Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Prosecute James Watson Say Race Groups.

The co-discoverer of DNA James Watson is being lambasted for making controversial remarks about race and intelligence:
The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.
Obviously this is extremely controversial viewpoint and people are entitled to disagree and criticise Watson for saying it. What isn't on is for organisations and MPs to try and have him prosecuted for expressing an opinion.
Anti-racism campaigners called for Dr Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. A spokesman for the 1990 Trust, a black human rights group, said: "It is astonishing that a man of such distinction should make comments that seem to perpetuate racism in this way. It amounts to fuelling bigotry and we would like it to be looked at for grounds of legal complaint."
The 1990 trust is of course the organisation that promoted such laughably bogus accusations of racism against Boris Johnson earlier in the year, a fact which has a lot to do with their source of funding being from Ken Livingstone. Do these people really want Britain to regress to a country where Nobel winning scientists, or any scientists, cannot openly discuss ideas without facing the brunt of the law. It doesn't matter whether the ideas being discussed are right or wrong, it must be possible to discuss them openly.


Update: Incidentally whilst I deplore the thuggish efforts to prosecute people for what they say, it is a pity that James Watson will be cited by race cranks at tedious length for decades to come, much like a previous Nobel Laureate who delved into these waters. That can't be nice fate for the man partially responsible for the discovery of the century.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Im sorry but if a black scientist said that white people were less intelligent than black people, there would be even more uproar.
Black people have suffered hatred and torment from white people for too long.

Its because white people didn't leave us alone, why we're all stuck up in this God forsakenm country anyway. After taking everything from us and selling it back to us, they then want to call it intelligent???

Give me a break, it weren't so long ago my grandmother was laughed at for eating a banana, but hey, white people can't get enough of the nutrient. I was laughed at at school for having big lips hey! What do you know, big bums and lips are hot business now.
S
o for all you indigenous aliens and dutty descendants of pirates and robbers, killers and deceivers, black people don't need your recognition or say so for anything. Everthing you have, we had it first.

If intelligence is dividing then ruling the biggest nation of the world then the world is hell itself.

Ross said...

"Im sorry but if a black scientist said that white people were less intelligent than black people, there would be even more uproar."

It isn't the uproar that I object to and personally I think he is probably incorrect factually and the way he said was rather crass. But their is still no excuse to try and invoke the force of the law to silence him.

The rest of your post doesn't really have much to do with the topic.

Anonymous said...

Watson's comments are deeply troubling at several levels:

a) As a scientist, Watson, of all people, should know how difficult it is to know something with any level of certainty. The link between genotype and phenotype is very very complicated (to say the least) even when it comes to more simple physical traits. To talk about the genetic basis of something as complex as intelligence (i mean try defining intelligence !)with such certainty, reveals a man completely out of touch with science and the scientific method.

b) With fame comes responsibility. Someone as famous as Watson should know that for good or ill, his statements carry some weight. This predicament requires that he be doubly cautious about what he says and how he says it. When one is about to talk of intensely controversial issues such as one here, even lay people exercise some caution and nuance their statements. The blunt tenor of his statements doesn't reflect scientific fact, as much as it reflects a despicable arrogance, and even perhaps a racist mentality.

c) He is the head of an institution where presumably black students and scientists also work. In this context, these opinions cannot be dismissed too lightly. One obviously wonders, how much these opinions of his manifest themselves in his professional dealings with black colleagues, students and researchers. Since he, to some extent, determines the fate of these people, it is all the more necessary that he be questioned about these views.

I don't agree at all with the calls for his prosecution. I fervently believe in free speech, no matter how distasteful. However, I commend the decision by the Scientific Museum to cancel his talk. While people are free to say what they want, people should also be free to decide to what they want to listen to and who they want to ignore.

I personally believe Watson is an old fogey, way past his prime. His scientific contributions, however great they may have been, were made a LONG time ago. I honor and respect the work he did. But the man is not the work, especially if the grandeur of the work cloaks a bigot.

JuliaM said...

"I fervently believe in free speech, no matter how distasteful. However, I commend the decision by the Scientific Museum to cancel his talk. While people are free to say what they want, people should also be free to decide to what they want to listen to and who they want to ignore."

As long as it's us doing the deciding for you, you meant to add....?

"...it is all the more necessary that he be questioned about these views."

Ah, there's your commitment to free speech laid out for all to see: "Have views if you must, but be prepared to be 'questioned' about them, should you dare to express them. In fact, we'll just go the whole hog and make a few assumptions, should you be so arrogant as to have the wrong views..."

Anonymous said...

The Science Museum is free to decide whether or not it wants to have Watson speak. If people don't like this decision they are free to criticize it. No one is making any decisions for anybody. The Museum made a decision for itself. I personally liked the decision by the Museum.

And whats your commitment to free speech ? "Say what you feel like and expect others to shut-up, if not acquiesce ?" !!!

Whats so wrong with having one's views questioned? I am sure if Watson truly believed in what he said he would be more than willing to take pains to explain himself (as opposed to squealing out his little "I'm so sorry" today). In general, the greater the power one wields, the more one needs to be questioned.

