By Hilary White
  LONDON, October 18, 2007 ( – Geneticist James Watson, who received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA, is considered one of the world’s most eminent scientists, but his qualifications as a social philosopher are being questioned. The 79 year-old Watson, in preparation for a speaking tour of the UK, has created an uproar after telling the Sunday Times this week that black people are less intelligent than whites and that the idea that “equal powers of reason” are shared across racial groups was a delusion. 
  Watson arrived in Britain today to publicize his latest book, “Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science”. Watson told the Sunday Times he is “inherently gloomy” about Africa’s prospects. He said, “All our social policies [towards African nations] are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”.
  His views are further explored in his soon-to-be published book in which he wrote, “There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so”.
  One of Britain’s most respected scientific institutions, the London Science Museum, has cancelled a lecture Watson was scheduled to give on Friday saying he had gone “beyond the point of acceptable debate”. He is still scheduled to appear at five British venues, including Oxford and Cambridge.
  Watson’s views on race should come as no surprise in Britain, however. In a 2003 British-made documentary, he talked about his theory on the “stupidity gene”. He said, “If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease . . . so I’d like to get rid of that”.
  In January this year, Watson caused a furor again when he said that some anti-Semitism could be justified on the basis of genetics. In the January edition of Esquire magazine Watson asked rhetorically, “Should you be allowed to make an anti-Semitic remark?” He answered: “Yes, because some anti-Semitism is justified. Just like some anti-Irish feeling is justified. If you can’t be criticized, that’s very dangerous. You lose the concept of a free society.”
  In fact, Watson is nearly as famous as a proponent of the so-called “new eugenics” as he is for his DNA research, and his views are widely shared in the scientific community. He strongly advocates genetic screening of the unborn and abortion for children deemed genetically “unfit.”
  His stated goal is nothing less than the genetic re-designing of the human species using what he calls “inheritable genetic modification,” to create, by tampering with human beings at the embryonic stage, controlled genetic traits that would carry on through successive generations. Watson told attendees at a at a 1998 UCLA conference, “if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it? What’s wrong with it? Who is telling us not to it?”
  In his 2003 book, “DNA: The Secret of Life,” Watson advocated experimentation on human subjects, even if it put their lives at risk: “The start of human experimentation will require resolute courage; the promise of enormous benefit won’t be fulfilled except through experiments that will ultimately put some lives at risk.”
“My view,” he wrote, “is that, despite the risks, we should give serious consideration to germ-line gene therapy… If such work be called eugenics, then I am a eugenicist.”
  Read related coverage:

  Why Embryonic Stem Cell Research? It’s About Human Engineering, Not Ending Disease