Sollte man über Rasse und Intelligenz sprechen?

PRINCETON, NJ – Die Schnittfläche zwischen Genetik und Intelligenz ist ein intellektuelles Minenfeld. Der ehemalige Präsident von Harvard, Larry Summers, löste 2005 eine Explosion aus, als er zaghaft eine genetische Erklärung für die Schwierigkeiten seiner Universität bei der Einstellung von Professorinnen in den Fächer Mathematik und Physik andeutete. (Er suggerierte nicht, dass Männer in diesen Fächern durchschnittlich begabter wären als Frauen, sondern dass es Gründe geben, zu vermuten, dass Männer in diesen Fächern mit größerer Wahrscheinlichkeit sowohl am unteren wie am oberen Ende des Fähigkeitsspektrums stünden – und Harvard stellt natürlich nur Leute vom äußersten oberen Ende ein.) 

Jetzt ist einer der angesehensten Wissenschaftler unserer Zeit auf sehr viel unbeholfenere Weise ins selbe Minenfeld gestolpert – mit vorhersehbarem Ergebnis. Im Oktober war James Watson – für seine Beschreibung der DNA-Struktur 1962 mit dem Nobelpreis ausgezeichnet – in London, um seine Memoiren Avoid Boring People and Other Lessons From a Life in Science vorzustellen. In einem Interview mit der Londoner Sunday Times wurde er mit den Worten zitiert, er sei pessimistisch, was die Aussichten für Afrika angehe, weil „unsere gesamte Sozialpolitik davon ausgeht, dass ihre Intelligenz mit der Unsrigen identisch ist – während alle Tests sagen, dass das so nicht stimmt.“ Er fügte hinzu, er hoffe, dass alle gleich seien, aber dass „Leute, die sich mit schwarzen Beschäftigten befassen müssen, feststellen, dass dem nicht so ist“.

Watson versuchte, seine Bemerkungen in einem späteren Interview im The Independent klarzustellen, wo er äußerte:

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