David Perks comes to defend James Watson:
James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA and a Nobel laureate, has become a scientific pariah in the space of a week. The cause of his downfall? He made comments on race and intelligence in which he implied that there are significant genetic differences in intelligence between Africans and Caucasians.
No, that is not the cause of his downfall. If all Watson had said was that there are significant genetic differences between Africans and Caucasians (and provided scientific evidence to back it up) there would not have been this outcry. But what Watson actually said is very, very different:
[Watson] said he hoped that everyone was equal, but countered that 'people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.'"
"[I am] 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."
First, even the one scientific claim that Watson makes isn't true. It is simply not true that "all of the testing" says that blacks are not as intelligent as whites. It is arguable in fact whether any of the testing actually shows that blacks are as intelligent as whites. It is not even clear that the term "intelligence" can be adequately defined for such a claim to even make sense, let alone be tested objectively without cultural bias, let alone be true. But then Watson goes even beyond that unwarranted statement to imply that as a result of the alleged inferiority of blacks to whites, Africa is doomed, and anyone who deals with any black employee will find it self-evident that blacks are not as intelligent as whites.
Watson's statements were nothing more than bigoted nonsense, and he abrogated his professional responsibilities as a scientist when he said them. It is entirely appropriate for a science museum to withdraw an invitation to speak under those circumstances.