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The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Jewish Assumption for the Gifted.

The Jews are well known to be gifted. Well, actually, this is not strictly accurate - for it is a mere splinter of the Jewish race, the Ashkenazi Jews, who are actually more gifted than usual. The remainder of the Jews (the ones in Israel, for instance), are pretty average, in every way.

In terms of IQ, the Jews have a reputation for being more gifted than others. Yet, again, this is a simplified story. American Jews were estimated to have an average IQ of 112.6 by Herrnstein and Murray in 1994 (which would make them the most gifted group on Earth); but Israeli Ashkenazi Jews were only estimated to have an IQ of 103.5, on average, by Lynn in 2006. This is very similar to European averages and does not justify their illustrious reputation. Thus, the story is a mixed one. So, too, is it more complex. Jews tend to be high on verbal and mathematical skills and as equally retarded, on visual skills, as they are gifted on verbal/mathematical. Thus, they have unequally distributed abilities.

Now, I have written of the background of the Jews, for a very particular reason. If you search on Yahoo with the terms "Ainan Cawley", one of the associated terms it will suggest to you, is "Jews"...another, quite unaccountably, is "The Dead Sea". I find this bizarre. To me, this means that there must be sufficient numbers of people, in the world, assuming that a) because Ainan is gifted and b) because Jews are supposedly more gifted than others that c) Ainan must be a Jew. Well, sorry to disappoint any Jewish readers, but Ainan is not a Jew. Nor does he have a single Jewish gene in him (except for the genes shared by all humanity etc.). Ainan is not a Jew and none of his relatives are, either.

This is not the first time that the Jewish Assumption, as I call it, has been made about our family. Many years ago, in New York, shortly after I had been on CNN, for my Lord Valentine the Misplaced character invention, I was called a "Yid", by an American who had once been married to a Ford heiress. I had never heard the term and had to ask others what he meant. They said: "Yiddish...a Jew."

I was rather stunned into silence and didn't say anything in response to his accusation. I understood, then, as I understand, now, that this man was making a fundamental error of thinking: that I was "intelligent", that Jews are "intelligent", so I must be a Jew. This is really, really, quite silly. Just because the Jewish average IQ is somewhat above normal, and so there will be more highly intelligent Jews than is typical of a racial grouping, this does NOT mean that other races do not have equally (or even more intelligent), members. They do. Intelligent people are to be found in all races, though with differing prevalences. It is both an unsafe and a ridiculous assumption to make, to think that Jews have the monopoly on intelligence. Indeed, in some areas of intelligence, such as the visual (mean IQ 91.3, according to Backman), or oddly, memory (IQ 95.1 according to Backman), Jews are deficient compared to other races, on average. So, the Jewish "we are intelligent", story, is actually a mixed one: they are good, on average at some things - namely school type skills - but bad in other areas.

There is a danger in the kind of thinking which attributes to Jews, all intelligence. If it is taken on and believed (and I wonder to what extent it is believed in America, given the American's view of me, above?), then it will lead to people overlooking intelligence and gift from other racial groupings. There will be the view that others cannot be as intelligent as Jews...and so certain children might go unrecognized and unsupported for their gifts.

There are many highly intelligent and highly creative people in this world who are not Jewish. In fact, most such people are not Jewish. So it is time to shelve the assumption that a highly gifted person must be a Jew. The assumption is real - for I have encountered it at different times of my life, across two decades. It is time to recognize that gift, intelligence and creativity, may arise in a person of any race - and I mean any race - so do not assume that a person of a particular race cannot possess these characteristics - or that a person who does possess them is necessarily a Jew. More often, than not, they will not be Jewish at all.

It should be noted that this is not an anti-Jewish posting. I have nothing against Jews, or any other race, for that matter. It is a posting that seeks a better understanding of the situation and one that seeks to dispel a common misperception about the most gifted of people among us.

In particular, I would like to dispel the notion (which is common enough to have been picked up by Yahoo), that Ainan Celeste Cawley is a Jew. He isn't - nor are any of his relatives. In fact, Ainan is half-Malay and half-Irish; a Eurasian...and not one bit Jewish at all. Thank you.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to:http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals. If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3438598/ As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of credits...so please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3305973/ My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3463926/

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 4:16 PM 

14 Comments:

Blogger Christine said...

