back to article Watson suspended by research lab after race row

James Watson, the Nobel prize-winning scientist who caused an uproar earlier this week with his comments to a Sunday newspaper has been suspended by his research laboratory. The Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory in New York issued a statement saying that it had taken the action "pending further deliberation by the board". Watson …

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  1. Simon
    Flame

    If you don't like the truth then supress it...

    Just like the Catholic church did when Galileo proved that the earth was not at the center of the universe back in 1610.

    Perhaps we should burn this bloke as a witch, a nobel-prize winning witch that is...

    400 years on and what progress have we *really* made?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I pointed this out on multiple sites when it first happened

    I hope those sites print a similar story to the Regs. Most sites quoted his exact words while simultaneously stating that they meant something they obviously didn't. Very wierd. Apologies all around? I doubt it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    I feel insulted that people assumed it was a racist comment!

    Why do small minded people assume the worst and as such that this was a racist comment. Its a ludit level of assuming the worst that actualy causes the general inteligence level to lower.

    It wasn't intended as a racist comment and as such to imply it is is a insult to intellegence as a whole. Yet another drag into the whole creationist level of reasoning. Facts are only racist people would see this as a racist comment and as such the only racists I see are the ones asking the question. As for creationists - just ask them to explain why people are different when we are all supposed to be inbred clones.

    Alas though only way to solve this whole direction of perscuting the intellegent people is for a new church. The Church of Common Sence and Facts.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lol

    Racist people arn't allowed to work.

    This would explain a lot.

  5. Jarrad

    Sensational reporting...

    yet again costs someone a career and credibility.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mainstream Media

    This is why the mainstream media should stay away from science, I can't remember the last time I read a sci/tech article that didn't misrepresent the author, findings or both.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once again...

    ...hopeless science journalism sacrifices a giant in his field on the altar of soundbites and artificial controversy.

  8. oliver Stieber
    Alien

    he may actually have a point

    Maybe black people are less capable 'in general' than white people, who knows, have there ever been any studies done.

    With this hysterical kind of PC brainwashing no one will ever know.

    Next thing they'll be saying woman are good at reading maps and men are in touch with their emotional side.

    BTW. That's not what I believe, but without proof we shouldn't be witch hunting.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    There is one thing he is right about

    There is one thing he is right about - there is no scientific argument regarding this. It is solely political.

    If Mr Watson has scientific data to back his claims up I personally would very much like to see it. Let's see the numbers damn it!

    If Mr Watson does not have scientific data to back his claims up, he should take full responsibility for this (and stealing Rosalind Franklin data along with it if possible).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Very sad...

    ...that the media have to so often sensationalize stories into something there not. Now the whole topic is tainted and nobody can make any sort of comment on it without being labelled.

    I don't expect to see this sh*t on The Register, it should be confined to the likes of the The Daily Mail.

  11. Josh
    Flame

    How pathetic

    Ridiculous that he should be pilloried for an out-of-context quote like that. Journalists need to be a lot more careful when presenting scientific information. The idea that such an important figure in the history of science should be censured because some dimwit writer couldn't bother to get the facts straight is hugely depressing. "Idiocracy" is looking like more and more of an accurate prediction with each passing day.

  12. Piers
    Stop

    Oh dear, oh dear...

    If scientists can't even BEGIN to discuss these subjects in a clearly scientific manner without being canceled, suspended etc. then the very possibility of informed discussion and *development* are doomed. We're getting to the point where 'common sense' really has been legislated out of existence. But don't worry, when the survival of the fittest has been ruled out altogether, we will simply degenerate until Darwin kills us all off. By the look of things sooner rather than later.

  13. Peter
    Coat

    Is this the same guy....

    Who keeps crashing my Windows PC as well?

  14. Cosmo
    Thumb Down

    So what about his REAL racist statement

    “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”. Why are so many people who are harping on about exact quoting missing this blatantly racist statement. He DID say it. The original Times article is here:

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2630748.ece

  15. Maty

    racist?

    Is it some form of racist comment to say that journos who selectively quote in order to create a false impression are either intellectually or ethically challenged?

    It is a scientific fact that male and female brains work differently - and it would be interesting to see what these differences might be (if any) among racial groups. As far as I can see, this was the gist of Watson's point.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Paul Gray

    > Why do small minded people assume the worst and as such that this was a racist comment.

    Er, are you saying these people have smaller minds?

  17. Henry

    Political Correctness\ Media Critical Thinking triumphs again

    Fact: We are all equal.

    Fact: We are all different.

    Fact: We are all equal and all different.

    Want to have a real good laugh? Ask the media to explain this paradox. Among themselves, they wouldn't have a cue. They would have to go and find an "expert" to misquote just to get the story.

  18. Chris G Silver badge

    Darwin rules

    What I think Watson is trying to say in spite of the world's knee jerk PCs attempts to misquote him, is that we are all equal but we arrive at our shared equality in different ways. For example, it is not too unreasonable to figure that Northern European forebears survived through the ice age and therefore in order to do that had to be more inventive to stay alive than say , people who at that time were living in what is now called Southern Italy. The climate there would have been much milder with a longer growing season and probably more plentiful game so the people living there would not have to make as much effort to live and survive thus the genetic requirements would be different. Perhaps the northerners would be better at lighting fires, making clothing from furs and making weapons to hunt with,leading to a mind set ideal for later industrialisation. whereas, the southerners would perhaps have been better at farming and the domestication of food animals leading to modern agriculture. Neither one could be said to be superior in general to the other but would be quite different in both mind set and probably physique since the life styles would require different abilities. So what is the problem? Evolution works on humans too and not all of the world geographically speaking is the same. One of the reasons humans dominate this planet is that we are, as a species, very adaptable, the differences are not something to make political capital out of in order to discriminate against they are something to be proud of as a race.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    to quote 'K'

    1500 years everybody knew the earth was the center of the universe

    500 years everybody knew the earth was flat

    15 minutes ago you knew we were alone in the universe

    imagine what you will know tomorrow...

    Will someone no please not quote mr Watson and give the full transcript so the 'political correctnoess police' can read it , and open their eyes.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    um. y'all should read the comments

    I'm surprised that the Register chose not to run the comments in question.

    Watson is "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"

    Smart people can do poorly on tests. I'm confident that if the test was one on successfully removing dental plaque, everyone here (myself included) would do poorly. None of us are trained in it.

    Oh, and going one better, Watson also said he hoped everyone was equal, but that "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true".

    Whoops. Nonspecific, hence not as scientifically meretricious as the first statement, but so socially retarded that it beggars belief. Neither he nor his publicist are actually saying he was misquoted. He's saying he's misunderstood, poor fellow. But admitting that he understands why he was misunderstood.

  21. Mike Lovell
    Coat

    Fair play

    He makes a very valid scientifically backed up point. God I hate all the usual PC bollocks.

    If we were all made equal, how come I have enormous genitals?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bah

    This 'political correctness' argument really isn a straw man.

    Yes - it may be socially abhorent to paint a specific race in a bad light - but if there is science to back it up then can be excused.

