Whether or not you've been following the James Watson affair, you should set aside some time to read Jason Malloy's exhaustive and numerate study of the science behind the scandal. It may be bad form, but Malloy's concluding remarks are too good to pass up:
Along with E.O. Wilson, James Watson is perhaps
the most distinguished living figure in American biology, and yet even
he was not immune to immediate expulsion from the very lab he created
and built up over 40 years of his life, and excommunication from the
scientific establishment that celebrated him. All this for one crime:
voicing scientific facts and hypotheses that made this community
uncomfortable. The same personal and professional fate befell former
Harvard president Larry Summers in 2005 for a purely academic discussion of females in science during an economics conference intended for discussing this very subject!
What effect will this continuing intellectual mob violence have on future and current scientists and researchers who want to freely study
human genetics, cross-cultural psychology, sociology, or any discipline
that may reveal similar facts that have the potential to cause their
professional or personal destruction by an intellectual community that
resembles the medieval church?
Those who punish, those who lie, those who silence, those who condemn, those who intimidate... they have corrupted science.
have injured the intellectual openness, freedom, and fairness of our
society and our institutions, with untold costs to our collective human
Not James D. Watson.
Elsewhere, Ben Birnbaum of the Cornell Daily Sundoes his part to fill the MSM void with an eloquent opinion piece entitled "In Defense of Dr. Watson." An excerpt:
Wanting something to be true can unduly influence our conclusions. But
true scientists resist this temptation. True scientists don’t foreclose
avenues of inquiry simply because they fear what they may learn. True
scientists form hypotheses, judge them against the facts and revise
them as those facts demand. Ideologues, on the other hand, reach their
conclusions in advance, seeking the facts that fit their preconceived
notions and dismissing those that don’t.
This is simple stuff, of course. But when public discussion is corrupted by cowardice and mendacity, the simple stuff is too easily forgotten.