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Sander L. Gilman is distinguished professor of the liberal arts and sciences and professor of psychiatry at Emory University, Atlanta.
of recent Middlebury College fame, argued in 2007 that Jews “are smarter” than everyone else; in 1994, he co-authored a book titled The Bell Curve, in which he and Richard Herrnstein argued the intellectual superiority of “Ashkenasic Jews of European origins,” who “test higher than any other ethnic group.” Of course, if the Jews are smarter, says the pseudo-scientist, it is a trade-off because they are pathetically weak and corrupt: In 2005, Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy and Henry Harpending—anthropologists at the University of Utah—made quite a splash with a study suggesting that superior Jewish intelligence was the inadvertent result of “inbreeding,” and was balanced by Jewish genetic diseases.
Sadly, such pseudoscience is crude and transparent. MacDonald, for example, was the sole “scientific” witness speaking for David Irving in the 1996 case against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt, whom he accused of libel for labeling him a “Holocaust denier.” Irving was nevertheless convicted in spite of (or perhaps, because of) MacDonald’s testimony, and was labeled “an active Holocaust denier … anti-Semitic and racist … [and someone who] associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo- Nazism.”