Thursday, October 25, 2007

James Watson resigns & support from Nigeria

James Watson (click and see the previous story and a video of his talk at Google Inc.) has resigned as the boss (and member of the board) of his laboratories after a bloody attack by the politically correct. He wrote:
  • Closer now to 80 than 79, the passing on of my remaining vestiges of leadership is more than overdue. The circumstances in which this transfer is occurring, however, are not those which I could ever have anticipated or desired.

Well, exactly. 79+ years is a good enough age to retire but the circumstances are rather unimaginable and certainly unpleasant. It's bad but some people feel super.

Watson also recalls the humane lessons he got from his parents and some fascinating progress in the decoding of the human genome and the cure for cancer that he helped to shape.

See also: race gene
Meanwhile, Idang Alibi of Nigeria has written an extremely sophisticated essay in perfect English, supporting Watson's views. How many people such as Idang Alibi there are in Africa? One hundred? One thousand? People who not only want to make Africa better but who can also realistically analyze the history and realize the present reality?


  1. Which idiot among you expects anyone to believe that a Nigerian wrote that? Comedy Central, your blog is..

  2. Dear W, if you were able to make a Google search, you could perhaps know that Idang Alibi is a pretty well-known, real person with pretty stable opinions, and you wouldn't have to humiliate your letter in this aggressive way of yours.

    With all my respect, all the people who can't see that Idang Alibi has more than one point, regardless of their skin color, are intellectually inferior.

  3. Considering the horrifying legacy of racialist "scientific" thought in the 20th century, from forced sterilizations in the USA, to mass murder by the millions in Europe, and for that reason alone, it would certainly serve civilization if the best minds we have would avoid such ad hominem comments. Any conclusions about racially based capacities should be based on really rigorous, honest, scientific inquiry that could bear the heat of strenous peer review. Even then, I'm not sure how useful such work would be, considering the enormous range of intelligences of individuals within all races, and also the difficulty of identifying and quantifying what intelligence is. For instance, my dog is much better at noticing changes in a familiar room than I am. He immediately investigates any new object - or odor, which I miss completely. Is this a form of intelligence? I think it is, and dogs beat the hell out of humans in this one area, at least. And that's my own ad hominem comment about human/dog intelligence, and I'm not gonna resign from nothin'...

  4. BTW, that commentary by Nigerian Idang Alibi, certainly reads to me as genuine. But, he's not agreeing with Watson. He's making a heartfelt cry to his landsmen (a little Yiddish there) to change their culture. My own theory is that it takes a minimum of several centuries for peoples with a stone-age culture to recover from contact with other cultures that are centuries advanced -if they ever do recover. Many of them go extinct. How long did it take tribal Europe, which technologically speaking weren't even all that far behind the Romans, to recover from contact with Rome? Roman civilization and social organization was far in advance of the tribal Germans and other Western Europeans. For several hundred years, both before and after the Roman collapse, Western Europe remained sunk in barbarism. And the gulf between Roman and German was less pronounced than that between Africa or American and European. Native Americans are still trying to recover a sense of themselves as a people while still suffering from their long colonial nightmare. This is an aspect of humanity that has been very difficult for western scientists to confront - perhaps because we are all implicated in grave crimes, even if unintended ones. Darwin noted the tendency of native tribes to not only die off from disease and abuse, but to decline in fertility, and to disappear after contact with western peoples. We have grossly underestimated the long-lasting trauma of cultural collisions. Somehow, that trauma is transmitted through many, many generations. Add to that the lingering suppressiveness of other races towards these, the most traumatically colonized races (blacks, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders). Blacks, as a group, whether in Africa, or in diaspora, continue to suffer the effects of this collision of cultures. Anyway, that's an alternate theory about the apparent disparity in racial intelligence.

  5. As I understand it, Mr. Watson was not really referring to the lower human intelligence of African peoples but rather their lower cultural intelligence. It's a pity that a public figure can't make a well-reasoned observation about other people without being castigated & labeled as racist. Anyone with a modest knowledge of history or sociology or who has traveled widely throughout the world would have come to similar conclusions long ago. Reality is not politically correct, only well meaning humans distort the lens of reality to create that illusion.

