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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday December 02 2014, @10:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the come-here-I-need-you dept.

Nicholas St. Fleur writes at The Atlantic that in the sad final chapter to a career that traces back to racist remarks he made in 2007, James Watson, the famed molecular biologist and co-discoverer of DNA, is putting his Nobel Prize up for auction, the first Nobel laureate in history to do so. Watson, best known for his work deciphering the DNA double helix alongside Francis Crick in 1953, made an incendiary remark regarding the intelligence of black people that lost him the admiration of the scientific community in 2007 making him, in his own words, an "unperson". That year, The Sunday Times quoted Watson as saying that he felt “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.” Watson added that although some think that all humans are born equally intelligent, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” Watson has a history of making racist and sexist declarations, according to Time. His insensitive off-the-cuff remarks include saying that sunlight and dark skin contribute to “Latin lover” libido, and that fat people lack ambition, which prevents them from being hired. At a science conference in 2012, Watson said of women in science, “I think having all these women around makes it more fun for the men but they’re probably less effective.” To many scientists his gravest offense was not crediting Rosalind Franklin with helping him deduce the structure of DNA.

Watson is selling his prized medallion because he has no income outside of academia, even though for years he had served on many corporate boards. The gold medal is expected to bring in between $2.5 million and $3.5 million when it goes to auction. Watson says that he will use the money to purchase art and make donations to institutions that have supported him, such as the University of Chicago and Watson says the auction will also offer him the chance to “re-enter public life.” “I’ve had a unique life that’s allowed me to do things. I was set back. It was stupid on my part,” says Watson “All you can do is nothing, except hope that people actually know what you are.”

 
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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday December 03 2014, @01:14PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 03 2014, @01:14PM (#122214)

    It's HIGHLY politically incorrect to pretend "The Bell Curve" by Herrnstein and Murray ever existed, much less that it may have been correct in spirit if not detail. I guess I'm getting old because I remember when it was brand new and its had its 20th anniversary of publication this year...

    It is useful outside the race/IQ discussion as all of the attacks against it that I'm aware of fall into various categories of logical fallacies and sophistry. So if you're trying to learn debate "skills" and can ignore the IQ stuff, its extremely educational.

    Its a pretty good book. I got a copy and read it in the 90s. Observations of reality at international relations level since then seem to match the conclusions in the book. For example its no great surprise given the national stats that Scotland and Japan are not in anarchy but Somali just can't form a stable nation-state.

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