Frases de James D. Watson

James D. Watson Foto
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James D. Watson

Fecha de nacimiento: 6. Abril 1928

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James Dewey Watson es un biólogo estadounidense, famoso por haber descubierto la estructura de la molécula de ADN, lo que le valió el reconocimiento de la comunidad científica a través del Premio Nobel en Fisiología o Medicina.[2]​

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Frases James D. Watson

„The brain is the last and grandest biological frontier, the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: The brain is the last and grandest biological frontier, the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe. It contains hundreds of billions of cells interlinked through trillions of connections. The brain boggles the mind. Foreword for Discovering the Brain (1992) by Sandra Ackerman, p. iii; often paraphrased: "The brain is the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe."

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„To those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Science is no stranger to controversy. The pursuit of discovery, of knowledge, is often uncomfortable and disconcerting. I have never been one to shy away from stating what I believe to be the truth, however difficult it might prove to be. This has, at times, got me in hot water. Rarely more so than right now, where I find myself at the centre of a storm of criticism. I can understand much of this reaction. For if I said what I was quoted as saying, then I can only admit that I am bewildered by it. To those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief. I have always fiercely defended the position that we should base our view of the world on the state of our knowledge, on fact, and not on what we would like it to be. This is why genetics is so important. For it will lead us to answers to many of the big and difficult questions that have troubled people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But those answers may not be easy, for, as I know all too well, genetics can be cruel. My own son may be one of its victims. Warm and perceptive at the age of 37, Rufus cannot lead an independent life because of schizophrenia, lacking the ability to engage in day-to-day activities.

„To succeed in science, you have to avoid dumb people“

—  James D. Watson
Context: To succeed in science, you have to avoid dumb people (here I was still following Luria's example). Now that might sound inexcusably flip, but the fact is that you must always turn to people who are brighter than yourself.

„If the child were not declared alive until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice that only a few are given under the present system.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Watson: Our society just hasn't faced up to this problem. In a primitive society, if you saw that a baby was deformed, you would abandon it on a hillside. Today this isn't permissible, and with our medicine getting better and better in the sense of being able to keep sick people alive longer, we are going to produce more people living wretched lives. I don't know how you get a society to change on such a basic issue; infanticide isn't regarded lightly by anyone. Fortunately, now through such techniques as amniocentesis, parents can often learn in advance whether their child will be normal and healthy or hopelessly deformed. They then can choose either to have the child or opt for a therapeutic abortion. But the cruel fact remains that because of the present limits of such detection methods, most birth defects are not discovered until birth. If the child were not declared alive until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice that only a few are given under the present system. The doctor could allow the child to die if the parents so chose and save a lot of misery and suffering. I believe this view is the only rational, compassionate attitude to have.

„This is not a discussion about superiority or inferiority, it is about seeking to understand differences, about why some of us are great musicians and others great engineers.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: We do not yet adequately understand the way in which the different environments in the world have selected over time the genes which determine our capacity to do different things. The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity. It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science. To question this is not to give in to racism. This is not a discussion about superiority or inferiority, it is about seeking to understand differences, about why some of us are great musicians and others great engineers. It is very likely that at least some 10 to 15 years will pass before we get an adequate understanding for the relative importance of nature versus nurture in the achievement of important human objectives. Until then, we as scientists, wherever we wish to place ourselves in this great debate, should take care in claiming what are unarguable truths without the support of evidence.

„The thought that some people are innately wicked disturbs me.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: The thought that some people are innately wicked disturbs me. But science is not here to make us feel good. It is to answer questions in the service of knowledge and greater understanding. In finding out the extent to which genes influence moral behaviour, we shall also be able to understand how genes influence intellectual capacities.

„Never do anything that bores you.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Never do anything that bores you. My experience in science is that someone is always telling to do something that leaves you flat. Bad idea. I'm not good enough to do something I dislike. In fact, I find it hard enough to do something that I like. … Constantly exposing your ideas to informed criticism is very important, and I would venture to say that one reason both of our chief competitors failed to reach the Double Helix before us was that each was effectively very isolated.

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„I'm not good enough to do something I dislike. In fact, I find it hard enough to do something that I like.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Never do anything that bores you. My experience in science is that someone is always telling to do something that leaves you flat. Bad idea. I'm not good enough to do something I dislike. In fact, I find it hard enough to do something that I like. … Constantly exposing your ideas to informed criticism is very important, and I would venture to say that one reason both of our chief competitors failed to reach the Double Helix before us was that each was effectively very isolated.

