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November 10, 2007



I read somewhere that this was not James Watson's first blunder, and that he is quite famous for making such profoundly uninformed statements. I wish the poor guy a very slow and painful death.


Did you see this?

The NYT does a great job of getting quotes from a whole bunch of morons.


Yes, I saw it. Amy Harmon is an incredibly lazy and stupid excuse for a "reporter": not only did she give these cretins the oxygen of publicity which they crave more than anything, but the tone in which her article was written blatantly suggests that the "facts" are clearly going to support race-nuts like a certain "artist [sic] in Madison, Wis". Quoting a health care consultant supposedly discussing “opting out of genetic research until it’s clear we’re not going to use science to validate prejudices” screams to the reader: "they're afraid because the truth is about to come out!"

Worse yet, Harmon fails to consult a single individual who has a real clue about genetics and who opposes such insinuations: how hard would it have been for her to get in touch with, say, PZ Myers, to ask for some leads in that direction? It's not as if he's an obscure blogger ...

The most annoying thing about articles like this one, though, even beyond the laziness of journalists who write with a slant falsely suggesting the imminent emergence of "truths" which will be unpalatable to decent people, is the insistence on portraying the argument as a false dichotomy between those supposedly claiming "race" does not exist, and the likes of the IQ cranks maintaining without a shred of evidence that blacks are stupid. *Of course* a certain portion of human genetic diversity falls along continental, "racial" lines, as anyone can tell just by looking at external appearances: the question is whether this 5% of total human genetic variation - as opposed to the 15% which can be accounted for by differences between neighboring groups of the same "race" - codes for differences in intellectual ability which fall along the lines Americans* like to call "racial", as opposed to, say, the Dinka being genetically worse off intellectually than the Danes, who are slower on the uptake than the Greeks, who in turn are less bright than the Xhosa, who again aren't as fortunate as the Navajo*,etc. There is just no a priori reason why any differences found in intellect ought to fall along the simplistic "black/white/Asian" divide, any more than Ethiopian domination of long-distance running says something about the potential of Angolans in the same arena; people insist on seeing things along wrongheaded "black/white/Asian" lines only because that is the artificial division fostered by 300+ years of Western racist thinking.

*Apologies to all Dinka, Danes, Greeks and Xhosa for my purely hypothetical statement ...


[That's it - no more of your stupid troll comments. A.L.]


Slate's national correspondent endorses Watson't POV, and links to J Malloy's article.

(any truth to the rumor about him being part black? that would explain a lot.)

Looks like this is on the way to becoming the mainstream POV among educated white Americans.

Sure, the science is bad, but when has that ever mattered to the popular mind?

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