Cold Spring Harbor labs has finally "suspended" James Watson for another one of his horribly racist comments. In this scientist's opinion this is too little too late. Watson is known for being a blatant sexist, racist, homophobic ass, and yet for the past 40 years, CSHL has continued to let him get away with whatever he likes.
Despite a history of bad behavior, CSHL has continued to honor Watson. First as director, the president, and now chancellor of the National Lab, even going so far as to name their graduate program after him. He's a one trick pony, winner of THE most contentious nobel prize in history, and yet the lab has held him up as an icon, despite his continued downward spiral into prejudice of all kinds.
Some of the comments Watson has been credited with:
-You know there's no money in science these days because the enrollment of Jews in science graduate programs is down (during a talk given at my university this past spring)
-Blacks have an inherently higher sex drive
-Pospects for Africa are grim because blacks are less intelligent than whites
-Thin people are unhappy and work hard, fat people are lazy: "You always feel bad when you're interviewing a fat person because you know you're not going to hire them."
-In the event of a test to determine homoshttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifexuality in utero, women should have the right to abort a homosexual fetus
The thing that's really infuriating about Watson is that he has a lot of sway among non-scientists because he's the name mostly commonly associated with the discovery of the structure of DNA. Probably one of the most well-known scientists in popular culture. So when he makes outrageous statements and pretends there is scientific data to support them... it's just SO frustrating.
So I can only hope that this will mark the beginning of the end for Watson and his influence on popular culture. Maybe people will stop giving him speaking engagements. It only encourages his delusions that people actually give a s*** what he has to say...
Addendum: Zuska has an amazingly well written post on this subject.