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Valley's birthplace haunted by Nobel laureate's dark past

Original post made on Jun 22, 2012

Physicist William Shockley may have introduced silicon to the valley, but efforts to save his former lab building in Mountain View have been stifled by Shockley's controversial views on race and intelligence.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 22, 2012, 1:34 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by Mr. Nice, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm

He was a very brave Genius/Man to have spoken the truth.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

"Freedom of speech for me, but not for thee..."

I'll take an honest racist over a sniveling hypocrite any day of the week. The jury is still out on eugenics. Nobody seems to mind that Margaret Sanger was the strongest advocate of eugenics of her day. And this quote is HILARIOUS:


"I cannot fathom how officials in Auburn would have the gall to name an area park after a white supremacist and think that would be readily accepted by residents," Barry Broad, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council, told an Auburn newspaper.

The Jewish Community Relations Council supports open apartheid in Israel. They're deporting blacks over there this week.

Whatever his views on race, Shockley contributed mightily to what this Valley has become. Andrew Jackson perpetrated open genocide, and his face is on the $20 bill.


Posted by resident, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

It is unfortunate that the MV voice is so PC. A discussion of eugenics does not make one racist. In fact Shockley's theories have been verified in numerous publications such as Charles Murray's The Bell Curve. There is a correlation between race and intelligence. It looks like Laura Macias can't accept taht fact. She only represents the communists in MV anyway and she probably has no issue commemorating communists like Ceasar Chavez, Lenin, Castro, Marx, & Obama.


Posted by Remember the good, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Mountain View should be proud of the astounding achievements a few brilliant scientists named Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and yes, William Shockley, among others, who changed the world forever at 391 San Antonio Road. Those engineers went on to found Intel, Applied Micro Devices and scores of other local semiconductor companies. They should be honored, applauded, remembered.

Jacques Beaudouin should be further applauded for helping "Silicon Valley" remember where it all started.

Working in opposition, however, are the apparently bumbling and timid City leaders who would allow the historic site to be bulldozed, forever burying a grand moment in world history, rather than stand up to occasional misguided sniping about Shockley's personal opinions. That building would already be protected otherwise.

Show a little backbone, people. That is not what the company was about; one has nothing to do with another. In fact, Wikipedia's Shockley Semiconductor page doesn't even mention it:
Web Link

Time goes by. Views change. Let Shockley's opinions die with him in order to recognize the company's place in history along with the rest of the team, who had nothing to do with his views.

If not already done, the planning department should consider adding 391 San Antonio Rd to the protective Historic Register.


Posted by seriously?, a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Old Ben: "The jury is still out on eugenics."

resident: "There is a correlation between race and intelligence."

Shockley: "The major cause of the American negro's intellectual and social deficits is hereditary and racially genetic in origin."

To really make this scientific, we should try making white people slaves for a hundred years, then treat them as second-class citizens for another hundred years, and THEN do these IQ tests.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

Ever heard of the Irish, "seriously?"?


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 24, 2012 at 11:34 am

How about the Chinese? Ever heard of them?


Posted by seriously, a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Heard of both. What would you like to point out about Irish or Chinese people?


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 25, 2012 at 6:58 am

Here's a quote from you:

"To really make this scientific, we should try making white people slaves for a hundred years, then treat them as second-class citizens for another hundred years, and THEN do these IQ tests."

That's already been done, to the Irish. As a non-white "control", it has also been done to the Chinese. I think we can safely say that "the jury is out on eugenics."

None of this has to do with the matter at hand: honoring Shockley's scientific achievements. I could cite any number of geniuses in science and the arts who harbor wild and controversial beliefs. That's not the point. The point is that unique breakthroughs that further human progress should be honored, and Shockley is central to this Valley.

