The brilliant Bruno writes:

Chomsky has much more than 125 and a huge creativity ability. In linguistics theory, he is a master . Like Gärdenfors or Davidson for semantics. And Stalnaker for syntax .

This reminds me that I promised I would do an article on Noam Chomsky’s IQ.

Chomsky is arguably the most academically successful Jew of his generation.  In 1992, MIT news reported:

Recent research on citations in three different citation indices show that Professor Chomsky is one of the most cited individuals in works published in the past 20 years.

In fact, his 3,874 citations in the Arts and Humanities Citation Index between 1980 and 1992 make him the most cited living person in that period and the eighth most cited source overrall–just behind famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud and just ahead of philosopher Georg Hegel.

Indeed, Professor Chomsky is in illustrious company. The top ten cited sources during the period were: Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare, Aristotle, the Bible, Plato, Freud, Chomsky, Hegel and Cicero.

In 2005 he was voted the World’s top public intellectual.

Chomsky is part of the Silent Generation, one of the 58 million Americans born from 1925 to 1945.  In 2013 it was estimated that Jews are 3.3% of U.S. adults, if Jewish is defined as having at least one Jewish parent or being raised Jewish, even if you now have another religion.  Only 55% of this 3.3% is Jewish by religion.

We don’t know how many Americans were Jewish in Chomsky’s day, but in 1957, 3.2% of Americans 14 or older were Jewish by religion, and assuming even back then, Jews by religion were 55% of the Jewish population, then the total Jewish population was 5.8% of America.

Assuming they were also 5.8% of the Silent Generation, and assuming Chomsky is the most academically successful Jew of his generation, that puts him in the top one in 3.4 million level among U.S. Jews in academic success.  If there were a perfect correlation between IQ and academic success, and assuming Jews have the same IQ variance as Whites, this would imply Chomsky’s IQ is 75 points higher than the average U.S. Jew.  Today the correlation between IQ and academic success is only about 0.55, but in the mid-20th century, when Chomsky was coming of age, it was a potent 0.7 and was likely about the same in the Jewish population.

A 0.7 correlation implies that instead of Chomsky being 75 IQ points smarter than the average Jew, as a perfect correlation predicts, he’d be 75(0.7) = 53 points smarter than the average Jew.  On a scale where the white mean is set at IQ 100 (Standard Deviation = 15), U.S. Jews average about 110, making Chomsky’s expected IQ 163, with a 95% confidence interval of 142 to 184.

Why are Ashkenazi IQs so high?  Gregory Cochran, Jason Harding, and Henry Harpending cite sphingolipid diseases in the Ashkenazi gene pool and claim these mutations increase the length and branching of neurons in Ashkenazi brains.  As many as 2% of Israeli Ashkenazim are in high IQ occupations, but an incredible 15% of Israeli Gaucher patients are.  This suggests Gaucher patients are 1 standard deviation above the Israeli Ashkenazi mean in occupational status.  If one assumes Gaucher disease caused these high occupations via increased IQ, then the 0.7 correlation between IQ and occupation implies this disease increased IQ by 1.43 standard deviations (21 points) for occupation to have increased by 0.7(1.43 SD) = 1 SD.

Of course these results need to be replicated in more numerous and diverse samples before any causal inferences are made.

My personal opinion is that yes, Ashkenazim are smarter than whites, but that the gap is inflated by their hyper-intellectual culture, giving them an unfair advantage on IQ tests.  On a truly culture reduced IQ test (that could somehow measure verbal ability without culture bias), I think they’d score 5 points higher than whites, instead of the 10 point advantage they enjoy on conventional tests.  Thus, my best guess is Chomsky’s true IQ is 5 points lower than estimated above: 158, not 163.

Given that Chomsky is now 89, it would be absolutely fascinating to give him a version of the WAIS.  Unlike brilliant young adults who have their IQ scores limited by ceiling bumping, the WAIS-R had an astonishing ceiling of IQ 185 for 70-74 year olds, so just imagine how much ceiling you could get at Chomsky’s age.

Now that I’ve discussed Chomsky’s intelligence, here’s Chomsky discussing Neanderthal intelligence:


Minor corrections were made to this article on Feb 14, 2018