DNA pioneer stripped of honors over ‘reprehensible’ race comments

The 90-year-old geneticist lost his job at the New York laboratory in 2007

A NY laboratory has revoked the honorary titles held by its longtime leader James D. Watson on Friday, describing as "unsubstantiated and reckless" his recent remarks about genetic differences in intelligence among racial groups.

CSHL found Watson's newly voiced comments "reprehensible" and completely unsupported by science.

"In response to his most recent statements, which effectively reverse the written apology and retraction Dr. Watson made in 2007, the Laboratory has taken additional steps, including revoking his honorary titles of Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus, and Honorary Trustee", the statement added. After "unequivocally" rejecting Watson's "unsubstantiated and reckless" opinions, the Laboratory stripped the 90-year-old scientist of all of his titles, noting that the institution "condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice".

In 2007 Watson told the Sunday Times that he was "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".

He added while he hoped all people could exhibit equal intelligences, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

James Watson, who shared his prize for his work at Cambridge with Francis Crick, has repeated his claim that black people are inherently less intelligent.

Speaking on a TV program which aired earlier this month, Watson reiterated his position that genes underlie racial differences on IQ tests.

The Times reported that Watson's family said he was unable to respond, having been in medical care since a auto accident in October.

Watson's new comments came in an on-camera interview with Mark Mannucci, producer of a documentary that aired last week on PBS as part of its "American Masters" series, which profiles individuals who have made a major contribution to American culture.

The magazine also noted that Crick was quoted in the 1993 book Nobel Prize Women in Science as admitting, "I'm afraid we always used to adopt - let's say, a patronizing attitude towards her".

In the documentary he admitted that his views on race and intelligence had not changed - "not at all".

During a lecture tour in 2000, he suggested there might be links between a person's weight and their level of ambition and between skin colour and sexual prowess. In 1962, the team was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material".

Usmanov said Watson was "delighted" to get his Nobel back.

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