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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Un-watsoned

Commenter "Steven" pointed out a wonderful story today:


James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix, had fallen into dire financial straits since losing his job as director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for having let slip to a reporter that he believed the different races had different levels of intelligence.

Watson recently put his Nobel Prize up for auction.

A Russian billionaire, mining magnate Alisher Usmanov, bought it for $4.3 million, roughly $2 million more than it had been expected to fetch.

What does Usmanov intend to do with the prize? Return it to Watson.


According to the Guardian, Usmanov, pictured above, said:

“In my opinion, a situation in which an outstanding scientist has to sell a medal recognising his achievements is unacceptable. James Watson is one of the greatest biologists in the history of mankind and his award for the discovery of DNA structure must belong to him.

“Dr Watson’s work contributed to cancer research, the illness from which my father died. It is important for me that the money that I spent on this medal will go to supporting scientific research, and the medal will stay with the person who deserved it. I wouldn’t like the medal of the distinguished scientist to be an object on sale.”
In certain circles, Watson's name has been turned into a verb. To be "Watson-ed" is to lose one's job and livelihood because one has blurted out a non-politically correct truth.

What a world we live in, where even a Nobel Prize winner can now be Watsoned merely for telling the truth.

Alisher Usmanov, like every other Russian oligarch, most likely did not come by his billions by being a nice guy. In fact, it seems a safe bet that Usmanov got pretty nasty at times to amass that fortune. Nonetheless, if they gave a Nobel Prize for seeing justice done, Usmanov should receive it. 

9 comments:

closer to nine feet actually said...

you should hold a contest to find some one who has both condemned Watson and used galileo as a bludgeon against the pious. you know such a creature exists

Glen Filthie said...

Wow. What a thought-provoking topic of discussion.

Perhaps I am too cynical but a couple thoughts come to mind. First - humanity and the scientific method are old enemies. Since the days of Copernicus and Galileo, in fact. I find it humorous that our so-called Darkly Enlightened friends refer to the politically correct power brokers as 'The Cathedral'. Even the scientists themselves rage when they are thwarted by objective research.

Second, the Nobel has been corrupted and has been given to some truly contemptible people; Barack Obama and Yassir Arafat spring to mind. Didn't Fat Al Gore get one for his "scientific research" on warble gloaming? Could it be that Watson's choice to sell the Nobel was symbolic rather than financially motivated?
It is my opinion that humanity as a whole deeply resents those that try to serve it or improve it. In Watson's shoes I would have taken the money but demanded that Usmanov keep the medal!

As far as Russian oligarchs go...I think they can be best judged by their enemies and how they treat them. They could give our babbling, bloviating black people a real lesson on 'speaking truth to power'. Are they truly unscrupulous men - or are they victims of the same slander and libel that Watson is?

John Craig said...

Closer to nine feet --
There would be too many people vying for the title. A 347,824-way tie for winner would be a bit anticlimactic, don't you think?

Actually, the far more common hypocrisy is for liberals to mock (certain) conservatives for not believing in evolution, and then to refuse to believe in sociobiology, or evolutionary psychology, themselves. I wrote about that here:

http://justnotsaid.blogspot.com/2013/01/evolution-part-ii.html

(I was actually sorta proud of that post.)

How long before you hit six feet?

John Craig said...

Glen --
I think you have to distinguish between the "soft" Nobels, Peace and Literature, and the "hard" Nobels, for the sciences. The former have become completely corrupted, the latter still mean something. (Economics, by the way, falls somewhere in the middle.)

Watson said that his selling of his Prize was because of financial considerations.

It's my overwhelming impression that most if not all of those Russian oligarchs could not have ended up where they did without a whole lot of scheming and manipulating and probably downright corruption at that crucial moment when the Soviet empire collapsed. But that doesn't mean they're all bad, as Usmanov just proved.

six feet how fast do disks degenerate said...

yes it's an enjoyable article. how much did you learn about cognitive dissonance? I got a heavy dose of the antiracism stuff growing up and noticing the difference between our indoctrination and reality made me feel dirty for many years. one of my best teachers was knocked out by a black kid whilst splitting up a fight, he retired a couple years later when asked why he said the kids had changed. the only difference was the browning of the district. so any way even with facts pointing out peoples hypocrisy it doesn't sink in . cognitive dissonance.

John Craig said...

Six feet --
Thanks. Yes, cognitive dissonance is why a lot of people in your shoes have experienced. You're one of the realists, so you accepted the facts over the indoctrination. Most of the brainwashed (the liberals) just ignore whatever facts don't suit their self-image of themselves as good people.

It's amazing how some people are just impervious to facts.

And you're right in your analysis of the changing of the district. How many more episodes of the knockout game do people have to hear about before they wake up?

Anonymous said...

Loved this one. Thanks for posting. -Audrey

Anonymous said...

This is a good article, being impressed by the Russian buyer. God bless him (and God bless Watson).

-birdie

John Craig said...

Audrey and Birdie --
Thank you.