Say It Ain't So, Watson!

Uh oh. Nobel Prize winner James Watson [wiki] - yes, the Watson from the Watson and Crick DNA double helix structure discovery fame - has just stirred a controversy for claiming that black people are less intelligent than white people in an interview with The Times Online:

The 79-year-old geneticist said he was “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.". He said he hoped that everyone was equal, but countered that “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”.

He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because “there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level”. He writes that “there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so”. (From Times Online Oct 17th 2007, Oct 14th 2007)

Seems like Watson has a penchant for saying controversial things, like when he suggested that stupidity is a disease and that we should genetically engineer girls to be pretty!

But in a documentary series to be screened in the UK on Channel 4, Watson says that low intelligence is an inherited disorder and that molecular biologists have a duty to devise gene therapies or screening tests to tackle stupidity.

"If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease," says Watson, now president of the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory, New York. "The lower 10 per cent who really have difficulty, even in elementary school, what's the cause of it? A lot of people would like to say, 'Well, poverty, things like that.' It probably isn't. So I'd like to get rid of that, to help the lower 10 per cent."

Watson, no stranger to controversy, also suggests that genes influencing beauty could also be engineered. "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great." (From: New Scientist Feb 2003)

In other observation, I think he kind of looks like Montgomery Burns of The Simpsons:

Update 10/19/07: Watson has apologized, saying:

"I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said," Watson said during an appearance at the Royal Society in London.

"I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways that they have."

"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief," he said.



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Way to imply that James Watson is evil just because he looks like Mr. Burns. You just did the same thing Watson did. Thanks for being completely prejudiced.
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When people say things akin to "If white people had to live in poverty like race x does" miss the point entirely. The fact some cultures have achieved greater prosperity than others is - in fact - proof of that cultures propensity for "greatness". The simple fact that most whites don't live in abject poverty (and ignorence) could explain why switching roles would only be temporary. the race/culture that is superior will rise to the top much like the proverbial "cream" that they represent. Much like Mike Tyson trading places with Bill Gates, it would make little difference in the long run whom started out where, the eventual outcome would be MicroSoft would be ruined, and a new software company would rise elsewhere. Most people (who are truthful to themselves) know this, the rest can continue to 'Cast pearls at swine'
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@ Ray.

Because they still owe money to foreign countries (200 billion dollars) and when Colonial Imperialism collapsed after WW2 the borders were all redrawn. Another good example is the Middle East. (The Ottomon Empire fell and for some reason they divided the Kurds in present day Iraq and Turkey.) Enemies were living side by side, and contiguous political groups were divided. Not to mention the cold war had some effect; when a country had a successful military coup, they felt the need to ally with either USSR or the Allies.

The same thing can be said to cultures today presently in North America and Europe. Remember the French riots recently? Invite people to the country, give them a temporary citizenship which could be taken away at anytime, and stick them in ghettos. The same thing happened to African Americans and Aboriginals. They were segregated and thrown into a separate, poor world which they had no say in and could not control, and today they're being told they're on their own. Meanwhile, no one has the education to fix this as a result of that.
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