Crick's letter referred to a letter sent by Edsall and six other scientists to the president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Philip Handler, on August 21, 1970, in which the signers set forth their "opinion that Dr. [William] Shockley's proposals [that the Academy sponsor research into hereditary factors in intelligence and educational achievement of different races] are based upon such simplistic notions of race, intelligence, and 'human quality' as to be unworthy of serious consideration by a body of scientists.". In the last paragraph of their letter, singled out by Crick, the signers stated that "[e]ach individual is genetically unique; there is not a single important trait for which there is not a wide overlap between different human populations. It is basically vicious to evaluate individuals on the basis of the group to which they belong.". Crick was elected a foreign associate of the Academy in 1969.
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