The word "racist" didn't even exist 100 years ago.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:37 am

Shockley was a genius in his field. I wouldn't be so quick to brand him a white supremest based on his research into intelligence. To do so would inhibit future studies on intelligence every time the issue of race came up. The problem is that race and socioeconomic factors will always come up in studies on intelligence as will ethnicity. See Flynn's 2007 book "What is Intelligence". A lot of the shadows cast on Shockley was driven by the liberal media (such as in this piece). To do so would inhibit future studies on intelligence every time the issue of race came up.


Posted by Incredible, a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

Most geniuses do not conform to societies opinions, but that does not say they are not geniuses because they will not go with the rest of the sheep.
If his opinion is what you believe is more important than what he created, you should then have the integrity not to touch or use anything, that has been invented thanks to him in the first place. Have some integrity and then do not use a cell phone anything that has his signature on it in the first place. I cannot stand bigots.


Posted by emdfl, a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm

(Thomas) Edison and (Henry) Ford both had some seriously politically incorrect ideas in their time (at least by today's standards).


Posted by James, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm

"He wrote a book called "Shockley on Eugenics,” about the discredited ideas of genetic and racial superiority espoused by Nazis and some American elite in the early 20th century, but well debunked by Shockley's day."

This is a lie. Currently, the Chinese company, BGI is conducting the world's most extensive study on the genetic architecture of individual differences in intelligence. And one of the lead investigators openly endorses Eugenics, which is not surprising since the idea is very popular in China. As for race, genes and IQ, if the idea of genetic differences was "debunked," why in 2009, did the prestigious journal Nature hold a symposium entitled: "Darwin 200: Should scientists study race and IQ?"


Posted by Duke, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Interested parties may want to listen to this NPR radio program aired in 2006! Called: Electronics Pioneer William Shockley's Legacy

Web Link


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

If you hate Shockley because of his position on eugenics, it logically follows that you must hate feminist icon Margaret Sanger for the same reason.


Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

Great discussion. I tend to agree with those that make a distinction between Shockley's contribution to high tech, and his views on eugenics. Though its understandable to have emphatic positions on these 2 aspects of his character, we overgeneralize by allowing one to overshadow the other to point that we refuse to see any good, and just the bad.

Moreover, I think it is irresponsible for any/all politicians to encourage this type of black/white, polarized thinking. They set the example for how issues are discussed in the public sphere, and instead of pandering to partisan interests and/or prejudices, they should be standing up for a more nuanced and intelligent approach to issues. If you want to be called a leader in the community, then lead.

Don't follow your voters' most primal reactions.


Posted by John, a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:42 am

There is a tremendous arrogance in presuming to know the physical and mental attributes for which nature will be selecting. The general assumption is that future conditions will be similar to present conditions. But past earth history would indicate just the opposite. Otherwise dinosaurs would still be ruling the earth. We really do not know what traits are optimal unless we know the conditions under which these traits will be operating. The future is always the unknown. The traits that may be useful in a highly technological society may be less so in a hunter gatherer society. Who knows how long this technological period will last. It may be short lived. This does not even get into the question of what is intelligence and how is it measured.


Posted by Aaron, a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

As far as I'm aware, every test ever conducted has shown that there are racial differences in intelligence. If there were any test on which the races scored the same, the public schools would use that testing methodology, and they'd get rid of the "achievement gap" in a week.

Just because it's offensive doesn't magically make it false.


Posted by DCS, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

In this case, I think that a compromise can be made. There is no rule that a plaque has to wholly contain a positive statement regarding Shockley. It can simply state the most important aspects of his scientific career and state that his views on eugenics were controversial at best, but mostly inappropriate (or stronger worded).


Posted by Sabrina, a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Sabrina is a registered user.

"'I'm not a Shockley fan, they don't get anymore racist than him,' said City Council member Laura Macias."

Laura Macias must have been paid by Merlone Geier to say this. What she said is absolutely absurd given our country's deep history of racism. Shockley did not lynch African Americans or burn down their churches. It is so ridiculous to paint him in this light.

This is just a ploy being conducted by Merlone Geier to divide us so they can flatten a historic building and ruin Mountain View. If this goes through, the developers will be laughing all the way to the bank.


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