Some Further Thoughts on the Subject of IQ Population Genetics

By Jamieson, J. W. | Mankind Quarterly, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

Some Further Thoughts on the Subject of IQ Population Genetics


Jamieson, J. W., Mankind Quarterly


The author notes the challenging paper by Gerhard Meisenberg published in this issue of the journal, and makes a number of additional observations which he believes serve to further clarify the causal relationship between the evolutionary history of living human populations and IQ population genetics.

Key Words: IQ, human evolution, mutations, natural selection, speciation, geographical races, ethnic groups, communism, colonialism, latitude and IQ, religion and IQ, heritability, dysgenics, the Flynn Effect.

Certainly the question of cognitive differences between human populations is a contentious topic, but that is only because the evolution of living populations is a poorly understood and, indeed, unpopular concept in contemporary Western academe. This is primarily due to the failure of geneticists to familiarize themselves with established evolutionary studies, believing that their statistics are all that they need to recreate the evolutionary history of living human populations, and also because of the already extensive impact of genetic admixture on so many living populations is too seldom taken into account when gathering IQ statistics. For example, the IQ of American whites is customarily stated to be 100, but probably millions of those who may describe themselves as white for classificalory purposes, when completing the questionnaires on which genetic statistics relating to ethnic and racial origin are based, are actually of relatively recent hybrid origin. Consequently it is not surprising that the IQ of American whites in mid-Western states which are known to be less hybridized, such as Minnesota, actually averages several points above 100.

Yet IQ population genetics is certainly a valid area for academic research, and the fact that it has not yet become an accepted area of scientific enquiry is probably due more to political bias against debating genetically-based differences in human ability than to any other reason. A high level of intelligence is a prerequisite for the creation and maintenance of any advanced civilization, and precisely because of this many kindly people feel that IQ comparisons are invidious. However, none can deny that one of the prime developments in the course of human evolution has been the increase in intelligence. Intelligence has replaced tooth and claw, muscular strength, and even physical abilities in such directions as running and jumping, as humankind's key to survival.

While stressing the importance of intelligence as measured by IQ tests, I would also like to observe that intelligence is not the sole mental attribute of importance. So also is the evolved ability to direct attention and activity towards specific long-term goals - the ability to prevent every immediate stimulus from distracting the human individual from coordinated action aimed at the attainment of specific goals. Individuals who seek only instant gratification, and are unable to direct their energies toward the attainment of preconceived, long-term goals, will achieve little in life. While intelligence does not rest primarily in the frontal lobes, it is the development of the frontal lobes that seems to regulate and coordinate rational behavior. The physical evidence of paleontology shows how the skull has grown in size to accommodate a larger, more intelligent brain, and at the same time it also reveals the evolutionary development of the frontal lobes. The traditional conceptual distinction between "lowbrows" and "highbrows" is in a roundabout way rooted in physiological fect - not perhaps on a direct one-to-one basis between living individuals, but certainly as evidenced by hominid evolution through the ages.

Evolutionary Disparities

As Rushton1 and Lynn2 have suggested, the movement of human populations into new and challenging environments places a selective value on intelligence. The intelligence of Pygmies, who have become well adapted to the challenge of survival in the equatorial forests of Africa which have been their home for untold generations, has evolved to a level that enables them to obtain in a few hours of hunting and collecting all the food they need to last them for several days in the well-stocked tropical rain forests of Central Africa. …

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