October 16, 2007

James D. Watson being investigated for crimethink

From The Independent in the UK

Africans are less intelligent than Westerners, says DNA pioneer

Fury at James Watson's theory: "All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really"

By Cahal Milmo

One of the world's most eminent scientists was embroiled in an extraordinary row last night after he claimed that black people were less intelligent than white people and the idea that "equal powers of reason" were shared across racial groups was a delusion.

James Watson, a Nobel Prize winner for his part in the unravelling of DNA who now runs one of America's leading scientific research institutions, drew widespread condemnation for comments he made ahead of his arrival in Britain today for a speaking tour at venues including the Science Museum in London.

The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.

The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission, successor to the Commission for Racial Equality, said it was studying Dr Watson's remarks "in full". Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that 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 said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

His views are also reflected in a book published next week, in which he writes: "There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so." ...

Dr Watson arrives in Britain today for a speaking tour to publicise his latest book, Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science. Among his first engagements is a speech to an audience at the Science Museum organised by the Dana Centre, which held a discussion last night on the history of scientific racism.

Critics of Dr Watson said there should be a robust response to his views across the spheres of politics and science. Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "It is sad to see a scientist of such achievement making such baseless, unscientific and extremely offensive comments. I am sure the scientific community will roundly reject what appear to be Dr Watson's personal prejudices.

"These comments serve as a reminder of the attitudes which can still exists at the highest professional levels." ...

Anti-racism campaigners called for Dr Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. A spokesman for the 1990 Trust, a black human rights group, said: "It is astonishing that a man of such distinction should make comments that seem to perpetuate racism in this way. It amounts to fuelling bigotry and we would like it to be looked at for grounds of legal complaint."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

81 comments:

Mark said...

The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission, successor to the Commission for Racial Equality, said it was studying Dr Watson's remarks "in full".

Are they going to sentence him to house arrest?

Please do. Please, please, please, please, pretty pretty please!

What more would we need to highlight the similarities between the blind dogma and of one time (Galileo's) and that of our own? Our governments, our universities, our media have put chains on our mind no different and no less oppressive than the Catholic Church of Galileo's day.

tommy said...

First the whole JPod/Commentary affair and now this shocker. I've long suspected Watson might eventually say what's on his mind (since I've had the impression he is at least open-minded about the possibility of behavioral differences between races) but that he is being so forthright is just incredible.

tommy said...

What more would we need to highlight the similarities between the blind dogma and of one time (Galileo's) and that of our own? Our governments, our universities, our media have put chains on our mind no different and no less oppressive than the Catholic Church of Galileo's day.

Cognition Inquisition.

Mark said...

I've long suspected Watson might eventually say what's on his mind

As people get older the mental brakes come off. Sometimes that reveals they're crazy (think Jimmy Carter), other times they let out thoughts they would've suppressed when more worried about what the world thinks of them. And, of course, men of retirement age don't have to worry about losing their jobs.

Chief Seattle said...

Now comes the smear campaigns. I don't blame him for waiting until the end of his career to say what was on his mind.

Really, though, I can't believe he's the only molecular biologist who has come to this conclusion. These people live and breath evolutionary fitness, and wondering what traits would help survival in different human populations would come very naturally.

So I agree with Watson that within ten years there will be clear evidence of genes or gene combinations that correlate with IQ. Not sure if the thought police will let it be known that they also correlate with race. Maybe they'll tell us that they correlate with exposure to institutional racism.

mensarefugee said...

Sign of changing times mahaps?

Roger said...

Hi Steve,

It'd be extremely helpful if you had an up-to-date column on this subject that could be emailed and forwarded to people around the country (and English speaking world).

If I had my wish it'd be ~2 pages explaining evolutionary psychology and provide evidence that there are differences between racial groups (with supporting citations).

Any chance of this? If not, do you know of anyone else who's written something similar?

Thanks,
Roger

quo vadis scipio said...

...let the competitive moralists dump their taxes and charitable contributions into the african diaspora [and africa itself] until the end of time. it's their creepy little hobby. it triggers a better brain chemistry than heroin. they get to feel superior and alleviate their white guilt at the same time. who cares if what they do is ultimately destructive? not bono.

for the rest of us 100 years of evidence is enough. we are beginning to go our own way now. this article is just one more drip in the coming flood...

Anonymous said...

Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that 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 said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

This guy is gonna get lynched.

Anonymous said...

Chief Seattle: So I agree with Watson that within ten years there will be clear evidence of genes or gene combinations that correlate with IQ.

Derbyshire knows some genetics dude who thinks that the thing has been just about solved already [in terms of identifying many/most of the genes which correlate well with intelligence].

Bert Rustle said...

Roger wrote ... do you know of anyone else who's written something similar? .... Heritability of Intelligence By Bob Williams. S/he covers Nerve Conduction Velocity, Chronometric Measurements, Myelination, Brain Volume, Glucose Metabolic Rate, Regression to the Mean, MZA Studies, Inbreeding Depression, Brain Imaging, Population Group Differences, Shared Environment, Nonshared Environment, Identical Twins Reared Apart (MZA) etc.

I have not studied it but from a cursory inspection it appears to be a current survey.

Anonymous said...

Oh come off it. Watson shouldn't be prosecuted for the statements he made, but he isn't some intellectual hero either, and comparing him to Galileo is just silly. Watson is an old cranky man, with a history of spewing eugenicist nonsense in recent years. For example, Watson thinks "stupidity is a disease," and the bottom ten percent of the population in intelligence ought to be "cured"
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn3451
He also believes that we should eugenically make all women beautiful, making this adorable statement:
"People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great."
By the way, have you seen Watson lately?
http://www.thefutureoflife.com/images/headshot/watson.jpg
Even when he was younger he didn't look all that pretty
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:JamesDWatson.jpg
I don't know if Watson has any kids, but someone should sterilize this man so he doesn't pollute the gene pool with ugliness anymore than he already has!
Seriously, Watson was a brilliant scientist, but now he's just a cranky old man. Who cares what he has to say? The British government is giving him way too much credibility by investigating him like this. The best advice for dealing with senile folks is to ignore them. Eventually they go away, in one sense or another.

Anonymous said...

No offense to anyone, but I too think it would be great if all women were beautiful. I am sure most women would agree. There is just something about an intelligent, stylish, beautiful woman that can lift an entire room: pure intoxication.

I have met one or two in my life and still remember them like yesterday.

Mr. F. Le Mur said...

"It is sad to see a scientist of such achievement making such baseless, unscientific and extremely offensive comments."

Well, Keith Vaz got one out of three correct - pretty good for a Marxist.

none of the above said...

The news is how he's treated for making the comments, not the comments themselves. I expect he'll catch a certain amount of crap, but mostly be unofficially relegated to "old crazy guy" and marginalized, because he's saying things that lots of people don't want to hear, and that many of them probably suspect may be true. (That last part makes talking about those things unforgivable.)

