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Austin Cline

James Watson: Atheist

By November 13, 2003

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A Nobel Prize laureate for his work to help to uncover the configuration of the DNA molecule, James Watson is an important figure in the biological sciences. He is often sought for his views on science, philosophy, ethics, and even religion. What many people may not realize is that he is an atheist - someone who "absolutely" does not believe in God.

The Vindicator reports on Watson's visit to Youngstown State University:

When asked about his views of Watson, Tom Drummond, a senior education and physics major, said he is concerned about Watson's "close-mindedness" and his belief that humans have no spirit and no soul. "Everything was compared to mechanics," Drummond said. "It's dangerous, very dangerous, for a prominent person to have that opinion, to compare a person to a diesel engine."

I doubt that Drummond would be able to do a good job defending the idea that it is "dangerous" for a prominent person not to believe in spirits and souls. It is likely that Drummond is relying on the idea that without souls, life has no meaning and morality cannot exist - both nonsensical positions, easily refutable.

More than 200 students listened to Watson as he told them he is a "total believer in evolution" and feels the Bible is "just not right" in the face of science. "The easiest way to believe in the theory of intelligent design is to never go to school," he said. He also confessed that he does not believe in a soul or anything divine.
"So you don't believe in God?" one student asked. "Oh, no. Absolutely not," the scientist answered. "The biggest advantage to believing in God is you don't have to understand anything, no physics, no biology," he added. "I wanted to understand."

Intelligent Design definitely isn't a science - only an ignorance of science allows it to prosper. It was probably a new experience for many of those students to meet a prominent person who openly rejects theism and the relevancy of gods. That, in turn, is where the real danger of his views lies: his existence and ideas make atheism seem more reasonable. Seeing him might give people the idea that a person can be an atheist without struggling to find meaning and purpose in life - and then what would happen?

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Comments
May 27, 2010 at 11:34 am
(1) theOneWithoutASecond says:

James Watson is a liberal atheist racist, but then again everybody knows that every liberal atheist that has ever existed is racist inside

Since he believes there is no soul or spirit and really does compare humans to mechanistic objects he believes that blacks are subhumans and less intelligent than whites

November 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm
(2) AtheistInKind says:

Congratulations, this may be the most idiotic post I’ve read. Way to go moron, you are scraping the bottom for mankind. Do it proud. Dumb***

February 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm
(3) theOneWithoutASecond says:

Instead of giving an explanation of how you can not be a racist and believe in evolution and the physical brain is the mind all you do is call me a moron.

Just typical ad hominems from atheists, but what else can we expect from atheists? They have no explanation, just baseless ad hominems.

Face the facts, evolution + the brain is the mind = racism

February 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm
(4) AtheistInKind says:

You are a moron. Nothing you have stated even remotely comes close to a rational thought. Here’s a clue dumb**s. Race does not equal species. We are all the same species regardless of our skin color. We all have the same genes, just different alleles based on individual. Ethnicity has nothing to do with it. You are the racist pig.

February 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm
(5) theOneWithoutASecond says:

Repeatedly calling me a moron is just an ad hominem, but how can I expect a rational discussion from an atheist?

Here’s a clue: I never claimed that race equals species, so your argument is just a straw man, genius (lol).

Having the same genes, different alleles, and being the same species doesn’t indicate non-racism fool.

I asked you how you can believe in evolution and the physical brain is the mind and not be racist and you gave no explanation.

Yes we are all the same species, just like how all dogs are the same species. The Greyhound breed can run significantly faster than other breeds of dogs even though all dogs are the same species and all dogs in general are genetically very very close to the greyhound.

“there is less mtDNA difference between dogs, wolves, and coyotes than there is between the various ethnic groups of human beings, which are recognized as a single species.” (Coppinger & Schneider, 1995)

“There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so” – James D. Watson, October 2007

Just face the facts, evolution and the brain being the mind directly support racism.

February 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm
(6) theOneWithoutASecond says:

The main reason why atheists continue to celebrate James D. Watson is specifically because they agree with and support his statements.

“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 Ė whereas all the testing says not really” – James D. Watson, October 2007

“there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but people who have to deal with black employees find this not true” – James D. Watson, October 2007

February 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm
(7) theOneWithoutASecond says:

Can any atheist answer the question of how evolution and the brain being the mind do not support racism?

The brain being the mind tells us that we can determine what intelligence is by brain size, brain shape, brain structure, etc…

Evolution tells us that it’s impossible for different ethnic groups to have evolved to have identical intellectual capacities.

February 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm
(8) Austin Cline says:

Repeatedly calling me a moron is just an ad hominem

But you don’t deny that it’s true.