„Perhaps, as my former colleague Francis Crick suggested, no one should be thought alive until about three days after birth“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Watson: But legalities aside, I think we must reevaluate our basic assumptions about the meaning of life. Perhaps, as my former colleague Francis Crick suggested, no one should be thought alive until about three days after birth.

„For all my life, America was the place to be.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: For all my life, America was the place to be. And we somehow continue to be the place where there are real opportunities to change the world for the better. I'm basically a libertarian. I don't want to restrict anyone from doing anything unless it's going to harm me. I don't want to pass a law stopping someone from smoking. It's just too dangerous. You lose the concept of a free society. Since we are genetically so diverse and our brains are so different, we're going to have different aspirations. The things that will satisfy me won't satisfy you. On the other hand, if global warming is in any way preventable and it's likely to come, not doing something would be irresponsible to the future of our society.

„To make a huge success, a scientist must be prepared to get into deep trouble.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: To make a huge success, a scientist must be prepared to get into deep trouble. Sometime or another, someone will tell you that you are not ready to do something. … If you are going to make a big jump in science, you will very likely be unqualified to succeed by definition. The truth, however, won't save you from criticism. Your very willingness to take on a very big goal will offend some people who will think that you are too big for your britches and crazy to boot.

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„Never postpone experiments that have clearly defined future benefits for fear of dangers that can't be quantified. Though it may sound at first uncaring, we can react rationally only to real (as opposed to hypothetical) risks.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: When anti-DNA doomsday scenarios failed to materialize, even the modestly restrictive governmental regulations began to wither away. In retrospect, recombinant-DNA may rank as the safest revolutionary technology ever developed. To my knowledge, not one fatality, much less illness, has been caused by a genetically manipulated organism. The moral I draw from this painful episode is this: Never postpone experiments that have clearly defined future benefits for fear of dangers that can't be quantified. Though it may sound at first uncaring, we can react rationally only to real (as opposed to hypothetical) risks. "All for the Good: Why genetic engineering must soldier on" in TIME magazine, Vol. 153, No. 1 (11 January 1999) http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Soldier-On-James-Watson.htm

„Science is no stranger to controversy. The pursuit of discovery, of knowledge, is often uncomfortable and disconcerting.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Science is no stranger to controversy. The pursuit of discovery, of knowledge, is often uncomfortable and disconcerting. I have never been one to shy away from stating what I believe to be the truth, however difficult it might prove to be. This has, at times, got me in hot water. Rarely more so than right now, where I find myself at the centre of a storm of criticism. I can understand much of this reaction. For if I said what I was quoted as saying, then I can only admit that I am bewildered by it. To those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief. I have always fiercely defended the position that we should base our view of the world on the state of our knowledge, on fact, and not on what we would like it to be. This is why genetics is so important. For it will lead us to answers to many of the big and difficult questions that have troubled people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But those answers may not be easy, for, as I know all too well, genetics can be cruel. My own son may be one of its victims. Warm and perceptive at the age of 37, Rufus cannot lead an independent life because of schizophrenia, lacking the ability to engage in day-to-day activities.

„Since 1978, when a pail of water was dumped over my Harvard friend E. O. Wilson for saying that genes influence human behaviour, the assault against human behavioural genetics by wishful thinking has remained vigorous.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Since 1978, when a pail of water was dumped over my Harvard friend E. O. Wilson for saying that genes influence human behaviour, the assault against human behavioural genetics by wishful thinking has remained vigorous. But irrationality must soon recede. It will soon be possible to read individual genetic messages at costs which will not bankrupt our health systems. In so doing, I hope we see whether changes in DNA sequence, not environmental influences, result in behaviour differences. Finally, we should be able to establish the relative importance of nature as opposed to nurture.

„I have always fiercely defended the position that we should base our view of the world on the state of our knowledge, on fact, and not on what we would like it to be.“

—  James D. Watson
Context: Science is no stranger to controversy. The pursuit of discovery, of knowledge, is often uncomfortable and disconcerting. I have never been one to shy away from stating what I believe to be the truth, however difficult it might prove to be. This has, at times, got me in hot water. Rarely more so than right now, where I find myself at the centre of a storm of criticism. I can understand much of this reaction. For if I said what I was quoted as saying, then I can only admit that I am bewildered by it. To those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief. I have always fiercely defended the position that we should base our view of the world on the state of our knowledge, on fact, and not on what we would like it to be. This is why genetics is so important. For it will lead us to answers to many of the big and difficult questions that have troubled people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But those answers may not be easy, for, as I know all too well, genetics can be cruel. My own son may be one of its victims. Warm and perceptive at the age of 37, Rufus cannot lead an independent life because of schizophrenia, lacking the ability to engage in day-to-day activities.

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