Arresting or fining him for his statements would be the dumbest thing the pro-diversity crowd could do. (That doesn't prevent them doing it, though.)

KingM said...

His words were certainly clumsy. This is such a delicate subject that if you want to make any headway, the reality is that you need to soften your language considerably.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I really can't be horrified by someone wanting to enhance intelligence and beauty by means of genetic engineering.

It's a bit pie-in-the-sky, perhaps - but certainly a worthwhile long term goal.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some of you would like to enlighten the rowdy libertarians at Reason magazine, who have a thread going on this subject. They're mostly pretty bright and non-conformist, but have an intense p.c. blindspot when it comes to race (and immigration). www.reason.com/hitandrun

L'Emmerdeur said...

Funny thing is, this is the kind of genetic difference that would probably disappear in 5 or 6 generations given the right conditions, but most folks in Africa and in inner cities will never see those conditions.

Anonymous said...

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights_dmsp_big.jpg

http://www.chrisharrison.net/projects/InternetMap/medium/worldBlack.jpg

dearieme said...

Wot, this Keith Vaz? The Keith Vaz of whom Wikipedia reports:-
"In March 1989, he led a protest in Leicester against Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses. [1] At this event, Vaz addressed 3000 Muslim demonstrators, stating "today we celebrate one of the great days in the history of Islam and Great Britain" and attacked the Labour Party as a "godless party" [2]. In February 1990, he wrote in The Guardian newspaper urging Salman Rushdie not to publish the book in paperback because "there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech".
....
In February 2000 the Parliamentary standards watchdog Elizabeth Filkin was requested to investigate allegations of undisclosed payments to Vaz from businessmen in his constituency.[1] The following year, 2001, members of the opposition began to question what role Vaz may have played in helping the billionaire Indian Hinduja brothers - linked with a corruption probe in India - to secure UK passports.

In March 2001, the Filkin report cleared Vaz of nine of the 28 allegations of various financial wrongdoings, but Elizabeth Filkin accused Mr Vaz of blocking her investigation into eighteen of the allegations. He was also censured for one allegation - that he failed to register two payments worth £4,500 in total from Sarosh Zaiwalla, a solicitor whom he recommended for a peerage several years later.

Mrs Filkin announced in the same month a new inquiry ... results of the inquiry were published in 2002 and it was concluded that Vaz had "committed serious breaches of the Code of Conduct and a contempt of the House" and it was recommended that he be suspended from the House of Commons for one month..."

David said...

Anon. said:

"spewing eugenicist nonsense"

Why nonsense?

He said

1. - Blacks on average are less intelligent. True.

2. - Stupidity is a disease; the left half of the Bell Curve should be raised. Good sentiment; if not, then why rejoice over the Flynn Effect? (Steve says add more iodine to the African diet.)

3. - There should be more pretty women in the world. This apparently upsets all those women who would like nothing better than to be surrounded by male hunks.

Since when is plain common sense nonsense?

Anonymous said...

Not to be a suck up but this occasion should be a splendid illustration of the following:

"Truth is better for humanity than ignorance, lies, or spin. And it's more interesting." - Sailer

Anonymous said...

L'Emmerdeur said...

"Funny thing is, this is the kind of genetic difference that would probably disappear in 5 or 6 generations given the right conditions, but most folks in Africa and in inner cities will never see those conditions."

Would like to explain that in more detail please. What are these conditions?

Refkin said...

It's all just a storm in a teacup. He won't be investigated, let alone prosecuted. The matter will simply be allowed to drop.

And on the subject of Galileo, here's
a Catholic defence .

Mark said...

Comparing him to Galileo is just silly. Watson is an old cranky man, with a history of spewing eugenicist nonsense in recent years.

Galileo could be pretty cranky, too. It's irrelevant that he's sometimes said things that people don't like. The real point is how he - a Nobel Laureate and the discoverer of the double helix - gets investigated as a criminal for making a falsifiable statement.

Those people in our society who love nothing more than to remind people of how the Catholic Church treated Galileo are much the same people who would condemn Watson to the government's own special version of fire and brimstone for making a similar statement of fact.

Anonymous said...

He says that he is "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," and I know that this "hot potato" is going to be difficult to address. His hope is that everyone is equal, but he counters that "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." ... He writes that "there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so."

Do you see any sign of senility in the way he expresses himself? The "problem" here is that, at the age of 79, one of the scientific giants of the 20th Century doesn't give a damn what the conformist cowards and nitwits think.

Svigor said...

Hahahaha! Damn, I skip the blogs for a week and come back to find Dr. Watson in the dock!

Wow. The weight carried by the "excommunicate 'em and hope for the best" tactic just increased considerably.

How do you casually dismiss James frickin' Watson? Leftists will find a way, I suppose (senility?).

Svigor said...

Would like to explain that in more detail please. What are these conditions?

Hehehe. Say, enforced, systematic panmixia?

:P

Anonymous said...

Steve, I've just seen a report on the BBC London news about threatened protests when Jim Watson speaks at the Science Museum.

The "debate" is couched entirely in terms of who might feel offended, a la Larry Summers/Harvard, except for a brief contribution by Steven Rose, one of the last Marxist-Boasian psych professors in captivity. He roundly declared that Watson does not know enough about genetics, and that there is no truth whatever in the vile assertion tbat blacks are on average less smart than whites.

In the circumstances, this was a little like hearing the office boy correcting the founder and chief executive of the company. Rose's chair is at the Open University, the British "learn by television" establishment.

Erik said...

I am not going to jump on this just yet. Maybe he's right about the genetics of it. However, what he's doing here is just voicing his prejudices. OK, I am not qualified to say that blacks are on average dumber than whites. But I have worked with several, several African-Americans and I have not been able to quantify if they are "dumber" than whites based on workplace experiences. When Watson talks about it being obvious to anyone who works with blacks, I have to think about the co-workers he would have in molecular biology. These people are going to be at the far end of the IQ bell curve no matter what their race, so I doubt he could really make this evaluation unless he is moonlighting as a dishwasher in NYC somewhere. I believe he was expressing his prejudices about black people, and his statements should be evaluated separately from the science of race and intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Au Contraire. Watson WILL be investigated, he WILL be prosecuted, he WILL be jailed.

The WHOLE PC enterprise DEPENDS on the power of putting people in jail for thinking or saying things that elites don't like. If they let Watson "get away" with saying and thinking things they don't like, soon OTHERS will say things they also don't like:

Western Civilization is better than others.
Uncontrolled immigration, legal or otherwise is stupid and harmful.
Allowing defacto colonization of Britain by Africa, North Africa, and Pakistan is harmful.

UNLESS Watson is made a very spectacular example of, in very unpleasant ways (he'll have to be fined and jailed) ... the BNP will fill the gap between ordinary Britons wanting to remain well, British and those elites who want to replace them.

