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So now the eminent James Watson has stuck his foot in his mouth, adding to the long list of accomplished geneticists and behaviorists who perish in the minefield of actually saying what you believe. We'll add him to the club, which includes the great William Shockley, inventor of the transistor and those guys that wrote the Bell Shaped Curve.
He has courted controversy in the past, reportedly saying that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine that it would be homosexual. He has also suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, proposing a theory that black people have higher libidos, and claimed that beauty could be genetically manufactured.
Watson, a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA (along with Francis Crick, although one could make a strong case for some skulduggery concerning their 'expropriating' much of the work of Rosalind Franklin) ignited an uproar last week with remarks about the intelligence of people of African descent.
The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.
Utter hogwash. "Intelligence" has long been shown to be undefinable, largely because it is heavily subject to cultural, environmental and financial filters. Even more significantly, it is more likely determined at the epigenetic level (postgenomically) than at the levels of the genes themselves, being influenced by the health habits of the immediately preceding generations, or even more likely, the prenatal environment of the child.
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely," so perhaps Watson's gaff is just the result of having too many people kissing his butt for too long a time.
Have started learning the R computer language. Perl's graphic and statistic packages are quite weak, and a quick look at R shows me that the graphing capabilities alone are awesome. A lot of the multivariate data that was used in the GenoType Diets may fit in very well with this language, since most people have a hard time visualizing data in more than 3 dimensions, though in mathematics this is not a big problem. Perl remains my preferred language (mainly for sure quick and dirtiness; it's amazing just how fast you can get something up and going in Perl) and for 'data mining' (or perhaps in my case, 'data dredging').
Well, gotta go. The car service is picking Martha and I up in an hour to take us to the airport. We're headed up to Toronto where I'll be giving one of the presentations to the Ontario Naturopathic Doctors Association. It's a homecoming of sorts, since we lived up there for a while about twenty years ago. It's definitely one of my favorite cities, and I like attitude of the people at lot.
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