    Are we peoples of dominant cultures supposed to dumb-down or increase the grading curve so that those peoples of backward, ignorant cultures can feel good about themselves? Think about that the next time you notice that your airline pilot or emergency room physician is of African heritage. Did they get to their position because of their abilities or because someone in charge was laboring under the illusion that all peoples possess equal abilities? Or was it simply a public relations gesture?

    In the 7 generations since African slavery was largely abolished, how have their cultures progressed? In many ways their cultural mentality is still borderline stone-age. Some of the basic human qualities that largely determine a culture’s dominance are curiosity, exploration & adaptation. If you have traveled widely in sub-Saharan Africa it would become apparent that those most of those qualities are largely missing. Dominant cultures have not made all the important discoveries of history but when they have not they have improved upon the ones they encountered. However, before an idea, creation or discovery can be improved they must be sought out.

    This is not to say that the dominant cultures should mistreat backward or ignorant peoples. Our genius is in seeking, creating or improving on what has already been discovered & we are best able to learn that by
    assimilating peoples of other cultures into our own. Parents learn from their children all the time but they don’t let the children make adult decisions until they are mature enough.

  6. It is a sad state of the world when public sentiments can ruin the job of a Nobel-Prize winner for race-based negative comments, and at the same time, the president of Iran, a known hater of America, gets VIP treatment on US soil.

  7. I am a Nigerian and I know Idang Alibi, but those who see his write up in the Nigerian tabloid as a justification for the rascist lunacy of Watson are merely looking for excuse for their deep-seated rascism. Idang's ignorant piece was informed more by anger at the loss of the presidential candidate his paper supported in the last Nigerian election and (possibly) by the infrastructural situation in Nigeria than his belief in his own inferiority to whites. Let us briefly look at the argument.

    "Blacks are unintelligent because they have been unable to achieve development through self rule" On the face of it, this would appear to be true, but is it? African underdevelopment has complex factors, almost all of which derived from colonialism. A Harvard university study recently showed a strong correlation between multinationalism and underdevelopment. All Black African states are multinational. By this I mean that disparate nations that autonomously existed before the european created artificial states were arbitrarily patched together to form states and then set against one another in the colonialist divide-and-rule strategy, sowing bitter enmity between the nations. Look at Nigeria with its enlightened workforce, the british (brutish?)colonialists' design to instal northern feudalists (who cooperated with them to colonise the people)as permanent rulers of Nigeria -through rigged census, preferential military recruitment and others - continue to create tension, inhibit development and encourage electoral fraud as desperate people shut out of power try all means to get in its corridor. With the Nationalities - you call them ignorantly tribes - at war with one another, policies -written and unwritten - that are made by the ruling nationality to control other nationalities and make them pliable end up having the effect of inhibiting development and patrotism. Why do Nigerian ruling group gleefully award acres of mineral land to Indians and Chinese while denying qualified Nigerians from other nationalities that same privilege? You ask.

    For the rightness of the Harvard theory (which I actually first suggested over over 20 years ago as a university student in Nigeria), look at Asian countries that have or are developing - Korea, Japan, China, India - what they have in common is ethnic homogeneity or one ethnic/national group comprising more than 80% of the total, and is in effective control with strong patriotic fervor. Look at former Czech republic - where is it now and remember its ethnic cleansing a la Rwanda! What of the Soviet Union with the centrifugal pull of its nationalities! Neither the Americans nor socialism destroyed Soviet Union, multinationality did!

    I can't go into (time!)other reasons why Africa is still underdeveloped or Blacks in US are poor - sane and trully intelligent people know the reason is not inferiority - but let it be said that as we slowly come to terms with the realities of multinationality and artificial states in Africa, we will develop and prove those who still wish we had tails wrong.

    Last word on Watson: what happened to the lady who actually did the work on the DNA discovery before the "intelligent guys" appropriated it? Some smartness. Makes me think of judas and his silvers.