    Unfortunately the claim about 'black employees' fails on every count. It's unscientific - making a vague claim referring to anecdotal evidence - the vague 'people'.

    It's interesting to see the commenters above claiming to stick up for 'scientific principle' - and yet when we have a scientist making unfounded claims as extraordinary as exponents of homeopathy they suddenly leap to his defence.

    In brief I'd apply the same rule of thumb as I would to others making extraordinary claims. Show us the proof - or fuck off.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title

    "We do not yet adequately understand the way in which the different environments in the world have selected over time the genes which determine our capacity to do different things. The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity.

    "It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science."

    'we do not understand' ... 'It may well be'

    This degree of uncertainty wasn't present in his original comments. If they had been, if he had remembered to be a scientist rather than a media-slut he might still be speaking - It was stated as fact. This is not science.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, then go and sue Encyclopedia Britannica..

    For a while I had a very early version (1904 or so), and in the course of looking up Nigeria we came across an entry with a word which is now so derogatory that I can't even write it in full (it starts with nig - you get the picture).

    What was totally staggering was the content of the entry. It quoted some medical expert stating that the subject matter were definitely less intelligent than Caucasiants because (I kid you not) they had less skull capacity. The learned author also explained that this was why in earlier life there as no difference - cranial real estate was at that point equal between the races. Imagine sitting in a dusty attic with your mouth open after reading this. Maybe the Nobel price winner needs to just update his Encyclopedia?

    This was a VERY educational entry, not because of the content but because of the belief attached to such statements. Since I treat any scientific theory with a huge dose of suspicion..

  25. Ashtonian
    Paris Hilton

    Henry, we are not all equal

    How dare you insinuate that those dirty buggers on Kim & Aggies show are equal to me. I far superior to them and very clean!

  26. Chris

    Blindfolds

    The problem is socialist dogma that says there CAN'T BE a difference and liberals who COULDN'T COPE if there was one. These liberal-socialists are blinding us all to the facts, whatever they are. Only when we know the facts can we hope to build a society that is just and works.

    Unfortunately liberal-socialists seem to be over-represented in the media, and a benevolent man that knows how benevolent and right he is will stop at nothing.

    I used to think it would be the lawyers who would be first up against the wall come the revolution, but it looks like it could be a close call!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Watson may or may not be a racist, but....

    The actual quote should have been: "I see little hope for our journalists, especially television reporters, as their collective intelligence is far below that of their audiences"... no wait.... <sigh> Most everyone seems pretty stupid and reactionary these days.

  28. Jason Harvey
    Flame

    context and con text

    taking a people group as a whole and not looking at individuals... Asians are generally smarter than the rest of us plods. Africans are generally better athletes. I still don't know what good white folk are. They seem to know a little about everything and just enough to get themselves in trouble most of the time. Probably why I've seen that most politicians and lawyers are white.

    BTW... I'm white (in case you couldn't tell by my name *grin* profile that!)

    in my not so humble opinion... screw all this PC garbage... be real or piss off

    If you can't figure out what good you are, there's no use in trying to tell others what good they are (or bad for that matter) and from what I've seen... most sensationalists fit in this category (media or public at large or just large public?.. ooo... maybe I shouldn't have cracked that joke about large public... maybe some fat man will be upset by it? heh... maybe it'll get him off his but to do something about it or maybe he already knows about his own genetics enough that he can't do anything about it, diet doesn't help, exercise doesn't help, it's just the way he was made and he won't be offended by it because he's not a sensationalist?... concept!) ok... let the flames commence! and if you can't be real... PISS OFF!

    IGMC

  29. Raul

    Title

    The man's a supremacist, and is now backtracking, typical of his kind. Read the article, can't sandpaper over all those insinuations. Unfortunately a lot of posters here are flaunting their pathetic racism - tell me why do you need to feel superior - behind the cover of science not unlike Hitler. The bad news is no science will ever give you the data and validation you so desperately seek unless its of the Nazi kind.

    Its unfortunate that in 2007 one would have presumed this sort of ideas were decades behind but no, even today black people have to live with this shit floating around.

  30. Ross

    OMG you can't mention skin colour!!1!!!!!1!!

    Why is it we cannot even begin to admit that different races are actually different? Do we honestly believe that the ONLY differences caused by our genes are the way we look?

    Read up about lactose tolerance for example - some people can digest it, others can't. i.e. some peoples genes allow them to do things other people can't. I'm not saying African people are less intelligent than Europeans, but what science says that it couldn't be the case (or that the reverse couldn't be true)?

    An amusing test for Mr Watons theory would be to take a general look at each race and the geographical areas they are predominant in. The European genes are mainly found in Europe, North America and Australia for example. Those areas are highly stable, technologically advanced and have decent life expectancies. Now compare with Africa...

    Was it *pure* luck the white boys got the best deal, or did genes help? Answers on a postcard.

    PS For those ppl that are about to claim "but the Europeans made Africa the way it is today" please tell us why Africa didn't do that to us first. We got a head start - why?

  31. Laz
    Joke

    I just dont geddit!!

    What happens if you are of mixed decent.

    Do i get half the libido of someone of black origin and half the brain power of someone of white/european origin?

    or

    do i just sit here smugly and grin to myself.

  32. J
    Boffin

    Title

    @Chris G

    Nope, that does not work. Life is really hard in the "warm places" too. Read "Guns, Germs and Steel" for and interesting analysis on this myth of "the Northern people had it hard, so they must have developed (and gotten smart) because of that".

    Now, this Watson thing reminds me of the Harvard (ex)president mess, when he got in trouble by suggesting women are less capable in the sciences. Yes, political correctness is annoying. People jump at the throat of whomever merely suggests a theoretical possibility that disagrees with the PC-way, no matter what. And while I agree with Watson that the truth should be a priority, no matter whether the conclusions are not what you'd have liked, I also think you should not step away from the most certain conclusions we've got so far. Specially when you are talking about such polemic issues. The thing is that he says Africans have less intelligence than "us", but he does not say why directly -- so is it because of the way they were raised in misery, or is it genetics? (later he seems to indicate it's genetic) As far as I know, whenever people measure these things and appropriately correct for non-biological factors (to the extent it can be done), the conclusion is that there is no real difference in intelligence among people so far. Now, was this conclusion "forced" by the desire/obligation to be PC? I can't tell, that is not my area of research. It's possible, but I doubt everybody would do the same "forcing" and all that. More study (and less politics) is clearly needed... ;-)

  33. Andy

    Intelligence?

    How do you test for intelligence? What the hell is intelligence anyway? Scientists haven't given us clear answers yet. They certainly can't agree what the IQ test measures. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iq_test#Criticism)

    So it isn't actually possible to have a rational scientific debate on this one yet.

    So maybe he should have not said anything.

    OTOH, this Scientific American article (http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198yam.html) has a go: apparently a 1995 study showed on average a 15 point difference in the IQ's of black and white people; but concluded that it was impossible to say if it meant anything.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Building the aqueducts?

