August 2, 2006
There is an unattributed article circulating over the Internet these days which lists Jewish and Islamic Nobel Laureates, followed by a bit of unrelated doggerel, making the obvious declaration that Jews are smart and good, Muslims are dumb and evil. By implication, the article means ALL Jews and ALL Muslims.
It is racist nonsense, and it’s wrong.
By doing a simple Internet search, I located at least a dozen versions of this list and they all have minor differences. Most important, I could not locate any version that matches the list produced by the official website of the Nobel Foundation. Nor could I locate any source for confirming that those listed as Muslims truly are, those listed as Jewish truly are.
Nevertheless, the listing is accurate enough that the point it is trying to make is abundantly clear, and solidly supported: Jews are better than Muslims. Indeed.
It makes the point that Muslims constitute about 20% of the world’s population and have produced less than 10 Nobel Laureates. Jews represent around 0.02% of the world but have produced about 125 Laureates. Assuming the names on these lists really are Jewish or Muslim, those facts would seem to be indisputable. Whether they mean anything is something altogether different.
Let’s begin with the obvious: The point of this Nobel list is to glorify Jews and denigrate Muslims. The list is utterly meaningless as a measure of the worth of one group versus another. Using the Nobel prizes as a measure of human value is a fool’s game: if more Jews than Muslims have received Nobel prizes, so what? I’ll bet more Russians than Americans have gone swimming in Lake Baikal — what exactly would that prove?
But what might not be so obvious is the specious reasoning and scurrilous nature of this argument.
First is the frequently controversial nature of the prizes awarded; then there is the obvious political distinction to some prize decisions; and there is the nomination process itself. Although the prize committee automatically disqualifies self-nominations, the whole process is predicated on one’s friends making a nomination. Winners, then, are not necessarily the 'best’ in their fields, just the best (hopefully) among the nominees. Institutions with interest in the bragging rights of having a Nobel Laureate associated with them make up a large number of the nominators. What is never revealed is the names of nominees who do not win, which clouds what many believe to be the obvious political and corporate-friendly decision process. It would also cloud whether some group of nominees, Muslims or Japanese for instance, had been unfairly overlooked.
But since the only way to argue with the people who compiled the article comparing Jews and Muslims is to sink to the same level, let’s do that. Let’s examine ALL the Nobel numbers and draw the obvious conclusions.
- There have been a total of 780 Nobel prizes awarded to date. A mere 34 of those have gone to women. Since women make up more than 50% of the world’s population, the obvious conclusion is that they just aren’t smart enough or good enough. The feminists must have been wrong, because this comparison clearly reveals that women are next to worthless.
- The United States, containing about 2% of the world’s population, has been awarded about 20% of the Nobel prizes. For sheer number, then, people in the United States are clearly the best, brightest, and most valuable people on Earth (using the same logic as the authors of the Jewish-Muslim comparison and despite all the empirical evidence to the contrary). The rest of us are clearly inadequate.
- Yet Canada, geographically huge but with a population of about 10% of the United States, has a higher level of Nobel awards on a per capita basis. Does that make us better? Well, we know we are, but that’s another story.
- Even more pronounced is Switzerland. With a mere 7.5 million people, they have produced 25 Nobel Laureates. If you work out all the numbers, they are best among the nations.
- But as the Jewish-Muslim comparison shows, the Jews definitely punch far above their weight.
What is absolutely obscure in all these numbers is whether they mean anything. Do all those Swiss awards result from merely being Swiss? Do all the Jewish awards result from merely being Jewish and is the small number of Muslim prizes the result of following Islam? That is exactly what the authors of the Jewish-Muslim comparison are intending to demonstrate.
The argument is being used in the Internet article as a defensive piece for Israel. It ignores that a significant number of the awards given to the alleged Jews predate Israel’s existence and it utterly ignores whether any of the Jewish award winners are in any way related to Israel — do any of them actually live there?
Since we’re talking about racial comparisons, let’s not ignore the fact that almost none of the 780 award winners hails from Asia, where about half the world lives. What’s wrong with those people? Can’t they do better?
The Jewish-Muslim article ends with a series of statements and questions. They are:
The Jews are not demonstrating with their dead on the streets, yelling and chanting and asking for revenge.
That’s right, they don’t ask for revenge. They just go out and take it, in extraordinarily disproportionate reactions that are a far cry from the Torah text speaking to 'an eye for an eye’.
The Jews are not promoting brain washing their children in military training camps.
That’s right, mandatory military service in Israel would never seek to mold the views of a recruit.
The Jews are not teaching their children how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims.
The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics.
But they do kidnap, they do surreptitiously execute people in other sovereign countries, they do treat the Palestinians with less regard than they give to a herd of oxen.
The Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.
Can’t argue about Jihad. Do Muslims traffic in slaves? I suspect some of the slave traders in Somalia and Sudan are Muslim, but that is hardly the same thing as saying they are slavers because they are Muslim.
The Jews don't have the economic strength of petroleum, nor the possibilities to force the world's media to see "their side" of the question.
The second half of that statement is too laughable to illicit any comment.
Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.
I agree the Muslims should invest more in education. But it seems to me they don’t blame the Jews for all their problems. Mostly, they blame the United States. Next, they blame Israel. But the point of the Jewish-Muslim comparison article is to obscure the line that is habitually hidden: Jews and Israel are not the same thing, and for most Muslims it is clearly Israel which is the enemy, not the Jews.
The whole point is that the Jewish-Muslim comparison is meant to be an exercise in superiority. It is a foolish and meaningless comparison every bit as fallacious as suggesting Jews are all crooks just because Jewish accountants brought about the collapses of Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and many others.
Even more important in this Jewish-Muslim comparison is the succinct proof it offers for a common cyberspace truth: 'Arguing on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics; even if you win, you’re still retarded.
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Paul Richard Harris is an Axis of Logic editor and columnist, based in Canada. He can be reached at email@example.com
Read the Biography and additional articles by Axis Columnist, Paul Richard Harris