As for the substance of Watson's remarks, a Roman visitor to Europe say 100 BC would have likely agreed completely with them in regards to Europeans. Particularly compared with the accomplished and industrious Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, etc. A Chinese visitor to Europe in say, AD 800 would also have applied them to Europeans. Particularly in contrast with his own civilization, the Byzantines, Hindu kingdoms, etc.

Lost in all this is that Europe was not much different from Africa, for most of it's history. Both Wade and Kelley (Warfare before Civilization) explore the archaeological evidence showing the pattern of massacre after massacre in Europe's Stone AND Bronze Age, amply backed up by available historical record. Characterizing Europe as a "colder Rwanda" would not be too far off the mark. Obviously something major happened that pushed Europeans into radically different patterns of behaviors.

I think Watson misses a major point. It's not just "intelligence" but rather OTHER patterns of behavior that are inherited that rapidly pushed Europe in particular into cognitive and behavioral advantages.

If Group A has the same intelligence on average as Group B, but Group B has radically different family-social organizations that push cooperation, many men contributing to reproduction, and social structures that encourage reproduction strategies that pass on intelligence-cooperation traits as an advantage, well Group B will advance quickly past Group A if Group A does not share those traits.

The big difference between Africa and Europe say from AD 700 onwards is likely:

Christianity and monogamy (many men contribute to reproduction instead of a few who are genetic "bottlenecks" in Africa).

Nationalism: encouraging wider trust networks.

Steve has made a point that research indicates that Ashkenazi Jews may have been under intense natural selection for traits such as abstract mathematical thinking over the last 1,000 years. IMHO it is just as likely that Europeans BECAUSE of Christianity and Nationalism have been under intense natural selection for COOPERATION under the last say 1,000 years as well.

Anonymous said...

IMHO it is just as likely that Europeans BECAUSE of Christianity and Nationalism have been under intense natural selection for COOPERATION under the last say 1,000 years as well.
1000 years is 50 generations. Thats not a lot of time, evolutionarily speaking. Im not saying it COULDN'T have happened, its just that the shorter the time period, the bigger the selection pressure you have to assume in order to posit significant evolutionary changes. By the way, Ethiopia has had Christianity and monogamy far longer than Britain or indeed most of Europe has. Ancient Nubia was also Christian. Christianity has a long history on the African continent. Why don't, say, Ethiopian Christian, presumably, display a high level of cooperativeness? It doesn't seem like Christian and monogamous parts of Ethiopia, or other historically Christian areas of Africa are doing a whole lot better than places that are not Christian or only fairly recently became Christian.

James Kabala said...

anonymous 4:02 is correct. Watson is basically a nihilist who has also endorsed the allowing of killing infants for several days after birth. He is certainly entitled to his free speech rights, as are such other loathsome fellows as Peter Singer, David Irving, David Duke, Christopher Hitchens, and Keith Faz, and we should fight to defend him a la that celebrated phony Voltaire quotation, but it would be the height of folly to try to make him into some kind of conservative hero. If you believe in genetic engineering, especially for subjective concepts like beauty, you're not much of a conservative either.

Rexus said...

Watson is an American citizen on a book tour in Britain. They can't touch him, and more importantly, they wouldn't dare touch him. What will happen is the usual round of ritual denunciations and the matter will die a natural death. He'll be written off as another maverick a la William Shockley.

The only diversion from this script would be if Watson insisted on making a nuisance/martyr of himself. I doubt he will, but let's see how the rest of his book tour goes. A scientist of his fame would normally appear on a major media outlet like BBC Radio 5, to promote a book, though I won't be suprised if that doesn't now happen.

Anonymous said...

How long can a society and government exists that not only ignores reality but defies it?

Anonymous said...

4:02 – What about eugenics is nonsense? If thousands of years of animal husbandry and even a few hundred years of dog breeding can clearly select for widely different traits and result in new and distinct breeds, why should humans DNA be uniquely impervious these realities. How can you honestly argue that human DNA is magically distributed equally in all facets to every subgroup throughout all human history?

You may fear and want to avoid the moral decisions around eugenics, but it is in practice today from the individual level in mate selection (by race, physical beauty, intelligence, athleticism, etc) to societal level (prenatal genetic screening, selective abortion for high risk genetic disease carriers, etc). Burying your head in the sand and throwing dirt at adults who honestly and openly talk about the reality of human differences, genetics and eugenics is cowardly and hypocritical. Something tells me you and your family practice eugenics by not randomly mating with fellow human beings in support of the non-eugenics world view you espouse.

Regarding Dr. Watson in particular, he may feel free to be flippant at times, but he is not mean hearted nor scientifically wrong. His own son suffers from a brain disorder at least partially genetic in origin.

In so far as we can determine, intelligence is largely be genetic (60-70%) and thus able to be significantly improved via eugenics. I would argue certain groups have very successfully practiced cultural eugenics such as the Ashkenazi’s and Parses. Conversely, those with very low intelligences can be logically seen to suffer from form for genetic disease insofar as this may be the primary cause. Are you arguing dumb people should remain so without the benefit of genetic therapy because it makes you feel better under your delusional view of perfect human genetic uniformity?

You can deny evolution and refuse to “believe” in evil technologies like electricity, but that does not alter the truth, retard scientific progress nor prevent others from benefiting from technology. Yes, there are deep moral questions to be answered and technology in and of itself is morally neutral. However, burying your head and slinging mud at those trying to even begin a discussion of weighty topics like this is counterproductive.

Gerry said...

As for the substance of Watson's remarks, a Roman visitor to Europe say 100 BC would have likely agreed completely with them in regards to Europeans. Particularly compared with the accomplished and industrious Greeks...

Were Rome and Greece not in Europe then?

Anonymous said...

Definitely a classic case of elderly Tourette's Syndrome, eh Mr. Sailer :-)

Ron Guhname said...

Out of the mouth of tired old men. God bless 'em. I have something to look forward to when I get old. He needs to push this like Shockley did.

Fred Karno said...

The Science Museum last night cancelled a talk by Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr James Watson after he was accused of making “racist” comments implying Africans were not as intelligent as whites.

DNA pioneer Dr Watson, who discovered the double helix with Briton Francis Crick, has been roundly condemned for 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”.

The 79-year-old American was due to talk at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre on Friday but last night a spokesman said Dr Watson’s comments had gone “beyond the point of acceptable debate”

He announced the Musuem was cancelling the sold-out talk as a result.


Link

rob said...

Are they stupid enough to prosecute a 79-year-old Nobel laureate? The race-doesn't-exist lobby has an 8-bore shotgun aimed at its own foot. It'll be hilarious if they squeeze that trigger.

Would it matter if girls all became prettier? In the short term, yes, but on an evolutionary time-scale, not-too-pretty would become the new ugly. In the meantime, there might be a tendency towards a return to polygamy, as the less-favoured men get squeezed out in the competition for mates.

Anonymous said...

