Discoverer Of DNA's Double-Helix Banned From U of I For "Failing Test Of Decency"

Tyler Durden's picture

The University of Illinois has capitulated to faculty complaints and rescinded a speaking invitation to Nobel Laureate James Watson, who has ruffled feathers with past comments about race.

Watson is famous for co-discovering the double-helix structure of DNA, but even a preemptive email stating that he would be giving a "narrowly focused scientific talk" failed to assuage faculty concerns.

The issue is that outside of the research lab, Watson isn't the same admirable figure: He has made all manner of offensive and racist comments. In a 2007 interview he said he was "gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really." He also said he hopes everyone is equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." He apologized but has made other tasteless, sexist comments that call into question his character and judgment — but not his scientific expertise.

As's Adam Sabes reports, Watson is known primarily for co-discovering the double-helix structure of DNA along with Francis Crick, but had offered to give a “narrowly focused scientific talk” at the school’s Institute for Genomic Biology about his recent cancer research, Institute Director Gene Robinson told The News-Gazette of Champaign-Urbana, adding that he considered the offer “carefully” before deciding to accept.

Robinson said he had anticipated potential objections to Watson’s lecture, and attempted to head them off with an email making explicitly clear that the invitation was not an endorsement of Watson’s past comments.

"We tried to consider this very carefully in going forward, and different perspectives on the possibilities of him giving a science-based lecture,” Robinson explained. "With respect to his past, the email that I sent out stated very clearly that we didn't condone any of his past comments, racist comments and sexist comments. And we noted that he had apologized and thought about all those very carefully.”


"We support Dr. Watson for his discovery and work, and believe that his remorse and subsequent apology to those groups he spoke against are genuine,” the email stated, “but the IGP's stance is unchanged—we do not condone discrimination of any form, and the respect that we give to each individual in our community is paramount."

Robinson’s outreach did not assuage the concerns of many faculty members, however, particularly biological anthropology professor Kate Clancy, who drew the Institute’s attention with a series of tweets proposing to organize a protest against Watson’s talk. Less than an hour after she began tweeting, the Institute replied announcing that it had decided to cancel the lecture in response to her complaints.

"In hearing the faculty's concerns, we decided that the right thing to do was not to have the lecture," Robinson said, adding that while he respects the principle of free speech, "I really respect the perspectives of the faculty who raised the concern. It was a tough call either way."

The Chicago Tribune, however, questioned Robinson’s judgment on that front in an editorial, arguing that Watson’s “tasteless, sexist comments” do not detract from his “scientific expertise,” and that cancelling the talk is an example of the “reflex on college campuses to shut down offensive or controversial speech as an affront to the community.”

:Watson's nixed appearance at the U. of I., not intended as a venue for his repugnant opinions, could have been acceptable as a narrowly focused science talk, since the research institute was clear in repudiating his personal views,” the editorial concluded.

“Watson isn't the only expert in some specific field who otherwise fails tests of decency. Attendees would have come away enlightened by his science lecture.”

Student Jacqueline Moffat, conversely, told Campus Reform that she supports the decision to cancel the speech, saying the Institute can just find another “smart” person who has not engendered past controversy.

“The school should not be promoting someone like that,” she asserted. “There are plenty of other smart people that we can hear from.”

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Linglishboy's picture

the truth is aracist

Mr. Universe's picture

The ruler of this world will not be happy until everyone is debased to the lowest common level. Then the elite can rule over the slaves without fear or reprisal. This is a dangerous time for them as they are still vulnerable, but not for long.

Linglishboy's picture

dont over estimate humans...big mistake.

Croesus's picture

Stupid people, lead by (((crooked people))).

RAT005's picture

Some of his scientific discoveries are celebrated and some are banned.  The people without those discoveries attempt to elevate their scientific status by passing their elistist judgement.  What will happen when it is fashionable to prepare for global warming while evidence suggests better to prepare for global cooling?

Socratic Dog's picture

His "character and judgement" are called into question. For daring to speak the truth.

That sounds like excellent character to me. But apparently not.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Yeah, it's like "WTF do you want me to say?  Everything is the same as everything else?  That's fucking falsist!"

M O B's picture

Not really a reply to you, but just pointing out that Watson is not the discoverer of DNA.

He is the man who refused to believe what a woman told him, even though the woman had actual empircal evidence and he just had unsubstantiated theories. He then stole the woman's (and her male partner's) data, realized he is a dumbass, and beat them to publication.


In an actual reply to you, the phrase "global warming" is at least 10-15 years out of date. Climate change is what it is called, and warming/cooling are obviously both part of change. No need to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Mr Hankey's picture

Like Darwin&that poor malarial wretch inBorneo 

techpriest's picture

Warming and cooling --> whatever happens, the alarmists are right.

Honestly, if you want to raise some alarms, look at farm runoff and mass extinctions. In some ways they are even related. But not, let's subsidize corn and select GMO crops while tilling under every other plant on the planet.

