DNA Pioneer Ignites Furor Over Race and Intelligence

Watson claims blacks lag in reasoning powers
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2007 12:05 PM CDT
DNA Pioneer Ignites Furor Over Race and Intelligence
Professor James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA structure, at the new Wellcome Collection in London, Wednesday June 20, 2007.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – One of the most decorated modern scientists has ignited an explosion after telling the Independent that white people are smarter than black people—a view also reflected in his new book. James Watson, who helped discover the structure of DNA, claimed Western policies towards Africa should not assume "that their intelligence is the same as ours." Politicians and scientists alike are decrying Watson's propositions.

The 1962 Nobel Prize winner said he understood the desire to believe that all humans have equal capacities for learning, but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." In response, London's Science Museum held a discussion on scientific justifications of racism, and an MP called Watson's comments "baseless, unscientific and extremely offensive." (Read more racism stories.)

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