Blacks on average are less intelligent. True.
Its true that sub-Saharan Africans and those descended from them tend to score low on standardized tests that purport to measure intelligence, but to suggest this is somehow substantially genetically based is to ignore the evidence from the bulk of African history. Just ask scholars like Basil Davidson, Christopher Ehret, Graham Connah, Peter Schmidt, and Gerard Quechon if Africans are inherently intellectually inferior. (All those guys are white, by the way, so you don't have to worry. I won't mention any black historians cause I know you won't pay attention to them). Even conservative, stodgy Belgians like Jan Vansina would laugh at you if you suggested such a thing. I know you're not interested in African history, but suffice it to say that there was a time when there were complex, sophisticated African (including sub-Saharan) civilizations while most Europeans were hitting each other over the head with large stones. According to most Africanists today, sub-Saharan Africans independantly invented iron metallurgy around 1000 BC, before the technology diffused to Britain in the 8th century BC and probably China.

Stupidity is a disease; the left half of the Bell Curve should be raised. Good sentiment; if not, then why rejoice over the Flynn Effect? (Steve says add more iodine to the African diet.)
I'm not sure thats what Watson means by "curing" people of stupidity. I could be wrong. Frankly, I don't care. If I wanted to listen to cranky old racists, I'd go pay a visit to my grandpa.

There should be more pretty women in the world.
"Pretty" according to whom? You? Me? Watson? And even supposing we come to a consensus, how do we get more "pretty" women? Sterilize "ugly" people?
Even if it were possible to do genetically engineer pretty people in a feasible and ethical fashion, I doubt I would want to live in a world full of supermodels. If every one looked like the girls in the Victoria's Secret catalogues, who would be the waffle house waitresses of the world? A lot of beauty would go to waste. We need ugly people to do certain jobs, and we need beautiful ones to do other jobs. Thats the way the world works.

Honestly, I feel like I'm arguing with my grandfather here.

James Kabala said...

Erik makes good points. How many low-IQ people of any race has Watson actually worked with on a close personal level?

Rexus is also right. I had (foolishly) forgotten that Watson was an American; I doubt that the British government would want to cause an international incident (not that I would actually expect Bush to stand up for Watson, but it would at least be a potential international incident).

For those jumping on the "Woo-hoo! More pretty women!" bandwagon: Are we going to make everyone cookie-cutter flawless or are we going to leave some wiggle room for the jolies laides* of the world? Furthermore, don't you like it that your wife or girlfriend (or your mother, sister, grandmother, etc.) has her own unique essence rather than having been forcibly conformed to her parents' preconceived ideas of what beauty is? Why not revive foot binding while we're at? Or, to turn the tables (since if we are going to have a world of all pretty women we might as well have one of all handsome men as well), aren't you glad that your own appearance wasn't manipulated before you were born to fit some straitjacket of "handsome?"

*I don't know if that is the actual French plural, but you get my drift?

tommy said...

"Pretty" according to whom? You? Me? Watson? And even supposing we come to a consensus, how do we get more "pretty" women? Sterilize "ugly" people?

Let me put it this way: I may like Andrea Corr better than I like Gwen Stefani - Thursday would disagree, I'm sure - but I don't think many people would dispute that both are a hell of a lot better looking than Rosie O'Donnell.

Anonymous said...

"His words were certainly clumsy. This is such a delicate subject that if you want to make any headway, the reality is that you need to soften your language considerably."

PC works just like it is intended.

James Kabala said...

Tommy: True, but I'm not bothered by the mere fact of Rosie O'Donnell's existence. I dislike her for being ultra-liberal, a 9/11 truther, and at times apparently not quite right in the head, but not because she's overweight and rather unattractive (although by no means, in my opinion, as hideous as she's sometimes made out to be). You really don't see why it would bother people to hear Watson nonchalantly talk about cleansing such people from the Earth?

And if everyone were beautiful, than probably the results would be that standards of beauty would change. If, say, every woman left was an 8 or above, then within a century or so (maybe even sooner), an 8 would be recalibrated as a 1, an 8.2 as a 2, and so on. There would always be someone regarded as being on the bottom of the heap and treated accordingly.

Anonymous said...

RUSH: How about this story from the UK Independent: "One of the world's most eminent scientists was embroiled in an extraordinary row last night after he claimed that black people were less intelligent than white people and the idea that 'equal powers of reason' were shared across racial groups was a delusion." Africans are less intelligent than westerners, according to this scientist. He is a pioneer in DNA. He has won a Nobel Prize. Well, duh.


The above is from Oct 17, 2007 Rush Limbaugh. The full commentary is at this link--

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_101707/content/01125104.guest.html

Anonymous said...

I know you're not interested in African history, but suffice it to say that there was a time when there were complex, sophisticated African (including sub-Saharan) civilizations while most Europeans were hitting each other over the head with large stones.
No, I'm afraid what you've said doesn't suffice. Tell us, what was the period when "most Europeans were hitting each other over the head with large stones," and what complex, sophisticated sub-Saharan civilizations existed during said period? I've done a little research on the subject of African metallurgy, and found this interesting paper ( http://muse.jhu.edu/demo/history_in_africa/v032/32.1alpern.pdf ) that pretty solidly confirms that the inhabitants of the southern fringe of the Sahara were smelting iron by about 800 BC. However, the ability to smelt iron does not a civilization make (example, the iron-working Celtic and Germanic tribesmen).

Anonymous said...

Just ask scholars like….if Africans are inherently intellectually inferior (All those guys are white, by the way, so you don’t have to worry. I won’t mention any black historians because I know you won’t pay attention to them)

Why would one trust the uneducated opinions of anyone, white or black, on the subject of the genetic basis of intelligence from the extremely politicized field of African History as opposed to scientific experts in the field who have the data to back up their assertions? Your blind appeal to authority raises questions about your own racists world view. Don’t you know whites can be far more intellectually dogmatic, extreme and dangerous in their misbeliefs (see Lenin, Stalin)?

Sub-Saharan Africans may have independently invented iron metallurgy, but this is not confirmed and there was no reason to believe it diffused elsewhere. What is astounding is total absence of written language – a very fundamental requirement for accumulating knowledge, establishing and advancing civilization.

Sheez, I feel like I'm listening to an African History major.

David said...

erik said:

But I have worked with several, several African-Americans and I have not been able to quantify if they are "dumber" than whites based on workplace experiences.

Several, several, huh?

What's your field? I free-lance as a video photographer and in various offices when the gigs are seldom. I have worked with many AAs and, with all due respect to you, my impressions are different than yours, including on the honesty and pleasantness indices. Perhaps I should describe all my observations - but that would take too much space, as would most Whites' observations on this subject. Also it would be rather ugly. Perhaps it should be done, in the spirit of honest communication, but not tonight (got a gig tomorrow).

Anon. 2:21 pm said:

According to most Africanists today, sub-Saharan Africans independantly [sic] invented iron metallurgy around 1000 BC, before the technology diffused to Britain in the 8th century BC and probably China.

