“Creationist welcomed, evolutionist shunned” at Edinburgh University, writes student organiser Phil Holden about the Creation Research lecture by John Mackay who “was free to speak for over an hour presenting a creationist view of origins in Edinburgh University’s largest lecture theatre, while a talk by evolutionist James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA structure, was cancelled.” The UK’s oldest student newspaper reporting on Watson’s banning stated (26 October 2007):  “The University of Edinburgh was forced to cancel a lecture last week after a controversial scientist due to speak on campus implied that black people were genetically less intelligent than whites. Dr James Watson was scheduled to appear at the university as part of a series of Enlightenment lectures which are intended to give the public the chance to listen to ‘global leaders in politics, philosophy, science and economics discuss their views and outlook.’ However, the University of Edinburgh withdrew their invitation to the scientist after racist comments he made in a national newspaper received widespread criticism and international outrage.

Dr Watson reportedly told the Sunday Times he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”. These comments have led to public condemnation of the scientist, who shared the Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA in 1962 and was in the UK to promote his new book Avoid Boring People: Lessons From a Life in Science.

At the Edinburgh University creation lecture members of the University Humanist Society dominated the Question Time, but interested students took the opportunity to hear more next day at another public meeting.

Evidence News 28 Nov 2007

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