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Biology lab strips James Watson of all honorary titles for "reprehensible" race comments



James Watson in a photo from 2015.
Photo: Ivan Sekretarev (AP)

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has deprived James Watson, the 90-year-old Nobel laureate, of his release The double helix structure of DNA along with its partner Francis Crick in the 1950's was based on studies by the British chemist Rosalind Franklin. All of his honorary credentials were considered "reprehensible" by the lab, CNN reported this weekend. Watson has long voiced questionable views, including an 1997 interview in which he expressed full support for abortion rights – something that would have been relatively undisputed if he had not explicitly mentioned fetuses that have hypothetical genes that belong to them Homosexuality, dyslexia or lack of music or sports talents as valid reasons for the termination of a pregnancy. But it was his remarks about the breed that caused the most contempt, such as an interview with a British journalist in 2007, in which Watson said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" ​​because (exposed ) Research allegedly has racial gaps in intelligence. according to the New York Times. In this interview, he also said he wished that racial equality was real, but "people who have to deal with black employees do not find that true." His decision to sell his Nobel Prize.

The Laboratory's decision to revoke Watson's honors and titles, however, is the result of American Masters: : Decoding Watson a PBS documentary aired earlier this month. In this interview, Watson said his views had not changed and he had seen "no knowledge" denying his belief in a genetic link between race and intelligence, the Times wrote. He also said that he does not enjoy "the difference between blacks and whites" and that "it is awful, just as it is terrible for schizophrenics".

Watson's views on the breed are not only scientifically unsupported – National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told the Times that he did not know any credible research that could have led Watson to such "profoundly unfortunate" conclusions – he always expresses them when the pseudoscience of the breed is on the upswing. While CNS had already been relieved by Watson, the CSHL now deprived him of all remaining honorary titles:

The 90-year-old's comments were described as "reprehensible" by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on New York, Long Island, where Watson was director from 1968 to 1993.

The laboratory said it was "clearly the unfounded and reckless personal opinions that Dr. James D. Watson expressed," and said the statements were "reprehensible." [and] not supported by science.

According to the Guardian, the revoked titles include "Chancellor emeritus, Oliver R. Grace, professor emeritus, and honorary trustee."

CSHL President Bruce Stillman and Chairman of Marilyn Simons Trust Council In a statement on Friday, he said the views expressed in the PBS documentation represent a withdrawal of Watson's earlier apologies and require "the separation of all remaining traces of his involvement. " ement ":

Dr. Watson has not been involved in the management or administration of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for more than a decade, and has no other roles or responsibilities at CSHL …

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory recognizes and honors Watson's vast scientific heritage. his role as the founding director of the Human Genome Project, and his significant leadership role in developing research and education in the laboratory during his previous tenures as director and president. Nevertheless, the statements made in the documentary are completely incompatible with our mission, our values ​​and our policies, and require the removal of all remaining traces of his involvement.

"I believe the faculty finds broad support The many steps CSHL takes in response to Watson's terrible comments," said CSHL biologist Justin Kinney to STAT. "The CSHL government has been very active in this matter, asking for suggestions from all of us and members of the broader scientific community."

As British geneticist Adam Rutherford argued in 2014, when Watson complained in an interview The Science Community had shunned him, it showed a "harmful character that has nothing to do with its scientific size, but that's a long-standing one and not new. "The main evidence of Watson and Crick in their study, Photo 51, were produced by Franklin and her assistant Ray Gosling at King's College London and backed up without Franklin's knowledge or approval by her supervisor Maurice Wilkins. (Franklin never received a Nobel Prize when she died in 1958, four years before the others received her.)

Rutherford stated that Watson's book nicknamed Franklin in 1945 The Double Helix " Rosy "(" although there was no evidence anyone else has ever done it ") and valued her mental statements about her physical appearance. In 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a report on gender harassment in science, in which Science Mag Watson's condescending writings discussed how Franklin's "warlike moods" affected Wilkins' ability to "sustain" one dominant position, which allowed him to think freely about DNA. "In addition, she had to" walk or take her place. "The magazine also noted that in 1993, Crick Nobel Prize Women in Science said," I'm afraid we've always favored a patronizing attitude you decided. "

[CNN]


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