Nobel Laureate Loses Plot, Banished From Science Museum

By Londonist Last edited 127 months ago
Nobel Laureate Loses Plot, Banished From Science Museum

It turns out that being a genius doesn't mean you're a nice person. That's a lesson that the Science Museum reinforced today as they cancelled a talk by scientist Dr James Watson, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for his work in discovering the structure of DNA.

Watson was scheudled to give a talk at the museum on Friday, but this was nixed after his controversial remarks in an interview with the Sunday Times. The 79 year old geneticist claimed that black people were less intelligent that white people, and suggested that people working with black employees were aware of this fact.

Watson's courted controversy in the past, once claiming that women should have the right to abort a fetus if genetic testing determined that the baby would be homosexual.

There's no denying that Watson is a genius, but there's also no denying that he's deeply prejudiced. It's debatable whether or not this affects his scientific ideas, but we applaud the Science Museum's decision. Scientific lectures shouldn't be a platform to spread prejudice.

Incidentally, the Dana Centre, the bit of the science museum that organises science talks, has very admirably been holding special events in October celebrating Black History Month. They had one just a couple of nights ago called Scientific Racism: A History. How obliging of Watson to provide a contemporary example.

If you're set on seeing Watson in person, he is due to speak in Bristol at the Festival of Ideas on 24 October. We expect the Q&A portion of his talk will be quite illuminating.

Last Updated 18 October 2007


Well, it looks as if the Enlightenment is finally over. People who speak out must now expect that their remarks will be judged not by evidence but according to their social acceptability. Those who dare to hold wacky beliefs can anticipate being silenced instead of their thoughts being rationally considered. David Irving learned the hard way that you can go to prison if you make statements held to be untrue. Now James Watson must realize that what he says about ethnic groups must conform to political correctness. Instead of demolishing error by facts, we shall muzzle those who dare to challenge the things we desire to believe or that our masters and controllers want us to believe. Somewhere Josef Goebbels is looking on and smiling; he understands.


He was talking about the country of Africa since their education system is in the outhouse.

Outside of that, yes the majority of African Americans are less educated. Why? Because their youth has messed up priorities.

How deep do you want to go with this, because all you have to do is look at the facts. Look at how many black men get black women pregnant and leave them. You want to know why divorce rates are so low for African Americans, it is because they rarely get married.

The African Americans that do get married are typically well educated, and the African Americans that are educated normally surpass every race other than Asians and Indians in intellect.

Still the average success/intellect by population in the US, African Americans rank near the bottom, with Mexicans right below them, most of which dragging that down are illegal immigrants. (The illegal immigrants are just trying to make a living to support their families though.) African Americans have a messed up culture, and there are a few groups out there really trying to fix this problem.

While you have idiots like Al Sharpton trying to support African Americans that claim racism every time anything happens, especially when they know they are in the wrong. The African American Culture is going down the drain like crazy 90% of it is because of BAD PARENTING!!! Something white people are catching up with them at.

Bad parenting is spreading like wild fire, and no one seems to get the concept of, if you can’t handle having kids, why are you having them in the first place.

Watson is in the right here buddy. Africans need to keep check on their young, as well as every other race out there. The youth in the world today are making poorer and poorer choices on an exponential rate. By the time they are elderly the whole world will be in the outhouse at the current rate.


If you really want to see how African Americans society is in the outhouse, just look at the people they look up to. Rapper TI, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Soulja Boy... come on! All of these morons are the opposite of what the black community wants to, and should want to be. If your youth is looking up to these people, then there is something wrong. You can’t cry racism when the most racist people in a country like the US are the people crying it the most, African Americans.

I swear to God, with how disrespectful the African American youth is... I don't know why their parents didn't slap their rears with a belt, but I sure as heck did when I was little. It kept me in line very well. Something the entire youth of America needs really. A school system giving 11 year olds birth control, come on!

What the heck is wrong with people today. I don’t know who's 11 year old is having sex, but this stuff needs to stop. Where I live it is illegal for anyone under 14 to have sex flat out. If their parents know about it, they could be sent to jail.

I think Watson is right, African societies are in the worst state right now, but every other culture is closing in. Even Asians, the best parents in the world, are losing their touch. You can not tell me Asians are not the best parents too. With how well their kids do in school and work... how nice their youth typically is.... they are the role model every culture and society really need to be looking to.

Though Watson is currently in the wrong about the Homosexuality gene thing, one day it may be a problem the human race will have to look at, especially if our culture stays the same as it is today. Where at least 40% of homosexuals stay in the closet, and have to hide their wants and pleasures from everyone. It is really a shame and wrong for people to feel that way. Our culture really needs to change worldwide.

Seriously, we are in wars when we all want the same thing. We want the same thing so much that if any of us were born neighbors we would be best friends. Our governments are using BS media antics to plot us against each other. Everyone needs to quit with these wars, forget who is part of what religion, and live their lives.

Religion is the most destructive force in the world. Getting people plotted against each other because of stupid differences in belief. I don’t care what you believe, I don’t care if you love a man or a woman no matter which you are, I don’t care if you are fat, I don’t care if you are black, white, yellow, green, purple... , I don’t care if you are poor or rich, famous or unknown, stupid or smart, successful or a failure, or anything. You are a fellow human, I will love you as a fellow member of mankind just the same.

When I started into psychology around the age of 14 I realized how screwed up the world was. Sectioning each other off in so many ways. No one opened their eyes to realize that we are all the same. I came to realize I care about every single human being on the face of the Earth. I don’t want anyone to suffer from depression, want to die because their life not going so well, or go through the pain of losing a loved one.

