Has Anti-Semitism Been Good for Jewish Evolution?
National Geographic News gave favorable coverage to a controversial theory by anthropologists at University of Utah that anti-semitism was a form of natural selection. The racism against Jews in Europe, while selecting for higher intelligence, also selected for certain types of diseases. Reporter James Owen did point out that not all anthropologists agree with the hypothesis that IQ differences can have a genetic basis.
That such poor reasoning and lousy science would get prominent coverage in the leading popular geographic magazine in the world is an illustration of the pernicious influence of evolutionary thinking on our society. This hypothesis downplays the intellectual and moral factors involved. Consistently followed, it would lead one to believe that anti-Semitism has been a good thing, if it led to the genius of Einstein. If this kind of sloppy research, based on faulty assumptions and selective statistics, were published in some other field, it would be quickly scorned by academics. The phrase “natural selection” is like a free pass around the security guards of science. Should evolutionary anthropologists watch an Auschwitz as detached observers, measuring what genetic traits are being naturally selected by the process? It’s time to call moral evils evil instead of rationalizing them on evolutionary grounds. Let’s see how they explain it when the public has had enough, and there is a widespread outcry against Darwinian thinking. Would that prove survival of the fittest ideas?