4 NOVEMBER 1972, Page 17

Penguin pedagogy

From Professor Antony Flew Sir: Professor Rex was good enough to send me a copy of his response to my comments on his contribution to Race, Culture and Intelligence. I think the best, indeed the only, thing which I can now usefully do is to remind readers of The Spectator of what it was to which I took, and take, exception. For Rex has not addressed himself to these issues.

He originally wrote, without irony: "On the whole, the quality media have not been entirely useful in promoting racism" (p.174). I complained: "Understandably, albeit scandalously, no evidence is vouchsafed to support these suggestions: that someone has been trying to get the quality media to promote racism; and that he has, or they have, been partly if not entirely successful."

Again, I noticed that Rex had said: "One significant phenomenon . . . is the body of ideas associated with the words ecology, conservation, pollution, etc. In this latter case . . . The ills of the world are simply explained as being due to inexorable scientific laws" (p.176). So I pointed out: that "what all the fuss about ecology, conservation and pollution actually is about, precisely is what generally is not, but could be, and should be, done."

It was then, but only then. that I permitted myself to suggest a possible reason why Rex should be so perversely blind to the nature of ecological and conservationist concerns, a reason which did reasonably refer to his extreme socialist commitments. His letter to you certainly does nothing to diminish the plausibility of my speculation. Nor does it leave much room for doubt as to whose work is "a product of . . . fevered . . . imagination and designed systematically to mislead your readers."

Antony Flew The University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada