12 June 2005

From the Mailbag

Hello Dr. Burgess-Jackson,

Good analysis of [Roger] Scruton's article. I know you've mentioned [Matthew] Scully a few times recently, but have you read Dominion? Scully does quite a job on Scruton. I count Dominion among the best non-fiction books I've ever read. As one reviewer put it, "A master of language, he leaves a memorable phrase on virtually every page." (Nichols Fox, Washington Post Book World)

Regarding Scruton: I think that many people (probably most of them) form their beliefs on a gut level and then proceed to look around for a logical justification for those beliefs (even if the resulting arguments don't really hold water). Scruton, in his heart of hearts, seems not to respect animals—so he cobbles together a rationalization that would justify his prejudice.

What I found most appalling about Scruton's article is his utter misinterpretation of Richard Dawkins's elegant theories. I suspect that Scruton never even read The Selfish Gene and simply judged it by its title. I'll have more to say about Dawkins in my next e-mail message.

On another note: What is your secret to time management? You seem to engage in an awful lot of activities: teaching, publishing academic papers, writing your blogs, walking your dogs, exercising, participating in bike rallies, watching movies and sports events, etc. How do you do it?


Alex Chernavsky
Rochester, NY

Note from KBJ: No children.

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