NY Times on Watson’s African DNA

A bit meta perhaps, but there is a choice moment right at the top of today’s NYT Lede blogpiece on the “Lucky” Jim Watson’s DNA. It seems that 16 % of the former chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor’s genetic make-up comes from Africa. (UPDATE: Whatever that means — which is most likely not much. See this NYTimes article for examples of the shaky business of DNA roots research.)

That opens up the way for a pleasant little snark — but check out how the Lede folks tagged the piece:

“racism, science”

That’s spot on: the right thought in the right order.

Remember folks: when someone claims that they have the final, biological scientific proof that one group or another is inherently inferior, the default response is that the alleged science is bullshit. You might be wrong someday, but not so far, after a century and a half of attempts to spread this manure.

This is not to say that one couldn’t imagine such a claim turning out to be true. It’s just that the burden of proof rests with the claimant, and the standard of proof is really, really high. So far, no one has come close, as recently summarized here and, gleefully, here.

Explore posts in the same categories: Gene follies

One Comment on “NY Times on Watson’s African DNA”


  1. […] has, of course, gone on to exceed himself, becoming an object lesson that a Nobel prize is not election to any scientific papacy: a great […]


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