Skip to comments.DNA pioneer James Watson is blacker than he thought
Posted on 12/10/2007 6:57:09 AM PST by Daffynition
JAMES WATSON, the DNA pioneer who claimed Africans are less intelligent than whites, has been found to have 16 times more genes of black origin than the average white European.
An analysis of his genome shows that 16% of his genes are likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent. By contrast, most people of European descent would have no more than 1%.
The study was made possible when he allowed his genome - the map of all his genes - to be published on the internet in the interests of science.
This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African, said Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics, whose company carried out the analysis. It was very surprising to get this result for Jim.
Watson won the Nobel prize, with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, after working out the structure of DNA in 1953. However, he provoked an outcry earlier this year when he suggested black people were genetically less intelligent than whites.
This weekend his critics savoured the wry twist of fate. Sir John Sulston, the Nobel laureate who helped lead the consortium that decoded the human genome, said the discovery was ironic in view of Watsons opinions on race. I never did agree with Watsons remarks, he said. We do not understand enough about intelligence to generalise about race.
The backlash against Watson forced him to step down as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York state, after 39 years at the helm. He had said he was inherently gloomy about the prospects for Africa because all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really.
The analysis by deCODE Genetics, an Icelandic company, also shows a further 9% of Watsons genes are likely to have come from an ancestor of Asian descent. Watson was not available for comment.
Can he still be called a racist with this discovery? Probably not.
I love it.. I always love to point out to people who claim they are 'pure' anything that genetically, the differences we identify as racial (skin color, hair color, etc) are smaller than the genetic differences that separate individuals, technically, if you trace everyone back, we all are just mutts. :->
(about as likely as Chelsea getting DNA-tested for Web Hubbell genes, I'm sure).
I don’t see any irony here. Watson did not say that any white person will be smarter than any black person.
James Watson, 1955
He does kind of have that North African, Berber look.
Whatever floats your boat, but it's lost on me how that renders the differences trivial. I've never been able to figure out how a full standard deviation difference in average intelligence between two groups is insignificant, and I certainly can't tell you with a straight face that a two standard deviation average difference is.
Intelligence is more based on cultural and environmental factors, not racial. In all situations being equal testing scenarios, you don’t see the standard deviation that you do if you pull those with diverse environmental backgrounds.
Sorry, but that is utter nonsense. The one standard deviation difference between white and black populations in the U.S. is one of the most consistent findings in psychometrics.
How much of this is genetic and how much is environmental is of course a subject of considerable debate. I think 50/50 is as good an estimate as any.
A great grandparent who was black? I can trace all of my great grandparents.I would think he could too.
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Here's the book:Matt Ridley:Some scientists, he says, believe that chimpanzees do not have a theory of mind, that is, they cannot imagine what another chimp is thinking. But studies show ambiguity. Chimps, we are told, regularly engage in deception. A baby chimp, for example, pretended he was being attacked by an adolescent so his mother would let him suckle her. Baboons, the author tells us, have performed well enough at computer discrimination tasks to show they are capable of abstract reasoning.
Nature via Nurture
by Stan Pinnegar
November 21, 2003
In the chapter The Madness of Causes we learn about such mental illnesses as bipolar disorder and, in Blame Mother, schizophrenia. The author makes the sobering point that heritability of schizophrenia is high in Western society, roughly 80 per cent, or about the same as body weight and much more than personality. And did you know that a mouse has 1036 olfactory sensors in its nose?
Nature Via Nurture:
Genes, Experience, and
What Makes Us Human
by Matt Ridley
Whoops, sorry, meant to ping you to #15.
Puts me in mind of what a joke the racial classification system is. Puerto Rico is shown as being 85% white, when anyone with a pair of eyes and a knowledge of history knows that this is not true. Most PRs have at least 25%-50% black African ancestry.
Reminds me of “The Human Stain” in which a college professor who has hidden the secret that he is black is fired for making an innocent remark construed as racist.
Does that work?
I have a great-great-grandparent who walked out of the lowlands of Georgia, who always claimed to be Native American. Can genealogy tests now tell me if she was NA or of mixed NA-African heritage?
I had the displeasure of attending a talk by Watson while I was at college in 1977. The talk was supposed to be about recombinant DNA, a hot topic at the time. Instead, Watson used all his time to insult by name numerous biologists that he disagreed with on some matter or another. He was remarkably nasty and vicious. Race didn’t enter that particular discussion, just personal spite. What a schmuck!
I found out just two years ago that I have a black great-grandfather.
16%? Who cares but him?
The more samples, the more these kinds of conclusions will be, uh, superseded by new evidence. IOW, no one should get too worked up about any of this.
Since my genealogy is traceable to the Middle East and even Egypt, I suspect my “whiteness” is just a covering. Yah, that’s it! It’s camoflage, called: SKIN!
Ashkenazim have the highest average IQ of any ethnic group, scoring 12 to 15 points above the European average. They are also strongly represented in fields and occupations requiring high cognitive ability. For instance, European-origin Jews account for 27 percent of U.S. Nobel science prize winners but make up only about 3 percent of the U.S. population.
But the group is also associated with neurological disorders, including Tay-Sachs, Gaucher's, and Niemann-Pick. Tay-Sachs is a fatal inherited disease of the central nervous system. Sufferers lack an enzyme needed to break down fatty substances in the brain and nerve cells. Gauchers and Niemann-Pick are similar, often fatal diseases.
;’) ...unless the “Cairo” you found was actually in Illinois... ;’)
Er...no. This was before there WAS an Illinoise!
