker in The New Republic way back in 2006:
Groups and Genes
By STEVEN PINKER
June 25, 2006
The lessons of the Ashkenazim.
My grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe who owned a small necktie factory on the outskirts of Montreal. While visiting them one weekend, I found my grandfather on the factory floor, cutting shapes out of irregular stacks of cloth with a fabric saw. He explained that by carving up the remnants that were left over when the neckties had been cut out and stitching them together in places that didn’t show, he could get a few extra ties out of each sheet of cloth. I asked him why he was doing this himself rather than leaving it to his employees. He shrugged, tapped his forehead, and said, “Goyishe kop,” a term of condescension that literally means “gentile head.”
He wasn’t exactly serious, but he wasn’t exactly not serious either. Jews have long had an ambivalent attitude toward their own intelligence, and toward their reputation for intelligence. There is an ethnic pride at the prevalence of Jews in occupations that reward brainpower. A droll e-mail called “New Words to Add to Your Jewish Vocabulary” includes “jewbiliation, N: pride in finding out that one’s favorite celebrity is Jewish” and “meinstein, N: My son, the genius.” Many Jews subscribe to a folk theory that attributes Jewish intelligence to what would have to be the weirdest example of sexual selection in the living world: that for generations in the shtetl, the brightest yeshiva boy was betrothed to the daughter of the richest man, thereby favoring the genes, if such genes there are, for Talmudic pilpul.
But pride has always been haunted by fear that public acknowledge of Jewish achievement could fuel the perception of “Jewish domination” of institutions. And any characterization of Jews in biological terms smacks of Nazi pseudoscience about “the Jewish race.” A team of scientists from the University of Utah recently strode into this minefield with their article “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence,” which was published online in the Journal of Biosocial Science a year ago, and was soon publicized in The New York Times, The Economist, and on the cover of New York magazine.
The Utah researchers Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending (henceforth CH&H) proposed that Ashkenazi Jews have a genetic advantage in intelligence, and that the advantage arose from natural selection for success in middleman occupations (moneylending, selling, and estate management) during the first millennium of their existence in northern Europe, from about 800 C.E. to 1600 C.E. Since rapid selection of a single trait often brings along deleterious by-products, this evolutionary history also bequeathed the genetic diseases known to be common among Ashkenazim, such as Tay-Sachs and Gaucher’s.
The CH&H study quickly became a target of harsh denunciation and morbid fascination. It raises two questions. How good is the evidence for this audacious hypothesis? And what, if any, are the political and moral implications?
The appearance of an advantage in average intelligence among Ashkenazi Jews is easier to establish than its causes. Jews are remarkably over-represented in benchmarks of brainpower. Though never exceeding 3 percent of the American population, Jews account for 37 percent of the winners of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 25 percent of the American Nobel Prize winners in literature, 40 percent of the American Nobel Prize winners in science and economics, and so on. On the world stage, we find that 54 percent of the world chess champions have had one or two Jewish parents.
Read the whole thing there.