Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Friday revoked several honorary titles from its former director and Nobel Prize-winning pioneer in DNA research, after he repeated his belief that blacks are genetically inferior to whites in intelligence.
In a statement announcing the withdrawal of the titles, the laboratory’s board chairwoman, Marilyn Simons, and its president and CEO, Bruce Stillman, said the laboratory “unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions Dr. James D. Watson expressed on the subject of ethnicity and genetics during the PBS documentary .
When “Decoding Watson” producer and director Mark Mannucci asked Watson if his views on race and intelligence had changed, Watson responded, “No, not at all.
“It’s sad when you’re confronted with such a dichotomy,” she said, contrasting Watson’s long list of scientific accomplishments and his leadership of the laboratory with “the comments that are unsupported by science.”
Watson was the laboratory’s director from 1968 to 1994 and, after that, served as president and then chancellor.
The laboratory suspended him as chancellor following his 2007 remarks, and a few days later, after apologizing for the comments, Watson resigned.
The laboratory’s school of biological sciences is named after Watson.
Yet last year, Watson told her the reason for the paucity of prominent female scientists is genetic differences, Hopkins said Saturday.
Another son, Rufus Watson, who is schizophrenic, told The Associated Press on Friday that his father, who is in a nursing home after an October car crash near the laboratory, has a “very minimal” awareness of his surroundings.
Mannucci said Saturday that he gave Watson two opportunities over six months to clarify his 2007 remarks, and each time he defended them.
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