James Watson: Pushback

Oct 18, 2007 1:31pm

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on New York’s Long Island, home base to James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, has posted a response to his quoted words about race and intelligence: "Statement by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Board of Trustees and President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D. Regarding Dr. Watson’s Comments in The Sunday Times on October 14, 2007 “The comments attributed to Dr. James Watson that first appeared in the October 14, 2007 edition of The Sunday Times U.K. are his own personal statements and in no way reflect the mission, goals, or principles of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Board, administration or faculty.  Dr. Watson is not the President of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and was not speaking on behalf of the institution. "The Board of Trustees, administration and faculty vehemently disagree with these statements and are bewildered and saddened if he indeed made such comments.  Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory does not engage in any research that could even form the basis of the statements attributed to Dr. Watson."  The statement is HERE. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has responded too: "Professor James Watson’s comments about the genetic inferiority of Africans, and of black people being less intelligent than white people, represent racist propaganda masquerading as scientific fact. ‘Such discredited racist theories seek to establish a genetically based racial hierarchy of the human race and have been condemned by leading scientists throughout the world. "His comments provide a pseudo-scientific rationale for the racist concept of white superiority. "That a man of such academic distinction could make such ignorant comments, which are utterly offensive and incorrect and give succour to the most backward in our society, demonstrates why racism still has to be fought."  The rest of his statement is HERE. Staffers at Cold Spring Harbor say they’re not disclosing how to reach Watson.  For the record, the new book he’s in London to promote is called "Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science." (AP photo: Watson poses with a model of DNA in 2004.)

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