Hitchens, it's so middle-class of you to fuss about a gentleman's disdain for science.

The speech made by Prince Charles at Oxford last week might bear a little scrutiny. Discussing one of his favourite topics, the "environment", he announced that the main problem arose from a "deep, inner crisis of the soul" and that the "de-souling" of humanity probably went back to Galileo.

In his view, materialism and consumerism represented an imbalance, "where mechanistic thinking is so predominant" and which "goes back at least to Galileo's assertion that there is nothing in nature but quantity and motion". He described the scientific world view as an affront to all the world's "sacred traditions". Then for the climax:

As a result, nature has been completely objectified - she has become an it - and we are persuaded to concentrate on the material aspect of reality that fits within Galileo's scheme.

A gentleman can hardly be expected to be a proponent of something as crass and democratic as scientific knowledge, and you as an Englishman should be well aware of this class fact. I would be terribly stunned if the chiefs from my part of the world started talking about things like the earth's actual distance from the sun. It really is beneath them to support something that any human mind can test and prove.