June 12, 2008


Greg Laden reposted this blog post last night. I thought at the time that he was seeing someone haul out Dr. Watson's tired old brand of racism in reaction to the presidential campaign, but that may not be the case. I went to the Seed Media Group website after reading the post and discovered that Dr. Watson is still an adviser to the Seed board. That's just...I don't have enough words to say how stupid a decision that is.

Or maybe I do. Below is the text of the letter I will be sending to each member of Seed's board. If you'd like to express your feelings on the subject, here is the address. Alternatively, if you agree with me, feel free to e-mail Seed Media at pr@seedmediagroup.com with link to this post to let them know.

Let's see what it takes to get them to understand that this is a problem that won't go away by being ignored for a few months.

It has recently come to my attention that James D. Watson is still listed by Seed Media Group as an adviser to the Board of Directors. This decision by Seed Media surprises, dismays and, frankly, angers me.

Dr. Watson's remarks--not just last October, but previously as well--represent an egregious misrepresentation of scientific consensus on a number of questions directly related to his field. Seed Media claims to be "committed to strengthening public interest in science and improving public understanding of science." I fail to see how embracing a scientist who has made such statements is in keeping with the mission you purport to embrace. The bloggers you employ as the public face of Seed Media and Dr. Watson's former employer have already clearly stated by word and action that Dr. Watson's remarks are incompatible with the pursuit of scientific understanding.

I am baffled that you, as a director of Seed Media, continue to sully your reputation and the reputation of the company you steward by keeping someone like Dr. Watson as your adviser. If I or anyone else is to take Seed's mission seriously, you must take immediate steps to make your relationship to Dr. Watson clear. If you will not terminate his position as board adviser immediately, make a public statement explaining how you reconcile taking Dr. Watson's advice with the pursuit of your mission.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Update: The problem seems to be fixed now. Watson is no longer listed as board adviser. I thank Seed Media very kindly for saving me the postage of mailing the letters and for being responsive to their customers.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Thank you for the update. And that's good news. It just reminds me how vigilant we have to be, though.