The phrase “must read” gets used too lightly. In this case, however, I must insist you read Adam Rutherford in The Guardian. Rutherford summarizes why we should respect the scientific discovery of James Watson, why we should shun the failed humanity of the man, and why this is far from a unique problem in the history of science.
Here’s our challenge: celebrate science when it is great, and scientists when they deserve it. And when they turn out to be awful bigots, let’s be honest about that too. It turns out that just like DNA, people are messy, complex and sometimes full of hideous errors. – Adam Rutherford
HT: Alok Jha
3 thoughts on ““James Watson deserves to be shunned””
Maybe Watson wasn’t such a great scientist in the 1st place-rather, he was in the right place (Cambridge, with Crick) at the right time. He certainly didn’t follow up his key discovery [base pairing] with any other achievement that even came close [unlike Crick, who essentially husbanded the nascent field of molecular biology for the next ten years]
One can make that argument – and one may have made that argument himself; but it is very important that we recognize that, even if Watson is the greatest scientist ever, that does not excuse his racism, sexism, and unethical research conduct.
The post, and The Guardian article it links to, have already illustrated his unfounded racism.