Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory recalled honorary titles held by its long-time leader James D. Watson on Friday, which "unfairly and ruthlessly" describes his latest comments on genetic differences in intelligence among racial groups.
Dr. Watson, one of the most influential scientists in the 20th century, had apologized after making similar comments to a British newspaper in 2007. At that time, he had to retire from his job as chancellor at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Iceland, but he has kept his office there, as well as the titles of Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus and Honorary Administrator. The biological research school at the research center is called Dr. Watson and the laboratory held a 90th anniversary for him last spring.
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But his recent comments "effectively reversing the written excuse and recall Dr. Watson made in 2007," and "requiring the separation of some remaining paths of his involvement," said Cold Spring Harbor Executive Director , Bruce Stillman, and its Chairman Marilyn Simons in a statement.
Dr. Watson's new comments came in an interview with camera music with Mark Mannucci, the producer of a documentary who moved last week on PBS as part of his series "American Masters", which profiles individuals who have made a big contribution to American culture. In the film, Dr. Watson believes that average I.Q. The differences between blacks and whites reflect the underlying genetic differences formed by natural selection.
But leading geneticists say that modern DNA studies, too, are currently unable to validate such hypotheses of differences between human populations.
Mr. Mannucci said he had made clear to Dr. Watson from the beginning that the movie would address the controversy over its 2007 comments. Dr. Watson recovers from a car accident, and his family members did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Dr. Watson's statements are abominable, without the support of science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL, its trustees, faculty, staff or students, says the lab statement.
Michael Wigler, a veteran molecular biologist at the laboratory Dr. Watson's view of race was not newsworthy in the first place.
"It is not news when a 90-year-old man who has lost cognitive inhibition and has engaged so for decades that he is aging speaks of his current mind," wrote Dr. Wigler in an email. "It's not a moment of reflection. It's just a peek at a corner of this nation's subconscious, and a strong spot of its non-scaled past secrets. "