Friday, October 19, 2007

It's elementary Watson

"What I really meant to say was. . ." is a phrase we hear too often when there's campaigning going on, but of course politicians aren't the only ones putting their feet in their mouths. Nobel Prize winning biologist Jim Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix DNA structure, has managed to get himself quoted on various occasions as saying that women should be allowed to abort gay fetuses if a genetic marker can be discovered, and that there may be a correlation between skin color and sexual prowess.

His recent comments seem clearly to state that the intelligence of Africans is "not the same" as that of non-Africans and that while he hoped everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true."

After the predictable furor and the cancellation of a lecture, the venerable Dr. Watson seems to have become aware of the multiple gaffe and has now told the Royal Society that "I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said." It's easy, Jim -- just open your mouth and the rest will come naturally to you.

"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."

Well I think that drawing an inference isn't the same as hearing an unequivocal statement, but OK, that's not what you meant and I'm sure that the explanation is elementary. Just don't tell us it had anything to do with a wide stance or a piece of toilet paper on the floor. That one's been used already.

Meanwhile I'm going outside to work on my tan.

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