    As a foreigner who was born in the country with 1 African descendent per 5,000,000 of locals I think that I am qualified to be immune to all the PC bull, and that I can make some impartial observation:

    When discussing the African continent in particular, look at the basic facts > the technological advances locals have made, prior to the contact with European enslavers?

    It could be argued, that they had no chance to develop, what with all the enslaving and all, however, when the Europeans have first arrived, what did they find? Societies with books, schools, sciences? Err. No. Long after the Arabs looked at the astronomy and other sciences, long after the Europeans travelled the world and established trade and social links with other continents and long after the Chinese built the great wall of china, what were the inhabitants of the African continent doing? Building the aqueducts? Government? Sciences? Medicine? Buildings....

    You cannot argue with history! No amount of PC bull will cover this up, though, it is continently never mentioned in “race” arguments.

    I would like to see someone try to argue this point, and say that I am racist...

  35. Michael Heydon

    @Building the aqueducts?

    Heard of "The Pyramids"? You know big things? I think there might be something to do with the 7 wonders of the world in there.

  36. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    @Building the aqueducts

    ..argueing with history?

    it wasnt the "european enslavers"rampaging through the countryside.

    No, actually they were buying the slaves at the coast, purchasing them from other black africans, who had done the actual loot-rape and pillage in the interior.

    European enslavers are waaaayyy down the list in africas history of foreign contact. The Egyptians and Arabs were there long before us.

    Getting back towards the actual topic. I think it was one of the Science of the Discworld books, said Africa contained over 90% of humanitys genetic diversity. Of course there are differences. Only stupid people beleive everyone is exactly equal. Even bleeding-heart mindless small-l liberals acknowledge that some groups are less capable than others - although they call it "requiring more assistance"

  37. Duncan Parkes
    Mars

    Europeans are more intelligent because we developed complicated government first? Oh please...

    I think a quote from the late Douglas Adams is relevant here:

    Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much... the wheel, New York, wars, and so on, whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely the dolphins believed themselves to be more intelligent than man for precisely the same reasons.

  38. Robert Belcher

    Different?

    The article states that Watson said:

    'that "our intelligence" is not the same as "theirs".' Well I guess if "different" is a bad thing then I guess that so is "diversity".

    Oh well.

  39. prathlev
    Go

    Ethical "value"

    As mentioned elsewhere on this page, we really need some more scientific facts. I personally think that we all have the same fundamental _value_, regardsless of our skills et cetera. That value (as in "ethics") of some mongoloid (white) kid or the US president is just as high as the value of any other human being.

    At home, I'm the one brewing the coffee. And often the one cooking. Always the one driving. (And that's about it, she does all the rest!) Practice makes perfect or whatever, so I'm the best at brewing coffee. Was I the best when we met? When we were kids? I don't know.

    I you want to test who's smarter, black guy or "vanilla face", you need to adhere to some rules for comparison. Don't compare Dubya and Kofi Annan. Take a representative amount of people from each side, place them in the _same context_ with _equal ressources_ and see where it goes. Retest and test again to be sure.

    Maybe Africa was a more difficult place to live, maybe it wasn't. But you haven't made any serious comparison unless you have taken some africans and placed in e.g. Italy and vice versa and seen who develops where. And it would be perfect if you had a time machine so you could have the same scenario as "back in the day".

    So: We all have the same worth. We don't know Jack Schitt about who's genetically superior to whom. (Maybe we know Jack, but not his relatives.) We DO know that there are some inqeualities in the world. Why don't we try to find out what we can/should do about them, instead of quarrelling about who's superior to whom?

    Observing rule #8.

    /prathlev

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity no one has cited the main books on this topic yet...

    AFAIK no one - not Watson, not The Times science correspondent who wrote a whole page about this today, and certainly no other member of the media - has mentioned the principal books that document the theory that different genetic groups have different average IQs. I cite these below, along with Dr Richard Lynn's home page and Wikipedia entry. Having read these, one should have some idea of what the controversy is about. Otherwise, probably not.

    I am by no means sure Dr Lynn is right, but I am quite sure he (and Professor Watson) deserve a hearing. One obvious question is: if Northern Europeans became extra-intelligent under the stress of surviving the Ice Age, how come Australian aborigines apparently became the world's least intelligent people under the stress of surviving in their own deserts?

    IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen

    http://tinyurl.com/22jask

    Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis by Richard Lynn

    http://tinyurl.com/2nu8b7

    IQ and Global Inequality by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen

    http://tinyurl.com/2wpy4h

    Dr Lynn's Web page: http://www.rlynn.co.uk/

    Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lynn

  41. Chris

    It's not rocket science - it's much more difficult, but it's still science...

    .. and here's a guess at how it works:

    Rainforest doesn't support high densities of people or long distance communication. The sort of social structures that work are small isolated villages that frequently move on or split up when an area gets worked-out. It's the same in the Amazon basin rainforest. Being smart in small dynamic communities like these means being loyal to other villagers and family, and helping to defend your patch.

    Large fertile plains (think India or South China) support stable farming communities. Armies can move far enough to keep large empires in one piece. Being smart in such social structures means understanding the mechanisms of goverment and law and war and supporting them.

    Over 10,000 years it would be surprising if our mental apparatus didn't evolve appropriately: - different kinds of intelligence might arise. Of course we'll never know if we don't take the bloody blindfolds off!

    excercise 101 : Why do Indian and Pakistani communities seem so different?

    excercise 102 : Why are you surprised?

  42. Dom

    Building the pyramids,

    Duh!

  43. joe K

    Unbelievable

    It is unbelievable to see people even starting to debate such a pointless argument. And even more amazing to see that there are some people on this site who seem to agree that Africans are less "intelligent". Humans have been on earth way longer than the last thousand years, and the political happenings in the last millenium don't even start to define us. As a young black man, who this year won a UK award for academic excellence, and is top of his University engineering class, should I say its because I'm black? No it isn't, I just happen to be more intelligent ( in an academic sense ) than the rest of my class, 90 percent of whom are white. The fact that I'm black is simply because of a gene that made my skin darker than a caucasians skin, skin colour is only one of millions of genetic differences we have.

    To Ross, Anonymous coward...: Did white people get the best deal? You think they did? When there are places in the UK where a quarter of GCSE students fail their exams? When in eastern Europe mothers are selling their babies for money, and war is only a few months away? 5000 years ago the Egyptians had the worlds greatest libraries, while White Europe consisted scattered villages ruled by warring chiefs, comprising farmers and the occasional blacksmith. And you ask what Africa did? You fail to realise that the vast majority of what we acknowledge to be modern, arrived in the last 150 years. You also fail to realise that 50 years ago you could not go to University in certain places ( like the great US of A), simply because you were black. And so you list the great number of inventions in the last 60 years by white people and use that as a 'scientific' basis for your arguments.

    The point is, my being black African does not 'generally' make me less intelligent than any of you..... If I were less intelligent on the other hand, it would be for totally different reasons, totally unconnected to the dictation of the few genes that darkened my skin.

    But it really doesn't matter what I say..... If you think Africans are less intelligent that the rest, its not your fault, its the society you live in that trained you to think like that, in the same way the Hitler indoctrinated his band of thugs..... It happens......

