Thursday, October 18, 2007

Race and Intelligence

Dr. James Watson has started up an old firestorm again. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Dr. Watson, whose work on the structure of DNA won a Nobel Prize back when it meant something, said that he believes Blacks are intellectually inferior. From CNN:

The eminent biologist told the British newspaper 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."

As you might expect, such a statement met immediate and extreme reaction from many sources, including the British government. I too am surprised that Dr. Watson would make such a statement, especially when Watson seems to base his opinion at least in part on personal experience with selected co-workers. Essentially, while I am no scientist, it appears to my unenlightened eyes that Watson saw certain data and read conclusions into them without considering all the relevant factors. At the very least, this should warn us against trusting too much the opinions of designated ‘experts’. It seems to me obvious, that anyone can make a great fool of himself, and we should keep that in mind when considering the weight of someone’s opinion.


Anonymous said...

For as long as I can remember, every time that a prominent scientist goes on record to state that their studied conclusion of race intelligence indicate black inferiority, they are rapidly attacked by the press.

Yet, over the past 40 years, I have seen many scientists continue to conclude so. So, why not invest real time and energy to resolve this dispute of race intelligence?

One possible answer to this delima is that there are some sustaining positions which the media must attack and surpress 'at all expenses'.


marsha said...

this man is an idiot. you would have to be equally as ignorant as he is to listen to anything he has to say. it only proves that "they" are still as racist today as "they" were a 100 years ago when that fool was born. usually when a person talks this way at his age, dementia has set in and the only thing he can remember is how things were when he was a child. give him a year or less and he won't know his nose from his toe. that's God's punishment for all the years of racism.

Anonymous said...

"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."

Watson does not say that blacks are less intelligent. He says that the average IQ in Africa is lower. This is a big difference. Quite simply, due to decades of war, famine and the constant ravages of aids, large portions of Africa have endured generates of malnutrition.

Malnutrition results in shorter average heights and lower IQs. This has nothing to do with race. The same thing occurred in Ireland after the famines and is ongoing in North Korea.

This is not a racist comment at all, as the observation is not linked to race but rather a series of horrible events that have transpired in a geographical region.

Anonymous said...

Think about other human characteristics: It is difficult to argue against the demonstration in sports that blacks are generally athletically superior to whites. Some races have more predisposition to certain diseases, such as alcoholism, cancer, etc.

So if DNA determines our physical make-up and predispositions, who is to say that our DNA doesn't determine our intellectual and emotional make-up?

It is of course going to be cast in a negative light of racism when we talk about intelligence and personality. But it's not far off to say that DNA could determine more than just physical characteristics, and therefore some races have similar intelligence and emotional characteristics.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought... not saying I agree with the Dr., but what do you suppose would have been the reaction if he had said that blacks were MORE intelligent than whites? Would the speech have been cancelled then??

Anonymous said...

Actually the connection between intelligence and race/heredity
is well established and generally accepted amongst psychologists who specialize in studying IQ. They aren't vocal about it because of the potential for mis-use in the form of discrimination and because the general public considers it politically incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Considering that mankind originated in Africa, it would strike me that the measuring stick would be unequal when you consider who is doing the measuring and to whom the stick belongs.

Anonymous said...

Watson obviously is a brilliant man and I do not find his comments offensive in any way. Why is it ok to say that because of their body structure blacks are generally better athletically than whites but it is not ok to say that whites are superior intellectually? It seems to make sense that if the Europeans have been studying astronomy, physics, mathmatics, etc for centuries while Africans were still throwing spears at one another that our brains would have developed differently. What is so wrong with that theory?

Anonymous said...


This comment by the Doctor might be dimly accepted IF he had any shred of genetic-scientific evidence for which nurture and environment were varied but found no 'improvement' or variation in the intellectual development of 1) Humans; 2) Animals; 3) Insects, 4) Everything else!
Perhaps one can outlive ones own proclivity to control ones self; Or we may be able to live long enough that age and fatigue completely subvert ones aptitudes.
Whatever it may be, at whatever age it may come, after all the hatred and murder, denigration and Jim Crow-Apartheid that AFricans and people of African descent have had to endure, the fact that they even exist and have color in their skin speaks volumes for their intellect.
I remember reading "Double Helix" as a child and thinking what simple brilliance it was. Now, THIS!
Are we ever, EVER, going to live past such ignoble statements of callous evil and indifference to cogent fact!
I wonder what he thinks of Tiger Woods and Muhammed Ali!

iggy said...

