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IN THIS ISSUE

Humanist NEW

Volume 122 No 1 January/February 2007

EDITOR Caspar Melville

COMMISSIONING EDITOR Laurie Taylor

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Sally Feldman

DESIGNER Paul Anderson

CARTOONS Martin Rowson Judy Walker

EDITORIAL OFFICES 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD Tel 0207 436 1151 Fax 0207 079 3588 Email info@newhumanist.org.uk

SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER Judith Walker judith.walker@newhumanist.org.uk 0207 436 1171

Website www.newhumanist.org.uk ISSN 0306-512X Published by the Rationalist Association. Available on microfilm for libraries in the USA from: Proquest,300 Northzeeb Road, Ann Arbour,Michigan,USA

RA ASSOCIATES VICE PRESIDENTS Baroness Susan Greenfield,Paul Kurtz,Laurie Taylor HONORARY ASSOCIATES David Aaronovitch,Peter Atkins,Lord Birt, Harold Blackham,Colin Blakemore, Alan Brownjohn,Colin Campbell,Philip Campbell,Noam Chomsky,Bernard Crick,Helena Cronin,Richard Dawkins, Sanal Edamaruku,Paul Edwards,Ekow Eshun,Winston Fletcher,Antony Flew, Michael Foot,AC Grayling,Stuart Hall, Tony Harrison,Simon Heffer,James Hemming,Christopher Hitchens,Eric Hobsbawm,Richard Hoggart,Ted Honderich,Linton Kwesi Johnson,Sir Ludovic Kennedy,Richard Leakey,Sir Michael Levey,Sir John Maddox,Haydn Mason,George Melly,Jonathan Miller, Edwin Mullins, Conor Cruise O’Brien, John Postgate,Claire Rayner,Amartya Sen,David Starkey,Ralph Steadman, DJ Stewart,Ian Stewart,Hazhir Teimourian,Claire Tomalin,David Tribe, Baroness Turner of Camden,Arnold Wesker,Francis Wheen,Lewis Wolpert

4 NEWHUMANIST

CONTENTS VOLUME 122 NO 1 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007

11THE ENTRAILS OF SOCIETY Martin Rowson wallows in the sewer of Hogarth’s London

COLUMNS 10VITAL SIGNS Francis Crick’s legacy is the defeat of metaphysics, argues Matt Ridley 20UGANDA UPDATE Headmaster of the Mustard Seed School responds to your generosity 21WOMEN SOLD SHORT Daniel Ortega is a disaster for abortion rights in Nicaragua,says Rebeca Zúniga-Hamlin 29SAND FOR THE THIRSTY Sanal Edamaruku proposes a radical agenda for India’s untouchables

REGULARS

3 EDITORIAL Speak up for the godless nation

6 COMIC TIMING Stand-up Shappi Khorsandi’s diary

7 PARISH NEWS

39 POEM Happily Ever After by Ros Barber

40 YOURS SCEPTICALLY Readers’ letters

41 CONCRETE REASONING Chris Maslanka’s latest brain teaser

42 ENDGAME Laurie Taylor doesn’t feel your pain IN THIS ISSUE

FEATURES

14SEXUAL CLEANSING Islamist death squads are targeting Iraq’s gays and lesbians. Peter Tatchell tells their story

22LOSING OUR RELIGION Don’t let anyone convince you religion is on the rise in the UK. Andrew Copson on a new poll

24LOVE,LIFE,GOETHE Poet,novelist,politician: the great German writer had a lust for life,writes John Armstrong

26SEALED WITH A KISS Sally Feldman looks forward to Valentine’s Day

30WHO TURNED OFF THE LIGHT? Many core ideas of the Enlightenment originated in the Islamic world,says Abdelwahab Meddeb

32BLUES AND THE NATURAL TRUTH Marybeth Hamilton on the lonely passion of the record collector

16GENTLE ROTTWEILER Richard Dawkins talks to Laurie Taylor about the reception of his best-selling atheist bible The God Delusion

BOOKS

34MICHAEL BINYON visits the Victorian spiritualists with Deborah Blum

PHILIP WOMACK is unilluminated by Richard Powers

BILL THOMPSON investigates bio-computing with Martyn Amos

DANIEL MILLER reconsiders post-structuralism with Peter Dews

JIM HERRICK dances the amalgamation polka with Stephen Wright

COVER STORY

8 ROGUE STATE The Pope is a malign influence,so let’s abolish the Vatican,says Fred Halliday

Opportunities at New Humanist – see inside back cover

NEWHUMANIST JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 5