Re: [xmca] Disgrace: How a giant of science was brought low

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Sun Oct 21 2007 - 15:10:19 PDT

  Does the forgiveness overlook the consequences of eminent scientist's, or any other individual with lots of social capital, lack of reflection on his or her words? What resonances do such pronouncements leave in the mind of a non-African descent police lieutenant stationed in Compton, South Side Chicago, etc. and what reactions do such resonances produce when confronting African descent suspects or witnesses or victims?
  What might be totally forgiveable in ones grandmother, whose social capital extends to limited networks of family and friends, assumes another quality for those whose words spread through and influence vast and anonymous publics and clearly provide fuel for the embers of racism that still burn there. I believe such individuals one must be held to a similarly higher ethic of accountability.

Carol Macdonald <> wrote:
  Carol Macdonald offers this:-

I am sure that people are familiar with the mainstream concept of "cognitive
dissonance". Leaving aside the problem of using a mainsream term for a
moment, let us say that it is possible to hold conflicting sets of beliefs
about the world, without being aware of doing so. Let us suppose that in
1962, it was politically okay to hold derogatory beliefs about other
cultures. Furthermore, sometimes I think that academics are so plunged
into their work that they may not reflect on other things (like running a
reasonably ordered life.) Perhaps Watson had that belief about Africans
floating around for 45 years in his head, and had never brought it to
consciousness as incompatible with his mainstream work.

Another possible explanation: we know in socio-linguistics, that if a person
had spoken with a stigmatized accent as a child, this can be corrected to a
certain extent as an adult; but with advancing age, the stigmatized accent
is likely to return-- loss of conscious control may have something to do
with it. In the same way personality eccentricities are likely to become
exaggerated. Watson may have lost a measure of self-control/self-monitoring
on expressing personally held-beliefs, even if these are not socially or
politically correct. [This certainly this happened to my grandmother...]

So much for explanations on what went wrong with this eminent scientist.
As Africans we can forgive people their mistakes or indiscretions, because
inclusion (ubuntu) is a higher ethic.

>From an African.

On 21/10/2007, E. Knutsson wrote:
> How can a "giant of science", who holds a Nobel Prize for work in
> genetics,
> playing a crucial role in the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA,
> be
> considered a "fool" or an "idiot"?
> Eirik.
> ----------------------------------------------
> On 2007-10-21, at 05:33, Andy Blunden wrote:
> > I guess the fact that this fool holds a Nobel Prize for work in genetics
> > makes his remarks particularly dangerous. A year ago I flipped over a
> paper
> > published by the Australian Journal of Psychology which agreed with
> Watson.
> > Both idiots think that a statistical difference in educational outcomes
> can
> > only explained by genetics. Maybe a better explanation would be the
> lousy
> > education our anglo-saxon scientists get from our universities? Given
> the
> > current fad for everything genetic this is all unsurprising, but
> dangerous
> > nonetheless.
> > Andy
> > -------------------------------------------------------
> > Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 22:35:06 +1000
> > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> > From: Andy Blunden
> > Subject: Re: [xmca] reading ability is genetic!? (read this one!)
> >
> > Here's a paper by this group:
> >
> > They prove that differential reading ability in people is genetic using
> ...
> > statistics.
> >
> > Andy
> >
> >
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> xmca mailing list

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Received on Sun Oct 21 15:12 PDT 2007

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