10/20/2007

US Nobel Laureate claims Africans less intelligent than Westerners due to different genetic evolution...

Nobel Laureate James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA's double helix structure and director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, has created quite a buzz with his comments during an interview with the Independent Online news outlet of London a few days ago.

Watson has long been the subject of controversy regarding his less-than politically correct views on issues of politics, sexuality and race. In 1997 he told a British newspaper that a woman should have the right to choose an abortion if it were possible to determine that her fetus was genetically predisposed to be a homosexual, though he subsequently withdrew this statement as purely "hypothetical" and not realistic.

He has drawn correlations between race and sex drive, suggesting that black people have higher libidos, and advocated the genetic manufacturing of a smarter human species with the claim that "stupidity" could one day be cured. Dr. Watson sounds as if he wished he were living in the alternative society of the future brilliantly articulated in the film GATTACA, in which each baby is tagged for market and a class structure built around genetic "superiority" emerges and the glass ceiling of today's world is replaced by a pseudo-gestapo team of CSI's armed with hand-held devices.

Watson is in London promoting his forthcoming autobiography, in which he suggests that the notion of "equal powers of reason" across all races is a delusion. The reaction in British intellectual circles has been swift and definitive, with at least one distinguished British institution, the Science Museum, canceling his appearance altogether stating, "...Watson's comments have gone beyond the point of acceptable debate and we are as a result canceling his talk at the museum".

Watson was slated to give five lectures in total during his book tour, including high profile talks at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, as well as the Royal Society of London. None of his other hosts had yet chosen to withdraw their invitation, though spokesmen for Cambridge and Oxford assured reporters that Watson would face tough questioning from the audience on his radical views, though they collectively withheld judgment of the aging geneticist by stating, "The correct way to respond is to allow him to be challenged as strongly as possible. A view that is not based on science or is simply wrong will be exposed as such."

Racial equality is certainly not typically considered a debatable issue, but true to the principle's of England's greatest political thinker, John Stuart Mill, there is always a place for the devil's advocate at the highest echelons of Royal and intellectual society.

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