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The Francis Crick Papers

Letter from Francis Crick to Ernst Mayr pdf (69,832 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Francis Crick to Ernst Mayr
Crick's letter to the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr was written in reference to the contemporary debate in the United States about the role of genetics, race, and environment in human behavior. The debate was triggered by the Nobel Prize winning physicist William Shockley, who argued that the lag in educational achievements of black Americans could be accounted for by inherited racial traits, namely a lower IQ.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (69,832 Bytes)
1971-04-21 (April 21, 1971)
Crick, Francis
Mayr, Ernst
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
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Reproduced with permission of the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Continental Population Groups
Exhibit Category:
Embryology and the Organization of DNA in Higher Organisms, 1966-1976
Metadata Record Letter from Ernst Mayr to Francis Crick (April 14, 1971) pdf (308,672 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 12
Folder Number: PP/CRI/D/1/2/8
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence
SubSeries: Alphabetical Correspondence
SubSubSeries: Correspondence 2
Folder: Correspondence: M
21st April, 1971
Dear Ernst
I agree enthusiastically with practically everything you say, but I still feel that the present position which has arisen because of Shockley is unfortunate. What I would like to see is a good programme of research supported by people like yourself. You will have to reconcile yourself to the fact that whatever you do will have political implications and repercussion. Incidentally what do you think of my suggestion for a Twins Institute?
As to racism, what about negative racism? That is, the acceptance by Universities (like Harvard) of students with considerably lower standards merely because they are black. This policy is certainly going to lead to trouble. Either many of them will drop out, or they will have to be given degrees where white people would be failed. There was a recent article in Science about this.
I bought your book, Populations, Species and Evolution, the other day, and look forward to reading it during the summer. I hadn't heard about the kibbutzin results. Do send me the reference when you have it.
I myself do not feel very strongly either way about the Black-White distinction. If I have a prejudice it is against the poor, and in favour of the rich, but such an attitude is almost equally unacceptable to most people.
Yours sincerely
F. H. C. Crick
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