Last week we ran the story of DNA co-discoverer and Nobel prize-winner James Watson making remarks to the effect that Africans are not as intelligent as Europeans. Later in the week he apologized for those remarks, saying that he could not himself believe that he had said the things he was quoted as saying. A day later he retired from his senior position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Further details can be found here.
Although this may have more to do with the history of the psyche than with the history of psychology…
According to a LiveScience.com story, a study of Neandethal DNA conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in shows that the early humans possessed a gene “which is to date the only one known to play a role in speech and language.” Various versions of the gene in question, FOXP2, occur in many animals, but the version found in Neanderthal DNA is identical to that found in modern humans. According to the story, “People with an abnormal copy of this gene have speech and language problems.” The research team that conducted the research was led by paleogeneticist Johannes Krause. His study appear online Oct. 18 in the journal Current Biology.
This story is only tangentially related to the history of psychology, but it was so striking that I had to pass it on. According to a BBC story, James Watson, who is most famous for having co-discovered the DNA molecule with Francis Crick, has had a planned lecture canceled at the Science Museum in London because he has claimed that Africans are inherently less intelligent than Europeans. Specifically, in an interview published in the Sunday Times, he said that he is: Continue reading DNA Co-Discoverer in Race Row