You left out that they also invented airplanes and space travel, as I've read in two separate sources (or two different times). What is required to become an "Africanist"? Don't forget the non-sub-Saharans, please.

Honestly, I feel like I'm arguing with my grandfather here.

I'm not arguing. And I'm 31.

james kabala said:

aren't you glad that your own appearance wasn't manipulated before you were born to fit some straitjacket of "handsome?"

Well, my mom tells me she picked my dad to flirt with because he was "the handsomest man I'd ever seen." Guess Mom's a Nazi?

Anonymous said...

Gerry --

No. At least Romans and Greeks did not consider themselves as one with say, the barbaric Teutons who worshipped Odin and Thor. If you read through what say, Tacitus or Herodutos wrote, they have very low opinions of Europeans at the time, including Gauls, other Celts, Iberians (also Celts), Teutons, the tribes north of Macedonia, and the like.

Their reasons that they give boil down to a lack of cooperation and any manifestation of civilization.

Ethiopia lagged (as Christian Egypt lagged) because of lack of nationalism and the ability of the common man to form families. Genetic bottleneck. One of the reasons Muslims conquered North Africa so quickly was that the locals were better off: lower taxes, more freedom to marry, have children. Conversely one of the reasons the otherwise barbarous Franks stood with Martel at Tours and kicked the numerically superior and more mobile Arabs back to Spain was that they had much to fight for: the ability to pass on wealth to their sons.

Look at THAT and you'd see both the reason why Africa lags so much and the solution: change their fundamental reproduction system to that of Europeans circa AD 900 and wait a few hundred years. [Again, Ethiopia and North Africa did not have Christianity + "Nationalism" which would include father-son inheritance and so on in a larger trust network.]

And oh yes the PC police MUST punish Watson. If they let Watson skate, who ELSE will say things they don't like?

They MUST punish him.

oryx said...

Anyone who would want to "breed" beautiful women (actually girls, right?) is an idiot. There is no mental concept of beauty without comparison to non-beauty or less than beautiful examples. Similarly there are no intelligent people without doltish types for reference. Should we all be rich and happy, too? Same problem. And as someone else said, such a concept is definitely not in the code of any true conservative.

As for race, I think the real underlying fear is what we might want to "do about it" assuming we could find agreement about deficiencies or undesirable traits in any particular group. Is there any point seeking the truth in this area unless we want to try to make things better? Has anyone noticed that the vast majority of resources spent on the "betterment" of the populations in the developing world have largely been wasted or counter-productive? It is unimaginable to me that anyone could conceive that we can do better with gene therapy or any other biologically or sociologically invasive approach.

Isn't that just classic Modern Liberalism?: "Please, make all the bad stuff go away!"

Anything like "proactive eugenics" is profoundly evil no matter your views on the varied groups that make up Man. To imagine such an instrument of Science in the hands of the soulless elite who would control it is the ultimate nightmare... yet it is a dream for others.

Anonymous said...

Damn that idiotic, senile, know-nothing Nobel winner. Doesn't he know the First Law of Gouldianism? Evolution stops at the neck! What kind of scientist is he, anyway? And if you think that West African Blacks are on average faster than Europeans, then blame your prevaricating eyes.

Anonymous said...

I know you're not interested in African history, but suffice it to say that there was a time when there were complex, sophisticated African (including sub-Saharan) civilizations while most Europeans were hitting each other over the head with large stones. According to most Africanists today, sub-Saharan Africans independantly invented iron metallurgy around 1000 BC, before the technology diffused to Britain in the 8th century BC and probably China.

Oh please, enlighten us all about the great Sub-Saharan civilizations of times past. What were their great monuments? What were their great writings? Their contributions to modern science, art, and architecture?

LOL. Your not going to convince anyone by traveling back 3000 years in order to find some cultural milestone. It only highlights the paucity of the arguement your pushing.

Mark said...

I have worked with several, several African-Americans and I have not been able to quantify if they are "dumber" than whites based on workplace experiences.

That's because they were probably doing basically the same job as you. People doing the same job, at the same company, are probably roughly equal in intelligence. The difference is that there are far fewer Africans in jobs demanding high IQ. A hugely disproportionate number of black men aren't doing any job at all.

Lost in all this is that Europe was not much different from Africa, for most of it's history.

There is certainly some truth to that. Look at some of the bizarre responses to the plague - the flagellants, for example - and you have to wonder.

But the difference is in the response to the introduction of technology. Europe and her children went from being the backwaters of the world to being the technological, cultural, and economic center of the world. It could very well remain there for centuries to come, assuming political treason (via immigration) doesn't destroy it.

Both Wade and Kelley (Warfare before Civilization) explore the archaeological evidence showing the pattern of massacre after massacre in Europe's Stone AND Bronze Age, amply backed up by available historical record.

The problem is that those are massacres that happened over thousands of years. Africa has one of those every year or so.

I think Watson misses a major point. It's not just "intelligence" but rather OTHER patterns of behavior that are inherited that rapidly pushed Europe in particular into cognitive and behavioral advantages.

Indeed. This ties into the monogamy dialogue on the other thread.

Nationalism: encouraging wider trust networks.

The left, of course, detests nationalism. The irony is that, historically, nationalism is actually a step up from the old ways - tribalism - which is still prominent in much of the world. The discouragement of nationalism is actually a step backwards, not forwards. We have far more groups pushing their own racial, ethnic, and tribal interest than we have groups pushing global interests (though the global ones are very well-funded by various billionaires).

Watson is basically a nihilist who has also endorsed the allowing of killing infants for several days after birth.

There is fact, and then there is the application of fact to solve societies problems. Maybe I don't trust Watson's suggested application of facts anymore than I would Gould's or Sagan's. But I do trust his facts. (And Sagan couldn't even get into the NAS, so I don't trust his facts much, either.)

Watson is an American citizen on a book tour in Britain.

If he says it in Britain they can. Unless he's a diplomat he's subject to all the laws of the UK.

I know you're not interested in African history, but suffice it to say that there was a time when there were complex, sophisticated African (including sub-Saharan) civilizations while most Europeans were hitting each other over the head with large stones.

There are very few times in history whichh, even if I were black, that I would have preferred to live in sub-Saharan Africa rather than Europe. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would have rather lived in the Europe of 5,000 years ago than in the Africa of today.

And those "advanced" sub-Saharan African nations you talk about? They were always, always, always based on exploitation of resources. Look at all of them and you will find that their top two exports - ALWAYS - were slaves and gold, though perhaps not in that order. No manufactured goods, and not even crops.

I had (foolishly) forgotten that Watson was an American

Watson's DNA work, however, was done in Britain. The other 3 primary contributors were all British. So Britain, in a way, is roasting one of its finest.

Interestingly, one of the other's was a Jewish x-ray crystallographer named Rosalind Franklin. She took the x-rays that Watson used to determine the structure of DNA. She died early from cancer probably caused by exposure to the radiation used in her work.

