Nobel Laureate James Watson: Africans less intelligent than Westerners

I just saw this Story . It says:

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".

Spoken by James Watson, the discoverer of DNA. (Yes, that Watson from Watson and Crick whom we all studied in bio.). Scary stuff. What's really surprising is that the American media seems to have totally ignored it. I tried looking for the story in the NYTimes, and all I got was a story on his lecture being cancelled as a result of his comments. The Independent had a better article on that topic. I don't blame the American media for ignoring the story. Such comments could result in African American kids not wanting to study biology and science, and it could cause even greater distrust in the system. In the second article, it says:

The co-ordinator of one event, who asked not be named, said: " The correct way to respond is to allow him to be challenged as strongly as possible. A view that is not based on science or is simply wrong will be exposed as such.

I agree in principle. I've always thought that the best way to deal with people who disagree is to get all the issues out in an open forum. But I'm not so sure it's that easy in a case like this. There are so many issues when it comes to race that it's simply impossible to set up a control and variable situation that scientists are used to using. How can you set up a control system where white subjects undergo the same kind of racism, cultural problems, and environment as black people? Scientists usually start with something they want to prove, and then they try to prove it. They often start with an unproven theory, and then try to find evidence later. One might argue that this is what Watson is doing. But because his theory could cause problems for a lot of people in its unproven state, I think it's highly problematic for Watson to be engaging in this kind of talk.

bwong's blog