Monday, October 22, 2007

Acting White: Dr. Watson and the PC Police


I’ll say again that I can recognize DNA discoverer James Watson’s contribution as a scientist while disagreeing with things he says. His words of a few days ago regarding black intelligence relative to whites, however incorrect and misguided in part they might be, do not erase the immense benefit that people, including blacks, have received from his achievements.

My greater concern here is that the vehement reaction to his comments, while effectively silencing this old loose cannon, does a greater detriment to the required discussion of genetics, intelligence and the public policy that naturally follows. The closets that geneticist, along with the people who need to understand them, are further driven into just became a little deeper.

From the discussions I have participated in on the subject, Watson’s comments reflect the unspoken beliefs of many in the scientific and professional community – but all I hear is public denial, which is utter BS. It is the rare scientist who can stand up and say these beliefs, for fear of losing their appointment. So how then are we to have a proper debate? How do we identify the point when good science spins off into racism? Instead the discussion happens behind closed doors, often one-sided, only to become whispering at cocktail parties, and ultimately half-baked ‘unspoken’ policy.

Furthermore, I have learned to holster my automatic race card against the mere mention of genetics and IQ disparities. Instead, I attempt to identify what science does and does not really know about the subjects and to gage when discussions have jumped into ‘wishful’ thinking, lacking a proven base. At these deviations, I use knowledge and debate skills versus accusations and threats, in an attempt to return to firm ground. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not.

While I do not agree with Dr. Watson in many areas, I want him and others to be able to say what they think with only the fear of scientific correctness in their eyes. This is miles better that the emotion, real and/or faked, of people who are either fearfully ignorant of the state of the science, or worse, pretending to believe and support one position, while harboring and pursuing something totally the opposite.

James C. Collier

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5 comments:

JonA said...

It's really interesting to look not only at the "political incorrectness" of Watson's statement, but at some of the science behind it. Three very well-thought out scholarly books on the subject can be found at Washington Summit Publishers. I own all three.

DJ Black Adam said...

"While I do not agree with Dr. Watson in many areas, I want him and others to be able to say what they think with only the fear of scientific correctness staring at them."

Dr. Watson, seems to have no fear of “political correctness” and he obviously didn't seem to fear "scientific" correctness either, since his position is not supported by science. It's funny; I just had a discussion regarding the "theory" of evolution with a fellow that quoted the good doctor. I for one find it a bit disingenuous when folks talk about how much we owe "science" when anyone criticizes or even questions some of the hypothesis that are predicated on the "theory" of evolution. I think it is disingenuous when this theory is presented as fact, kind of duplicitous at best. Sure, mosquitoes changing generation to generation is an observation of generational organism change, which is a FACT. Now people want to call organisms changing generation to generation “Evolution” and narrowly define the "theory" of Evolution by this, then Evolution is a "fact".

However, that is a bit misleading, because what is actually the “fact” that Neo Darwinism is explaining in that is “generational organism change” which may be a “part” of the broader definition of “evolution”, but is not the part that is what is generally pushed and defined in the social political discussion regarding “Evolutionary Theory” and how it relates to the origins of the Human Species.

Which is this, science posits that between 8 and 4 mya, gorillas, then chimpanzee divided from the line leading to the humans; partially based on the “FACT” that human DNA is 98.4 percent identical to the DNA of chimpanzees. Now, believe it or not I think that is a good guess, an educated guess even, BUT, it is not provable as of yet, and is not a “Truth” which is what many folks debating this "theory" and the "laws" supporting said theory are searching for. The "THEORY" in evolution claiming that ONE species (The common ancestor to apes like chimps and humans), became the different species of Apes we have today. Cannot be proven, I don't see why people doubting this hypothesis are ridiculed amongst the so-called academia.

So we can play semantics all day, but at the end of the day, the problem is even if you it was proven that ONE Primate species became many other Primate species, it wouldn’t prove your position on the non existence of God or the non-uniqueness of humanity.

As far a science goes, folks believe a theory to be fact and use it as a postulate to formulate other ideas, doesn’t mean that it will endure, like I said with the flawed scientific facts of “race” which were later proved wrong, just because majority believes something, doesn’t mean it will endure or is unchallengeable.

Anyway, as far as Dr. Watson goes, he is saying a social reality that many in the "Scientific" community believe, but just don't talk about at parties. Which only goes to prove, even with their vaunted "scientific" knowledge, many still have archaic ideas about the SCIENCE Fiction of Race.

DJ Black Adam said...

Sorry James, I wrote:

“So we can play semantics all day, but at the end of the day, the problem is even if you it was proven that ONE Primate species became many other Primate species, it wouldn’t prove your position on the non existence of God or the non-uniqueness of humanity.”

Pardon the word “your” it should be “a”, typo ;-)

Rep. Kilpatrick said...

As conscious and concerned Americans, we can not allow history to record the 21st century as an era that allowed racist and disparaging ideologies to shackle our doctrine of tolerance and acceptance. Therefore, it is a dismal day when a celebrated scholar, researcher, and biologist utters discriminatory comments. Today, Dr. James Watson has disgraced the honor of Nobel laureate.”

Dennis Mangan said...

"Therefore, it is a dismal day when a celebrated scholar, researcher, and biologist utters discriminatory comments. "

Unfortunately, reality doesn't care whether it's "discriminatory" or not; reality just "is". Science is the study of reality, or nature, and to declare that science can't be "discriminatory" is to silence it like the Church did to Galileo.