Watson apologised for his remarks, but later appeared to reassert them when he told a 2019 PBS documentary that differences in IQ scores between blacks and whites were driven by genetics. When asked to comment on the furore, Francis Collins, a leading geneticist and director of the US National Institutes of Health, said he was unaware of any credible research that backed up Watson’s view. He expressed his dismay that a prominent scientist was perpetuating “such scientifically unsupported and hurtful beliefs”.
It’s that use of the word “credible”.
I don’t know what is true either way here. The idea that populations have different average IQs doesn’t worry me, whether true or not. That variation within the population is greater than across them is all we need to know that each individual should be treated as an individual – pretty much the basis of any reasonable form of civil liberty anyway.
I’m also not entirely sure about the value of IQ tests, whether that point that they are culturally specific is true or not. We know that from within economics such things can be true – the results of the ultimatum game vary wildly dependent upon the culture of the players.
So, in terms of nailing down who is right here I’m all at sea and perfectly happy to stay there.
It’s just that use of the word “credible”. It is used, in my experience, to mean “everyone who disagrees is politically unacceptable.” Which isn’t how science works at all. And the thing is, when I see people using it in that meaning – as above – then I simply don’t believe the proposition they are advancing.