Friday, October 19, 2007

What Watson Said   posted by DavidB @ 10/19/2007 04:46:00 AM

A great deal of confused and unreliable reporting is flying around concerning James Watson's comments on race and intelligence.

In the interests of public information, here is an article from today's London Independent which is signed by Watson and therefore, unless he disavows it, may be taken as accurately reflecting his current views.

Added: And here is the article in the Sunday Times that started all the fuss. Since the relevant passage consists of short quotations taken from a long and informal conversation (some of it apparently conducted in a coffee shop or while driving a car), there is no guarantee that it is either accurate or fair in context, though there is nothing to suggest that the interviewer (a former student of Watson) had any hostile intent.

Added on Sunday 21 October: The author of the Sunday Times article, the improbably named Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe, has a follow-up here in today's issue. An interesting extract:

After a long day of conversation the topic of racial inequality was broached. It seemed an important extension to words he had written in his book. I would never have written something that I thought he would not be prepared to defend. I am not trying to destroy a brilliant scientist and I am genuinely horrified by the response. We need to squeeze every last drop of brilliance from this man if we are to continue hoping to unravel the genetic causes of disease. He strives to help young people in their careers. My biggest concern is that, by helping me, he has damaged himself. I could not hope more, that I am wrong.