Well, this is disappointing: James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, gave a somewhat jaw-dropping interview to London’s Sunday Times in which he declared that African people and their descendants have inherently lower intelligence than caucasians.

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”.

Of course, this is scandalous to me only because I appear to not be familiar with some of the other things that Watson has hypothesized in the past, such as the thought that potential homosexuality should form the basis of decisions about aborting fetuses and the intuition of a link between skin color and sex drive. I guess he’s an example of someone who made a fundamental contribution to science in spite of his insane beliefs, rather than as a result of them.


William Shockley was another.

• Posted by: FS [TypeKey Profile Page] on Oct 18, 2007, 4:03 PM

Maybe Watson, like Will Ferrell in Old School, simply blacked out during the interview since today he said, “I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said.” A few too many whippets the night before? Ironically however, in Old School, Ferrell’s seemingly moronic character becomes a political savant in his unconscious state. Watson had the misfortune of representing the opposite end of that spectrum, however.

• Posted by: Ari on Oct 19, 2007, 1:41 PM

Watson has been suspect from the beginning…since ripping off Rosalind Franklin’s x-ray crystallography structure without giving her credit. If he ran his mouth on a train in Brooklyn, he would would get a first class ticket to nowhere.

• Posted by: Jose Consuelos on Oct 25, 2007, 6:56 PM
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