DNA Pioneer & Noble Laureate, James Watson lost several honorary titles last week over his repeated racist comments over links of intelligence with Race & Genetics.
James Watson who shares a noble prize with Maurice Wilkins and Francis Crick for their groundbreaking discovery of the DNA’s double helix structure recently made a statement in a TV show that genes cause a difference between blacks and whites on IQ tests. Watson made such similar claims earlier in 2007, for which he had later apologized. Based on this incident he later in the year 2014, ended up auctioning his noble prize gold medal for $4.8m by stating that he had been ostracised by the scientific community after remarks he made about race. As per BBC reports this was first of a kind incident wherein a Nobel Prize Gold Medal was put on sale by a living recipient.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory located in New York where Watson holds numerous leadership roles “unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions by Watson”. The organization released a statement and stated that “Watson’s statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL, its trustees, faculty, staff, or students”.
Statement by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory addressing remarks by Dr. James D. Watson in “American Masters: Decoding Watson”https://t.co/irMnebcI3K
— ColdSpringHarborLab (@CSHL) January 11, 2019
Watson was totally shunned by the scientist community upon his comments he shared with the Sunday Times while he was working at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory back in the year 2007. He said that he was “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”. While his hope was that everybody was equal, he added, “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true”.
Post this statement Watson lost chancellor post at the laboratory and was removed from all his administrative duties. He retained titles of chancellor emeritus, Oliver R Grace professor emeritus and honorary trustee after presenting an apology letter to the committee.
Pressing on the recent statements Cold Spring Harbor said it is now withdrawing all titles from him as his views had not changed in the documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson, aired on US public broadcaster PBS earlier this month.
James Watson has not yet responded to these counterblasts and is reportedly in a nursing home recovering from a car accident in October. As per Watson’s Son – Rufus statement to Associated Press, Watson currently has a “very minimal” awareness of his surroundings.