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03/01/2003 10:51 PM ID: 28807 Permalink   

DNA Discoverer Watson: Stupidity Should Be Cured


On the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA structure, James Watson said in a BBC4 interview "If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease," and said he'd like to get rid of it, saying that it is probably not caused by poverty.

This is not the first time Watson has stirred controversy with regard to genetic manipulation. He was once quoted as saying, "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great."

Other scientists point out that traits such as intelligence and beauty are incredibly complex and would be difficult to influence with genetic engineering.

    WebReporter: CarloSkippy Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  Finally hope for Bush  
Just imagine - a cure for stupidity.
  by: mberg     03/02/2003 01:03 AM     
Hey, as a smart male, I agree with both statements. If we could make all girls cute and all people smart, this world would be a much better place, lol.
  by: kolman36     03/02/2003 01:25 AM     
I disagree.. if all girls were pretty AND smart, pretty girls would be much harder to take advantage of!
  by: dtyler   03/02/2003 01:44 AM     
  Beauty and stupidity are relative concepts  
The world of genetic manipulation is a terrible one. Gattaca chillingly portrays this. Once you start down this road, the division between rich and poor will become unbridgeable. Suddenly the rich get the best treatment: the best brain, best body, best looks, and continue to do so as wealth perpetuates wealth (generally). Those who can't afford cutting edge tech will be left behind. Each generation becoming obsolete as incremental advance makes the previous batch/generation 'inferior'.

Apart from irradication/symbosis relationship of major diseases, this is one box that should be left unopened.
  by: jonnienewbee   03/02/2003 02:36 AM     
Excuse me, but how do you think the apes split off from humans when we were both primates? It is clear and unstoppable.
  by: Rappy   03/02/2003 05:28 AM     
  The Genie is out of the bottle....  
Once it's open then it all progresses from there... Law's or no law's it will start getting used and abused.

If anyone is interested, I vote pretty and stupid.... LOL No, only joking....

I think that we will start with diseases whilst the richest play with other traits. Remember this is mainly over generations and impacts ourselves and our children. So hopefully we will be a bit more sensible about these things.
  by: bag     03/02/2003 12:05 PM     
  Followup: Scientists Dismiss Watson's Statements  
  by: CarloSkippy     03/02/2003 03:47 PM     
  But then again  
Doesn't the history of evolution teach us that survival of the fittest ensures the success of the species as a whole?

And if success depends on having the best genetics, is genetic engineering not simply another kind of evolution, one that we humans make ourselves, but suited to the same purpose as the natural one?

I'm not pro or con genetics - just making some general observations.
  by: mberg     03/03/2003 01:21 AM     
  Re: mberg & rappy  
No, evolution for the human species has almost become stagnant. The pressures which brought about evolution no longer exist. Thus, any good changes will not propagate, nor will any bad changes (far more concerning) die off, as modern medicine etc can assure survival for the vast majority. The only cases where you will see human evolution is in the third world, where the struggle for survival is ongoing. One example is the aids virus in Africa. After decimating so many, it appears a few have evolved a protection against the virus. Needless to say pharmecutical companies are persuing this feverently.
  by: jonnienewbee   03/03/2003 04:51 AM     
  Literary examples and de-evolution  
Sad but true, the human species is de-evolving in many civilized countries. It's an obvious trend that people are getting dumber and more reliant upon others over themselves. Normally, stupid and weak people would die off, but medical technology and government protection has raised weakness and stupidity to new heights and completely stopped Darwinian evolution.

I'm not sure what to think on the idea of genetically "curing" people of ugliness and stupidity, but I'd like to point out two examples of fictionly worlds like this. The first is "Brave New World" by Auldus Huxly. This classic novel is about a society where people are born into a certain tier of society, genetically and mentally trained to be both highly effective at thier role in society and to love whatever they do. Imagine a world where McDonald's employees were genetically engineered and raised from birth to be perfect burger flippers and to LOVE every minute of it. It's a chilling, but strangely appealing world. I'd reccomend that everyone read the book.

The second is a game "Alpha Centauri." Many of the games technologies are based on modern theories and such, so some of the things you discover are genetic in nature. The game features some interesting bits about human's that grow to perfection thanks to DNA manipulation. A fun game with a lot of meaning hidden in it, if you know where to look.
  by: DragonWizard   03/03/2003 09:45 PM     
While our society could definitely benefit from a lack of stupidity and maybe some weight-loss, the idea of making all the girls "pretty" is rediculous, not to mention impossible. The only way to pull it off would be to mentally train all men to find the exact same kind of women attractive. Which doesn't seem likely to me.
  by: erasedgod   03/04/2003 11:33 PM     
  about de-evolution  
de-evolution has been ocurring way back since mankind settled down and started making farms, but genetic manipulation to the grade of 'flipping burgers for life' is a dream, and don't think changes like that are going to happen next decade or next century, these things take time, plus specialization and teamwork will in time allow the race to improve a lot more better than it would if everybody had to fend of for themselves. On the stupid and pretty thing, well, it sure would be a lot better world if for instance the 'arsonist' gene could be erradicated, right? also, making people pretty is not that hard, just look on those studies of people with both sides of the face equal, the look better than say, quasimodo.
  by: meltman   03/06/2003 08:30 PM     
  I think the Darwin Awards have proven that....  
Natural selection weeds out the really stupid ones. lol
  by: duskieone   03/06/2003 08:41 PM     
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