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data in THE BELL CURVE

    Lots of professionally gathered IQ data in the semi-popular lit. Read THE BELL CURVE. It's mostly about IQ variations among "white" subgroups.

    Read it and weep, because truly every egalitarian assumption of our emotocentric oh-so-sensitive nanny culture is wrong.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Watson's a Potty-Mouth

    We live a stone's throw from CSL. He's been shooting his mouth off like this for years. His Nobel and fundraising acuity have encouraged people to overlook these types of incredibly assholish comments, which I have heard with my own little ears.

    Oh, and all you folks that have been valiantly defending him against the "PC Police"? He hates you. He's an unapologetic elitist SOB who happens to have a Nobel prize. You don't have one, and you don't have money for CSL, so that puts you in the "Them" class.

    Smart SOB, but SOB nonetheless. Anyone who says crap like that, especially a scientist, yanking "facts" from his nether regions (please show us the data, sir), deserves scorn and retirement.

  46. Alan Donaly
    Alert

    mostly beside the point

    There have been many stories of people with no appreciable brain matter a residue on the insides of their heads caused by fluid buildup the fact is they continued to function some in responsible roles in government. The fact is we don't need all the intellectual capacity we have all races have roughly similar brain sizes and none of them use all of it in this area genetics is useless because you can survive to child baring years with much less brain power than any modern human has so there is no evolutionary advantage to weed anyone out so genetics doesn't apply here. Watson fails to see this as he is a researcher in the field of genetics and the last thing he wants is to be irrelevant which in this particular case he is.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I gave you the references

    Anonymous Coward, you are the one who is descending to crass personal abuse - not Watson.

    "please show us the data, sir"

    Watson's comments were reported as part of an interview on various other topics. He made them in passing, and naturally did not cite academic sources. I have made a start with the comment three before your own, which cites three extensively-documented books based on large amounts of research. I am sure Watson could have quoted those, and perhaps many other sources. But it is not usual to cite supporting references in a newspaper interview. Moreover, if anyone can be trusted to summarize and represent the state of scientific knowledge accurately, it is a Nobel Prize winning scientist like Watson.

    Ironically enough, there is some heavy-duty prejudice here. However it is not on Watson's part, but on yours. Consider. He is one of the most distinguished scientists in the world, and a specialist in genetics. What are your specialist qualifications? He says that African people may be less intelligent *on average* than some other people, taking care to stipulate that he thinks they should be accorded exactly the same human dignity and rights even if that should be so.

    And what do you do? You start from the thoroughly prejudiced opinion that all people are of the same intelligence. (At least I suppose this must be your view). But where is your evidence for this, other than that you somehow feel it must be so? You are the one who would like to prevent objective research from being done to ascertain what are the facts.

  48. FrankR
    Thumb Up

    The research that dare not speak its name

    I remember when it was non-PC to suggest that men and women had different brains - it was obvious that the rest of their bodies differed so Occams razor suggested their brains should too.

    Bit political "thinkers" couldn't stomach this - people were equal so their brains had to be the same across race, sex etc.This was first disproved using pupil dilation reaction on seeing pix of babies - women's brains react differently through hardwiring not conditioning.

    Nowadays this is no big deal, as the differences between individuals is so much greater than between groups.

    However some still maintain that evolution doesnt work and will make vitriolic comments against those working in the field without having done any work themselves. They should examine their motives.

    A.C. - show us the data you have which says that all races' brains are identical despite the rest of their bodies being different. You are the one claiming Darwin was wrong. Show us!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yo Tom

    The book upon which this is based, argues (very well indeed) against the "superior intellect" of Northern Europeans.

    http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/

    I STRONGLY suggest that you read it. I think that it would help to enlighten you and make your social life a bit more colorful.

    Watson's still an asshole with a Nobel. That's empirical and objective.

    I know this, because he has been an asshole five feet away from me, and within direct hearing of dozens of my friends; some of whom work for CSL. He's been infamous for this crap in these parts for ages.

    I wouldn't invite him to my house for dinner. EVER.

    We seem to have this sick fascination for celebrity that certainly seems to contradict the myth of any intelligence beyond that of a retarded sheep. We forgive these diseased and socially awkward people the most outrageous crap. Stuff we would instantly disown our own family for. This is why I have chosen to bless this flame with the Paris Hilton Icon. At least she has the looks.

    Gee, wouldn't it be nice if everything were so easy to compartmentalize? We could all stop thinking and let someone with a Nobel do it for us.

  50. Marko Alat

    A clue shop could clean up in here...

    Quoth Anonymous Ignoramus:

    "Long after the Arabs looked at the astronomy and other sciences, long after the Europeans travelled the world and established trade and social links with other continents and long after the Chinese built the great wall of china, what were the inhabitants of the African continent doing? Building the aqueducts? Government? Sciences? Medicine? Buildings....

    You cannot argue with history! No amount of PC bull will cover this up, though, it is continently never mentioned in “race” arguments.

    I would like to see someone try to argue this point, and say that I am racist..."

    Dunno about racist, but you sure appear to be pretty fucking ignorant... otherwise you'd have enough awareness of what cultures like the Mali Empire, Greater Zimbabwe, the Ethiopian Empire, the Numidians and so on left behind to realise that arguing an absence of imposing African ruins as evidence that the natives never managed to progress beyond the straw hut and the loincloth on their own doesn't quite work...

  51. Brett
    Paris Hilton

    @Tom Welsh

    As an Aussie can I just clear up a couple of points.

    1. The aborininal people lived in a perfect balance with nature and eachother. That takes brains. They didn't need technology because they had adapted nature to suit their needs. Burn offs. Planting crops or fruit trees and the like(though this is denied due to the terra nullius argument).

    1.a. See the comment someone else made about the dolphins.

    2. They would score lower on a iq test now. A huge % of aborininals are born with phetal alchole syndrome and a lot destroy their brain with petrol. It has been suggested that is their current problems arn't fixed before the current elders die their culture is lost and complete assimilation is the only option after that.

    3. I would suggest that europens are better at adaptation. I don't presume to state if this is linked to intelegens or if creativity is more important.

    4. As Australia's population is nearly all made up from immigrants and immigrants have, on average, a high IQ Australia probably has the highest IQ.

    5. As Australia is one of the more diverse countries we will soon be the mongrel race. I for one like this idea as mongrels are normally smarter but also it will reduce the prevalance of genetic disorders.

    So for the sake of science I will breed with Paris and see if where our offspring, being of europen decent, is on the iq bell curve. Its a labours task I will take on for the betterment of humanity!

  52. Pheet
    Flame

    anonymous cowards...

    Interesting to note that the racists are mostly posting anonymously. It's also amusing to see how desperate they are for a "scientific" justification for their mental disorder, clutching at the equivalent of 1903 Encyclopedias such as discredited IQ tests.

    "What, I'm not allowed to call them a bunch of stupid n*ggers? It's political correctness gone maaad!"

    Eff off you w*nkers.

