Saturday, October 20, 2007

Eminent Scientist Censored for Truth-telling

Fury that anybody would say publicly what every single scientific study of the subject has shown

"A Nobel prize-winning scientist who reportedly claimed Africans and Europeans had different levels of intelligence is no longer welcome to deliver a lecture at London's Science Museum, the museum said Wednesday.

James Watson, who won the Nobel Prize for co-discovering DNA, drew widespread outrage when he told The Sunday Times that Africans and Europeans did not share the same brain power.

The newspaper quoted the 79-year-old American geneticist as saying 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."

The comments drew condemnation from British lawmakers, scientists, and equality campaigners.

Watson, who serves as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, was due to speak Friday at a sold-out event at the Science Museum, but on Wednesday night the institution said Watson's comments had gone too far and the lecture had been canceled


Cautionary note: People have a tendency to see statements about groups as applying to all members of that group. That is rarely so and is certainly not true in this instance. There is no inconsistency in saying that blacks as a whole are less intelligent while also acknowledging that some individual blacks are very intelligent. What is true of most need not be true of all.

Scientists have spent decades looking for holes in the evidence Watson was referring to but all the proposed "holes" have been shown not to be so. There is NO argument against his conclusions that has not been meticulously examined by skeptics already. And all objections have been shown not to hold up. There is an introduction to the studies concerned here

Some commentators have mentioned that old Marxist propagandist, Stephen Jay Gould, as refuting what Watson said. Here is just one comment pointing out what a klutz Gould was. And for an exhaustive scientific refutation of Gould by an expert in the field, see here. Gould's distortions of the facts really are quite breathtaking.

Watson got such a lot of abuse over his comments that he has now denied that he made them. The newspaper that originally reported the comments stands by its story, however.