Re: [xmca] Nobel prize talks stupid things about human intelligence

From: David Preiss <davidpreiss who-is-at>
Date: Sat Oct 20 2007 - 11:22:35 PDT

E. and others,


Watson´s apologies sound more like "damage control" to me and I would add that
there is no need to make any inference from his words to conclude that his
statements were blatantly racist.

Blame his age, blame his time: for me, he just went out of the closet as
regards his political views. And, what people might consider a mob reaction, I
would consider as the adequate response to prejudice.

We are not talking here about a guy that is defending a scientific truth, such
as Galileo, Coppernicus, Bruno or many other real heroes; we are talking about
a guy that is lending his scientific credentials to a way of thinking that
supported appartheid and many other abhorrent policies in the US and

As regards L. Summers, I think he just made the same kind of stupid thing when
he misused current day evolutionary psychology to target women in science.
When there are so may intersting things that you can say to well lead an
institution and you pick just the one that is the most divisive, the most
insensitive, you are not only a bigot, you are the worst leader of all.


E. Knutsson escribió:
> Well, the issue here is (at least from my point of view) in part how the mass
> media works ("sanctimonious mob reaction" being the outcome of a growing moral
> panic). The issue is also whether academe should close ranks and support this
> sanctimonious current, or whether it should bide its time and aspire to
> mobilize some kind of rational, temperate counterweight to the usual "mob"
> chain reaction.
> According to this article:
> ... he has said that: "To those who have drawn the inference from my words
> that
> Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise
> unreservedly. This is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of
> view,
> there is no scientific basis for such a belief."
> "This is not a discussion about superiority or inferiority, it is about
> seeking
> to understand differences, about why some of us are great musicians and others
> great engineers."
> "[S]cience is not here to make us feel good."
> Perhaps he was misquoted, who knows? He is 79 years old, a grand old man.
> Should every non-conformist specimen of the species be ostracized for being
> wrong or misquoted? How would the history of science look like without
> scientists making mistakes? Who wants to cast the first dogmatist stone?
> E.
> On 2007-10-20, at 18:21, Mike Cole wrote:
>> Yes, there is a kind of sanctimonious mob reaction to Watson's remarks.
>> We have been here before with THIS issue and one does not have to go back
>> to Latin. We might start with Larry Summers re gender.
>> The crux of the matter seems to me to be the following in Watson's case:
>> "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is
>> the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really".
>> The "them" appears to apply to people of African decent, which includes
>> everyone
>> on XMCA if one wants to take that implication seriously, but really, to
>> people who
>> remained in Africa (a hugelyl heterogeneous continent) when our more
>> immediate
>> predecessors migrated elsewhere, including the Australian outback, the north
>> of Norway, and
>> island of Hokaido (for whom similar claims have been made).
>> In my view, the man is badly misinformed. "The testing" he refers to is
>> not like the kind of test for
>> genetic markers, HIV, etc that he is used to dealing with, and scholars
>> like Sternberg and Grigorenko,
>> following on a long line of work (the early history of which is traced by SJ
>> Gould, Gustav Jahoda, in my monograph
>> of 1996, the Handbook of Cross Cultural Psychology, where the work of Dasen,
>> Serpell, and others
>> is described says NO SUCH THING.
>> However, if he wants to site literature to support his point of view, he can
>> find it. Arthur Jensen has retired
>> but he has not disappeared. Nor have some other behavioral geneticists who
>> make the same argument.
>> I would not be surprised to see them surface in his defense as time passes.
>> We will see.
>> Remind me not to make ill informed pronouncements about DNA that offend
>> people's deep beliefs.
>> mike
>> On 10/20/07, Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:
>>> I don't want to be overly picky, but it is "rero" (Lat. for accused)
>>> not "reo," as I seem to be recalling from my Latin lessons some 40
>>> years ago. :-)
>>> Cheers,
>>> Michael
>>> On 19-Oct-07, at 11:43 PM, E. Knutsson wrote:
>>> In dubio pro reo? No doubt! Immediate crucifixion! And where is
>>> Barabbas? Or
>>> Giordano Bruno?
>>> On 2007-10-19, at 15:55, David Preiss wrote:
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > In his Sunday Times interview, Dr James Watson was quoted 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".
>>> >
>>> > He was further quoted as saying that his hope was that everyone was
>>> > equal but that "people who have to deal with black employees find
>>> > this is not true".
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Just disgusting, racist, horrible...
>>> >
>>> > David
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > David Preiss, Ph.D.
>>> > Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
>>> > Escuela de Psicología
>>> > Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
>>> > Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
>>> > Macul, Santiago
>>> > Chile
>>> >
>>> > Fono: 3544605
>>> > Fax: 3544844
>>> > e-mail:
>>> > web personal:
>>> > web institucional:
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > _______________________________________________
>>> > xmca mailing list
>>> >
>>> >
>>> _______________________________________________
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David D. Preiss Ph.D.
Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Escuela de Psicología.
Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860.
Macul, Santiago de Chile.
Teléfono: (56-2) 354-4605
Fax: (56-2) 354-4844.
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Received on Sat Oct 20 11:25 PDT 2007

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