October 18, 2007

James D. Watson pleads temporary insanity

From The Daily Mail:

Yesterday, Dr Watson issued an apology.

"Science is no stranger to controversy and I am not one to shy away from tackling issues, however, difficult they might prove to be," he said.

"I have had my share of controversy, as many of you know. But I am mortified about what has happened.

"More importantly, I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said. I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways they have.

"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. "

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


Anonymous said...

Retraction? Just like Galileo. And, as everyone knows, the sun still orbits the earth, just as it always has.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic. And predictable. It's the Larry Summers affair all over again.

Yet another profile in intellectual cowardice.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic. And predictable. It's the Larry Summers affair all over again. Yet another profile in intellectual cowardice.

But still a victory for us, in a way, because it very publicly demonstrates how strong, heavyhanded, and Gestapo-like the mulitcultist PC left has become.

Anonymous said...

He said he didn't think Africa was genetically inferior. Not a word about Africans.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure we should blame "intellectual cowardice." Galileo was threatened with capital punishment. I'm certain Watson was too-- if he didn't get thousands of plausible death threats in the last couple of days I'm a monkey's uncle.

He's too old for the Salman Rushdie life, and he can't look to any Western government to protect him. If he doesn't want to live out his remaining days in China or Japan or somewhere like that, then what can he do?

His retraction under duress means nothing to me and I don't feel any less respect for him because he was forced to it.

Anonymous said...

Auster has it right:

Anonymous said...

WE WON!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, his testicular fortitude lasted for the better part of, what, forty-eight hours?

That's more than can be said of most academics.

Anonymous said...

And will he be apologizing for saying something so humdrum?

Anonymous said...

Understandable given Watson probably had a Cheka officer holding a revolver to his head for his counter-revolutionary thought crime.

Tragic, sad, but not surprising.

Anonymous said...

How disappointing, particularly in light of his previous statements on intellectual honesty and courage. What a sad capitulation.

Anonymous said...

What's George Bush's excuse when he lionizes La Raza?

Permanent insanity?

Anonymous said...

As Watson has suggested that stupidity is a genetic disease that should be treated, I would suggest that he seek treatment as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Burn the witch!

Lab suspends scientist Watson over comments on race

"The comments, which were attributed to Dr. James Watson earlier this week in the London Times, are wrong, from every point of view -- not the least of which is that they are completely inconsistent with the body of research literature in this area," Dr. Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.

"Scientific prestige is never a substitute for knowledge. As scientists, we are outraged and saddened when science is used to perpetuate prejudice," Zerhouni said.

Another group of Nobel laureates also expressed revulsion.

"The Federation of American Scientists is outraged by the noxious comments made by Dr. James Watson that appeared in the Sunday Times Magazine on October 14th," said the group, founded by Manhattan Project atomic physicists.

"At a time when the scientific community is feeling threatened by political forces seeking to undermine its credibility, it is tragic that one of the icons of modern science has cast such dishonor on the profession," added Federation of American Scientists President Henry Kelly.

Tom Gillespie said...

If you read carefully enough, remembering that this is a scientist speaking you will see that his statement entails only that his comments in no way (and this is true) suggest that science can say one is genetically inferior. Society says that. Science says that accumulated observations of this certain subgroup suggest that they on average preform more poorly on these certain exams. If the exam was how high you could jump and how far you could run, the same subgroup which currently has the "short-end" of the stick would now pass with flying marks and the others would look sadly "inferior" to the eyes of society. This of course is all a load of crap because these are two completely distinct populations that were subjected to completely different selective pressures. It is impossible for them to be equal. Science never says which traits are "desirable" and which are "inferior" it doesnt even speak that language and if it did it wouldnt be science. People who are steeped in the language of racism and liberalism, as is their tendency, run with scientific statements and claim science says things which it simply cannot say. Their own lack of understanding (if I wanted to be ironic I would have said intelligence, but I like to think that nurture is also important) brings about this storm in a teacup because they heard something they did not want to hear. Not Larry Summers.

Anonymous said...

No, wait! I have found the original draft of that FAS press release:

"At a time when the scientific community is feeling threatened by political forces seeking to undermine its credibility, we have decided to undermine our own credibility all on our own by throwing Watson to the intolerant mob."

Watson's suspension, though, could be a very good thing. If he has nothing left to lose he could very easily retract his retraction and take on the multiculti gestapo. I suspect they'll let him keep some sort of position because if they don't he could take them on. He seems stubborn enough to do it.

Anonymous said...

