Monday, November 05, 2007

The Curious Case of Dr. Watson and the Coincidental Controversies

I appreciate that I'm a little late to the lynching, but I thought I'd share some intriguing coincidences regarding the publication of Professor Watson's' books and his making controversial remarks:

2003: James Watson causes outrage with remarks about "curing" stupid people and making "all girls pretty"
2003: James Watson publishes DNA: The Secret of Life with Andrew Berry

2007: James Watson causes outrage with remarks about race and intelligence
2007: James Watson publishes Avoid Boring People

Correlation does not imply causality, but it's almost as if there were something about having a new book out that led to an author making wild, outrageous statements generating page and page of free publicity. How curious.

Some extremely good sense from Julian Baggini at the Guardian. He distinguishes between what may be a legitimate scientific hypothesis, and what is just racist wibble.

[These examples are drawn from the wikipedia article on James Watson.]

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