In her biography "The Dark Lady of DNA," it's mentioned that Franklin's grandfather, a very rich man, stipulated in his will that any of his heirs who married a non-Jew would be disinherited. That's the kind of bigotry that doesn't make the news.

Toadal said...

Criminey, James Watson is not saying anything that anyone familiar with mankind's 5000 years of animal husbandry hasn't already guessed.

Hey Associated Press (AP) has distributed the story under the title 'UK Museum Cancels Scientist's Lecture'. Search for the story, tweak the establishment, and affect public opinion by providing feedback wherever you can.

gordon-bennett said...

Is it "scientific racism" to say that on average whites perform worse than blacks at the 100 metres sprint?

Is it "scientific racism" to say that on average blacks are better then whites at the 100 metres sprint?

Is it "scientific racism" to say that on average pygmies are shorter than Europeans?

Mthson said...

"If you believe in genetic engineering, especially for subjective concepts like beauty, you're not much of a conservative either."

I hope bioluddites on the right can adapt their ideology once gene therapy is proven in early adopters, because the world would suffer if conservatives become as irrelevant in the future as the Amish are today.

We don't need to worry about bioluddites on the left. They'll be reasonable once the immutable aspect of genetics that they fear is a thing of the past.

Mr. F. Le Mur said...

They're (Reason) mostly pretty bright and non-conformist, but have an intense p.c. blindspot when it comes to race (and immigration).

Mutually exclusive. For the most part they hold to standard "modern liberal" stances on social issues, and are very conformist (and emotional).

If not, do you know of anyone else who's written something similar?

Though a bit longer than 2 pages, here's The Inequality Taboo, by Charles Murray which covers the available evidence (lots of refs) as well as the political implications of enforced ignorance, a la: "Elites throughout the West are living a lie, basing the futures of their societies on the assumption that all groups of people are equal in all respects. Lie is a strong word, but justified. It is a lie because so many elite politicians who profess to believe it in public do not believe it in private. It is a lie because so many elite scholars choose to ignore what is already known and choose not to inquire into what they suspect. We enable ourselves to continue to live the lie by establishing a taboo against discussion of group differences."

James Kabala said...

"What were their great monuments?"

They did build Great Zimbabwe. (Theories of non-black origin were favored in Victorian times and remained the official line in Rhodesia, but no scholar believes this anymore.) Timbuktu was also a pretty impressive place and had a notable library. And while I don't believe that ancient Egyptians were black, they lived in such proximity to the Nubians (who had a fairly sophisticated society themselves) that there must have been some intermarriage.

Anonymous said...

The “pretty” argument may be based on a relative scale that would slide upwards with genetic engineering resulting in no net increased happiness. I’m not sure though, I’ve been in places with a lot of pretty women like Los Angeles, Texas, No. Italy and college campuses and I’ve enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than the places with fewer not so pretty women like 3rd world countries and elite technical departments.

A number of women have told me it works the same for them in reverse.

Anonymous said...

“Intelligence” may be something that is a universal good, especially if it comes with a European cultural context. Most of the places in the world worth living in today are where European culturally founded and dominated creating a large middle class, technological innovation, economic progress, relatively just legal system, etc. A prerequisite of this is a liberal (in the sense of fair, free and just), intelligent and educated populace.

Israel, China and India may have large groups of high-IQ people or entire populations of them, yet despite deep seated nationalism or even xenophobia many flee these countries for Western European cultures for some inherently cultural reasons like corruption, tribalism and societal brutishness. Thus, intelligence may be a necessary but not sufficient condition to create a livable country.

Anonymous said...

I don’t think Watson was arguing for ethnic cleansing any more than the process of screening for down syndrome is ethnic cleansing.

If you want to have a natural childbirth go ahead. Most people don’t complain when Jody Foster eugenically selects a sperm doner with an IQ of 160. Why try to take away such choices using more effective mechanisms from the majority (our elites will always have access to beneficial technologies).

Do you want your average IQ descendents to toil under the yolk of 170 IQ supermen from China, Israel or our own elites?

The genie is getting out of the box and there is no putting it back. You should at least think through the "least bad" options instead of the easy but short-sighted moral impulse of wishing potentially dangerous technologies away.

tommy said...

Tommy: True, but I'm not bothered by the mere fact of Rosie O'Donnell's existence. I dislike her for being ultra-liberal, a 9/11 truther, and at times apparently not quite right in the head, but not because she's overweight and rather unattractive (although by no means, in my opinion, as hideous as she's sometimes made out to be). You really don't see why it would bother people to hear Watson nonchalantly talk about cleansing such people from the Earth?

I didn't take it that way. I'm not Brad Pitt either, after all. I simply took him to mean that humans in the future might be made more attractive, not that we would be exterminating unattractive people now. I don't regard making humanity's descendants more attractive through genetic engineering to be the extermination of ugly people anymore than I regard a genetic cure for sickle-cell anemia to be the extermination of people afflicted with the disease.

Mark said...

If you read through what say, Tacitus or Herodutos wrote, they have very low opinions of Europeans at the time, including Gauls, other Celts, Iberians (also Celts), Teutons, the tribes north of Macedonia, and the like.

The Romans didn't think well of anyone who wasn't, well, Roman. What a shock.

The Romans probably thought poorly of the Visigoths, too.

Their reasons that they give boil down to a lack of cooperation and any manifestation of civilization.

The Romans were pissed that their conquered vassals wouldn't cooperate with them!!! Oh my God, call in the psychiatrists! Such craziness! How dare a conquered peoples refuse to cooperate with their masters!

Anthony said...

Larry Niven (sci-fi author) once put forward the theory that all intelligent species would end up at about the same intelligence, because after a certain point, the civilization created would remove selection pressures for intelligence. One can easily poke holes in the theory, but I think Niven got it from somewhere else, and it does appear that most modern societies don't put much, if any, selection pressure on the dumb.

Anonymous said...

"Ethiopia lagged (as Christian Egypt lagged) because of lack of nationalism"
Europe didn't have nationalism either until about the French Revolution. what they had instead was dynasticism.

Mark said...

I hope bioluddites on the right can adapt their ideology once gene therapy is proven in early adopters, because the world would suffer if conservatives become as irrelevant in the future as the Amish are today.

Modern medicine is assuring that every gene that mutates into inoperability will survive, and many or most will get passed on to the next generation. Already many of our genes for scent have been rendered inoperable by our reliance on agriculture rather than hunting and gathering.

If we don't use genetic engineering to correct the damage, then all of humanity except for those in the poorest countries will be rendered medical cases.

The question is at what point do we say "stop." I would like to be smarter. I'd like to be stronger. I'd like to be more talented and better looking, too. I'd like to pass those traits on to my kids. But by altering my genes, at what point do I make them not my kids but someone elses? Which unique genetic traits define me, and which can be sacrificed to make them smarter, stronger, and better looking?

