17 October 2007


Pity about James Watson

UPDATE: I think Angela Gunn of USA Today (whom I think I met briefly back in 2005) has the best followup on Watson this week, and as a bonus she's actually read his new book right through. The Daily Telegraph has also termed his comments a symptom of "Nobel Syndrome."

CSHL: Watson (of "…and Crick") at Flickr.comThe photo here is of James Watson, one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA and winner of the Nobel Prize for it. He also appears to be quite the bigot, stating this week that he is:

...inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa [because] all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.

In other words, he thinks black people are just inevitably dumber than white people. He's wrong, quite wrong, in ways that many people have demonstrated over many decades.

His comments have set off quite a storm, as you would expect, and they are also far from his first controversial statements. I find his remarks both ignorant of the science on the subject (odd, given his supposed expertise) and morally repugnant, regardless of his esteemed achievements. I hope you do too.

Labels: , , , , ,


Well, I personnally find it very logical.

What do we have ?

- DNA and science prove that there is no such thing as "race" in the human specie.

- intelligence tests prove that black people have lower results than white people.

So, if it is not the DNA and the genetics, what is it ? Well, education, of course ! And social background, etc. And also... training for these kind of tests, too, because those are not natural, but very cultural.

Who ever denied that if you are black and come out of Harvard you are closer to Mr Watson than if you are white and clean floors ?
I wonder if it's senility, or just plain inability to be appropriate in public? I mean, who in their right mind would say such a thing, even if they thought it was true?

Beyond that, what he's saying is archaic. Nobody who's anybody nowadays believes that sort of thing; if they do, they're probably old or racial bigotry is part of their upbringing and they're too closed off to learn otherwise. It's just like saying men are smarter than women: bullshit.

I wonder what "intelligence tests" he's referring to. Did they include having to identify Beethoven sonatas?
I note that he comments upon intelligence being 'different', not lesser or greater in some dominant or specific quality gender...just different...and you don't catch me trying to say that people all over the world are the same...they just don't appear to be to me...very similar, but there are people in a cultural way that appear to reason differently...perhaps using collective unconscious models of intuitive access or not, but maybe not quite the reasoning that some are geared to....and that is ok if it is true. Isn't it?
i think it is well known that the guy also hated women and was unsupportive of the work and support they (he and ol'crick) during their double helix hay days...