He is using scietifical knowledge to back his oppinion. IQ tests had been administered in Africa and they clearly show that their IQ is lower. Same situation in America. The society is getting more and more crazy nowadays. Political correctness kills.

Anonymous said...

As soon as a more credible scientist comes up with proof he is wrong then I'll listen. This man is the top in his field, sorry you don't like his findings. You can't shut up science because you don't like the conclusion, why not work on a way to improve the situation rather than ignore it? It is easier to discredit science than to figure out a solution isn't it? And dinos are really Jesus horses too.

Anonymous said...

Why everyone does everything possible not to face the truth? Why the society and press is putting so much effort into refusing the results of numerous experiments, analysis, and observations that have been done not by ONE, by many OTHERS brightest men of the world? Why everyone is forced to think otherwise? Nobody precludes black people to perform their own similar research and come back with other fact. Please do NOT falsify anything - No Affirmative action here please! In any event IF Everyone lived where he or she belongs to geographically - we would not have to talk about it at all! We would not need to compare who is smarter or better! More races you put together - more problems arise. Isn't this clear?

n.jax said...

This is ridiculous. But to take a psychological approach to this, I read a study not too long ago that showed Blacks performed worse on aptitude tests after being subjected to racism. The stress of the situation temporarily inhibited cognitive abilities. Now think about the way a lot of the world views people of, and descended from the Continent everyday...

And who says blacks are necessarily better at sports? This is an avenue that people are comfortable with black people excelling in en masse. Therefore, this avenue is open to receiving blacks more readily.

Just food for thought.

And really the scientific community as a whole needs to be more diverse in order to measure "standards."

Anonymous said...

My response is to "iggy."

Iggy, using test criteron and models to test IQ that have no bias is extremely difficult- and expensive.
Most testing bodies merely adapt/translate known IQ tests into the 'new' language, spell check and correct puntuation and insure proper context for the VERBAGE.
There is very little effort to correct for perceived cultural norms.
This cultural norm changes all the time RAPIDLY (have you tried speaking to a 13 year-old lately?) and even affects tests across generations IN THE SAME COUNTRY, REGION, FAMILY, AND SEX!
Yes, after all is said and done, African test scores may be lower than 'First World' scores just as the test scores for white adults immigrating from europe to America in the 19th and 20th century, were lower than their children's scores and much lower than their grandchildren: Those first generation whites were like the present third world African and impoverished Blacks that everyone parades before their own arrogant pride-as if they had a duty to be so vicious and inhuman!
Iggy, perhaps we will find the gene responsible for human love and kindness and put it in our food!

Anonymous said...


This response is to "Marsha."

Idiot" was originally created to refer to "layman, person lacking professional skill", "person so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning"
Dr. Watson, is NOT an idiot, but he is so entrenched technically that he is attractive to elements of the media that pander the spectacular to garner a larger audience.
He DOES lack, a certain degree of diplomacy and tact- and he is an old man who may be facing deteriorating mental accuity-perhaps!?!
100 years ago white americans, lynched African Americans so frequently that America lost as many African Americans in one week due to lynching, during world war one (especially 1914-1917), than, briefly, for men in trench warfare at the same time.
Yes, America has a lot of Blood on its hands and it will be there as long as a single Black person, espcially, Black MAN, endures in the nation. Or until they formally APOLOGIZE which they can NEVER do (Can you say, "litigation on an apopcalyptic scale!!!)
(Black men were lynched about 110 to 1 over Black women.)
I know how you feel Marsha, but, Mr. Watson was more likely drinking smething when he spoke. We should guide him to rehab and maybe he and Lindssay Lohan can find a way to put a stopper in that bottle!

Lawrence said...

Posted: "Considering Makind originated in Africa..." And you base this on??? There is no real solid fact to back this up.