Science legend, James Watson, who won the Nobel for discovering DNA along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, has put his double helix in his mouth:
The 79-year-old geneticist said he was â€œinherently gloomy about the prospect of Africaâ€ because â€œall 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 â€œpeople who have to deal with black employees find this not trueâ€. [Link]
Yikes. The Science Museum has cancelled his forthcoming sell-out speech. I can’t disagree with their decision, they explained they do not shy away from controversy but in this regard he had “gone beyond the point of acceptable debate”. Let’s take a closer look.
Watson, who has previously supported a woman’s right to abort if a test was invented to show the baby would be gay, bases his argument on apparently sound science, but draws a faulty conclusion.
â€œthere 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 soâ€
Fine. But the timescale between humans leaving Africa and the present is not long at all in evolutionary terms.
Significant evolutionary differences exist between human populations, but higher functions have been hard to analyse, primarily due to cultural differences. There is convincing evidence to suggest Australian aboriginals have developed different areas of the brain to those on the Eurasian-African landmass. No such evidence exists for Africans.
Even if one accepts there has been ample time for differences in intelligence to develop, how does he draw the conclusion black people are stupid? At present saying black people are thicker than others is based on nothing more than anecdotal evidence and flawed IQ tests or A-level results, which are completely meaningless as they bear no relation to genes. [Edit - they bear some relation to genes, but one that cannot be accurately ascertained]
Americans have been keen to prove Watson’s assertion for some years. Many IQ tests have shown a consistent 20 point shortfall comparing ‘blacks’ to ‘whites’. These were exposed as pointless as socioeconomic status has a huge bearing on scores in an IQ test (a bad test in itself) and the samples were not matched.
Watson appears to suggest evolutionary differences like intelligence could arise far quicker than conventionally accepted, but he might be conflating data drift with a genuine significant statistical change. IQ test results have gone up over time, within the same population.
However, what would we do if our genetic analysis grows more advanced, as I’m sure it will, and we CAN analyse differences between all races? Will the smarter races say “hey it’s a bit of fun” whilst the dumber ones complain? One thing IS for sure, racist views (which is what Watson’s are) will be scientifically challenged with greater genetic knowledge, as the concept of a ‘pure’ race will be eroded entirely.
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Filed in: EDL,Race politics,Science