    For anyone actually interested in a scientific analysis of why cultural & technological differences exist, I highly recommend Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

    If Watson was misquoted, the journalist/editor should be sacked. If he's the biggoted fool he appears to be, he should lose his appointment.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are verifiable genetic differences.

    After all, skin color is a genetic trait. So we have visible, verifiable proof that there ARE genetic differences. There are others - African DNA tends towards a certain set of traits, European DNA towards another, Asian towards yet another, and Native American towards another. Why is this?

    Evolution. Environmental pressures were different in every region of the world, meaning different genetic variations would survive. Given enough time and kept from mingling, we would have ultimately evolved into separate species.

    Intelligence is something that is positively ill defined and there is no consensus on what it actually means. However, most of the scientific community is pretty sure it comes from the transposition of two things: Genetic predispositions towards certain behaviors (Which will vary between races because of the aforementioned selection differential) - commonly known as instinct - something that the VAST majority of the "civilized" world has suppressed and no longer "believes" in (but for a really nice example, go raise some kids, shelter them from any and all mention of "sex" for their entire lives, and then be SHOCKED AND AMAZED when they still manage to do it despite never having seen, heard of, or spoken of it), and social shaping.

    Contrary to what the PC crowd wants us to believe, societies are not all equal, and thereby shape their inhabitants in different ways. This is REALLY where the whole thing breaks down from science into politics - but the simple fact of the matter is that conditioning makes it VERY difficult to change a society in even fairly minor ways. See: Revolutions.

    Yes, revolutions are MINOR societal changes. A MAJOR societal change is something like "alright, lets stop all the drug use, all the promiscuous sex, all the teaching 10 year olds how to fire AK47's, all the clan warfare, institute a republic, give women rights, build an infrastructure and an economy. All at once. Oh yeah, and we need to do it to the whole continent at one, otherwise those guys next door will just come over and break shit." THAT'S why there's not much hope in Africa. It's possible, but it's not something that can be done by outside force, as politicos seem to think. That sort of change has to come from the inside, and will take decades - if not CENTURIES. We aren't even there with South America - and that's even got a very heavy influence from the European fork. But then, who's really to say that the AmeriEurAsian fork is any more or less societally "right" than the African fork? Just because we have our human rights which are inalienable from any human, does that give us the right to impose that upon other groups of people who DON'T subscribe?

    It's not genetics that's at fault, but it's certainly a contributing factor. No idea if Watson's a racist. Don't care. He has a point, and it's probably a good thing that people are hearing about it. Shame about his career, though.

  54. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Heart

    Oh dear...

    "but the Europeans made Africa the way it is today"

    Yep, like most of the planet, we screwed it over, suppressed the natives and left the area in a considerably worse state than they were in before.

    Europe (well, the great sea-faring nations of years gone by - France, Spain, Portugal, England and the Netherlands)... managed, through dint of superior technology, wealth and fire power to take over most of the planet. We then proceeded to replace the current rulers of the areas we subjugated, pillaged the wealth and divided the countries up in ways that split the natives (divide and conquer). As a result, we can quite easily claim responsibilty for much of the current mess that is Asia, the Middle East and Africa. So yes, the quote is quite true - "but the Europeans made Africa the way it is today"

    As for genetic differences between people with different colour skins... of course there damn well are - we'd be clones (and would have been wiped out by a disease millions of years ago) if we weren't so different. Of course I'm genetically different from somebody with lighter (is it possible?) or darker skin to me, or those with darker hair or those who can't grow beards or those whose eyes that slant slightly differently to mine. There are bound to be other differences as well, namely athletic prowess, intelligence, height, shape of nose, etc. It's just important to keep the differences in perspective - while height, strength and pigmentation are easy to measure, a more esotorical value such as "intelligence" is almost impossible to measure with any form of accuracy.

    I get lower scores on such "tests" because I don't celebrity watch and therefore know who's who in some pointless TV soap. Likewise I don't read a dictionary every night or practice mental arithmatic over breakfast. Does this make me any less intelligent than somebody who does? Most such tests only test specific areas of knowledge and, frankly, if you're a farmer in the middle of some desert - trigonometry, algebra and soap operas are likely to be the last things on your mind. As a result, the most intelligent man on the planet may actually be a goat prodder in the sahara, but with no opportunities or training who can tell? Watson may have some quaint "Empire" views on life, but some of his points are very valid - the lack of opportunity is a big problem.

    Oh, and using "Nigger" to describe the residents of "Nigeria" really shouldn't really be too much of an issue. However, like many words, their implied meanings, values and usage change over time. Now excuse me when, in the words of "The Flintstones", I'm going to now have a "gay old time"... :p

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiocracy

    Whoever decided that an IQ test written by someone from one society can acurately meausre the intelligence of another member of a different society was a dumbass. If you only knew one word for snow in Innuit, you would most liekly be considere a dumbass by innuit standards. Just the same as the slashdot crowd considers people who have not tech elitists to be ignorant. Just as the rest of the world would consider the slashdot crowd to be geeks. So by assuming that testing persons of a different culture or society by applying the standards and conventions of your society to gauge their abilitiy to perform a certain task, or to measure intelligence, I ask you:

    Who is the dumbass?

    So just as whoever reads this has no use for the knowledge of how to hollow out a Boli shell to make a bowl to cook in, the rastaman has no use for the knowledge of how to properly select the emoticon for a post on a comments section of an IT-news website. But each may consider the other to be ignorant for not knowing. And those in their regular societal group would agree. And thus a group opinion is formed. Which means nothing to anyone. Under pressure the easiet way out of having to form an opinion is to say what someone else said. Which happens too much. I put it to you: Are there 1,2,3,4..50..600 races? Or are there 6 and a bit or maybe 7 billion? That would work out just fine. The people who consider inter-racial relationships to be wrong would die out. No more racists. And shoot people on the spot for not being able to form their own opinion on a subject, but vehemontly defending someone else's. No more dumbasses... but if I continue I will be compared to hitler, and will have irrecovacably lost the argument. If the world of ignorant and ill informed people is supposed to decide the fate of highly intelligent well informed people, then I'l get my coat. I'm outta here.

    F

  56. Alex

    Quick note

    Fans of "The Bell Curve" might want to read Stephen Jay Gould's "Mismeasure of Man" before claiming that there is solid evidence for differences in intelligence along racial lines.

  57. Leonard Masano

    It is a Whiteman's Superiority Hangover

    I am a African, born and leaving in Africa. So I feel I have something to say about this debate.

    Watson did not start this. 'They' actually debated in the UK parliament sometime back,if whether the 'black beings' 'discoverd' in the 'dark' continent were human beings as 'they' were, and if ever they have a soul!! (Meaning; was it a sin to kill them, or better still, have sex with them?).

    And in the US; they actually went to war on abolishing slavery! (By the way Conquering someone and enslaving is not intelligence, it is barbarism, regardless the colour of the one doing it).

    So it will take time to get over it. But the hangover will wear off faster if 'they' stop drinking and be sober for one day.

    Watson should have been aware of the pain his comment would cause if he was sober. But unfortunately, just as many of the debaters here; he is still drunk. And just a drunkards do not like to be told so, he refuses to accept, hence stays as he is.

