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Old 10-17-2007, 05:44 PM   #1
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Black people 'less intelligent' scientist claims

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One of the world’s most respected scientists is embroiled in an extraordinary row after claiming that black people are less intelligent than white people.

James Watson, a Nobel Prize winner for his part in discovering the structure of DNA, has provoked outrage with his comments, made ahead of his arrival in Britain today.

More fierce criticism of the eminent scientist is expected as he embarks on a number of engagements to promote a new book ‘Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science’. Among his first commitments is a speech to a London audience at the Science Museum on Friday. The event is sold out.

Dr Watson, who runs one of America’s leading scientific research institutions, made the controversial remarks in an interview in The Sunday Times.

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”.

He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.

The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission is studying Dr Watson’s remarks “in full”.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said today: “It is sad to see a scientist of such achievement making such baseless, unscientific and extremely offensive comments.

“I am sure the scientific community will roundly reject what appear to be Dr Watson’s personal prejudices. These comments serve as a reminder of the attitudes which can still exist at the highest professional levels.”

Dr Watson was hailed as achieving one of the greatest single scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century when he worked at the University of Cambridge in the 1950s and 1960s, forming part of the team which discovered the structure of DNA.

He shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for medicine with his British colleague Francis Crick and New Zealand-born Maurice Wilkins.
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Hate the idea of censorship and investigation, agree about heritability of intelligence, some issue with racial disparities; they do exist between large groups but cause is up for grabs, nature vs. nurture.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:51 PM   #2
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I'll put this in the basket of INDY's "science" that says gay marriage increases the divorce rate of straight marriage, and the "science" that says climate change isn't happening.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:52 PM   #3
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He isn't referring to his own research, and he does have that new book out.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:58 PM   #4
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And women are less intelligent than men too, don't forget that

That is some scary "science". Is he the Ann Coulter of the scientific community?
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:00 PM   #5
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Theres a lot on the wiki article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_IQ
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:07 PM   #6
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Wanderer-

Why even post this?

dbs
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:13 PM   #7
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Originally posted by diamond
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Why even post this?

dbs
Why would you make a whole thread based on converting homosexuals?


I think at least Wnderer's reasons are more of 'see what exists out there...'
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar




I think at least Wnderer's reasons are more of 'see what exists out there...'
hope so, i still don't think it productive.

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Old 10-17-2007, 06:19 PM   #9
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And speaking about converting homosexuals is.


Right.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:19 PM   #10
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It is a confluence between a bastard (at least he is interesting), an open question (heritability of intelligence / biological basis for it) and society at large (racism, inequality etc.).

Any research into the heritability of intelligence runs into this territory since a genetic basis has evolutionary consequences. Disavowing anything to do with this area leaves it as the weapon of "race realists" (as in racists - who I see as the rabid collectivist bastards), it also does away with some really cool stuff on brain development in all people.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:48 PM   #11
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I suppose looking at it in a vacuum it's possible...in the sense that it's possible that a comparison between any race/national origin could find that one is "smarter" than the other. And just like any attempt at standardized testing, there would be bias that would render the results essentially meaningless. We kicked this issue around when I was in college, "The Bell Curve" was out (I can't even recall who wrote it) and we had all sorts of discussions...about folks from the tropics being less intelligent because of climate etc. It's really pointless if you think about it.

Let's say you took IQ as a measure, and you found out that (hypothetical remember) Polish people had an average IQ a point higher than Greek people. What does that prove? It doesn't tell you anything...if you put one Pole & 1 Greek in a room there's no guarantee the Greek will be smarter than the Pole, because 1 person is the ultimate small sample.

I just think this kind of "science" (and I question his motives when I see he makes the point, but then says we will be able to find the genes within the decade). Wait for the genes before making the proclamation. Then all credibility goes out the window with the "ask any employer who employs blacks" or however he put it. This from a Nobel Prize winner? I guess my whole "bigotry from ignorance" argument just went down the drain.

I guess he probably just said it to get his name out there, and sell the book...but this is an issue that the wise would avoid. It's like questioning anything about the Holocaust. If you say you've done the research and it's actually 5,900,000 dead, and not the 6,000,000 number that gets tossed about, you might be right, but you risk being labeled a "Holocaust-denier" etc.
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:02 PM   #12
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Bringing race into it is not at all condusive to scientific debate but it does attract attention (which is what he wants).

It should be interesting if the stage is reached where specific alleles that can have effects on different types of intelligence are found (if they exist). Race based studies of intelligence have room for bias (not just within the tests but the environmental factors of those taking them) and generally don't establish anything other than the existence of a difference, not the cause.

Theres also the issue of audience; the instances where biologists front off against social scientists makes for a lot of heat.
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen
And speaking about converting homosexuals is.


Right.
False science and lies are ok if it spreads the right type of hate...
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:05 PM   #14
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This kind of crap has been around for centuries. It helped imperialists justify their colonization of "less civilized" countries. It's usually some "respected" scientist at the end of their career who's gone off a bit. I remember stuff like this surfacing when I was in high school 30 years ago.
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
It helped imperialists justify their colonization of "less civilized" countries.
The danger is it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy particularly if IQ tests are culturally biased.
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