Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fred Seitz is not as pure as the driven snow....


Since people keep referring to Fred Seitz as the scientist he was rather than the propagandist he has been for the past twenty or more years, it is worthwhile to bring together several comments on this matter that E has made so that he can simply point to a URL in response.

In another universe, Dr. E was challenged to show that Fred Seitz was not as pure as the driven snow. Seitz, of course, was an eminent condensed matter physicist, President of the National Academy of Sciences and President of Rockefeller University. In the later role he developed, shall we say, a close relationship with the tobacco industry, that somehow, later morphed into a close relationship with the fossil fuel industry. Both were remunerative, both personally and for organizations Seitz was associated with.

There are good sources you can use to show the octopus like reach that Seitz has had on both issues, for example, the disinfopedia, the tobacco document archive, and the Exxon Secrets site and, for those who like their meat red, an ecosyn blog.

Seitz has a very long association with the tobacco companies and their attempts to deny the harm that tobacco does and, of course, this gem which brings the singing Freds, Seitz and Singer, together. Singer is tied back to back with Seitz in a whole bunch of tricky business including the OISM petition (17000 duped dentists deny global warming) and the Heidelberg appeal which was a neat straddle between climate, tobacco and asbestos denialism. I am working on some comments about those after dinner entertainments.

By going through the tobacco documents archive, I was able to piece together a rather damning sequence of documents which shows exactly what Seitz has been about.

Seitz signs on:

May 1979
Pg 1
There are abundant reasons for R-J-R to place a priority on research, particularly on smoking and health research. One is that our sense of integrity dictates that we respond directly to a fundamental attack on our business. Another is that if we can refute the criticisms against cigarettes, we may remove government's excuse for imposing heavy taxes on the product. …… A third reason is that there are a large number of crucial questions that need scientific answers in the area of smoking and health.

Pg 7
In evaluating and monitoring the special projects that we fund -- particularly the sole-sponsorship programs -- R.J. Reynolds Industries has secured the services of a permanent consultant -- Dr. Frederick Seitz, former president of Rockefeller

Seitz’ role

June 1980
Procedures for Managing and Progress Monitoring of R.J. Reynolds .Industries Support of Biomedical Research .Management -
The following procedures govern the commitment of funds to biomedical research and the role of various individuals and authorities in considering requests and granting approvals:

Requests for funding support will be referred to Dr. Frederick Seitz

Dr. Seitz and other members of his advisory panel will review fund requests and prepare recommendations based on these criteria: Project viability, Researcher' s qualifications,

Adequacy of facilities, Consistency with overall program objective

Prior to presentation to the Contributions Committee-for disposition, Dr. Seitz will informally discuss recommendations with Mr. H.C. Romer, general counsel. His comments will be appended to the written evaluations and recommendations presented to the Contributions Committee

How much did Seitz get:
July 1986

Dear Dr. Seitz: We should like to renew the letter agreement dated July 12, 1978 between you and RJR Nabisco, Inc. (formerly R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc.) for six months commencing July I, 1986 at an annual fee of $65,000 which shall be paid in equal monthly installments on the last day of each month. In all other respects the agreement will remain in full force and effect.

And just a pointer to the most amusing document in the entire tobacco archive.

4 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Thanks, Eli. I had been on the verge of writing you about this latest TCS defense of Seitz: http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=041406F. As is so often the case, TCS (and in this the editor rather than one of the stringers) seems happy to make stuff up in defense of their ideology.

Anonymous said...

>Make stuff up
It's a public relations company, that's their business!

Anonymous said...

Naughty Rabbett !-

You cut off your money quote at the point of self contradiction - the linked text continues :

" In evaluating and monitoring the special projects that we fund -- particularly the sole-sponsorship programs -- R.J. Reynolds Industries has secured the services of a permanent consultant -- Dr. Frederick Seitz, former president of Rockefeller University. Dr. Seitz is with us today and has agreed to describe these various R-J-R sponsored programs for you. To assist Dr. Seitz in his work, the company has also sought. the advice of Dr. James A. Shannon, former head of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Maclyn McCarty, a former vice --president at Rockefeller University. The purpose of the R.J. Reynolds Industries "biomedical research program" is to focus on the support of basic and applied scientific research regarding human, degenerative diseases.

I want to emphasize that during the process of selection and funding, R.J. Reynolds Industries itakes no part~ in the creation or performance of any research.

Dr. Seitz has a distinguished backgroundland is well-suited to his vital role as our consultant. He is currently a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board, "

EliRabett said...

Eli has a bridge in Brooklyn up for auction. Care to bid??