Yarden Katz In THE GUARDIAN: “It’s Time to Take the ‘Great’ White Men of Science Off Their Pedestals”


From The Guardian:

It’s time to take the ‘great’ white men of science off their pedestals

Yarden Katz

Tuesday 19 September 2017

… As this latest controversy shows, science also has its monuments to white supremacy. Like Confederate monuments, these statues should be removed. They are daggers to the open wounds of communities that have long known that white supremacy reaches far beyond the sphere of conventional politics into medicine and science. But removing these monuments won’t be sufficient on its own. …

There are also institutional monuments within science to be revisited. Britain’s prestigious biomedical research institute, the Crick, is named after Francis Crick, famous for his Nobel-prizewinning work on the double helix structure of DNA with James Watson. Both were proponents of eugenics. In the early 1970s, Crick defended other prominent racist scientists who proposed a plan where individuals deemed unfit would be paid to undergo sterilisation. Crick wrote in one letter that “more than half of the difference between the average IQ of American whites and Negroes is due to genetic reasons”, which “will not be eliminated by any foreseeable change in the environment”. He urged that steps be taken to avoid the “serious” consequences. Crick also proposed that “irresponsible people” be sterilised “by bribery”. In the brochure of the institute bearing his name, Crick is nonetheless presented as a scientific hero known for his “intelligence and openness to new ideas”.

Indeed, Sir Francis Crick’s parents named him after the archdemon Sir Francis Galton. So what more do you need to know about Crick’s innate, hereditary evilness?

… A controversial memo recently circulated by a Google engineer, for example, based its claim that women are less capable than men in certain jobs on evolutionary psychology – a claim that, as physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein subsequently wrote, gains legitimacy from the unfortunate fact that “it’s 2017, and to some extent scientific literature still supports a patriarchal view that ranks a man’s intellect above a woman’s”. There’s no shortage of examples of scientists who have found ways to see sexist or racist ideas as “universals” of nature.

Nonetheless, there has been a persistent effort to manufacture a public image of science as being above the fray of politics – especially since the election of Donald Trump.

Trump … Crick … all these repulsive five-letter Protestant surnames, they all have to go. Why aren’t there more decent, non-disgusting names in history like Weinstein and Katz?

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