The institute of bad ideas

September 30, 2005

It is a strange man who argues that the Earth rests at the centre of the universe, a bizarre woman who thinks that leeches can cure arthritis, a true oddball who tries to turn lead into gold. Remarkable, then, that all three met at the Institute of Bad Ideas.

Dear Dr Connolly
Institute of Bad Ideas

Your package of August 24 is noted. But no matter how seriously the association views the closure of university chemistry departments we flatly reject your proposed adoption of the Staffordshire guinea pig farm campaign strategy. We cannot condone issuing death threats to deans of science. We could never advocate the use of Bunsen burners to mount arson attacks on sociology departments. And the suggestion that a cell of "hardcore fellows" threaten to exhume the body of a vice-chancellor's grandmother if a single lab coat is lost is frankly appalling. The association does not believe your insistence that it could retain the moral high ground by publicly "distancing itself" from the attacks while secretly crossing its fingers and quietly smirking, though we agree that experience suggests the authorities are unlikely to prevent such an illegal campaign. But the fact remains that your entire four-volume "thinktionary" kit on The Chemical Rights Militia with its accompanying CD-Rom (which we could not get to work) is outrageously misjudged. Please do not contact the association again regarding this or any other matter. Nevertheless, we concur with your fears concerning Patrick Kielty.

Yours sincerely
Professor Gitaccles
Royal Association of Chemists

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