A crackpot named Trofim Lysenko proposed alternative, superstitious methods to increase the yields in agriculture (basically some reeducation camps for crops – contemporary cultural Marxists would approve Lysenko's methods because they were also all about "nurturing") and he became a darling of an influential local mass killer named Joseph Stalin.
That man therefore banned genetics – the discipline established by Czechia's German Gregor Mendel – and all scientific methods in agriculture.
It was before the DNA was discovered. Just to be sure, Mendel's genetics determined the probabilities that the offspring has one trait or another but it didn't say "why". DNA emerged as the detailed microscopic molecular explanation why those probabilities work as Mendel has experimentally determined.
Americans like to view the story of Lysenkoism as some tale about savages who are surely nothing like Americans. Too bad, when it comes to the freedom to do research and report the results, the atmosphere in the U.S. is already as bad as it was during the Soviet Lysenkoism era if not worse and the Yankees' ideas that the Soviets were worse are just unsubstantiated fantasies driven by the primitive and widespread anti-Russian racism.
In October 2007, I mentioned that one of the two discoverers of the DNA molecule, James Watson, became politically inconvenient for the extremist left-wing movement that was already working hard to conquer the scientific institutions. Watson was fired as the chancellor of his Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. We learned that he was being shunned by all kinds of people claiming to be biologists.
Why? Because he had said that he was inherently gloomy about the prospects of Africa. While he would prefer blacks to be mentally equal, every person who hires blacks and whites knows this not to be so. (The Africa-OECD gap in the GDP per capita surely seems to be growing, not shrinking; the hard data vindicate Watson's predictions, at least so far.)
The most famous biologist of the second part of the 20th century became nearly invisible. All sensible people supported him – including those in Nigeria and Africa in general – but he was surrounded by an environment that didn't contain such sensible people.
His income deteriorated, too. In late 2014, James Watson sold his Nobel Prize medal, citing drained financial resources as a reason. I find this relative poverty absolutely shocking and nothing has improved about it in the subsequent four years – although his generous revenue $4.1 million for the medal makes things somewhat less worrisome. (As a kid, I was mostly manipulated into worshiping the Nobel Prize – which is still a decent award in physics – but today, especially because the same medal was given to tons of cheesy nobodies like Arafat, Obama, and Gore, I would also immediately sell the medal for $4.1 million if I could. Update: Oops, I almost forgot, the wealthiest Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov – telecom and soccer – who bought the Nobel medal returned it back, out of respect, so he effectively gifted Watson $4.1 million.)
An immensely active scientist who happens to be the most famous biologist on Earth in the second half of the 20th century, to say the least, suddenly ran into financial problems. We know some of the stories about the giants of science and technology in the past who drifted towards poverty when they were older. How could that cruel primitive world of the past allow such a fate, I often used to ask? I no longer ask this question. Our world is not better at all.
I think that James Watson's relative poverty shows that all the sponsors of science are basically worthless and useless. Why doesn't a single billionaire who markets himself as a philantropist or a supporter of science and progress fix this self-evident anomaly and injustice? What is Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Yuri Milner, Peter Thiel, and everyone else doing? All of you are a part of the problem, Gentlemen, and you're only paying the money to improve your own image, often the image in the eyes of tons of people who morally suck. You allow this to happen. You don't really improve the allocation of resources relatively to the government funding at all – it's mostly about nepotism and ideological criteria, too.
It's early 2019 and we see another continuation of the witch hunt. PBS has shot "Decoding Watson" (full). It's a mixture of a documentary about a top scientist and a hit piece against him. Incidentally, the program starts optimistically, with lots of smile and friendliness at his 90th birthday celebration in his lab. But I would still find the PBS creators to be some of the relatively good guys here – they at least don't want to make James Watson invisible and super-poor and their work may be at least marginally described as a fair documentary about a giant. As Tom Weidig has told me, the segment about the races "100 scientists against Watson" with all the pathetic PC fog starts about 1:05:00. Nancy Hopkins of MIT – the "lady" who started the witch hunts against Larry Summers in 2005 – couldn't miss the opportunity to show her skills in the new campaign, of course.
At the beginning of the excerpt above, Watson's son Rufus, a schizophrenia sufferer (incidentally, Watson's wife was 20 years younger which could have increased the odds), asks James Watson whether he still considers himself a scientist. "Yes," Watson answers, "I am the most accomplished person living on Earth." People aren't supposed to praise themselves in this way, the group think says, but Watson's appraisal is at least sensible and he's also encouraged to say such things because almost no one else does. Normally, it should be the other biologists who say this sentence but they don't.