We need to group together, because one day we will be forced to group together as human being on Earth facing problems far greater than many if not all of you can imagine. If we fail to work together, the human race will fail to live. All of man kind WILL die. Heck, it may already be too late even.

We need to drop the bull flop nonsense of war, differences in religion, race... everything. We need to start acting as one. We are all human, we are all on this planet, we are all stuck here together, and we need to start living as such. We need to put away the petty differences, and start taking care of the real issues.

We need to take care of these illnesses that are all over the world that we have cures for. (People dying in Africa because of a cut on their arm is inexcusable.)

We need to expand on our scientific abilities. We could have people living on Mar within 10 years with no problem. (The surface may not be habitable, but we can still get structures build there to have people living there to get working on making it habitable.)

We need to learn more about medicine. (There are illnesses like Aids that we could have a cure for by now if it wasn't for our pointless wars.)

We need to have solar power on every building in the world. (Scientist have proven that the current electrical systems will fail if we don’t do this. We all need to do our part, and be independent of the power grid. Besides that, we won’t be wasting resources that could be put to better uses.)

We need to advance our ability to growing crops. (Hunger may not be a problem for a long time, but it is something that one day will be a problem. Researchers are making it so corn will grow more ears on a stalk, trees grow more apples on a branch, chickens to lay more eggs even. It doesn’t stop are crops, it is food needs in general. We can't drink and eat artificially made food for our whole lives.)

There is much much more too. I don’t know if it is all Africans or not, but African Americans need to keep things in check. I am proud of the people who have started to make changes in their societies. Every society needs to keep things in check though, not only black people. We all need to be there for our youth, willing to help them out with their problems, let them know that we care.

Everyone I know who committed, attempted, or contemplated suicide was because their parents were not taking a parental role in their lives. They were not there to care for them. They never asked how was your day, are you okay, or even ever said I love you. As a parent you HAVE to take an active role in your child's life. You helped make the kid, it is your job to help raise the kid. If you are enough of an adult to have sex, you better be enough of an adult to take care of another human being.

Everyone needs to own up to their own mistakes. We are only human, we all make mistakes. At times, you will pay for the rest of your life for them, but owning up to them, making them a part of you... That is how you come out on top.


Were is the evidence of his comments or are there just his personal experience living in America were these types of enlightenment have originated.Let us supose he is correct about his findings then why aren't Asians incharge of world affairs and domiant over whites since whites are not as intelligent as they are.Why did he and others single out the black man what is it about the blacks that create such fear in these people for if the blacks are so lowly why the debate.Go after you equals and prove your theories.Any white intelligent person knows what happen to the black man and his mind,culture etc.. The europes of the world knows about africa check your history Mr. Waston or is this something deeper sir.

Jake M

Joseph Goebbels is smiling because he agrees with Dr. Watson. Totally different reason.


James Watson & his co-winner of the Nobel that year really owe a bulk of their DNA work to physicist Rosalind Franklin, who assisted them in the labs over several years in the 1950s by making the very first photographic image in history of a DNA strand, via Xray. She super-hydrated very thin & small biological samples to make them bigger & more flexible, then Xrayed them from different angles and via different fluids, lighting and temperatures. Her hard work resulted in the famous Photograph 51, a grainy black & white Xray of a DNA helix.
For all her efforts, she died of cancer in her 40s thanks to years of exposure to strong Xrays, plus the 2 male scientists she worked for/with claimed the findings for their own and denied she did anything special (esp. as she was only a woman). Since she had died, she was not eligible for the Nobel in 1962.
Years later, one of those 2 physicists publicly admitted that Rosalind was "shafted" and deserved much of the glory & recognition & fame for early DNA work. I'm not sure if James Watson was the one who 'fessed up, or the other guy.
In any case, physics & molecular biology back then was a pretty sexist place to work. Watson is racist now, and was sexist then.


#1, Why bother dignifying his views with a debate when we already have decades of solid biological and social science that disproves what Watson is saying? (For instance, many of the problems Africans and African Americans are saddled with are due to patriarchal policies that assumed they were inferior.) Just because he stole work form a colleague in the 1950s that allowed him to make a breakthrough in research, we should elevate whatever nonsense came out of his mouth to the level of hard research data?

He's not talking about research data here- just his own personal views. The man has been notorious for decades in world of biologists because he is unapologetically racist and sexist. When asked about Rosalind Franklin, all he has to say about her was that she was "terminally unsexy" (actually, he had far worse things to say about her in the last book, but along the same nonsensical sexist lines). There are a lot of people who refuse to work with him because of the open contempt he has for women and minorities. There are many horror stories about him over the years from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. Even in the last few years, he told a female Indian post-doctorate to "give up now" because "women and Asians are no good at science."

What he's saying now about blacks are long held beliefs, NOT conclusions based on data he's found through the study of genetics or bioinformatics. He has not been given funding to do any research to determine which races are more intelligent than others- he's simply speaking from observation, which is where the scientific process STARTS, not where it ends. Do you really think that a bioinformatic hunt to find out what populations could inherently be smarter than others is a good use of resources? Or likely? Perhaps during the Third Reich!

People give Watson FAR too much credit. Unless you're looking over his textbook "The Molecular Biology of the Gene," or reading one of his published articles in a peer-reviewed scientific journal BASED ON ACTUAL RESEARCH DATA, he really shouldn't be paid any mind.