James WatsonBlack men can generally run faster than white men. Black men are also generally better boxers. Asians are generally more intelligent than whites. But white men are generally more intelligent than blacks.

How many readers glazed over the first three claims only to find themselves jarred by the fourth? The fourth claim tends to stop people in their tracks while the others go by without causing much alarm. How come? No one batted an eyelid when Michael Moore published a book called “Stupid White Men.” But, surely if someone had written a book called “Stupid Black Women” they would have been lynched if only the limp-wristed soft-bellied plonkers of the politically correct left could muster the balls to try. There is a double standard.

Dr James Watson recently got himself into a smidge of trouble with an apparent claim that white men are generally more intelligent than black ones. Now this doesn’t amount to much in and of itself. For instance, who would deny that white Britons are more intelligent than black Ethiopians? Of course, this claim has nothing to do with race. It’s not being black that makes Ethiopians less intelligent. It’s being much more impoverished that does it. In short, the difference is accounted for by environment and not by nature. But what appears to have got Dr Watson into so much trouble was his hint that the differences may actually be down in large part to genetics.

So much has been claimed and counter-claimed in this debate that it’s difficult to find the truth about who said what and what they meant when they said it. And the alarmist headlines of the Independent didn’t help inform or educate the reader; but seemed more like character assassination. Thankfully for my purposes it doesn’t matter that we can’t untangle this web of claim, counter-claim, insult and character assassination. I’m interested only in the issue: “What if James Watson did indeed suggest that black people are on average less intelligent than white people because of genetics and what if he was right?”

Similar studies have been carried out before on the subject of supposed differences in intelligence between the races, and almost always the conclusion is that white people are on average more intelligent than black people. Cue uproar, freedom marches, boycotts, sackings, pickets, and other such general unpleasantness. What irks me is that the uproar is always in reaction to the suggestion that whites are on average more intelligent than blacks. But, most of these have also claimed that Asians are on average more intelligent than whites. Where then is the uproar? Where then the offended white people on the march? Sackings? None. Pickets? Nope. Boycotts? Not even a hint of one. How come? Is it OK when whites are the “lesser party” but not when another race is? When white people are criticised, put down or mocked very few people really give a toss. But when the target of the said mockery is a black person there is hell to pay. The current wisdom is that only blacks can suffer racism, and only whites can be guilty of it.

But other features of this episode are even more unsavoury. The injury to the pursuit of truth and freedom of inquiry is grave.

Could it be because modern man has been force-fed the Doctrine of Equality for so long that anything – even facts – which fly in the face of the Doctrine must be crushed? What was most worrying about the reaction to Dr Watson was that he didn’t face opposition based chiefly on studies, science, and counter-fact, but rather his opponents threw the racist label at him from the start. Here is a smattering of the comments: “scientific racism,” “extreme offensive comments,” “scandalous,” “out of his depth scientifically but also socially and politically” [!?!], “fueling bigotry,” “race hatred,” “paints blacks as biological illiterates.” In fact I have not yet seen one single squirt of counter-fact produced. Not a pinch of alternative research, nor so much as a sprinkling of reason. Not even an iota of scientific critique. So-called fellow professionals and other miscellaneous offended parties appear to have adopted an incredibly cavalier approach to the truth. Their first reaction is to label such views abhorrent and racist rather than exploring them and, if necessary, rejecting them as false. Rather than correct views they see as mistaken they have chosen simply to denounce. It is clear to me that many of these academics aren’t terribly bright. Perhaps they should be sweeping streets or engaged in some other occupation more fitting their intellect.

Even if Watson was wrong, there’s more required before deserving a racist label. If he was right then the label was totally undeserved. I personally do not know if he was right or wrong, and I don’t really care. What I care about is freedom of inquiry, which includes the freedom to honestly share ideas and the results of research without fear of the repulsive backlash Dr Watson has received. Even if he is wrong, why does that make him a racist?

Let’s say he was right. What follows? Would it lead to an increase in racist attacks? Would it, as some politicians suggested, swell the ranks of the British National Party? I have my doubts about both claims here, but again why does it matter if what he said was true? Are scientists to hold back on the truth because it may have some nasty consequences? Truth is the truth regardless, and if science is supposed to be truth orientated then it must do its work regardless of the consequences.

It amazes me how many intelligent people get caught up in waves of emotionalism. A similar episode to this one occurred last year when Dr Frank Ellis of Leeds University mentioned that he found research that blacks have on average lower IQs than whites to be convincing. His lectures were picketed, a petition was signed by hundreds of students to have him sacked and his university declared his views to be “abhorrent.” No one seemed to care whether or not the views might be correct. They contradicted the Doctrine of Equality, and that was enough. It was a secular witch-hunt in defence of a new conformism: beware free thinkers, apostates and heretics who contradict or even question the Doctrine of Equality.

None of these professors have ever stated that all members of ethnic minorities are inferior. In fact, Dr Ellis explicitly stated that the theory he supports does not preclude the existence of many black people of exceptional intelligence. The figures are averages and as such cannot tell us anything about individuals. For instance, men tend to be physically stronger than women – on average. However, there are some women who are physically stronger than most men, and many more women who are physically stronger than many men. In the case of IQs, just because Group X has a slightly higher average IQ than Group Y does not allow us to conclude that all members of Group X have higher IQs than all members of Group Y. Nor can we say that any particular individual in Group X has a higher IQ than a particular individual in Group Y simply by virtue of belonging to either group. The fact of the matter is that there will be substantial overlap between the two groups, and even the most stupid bunch of people could be members of the higher IQ group. And, Dr Ellis and Watson et al fully accept this: “The way to deal with this is not to treat people as groups, but to treat them as individuals.”

The terrible nature of the reaction against these academics is symptomatic of a culture that puts political, cultural and religious sensitivities before the quest for truth, and which has become intellectually lazy. The scientific method corrects: it doesn’t condemn. Branding people as racist betrays a confusion between a scientific contention and a moral one. Whenever someone doesn’t like something these days then they just slap an “ism” on it – racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, fascism – to kill debate before it can start. For instance, it is becoming increasingly difficult to discuss the issue of immigration in Britain without someone throwing the word racism around regardless of the points of discussion. It’s a convenient way to side-step actually having to discuss and debate difficult questions.

The truth is that there IS evidence for Dr Watson’s “abhorrent” and “racist” viewpoint. This evidence could be explained by genetic or biological factors and/or social, cultural and historical factors. How many dissenters have actually read the research? How many have critically assessed the methods and reasoning involved? Very few, apparently. It’s much easier to slap Watson down for “calling all black people stupid.” Academic debate has disappeared off the radar, leaving a massive gaping hole that journalists and academics who should know better have filled with lazy, blame-game, finger-pointing and name-calling. If you disagree with Dr Watson and others why not do so openly by explaining precisely where he is wrong? It’s difficult not to conclude that many of these academics simply don’t want to discuss the issue at all. And this is a damning indictment on the state of academia today. If truth can’t come before political sensitivities in the academic world, then where can it?

The most fundamental value of academia is the unhindered pursuit of the truth regardless of where it leads. When the pursuit of truth collides with the musings of a bunch of thin-skinned sensitive souls then there should be no question about which should prevail.

Truth should reign supreme – and this, to me, is a black and white issue.