Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Nobel-prize winning scientist stripped of honors over ‘reprehensible’ race comments

James Watson James Watson Multimedia · User Galleries · News
Theresa Hayes | 14 January, 2019, 16:09

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), the NY facility where Mr. Watson worked for almost four decades and which also has a school named after him, said it was acting in response to his remarks made in a television documentary aired this month, Xinhua reported on January 13.

CNN has attempted to reach Watson for comment.

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said it was revoking all titles and honors from Watson, 90, who led the lab for many years.

The laboratory branded the latest remarks "reprehensible", "reckless" and "unsupported by science", saying they effectively reversed Dr Watson's written apology and retraction in 2007.

"The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice", its statement added.

At the time, Watson told a magazine that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" as "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - where all the testing says not really", cited by News.sky.com.

Watson, who, along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins in the 1950s, discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their ground-breaking research.

In this month's documentary, he said genes cause a difference on average between black people and white people on IQ tests. He also said he took no joy in "the difference between blacks and whites" and that "it's very bad, just like it's bad for schizophrenics".

The facility said it condemned his views of race and ethnicity, which he recently expressed in the PBS documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson.

While Dr Watson also said he hoped everyone was equal, he added: "People who have to deal with black employees find this is not true".

The lab ejected Watson from his role as chancellor and from administrative duties in 2007 following previous racist remarks - even though he retracted and apologized for the statements. "I would say the difference is, it's genetic".

Michael Wigler, a veteran molecular biologist at the laboratory, said that Watson's views on race were not newsworthy in the first place.

The Cold Spring Habor Laboratory terminated Watson's status as Chancellor in 2007 following similar controversial comments.

During a lecture tour in 2000, he suggested there might be links between a person's weight and their level of ambition and between skin colour and sexual prowess.

The pioneer of DNA studies helped discover the molecule's double-helix structure in 1953.

'My dad's statements might make him out to be a bigot and discriminatory, ' he said, but that's not true.