    Learned people like Philip Emeagwali are still struggling with this problem.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    don't refer to HISTORY as though it was a SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT!!

    Simple.

    Reading all the comments here its obvious that most of you are white. Well, its at least obvious that most of you have already made your mind up in advanced that white people are more intelligent but you're just not allowed to say so. Why are most of you choosing automatically to side with the hypothesis that white people are smarter? How many of you have done research? Or perhaps are most of you working in high tech IT style jobs that have a number of white people working there who think they are oh so intelligent, and not many black people working there?

    What do you think the average person commenting on this article looks like? Where do they work? Is it possible that there is a bias to what you are wanting to assume because of your surroundings?

    With that kind of attitude you might aswell be religious.

    I think its obvious to everyone that there are plenty of genetic differences in factors across the board, including intelligence, and it's such a politically loaded question that it's impossible to answer. And ofcourse because intelligence is defined differently to every single person (who would each like to think that they posses it) then its impossible to treat any one measurement of it with more weight than any other meausrurement.

    perhaps these tests should be confined purely to same colour races first. So for example purely concentrate on differences within an all black group and then limit your conclusions to that before you even talk about broader hypothesis. I think that is the only way for a study like this to proceed without all the minefields.

    As for me, im totally mixed, and looking at my extended family and where their intelligence lies (as I define it), I am certain that the black relatives have plenty of it, and that the stuff in me that I would call intelligence seems to have come more from my black ancestors than my white ones.

    Oh and to the comment above "Building the aqueducts?", where they talk about arabs as if though they are 'white people'. oh man,.. hahaha... you are just toooooo stupid to be allowed your own vote.

    Another thing. Why do people keep referring to HISTORY as though it was some sort of SCIENTIFIC experiment!!!! it wasnt! too many factors. and what do any of them have to do with intelligence today?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lots of irrelevant points being made

    I see a lot of interesting discussion in this thread - which is due, incidentally, to Watson's provocative remarks. Like Socrates and many other wise men since, he has always made a habit of saying and writing challenging things, precsiely in order to encourage people to start thinking instead of just reacting.

    Unfortunately, a very high percentage of the things being said here are irrelevant (though often interesting). AC, for example, told me to read "Guns, Germs, and Steel". I did, shortly after it was published, and I still think it is one of the most impressive books I ever read. But I am not entirely convinced that Diamond's thesis is correct. No matter: even if Diamond were absolutely right, his theory that Europeans became the most successful people, and then conquered other continents, because Europe was the most favourable environment, does not exclude Watson's thesis that European's are (on average) more intelligent than some others. (Remember that the evidence also shows that Eastern Asians are more intelligent, on average, than Europeans!) Both Diamond and Watson could be right.

    Many, many people have written to cite individual Africans who are very clever and successful. So what? Watson was talking about averages, and relatively quite small differences. Individual cases prove nothing at all. Oh, and Brett, I was criticising Lynn's thesis which says that Northerners became intelligent because of their challenging environment, but that aborigines apparently became very unintelligent although they too lived in a very challenging environment. The very few aborigines I have heard or read about all seemed pretty smart to me.

    Others have pointed out the limitations of IQ testing, up to the point of saying that IQ measures nothing meaningful. This seems a bit fanciful, but even if it is true, Watson was talking about IQ only. It is also very possible (even likely) that environment and opportunity can boost IQ scores. Excellent! Then that is what we need to concentrate on providing. Someone who is sick, say with malaria, can be treated and possibly cured. But first you have to admit that he is sick.

    What Watson really needed to apologise for was the cardinal folly of trying to talk in an adult way about scientific ideas with the media, and with a public most of whom are incapable of coherent thought. Politicians and the politically correct especially. (Present company excepted, naturally - Reg readers are obviously all highly enlightened).

  60. Jim

    Selection in the recent past? Sampling bias?

    If IQ score can change as much as 15pts in one generation, shouldn't we be looking at influences in the recent past instead of factors going back thousands of generations such as race? Finding skin tone to be somewhat correlated to intelligence and wealth among Africans in North America shouldn't really be a huge suprise: how hard must have it been for an African American to attract a cacasian mate in a segregated or semi-segregated society not so long ago? The dude/dudette must have been an over-achiever, and his/her mate must also have had enough intelligence and independent thinking to take the courageous step out of the prevailing prejudices that were all around. Then there's the issue of "crossing-over": after a few generations, the skin tone gets so light that the person register their kids as "whites" in the next population survey, for obvius social advantages for the kids in a society that is still occasionally (or some may even argue not so infrequently) plagued prejudice. Just like water evaporation, after the most active molecules jumps out, what happens to the temperature (i.e. average speed of Brownian Motion) of the remaining water sitting in the pan? Based on these two factors alone, do we really believe the observed data is the result of racial heritage or simply social/mating selection in the recent past? Thousands of years ago in Africa, black skin tone had mating advantage; only the blackest of them all could make it as chiefs. Was that positive proof that black skin meant greater organizational skills?

    Speaking as an Asian myself, I don't believe for a moment that the average IQ of asians the world over is at the top of the heap, so to speak. Someone ought to do some research in the interior of asia, not just the coastal regions that are in contact with the outside world, or worse yet, the Asian population in the West, whose parents or grandparents had the skills and determination to make it through the arduous immigration process imposed by the West in the last 100 years. It's that water evaporation analogy again. The evaporated molecules obviously have higher average velocity. I'd hazard to guess that something similar, or even more extreme, happened to the Ashkenazi Jewish population in the West. Surviving pogroms and Holocaust at 1-to-10 odds probably required some serious brain power. It's all part and parcel of recent demographic history (in human genetic terms), not racial characteristic established thousands of years ago per se.

    BTW, one can not talk about the "average" without talking about co-variance (i.e. how wide the bell curve is). It's like comparing the "average" price of chicken or beef to the "average" price of fruits. Which part of chicken? Which cut of beef? and which fruit? What time of the year? and in which country/market?

  61. Steve

    @ Idiocracy

    There is nothing inherently wrong with someone from one culture testing the intelligence of someone from another when the test is designed (supposedly) to be culture/knowledge independent. Whether or not current IQ tests meet that standard is a whole different argument.

    You seem to be conflating intelligence with knowledge. It is perfectly possible for someone to be considered ignorant and intelligent at the same time.

  62. passerby
    Alien

    Northern Europeans

    Northern Europeans didn't weather out the ice age, they lounged around the Med and only moved North as the ice retreated. Which lets face it, is typical N. European behaviour, when the going gets tough, bugger of to Ibiza. And even after moving north, it took another wave of Iberian migrants to suggest that maybe farming is a good idea, means we can get smashed all year round.

    DNA research effectivly paints Brits as being half Iberian, half Danish/German/whatever anyways.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah.

    1) Arabs are caucasian.

    2) Differences between groups are insignificant compared to the differences between individuals.

    3) Even if there are minute differences between races, how does that in anyway improve our ability to effect action? Does it tell us anything useful? Anything that's going to improve the situation? There's a reason this sort of research fails to get any funding - it's a fucking waste of time.

