[xmca] Disgrace: How a giant of science was brought low | Focus | The Observer

From: David Preiss <davidpreiss who-is-at uc.cl>
Date: Sat Oct 20 2007 - 18:37:36 PDT

It was not Watson´s first time:


For those who want to skip the link, the essential paragraphs written
by Robin McKie in London and Paul Harris in New York say:
"Watson is renowned for his controversial views. He sees himself as a
free-thinker, though it must be admitted his ideas often simply seem
eccentric. In 1997, he suggested it would be acceptable to terminate
a foetus if it carried a gene that might mean the adult that grows
from it was gay. He has also suggested a link between sunlight and
libido. 'That is why you have Latin lovers. You've never heard of an
English lover,' he said. And Watson has also proposed that a foetus
destined to be 'stupid' should be aborted.

Such maverick remarks led the journal Science to conclude, in 1990,
that 'to many in the scientific community, Watson has long been
something of a wild man, and his colleagues tend to hold their
collective breath whenever he veers from the script'. This track
record explains one intriguing feature of the Watson affair. Although
the Sunday Times carried the interview in which the scientist
outlined his disparaging views about black people, the paper kept his
remarks buried in its colour magazine.

A story was offered to the Sunday Times newsdesk by magazine staff,
but was declined on the grounds that Watson had said such things in
the past, as indeed he had. Thus it was left to Simon Kelner, editor
of the Independent, to take Watson's claims and to run them as its
lead story on Wednesday, under the banner: 'Africans are less
intelligent that Westerners, says DNA pioneer'. In this way, Watson's
fate was sealed."

More contextual info in the above link and in this one (which
includes more similar insensitive statements):


There is a track of remarks he has made that show, beyond reasonable
doubt, he has a political agenda disguised as science.

I am sure we will hear in the next few days of some (not necessarily
representative of their fields) evolutionary psychologists and
behavioral geneticists... trying to sell us the idea that opposing
these remarks is an attack on free speech (in a similar manner the
neoconservatives think that criticism of the government is
unpatriotic). Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio...

David Preiss, Ph.D.
Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
Escuela de Psicología
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Macul, Santiago

Fono: 3544605
Fax: 3544844
e-mail: davidpreiss@uc.cl
web personal: http://web.mac.com/ddpreiss/
web institucional: http://www.epuc.cl/profesores/dpreiss

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Received on Sat Oct 20 18:42 PDT 2007

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