On those rare occasions when I remember obscure or interesting facts, someone may ask me, “How d’you know that?” In response I always tap my forefinger against my temple and solemnly answer: “Kidneys.”
At this point in our conversation my interlocutor will generally back away, look at his watch, and suddenly remember that he has an urgent prior appointment elsewhere.
My reference is actually to an old joke, one that made the rounds when I was a kid, but which is too politically incorrect to be told nowadays. It concerns the annual visit of a school superintendent to Special Class. The teacher had taken great pains to prepare her charges for the occasion, and had drilled them in the proper identification of body parts.
One particular boy named Jimmy did especially well when called on by his teacher. “Show me your elbow”, she said, and he tapped his elbow.
“Where is your ear?” Jimmy pulled at his ear.
“Now your ankle,” and Jimmy bent over and grabbed his ankle.
The process continued through the rest of his anatomy, and Jimmy answered all the questions promptly and correctly. The superintendent was impressed, and said, “My, my, Jimmy! That was very good. Tell me: how do you know all these things?”
Jimmy smiled at the superintendent, pointed his finger at the side of his head, and solemnly answered, “Kidneys.”
I bring all this up because of recent discussions here — on threads that are too numerous to find and link — about race, evolution, IQ, and human intelligence. Rather than tackle the issue of race and IQ, which Fjordman has addressed more than adequately, I want to take a step back and undertake a broad-based evaluation of IQ from a Darwinian standpoint. After reading all the statistical data and demographic analyses, only one conclusion can be drawn:
Intelligence is overrated.
Remember: I’m dealing with this issue from a Darwinian point of view. For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that nothing is at play here except for natural selection based on random genetic variation — no God, no “higher power”, no teleological framework, no divine plan. Just a big vat of all-natural protoplasm contending against itself in the glare of a cold, unheeding universe.
Under the rules of this game, there is only one measure of success: survival. It doesn’t matter how charming or good or beautiful any particular species is. The only important factor is whether a given individual can survive long enough to pass on his genome.
Those are the rules. The survivors win. And the winners are by definition “the fittest”.
This is where the Eugenicists missed the mark: there’s no second-guessing evolution. If you “cull the herd” by eliminating imbeciles, and engage in selective breeding to improve the bloodline, the survivors are indeed “the fittest”. But if all your schemes fail, and the morons and cripples reproduce by the millions while brilliant and refined folk like yourself languish — surprise! All those lumpen unwashed lowbrows are still “the fittest”.
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Once again: the only measure of success is to survive and spread your alleles. From a Darwinian perspective, nothing else matters.
Now we return to the topic of intelligence and IQ. Based on the empirical evidence, couch potatoes with navel jewelry and tattooed private parts who wear their hats backwards and are literate solely in l33t — if at all — are the fittest of our species. They remain stubbornly fecund, and somehow manage to raise their numerous offspring to child-bearing age — which, for the demographic in question, seems to average about 14.5 years.
You and I, on the other hand, for all our refined sensibilities and university educations and appreciation of Mozart, are evolutionary toast.
If the great unwashed have an average of 3.2 children per unmarried slatternly woman, while the latte-drinking literati have 0.6, what selective advantage does high intelligence confer? If IQ is heritable (and all the evidence says it is), then what in blue blazes is the evolutionary point of a high IQ?
To make matters worse, the allegedly intelligent people of the Glittering Classes are providing the wherewithal for the booboisie to continue propagating. The high-IQ elites provide the money, personnel, and technology to keep those of more limited intellect alive, comfortable, and healthy through their multiple parturitions. The best and the brightest are non-breeding themselves into a genetic dead end whilst enabling the success of their evolutionary competitors.
I mean, really, how smart is that?
Forget the IQ tests. Our genes are screaming at us: “Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!”
This doesn’t mean that intelligence as measured by IQ has no survival value at all. Obviously, it must have done some good for the tribes of Europe and Northeast Asia, because they became the dominant human groups on the planet.
But look at what’s happening now. Check out what the very intelligent people of Israel and Europe and Japan and Canada and the USA have managed to do to themselves. Even the Chinese have forcibly constrained their own reproduction. All these populations are dwindling, while the numbers of less intelligent peoples are still growing exponentially.
Obviously, at some point all this much-vaunted intelligence ceased being an evolutionary advantage and became a disadvantage. Every objective indicator tells us that past a certain point high IQ negatively impacts survival of the genome, and is being selected against.
Evolutionarily speaking, a high IQ is overrated. We are prejudiced in our admiration of it. Our preferences are irrelevant sub specie aeternitatis. Brontosauri no doubt preferred the company of their own kind and disdained the tree shrews, but the tree shrews won in the end.
The bottom line is that the highest-IQ people have the fewest offspring, and this has been true for generations. Our fifteen minutes are almost up.
It’s the kidneys, stupid!