Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Nobel victor James Watson stripped of titles over 'reprehensible' views on race

In 2007 Dr Watson said he was 'inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa' Image In 2007 Dr Watson said he was 'inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa'
Sandra Phillips | 14 January, 2019, 16:11

Dr Watson became Cold Spring Harbor's director in 1968, its president in 1994 and chancellor a decade later.

In a new PBS documentary, the titan of genetics said that his opinions on the issue remain unchanged, adding that differences in IQ's between Caucasians and other races were reflected in DNA.

But it's his remarks on race that have drawn the most scorn, such as a 2007 interview with a British journalist in which Watson said he is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" due to (debunked) research allegedly showing racial gaps in intelligence, per The New York Times.

The laboratory branded the latest remarks "reprehensible", "reckless" and "unsupported by science", saying they effectively reversed Dr Watson's written apology and retraction in 2007.

A Nobel Prize-winning American scientist who co-discovered DNA has been stripped of his honorary titles at the laboratory he once led after repeating racist comments in a documentary. "The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice", the laboratory said in a Friday (Jan 11) statement before revoking three titles - chancellor emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus, and honorary trustee soon afterwards.

In the 2007 article Watson went on to avow that, while he wanted everyone to be equal in terms of intelligence, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true".

In the documentary he admitted that his views on race and intelligence had not changed - "not at all".

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The Times reported that Watson's family said he was unable to respond, having been in medical care since a auto accident in October.

In the film, Watson references a view that average IQ differences between blacks and whites reflect underlying genetic differences shaped by natural selection.

Watson has long expressed questionable views, including a 1997 interview in which he expressed unreserved support for abortion rights - something that might have been relatively uncontroversial had he not specifically mentioned fetuses determined to have hypothetical genes leading to homosexuality, dyslexia, or a lack of musical or sports talent as valid reasons to terminate a pregnancy.

During a lecture tour in 2000, he suggested there might be links between a person's weight and their level of ambition and between skin colour and sexual prowess.

Watson, one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century, had apologised after making similar comments to a British newspaper in 2007.

James Watson the Nobel Prize for the 1953 discovery of the DNA's double helix structure.

'My dad's statements might make him out to be a bigot and discriminatory, ' he said, but that's not true.

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