As Watson has suggested that stupidity is a genetic disease that should be treated, I would suggest that he seek treatment as soon as possible.
he also said we should genetically engineer beautiful people. I quite agree. We should start by sterilizing Dr. Watson.

Anonymous said...

Pay careful attention to his comment. He was specific that he intended no comment on _inferiority_. And, well, he wasn't exactly the most tactful if he was quoted accurately, so certainly apologizing for that isn't the end of the world.

More complete article:


However, Dr Watson goes on to suggest that genes may account for many behavioural traits, including intelligence and even criminality. "The thought that some people are innately wicked disturbs me," he says. "But science is not here to make us feel good."

Without referring directly to the subject of racial differences, Dr Watson once more invokes the idea that Darwinian natural selection has led to differences in behavioural ability between people from different geographical regions of the world. "We do not yet adequately understand the way in which the different environments in the world have selected over time the genes which determine our capacity to do different things," he says. "The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity.

"It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science. To question this is not to give in to racism. 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."

Anonymous said...

It's too bad Steve's readers don't read that much. If they did they would know all about George Bush's former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and how he lied about the standardized test results of students in the Houston ISD. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/06/60II/main591676.shtml

Houston public schools are majority minority.

Of course, George Bush gutted admissions for public universities in Texas with his Top Ten Percent Law.

So, why are so many folks named Anonymous pillorying Dr. Watson?

Dutch Boy said...

I don't feel too sorry for Watson> He is a nut job and now appears to be a coward.

Anonymous said...

testicular fortitude

Ha ha ha... loved the phrase. How about these variations:

sphincteral integrity
penile resilience
scrotal stamina


Seriously, though, let's let him off the hook. "Testicular fortitude" is easier to maintain when fighting for a flesh-and-bones cause (like your sister, wife, or son), but becomes challenging when fighting for, well, duh-mock-racy or "scientific" truth -- a proposition nation, unfortunately.

Let's think like this: this is always the beginning of the end for the powers that be. This is how one begins to build walls of lies around one's rule only to end up buried in a thick smoke of falsehood while the oppressed advance and reclaim the fortress through tunnels of hearsay that one cannot monitor anymore since all Truth has been driven underground.

Bad poetry, I know, but you get the imagery.


Anonymous said...

No matter where you stand on the nature/nurture debate, you have to acknwoledge that Watson is his own worst enemy. If he wanted to take a public stand on an issue this controversial, he should have addressed it in his book where he would have had final editorial control. The reality is that no one knows what he truly said, because it was filtered through the words (and possibly prejudices) of the reporter. That alone, makes it hard for me to feel sorry for him.

SAVANT said...

Jesus Christ! Thats frightening. I can see Stalin and Kafka in my mind's eye. A great pity he didn't have the balls to stick with it.

Utterly depressing

Anonymous said...

As Watson said, science is not here to make us feel better. I and several other people here made opposite predictions about what would happen--I said Watson would not go to jail, they said he would. I think I was literally right there, but my model was all wrong, and theirs' were right. I never expected he'd lose his job.

This is creepy. This lab has just announced to the public that it will fire people for making politically/socially unacceptable statements, rather than judging them on the quality of their work. I wonder why I should trust their future work, when it has a convenient political or social slant to it? Making scientists part of the society-wide propoganda machine is as stupid and evil a policy as I can imagine.

Anonymous said...

That didn't look much like a retraction to me. It looked to me like he thought he'd been misrepresented by the original news report. Now, it strikes me as rather more likely that he was spouting off, having forgotten that a journalist interviewing you is no more your friend than a police detective interviewing you, and was surprised to see some of his random speculative comments treated as carefully considered opinion.

Anonymous said...

Houston public schools are majority minority.

You mean majority "non-white".

Latarnik said...

It is a great pleasure to read words of a wise man, Steve Sailer you are one of them.

Latarnik said...

quasiowI admire people who search for the truth and I know that it is upstream battle. We all know what flows with a current. There are some legitimate reasons for lower IQ of Africans. Questions are devised for people of Western Civilization, I am sure that Buddist Monks would score lower than American College freshmen.
Educational level achieved by most Africans is very low, poverty, cruel local warlords are partly to blame. We know in North America how difficult it is to deal with Natives, who were in a stone age only decades ago.
They do not want to go to school and drop out early. Even official statistics are to shy to admit how many native kids would not want to go to school or drop out of school at the grade 8. Many are kept in a grade 8 or 9 for years, until they drop out. I wish I could hear about any solutions to invite them to the main stream of society.