Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More on Dr. W (or maybe moron Dr. W?)

As cool as it was to meet and see a lecture by Dr. James Watson, I'm glad to have gone on the record as saying early on that as much as I admire his scientific research, I don't agree with his personal views. At his U of C lecture he made some very strong claims supporting atheism. Keeping in mind that U of C has one of the oldest, largest, and most prestigious divinity schools in the country this wasn't exactly a smart move, but few feathers were ruffled as it was not a University sanctioned lecture, but rather sponsored by a bookstore. I've since learned (as offal seems to have hit the proverbial fan) that Dr. Watson apparently enjoys making edgy, controversial and even inflammatory comments during his presentations. At Berkley a few years ago he angered audience members by giving a lecture that many students found offensive and sexist. And yesterday in the UK he topped that incident by delivering a talk that now has him labeled as a racist. It seems atheism is only one of his personal opinions that I find quite distasteful and I'm not the only one currently holding that view:
Berkeley genetics professor Thomas Cline said Watson's lecture "crossed over the line'' from being provocative to being irresponsible because the senior scientist failed to separate fact from conjecture.

"If he wants to give a talk like this in his living room, that's his business, but to give it in a setting where it's supposed to be scientific is wrong,'' Cline said, adding that listening to Watson at the podium was "more embarrassing than having a creation scientist up there.''

Ah yes, the creationist is not as embarrassing as a racist. Score one for Intelligent Design? I probably shouldn't joke about that, but the comment did amuse me. It just goes to show that there's more to being "smart" than just IQ and it seems even in the scientific world, intelligence stands for little without compassion, sensitivity and - you might go so far to say - the whisperings of the heart.

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