This blog is defunct! Check out my new music blog at Sonicrampage.org.
Go and have a read of the 'Overclocking' post over at GNXP, which has links to all sorts of discussion about the new scientific paper, The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence, which proposes that the high iq's and unusual genetic diseases that are more prevalent among Ashkenazi (European) Jews than among other populations may be linked.
Reading all of this reminded me of a couple of passages from Thomas Sowell's classic Ethnic America, which I'll quote for your interest here.
"(The early 20th century) was an era when it was common to avoid promoting children until their scholastic performance merited it, but even so, the record of Polish Jews was worse than others. A 1911 study showed that 41 percent of the 5,341 Russian-Jewish children surveyed were behind the "normal" grade level. Partly this may be because so many entered late due to overcrowded New York schools that annually turned many away. However, even among the Russian-Jewish children who entered at age six, 23 percent were behind their normal grade level - about the same as for the New York City school system as a whole, where most were presumably enrolled. As late as World War i, soldiers of Russian - mostly Jewish - origin averaged among the lowest mental test scores of any of the ethnic groups tested by the US Army. These results led a leading contemporary authority on tests to declare that this disproved "the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent." Like so many confident "expert" conclusions, this one failed to stand the test of time." (p. 88)
And here's a second quote:
"Even when the Jews lived in slums, they were slums with a difference - lower alcoholism, homicide, accidental death rates than other slums, or even the city as a whole. Their children had lower truancy rates, lower juvenile juvenile delinquency rates, and (by the 1930s) higher IQs than other children. The Jews had lower infant mortalities and more organizations than other low-income people. There was also more voting for congressmen by low-income Jews than even by higher income Protestants or Catholics. In short, the Jews had the social patterns and values of the midddle class, even when they lived in slums. Despite a voluminous literature claiming that slums shape people's values, the Jews had their own values, and they took those values into and out of the slums." (p. 94)