  8. I just read Max's comment and it is difficult for me to imagine that this is an educated guy. Obviously, he is completely ignorant of history and basic sociology. All that he said about Africa could be said of Europe, and Asia at different times in recent history. The edge that Europeans gained in the last few centuries was held by different races at different times in history and will be held by another race in the future. I could imagine the Egyptians confronting the barbarism of Europe seeing themseves as innately superior. Such foolishness is on display today. Asia - with all its problems - is slowly blunting that edge. When Africa and blacks in general fully recover from the trauma of the most evil crime ever visited on a people in history, they too will remove that edge, and that time is not far off. But this is not what I actually want to comment on.

    Max suggested that blacks in significant position of authority are never there by reasons of "intelligence", which may also read "competence". This by far is the greatest manifestation of this guy's imbecility and ignorance. I and my wife have worked in the US for a few years now in places like Wall Street and elsewhere, and we have not found that vaunted superior intelligence or ability anywhere - only unbridled rascism, ignorance and fear. My wife has just helped clear the horrendous mess created by the incompetence of largely white managers in a 60-year hold organization. I have interacted with many white American professors, professionals and business people as I have of people from other backgrounds, including blacks, and the facts just don't support the racial theory of these jingoists.

    Blacks do have immense problems and a lot to overcome, but that should not give rise to delusional self importance or superiority complex in minds that really can use some psychatric help.

  9. I have read more than once that Asians have an average IQ a few points higher than westerners. One thing I have not seen anywhere yet in this whole debate is what statistics are available on the average IQ of Africans. Is it possible that there are hard facts available that everyone is tip-toeing around in the name of political correctness?

  10. Through my scholarly research it has come to appear that Africans are only "less" intelligent because they refuse to use the one characteristic that sets us (man) apart from the rest of the animal kingdom; the ability to reason. As an educator I see it everyday

  11. Dear Mike, there is absolutely nothing secret about the IQ of different nations and regions. The average is topped by Hong Kong with 107 and ends with Equatorial Guinea at 59. See the whole table.

    The only reason why someone would not know these things, not even remotely, is that he doesn't want to know them - probably because he or she is scared of them or finds them inconvenient for other things.

    It is to be expected that media are not filled with this kind of sensitive information but every person who wants to know them can easily find the right numbers and also find sufficient evidence that these estimates are robust and pretty accurate.

  12. A lot of irredemable rascists will do anything to convince themselves that they are right. The IQ debate started by some irredentists here is one example. While latching on to the dubious study by Richard Lynn, they failed to refer to criticisms by scholars such as the following:

    "Several negative reviews have been published in the scholarly literature. Susan Barnett and Wendy Williams wrote that "we see an edifice built on layer upon layer of arbitrary assumptions and selective data manipulation. The data on which the entire book is based are of questionably validity and are used in ways that cannot be justified."[4] They also wrote that cross country comparisons are "virtually meaningless." Ken Richardson wrote "This is not so much science, then, as a social crusade. The Pioneer Fund of America, champion of many dubious causes in the past, will obtain little credit from having assisted this one."[5] Thomas Nechyba wrote of "relatively weak statistical evidence and dubious presumptions."[6] Astrid Ervik asked "are people in rich countries smarter than those in poorer countries?" and concluded that "the authors fail to present convincing evidence and appear to jump to conclusions."[7]

    Denny Borsboom (2006) finds that mainstream contemporary test analysis does not reflect substantial recent developments in the field and "bears an uncanny resemblance to the psychometric state of the art as it existed in the 1950s." For example, it notes that IQ and the Wealth of Nations, in order to show that the tests are unbiased, uses outdated methodology, if anything indicative of that test bias exist"

    It is obvious that some people seriously need to feel superior to others in order to feel like anybody at all. Pathetic!

  13. Dear t, I suppose that your contribution is a joke. You propose two counter-arguments to Prof Richard Lynn's detailed scientific studies.

    One of them is from Susan Barnett, a former Miss Pennsylvania who has become a witch since that time, and the other one is from a radio host who spreads gossips about celebrities and who is primarily known for her large breasts (see Wikipedia), Wendy Williams.

    I don't believe that a person with IQ above 80 could be serious that the whining of these very stupid women could be viewed as a supplement or even answer to Richard Lynn's research.