Friday, October 19, 2007

Twisted Logic



photo credit-mknowles
creative commons license



Dr. James Watson, 79, who described the structure of DNA with collaborator with Dr. Francis Crick in 1953, is in the news again. He was supposed to speak in London today to a sold out crowd, but the invitation was withdrawn after some remarks he made.

According to a story reported online in The International Herald Tribune Oct. 18th, 2007

...In its profile of Watson, The Sunday Times Magazine quoted him 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." ...


Dr. Watson claims he was misquoted (which is a common occurence in the press), and said

..."I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said," he said. "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." ...


And that might be the end of that, except that the good doctor has a history of making other statements, such as

... while he hopes that everyone is equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." ...

...Watson has caused controversy in the past, reportedly saying that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual.

He also suggested a link between skin color and sex drive, proposing a theory that black people have higher libidos. ...


I think it might be a little harder for Jimmy to wiggle out of those quotes.

A quick search of the web brought up some other interesting things Watson has said. Keep in mind when reading the next quote that Watson is reported to have a son diagnosed with schizophrenia. This quote came from an interview he gave in 2006.

...“We can dissect the essence of schizophrenia, bipolarism and autism to find out how the brain doesn’t work. The essense of schizophrenia is the brain can’t function. You are seeing the essence of stupidity. The same systems tweaked slightly the other way will be the essence of intelligence. We can find out why some people can play piano better than others—just a better brain, you have to be bright to play Rachmaninoff. My goal would be in ten years everyone with a mental disease would get DNA diagnosis first.” ...

In the American Renaissance on Oct. 14th, there was an interview quote that said

...He talks of the "horror and destruction" of life that can arise from having a severely autistic child, and hopes that by diagnosing autism early, "we might prevent some [autism-prone] families having subsequent children". ...


I think that Dr. Watson is a very good scientist, who has discovered some great things.

I also think that just because a person is intelligent, doesn't necessarily mean that they are smart, logical, or compassionate. Unfortunately Watson does not seem to have the ability to see beyond his own prejudices.

I wonder what he will say if he shows up with Simon Baron-Cohen to the Cambridge Union Society on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007?

8 comments:

Sharon said...

Hi Joe. Thanks for writing this.

Watson has insulted every member of my immediate family with his rantings, (he's made lots of misogynistic statements too.) He has been saying these things for years now. So many people have jumped to his defence over the past week, saying that those who disagree with him should 'prove' that he's wrong, attack the arguments, not the man. Well that's fair enough, but he's the one making the extraordinary claims so it's up to him to provide evidence that it's true.

Have you seen the quote from Watson on the Autism Speaks page,

'Said Watson, “Autism is the worst thing that can happen to a family.” '

Yep, that's right. Your child likes trains a lot, or flaps when she's happy, or doesn't speak until he's 8 or has a real love of rocks. And that is the worst thing that can happen, worse than child abduction or fatal illness or drug addiction or- anything really.

It's a horrible thing to say, and that organisation have it displayed on their page, with no indication that they disagree.

Joeymom said...

Prevent them from having subsequent children? Why? Where ould my life- and Joey's life- in fact, the world- be without my Andy?

erkolos said...

It was really a woman who was behind the work Watson and Crick presented that resulted in the breakthrough of knowledge about DNA.

The woman is dead, but I wonder if she would be a more appropriate appearance than Watson today.

abfh said...

Thanks Joe & Sharon, I hadn't noticed the Watson "endorsement" on the Autism Speaks site. They couldn't make it any clearer how strongly they advocate eugenics. Ugh. I'm definitely going to blog about this.

Joseph said...

Science should not be used as a basis to determine equality or inequality. Unfortunately, most people seem to feel this way. They think it's necessary for science to demonstrate biological equivalence in order for equality to take place (e.g. male vs. female). This is nonsense; an idea that needs to be erradicated, particularly because equality of the cognitively disabled cannot exist in such a framework.

Maya M said...

Agree with Joseph. I liked how Otto Weininger said it in his "Sex and Character": "To advocate equal rights for all people, you don't need at all to postulate intellectual or moral equality first."

Maddy said...

Good grief! Save us from that kind of intelligence please!
Best wishes

abfh said...

I have a post up now about Autism Speaks and its association with James Watson. One might say that bigots of a feather flock together.