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Nobel Prize Winner Goes off the Rails

John on October 17, 2007 at 10:31 am

No it’s not Al Gore, it’s James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA:

Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of 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”. He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”.

His views are also reflected in a book published next week, in which he writes: “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.”

There are so many, many things one could say about this. I’ll just pick one that interests me.

Our media is full of the claims of atheists, among them Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, claiming that a rational society (by which they mean a society guided by atheism) is necessarily a better society. Dawkins, in particular, makes great hay in his book about the number of Nobel laureates who are atheists. The implication is that we’d all be better off if we let the “brights” run things.

James Watson certainly falls into the category Dawkins is lionizing. He is undoubtedly responsible for one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century, and yes he is an outspoken atheist.

And yet…

In light of his current statements, I think it becomes obvious that brilliance and atheism are not a sure guide to a better society.In light of his current statements, I think it becomes obvious that brilliance and atheism are not a sure guide to a better society. Not if you happen to be black anyway. In fact, I think this case encapsulates something that many Christians have noted about atheists for some time: Atheism often seems to go hand in glove with overweening arrogance. Our media seems content to ignore that arrogance when it is merely being directed at Christians. I wonder what some of those same people will say now that an identical arrogance is being directed at other races. If I had to guess, I suspect they’ll say as little as possible.

When one of the brightest men in the world sounds more like a Southern plantation owner than a paragon of moral virtue we should take the opportunity to think twice about elevating the champions of reason to the position of master.

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Category: Atheism |

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