James Watson and the Rewards of Intelligence

Critics of Nobel laureate James Watson are missing the point.

If you've never heard of the Eve hypothesis or “out of Africa” thesis of human origins, the theory is that all modern humans contain DNA from a woman who lived in Africa around 200,000 years ago.  It seems statistically likely that she was black, meaning that we are all black people, though some of us are rather pale versions thereof.

There are also some blacks who have white skin, blue eyes, red hair, and freckles. (“Oculocutaneous Albinism”). Note that this site is anti-white, insisting that whites are actually mutations with inferior DNA because whites sunburn more easily, and they deprive blacks of credit for their historical accomplishments. However, it presents as lot of information including some scientific references.) My favorite quote from this highly-pro-black site:

“Well Africans are backwards for the very same reasons that the Uyghurs, and the Nuristani, and all other tribal European type Albinos who stayed in their original homelands in Asia are backwards. The ENVIRONMENTAL stresses, and new points of view, and new methods, and other things that spur advancement and development, are absent from their lives and environment -- and perhaps most importantly, they do not need to change in order to survive.”

One might wonder why white people left Africa; I suspect abuse. From the same site:

“Even today, superstitious Blacks of southern Africa; maim and mutilate Albinos in the ignorant belief that their body parts process magical properties, which they use in rituals.”

It is human nature is to abuse those who are different, physically or ideologically. Eventually, one considers leaving just to be left alone. Those left behind didn't need to change, and so they didn't. They had no reason to cultivate high intelligence, either culturally or through choices of mates, when outstanding physical prowess was more immediately useful. This culture persists to this day in Africa and other places where the environment doesn't present difficulties that physical capability alone cannot conquer.

Meanwhile, those who left and wound up in places with weather extremes had to figure out ways to survive. They eventually spread the knowledge to others. Inventions that improved one's ability to hunt or raise crops during a limited growing season would be particularly valuable. So would weapons and ways of cooperative fighting, to protect the hard-won resources from those who would just take them away. Difficult environments foster the growth of competition between groups as well as cooperation within the group. Sharing improvements internally led to improved success externally, and supported increasing the cultural value of intelligence, innovation, and entrepreneurial capabilities.

It is this sort of culture that produced the modern world. The environmental effects on cultures explain why whites and Asians both have higher IQs than cultures based historically in more congenial areas. It also explains the higher IQs of Jews, whose environmental stresses were based on social ostracism and violence, even murder.

IQ alone doesn't make any group “supreme”, unless all anyone cares about is IQ points. There is so much more to each human being. High IQ may be useful but a willingness to work hard and get along may get you farther. A good education will (or should) enable you to benefit from every IQ point you have.

Fortunately, the cultural practice of rewarding intelligence can be adopted by anyone. Intelligence can occur in any DNA population, though it isn't encouraged by the black community in particular, which often discriminates against adoption of any “white” cultural values. 

Where then is the value in physical capability? There are only so many professional athletic jobs. Physical strength and speed are far more common than the intellectual equivalents. Economics dictates that the financial value of what is common is less than that of what is rare. This is why wise parents are fighting to get their children educated in schools that will increase their ability to compete in the modern technological job market, to be able to make more money and live more comfortably.

So James Watson, I think, is right, but he needn't stay right. The cultural components that support lower IQs can be overcome far more quickly than the genetics, and the genetics will follow.