Unlike Dr. Livingstone of lore, we can expect that if Dr. James Watson- of DNA and Francis Crick fame- were to go evangelizing in Africa today, he’d not fare very well. In an article from the Independent I read: “Dr Watson said 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 â€“ whereas all the testing says not really”.
Well, that’s putting your foot in it. In other places on my blog here I have tried to raise awareness of the fact that scientists are people just like the rest of us and there is no reason to believe that they are especially more logical or rational than anyone else… or more ethical. For example in this entry here I discuss how more than two dozen spina bifida babies died in an experiment to see to what extent people will defer to medical and scientific authority. Sounds like a pretty unethical experiment to me, but the doctors involved were cleared. And one can hardly read an article like this without thinking of Dawkins (who is a buddy of Watson) and his view that religious instruction can be construed as child abuse.
Dawkins no doubt will be on the advisory board for determining what child abuse is and what the remedy will be. He’s a scientist, so that’s a good idea. Right?
It is a plain fact that people do defer to scientists and though we can certainly all agree that some deference is healthy, we ought to be prepared to use our own judgment and perform our own investigations, especially when it is our own health, the health of a loved one, or the health of our own society at risk. A scientist who does not want us to get a second opinion is a scientist that should not be trusted. A scientist that makes an ethical declaration is probably speaking outside his field. Scientists can be very helpful in ascertaining actual facts but they are not in a special position to tell us what conclusions we ought to draw and which ones are moral.
A more clearer example than the situation in a Maine school district can’t be found. Here we had statistics showing that only about 5 students at the middle school were sexually active, and these five were 14-15 year olds. The conclusion by the school board: Because 5 15 year olds reported having sex, make birth control pills available to 500 students without parental knowledge or consent.
Is this ethical? Moral? Are sociologists in a position to make this judgment? What about school board officials?
As far as I’m concerned, the proper area of concern for the school board are the 15 year olds attending the middle school. A little old, don’t you think? It is just an idea, but perhaps the school board should focus on education.
Perhaps we’ll get a defender of the board that insists that the educational system is not broken or dysfunctional just because there are high school age students still in junior high, and so there is no justification to advocate for a change, there. Fine, then. Just because only 5 quasi-high schoolers in the middle school report being sexually active there is no justification for enacting a policy that could give birth control pills- without parental knowledge- to hundreds of 11-13 year olds. [Source and Source ]
I don’t see what the problem is, do you? Kids are just going to do it like they see it on the Discovery channel, right? This is what happens when you get your ethics from Darwinists.
I think it is terribly ironic that Darwinists have been defending themselves from the charge that evolutionary theory does not provide a basis for racism and here we have Watson doing just that. In the article, Cambridge students were in an uproar. So much for free speech. I think we should just let him keep talking. I think it would help tone down our deference to scientists if we heard more about what they actually think, and why.
And in conclusion, we might want to consider this quote from the article: “However, Dr Watson goes on to suggest that genes may account for many behavioural traits, including intelligence and even criminality. “The thought that some people are innately wicked disturbs me,” he says. “But science is not here to make us feel good.”
That’s something to keep in mind when you reflect on on who brought us the atom bomb, weaponized Anthrax, and the Tuskegee project.
Of course, Watson doesn’t seem to have a clue here that if criminality can be genetic, he may have the gene himself. More to the point, he is so close to actual Christian teaching here: original sin. How ironic that he says that science is not here to make us feel good and reaches a conclusion that has already been issued from out of Christian theology! Some argue that theology really is about making us feel good… it is hard to see how the same conclusion shared by science and theology can mean that science is about truth but theology is about wish fulfillment.
For you see, Christian theology does not say that some people are innately wicked… all people are. And that is precisely why on questions of ethics we cannot defer to experts… Darwinists just a case in point. After all, perhaps they have the criminal gene, and perhaps they are not as intelligent as the rest of the population. Hey, don’t get mad at me! This is science.