Maclean’s comment that with a salary of $36,000 Mikhail Gorbachev might not be able to afford his wife’s penchant for $2,300 earrings struck me badly (“High living on a budget,” Opening Notes, Feb. 13). Unlike traditional American first ladies, or even Mila Mulroney, Raisa Gorbachev has her own job— she’s a university professor—and perhaps she can pay for her own jewelry.
Thomas Haythornthwaite, Orleans, Ont.
DIALOGUE ON THE DEBATE
Not only does Philippe Rushton have a right to speak his theories (misguided or otherwise), as a professional he has an obligation (“Race and behavior,” Science, Feb. 13). The most valuable lesson the universities can leave us with is that all social truths are arrived at through dialogue, through the opposition of ideas. If Rushton’s detractors had their censorious way, they would close the debate. That ideas or theories are dangerous is absurd. It is their suppression that poses the greatest risk.
John Hewak, Hamilton
Geneticists David Suzuki and Joseph Cummins pan Rushton’s scientific study and subsequent theories with these notable scientific words: dangerous, lousy, ridiculous and totally bizarre. Rather than using the tried and true scientific method to refute this psychologist-theorist, our two geneticists make deprecating comments.
William G. Gardner, Campbell River, B.C.
EARNING SOCIETY’S TRUST
Academic freedom is a privilege vital to scholars who explore radical ideas at the edge of human thought. But there is a reciprocal responsibility—the academic community must ensure that the quality of scholarship being protected deserves society’s trust. Allan Fotheringham should not rely on 30-second newsclips for the substance of a U/2-hour debate (“Tasting the passing favorite flavors,” Feb. 20). Philippe Rushton’s work doesn’t even qualify as bad science. That type of work is not scientifically legitimate, as leading geneticists have stated formally since 1970. Rushton’s persistence can only suggest that he is uninformed or deliberately mischievous. It is a dereliction of responsibility by academics and Fotheringham alike to defend bad scholarship under the rubric of academic freedom.
David Suzuki, Vancouver
A WRONGFUL ATTACK
The claim that I am “merely following the Irving line” in saying that The TelegraphJournal and The Evening Times-Globe are entirely independent is total rot (“The tough tycoons,” Cover, Feb. 6). The newspapers’ editorial policy and news coverage are free from all outside influence and dictated by one
consideration—the interests of the people of New Brunswick. The attack on my professional integrity, based on anonymous sources, is just plain wrong. It’s also implicitly an insult to the many first-rate journalists here, who would not remain if the papers weren’t independent of all outside interests. I expected better. But then I didn’t expect you would spell my name wrong, either.
Paul Willcocks, Publisher, The Telegraph-Journal, The Evening Times-Globe, Saint John, N.B.
HEADS OF STATE
In your Feb. 6 issue, President George Bush and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney are referred to as the “two heads of state” (“In Reagan’s footsteps,” Canada). Regardless of how often this ridiculous error appears, the Prime Minister is not the head of state.
John McCormick, San Josef, B.C.
Letters are edited and may be condensed. Writers should supply name, address and telephone number. Mail correspondence to-. Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7.
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