WOW Imagine how much smarter he'd be if he was pure!!
(Joking of course)
When 1 thinks about it, this is about as equivalent “nanna-nanna-nanna” as when liberals gleefully accuse conservatives of being homosexual - a “lifestyle” they supposedly love.
So do they like that he’s black or hate it?
;’) Also, ask anybody in the area, and find out that the city in Illinois is pronounced “cay roh”. ;’)
I too. “Nurture” (environment) is way overplayed these days. It is the dominant theory these days that every problem (and maybe every good thing, too) is due to:
-the parents methods
-the lack of 1 parent
-the previous owner/master
etc, etc, etc
It’s as true in dogs and horses as it is in humans. It’s always in vogue to blame whoever has the dog as the cause of the dog’s “viciousness”, etc. Also if they cower in fear - it’s because of some bad human owner, not the dam nor her genetics nor the rest of genetics. Never mind all the problem children out there - it’s not genetics, but the raising. Or at least what they had to see in the neighborhood around them.
I don’t want to discredit environmental factors altogether, but we have to be serious. These days, it seems 95% of “blame” goes on “the environment” whereas it’s undoubtedly closer to 50/50.
"This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African," said Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics, whose company carried out the analysis.We each have eight (if it's less, I don't want to know), which works out to 12.5 per cent. :')
No, they’re saying it’s the EQUIVALENT to having a single black great-grandparent.
Actually, as stated prior, that’s only 12%, not 16%.
It might also be stated to be equivalent to 1 great-grand AND 1 great-great-great-grandparent. (12%+3%=15%)
They would have to be careful that his DNA “sample” did not also contain VD.
One must consider other factors. Where the smarter blacks able to escape being captured and sent to the US? Were the more highly intelligent more emotionally sensitive or rebellious and thus died or were killed on the boat trip or in slavery? There is a place in the South called Ibo Landing. An entire boat load of Ibo slaves after being taken off the slave ship in chains marched themselves into the sea and drowned rather than be slaves. Many Ibos were killed in Nigeria a few decades ago. They were hated by other Nigerians for being smart and canny traders (like Jews). Also Africa had large, civilized cities and towns. The slaves were often captured in small villages in the Jungle. Did the smarter more ambitious Africans gravitate to the cities? My brother traveled by truck, train, bus and thumb across about 10 African countries. He said it was fascinating to see some areas where there were large numbers of educated, cultures Africans and others were the level of culture and apparent intelligence was very much lower. I have traveled into a number of rural and small town areas of this country and noticed quite a number of less than adequate people who simply could not survive in the complexities of city living--mentally and physically handicapped as some of them obviously were.
My German ancestry mother has a geneology created all the way back to the 11th Century predominantly in East Prussia. On the other hand my blond, ice blue eyed, red headed husband was astonished when his mother told him shortly before she died that he is 1/16th American Indian. Since there was Mongolian Tartar in my ancestry I then realized it made sense that one son has dark hair and swarthy coloring and definitely looked like he could have Indian blood. The other son with medium brown hair and fair skin has high cheekbones and almond eyes. He had an epicanthic fold when he was a baby. He is now married to a woman from Puerto Rico, who knows she has Taino Indian in her ancestry. Both their children look very Latino.
A number of the most vicious Nazis had a grandparent or great grandparent who was Jewish. Regarding the influence of environment, there is the fascinating new science of epigenetics, wherein they are discovering the affect of environmental factors on the expression of genes in such subjects as weight gain, cancer, etc. They have found environmental differences in twin studies with epigenetics.
I agree. Even if there was a correlation to IQ/race, how would this actually benefit mankind.
Thanks. Your assessment is all I need to know about this guy.
The percentage of African genes is as if 1 great grandparent were African origin. If that 16%were divided among several lines then you would have to go much farther back to find several African ancestors.
You just reminded me of my favorite part line in Saving Private Ryan, where the Jewish soldier yells at the German voice on the megaphone: "Your father was circumcised by my rabbi!"
No you can't. None of us can. Prior to the development of DNA testing it was not possible to scientifically determine who the father of a baby was.
In DNA testing done in recent years for divorce cases, about 25% of the children are proven to not be the genetic offspring of the mother's husband.
I'm sure this was less common in the past, but I'm also sure it happened. The chance that anybody who claims they can accurately trace their ancestry back many generations is true is statistically very small.
Take a look at ANY large data set. The military intelligence data; NAEP scores; SAT scores (not the best choice since it is not the most representative sample). Every time you will see a one std deviation difference between white and black test-takers. It's a fact of life whether we like it or not.
At that, the infamous the Milwaukee Project pretty much debunked the blanket racial difference argument.
I would like to think I am conversing with someone who understands that one study proves nothing. Especially when it is the only study to get the results reported. AFAIK, no other study has been able to duplicate the results. If I missed something, there are still far more negative studies. And how practical was Milwaukee? IIRC, the gains in IQ cost something on the order of 25K per IQ point.
An example of a contrary study: the Minnesota Adoption Study. When black infants were adopted into white households they did not end up enjoying the same IQs as the white siblings with whom they are raised. Benefits were shown initially, but they were unfortunately transient. By their teen years, the effect was gone.
I have learned to accept the advice of Philip Dick. "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
(Stickin' with my 50/50 estimate BTW.)
The deviation would be slightly smaller if given the same environment, but it still exists, and always will. For example, whilst the average African has an IQ of around 70 (Average White American = 101, average Japanese = 110), the average Black American has an IQ of around 85. Still one full standard deviation below the White American (with whom they were raised in the same society) average.