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Old 10-19-2007, 04:03 PM   #46
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Originally posted by martha


You should try it and see how that goes then.



i volunteer to try to get diamond to change his sexual orientation!!!
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:33 PM   #47
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Old 10-19-2007, 06:03 PM   #48
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i volunteer to try to get diamond to change his sexual orientation!!!
Usually I'd request pics, but not in this case, thanks.
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Old 10-19-2007, 06:29 PM   #49
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Old 10-19-2007, 06:50 PM   #50
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A child that is at advantage by the blind luck of sexual reproduction is considered gifted and accepted, I don't see how similar traits can be generally wrong if they are selected for in an embryo.

If it was something more passive like risks for alzheimers, heart disease, mental illness or cancers I doubt that people would take issue. People have no problem with pregnant women ensuring folate and omega 3 intake (nor should they) because it helps the development of the foetus. With the very big if some of these prospects were delivered I can't see whats wrong with giving a child the best chances.

Frightening is the concept of systematised genetic discrimination (of course I suspect that everybody on this board falls far short across all the different potential benchmarks. Could that happen if such reproductive technology was only available to the elite forever?
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Old 10-20-2007, 09:52 AM   #51
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Usually I'd request pics, but not in this case, thanks.


There was a discussion about this on Anderson Cooper

COOPER: Well, before the break, we told you about the fallout from James Watson's shocking comments about race and I.Q.

Tonight, the Nobel laureate's job at a prestigious laboratory is on the line, and his reputation is badly bruised. We wanted to see for ourselves how his controversial claims hold up to the facts. Is there any science in what this scientist was talking about?

Earlier, I spoke to Joseph Graves, author of "The Race Myth" and dean of university studies and a professor of biological sciences at North Carolina A&T State University.

COOPER: Professor Graves, thanks for being with us.

Dr. Watson talks about testing that shows people of African descent are less intelligent than whites. Are there any studies or any tests that support his statement? I mean, what is he talking about? GRAVES: Well, he's talking about a literature that developed over 20th century in basic I.Q. testing that does show a result of persons of European descendant and persons of East Asian descent in the United States and also across Europe and Asia scoring higher on I.Q. tests than persons of African descent.

Now, one has to be very careful, however, about imputing a meaning to the differences in the results, particularly a genetic meaning.

COOPER: So, if it -- if it's not genetic, what -- how -- what would describe the differences on those tests?

GRAVES: I think the most obvious hypothesis are environmental differences, which favor a socially dominant group.

In my book, "The Race Myth," I go into a great deal of detail how there are all sorts of environmental inputs. And some of the obvious ones are things like poverty, lack of education, exposure to toxic materials, social and domestic violence. There are a number of things that impact people's ability to learn and that are visited differently on people who have a history of being socially subordinated.

COOPER: So, there's no really genetic evidence; there's nothing to indicate that race alone is what makes the difference on these tests?

GRAVES: Well, the first thing the audience really needs to know that, when we are talking about modern humans, we really don't have biological races. And, so, the very idea of black and white people, or African-Americans as a group set that Watson is trying to describe, are the result of social history in the given countries.

(CROSSTALK)

GRAVES: I mean, who is used to define as black in Brazil is different...

COOPER: Right.

GRAVES: ... as who is defined as black in the United States.

COOPER: Were you surprised to hear Dr. Watson making these comments? I mean, he -- there is a history here of this man making some very controversial statements.

GRAVES: Well, I'm not surprised that -- that he made the comment. There are people who make the comment besides him and who do research attempting to prove a genetic basis or a racial basis to genetic differences in intelligence. So, it's not like he's alone out there.

But one of the things that I have always stressed to myself, in my own scientific career, and to my colleagues is the importance of scientists making statements that are consistent with what we know, and not what we would like to be true. And, in Watson's case here, he's really talking about things, personal beliefs and biases that he has that he would like to be true and that there's really no scientific evidence for. And I find that irresponsible.

COOPER: Dr. Graves, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

GRAVES: Well, thank you so much, Anderson.
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:04 AM   #52
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Would you have a specific intelligence skill you would select for your child, Wanderer? I generally find the standard IQ tests lacking in some regards, one of them not being a breakdown.
For example, I scored high enough on the tests for gifted, but couldn't figure out a figure pattern or more complicated number pattern if my life depended on it. My points were skewered toward verbal. So were my college boards. I'm an anomaly in a family of people skewered toward math skills. Our scores were probably close, but our innate skills veered off. You're more versed than I am. Can it be pinpointed?
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:08 AM   #53
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What does it help to be a prodigy if you can't interact with normal people anyways?
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:54 AM   #54
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Originally posted by BonosSaint
Would you have a specific intelligence skill you would select for your child, Wanderer? I generally find the standard IQ tests lacking in some regards, one of them not being a breakdown.
For example, I scored high enough on the tests for gifted, but couldn't figure out a figure pattern or more complicated number pattern if my life depended on it. My points were skewered toward verbal. So were my college boards. I'm an anomaly in a family of people skewered toward math skills. Our scores were probably close, but our innate skills veered off. You're more versed than I am. Can it be pinpointed?
I would need to do a lot of reading up to answer that question, but I do not think that some sort of rigid mental blueprint is desireable compared to the capacity to do well (as in learn effectively, commit to memory better) in what one wants to.

