Vox Day vs. Jordan Peterson on Jewish IQ

In a series of posts, Vox Day takes Jordan Peterson to task regarding Jewish IQ:

In which I address Jordan Peterson

The gloves come off in part 2, in which Vox Day questions Dr. Peterson’s integrity:
The myth of Jordan Peterson’s integrity

Despite both of them probably agreeing on many things–Islam, political correctness, SJWs, etc.–Vox Days holds Dr. Peterson the same low regard as his ideological enemies, calling him an intellectual-inept coward and lumping him in with neo-conservatives Bill Kristol and Ben Shapiro:

I do not know Jordan Peterson, but his incorrect and deceitful arguments and his unfair, unjustified attacks on his critics show him to be an inept and integrity-challenged coward who lacks commitment to the truth. The combination of his sudden success with his observable intellectual ineptitude suggests that he has been elevated by the mainstream media in order to provide a harmless, toothless, and non-Christian alternative to the failed conservative movement of William F. Buckley and the failed neoconservative movement of Bill Kristol and Ben Shapiro.

Here is the crux of Vox day’s argument:

Jews do not have an average mean IQ of 115. Globally, they have an average mean IQ that is a maximum of 103.1. In the US, where the percentage of high-IQ Ashkenazim is higher, they have a maximum average mean IQ of 105.3.

According to multiple studies, Wiki puts Ashkenazim IQ at around 108, so this 115 figure seems rather anomalous.

But as we all know and is apparently obvious, Jews are over-represented relative to their population size for prestigious and high-IQ jobs:

Ashkenazi Jews have had success in a variety of academic fields disproportionate to their small population size, including science, technology, politics and law. [9] For instance, Ashkenazi Jews have won more than one quarter of Fields Medals, Turing Awards and Regeneron Science Talent Search awards. People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are also disproportionately represented among world chess champions (54 percent) [10], National Medal of Science recipients (37 percent), U.S. Nobel Prize winners (29 percent) [8], and Nobel laureates in medicine or physiology (42 percent)[10]. Furthermore, Jews comprise up to one third of the student populace at Ivy League schools, [9] and 30 percent of U.S. Supreme Court law clerks.[11]

Some of this probably due to IQ; the rest due to connections (knowing the ‘right’ people). Jordan Peterson may be right about Jews having higher IQs, but may be wrong to attribute their high positions in society to only IQ and competence. Connections also play a much bigger role than he may want to admit.

And also

In 1954, a psychologist discovered that of the 28 children in the New York public school system who had an IQ score of 170 or higher, 24 were Jewish.[12]

Vox day writes:

Jordan Peterson’s explanation for Jewish success is not only wrong, but, ironically, even if it had been factually based his argument would have proven precisely the opposite of that which he was attempting to demonstrate. The fact that Jews are overrepresented in positions of competence and authority is actually conclusive statistical evidence that their average mean IQ cannot be uniquely and extraordinarily high.

Depends on how one defines ‘uniquely’ and ‘extraordinary’.

There is a linear relationship between intelligence and effective leadership, but only up to 120 IQ. This association reverses at IQ 120. This is primarily due to the IQ communication gap which prevents effective communication across 2 standard deviations (30 IQ points) of intelligence. This negative effect of high IQ is further compounded by the statistical exclusion of the cognitive elite from intellectually elite professions.

Quote (not by Vox):

The probability of entering and remaining in an intellectually elite profession such as Physician, Judge, Professor, Scientist, Corporate Executive, etc. increases with IQ to about 133. It then falls about 1/3 by 140. By 150 IQ the probability has fallen by 97%! In other words, a significant percentage of people with IQs over 140 are being systematically and, most likely inappropriately, excluded from the population that addresses the biggest problems of our time or who are responsible for assuring the efficient operation of social, scientific, political and economic institutions.


This may apply for jobs that require emotional intelligence, but I don’t believe IQ-intensive fields such as mathematics and physics have diminishing or negative returns for IQs beyond a certain threshold.   Vox is perhaps falling for the same fallacy perpetuated by Gladwell that IQ becomes less useful beyond a certain threshold (such as 120).

The fact Jews are over-represented all fields, even the brainiest of ones (such as theoretical physics, in which the communication gap is irrelevant), suggests a higher mean IQ. The communication gap does not disprove the existence of  high Jewish IQ.

Time to run some numbers.

Let’s assume American Jews have a mean IQ of 108. Average IQ for Whites is 100, with a standard deviation of 15 for both Jews and Whites.

Using a simple z-score calculation, the probability of a White person having an IQ above 170 is 1/632,564

If American Jews have a mean IQ of 108, the probability surges to 1/55,000.

Using a simple z-score calculation, the probability of a White person having an IQ above 140 is 1/260.

If American Jews have a mean IQ of 108, the probability surges to 1/60

If Jew are 2% of US population, that is 7 million Jews. 127 of them have IQs above 170.

If there are 190 million non-Hispanic, non-Jewish Whites in America, 300 of them have IQs above 170.

If Jews are 2% of US population, that is 7 million Jews. 117,000 of them have IQs above 140.

If there are 190 million non-Hispanic Whites in America, 730,000 of them have IQs above 140.

So Peterson’s numbers are wrong . There should be vastly more whites with high IQs by virtue of there being more whites, even if Jews have a higher mean IQ.

From Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_Nobel_laureates:

As of 2017, people of Jewish descent constituted 36.71% of economics, 25.23% of medicine, 26.21% of physics, 19.77% of chemistry, 13.27% of literature and 8.65% of individual peace awards.

The fact Jews are only 26% of physics nobles suggests they are not vastly over-represented (by US population measures; by global measures, they are), and this agrees with the results above. Let as assume a population 200 million Whites and Jews in America. We should expect 427 people with IQs above 170. 127 are Jewish, or about 29%, so they are not over-represented for the most IQ-intensive field, physics, in agreement with the calculations above in which I assign a mean Jewish IQ of 108.

Jews are only 25% of Fields Medalists. A Fields Medal is possibly the most intellectually selective prize in existence, more so than the Nobel in physics. Having an IQ above 150 is a prerequisite, and, again, Jews are represented in accordance to having a mean population IQ of 108. They are not over-represented (25% observed vs. 29% predicted with a mean IQ of 108).

But even with a mean IQ of 108, Jews are vastly over-represented in politics, law, business and other professions that involve a combination of IQ and ‘people skills’, suggesting that connections are probably involved in some way, or maybe high-IQ gentiles don’t choose those career paths.

However, for the most IQ-intensive jobs, connections become less important.