The PC explanation for why Jews make up 3% of the US population but 10% or more of the students at places like Williams is that Jewish culture values educational achievement. That is undoubtedly true, but the New York Times has an article today suggesting a different hypothesis.

A team of scientists at the University of Utah has proposed that the unusual pattern of genetic diseases seen among Jews of central or northern European origin, or Ashkenazim, is the result of natural selection for enhanced intellectual ability.

The selective force was the restriction of Ashkenazim in medieval Europe to occupations that required more than usual mental agility, the researchers say in a paper that has been accepted by the Journal of Biosocial Science, published by Cambridge University Press in England.

You can read the study itself here and more commentary here.

Topics like this are probably too controversial for graduation week-end, but I can’t resist noting, in the context of the College’s Diversity Initiatives, that one of the reasons that some groups are “underrepresented” at Williams is that, pari passu, other groups at Williams are overrepresented. Want to increase diversity — meaning to make the percentages from various groups equal to the percentages in the applicant pool — at Williams? Don’t let in so many Jews.

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