Israel, India, China and IQ

It has always been a puzzle that Israelis tend to score BELOW the Western average on IQ. Israel is such a brilliant nation scientifically and technologically, that the finding almost seems to invalidate IQ tests. India presents a similar puzzle. Indians do very well wherever they migrate but on average seem to have low IQs back home in India.

As is common, however, the problem would seem to arise from generalizations that are too sweeping and fail to look closely at the populations concerned. I will say a bit more about India below but what needs to be noted is that both nations are NOT ethnically homogeneous. High caste Indians are a lot different from "Dalits" and Israeli "Ashkenazim" (Jews of Northern European recent origin) are VERY different from Israelis of Middle Eastern origins.

And MOST Israelis are of Middle Eastern origins. They are mostly the Jews that were kicked out from Muslim lands after the foundation of modern Israel. Hitler got most of Europe's Ashkenazim West of Moscow, leaving NYC as the great remaining Askenazi centre, and NYC is too comfortable for many Jews to leave.

And at least since the story of Ruth, Jews have never been very endogamous, and Yiddisher Mommas grieve over that to this day. One way or another, Jews have tended to become genetically assimilated into the population within which they live. So many Lithuanian Jews look just like Lithuanians and many Middle Eastern Jews look just like Arabs. Sadly, however, it is not only Arab looks that many Israelis share but also Arab IQ, which is low.

So yes. The Sephardim and Mizrachim of Israel are a bit dumb (though it is VERY incorrect to say so), but the Ashkenazim are very bright and it is they who make Israel an intellectual powerhouse.

Although there are similarities, India is not quite the same. The Northern and Southern Indians do appear to be at least partly of different racial origins and the Northerners seems to be descended in part from lighter-skinned conquerors from somewhere North of India. The conquerors were probably relatively few in number, however, as all Indians are pretty brown.

Indians generally are pretty keen endogamists, however, so the Brahmins are relatively fair of skin and are probably the most closely related to the original Northern invaders. And it is of course the Brahmins who run India. So it is the IQ of the Brahmins and other high castes that is crucial and I know of no studies that have separated out Indian IQ by caste.

And even in India some exogamy does happen. In India, you can generally tell how rich a man is not by his skin colour but by the skin colour of his wife. A rich brown Indian will generally have a fairer-skinned wife. So over the centuries capable Indians from all castes will have worked their way up the status tree and contributed higher IQs to the upper ranges of that tree.

But there is clearly a second influence at work in India: The rural effect. For various reasons a rural background tends to go with a lower IQ. You see that even in South Africa. The Afrikaners (whites of Dutch origin) have a lower average IQ than whites of British origin, even though there is no difference between the parent populations in Europe. And the Afrikaners have always been predominantly farmers.

So the current average IQ of the Indian population is undoubtedly held down by its overwhelmingly rural character. And when even Indians of a relatively low caste move elsewhere, that disadvantage seems to be lost and they prosper -- as in Fiji or South Africa, for instance.

A canny critic might at this point say: "But what about China"? The Chinese are mostly rural and their average IQ is high. Again, however, the very word "China" is an oversimplification. There are many distinct nations within China with their own languages and traditions and a generally low opinion of other such linguistic groups. The picture-based written language of China is not so much an anachronism as a necessity. It's the only way many Chinese can communicate with one another.

And from what I can gather most of the IQ testing has been done on Chinese from the coastal cities. Deep inland in rural China the IQ picture will probably be much different.


  1. How about a follow up post on Queenslanders?

  2. There are several problems with your relatively shallow analysis ( I am actually being generous here...)/
    Firstly, the so called Aryan invasion of India has been proven not to have EVER occurred and was a figment of European historians imagination based on the fact that they discovered similarities with European languages and that of India. This has been undone by, wait for it, the discovery that Indians were reading and writing well before the Europeans.

    Secondly, in India historically and even today, the greatest minds and top students as per University entrance exams have been dominated by South Indians, Dravidians, who not only do not claim Brahmin ancestry, but South Indians do not have any relationship with the so called Aryans! Their features are dark skin and slight in nature!

    1. The Aryan invasion theory has not been disproven. It is controversial but nothing has been disproven. Central Asians have always been invading migrating to the subcontinent and Central Asia had a lot of blue eyed blond people centuries ago.
      Most South Indians who do good in science tend to be High Caste.

  3. Your IQ estimates of population in India are slightly inaccurate. Here is an answer why:

    Brahmins are with a IQ of 113 or higher depending on the diet of their earlier childhood. Most Brahmins can be found between IQ range of 112 to 126. I would say that Brahmins are somewhat similar in cognitive abilities and intelligence compared to western and central Europeans but Europeans have "better" memory and greater ability to think of lot of details when memorizing or calculating because their brains are actually bigger in size.I personally think although ability to memorize or calculate might be the same among different Y-DNA halogroups of Humans (R,I,J,G,N,O,H,K) who are spread across different geographical regions or countries, their technique of solving problems seems to be directly related to their brain size which is obviously greater in central,western and northern Europeans.

    The lower order in India also called OBC, SC, ST form the lower end of IQ of world's population with IQ anywhere between 75 to 100. These people are more in number and are multiplying exponentially every minute. These lower order seem to believe that they can just live by consuming raw materials of a country making use of people with superior brains such as those of Europeans and Brahmins in India. They may pretend that they are smart but they actually give up when presented with hard problems. It's actually true that brain size is a important criteria in judging a human's ability to create, imagine and invent tools or machinery to increase the progress of any civilization.

    Thank you for your article.


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