If I am going to eliminate some of what makes me me through genetic engineering, why not let such traits be eliminated the old fashioned way - through evolution?

Do you want your average IQ descendents to toil under the yolk of 170 IQ supermen from China, Israel or our own elites?

What's the difference? Our own elites aren't any better.

Thus, intelligence may be a necessary but not sufficient condition to create a livable country.

Well said. Except I'd change "may be" to "is."

it does appear that most modern societies don't put much, if any, selection pressure on the dumb.

It's best not to confuse temporary arrangements with permanent truths. Huge pressure is being placed on the dumb even as we speak. Even as Congress debates another health care entitlement like S-CHIP, entitlement programs that encopurage the dumb to breed are globally facing enormous budgetary pressures. They cannot survive forever, especially with poor people from poor countries moving to rich countries to take advantage of them.

Automation is increasing, leading to increasing rewards for IQ jobs that cannot be automated.

All that has to happen is for the well-off to choose to start having more kids, and there's evidence that may be happening already.

none of the above said...

Oryx:

Genetic screening for horrible stuff like Tay-Sachs is on one end of this continuum. Genetic screening for predisposition to homosexuality or grumpiness is somewhere further along. But this looks like one of those places where there's not a clear line to be drawn between obviously good stuff and deeply creepy stuff. (This mirrors the abortion and euthanasia debates, I guess.)

More to the point, this technology probably can't be controlled. In a world where people stress out and stand in line overnight for a spot in a good nursery school, to give their kids an imaginary leg up, you have to guess that some parents are going to opt for the "Aryan superman" package, others are going to screen for homosexuality (which direction depends on their tastes), still others are going to go for the high IQ package. That looks really hard to regulate against--if my wife and I go on a three week trip to India, and she comes back pregnant, do we get arrested? What if our kid gets into MIT?

healtheland said...

http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/more-proof-that-evolution-is-inherently-racist-nobel-prize-winner-james-watson/

Erik said...

Just want to point out that the fact that I was not able to evaluate the intelligence of black people I work with is EXACTLY my point. Watson likely could not either. He is expressing a personal prejudice, not anything to do with the science of the matter. So he is not speaking from the authority of a molecular biologist.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that Asians are superior to the Caucasians? Is it true that the average Asian has a higher IQ than the rest of the human race?

Perhaps Dr. Watson could make that his next study.

Somehow, I don't think so.

Mthson said...

"[Watson] is expressing a personal prejudice, not anything to do with the science of the matter."

This is a large accusation and is incorrect. Watson's comments on the cognitive ability testing data and on the evolutionary basis for cognitive biodiversity certainly have to do with the science of the matter.

If a demographic group has consistently lower scores in cognitive ability tests and related measures, it would be quite surprising if the general population was unaware of it in daily life. But thus is the world we live in, I suppose.

(Exceptions don't invalidate the statistical rule.)

Tom said...

Now then, as comments on the internet pretaining to this subject go, this is by fart the most informed and least biased by classic media political correctness. Elsewhere on the internet and in the media equality happy individuals following the religion of liberalism denounce Watson, who, as a scientist did what scientists do: stated that he was depressed at the prospects for Africa because westerners are screwing up in how they relate to Africa because they are blinded by their liberal religion. As a result he is now being labeled a racist and supporter of eugenics after just having expressed his sorrow over this very topic. Its there for all to see that he was merely communicating an observation which saddened him.

Now I will bring forth a document of no little import (which has also been called into question by the same groups). This is a paper by Bruce T. Lahn on distribution of a certain microcephaly gene polymorphisms. http://hominid.uchicago.edu/publications/2005%20Science-ASPM%20evolution.pdf

Supporting work can be found here along with responses to criticism:
http://hominid.uchicago.edu/publications/

Summary says that the haplotype which is associated with higher intelligence is found everywhere except sub-Saharan Africa, and that the haplotype found in SSA is the one most commonly associate with higher rates of microcephaly which is directly correlated with lower intelligence.

Have a field day with this stuff.

Really, if anything we should be working harder to make up the differences through better educational methods, of course there are those who demand everyone be taught in exactly the same way, another wonderfully liberal, horribly unscientific and ultimately destructive policy.

Anonymous said...

Lahn retracted now doesn't believe that the genes he found have anything to do with intelligence:

Soon after the Science papers were published, Lahn set out to see whether the variants give a cognitive advantage. In one study, Lahn helped controversial psychologist Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, test whether people who carry the favored variants have higher IQs. Rushton is well known for his claims that African Americans have lower intelligence than whites, and Lahn had found that some genetic variants are common in Europeans and Asians but less frequent among sub-Saharan Africans. But Rushton reported last week at the annual meeting of the International Society for Intelligence Research in San Francisco, California, that he had struck out: The variants conferred no advantage on IQ tests. "[We] had no luck," Rushton told Science, "no matter which way we analyzed the data." Lahn was not a co-author, but his group genotyped the 644 adults of differing ethnicity in the study.
http://hominid.uchicago.edu/publications/2005%20Science-ASPM%20evolution.pdf
Now, if Rushton, the infamous "expert" on ejaculometry and penisography (which he "researches" in Canadian shopping malls) cannot plausibly twist the data enough to support his personally and ideologically warped pre-conclusions, than thats really saying something!

ran said...

someone anonymous said:
"Its true that sub-Saharan Africans and those descended from them tend to score low on standardized tests that purport to measure intelligence, but to suggest this is somehow substantially genetically based is to ignore the evidence from the bulk of African history. Just ask scholars like Basil Davidson, Christopher Ehret, Graham Connah, Peter Schmidt, and Gerard Quechon if Africans are inherently intellectually inferior. (All those guys are white, by the way, so you don't have to worry. I won't mention any black historians cause I know you won't pay attention to them)."

I don't purport to be an expert in African history. However, Charles Murray's book 'Measuring Human Accomplishment' provides a powerful account of comparing technical accomplishments of various cultures/peoples without the need to refer to any single (and potentially biased) author via historiogrpahy. It makes a powerful argument of Europe's place in the global history of technological advances.

"Stupidity is a disease; the left half of the Bell Curve should be raised. Good sentiment; if not, then why rejoice over the Flynn Effect? (Steve says add more iodine to the African diet.)
I'm not sure thats what Watson means by "curing" people of stupidity. I could be wrong."

As Godless Capitalist used to say on Gene Expression, there is an enormous philosophical gap between involuntary eugenics and voluntary eugenics. For the most part, I don't support forcing anyone to do anything they don't want to do. Likewise, I don't like people dictating what I can do (without extremely good cause). Genetic engineering will first be done at the zygotic/ pre- zygotic level to correct obvious pathology and clear psychopathology. Then, it will likely be employed to alter traits that are within the 'normal' phenotypic spectrum but still undesirable to some.

