Frumgirl 1: Sheer Frum Arrogance

The new first year class from the program next door has about 15 frumgirl participants out of a class of 30. A record number. It is also the highest grade-achieving year in the history of the program, or so says the program chair.

Coincidence? They think not.

In my own class, the two smartest students are the Chassidish guy and the frummest Muslim. The only psuedo-logical conclusion one can draw from this is that religious fanaticism makes you smart.

That’s actually a great kiruv ad: Boost Your IQ! Become Frum!

Seriously, though, is there any real link between Frumkeit/level of religious observance and IQ?

Statistically, they say the Jewish people have a higher average IQ than the standard US population. (According to Wiki: the epitome of reliability,…but check out trhe sources they list on the bottom). The studies that say this, though, prove to be inconclusive at a closer glance.

They say that 28% of Nobel prize awardees for science and math were Jewish. What is that supposed to indicate? That Jewish people are more likely to doggedly stick to somethign difficult? That Jewish people have a greater capability to do so? Have greater capabilities, in general? It’s all just conjecture in the end.

So why are we so sure that we’re smarter than everyone else?

Eureka! …perhaps it’s the beards!

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Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 3:02 PM  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I would argue that it’s not the religion that makes someone smart, but think of it this way…religious Jews and Muslims both have to learn to read and understand pesky, complicated dead languages and a foreign alphabet. This is going to develop a very specific skill set. (Incidentally, nothing improved my academic abilities like studying Ancient Greek and Latin.) And if someone studies either Sharia or Talmudic law, that requires one to seriously develop legal reasoning skills.

    Plus, learning is such a highly held Jewish value that the respect it is accorded and the support that is given to it seems to remain even after a family becomes secular. Which may mean that all those Nobel winner, as students, received a level of community support which other equally bright people did not.

  2. I believe it’s the self-discipline. At the end of the day, doing well academically is less about brains and more about studying, persistence, and hard work. Judaism and Islam are both religions that stress discipline and these sorts of behaviors.

  3. btw the studies done were for ashkenazik jews… quite interesting actually…
    …when it comes to the chassidish guy it could be that it’s genetics + gemara that sharpened his brain!


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