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Scientist stripped of titles over race remarks

HONORARY TITLES: The Cold Harbour Laboratory has taken action against James Watson following his comments

A NOBEL Prize-winning scientist has been stripped of his honorary titles after he repeatedly made comments linking race and intelligence.

The decision was made after James Watson, the American scientist who contributed to pioneering DNA research, said that black and white people’s genes lead to a difference in their results on IQ tests.

The 90-year-old made the statements in a TV programme, American Masters: Decoding Watson.

Watson was relieved of his duties at The Cold Harbor Laboratory in 2007 due to racist comments he made.

Responding to his recent remarks, the laboratory said: “Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions Dr. James D Watson expressed on the subject of ethnicity and genetics during the PBS documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson that aired January 2, 2019. Dr Watson’s statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL, its trustees, faculty, staff, or students. The laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice.”

In addition to condemning his statements, the laboratory revealed that it has revoked Watson’s honorary titles of Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus, and Honorary Trustee.

In an interview in 2007, Watson said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" as "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - where all the testing says not really".

He added that despite hopes that all were equal in terms of intelligence capabilities, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true”.

Amy Harmon, a science reporter at the New York Times tweeted: "Despite the vast, observable environmental differences (schools, wealth, racism) black and white Americans face, there's no shortage of people conjuring a genetic basis for IQ differences. The problem [with] Watson is he's a science icon and people take his speculation seriously."

Watson’s son Rufus has refuted claims his father is a bigot. He said a car crash in October had led to his father moving to a care home and that he had “very minimal” awareness of his surroundings, the Associated Press reported.

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