[Air-L] racist comments by James Watson?

Christian Nelson xianknelson at mac.com
Sun Oct 21 10:30:53 PDT 2007


Race is a completely useless concept for conducting science. So says  
the American Anthropological Association. I'm sure their very  
informed statement about this on their website.
--Christian Nelson

On Oct 21, 2007, at 3:16 AM, William Bain wrote:

> It's been suggested that more variation exists "within so-called  
> racial groups than between them" and that race (which comes form  
> the Italian razza and seems to have come into English in the 16th  
> century) isn't that productive a scientific category. The website  
> I'm quoting from also carries a link to the New York Times piece  
> reporting on James Watson's "retraction" of his comment. Thats  
> http://www.racismreview.com/blog/?p=73 and it also includes what I  
> found to be an interesting link on whether race is a scientifically  
> worthwhile category. In a text I read a long time ago (I seem to  
> recall) was a comparison of race with class, or race discussed as  
> *a* class in the sense of category. Sorry that the text's lost in  
> the mists of time, as well as physically from my library, but maybe  
> someone who works more closely than I do with biology and sociology  
> will have info on thazt. ovibiously I have to be very careful to  
> guard against or ciriticize arguments promoting
>  eugenics/genocide. That was my original idea in posting what I  
> did. for what it's worth, I got to the address I mentioned above by  
> writing lewontin on racism into a major search engine and it also  
> acquainted me with something I didn't know about called lewontin's  
> fallacy, a statistical take. Personally I think Watson and  
> hopefully many others, me included, have become more aware in part  
> because of his mistake which, as I say, he's recognized. But I feel  
> a graeat deal of anger at the situation in Jena, Louisiana not to  
> mention that particular specific case of out-on-the-street life  
> endangering racism. Too much anger, I emeant to write. To the  
> suggestion that racist groups might use the comments of a very  
> highly accomplished scientist to promote racism, well, that is only  
> part of the danger, but yes, of course, that is the danger.
>   Best regards, William
>
>
>
> William Bain
> PhD Student
> Comparative Literature
> Department of Spanish Philology
> Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
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