History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Repost: Civilization and intelligence

July 31st, 2011 · No Comments

(See comments quoted at end of post)

Richard, you are being dangerously racist in your remarks, but since the issue seems to lurk in the back of people’s minds I will answer to it. But, my views apart, a host of critics have warned of ‘IQ’ thinking. It can play you false. Much IQ thinking is remarkably unintelligent! You have actually dismissed your own question by using the term ‘Eurasian’. That is not a well defined category. The question of Africa is totally misleading: the various African tribal sectors beginning in West Africa spread ‘higher neolithic’ civilization to the whole sub-sahara. So what is your statement? There are aspects to that culture that others have lost. I think that, for sure, Africa is a special case, because its climate makes many things very difficult, close to impossible, so it is exempt from standard judgments. The disease factor alone shows the real miracle of the Bantu colonization of the sub-sahara. Consider what later explorers found, in the way most African travelers were simply wiped out withing weeks. We can see that diffusion into Africa was virtually non-existent.
Thus the achievements of ‘higher civilization’ in its neolithic minimum are clearly present throughout Africa, and were so before the arrival of colonialists. What else can I say? Africans at all points are at the stage of post-hunter gatherer farming culture. Unlike the San, who just might be actually much smarter, but seem incapable of higher civilizational adaptation. I should note the strong suspicion that New World civilization was in part the creation of Africans, as the stone monoliths of Central America suggest. More generally, the case for diffusion to the New World is strong,despite scholarly prejudice against that idea (now waning).
These questions are relative, and dynamic. In a few generations intelligence emerges in those who seemed to lack it. In fact, I think that we all tend to suffer intelligence in decline. As with the San some of the first men were super smart in a way that went into decline later.

I think that the assumptions re: IQ have resulted in great confusion. So-called ‘higher’ civilization was not created by people with the ‘highest IQ’s’. A close study of the facts shows that the mainline of innovations follows its own logic, and if the people in the mainline are less smart, the higher logic adjusts, but proceeds irregardless. Second, intelligence is a function of situations lived. Those who created higher civilization had a response to that in the form of transforming intelligence. So the issue is dynamic.
The illusion of Western Eurocentric civlization is great: but a reasonable analysis shows that Europe was retarded until very late in the game. While Egypt/Sumer created higher civilization Europeans were still building Neolithic megaliths. The European modernity was the result of long, long gestation, almost two thousand years. You should consider the case of Tacitus’ Germania (the object of a recent new book, check Amazon), and the appearance of being primitive or unintelligent from the perspective of the Romans of that era.
All these judgments are mostly hopeless.

It is important to study the eonic effect: higher civilization shows a teleological emergence that transcends its exemplars and creators, who were supercharged briefly to perform the work.

If you think the smartest people automatically advance civilization, consider contemporary Jewish culture, currently filled with some of the smartest people. Actually, as such Jews become more dominant in an anti-antii-semitic culture the result is mostly technical achievement, and economic performance. The general culture is actually in decline even as ‘smarter’ people flood the meritocratic ranks. So why is that? All the achievements of the early modern were created by the supposedly less intelligent Europeans. Part of the problem is, of course, the self-isolation of Jewish culture: all achievements (unless you are a Marx adamant about assimilation) become Jewish achievements, and tend to fall by the wayside, unless they are for that reason centered around science, or technical subjects. This feature of Jewish culture has, sadly, crippled Jewish culture. The whole point of the Xtian sausage machine was to make all contributions universal ones.
What actually created higher civilization (assuming there is such a thing)? The eonic effect shows that almost all the great advances in civilization spring from the key hotspots of the eonic sequence. They are thus more than creative achievements, or the action of high IQ.
Sorry, but the facts speak for themselves.
The problem can be understood by looking at economies. Very smart people have an edge in economic function, and tend to pull ahead statistically. That fact leads to endless misunderstanding and prejudice.
But that only shows immersion in the mechanics of economies. Those so immersed show very little meta-intelligence (as Marx desperately tried to warn) about the circumstance they find themselves in. So it is easy to turn high IQ into economic exploitation, not so easy to intelligently transcend the hypnotic effect of market immersion, etc…
Frankly, I think that too much market culture must have made everyone stupider. It looks that way if you examine the TV mentality that has come into existence. Markets tend to make people stupid to make them ‘buy’: look at television ads over a few hours. They assume stupidity, and seem to enforce it.

There is a lot more to say here, but in general, we see a related confusion in Nietzsche, who deftly and slyly adopted a variant of your perspective: his superior ‘barbarians’ are perhaps really the Aryans, thought to be the vanguard of human civilization, for some crackpot reason. They aren’t and they weren’t. Here it is precisely the effect of the Axial Age that found Indo-Europeans in its manline, that shot them out of the cannon for some brilliant acheivements. Ditto for the Israelites, who, I suspect, were not so intelligent, but were also shot out of a cannon to perform a particular task of ‘higher civilzation’.
In general the standard measures of IQ are, as noted repeatedly, dangerous measures and result in all sorts of misleading conclusions.

Richard said,
July 29, 2011 at 7:15 am ·I have no intention of igniting something controversial, but I think there is an obvious and speculative question: Was this genetic factor instrumental in giving Eurasians the decisive edge in intelligence needed to create the “higher civilizations”?

nemo said,

July 30, 2011 at 5:57 am · Edit

I think you should study the eonic effect: you will see that Europeans were long delayed in creating ‘higher civilization’.
And the case of Africa is clear: it enters ‘higher civilization’ with the Neolithic and the spread of various peoples (e.g. Bantu)
throughout the continent formerly dominated by (highly intelligent!) hunter-gatherers (the San). Note this point,
the almost impossible to develop Sub-Sahara was in fact developed into a Neolithic state by West Africans.
In general, all the great advances of civilization show direct correlation with the eonic data.
Issues of intelligence are highly misleading, and can’t be relied on.

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