[Discoverer of DNA James Watson] says that he is â€œinherently gloomy about the prospect of Africaâ€ because â€œall our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours â€“ whereas all the testing says not reallyâ€, and I know that this â€œhot potatoâ€ is going to be difficult to address.
Now, Jim Watson may not be a “profoundly evil man,” but he is a bomb thrower more interested in outraging his enemies than in converting them to friends. (He shares this traits with Richard Dawkins, a man he agrees with any many issues.)
Therefore, I won’t address his anecdotal “evidence” or personal behavior, but Watson is getting at the fact that there are multiple standard deviations between general intelligence in certain populations. For instance, each group in the following list has a mean general intelligence about one standard deviation higher than the group next on the list
- Ashkenazi Jews
- White Europeans
- African Americans
- Black Africans
It appears, though there is not conclusive proof, that environment, culture, epigenetics (maternal cytoplasm), and genetics (Watson’s DNA) all play a role in the difference. (Of course, there are confounding factors which may or may not be relevent — Black Africans possess the greatest in-group genetic diversity on the planet, while Ashkenazi Jews are genetically one of the most uniform populations.) But the cause is less important than the fact, which is that these large differences in general intelligence exist now.
Two questions, for those of us living in the developed world, are
- Should the free exercise of a citizen’s rights depend on their ancestral group’s mean general intelligence
- Should the free exercise of a citizen’s rights depend on his general intelligence
- Should nation building efforts in other countries depend on the mean general intelligence in that country.
The first two questions are normative, whiel the third is technical. The answers, of course, are