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.

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