Race and Intelligence

Dr. James Watson has started up an old firestorm again. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Dr. Watson, whose work on the structure of DNA won a Nobel Prize back when it meant something, said that he believes Blacks are intellectually inferior. From CNN:

The eminent biologist told the British newspaper 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.”

As you might expect, such a statement met immediate and extreme reaction from many sources, including the British government. I too am surprised that Dr. Watson would make such a statement, especially when Watson seems to base his opinion at least in part on personal experience with selected co-workers. Essentially, while I am no scientist, it appears to my unenlightened eyes that Watson saw certain data and read conclusions into them without considering all the relevant factors. At the very least, this should warn us against trusting too much the opinions of designated ‘experts’. It seems to me obvious, that anyone can make a great fool of himself, and we should keep that in mind when considering the weight of someone’s opinion.

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