ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
 
Date:  12 December 2000

RESPONSE  TO  WATSON  COMMENTS:  REQUEST  FOR  E-MAIL
 

This seems well worth responding too.  The original article reporting Watson's behaviour can be seen in the ngin archive:
http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/JM100.htm

As Marcy and Richard note, Watson is a key figure in the current campaign in support of human "germline" genetic engineering and his support for GM foods has been widely trumpeted.

*  *  *
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We're writing to ask that you send an email of appreciation to San Francisco Chronicle biotech reporter and columnist Tom Abate. Here's why:

In a front-page story last month, Abate reported on the egregious behavior of James Watson at a recent lecture at UC Berkeley, in which he asserted that skin color is biochemically linked to sexual activity, and thinness  to ambition. Outraged students and faculty characterized his remarks as  "racist, sexist and unsupported by any scientific data."

(Abate, "Nobel  Winner's Theories Raise Uproar in Berkeley," 11/13/00, <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/11/13/MN111208.DTL>.)

In his column in today's Chronicle, Abate reports that since the story was  published, he has heard from more readers who SUPPORT Watson's statements  and behavior than from readers who oppose them. However, rather than back-track, Abate today explains that Watson's behavior at
the UC lecture is the  latest instance of a long pattern of arrogance, and calls Watson's remarks "the crudest of genetic determinism." (Abate, "Readers Defend Nobel Laureate's Opinions," 12/11/00.)

To our knowledge, Abate is the first journalist in a major daily to call James Watson to account for this sort of behavior. It's especially significant because Abate's beat is the biotech industry, and because Watson is a key figure in the current campaign in support of human "germline" genetic engineering.

It's important to show Abate - and by extension, other journalists - that his independence, initiative, and critical insight are appreciated.

Please email Tom Abate at <tabate@sfchronicle.com>.

Thanks!
Marcy Darnovsky        Richard Hayes         Tania Simoncelli

Techno-Eugenics Email Newsletter
Exploratory Initiative on the New Human Genetic Technologies
466 Green Street
San Francisco, CA  94133
415-434-1403
 

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