Gregory A Petsko
Correspondence: Gregory A Petsko email@example.com
Genome Biology 2007, 8:113 doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-11-113
(2007-12-10 10:45) JCVI
Petsko claims that "we have the data to refute the claims that one race is superior
and another inferior or that gender is linked to intellectual fitness". Do we? Where
is that data? On the contrary, I think there is evidence showing that some races are
superior to others. Look at the 100 m Olympic finalists, they are pretty much all
black. This is good evidence that black athletes are superior to white ones. Maybe
there is a similar imbalance for academics. Same for sex. Men are undoubtedly much
better at crime than women (aren't 90% of all inmates male?). Am I a racist? Hopefully
not - I am even in a bi-racial relationship. But it is undeniable that there are
differences between different populations. This is biology.
As long as these average differences are small (and they probably are) they have no
predictive power for any individual and are thus useless. I see that these are very
delicate issues and it may be risky to bring them up but there is no reason to avoid
them. However, it shows that public opinion rather depends on emotion than on data.
(2007-12-10 10:45) University of Washington
I have to say I agree with Greg on this one. Many, many people heard Dr. Watson make
disparaging remarks - particularly about women - over a very long time, yet none took
him publicly to task (at least not that I have witnessed). I have had many female
scientists say to me statements similar to "he got away with chauvinism for so long,
it's surprising that this is what he was called on". Any of us (and particularly
those famous scientists of the same era), who saw him talk and said nothing about
such comments were enablers. Not only did we do a disservice to others in the audiences
of talks who may have been offended, we did a disservice to Watson himself.
(2007-12-10 10:44) Broad Institute
Thanks for your open, honest, and insightful assessment of the situation and of human
nature itself. In light of those who throughout history have risked or even given
their lives in defense of worthy causes, the *least* we can do in the face of comments
like Watson's is to speak up and do our scientific duty - demand logic and evidence.
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