WHAT a pity that the Damn
ton report on the swing from science should have received such a misguided and one-sided, notice from Desmond Albrow in his column of March S. Of course society is "short of civilised men and women": that,is what the Dainton report IS about. In fact. Mr. Albrow misrepre nts the report: it re le commen s a radical widening in the scl, ool syllabus, not just a changti in the teaching of mathematics.
But One can't simply equate scientists with the bad boys, and others with the good guys of civilisation.The evils in the world, which go beyond the existence of nuclear weapons, horrible though they are, are not theesponsibility of 'the
scientists' We are all involved and impli ated. It is th4 world's political and economic' set-up which is maintaining ruclear weapons, the imbalanc between rich and poor. An we can be sure that the worl problems — particularly e problem of underdevelopm nt — will not be solved without a tremendous scientific and technological effort on our part.
Mr. 4lbrows holier-thanthou Lu dism is not the response of a civilised person but reveals a basic failure to appreciate the potential role of science and technology in developing the human community. It is this failure that the Dainton report is trying to remedy.
TN the issue of March 8 Des2mond Albrow contends: "Civilisation is not short of scientists. It is short of civilised men and women."
Is it then impossible for a scientific education to produce a civilised person? I would say the opposite is true. A scientific education necessarily places great stress on respect for truth. reason and logic. and on openness to the ideas of others. These qualities are basic -to scientific work of any kind. Surely such a person can justifiably be called "civilised.
There is another — perhaps more practical — reason why everyone should have at least a basic scientific education. One cannot wish away scientific discoveries or the possibilities they open up for good and evil. Yet it should be remembered that in the main it is the politicians and civil servants who decide how the discoveries will he
used. It is surelyvital that these decision-makers have at least a basic scientifiefraniework to enable them to urTderstand the points at issue.
Cynthia Dees-on (Mrs.) Northfleet. Kent.
Cold as charity
WE can all share Cecily Lickorish's regret that the word love often debased to satisfy lust or mere greediness. I question. however, her statement that "everyone knows . the meaning of 'eharitya” This word also has been sadly degraded by phrases like "cold as charity"--a reference presumably to the Charity Commissioners of Victorian workhouse days. It loses its proper status also when confined to a "good cause" to which one may send a donation without self-sacrificing sympathy. And this also occurs when present day amoral permissiveness is described as "taking a charitable view" of loose conduct and unethical theses. Try substituting "charity"' for "love" in such phrases as "God is Love and every time the latter word occurs in the Gospels and the Epistles. or in hymns. e.g. "Love divine all love excelling". "God only knows the love of God."
"Love" is both noun and verb—"charity'' only a noun and useless in a suitor's declaration, vocal and verbal.
Incidentally. the Anglican Communion. famed for its comprehensiveness. requires communion to hc in love AND charity" with their neighbours! In brief, and all charity, I must differ from your correspondent in her contention.
Frank Clement Shirley, Surrey.