I asked you how you can believe in evolution and the physical brain is the mind and not be racist and you gave no explanation.

It’s not my job to prove your position is wrong; it’s your job to prove it’s right.

Just face the facts, evolution and the brain being the mind directly support racism.

Prove it.

The main reason why atheists continue to celebrate James D. Watson is specifically because they agree with and support his statements.

Prove it.

Evolution tells us that it’s impossible for different ethnic groups to have evolved to have identical intellectual capacities.

Prove it.

March 5, 2012 at 4:28 am
(9) theOneWithoutASecond says:

But you donít deny that itís true.

I don’t deny that it’s just a baseless ad hominem that refutes nothing, correct.

Itís not my job to prove your position is wrong; itís your job to prove itís right.

I didn’t ask you to prove a position wrong, I asked you how it would be possible to believe in evolution and that the brain is the mind and not be racist.

It has nothing to do with proving a position wrong fool.

Prove it.
Prove it.
Prove it.

I already have.

The brain being the mind tells us that you can determine intelligence by brain size and brain structure.

Evolution tells us that different ethnic groups evolved to have different brain sizes and brain structures.

So these two beliefs tell us that different ethnic groups are genetically more or less intelligent.

March 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

I don’t deny that it’s just a baseless ad hominem that refutes nothing, correct.

It wasn’t offered as a refutation of anything, merely an observation.

I didn’t ask you to prove a position wrong, I asked you how it would be possible to believe in evolution and that the brain is the mind and not be racist.

You are making the implicit assertion that one requires the other; you make the assertion explicit at the beginning. It’s up to you to demonstrate that this assertion is true. It’s not my job to prove the opposite.

And, so far, you have revealed that you cannot prove your assertion is true.

The brain being the mind tells us that you can determine intelligence by brain size and brain structure.

Prove it.

Evolution tells us that different ethnic groups evolved to have different brain sizes and brain structures.

Prove it.

So these two beliefs tell us that different ethnic groups are genetically more or less intelligent.

Prove it.

March 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm
(11) theOneWithoutASecond says:

You are making the implicit assertion that one requires the other; you make the assertion explicit at the beginning. Itís up to you to demonstrate that this assertion is true. Itís not my job to prove the opposite.

And, so far, you have revealed that you cannot prove your assertion is true.

Wow what weak responses.

I already have shown that it’s true fool, the argument assumes that a person believes in evolution and that the brain is the mind.

Instead of refuting my proofs you just responded with saying “prove it” over and over again.

Prove it.
Prove it.
Prove it.

What do you mean prove it? You mean logical proofs?

If the brain is the mind then this would mean that brain structure and brain size MUST have a direct connection to human intelligence

If evolution is true then it would be impossible for different ethnic groups to have evolved to have the same brain size and brain structure.

The only two assumptions made here is that the person believes evolution is true and the brain being the mind is true.

So in the end you have failed to refute my argument that “If you believe in evolution and that the brain is the mind you have to be a racist”

I feel bad for winning against atheists.

March 9, 2012 at 5:48 am
(12) Austin Cline says:

I already have shown that it’s true fool,

No, you’ve constructed an argument out of premises which I have challenged and which you cannot demonstrate support your conclusion.

Instead of refuting my proofs you just responded with saying “prove it” over and over again.

FYI, challenging premises is a normal and effective means for refuting an argument. It has proven effective here so far because it’s forced you to change one premise.

What do you mean prove it? You mean logical proofs?

If you think they would be relevant then you should present them, but I think most of your premises would be better demonstrated through hard evidence.

If the brain is the mind then this would mean that brain structure and brain size MUST have a direct connection to human intelligence

Whoops! That’s not what you originally claimed:

The brain being the mind tells us that you can determine intelligence by brain size and brain structure.

First, you claimed that brain size and structure determine intelligence. Then, when challenged on this, you refused… but changed your position to merely say there is a connection between them.

A “connection” is not the same as a “deterministic” relationship.

The mere existence of a “connection” not only cannot support your conclusion, but it actually undermines it because there are lots of things with at “connection” to intelligence. You’d only have a chance to get back on track if you could demonstrate that one thing has a much more significant and overriding “connection.” But then you’d also have to be able to define what “intelligence” is, show you can measure and compare it objectively, then provide data comparing the relative impacts of different material factors on intelligence.

And I’m pretty sure that you aren’t capable of doing any of that. Which means, of course, that you are incapable of even starting to provide support for your argument, never mind prove that it’s true.

And I think you know this, otherwise you wouldn’t have tried to change your original argument to something making a more modest claim. Unfortunately, you didn’t pick a “more modest” claim that you can also use and support effectively.

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