  64. Colin Jackson

    Okay

    Watson has two valid points here. The first is that the nature of natural selection implies that, given enough time, there is no good reason to believe that individual pockets of the same species will have similar capabilities to other pockets. That's how speciation occurs. If group A of a species have less practical use for intelligence, if it provides less survival benefit, then over time it WILL tend to disappear. Whether or not this has occurred is another matter, but it is a valid hypothesis.

    His second point is just as valid - wishing doesn't make it so. He's trying to puncture the social relativists' bubble here. Just because it's politically unacceptable to posit such a hypothesis, doesn't mean it ain't right. But if resistance to the idea is strong enough, then funding for study isn't made available, and we'll never know. It's willful ignorance.

    So what if it's true? It's not the end of the world. It doesn't mean we can't treat everyone equally - respect, rights, opportunities. Or do I start complaining that my namesake hurdler is a better runner than me? Maybe I should get a gold medal too, just so I'm not discriminated against?

  65. Paul Stregevsky

    If Watson had said, "Blacks are smarter than whites..."

    Does anyone seriously believe he'd be in trouble for saying that?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If every time someone mentions race...

    ... there is a mass hysteria then it is the masses being hysterical who are in fact more racist.

    Imagine if a black man was reported to have said "black men are smarter than white ones" - the story would be at most 50 words in the middle of the paper and receive virtually no attention. Just as it should, it is a ridiculous statement that should not be even discussed, your skin colour and your intelligence have never been scientifically linked... just as Watson says above. But when it is a white man being quoted the ultra-PC gang have become so aggressive they are only becoming racist themselves by appearing to think there actually is some sort of difference that we need to hush hush up in order to not offend anyone. It's like the guilty are trying to cover their guilt by actively screaming the opposite... like a little boy in the playground accusing the quiet kid of kicking the ball through the window!! And the poor "quiet boy" is ending up punished over it.

    The scientific community should be left well alone by the mass media, it is perfectly valid to research whether intelligence is genetic and whether the genes are more prevalent in certain groups and why that is the case... it could actually help any groups who have a lower prevalence by providing them a solution... if helping someone is racist against them then we are in a very bad situation indeed.

  67. Monty Lovering

    Lies, damn lies, and IQ tests...

    Having read through some of the links provided I have the following comments;

    1/ Pending a transcript of the interview with Watson claims on either side are just that, claims. I suspect it is a combination of a/ someone who is undoubtedly smart as mustard but has a documented record of having the social skills of a hyena (he didn't see anything wrong with shafting Franklin and he likely is as socially inept when it comes to predicting the response of 'normal' people to his comments) and b/ a journalist $hitting their pants with delight at getting such a 'usable' quote.

    2/ IQ Test measure what they measure; men are better at spatial skills and non-verbal, and if an IQ test doesn't measure verbal reasoning or "sock location" (god knows what the scientific term is but women are adapted to recall the location of resources (gatherers) whilst men are adapted at throwing things at moving objects (hunters)) and/or give it equal rating then women WILL test lower in an IQ test. Make an IQ test that is 'biased' towards female adaptions and men end up looking stupider than women.

    3/ Average 'African Black' IQ scores tested using a test developed by western Europeans (even if they live in the USA) are not indicative of genetic potential. The ability of an average Mbutu tribes person to take a test like that is considerably lower than someone with Mbutu parents who was raised from birth in Chipping Sodbury and sent to the local Primary and then Grammar school.

    4/ Average scores for 'underclasses' (Aborigines, 'American Blacks' (check the demographics and do some research into the average quality and duration of education of black American kids compared to white ones before you disagree with me) who statistically suffer disadvantage compared to the 'white norm' are not indicative of genetic potential.

    To sum up, if you can stick 100 each of San (Kalahari Bushmen), Mbutu (Congo Pygmies), Aboriginal, First Nation (American 'Indians') and Maori neonates in 'Western European' households, be they located in Europe or the USA, and give them an identical upbringing to the statistical norm for white people and _still_ get a difference in IQ scores, you will have proved something.

    Until then it is all statistical chatter or incomplete analysis of results. The test is taken to be meaningful, when it is only meaningful in very limited contexts.

  68. Peter Mc Aulay

    Ahem... please remember that evolution is *slow*

    There is a rather fundamental difference between a) tiny variations between human populations like the colour of their skin or the ability to produce a certain enzyme and b) something as complex as the evolution of intelligence. It's not impossible - maybe in a million years such differences may become significant, if there is sufficient and constant selective pressure (unlikely in the absense of deliberate selective breeding), but H. Sapiens is a young species. I'm sure the difference between the average intelligence of a random group of white Europeans and that of a random group of black Africans is not larger than the statistical error. IQ tests are notoriously bogus anyway, so how do they test for this? It hasn't been done, and Watson was merely idly speculating (a scientific way to describe "talking out of his arse"). He was probably being naive rather than intentionally racist, though.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's dumber

    How many Africans have been scammed out of millions of dollars by North Americans? Seems to me like there are lot of pots calling the kettles black.

  70. Monty Lovering
    Happy

    I forgot...

    ... also, if IQ was such a great survival mechanism (as is blithly assumed) then more creatures would have it to the extent we do.

    Many creatures with the intelligence of fudge survive in harsh conditions.

    Our intelligence is far more likely to be a result of sexual selection than 'vanilla' natural selection involvoing envionmental factors. So is the size and shape of the human male penis.

    Yup, female proto-humans liked those characteristics in mates that lead to the rise of intelligence as we know it, and also tended to choose males with large fleshy penises (as distinct from the skinny things with bones in them that chimps have (for example).

    Science says size matters, sorry guys... :-P

  71. Ross
    Flame

    I can't decide between L2Read and LMFAO...

    <quote>

    From Joe K

    To Ross, Anonymous coward...: Did white people get the best deal? You think they did? When there are places in the UK where a quarter of GCSE students fail their exams? When in eastern Europe mothers are selling their babies for money, and war is only a few months away?

    </quote>

    I'm going to go with yes. According to UNESCO 86% of children don't even *go* to secondary school in Burkina Faso nevermind get their GCSEs (or local equivalent)

    As for mothers selling their babies, infant mortality runs at 97% in Burkina Faso, compared with 5% in the UK (which is actually quite high for a developed country) I'm sure they would be selling their babies if they lived long enough to be of any use.

    And war? You jest surely? Been on holiday to northern Sudan of late? Eritrea? DRC? No? I hear Liberia's hotting up at the moment, and I'm not talking sunshine (my housemate just came back from there doing aid work as it got too darned dangerous)

    Now I know I picked a particularly troubled country, but saying Africa is on the whole a nicer continent to live on than Europe isn't bourn out by the statistics.

    I'm going to repeat my point as the PC crowd didn't bother reading it and jumped on the "everyone is identical" bandwagon - I'm not saying white folk are more intelligent than their African cousins. I'm saying there *could* be a difference in intelligence between the two as a result of their genetic make up. See? It could be that the Africans are more intelligent, and let's face it, had it been reported that way we wouldn't have idiots saying "oh noes you can't say black people are different!!!1!!one1!"