These days, the only theories that get ahead are the ones that politicians can use to squeeze the tax payers a little more.

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

It was Rosalind Franklin, an x-ray diffraction expert whose images of DNA proteins in the early 1950s revealed a helix shape. It wasn't until they saw Franklin's work that Watson and Crick began researching into it. Basically those stole her work without giving her any credit. That guy is a douchbag and a thief.

FarCanal's picture

Climate Change, the Climate has always changed and always will. If it didn't there really would be something wrong. This idea that its static when there are unstoppable Cycles is totally misleading. These ideas are promoted by the same people who think they can should/can control and stop natural cycles as well as natural Market Cycles i.e. they also try to cap ,control, manipulate Stock , Bond and Natural Resource pricing Precious Metals too of course.They can do it in the short to medium term but will fail in the long term.

Physicist Dr. Freeman Dyson.
“climate change” (a natural phenomenon quite beyond mankind’s ability to control).

Always reminds me of King Canute, trying to order back the Sea as the tide is coming in.As the tide was going out he thought he was in control,ordering it to do so.

Eyes Opened's picture

Climate Change ??? Come & live in Ireland you will see "climate change" every bloody day... 1 minute its sunny , next minute its pissin..temps all over the place... EVERY EFFIN DAY !! I went pike fishing last feb. & it was around 4 to 6°c... I camped overnite & it dropped to MINUS 18°c .. now DATS climate change...

Its like someone put the seasons in a blender & whoosh... u can not plan anything outdoors here... I live near the west coast & it is more extreme, the Atlantic ocean dictates our daily/hourly weather.

I like it.....

PUNCHY's picture

Yes M O B you are correct regarding his 'discovery' of DNA and more is the absolute shame that the lady was never given a posthumous Nobel prize because of some prize committe weasel excuse bollocks, whereby they ducked out of giving Rosalind what was RIGHTFULLY her prize. Sadly she passed away with a 'lady cancer' before the prize could be issued, some say as a result of the long hours spent in the crude X-Ray camera facilities at her university.

I seem to recall the lady in question actually took the intitial X-Ray picture of the DNA molecule.

But there was an earlier attempt to explain DNA, a brilliant German physician was on the track of DNA in the early 1900's but simply lacked the lab equipment to prove his theory. Things were pretty primitive in research labs even in the time of Watson and Rosalind.

Didn't all the so-called men on the DNA discovery team refer in a sneering manner to Rosalind as Rosie? I believe so.

DavidC's picture

Reading this, it would seem it more nuanced than that.

As ever, males are 'better' or females are 'better - the truth is we're different. I'm NOT saying that sexism doesn't exist, because it does but the TRUTH is not sexism.


robertsgt40's picture

Let's get Maxine Waters to weigh in. 

jcaz's picture

Sure.  Let's just ignore facts brought to light by scientists- what do they really know? 

The world is really flat-   ask any hood rat.  Let's let them run the world....

Oops- too late.....

This aricle reads like a scene out of "Idiocracy".  

Chicago- let it burn.....


Juggernaut x2's picture

The jury is still out on the earth being round or not- and what does Chicago have to do with Champaign, IL?

Supafly's picture

You never heard of UIC?


IntTheLight's picture

UIC for dummies and foreign students. U of I in Urbana great school. Well, until this.

asscannon101's picture

Holy fuck, dude!! I mean- Google 'Flat Earth Society' and 'Unversity Of Chicago Physicist' and you will probably have your answer served to you on  a silver p[latter... This shit ain't hard, just grow a set of balls.

ThuleNord's picture

He speaks like he does because if you've studied the research and theories it's so obviously the truth a gorilla could figure it out. All the facts have already been laid out about IQ, genetics, race and inherited genes. Including your intellect.

Equality is a false god.

Oliver Klozoff's picture

And he's white. Shout him down.

Dabooda's picture

Gorillas might be able to figure it out, but Chicagonians haven't reached that level of evolutionary development yet.

yogibear's picture

They'll worship Michael Madigan and John Cullerton financially raping them. Voting them another term to get more abuse.

At least Gorillas get violent and fight back when they get abused.

Supafly's picture

Though Africa has been thoroughly exploited, it can't be denied that all the planning and infrastructure was the result of a mentality that Africans don't share.  Pull out and it collapses.  And it has.

MEFOBILLS's picture

Thomas Jefferson has been twisted to be on both sides of this argument:

"This institution [University of Virginia] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."

(Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820. Lipscomb, Andrew A. and Albert Ellery Bergh, ed. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 15.

And on the side of the "everybody is equal" mantra we have in the declaration of independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights

By not defining "men" modern ((interpretation)) has twisted the original meaning to extend to all races and women.  


ThuleNord's picture

They were speaking to those of the highest evolutionary order. To posit that a black with an average IQ of 80 has the same infallible rights as a120+ IQ intellectual European man at the height of human evolution is as dangerous as it is comical. Most whites don't have the intellectual regard to lead governments, much less these archaic humanoids piggybacking off of our technological advancements.

