First a hero of science and now a martyr to science: the James Watson Affair - political correctness crushes free scientific communication
Charlton BG.
Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(6):1077-80.


In 2007 James D. Watson, perhaps the most famous living scientist, was forced to retire from his position and retreat from public life in the face of international mass media condemnation following remarks concerning genetically-caused racial differences in intelligence. Watson was punished for stating forthright views on topics that elite opinion has determined should be discussed only with elaborate caution, frequent disclaimers, and solemn deference to the currently-prevailing pieties. James Watson has always struck many people as brash; however this blunt, truth-telling quality was intrinsic to his role in one of the greatest scientific discoveries. Much more importantly than 'good manners', Watson has consistently exemplified the cardinal scientific virtue: he speaks what he understands to be the truth without regard for the opinion of others. The most chilling aspect of the Watson Affair was the way in which so many influential members of the scientific research community joined the media condemnation directed against Watson. Perhaps the most egregious betrayal of science was an article by editorialists of the premier UK scientific journal Nature. Instead of defending the freedom of discourse in pursuit of scientific truth, Nature instead blamed Watson for being 'crass' and lacking 'sensitivity' in discussing human genetic differences. But if asked to choose between the 'sensitive' editors of Nature or the 'crass' genius of James D. Watson, all serious scientists must take the side of Watson. Because when a premier researcher such as Watson is hounded from office by a vicious, arbitrary and untruthful mob; all lesser scientists are made vulnerable to analogous treatment at the whim of the media. A zealous and coercive brand of 'political correctness' is now making the biological truth of human genetic differences intolerably difficult to discover and discuss in US and UK. This needs to change. My hope is that truth will prevail over political correctness and James Watson will not just be exonerated but vindicated as an exemplar of the true morality of science: that scientific communication needs to be allowed to be clear, direct - even crass - in the pursuit of truth. James Watson has been a hero of science for the achievements of his career, and also a martyr for science at the end of his career.
James Watson
Maurice Wilkins
Rosalind Franklin
Personal genomics
Genetic enhancement
Ashkenazi intelligence
Eugenics before Galton
Scandanavian eugenics
The literature of eugenics
Human self-domestication
Germline genetic engineering
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
A life without pain? Hedonists take note'
Francis Galton and contemporary eugenics
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
5-HTT and AP-2beta gene polymorphism/spirituality

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World