Science winner is not in running for Nobel Peace Prize!
January 05, 2001
MY ambition in the 1970s was to win the Nobel Prize. In headier moments I imagined myself as Earth’s ambassador, sent to dissuade invading forces of aliens.
I was the only human strange enough to be accepted by the star-troopers as an intelligent lifeform, and my grateful species awarded me the Nobel Peace Prize in perpetuity.
In my dreams, as I said. But I did once think I had a serious chance of winning the physics prize.
I was working at the most prestigious laboratories on the planet, demonstrating the simple effects of complex forces: telepathy, psychokinesis. dowsing.
If we could prove beyond doubt that the human mind was supreme over the physical world — and I contend we proved just that — then surely the Nobel Physics Prize would be mine. In my dreams.
Science, I discovered, does not reward those who ask difficult questions, especially if there are no easy answers. Instead of teams of research scientists, hit squads of character assassins are dispatched — once the questioner’s credibility is damaged, the questions can be dismissed with a sneer.
I have watched this happen many times, as brave mavericks put forward evidence which turned atomic theory, psychology or medicine inside out — proponents of cold fusion, alien abduction phenomena and digital homeopathy were all ridiculed and their fascinating, challenging ideas were trampled by the sheep-like herds of scientists.
At the same time, I noticed that any halfwit could be a Nobel Laureate.
That was impressed on me again this week when I read the claims of James Watson, the American who with Francis Crick won the Medicine Prize in 1962 for the discovery of DNA.
Watson and Crick are revered as the locksmiths who took an imprint of the human Key of Life.
Sadly, as Watson demonstrated in a lecture at California’s Berkeley University, he is no longer capable of opening his mouth without drivelling. The 72-year-old ex-Harvard professor told 200 fellow scientists that dark- skinned people had a more powerful sex-drive.
‘‘That’s why you have Latin lovers,’’ he said. ‘‘You’ve never heard of an English lover. Only an English patient.’’
That kind of weak wordplay would be poor material in the hands of the warm-up man at Bernard Manning’s nightclub.
In a university it is insulting, and it’s little surprise that Berkeley’s professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Susan Marquessee, stood up and walked out.
‘‘These aren’t issues one can state as fact,’’ she said.
So here’s a simple fact: the existence of Bill Clinton, not a man with prominent Italian genes, automatically trashes Watson’s half-baked theory. But Watson had more to say.
Fat people are unambitious, and he wouldn’t hire them. And thin women are miserable, beause men don’t fancy them.
To prove this, he flashed up slides of cheerful chubbies and miserable models.
This man has the Nobel prize for Medicine. He is one of the most admired scientists on the planet. So much for scientists.
Watson’s degeneration into a spouter of attention- getting claptrap is not a symptom of senility.
It’s something less deadly and more embarrassing — celebrity starvation.
Almost 40 years after his heydey, the DNA pioneer is reduced to grabbing his headlines by spewing such soundbites.
The syndrome is often triggered by a sudden burst of media attention rather than neglect.
The celebs who gradually fade away are weaned off their headline highs, and their egos are allowed to deflate gradually.
But if they are rediscovered, and enjoy brief comebacks, celebrity starvation can kick in with a vengeance. I believe this is what did for James Watson. Last year, he and Crick were named among the Men-of-the-Century in every magazine from Time to Genome Watcher’s Weekly.
Newspaper editors who previously had half an idea that DNA was discovered by the Wright brothers were suddenly desperate for the Watson-Crick line on everything: the Olympics, e-commerce, Chechen civil war, the price of petrol.
The decoding of the human genome heightened the frenzy. And abruptly, as fevers do, it ended. The US went to the polls and editors everywhere were suddenly very very bored of DNA.
Those double helixes, so pass. What is a forgotten celeb to do, except make another brilliant, epoch- defining discovery?
Or, if that happens not to be possible, to hurl a steaming heap of racist nonsense dressed up in a nice white scientific lab-coat?
No-one needs to be reminded of the dangers of letting respected people deliver racist opinions without at least the support of serious research.
Juxtaposing pictures of ‘oversexed’girls in bikinis and ‘undersexed’ Muslim women in yashmaks, as Watson did at Berkeley, isn’t serious . . . and it isn’t funny either.
But we all occasionally need reminding that scientists are ordinary humans, however much they want to play God.
Prey to human weaknesses, craving attention and believing their flatterers, they tell us nonsense and call it fact.
Our defence is our spirituality. The statements of scientists must be judged not only with our brains but with our hearts.
The brain might doubt: ‘‘This man Watson is so revered, his past discoveries have been so important, that perhaps I should suspend my judgement.’’
The heart never suspends judgement. The Jewish spirit must never be afraid to judge anyone, however esteemed.
This is the way God judges, with love and not logic.
And when God comes to judge James Watson, and weighs the profundities of his real work against the fripperies of his attention-seeking, I am sure the Almighty will be kinder than the media.
Read Uri Geller’s stunning online novel, Nobody’s Child, at www.uristory.com
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