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Nobel-prize-winning genetics professor James Watson–as in Watson and Crick–speaks out about IQ and genetics and the like in a measured, scientific way.

Professor promptly gets suspended from job, viz.:

Earlier this evening, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Board of Trustees decided to suspend the administrative responsibilities of Chancellor James D. Watson, Ph.D., pending further deliberation by the Board.

This action follows the Board’s public statement yesterday disagreeing with the comments attributed to Dr. Watson in the October 14, 2007 edition of The Sunday Times U.K.

I watched The Lives of Others with interest recently. It told the story of how an East German Stasi officer, whose job consisted in part of listening to the bugged apartment of a famous artist, realized the venality of this invasion in the name of state security. Like the often anonymous posters on Gene Expression and other websites, the artist simply wanted to tell a story that was embarrassing to the official partly line, in this case the rampant suicide rate in the workers “paradise.”

Amazingly, today’s politically correct commissars are little better. But being decentralized, and often having power only in the business and academic world, we continue to think we’re free. After all, these commissars–HR “professionals,” university deans, tenure committees, newspaper editors–can’t throw anyone in jail, at least not in the United States. But when a wide range of thoughts, beliefs, and sentiments will quickly lead one to a life of penury and scorn if expressed openly, then clearly a type of power and social control is being exercised. When the media and local government collude to hide certain unpleasant facts from view and promulgate myths instead, then insecurity on the part of certain cultural and other authorities exists about the truth. From blogs to books to magazine subscriptions, club memberships, and opinions, all must be hidden from the “powers that be” as cleverly as opinions were once hidden in communist countries or terrible consequences will follow. We sometimes forget that communist regimes exercised most of their control not through threats but through the ability to keep a “subversive” from going to university, buying a car, or getting a decent job.

What a conceit to call modern America a free country. A free country needs a free thinking culture, and the fact that political correctness is now invading the once-immune hard sciences is a very bad sign indeed.

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