Watson Suspended From Research Post
UPDATE: 1:47 pm 10-19-07--James Watson has been suspended from his research post. The forces of political correctness are strong in the United Kingdom. From CNN:
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Nobel laureate biologist James Watson was suspended Friday from his longtime post at a research laboratory and canceled his planned British book tour after controversial comments that black people are not as intelligent as white people.Our Original Story:
Score one for Political Correctness.
James Watson, Nobel prize-winning discoverer of the DNA double helix, discovered something quite different this week: what it's like when you say something that runs afoul of the forces of PC.
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Nobel laureate biologist Jim Watson apologized "unreservedly" Thursday for stating that black people were not as intelligent as whites, saying he was "mortified" by the comments attributed to him.There are mountains of research about IQ and the subtle, but quantifiable differences between groups, races and individuals. Professor Richard J. Herrnstein and AEI political scientist Charles Murray felt the PC backlash in 1994 when they published the Bell Curve.
"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.
"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.
From Wikipedia:It's dangerous when reporters, editors and bloggers attack research they don't understand. A comment which might be perfectly correct in a room where everyone is a scientist and used to rigorous testing of ideas is taken out of context. The forces of PC jump on it, shouting down the author, the scientist and the research itself. This is can be seen everyday in the debate about climate change.
The Bell Curve is a controversial, best-selling 1994 book by the late Harvard professor Richard J. Herrnstein and American Enterprise Institute political scientist Charles Murray. Its central point is that intelligence is a better predictor of many factors including financial income, job performance, unwed pregnancy, and crime than parent's Socio-Economic status or education level. Also, the book argued that those with high intelligence (the "cognitive elite") are becoming separated from the general population of those with average and below-average intelligence, and that this was a dangerous social trend
James Watson's comments are the story here to many. The worrisome habit of branding something which is disagreeable as "racist" and shouting it down is what's troublesome. Climate change or IQ,: the forces of PC are more interested in a rigid conformity than they are in debate.
James Watson is the latest to discover this.