Watson: There are racial differences in intelligence. Brits: Arggghhh!

In the midst of a long interview covering a wide range of topics, James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, was quoted thus in the Times of London:

He says that he is “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,” and I know that this “hot potato” is going to be difficult to address. His hope is that everyone is equal, but he counters that “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” … 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.”

That’s all he said on the subject. Pretty routine stuff for anyone familiar with the IQ issue. But, according to the Independent, it set off “fury” in the PCdom of Great Britain, where Watson is traveling this week. Several worthies have accused him of “scientific racism,” wondering how the insane (and, as they thought, dead and buried forever) ideas of The Bell Curve could have made a comeback; others have bewailed the harm done to racial relations; others have called for Watson to be prosecuted under the laws against incitement to racial hatred.

The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission, successor to the Commission for Racial Equality, said it was studying Dr Watson’s remarks “in full”…. Anti-racism campaigners called for Dr Watson’s remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. A spokesman for the 1990 Trust, a black human rights group, said: “It is astonishing that a man of such distinction should make comments that seem to perpetuate racism in this way. It amounts to fueling bigotry and we would like it to be looked at for grounds of legal complaint.”

That’s our world. You express an opinion about human nature (which happens to be a true opinion), and within 24 hours official state bodies are examining your statements “in full” while minority organizations call for the police to pay you a visit. At the same time, Muslim clerics remain entirely free to advocate the destruction of Britain and the West.

Liberalism, as I’ve noted previously, is in a prolonged crisis as a result of the West’s having admitted great numbers of Muslims as immigrants, because liberalism cannot accommodate the increasingly acknowledged fact that Islam is irreducibly different from and hostile to the West. Similarly, as suggested by the Brits’ hysterical reaction to Watson’s comments, liberalism is also in a crisis as a result of its dogmatic belief in racial equality of civilizational abilities, because it cannot accommodate the increasingly acknowledged fact of intrinsic racial differences in civilizational abilities.

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Larry G. writes:

“The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission, successor to the Commission for Racial Equality …”

They should just settle on “Congregation for the Defense of the Faith” and be done with it.

A bunch of political hacks telling the discoverer of DNA that he doesn’t know anything about DNA is quite absurd. If Watson sticks to his guns this could be an event that bursts the PC bubble.

A reader writes:

It’s on the Drudge Report this morning. Good. It will get very wide coverage. The news story from England linked to Drudge quotes many people who are anti-Watson and (of course) not a single one who agrees. They managed to find the usual cohort of scientists who say the science does not support Watson, whereas, of course, most of it does.

Ben W. writes:

I noticed that criticisms against James Watson’s assessment of race and intelligence are based on what I call “promissory notes.” The measure of the intelligence of the white race is based on actual, historical achievement (literature, music, science, mathematics, etc). The intelligence of the black race is never based on actual achievement but on potential (what could happen if the black race is “unfettered”).

But most promissory notes from intellectual arguments never become actualized. Darwin’s “promissory note” that macro-evolution will one day be proven through the fossil record has never materialized. Marxism’s promissory note that the dictatorship of the proletariat would eliminate financial inequality and do away with the state never occurred. In fact the promissory note” from the civil rights movement has turned into a “sorry note” as black murders scale ever upward.

The whole of liberalism is based on a set of promissory notes concerning the human race and society—all of which continue to recede like infinite regresses. That is why it takes so much time, resource and money to implement liberal agendas and programs—they are forever out of reach. But consider how inexpensive the Christian ideal of chastity is—don’t screw around and it won’t cost you anything in diseases and unintended consequences.

Promissory notes are expensive and unclaimable because they are unachievable and not historically grounded in reality. The fact that no arguments are to be allowed against Darwinism has its counterpart in this race\intelligence controversy. That is because “promissory notes” are intellectually unprovable and therefore have to be protected by law.

LA replies:

“In fact the promissory note from the civil rights movement has turned into a ‘sorry note’ as black murders scale ever upward.”


“Darwin’s ‘promissory note’ that macro-evolution will one day be proven through the fossil record has never materialized.”

Let’s not forget the promissory note by contemporary Darwinians that macro-evolution will one day be proven at all, by means of any evidence.

Also, we could mention the promissory note from Bush/neocons that Muslims really want democracy, and the promissory note from Daniel Pipes et al. that Islam either will revert to its true historic moderation, or (Pipes’s alternative promisory note) will transform itself into the moderate religion that it has never been.

Ben W. replies:

“Also, we could mention the promissory note from Bush/neocons that Muslims really want democracy…”

Notice how much this promissory note has cost us already and how much more it is going to cost us to keep this illusion going—in material, intellectual and spiritual terms and resources. Billions!

Liberalism is a very expensive proposition—from its handling of immigration to social assimilation to crime. The liberal state can’t help but keep increasing taxes ad infinitum. And to think that God only expected a tenth from Israel in the Old Testament and the New Testament church models its tithe (10 percent) on that standard. How would Washington (or London or Paris) run on just a 10 percent tax on everything?

Howard Sutherland writes:

This is an interesting story. It seems Doctor Watson has had another inconvenient honesty attack. As it happens, we live near the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, belong to a club where Watson is also a member, and occasionally attend lectures and benefits at his lab. So I know him to say hello to, no more. In person he is a genial old man. In his tenure at the lab he has converted it from a struggling institution with a marine biology background to a powerhouse in genetic research.

James Watson is a brilliant geneticist and fully earned his Nobel Prize (unlike a lot of others that get handed out). Traditionalists should be wary of embracing him as an ally, though. Hearing him lecture several times leaves me with the impression that he is a coldly materialist Darwinian, and probably an atheist. He is a very vehement critic of the Catholic Church over its opposition to abortion and stem cell research. He is a self-proclaimed advocate of “preventive eugenics” (see this Harvard Crimson story) and has stated that he would have had his son aborted had genetic testing been available to reveal his son’s propensity to schizophrenia (see this story from The Age ). He is a fervent advocate of embryonic stem cell research. About the only thing he opposes is human cloning, and not because of any moral reservations. “I hope it doesn’t happen because it could create havoc with the DNA fingerprint (of society)” said Watson. “Most people wouldn’t want to walk around the city knowing there are 50 other people who look like them.”

While Watson would be willing to abort his own son, I strongly suspect his social and political liberalism would not allow him to support anything so drastic as reducing or reversing Moslem (indeed any) immigration. When I go to his lab, I can’t help noticing that I’m in a place whose students appear to be about half Oriental, half East Indian and precious few Americans of any kind, and whose groundskeepers appear to be exclusively Hispanics. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a very popular philanthropic cause in its neighborhood. It’s a sign of how confused our times are that many of Doctor Watson’s and the lab’s most generous and enthusiastic supporters are also very prominent in the local Catholic parish.

Nevertheless, none of the above shows that Watson’s impolitic African observations are wrong. On the contrary, all the serious (if somewhat underground) research on the topic seems to confirm what he says. The sooner we start dealing with Africa on the basis of the truth, as opposed to comforting fictions, the better for everybody.

Speaking of Nobel Prizes and Africa, here’s what the lady, a self-described “sentimental liberal,” who was just awarded the literature Nobel had to say in 2003 about Southern Rhodesia’s downward trajectory to today’s Zimbabwe.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 17, 2007 12:16 AM | Send

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