It's true that many of the banks are owned by Jews.
I do think it's silly how we all get stereotyped. People think you are Jewish because you are very smart. As an American people have commented on why I'm not fat, why I know my geography, and why I don't frequent fast food chains.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Demel said...

Where the hell do you get all these statistics from o_O It doesn't sound like particularly convenient data to just rip off the net, so...

and lol you can always take it as a compliment, albeit a rather misinformed one. I mean, if the standard stereotype goes that "jew = smart" then him calling you a Jew implies the latter, does it not? Silly, no doubt, but at least not with any malicious intent.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have done several IQ test and most of the result are +- 120. Am I gifted?

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am curious. What is the IQ of Ainan?

9:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. Jews own banks because Jews have traditionally been involved in finance...it is a kind of inherited mindset and outlook and value system. That doesn't, of course, mean that others couldn't and shouldn't own banks, too.

Re. stereotyping. Yes...it does lead people into erroneous thinking, like the instances I have pointed out above. If we use shorthand forms of thinking, too often, such as stereotyping, then it is inevitable that we shall come to misjudgements, pretty regularly.

The kind of error here, of course, is noting that one thing has a certain property, and assuming that other things cannot have that property. It comes from a kind of tunnel vision.

I am happy to hear you defy American steretypes...refreshing! Carry on living life your own way, Christine.

Best wishes

10:24 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. 120 IQ.

That is quite smart. It is smarter than most people and equips one for most roles in life...however, it is not gifted. The threshold for "gifted" is supposed to be 130 or above. Even that is defined as only being "moderately" gifted. One person in 44 reaches the threshold of 130 for a population with a mean IQ of 100.

Use your smarts in something that makes you happy...and don't worry about labels. Good luck.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Demel,

The IQ stats are readily available...in books, on the net, in my head...lots of places really. The Bell Curve by Murray et. al has plenty of such info.

Re. Jew = smart. Yes, you are right, it does imply what you say...but it is an error of thinking to attribute all intelligence, to one splinter of the human race, when all splinters possess this potential (if unequally distributed).

Thanks for your comment.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well,if jews popular with their mathematical ability,the arabs popular with their memorizing ability..

3:07 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Arabs.

I have heard of the practice of memorizing the Quran...do Arabs go in for other kinds of memorization, too? Do let me know more, if so.

Thanks.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting...Actually in Ashkenazic Jewish culture, Jews memorized the Torah and Talmud from an early age. I (female) was brought up in an Orthodox family and started memorizing bits of the Torah at the age of 5 or 6. But my brothers memorized entire books. The reason I am saying this is that there is a theory (possibly unfounded), that says that because Ashkenazic Jewish culture is so centered on book learning, people with lower intelligences didn't marry and reproduce. Over time, the only people who could survive and thrive in Jewish society had to have a minimum level of intelligence, which would obviously affect the gene pool. (This would also make sense with regards to the lack of visual intelligence, since strict Orthodox Judaism limits what you can do with visual arts). One last point, Jews began working with money (and eventually in banks) because the medieval Church did not allow Christians to work as bankers (ie take interest on loans), but Jews were allowed to do so. It was one of the only professions open to them, since they couldn't own land. Over time, Jews built vast financial networks, some of which last until today.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, i learn that the arabs can memorize books eventhough they don't understand that esp for their examination.

example if they want to cheat in exam, they will ask their friend, "the answer for no 9 in what page?"

7:56 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. I have heard this theory for the origin of Ashkenazic intelligence...and it is most likely to be true. Rather oddly, they might have historical cause to thank their persecutors, for the advantages they have inadvertently bestowed on them!

Thanks for your comment.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Ainan.

We don't know. The big issue is that IQ tests have too low a ceiling these days. This is a problem for gifted children. The tests are not designed for the upper end kids, really. (They have sharp cut offs and depress upper end scores...)

2:21 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Arabs and test taking.

I have no knowledge of this...but if this is so, it is mindboggling that anyone would take such an approach to passing exams.

The easiest way to do well in an exam...is to understand it.

Thanks for your comment.

2:24 AM  

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