    Unless everyone has *exactly* the same genes for their central nervous system then there will be differences in how their ickle brains work. Agree?

    I see nobody tried to answer the question about why Africa didn;t rise up and conquer Europe before it happened the other way around. You know, what with us not having oppressed them at that stage so they had no excuse to be lagging behind if they are exactly like us?

    Phew, I'm done now.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Questioning Race

    I am surprise that no one has bought up the point of questioning the meaning of race all together. Genetically speaking there is no such thing as race. In other words, if you look at the DNA sequence from people of different races you would be hard press to come up with the racial groups that we currently use by looking at the DNA alone.

    On the point about the USA fighting a civil war over slavery, that is only partly true and like most wars the issues involved are much more complex. In fact the Union had slaves states on its' side and the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the Southern states, not the Union. The emancipation Proclamation was not made to crush slavery, but rather is put into effect to win more troops over to the Union side and break the South economy and war machine, which was dependent on slave labor.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *Please* read something about the subject before jumping in!

    AC's latest contribution (is this the same AC or not? who knows?):

    "I am surprise that no one has bought up the point of questioning the meaning of race all together. Genetically speaking there is no such thing as race".

    If you would take the trouble to read just the first page of reviews of just one of Lynn's books (which you can find at http://tinyurl.com/2nu8b7) you would see the following passage in Professor J. P. Rushton's review:

    "Lynn's book reviews more than 500 published IQ studies worldwide from the beginning of the twentieth century up to the present, devoting a chapter to each of the ten "genetic clusters", or population groups, as identified by Luigi Cavalli-Sforza and his colleagues in their mammoth 1994 book, The History and Geography of Human Genes.

    "Lynn regards these genetic clusters as "races". He concludes that the East Asians-Chinese, Japanese and Koreans-have the highest mean IQ at 105. Europeans follow with an IQ of 100. Some ways below these are the Inuit or Eskimos (IQ 91), South East Asians (IQ 87), Native American Indians (IQ 87), Pacific Islanders (IQ 85), South Asians and North Africans (IQ 84). Well below these come the sub-Saharan Africans (IQ 67) followed by the Australian Aborigines (IQ 62)".

    It is perfectly clear that Lynn's "races" (call them whatever you prefer) are based on genetic analysis.

  74. Jim

    Why didn't Africa conquer Europe

    Ross, I take it that you meant why sub-sahara Africa did not conquer Europe . . . since folks in North Africa came pretty close to conquering Europe, at least twice: Hannibal (now, try to make an argument that he was not intelligent :-) in 200+BC nearly crushing the Roman Republic, Moorish Caliphate in 800AD occupying Spain and southern France. Both were very close-run things that could have turned history as we know it quite differently.

    Now, assuming you ment sub-sahara Africa . . . well, the most obvious answer was that the Sahara Desert got in the way. The Europeans did not conquer subsahara Africa until the 19th century. Even at the end of 19th century . . . that's merely 100 years ago, out of a human history of at least 5000 years, the Italian army was still defeated by the Ethiopian army.

    Sub-sahara Africans were exploited by slavers long before the Europeans came along. North African Arabs were big on the slave abduction trade . . . in a process not unlike the (southern) Romans used to do to Northern Europeans north of the Danube-Rhine line . . . yes, blond-hair blue-eyed "Germans" used to be targetted for slavery by the relatively dark-skinned Romans. I doubt either of us would suggest that the Germans were less intelligent. The Romans were simply better organized, thanks to mediterrenean free trade, and a superior transportation technology called boats, that transported grain from Egypt and the Black Sea to feed armies on the German frontier. It was easier for Romans to get grain from modern day Ukraine than it was for the German tribes to do the same; that's how import mediterrenean boat-based trade was.

    In terms of pre-industrial civlization development, Sub-sahara Africa suffered from a major handicap compared to Europe, middleast and Asia: the latter had steppe horses that were relatively easily tamed (not to mention much smaller in the wild before domestication about 3-5000 years ago), whereas the zebra, wildebeast and African bison are much more ferocious and dangerous animals. Draft animals made farming and communication a lot more efficient than having to pull the plough and carry everything on the men and women's backs/heads. That, in pre-industrial economy, meant higher population density in urban area: higher land productivity and food import from trade allow cities to emerge. Cities and the market place further accelearated economic development. Europe was quite a miserable place in the dark ages, after Rome fell and before the re-emergence of cities in the 10th centry. Now think of a place where there was no horse, very little inland trade, hence hardly any cities at all except for the coastal settlements where boats could move things around. BTW, Africa also had much much less coast line than Europe, despite the continent itself being several times bigger.

    Before trade and city building was a factor in human history, it seems that if the dominant theory of human origin being from East Africa is correct, the ancestors of Blacks were much more successful hunters than ancestors of Whites and Asians . . . hunters of fellow human beings using nothing more than sticks and stones: since it was the ancestors of Blacks who threw out the ancestors of Whites and Asians from Africa. It must have been a tremendously dangerous undertaking to trek out of Africa to escape the pursuit of the "dominant race," the Black chiefs who held onto the home range.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Null hypothesis.

    The null hypothesis would appear to be that despite the obvious physiological and genetic differentiation between geographically separated human populations, no further differentiation occured in the species' "peacock's tail" - the central nervous system.

  76. Claude Wadsworth
    Thumb Up

    Unable to reason

    The truth is a devine attribrute ...the truth will stand when all else falls.

    All one has to do is look at africa, When the white people were in charge africa exported hundreds of tonnes of food stuffs,now that the black people are again in charge, they no longer export hardly any food stuff..mostly imported and paid for by other nations to keep those people from starving to death..what in the hell is wrong with the TRUTH??????one of the richest continants on the face of the earth. and they can't even feed themselves..and every city in the USA where blacks are the majority the cities are so full of crime and corruption the only it survives is with gov. hand outs. Black people cannot govern themselves..

    again I point out Africa as a case in point..

  77. Jim

    self-limiting factors

    AC, are Canadians on average taller than Americans (US)? Would any difference between the two population averages be significant compared to the difference between two random Canadians or two random Americans? Would it be a meaningful statement then to say Canadians are taller than Americans, or vice versa? given such huge overlap between the two bell curves?

    Significant differences in the mental faculties between different species of genus homo would have historically resulted in the elimination of one species by the other, a la neanderthals vs. cromagnons, in a relatively short time span. The mere fact that neither black nor white population was wiped out by the other in the hundreds of thousands years of history and conflict before the advent of modern humanitarianism would suggest that neither population held a huge edge over the other.

    Claude, white Russians, East Asians and Jews all rank very high in the IQ tests. Yet, the Soviet Union, communist east asia, and even Israel of the mid-20th century all had to live off massive foreign aid and food import. Perhaps socialism and propensity for the government to meddle in people's personal affairs had something to do with the economic failures? Government-sponsored Eugenics, as advocated by Watson and his friends, are among the most intrusive big government policies that one can possibly imagine.

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