Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dr James Watson, racism and ageism

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr James Watson has been quoted by the Press as being "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".

Watson then started to get lecture offers revoked, for example at the London Science Museum.

He accordingly found himself obliged to say "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."

IMO: Watson should be more careful and precise about what he says, not just saying any populist drivel for self-promotion. Undoubtedly there are mental differences between various categories of people, but to simply imply that skin colour provides a good source for correlation of such classifications is stoking the fire of resentment. It is somewhat like saying that Watson is a mad old coot, simply because some old people exhibit Alzheimers. The real problem is that some such issues deserve careful study and his own approach leads to the opposite result. Older people are already degraded in society, and often persecuted and unfairly treated for self-serving interests, usually financial ones. In a previous blog I mentioned how nurses in the UK may force elderly patients to crap in their pyjamas and not then be cleaned up, simply for self-serving reasons. Watson is old, and should be using his great powers of publicity and persuasion to reverse effects like the deliberate degradation of seniors for financial gain, and not to make them worse.

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