Clearly you don't agree with any of the above. You just want to be able to say what you feel like, and then do what you feel like, and then if anybody is offended, just sit back and sneer, "Freedom of speech, ha! ha !".

healtheland said...

http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/more-proof-that-evolution-is-inherently-racist-nobel-prize-winner-james-watson/

JuliaM said...

"Whats so wrong with having one's views questioned? "

Nothing. But you have to be able to express them first!

"You just want to be able to say what you feel like, and then do what you feel like, and then if anybody is offended..."

Well, God forbid anyone should be offended - obviously, giving offence is the worst thing, ever!

I believe Stephen Fry had a pithy little comment about being offended. You should Google it...

Anonymous said...

A) Watson really meant what he said, in which case his subsequent apology is insincere (presumably, he buckles under the slightest pressure)

B) Watson didn't at all mean what he said, in which case he is prone to saying outrageous things, without considering them seriously.

Either way, he's bit of a sad case, and there is no more reason why he should be taken seriously. Its appropriate that the Museum isn't wasting time on him.

Now to your point, Stephen Fry's quote, I'm afraid, was no more pithy than it was stupid. If people are offended, "so fucking what ?". That is precisely, what I argued against before - the arrogance of free-speech(ers).

1.Watson says, "Blacks are stupid"
2.Museum says, "We're offended"
3.Watson say, "So fucking what ?"
4.Museum says, "We don't want to listen to you, anymore"
5.Watson says, "I'm offended"
6.Museum says, "So fucking what ?"

Brilliant, cycle closed. We can all go home now !

JuliaM said...

"That is precisely, what I argued against before - the arrogance of free-speech(ers). "

So, for another closer cycle, we have the arrogance of the censors instead... ;)

And perhaps you can enlighten as as to exactly what 'power' Wilson possesses that you were banging on about earlier (if you are the same 'anon')...? Doesn't really jibe with:

"...he's bit of a sad case, and there is no more reason why he should be taken seriously"

So, powerful man, or sad case? Which is it?

Anonymous said...

The whole issue also highlights the a more deep duplicity in Western standards of "free speech".

Its perfectly OK, to go on and find (or affirm) the genetic basis of the lack of intelligence among the blacks of Africa (after having raped and pillaged the continent without mercy), and then defend these thoughts under the conveniences of "free speech".

Yet, Watson would never talk of the genetic basis of the, say, "selfishness", "connivance" and "parochialism" of Jews, for example. Lets see how long CSHL lasts after he says something like that.

No! Sweeping, baseless and entirely untrue generalizations are only to be made about people who don't have a voice, who are somehow "absent" from our minds. Its the most debased, debauched kind of behavior that masquerades as virtue.

Free speech is just a crutch the West often uses to offend the weak. How ironic and sad !

JuliaM said...

"The whole issue also highlights the a more deep duplicity in Western standards of "free speech"."

Western, eh..? Really...?

From the 'Telegraph' article on the same affair (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/17/nwatson217.xml):

"And last November Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, published a paper claiming African states were poor because their populations were less intelligent than Europeans and Asians."

But then, no doubt you'll just 'argue' that he's been corrupted by the Western imperialists, I suppose...

"Sweeping, baseless and entirely untrue generalizations are only to be made about people who don't have a voice"

The utter irony of this statement escapes you, I presume...?

Anonymous said...

So, powerful man, or sad case? Which is it?

Obviously, powerful for those whose fate he affects or can affect(say, people at CSHL). Sad for the rest of us.
You're stupider than I thought (all offense intended :-))

But then, no doubt you'll just 'argue' that he's been corrupted by the Western imperialists, I suppose...

You suppose correctly.

The utter irony of this statement escapes you, I presume...?

You presume correctly.

JuliaM said...

"You're stupider than I thought"

Immediatelt followed by:

The utter irony of this statement escapes you, I presume...?

You presume correctly.


Priceless! Did you hear a 'whooosh' noise over your head when you read that?

We should get someone to look at your IQ level... ;)

Anonymous said...

We should get someone to look at your IQ level... ;)

Oh well ! Since I'm black, I guess we already know what thats going to reveal, don't we ?

JuliaM said...

It's not the colour of your skin that makes you an idiot to me (since I can't see it through the wonder of the Internet...), it's the content of your comments, and the weak 'arguments' that you put up in favour of your position.

Sorry to shatter your mistaken assumptions... ;)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to shatter your mistaken assumptions... ;)

Haha ! Now there's a bit of presumption !! Sorry to disappoint you, but there's nothing you seem to be capable of shattering.
You don't even seem capable of making any kind of arguments yourself.

Its all too easy to quote selective bits and make them appear weak, without making any substantive points oneself. But substantive arguments is too much to ask of you ! You're all too busy seeing "irony" in simple sentences that you can't even comprehend :-)

Anyways, as an African proverb says, "The more you kick dirt, the more it sits on your head". No more kicking dirt for me. So I leave the final word to you !

I'm sure that just made your day !! :-) Have fun !

Camdyn said...

Well said.