There are also some character traits such as novelty seeking which through statistical analysis have been shown to probably be heritable. With the stipulation that those traits are more strongly genetic than environmental that would be something that could be desirable.

But all of that is relatively moot in the face of environment - but to what degree, that is a question that I would love to see answered. How plastic is a human brain, could a brilliant mathematician have been equally well placed as a man of letters if raised in a different environment, what crossover is there in abilities, what restricitions are there for crossover.

The difference between most smart people and those that achieve really great things is dominantly how much effort is put into their field (sports, music, physics, literature etc.), the time invested into has a pretty strong relationship to benefit (excluding those who are just able to trancend the rest through whatever reason; and luck). I don't think that there will ever be a way to create genius, nor do I think that would be desirable, if everybody was a genius very few of us today would even scratch towards the bottom edge of mediocrity. I do think that if people generally want the best for their children and at some stage in the future that may extend to eliminating mendellian diseases, reducing the risks of other health problems (these things will be uncontroversial as they are reasonably restricted in a moral sense; who is going to argue for a right for Duchenne muscular dystrophy?), where it gets more touchy is on questions of mind and character (understandably; we have invented religions to explain what makes people function) what I am trying to argue for is that if there is a biological basis for some traits that can be selected for then it should be within the potential parents rights to select for it. Now this doesn't answer the question of harmful traits (is selecting for deafness allowable? who enforces it?) or unintended concequences (which rightfully give cause for consideration at every stage). It is more of a general (and superficial) argument that people should (but don't always) want the best for their kids, already do things to improve their kids chances and not harm them and that if that ever includes picking out specific embros or (far more speculative and with a lot more practical restrictions) deliberately selecting specific traits then they should be allowable to; in the principle of improving the quality of life (note; intelligence would seem to be impartial on that count - except for doing very dumb things that get you hurt).
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:22 AM   #55
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First of all for all the vaunted verbal skill, I meant to say skewed above, not skewered. But to my credit, I said I scored gifted, not that I was.

Quote:
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[B
How plastic is a human brain, could a brilliant mathematician have been equally well placed as a man of letters if raised in a different environment, what crossover is there in abilities, what restricitions are there for crossover.
[/B]
That always was a question that fascinated me. I suppose there are certain people whose innate ability would cross over. But in general, I haven't seen much of that. Or as you noted, perhaps the environment plays a role, the amount of time invested. It seems to me that each answers to a different language and the different switches that may be turned on.

I have not formed an opinion on the ethics of it. I don't see any ethical problem in increasing the general abilities. of people. However, I also consider the applications of it. I don't think people will settle for general increase. I think if the science becomes available for it, they will begin to customize, fully believing they are doing what is best for society and best for their children.

I think in many cases what the parents want is a child who idealizes their value systems, a legacy thing, maybe. Now we move from the objective increase to subjective increase. Customizing what the parent values--your mind and character. I think you would find as the science improves, the more the restrictions would be relaxed or become more unenforceable, which amounts to the same thing.

Back to the standard IQ tests, I find many limitations in them. I think they are fine in measuring mental quickness or agility, less fine in measuring mental depth or as I noted earlier, less fine in breaking down where the innate abilities lie. For too many people, you are held to the number, which I'm not sure is ultimately beneficial except for a quick, somewhat accurate, reference point. They don't go far enough.
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:31 AM   #56
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I saw this on the news. Disgusting.
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Old 10-22-2007, 09:09 PM   #57
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My article in The Sunday Times Magazine last Sunday was, I hoped, a rounded representation of the Nobel laureate, James Watson.

His views are often unpredictable and invariably cause controversy and so I sought a balance, one that reflected his eccentricities but also brought home the magnitude of his contribution to science and continuing devotion to disease research.

I can't support those few, perhaps unguarded, comments he said to me but I can say that he works tirelessly to encourage scientists from all backgrounds and countries. Whatever his views about society, he ultimately cares about great science, whoever it is executed by. I suspect that Watson wouldn't be the first person a scientist would call on to discuss socio-biological theories, but I am happy to bet that a geneticist wouldn't want anyone else by their side if they were trying to solve a problem in the lab.

Colleagues expect Watson's conversations to be peppered with 'un-PC' comments. It is part of his character. He wouldn't be the man he is and have contributed so much to science if he wasn't a little different to everyone else. His curiosity drives him to push the boundaries of what we deem acceptable and in the process, he forces us to confront long-standing humanitarian taboos. Which, as witnessed by the knee-jerk panic response to his comments inferring racial differences, is a crime in our overtly politically correct society.

Science has always been open to debate. Why shackle it? What are we so afraid of? Why gag and shame on the basis of fear?