OK, in the PBS program, Watson reveals that he hasn't lost the brain in 2007, all the apologies were illegitimate because they were made under threats, he is still a Roosevelt era guy, and he still knows about the genetic differences between the races what he has known for a long time and in 2007. And the quotes seen on PBS have led to a new wave of ideologically motivated terror against Prof James Watson. On January 1st, The New York Times wrote a story with the following title (thanks to Petr N. for these URLs):
Alternative Math. The old-fashioned teacher taught schoolkid Dannie that \(2+2=4\) instead of \(22\) and she ran to growing existential problems because of that. On Saturday, a day or two after she underwent a trial for the heresy, she was invited to the school for the festive ritual of firing. The PC principal welcomed her with a dose of fabricated warmth and emitted this pre-designed monologue:
I'm just so sorry it happened this way. If only you'd been willing to be more open-minded."About math? What about academic integrity?" she interrupted him. But he continued:
You were warned. Given an explanation. And yet you persisted.This sounds just like the New York Times title, right? An actual expert is given an "explanation", either that \(2+2=22\) or all races are biologically the same, and he or she is supposed to embrace that stuff and "salvage" his or her reputation. If he or she "persists", that's the end of the story. Nice!
The Alternative Math film has a quasi-happy end. The principal calculates the final compensation as \(2+2\) thousand dollars for the previous pay period and the ongoing one. The sum seems to be \(4\) thousand but happily enough, she figures that the result is \(22\) thousand. Can James Watson's story have at least this kind of a quasi-happy end? It doesn't look so. On Friday, The New York Times published another story
James Watson is also said to be "stripped of most of the honorary titles". I don't think it's possible to "reverse" them so let me kindly treat this "strip tease" as a laughable inconsequential stunt done by some irrelevant political activists and Wikipedia vandals.
Watson has been in a nursing home since an October 2018 car accident. It should be investigated more carefully whether it wasn't an assassination attempt by the far left.
Numerous partial events show the insufferable situation. For example, the January 1st NYT story says:
Eric Lander, the director of the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard, elicited an outcry last spring with a toast he made to Dr. Watson’s involvement in the early days of the Human Genome Project.A Mr Lander "had to" apologize for a toast to Dr Watson's involvement in the Human Genome Project? Holy cow. It's mostly his project. It's mostly Watson's industry, a multi-billion-dollars-a-year industry. All the others are just tiny inconsequential guinea pigs in comparison. How could someone not toast to Dr Watson there? Everyone who avoids such a toast should be immediately fired from James Watson's lab.
Dr. Lander quickly apologized. “I reject his views as despicable,” Dr. Lander wrote to Broad scientists. “They have no place in science, which must welcome everyone. I was wrong to toast, and I’m sorry.”
The Soviet crusade against genetics may have seemed less "personal". You could say that the terror against Prof James Watson is "just" against himself while his science, the DNA and its implications, is not being terrorized. But that's simply untrue. James Watson is not being terrorized for some random and unrelated political pronouncements that an organized criminal organization of nasty Stalinist hacks who have burglarized numerous labs in the U.S. finds inconvenient.
Instead, James Watson is being terrorized by these criminals for explaining elementary implications of the scientific discipline that he basically pioneered along with Francis Crick and perhaps Maurice Wilkins. It's the very point and purpose of the DNA molecule to remember special traits and biological structures that the groups of organisms have acquired by having diverged from each other after long enough periods of separate evolution. Some pairs of groups of organisms have more different DNA molecules, like dogs and humans, and others have more similar DNA molecules, like blacks and whites. But the qualitative principle is always the same.
To deny that the traits of blacks and whites differ in qualitatively the same sense as those of any two distinct groups of organisms and that these differences have important implications means to deny the complete basics of genetics and the genome sciences – and it's especially crazy for the people who claim to work on the human genome which is all about these subtle differences between humans' DNA molecules. If you find it unethical to even admit the genetic differences between families, nations, and races, you should surely not work on the human genome project!
All the people who participate in the terror against James Watson are not only criminals but also crackpots. We will need to record their names and deal with them accordingly.
I also despise his critics at the human level. This 40-minute video is really why they stripped him of his office and titles in the lab. This 90-year-old chap who barely breathes just sensibly said that nature seems to matter and nurture... not so much. He says he would prefer everything to be due nurture but the evidence doesn't exist for that. (He's a progressive from my viewpoint because I wouldn't say that I would prefer a world where everything is due to nurture. Why?)
At least some one-half of the intelligent people must believe that the differences are overwhelmingly due to nature – that was always the nature-vs-nurture discussions that someone suddenly wants to criminalize. And Watson is the most famous discoverer of a molecule that allows nature to do what he claims to matter. Why would you harass exactly this old guy for – expectedly – preferring the nature side of the nature-vs-nurture discussions? It's just disgusting. The progressives are dirt and the world has to be cleaned.