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

Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson stripped of honorary titles after 'reprehensible' race comments

Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson stripped of honorary titles after 'reprehensible' race comments

The laboratory, calling the latest remarks "reprehensible" and "unsupported by science", said they effectively reversed Watson's 2007 written apology and retraction.

"All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really", he told the Times newspaper at the time.

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

Dr. Watson won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine alongside Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins for their discovery, in 1953, that DNA was a double helix and "its significance for information transfer".

However, in the new PBS documentary titled American Masters: Decoding Watson, when asked about his views on race in the decade since his departure from the lab, Dr Watson said he stood by his former remarks, citing the difference in IQ tests results to suggest black inferiority.

He also said that while he wished the races were equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

The Times reported that Watson's family said he was unable to respond, having been in medical care since a vehicle accident in October.

In 1997 he told the Sunday Telegraph that a woman should be allowed to abort a child for any reason, including for homosexuality if a gene could be found that determined it.

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said it was revoking Watson's honorary titles, which include chancellor emeritus, Oliver R Grace professor emeritus, and honorary trustee.

In the film, Watson references a view that average IQ differences between blacks and whites reflect underlying genetic differences shaped by natural selection.

The scientist, who helped identify the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule, stated in the documentary that he still held on to that view.

In that interview, Watson said that his views had not changed and he had not "seen any knowledge" negating his belief that there is a genetic connection between race and intelligence, the Times wrote.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island immediately lashed the comments by the 90-year-old scientist as "reprehensible" and completely without a scientific basis.

Watson has not yet issued a comment on the development.

As British geneticist Adam Rutherford argued in 2014, when Watson complained in an interview that the scientific community had shunned him, it revealed a "pernicious character entirely unrelated to his scientific greatness, but that is longstanding and not new".

But leading geneticists say that even modern DNA studies are now unable to validate such hypotheses about differences between human populations.

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