James Watson cannot say anything about genes and IQ???

Apparently the discoverer of DNA is not allowed to speak scientific truth about any link between genetics and intelligence.  In a statement that is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984: War is Peace, etc., his institute simply declares there is no scientific connection.  Probably because it threatens their funding if they admit there is.  See https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46856779

I have read many papers reporting study results in this field. The formation of intelligence is definitely directed by genetics. Not only does it not appear in animals which don’t have human DNA, but identical twins separated at birth are more closely correlated in IQ than fraternal twins raised together:

  • Same person (tested twice) .95
  • Identical twins—Reared together .86
  • Identical twins—Reared apart .76
  • Fraternal twins—Reared together .55
  • Fraternal twins—Reared apart .35

The above from https://genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/intelligence-and-genetics

If our society suppresses scientific inquiry when it is at odds with politically correct beliefs, are you content to let that stand? Do you think it will not affect our species negatively?  Post a comment and leave your opinion.  Speak freely.  You are safe here.  No one pays any attention to this blog.  I lead a charmed life in that I can say anything at all and no one pays any attention.

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5 thoughts on “James Watson cannot say anything about genes and IQ???

  1. James Watson is a notoriously politically incorrect scientist born in 1928.
    In the past two decades, he has made similar claims about gender, sexual orientation, and even BMI. Perhaps this last comment about race was the straw that broke the camel’s back?

    He also appears to be flippant, as he had previously apologized and withdrew his claim that black people were less intelligent than whites due to genetic differences. Then he recently made this claim again, effectively nullifying his apology. I am all for changing your mind, but perhaps there’s something else in play here?

    His son, Rufus Watson, doesn’t seem to support his views, saying that James Watson has a “rather narrow interpretation of genetic destiny”. Rufus also happens to be a housebound schizophrenic incapable of coping with the outside world. While the connection between genes and intelligence is still unclear, there exist more than 100 chromosomal sites with proven genetic risk for the schizophrenia. In 2009, James Watson said: “I hoped that what Rufus needed was an appropriate challenge on which to focus. But as he passed into adolescence, I feared the origin of his diminished life lay in his genes. It was this realisation that led me to help to bring the human genome project into existence.”

    Perhaps his failure to change his son’s condition through environmental influences made him doubt the effect of environmental influences on phenotypes in general? This would explain his “rather narrow interpretation of genetic destiny.” Whatever the case, this is a deeply personal issue for James Watson.

    References: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/schizophrenias-strongest-known-genetic-risk-deconstructed
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5300883/DNA-father-James-Watsons-holy-grail-request.html

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    • The co-discoverer of DNA is entitled to say anything at all he wants about genetics. Other people are free to critique it. No one should be free to punish him because of what he says, whether he is right or not. Otherwise, science stops and there is no incentive to conduct research into socially volatile questions. Unless you are retired and self-funded, in which case one is de facto considered a crackpot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never said he should be silenced. I believe that anyone is entitled to say anything at all they want about anything. And it’s only punishment if you consider the honorary titles a reward. I don’t.
        My only aim was to try and shed some light into James Watson’s unusual behavior. I believe he is taking it personally and this might be clouding his judgement. Is it politically incorrect? Yes. Is it bad science? Uncertain. Is it reason enough to be “ostracised by the scientific community”? For me, no.
        If nothing else, allowing others to take Watson’s claims into the lab would serve to falsify them faster if he is indeed wrong.

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  2. This is a very simple reply but I’m all for true scientific studies. The same can be said for climate change and Trump’s inability to recognize that scientist do know what they are speaking of – if they are using reliable scientific research. I do not understand why individuals refuse to believe that Climate Change is happening yesterday and if we do not act it will be too late!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t study climate, but I do study cooperation theory, and when a large number of participants and public goods are involved it is absurdly difficult, maybe impossible, to obtain cooperation from all or even most. In this case public goods refers to the common shared environment, i.e. climate.

      Another way to look at it is just evolution. There were climate “catastrophes” several times in the past caused by the existing life forms. One of the most notable was the “oxygen catastrophe” which destroyed most of the then-present life forms. Oxygen had been a poisonous by-product of their anaerobic metabolisms. However it paved the way for higher energy life forms, including ourselves, that made use of the oxygen.

      To suppress climate change might be to prevent the evolution of something much better than humans. Specifically, to have an interstellar civilization, we need about 30 doublings of current per capita energy consumption. All the current proposed approaches to climate change prevention would freeze energy production at or below current levels.

      Yet another possible outcome of a climate catastrophe is that humans might learn to control their population to fit within available environments. 7 billion people do not fit on Earth if a high standard of living is allowed for all of them. A tenth of that number would be quite adequate, perhaps even a hundredth. It would be much less difficult to be unique and fulfilled. And per capita energy production could increase by a factor of nearly 100 without climate change.

      Liked by 2 people

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