Perhaps on reflection Peter Atkins will regret that he did not write with more restrained common sense and less vindictive vituperation about the "intrinsic evil" and "incipient perversion" of Christmas ("O come on all ye faithful", THES, December 25). It is evidently the enduring attraction of the religious aspect of Christmas that so disturbs him, but if science and faith really are stark, dichotomous alternatives, he has not done his cause any service.
Having so effectively associated "innate truth (that is, science)" with the divisive values of materialism and greed, he should not be surprised that so many people still prefer so-called "wishful thinking falsity (that is, religion)" and its values of peace and goodwill. Professor Atkins's panegyric to the rampant "grossness" of consumerisms seems less rational than the Christian beliefs he condemns.
David Trim. Lecturer in history, Newbold College, Bracknell Berkshire