"There should be more pretty women in the world. "Pretty" according to whom? You? Me? Watson? And even supposing we come to a consensus, how do we get more "pretty" women? Sterilize "ugly" people?
Even if it were possible to do genetically engineer pretty people in a feasible and ethical fashion, I doubt I would want to live in a world full of supermodels. If every one looked like the girls in the Victoria's Secret catalogues, who would be the waffle house waitresses of the world? A lot of beauty would go to waste. We need ugly people to do certain jobs, and we need beautiful ones to do other jobs. Thats the way the world works."

OK, well what if your daughter is the hideously unattractive chick no guy (or girl) wants but is in all other ways healthy? Would you still feel the same way?

It is irrelevant what your standard of beauty is compared to mine. If the genetic engineering is voluntary, nobody is forcing anyone to do anything. I suspect that what will happen is that the world won't turn into a blonde hair/ blue eyed extended family. However, what we'll probably see are a bunch more supermodel types of each respective ethnicity.

More importantly, it is largely becoming irrelevant what anyone in the Anglosphere believes or not. The Anglosphere is losing its intelectual and financial hegemony. There is no doubt it will still be relevant in the foreseeable future, but countries like India and China are already ascendant. There will likely be elites there who have different ethical standards and who don't share the PC views regarding genetic engineering found in the Anglosphere. Soon, they will be in a position to dictate the course of eugenics in those countries. If humans are produced there with a huge competitive advantage over, for example, Americans, America and the rest of the world will have to follow suit.

You can slow science down, but no one has ever stopped its manifest destiny.

ran said...

someone anonymous said:
"Its true that sub-Saharan Africans and those descended from them tend to score low on standardized tests that purport to measure intelligence, but to suggest this is somehow substantially genetically based is to ignore the evidence from the bulk of African history. Just ask scholars like Basil Davidson, Christopher Ehret, Graham Connah, Peter Schmidt, and Gerard Quechon if Africans are inherently intellectually inferior. (All those guys are white, by the way, so you don't have to worry. I won't mention any black historians cause I know you won't pay attention to them)."

I don't purport to be an expert in African history. However, Charles Murray's book 'Measuring Human Accomplishment' provides a powerful account of comparing technical accomplishments of various cultures/peoples without the need to refer to any single (and potentially biased) author via historiogrpahy. It makes a powerful argument of Europe's place in the global history of technological advances.

"Stupidity is a disease; the left half of the Bell Curve should be raised. Good sentiment; if not, then why rejoice over the Flynn Effect? (Steve says add more iodine to the African diet.)
I'm not sure thats what Watson means by "curing" people of stupidity. I could be wrong."

As Godless Capitalist used to say on Gene Expression, there is an enormous philosophical gap between involuntary eugenics and voluntary eugenics. For the most part, I don't support forcing anyone to do anything they don't want to do. Likewise, I don't like people dictating what I can do (without extremely good cause). Genetic engineering will first be done at the zygotic/ pre- zygotic level to correct obvious pathology and clear psychopathology. Then, it will likely be employed to alter traits that are within the 'normal' phenotypic spectrum but still undesirable to some.

"There should be more pretty women in the world. "Pretty" according to whom? You? Me? Watson? And even supposing we come to a consensus, how do we get more "pretty" women? Sterilize "ugly" people?
Even if it were possible to do genetically engineer pretty people in a feasible and ethical fashion, I doubt I would want to live in a world full of supermodels. If every one looked like the girls in the Victoria's Secret catalogues, who would be the waffle house waitresses of the world? A lot of beauty would go to waste. We need ugly people to do certain jobs, and we need beautiful ones to do other jobs. Thats the way the world works."

OK, well what if your daughter is the hideously unattractive chick no guy (or girl) wants but is in all other ways healthy? Would you still feel the same way?

It is irrelevant what your standard of beauty is compared to mine. If the genetic engineering is voluntary, nobody is forcing anyone to do anything. I suspect that what will happen is that the world won't turn into a blonde hair/ blue eyed extended family. However, what we'll probably see are a bunch more supermodel types of each respective ethnicity.

More importantly, it is largely becoming irrelevant what anyone in the Anglosphere believes or not. The Anglosphere is losing its intelectual and financial hegemony. There is no doubt it will still be relevant in the foreseeable future, but countries like India and China are already ascendant. There will likely be elites there who have different ethical standards and who don't share the PC views regarding genetic engineering found in the Anglosphere. Soon, they will be in a position to dictate the course of eugenics in those countries. If humans are produced there with a huge competitive advantage over, for example, Americans, America and the rest of the world will have to follow suit.

You can slow science down, but no one has ever stopped its manifest destiny.

username/identity: ran

Anonymous said...

The Romans didn't think well of anyone who wasn't, well, Roman. What a shock...

The Romans were pissed that their conquered vassals wouldn't cooperate with them!!! Oh my God, call in the psychiatrists! Such craziness! How dare a conquered peoples refuse to cooperate with their masters!


Would you also be willing to grant that European colonialists had the same prejudices toward the societies that they encountered in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and therefore we can't trust anything they said about those societies either?
Do you trust Cecil Rhodes or Cortez any more then you trust Herodotus or Tacitus?
If not, then shut up about how awful and prejudiced the Romans were.

appeal to reason said...

I don't purport to be an expert in African history. However, Charles Murray's book 'Measuring Human Accomplishment' provides a powerful account of comparing technical accomplishments of various cultures/peoples without the need to refer to any single (and potentially biased) author via historiogrpahy. It makes a powerful argument of Europe's place in the global history of technological advances.
If we're going to measure "human accomplishment" on the scale that Murray holds, we have to recognize that Europe has only held this place for roughly the last 1000 years. That's the point. Most of Europe lagged before the Roman Empire, then lagged for about 500 years after the Roman Empire (again, by the standards Murray chooses to emphasize), and then, around 1000 years ago, started on the path to where it is today, where Europeans and their descendants dominate pretty much the entire world. No one is doubting that Europe has been superior to the rest of the world in terms of science and technology for the last millenia. The point of brininging up African history is to show that this is a very recent development, and probably has little, if anything, to do with genes.

Anonymous said...

well first of all i think it would be ridiculous if he is sentenced. although i'll concede that some of his comments were ill phrased. However the central argument that races are different isn't racist at all, nor is it even considered scientifically controversial, i recomend checking ou the following website which backs this up with solid references http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/more-proof-that-evolution-is-inherently-racist-nobel-prize-winner-james-watson/


As for the argument that extreem stupidity is a disease well i cant help but agree. if it is possible to raise the lower ten percent of the bell curve, i would rejoice. We're talking about IQ levels of 75 to 80 here, some apes have scored higher, these people are barely able to function in society. they are pathelogically stupid.

some people have suggested that Watson means something extreemly sinister with the word "cure". dont be ridiculous.

and finally there is the religous argument: "all men are *created* equall". Well they don't buy into the evolution theory, so its impossible to argue with them.