En av verdens fremste genetikere, amerikaneren James Watson (79) la seg flat torsdag og beklaget på det sterkeste uttalelser om at svarte er mindre intelligente. Watson sa han aldri hadde sagt noe slikt og slett ikke mente det. Sunday Times sier de sitter på opptaket.
Det var i forkant av besøket at Sunday Times gjorde intervjuet som fikk mange til å sperre øynene opp:
The 79-year-old geneticist said 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.». He said he hoped that everyone was equal, but countered that «people who have to deal with black employees find this not true».
He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because «there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level». He writes that «there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so».
He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.
Da Watson landet onsdag var det fullt oppstyr. Et foredrag i Science Museum fredag ble avlyst i protest. Under et foredrag i Royal Society torsdag la Watson seg flat:
Last night, at a book launch at the Royal Society, Dr Watson withdrew the words attributed to him. «To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly,» he said.
«That is not what I meant. More importantly, there is no scientific basis for such a belief.»
He claimed to be baffled at the words attributed to him by The Sunday Times Magazine. «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,» he added.
Watson er i Storbritannia for å promotere sin nye bok: Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science. Man kan trygt si han lever opp til tittelen.
Få legmenn våger å begi seg inn i en diskusjon med en genetiker, som har en Nobelpris å vise til. Watson var del av teamet som oppdaget DNA. De fikk prisen i 1962.
Men når man hører hva Watson har sagt om andre ting, kan man stille spørsmål ved hans dømmekraft. Er det den sosiale provokatøren som er ute og går?
Dr Watson is no stranger to controversy. He has been reported in the past saying that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual.
In addition, he has suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, proposing a theory that black people have higher libidos.
He also claimed that beauty could be genetically manufactured, saying: «People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great.»
Også kolleger av Watson sier han ikke har faglig dekning for sine uttalelser om svartes intelligens.
British experts in intelligence and neurology last night condemned Dr Watson’s quoted views as discredited.
Baroness Greenfield, the neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, said: «There was a great uproar quite some time ago with a book called The Bell Curve which suggested that there were racial differences in intelligence. If Watson is citing this work, further work has found the findings not to be as simple as they implied and that there was a strong cultural factor involved.
«In any event, IQ tests can only ever be an evaluation of how good people are at IQ tests. It is a great shame that someone as distinguished as James Watson should make such comments.»
Watson har i 50 år ledet Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory on Long Island, som regnes som ledende innen kreftforskning og genetikk.