We learned from this debacle that if we ever get our lands back that you can never be too explicit when setting national policy and guidelines. Our forefathers took commonsense for granted when they created the constitution and now we're paying the price

neidermeyer's picture

He speaks the truth , blacks are generally 20 IQ points low on the scale...

Stuck on Zero's picture

Maybe that's true. But statistics say that there are tens of millions of blacks who are smarter than the average white. The free marketplace and the upholding of human dignity is where you sort out performance and maximize the human potential - not government, not universities, not politics. 

techpriest's picture

It's too bad the downvoters don't get the concept of the "accordion word" or "weasel word." "Rights" would be one of these.

If someone is a retard, and you hit him without any cause, it's still assault. In this sense, there is a right to be secure in your person and property, the "right to not be harmed."

Emotionally, when people use words like "human rights," they are thinking of the above definition. You do not get to decide that some group of people do not have the right to keep their property, because you just think you are better then them.

However, the Left comes in and legally expands the word, like an accordion (accordion word), to mean that any statistical difference in arbitrarily chosen demographics, calculated in whatever method they feel like using, is grounds for forcible redistribution of wealth. If you oppose this, you are not only against this, but they also say you are against the first definition.

It's also funny b/c the EEOC apparently ran out of cases during the Obama administration, so they started coming up with statistics to find what they called a "disparate impact," which was grounds from suing employers. Even if you go along with the rules, they can still run some numbers that will prove you are a racist, because it's about money not racism.

Canoe Driver's picture

I'm no advocate of universal equality, which clearly never existed in the first place, but most people, by definition, have an IQ of about 100. The possibility that most members of any race have an IQ of 80 is ridiculous. Also, most of the people I know will claim when asked to have an IQ over 130. They are lying, and have no idea what IQ is, I can assure you. In fact, as Intelligence Quotient is actually measured and calculated, it is far more meaningful when the subjects are children.

MEFOBILLS's picture

The possibility that most members of any race have an IQ of 80 is ridiculous


And yet, mutliple measurements of sub-saharan blacks continue to yield IQ's in the 80 range.  

Investigation of Zulu language also gives insights into brain characteristics.  For example, intangible concepts like the future, or large numbers, or even moral considerations have no words.

If IQ tests are racially weighted, then why do northeast Asian's outscore whites; especially when white men devised the test?

Also, your comment about age and IQ is wrong as well.  IQ does change over time.  So, simply stating the age of the person is additional data that helps pinpoint a working IQ.

IQ tests done by Rushton et al, are given to same age cohorts, therefore it is apples to apples data.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

Yet nobody is trying to make sure the NBA/NFL are 'diverse'.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Question. You are stranded in the Kalahari desert. Do you want Krugman as your companion or a bushman who has half his claimed IQ?

MEFOBILLS's picture

I'm stuck in the Kalhari desert with my air conditioned jeep, and GPS co-ordinates.  All of the infrastructure and science invented and built by whites.  

Can the Bushman launch satellites into space?  Can the bushman do higher order mathematics? 

So, the Bushman and even Austrailian abos have the abilty to navigate their home terrain?  So, what?  That is an evolutionary given, or they wouldn't have been able to survive to today.  Abos are an archaic race with evolutionary distance even further than that of blacks vs white.


Kobe Beef's picture

Great. Ship all the negroes back to the Kalahari desert where they can finally be useful.

helloimjohnnycat's picture

SOS  ( Save On Shipping )

Just a coupla' hunnerd yards offshore will solve da problema, and be more energy efficient !

And if that MOAS trawler shows its bow, a well placed tar-peda will make one Helluva youtube.


psychobilly's picture

American blacks may have average IQs in the 80s due to European admixture, but your average sub-Saharan African has an IQ closer to 70.

IntTheLight's picture

Their IQs are the top baseline considered retarded and then below.

Dogs supposedly have abilities of a small child. Yet we don't think nurture will get them into Harvard.

IntTheLight's picture

Their IQs are the top baseline considered retarded and then below.

Dogs supposedly have abilities of a small child. Yet we don't think nurture will get them into Harvard.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Dogs have vastly more advanced sensory abilities than children or adult humans.  Certain canine breeds have figured out humans, and actually exploit them in a synergistic manner that is beneficial to both life forms. Humans and dogs share many similar characteristics, especially their predatory awareness of what constitutes prey.

IntTheLight's picture

Their IQs are the top baseline considered retarded and then below.

Dogs supposedly have abilities of a small child. Yet we don't think nurture will get them into Harvard.

Mr Hankey's picture

 YT at very bottom in biological intelligence.

BandGap's picture

I had dinner on two occasions with F. Albert Cotton, said at the time to be up for a Nobel Prize in chemistry.

He told off color jokes (using the word nigger rather liberally) the whole time, was interesting but I didn't think it was any bg deal. He would be crucified these days.

I would give money to see Watson or Crick (although they were first to publish, but by no means "discovered" the structure of DNA). It's a shame these students will not get this opportunity.

Times they have changed.