Letter: Oxford must vote in favour of pounds 20m

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The Independent Online
Sir: Richard Dawkins' (letter, 25 July) new post in the Public Understanding of Science can be viewed as a form of management studies, in this case management of public opinion in relation to science (and, as he would like to think, religion). It is certainly distinct from the academic research and teaching functions of the rest of Oxford University, and many colleagues would have preferred the Charles Simonyi benefaction, which largely funds the post, to be used for something else - especially as Professor Dawkins continues to occupy academic facilities with valuable alternative uses.

Moreover, the Simonyi benefaction was not sufficient immediately to fund the post in full, and the university was thus sucked into an obligation to find some thousands of pounds in order to permit Professor Dawkins' appointment.

If, before setting out to vote against the Said benefaction, Professor Dawkins were able briefly to suspend his contempt for religious precepts, he might care to consider Matthew vii, 3, on motes and beams.

PETER M OPPENHEIMER

Christ Church, Oxford

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