Maybe this will be a watershed moment, one that examines our inability to openly debate sensitive issues. Whether is it or not, I believe that fear of what might be uncovered – or not – as a result of further analysis is no reason to deprive ourselves of the most experienced geneticist of our age. My hope is, once the smoke clears, that the laboratory will realise that he is too precious to dismiss over fears of what he has said and might say next. He can say it, he can take it back, others can challenge it. We pride ourselves in living within a democratic society. If he said - which he hasn't – that I might be less intelligent because I had blonde hair, I wouldn't care. All that matters to me is that if someone I loved was ill, or dying from an incurable disease, then the man who has the brains, capability and resources to help them, be allowed to do so.

As Chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Watson's is not only a maverick in securing funding but a crucial sounding board for lab scientists. Daily, he consults with his scientific investigators – all working on disparate areas of the disease field. At nearly 80, Watson seamlessly manoeuvres his thoughts around scores of ultra-specific genetic problems. All hours of his working day his researchers look to him for advice – secure in the knowledge that he has the experience to make the decisions which, without him, they could misjudge and risk being a step behind.

I have been reported as working with him - when, as stated, I was under the guidance of the then assistant director of the lab, Winship Herr. But, any geneticist who has had their hand grasped by him in a congratulatory handshake following a hard-won discovery in the lab, will tell you that Watson has a unique ability to instil pride in achievement. Biologists rarely see the limelight, and if occasional words of praise and encouragement are enough to keep scientists working a few extra few hours a day, and if this makes our fight against disease faster, then we need him.

After a long day of conversation – the topic of racial inequality was broached. It seemed an important extension to words he had written in his book. I would never have written something that I thought he would not be prepared to defend. I am not trying to destroy a brilliant scientist and I am genuinely horrified by the response. We need to squeeze every last drop of brilliance from this man if we are to continue hoping to unravel the genetic causes of disease. He strives to help young people in their careers. My biggest concern is that, by helping me, he has damaged himself. I could not hope more, that I am wrong.

In a war – the people we want around us are the ones with the experience and proven track record. Disease is a war. We need tactics, brilliance and, above all, experience. He may push the boundaries of what is acceptable in our PC world – and stray into areas that are not his expertise - but when he sits in his role as Chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, his scientists – though not the publicists – feel safe and expertly guided. And they are.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/global/article2704730.ece
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Old 10-23-2007, 12:50 AM   #58
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When people are under attack for racist comments, they like to throw "PC" around to shield themselves from criticism.

News flash: Anyone can be racist: smart people, stupid people, amzing scientists, talented musicians, street thugs. It may or may not diminish their achievements, but a little of their credibility is eroded every time they say something lame.
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Old 10-25-2007, 09:24 AM   #59
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abcnews.com

October 25, 2007 8:49 AM

James Dewey Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, seems to concede he brought this on himself. Last week, as you'll recall, he was quoted as suggesting that Africans were generally less intelliigent than westerners.

The explosion that followed was international. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory near New York, where he was chancellor, said it was "bewildered and saddened" by his comments. He apologized, saying he couldn't believe he'd said what he'd been quoted as saying.

Not enough. This morning he released this statement:

This morning I have conveyed to the Trustees of the Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory my desire to retire immediately from my position as its
Chancellor, as well as from my position on its Board, on which I have
served for the past 43 years. Closer now to 80 than 79, the passing on
of my remaining vestiges of leadership is more than overdue. The
circumstances in which this transfer is occurring, however, are not
those which I could ever have anticipated or desired.

That the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is now one of the world's
premier sites for biological research and education has long warmed my
heart. So I am grateful that its Board now will allow me to remain
along my beloved Bungtown Road. Forty-nine years ago, as a newly
appointed young Assistant Professor at Harvard, I gave my first course
on this pernicious collection of diseases of uncontrolled cell growth
and division. Cancer, then an intellectual black box, now, in part
because of research at the Laboratory, is almost full lit. Though
important facts remain undiscovered, there is no reason why they
should not soon be found. Final victory is within our grasp. Strong in
spirit and intensely focused, I wish to be among those at the victory
line.

The ever quickening advances of science made possible by the success
of the Human Genome Project will also soon let us see the essences of
mental disease. Only after we understand them at the genetic level can
we rationally seek out appropriate therapies for such illnesses as
schizophrenia and bipolar disease. For the children of my sister and
me, this moment can not come a moment too soon. Hell does not come
close to describing the impact of psychotic disorders on human life.

This week's events focus me ever more intensely on the moral values
passed on to me by my father, whose Watson surname marks his long ago
Scots-Irish Appalachian heritage; and by my mother, whose father,
Lauchlin Mitchell, came from Glasgow and whose mother, Lizzie Gleason,
had parents from Tipperary. To my great advantage, their lives were
guided by a faith in reason; an honest application of its messages;
and for social justice, especially the need for those on top to help
care for the less fortunate. As an educator, I have always striven to
see that the fruits of the American Dream are
available to all.

I have been much blessed.
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