On BioScience and Life and Such

A refreshing view on James Watson

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm

On the Honest Thinking website there is a post that comments on the unison negative response to James Watson’s remarks on race when interviewed by The Independent.

As many will remember the interview created a general outrage and Watson was suspended from his job. There is no doubt that his phrasing was not very delicate, to put it mildly. The subsequent reactions from the politically correct masses were perhaps justified since traces of racism could be found between the lines in his remarks (as well as in previous public comments by Watson).

But, what is the science behind it all ? This popular article shows us that there’s more than one side to this story. It seems that there is solid scientific evidence to support the alleged IQ-difference between blacks and whites. Importantly though, the reasons for this difference is currently not well understood. And even more importantly, genetics is probably only partly to blame.

The way such data is presented is crucial to how it is interpreted and used in a political world. Matters of race awakens strong emotions in us. To avoid misuse of scientific data, it is important to carefully present results concerning race as unbiased and delicately as possible. The motto taken from Honest Thinking: “…….being truthful about whatever one publishes, …….. uncompromising dedication never to suppress relevant data, even when data collides with dearly held prejudices.” is commendable, but fails to account for the presentation itself. The presentation was in this case, equally or even more important than the data, – a lesson hopefully learned by Professor Watson.

  1. […] race and genetics Jump to Comments In the previous post “A refreshing view on James Watson“, I referred to the website HonestThinking. The background was a post on this website […]

  2. […] making impenetrable noise as they do so. Examples I have been involved in lately are debates on race, IVF, abortion, junk-DNA and open access publishing. Arguably, this mechanism is present for almost […]

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