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NEW HUMANIST VOLUME 123 No 3 Tel 0207 436 1151 Fax 0207 079 3588 Email Editorial Offices 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD

Editor Caspar Melville Commissioning Editor Laurie Taylor Associate Editor Sally Feldman Editorial Assistant Paul Sims Designer Nick McKay Cover Martin Rowson Business Manager Judith Walker Subscriptions Jillian Gibbins Subscriptions enquiries Tel 0207 436 1171 Advertising Website ISSN 0306-512X

Published by the Rationalist Association registered charity No 1096577 RA President Jonathan Miller 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, Michael Foot, AC Grayling, Stuart Hall, Tony Harrison, Simon Heffer, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Hobsbawm, Richard Hoggart, Ted Honderich, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Richard Leakey, Sir Michael Levey, Sir John Maddox, Haydn Mason, Edwin Mullins, Conor Cruise O’Brien, John Postgate, Claire Rayner, Amartya Sen, David Starkey, Ralph Steadman, DJ Stewart, Ian Stewart, Claire Tomalin, David Tribe, Baroness Turner of Camden, Arnold Wesker, Francis Wheen, Lewis Wolpert

4 New Humanist




RegulaRs 3] Editorial Backwards and forwards 6] Parish news 8 ] Yours sceptically Readers’ letters 49] The goings on at Ithaca terrace Chris Maslanka’s quiz 50] Endgame Laurie Taylor gets medieval with the cults

featuRes 10] Power to the pulpit In the US presidential campaign the evangelical vote is up for grabs, says James Crabtree 14] Death on air Sanal Edamaruku on the night a guru tried to kill him live on Indian TV

24] Forked tongue Can Muslim “moderate” Tariq Ramadan be trusted? asks Doug Ireland 26] Field of nightmares Summer festivals should be avoided at all costs, says Andrew Mueller 28] Drambuie in Damascus Winston Fletcher finds drinking in Syria is easier than you might think 31] Writing on the wall Forty years after the riots he inspired Henri Lefevbre’s politics of everyday life still matters, says Daniel Miller 34] Heights of madness Sally Feldman celebrates the agony and ecstasy of the high heel 39] Western front Creationism is on the march in Europe, says Peter C Kjaergaard


CampaigN 08


the faith vote may & june 2008

16] A promise kept? Sixty years since its foundation Mike Marqusee and Eliane Glaser explore the state of Israel

42] Face to face Roger Davidson tells how Levinas broke away from Heidegger

ColumNs 7] Diary never mind the barricades, man the hedgerows says Ken Worpole 19] Opinion In science, as in life, some stories are too good to be true, says Ted nield 30] A small point of doctrine Colin Brewer wonders if the Vatican could clarify its exact position on suicide

book Reviews 44] Stephen Howe asks why Gordon Brown is endorsing neocon history 45] Jonathan Derbyshire admires a dystopian classic 46] Simon May listens to the dead philosophers 46] Helene Joffe prepares for the worst 48] Bill Thompson has mixed feelings about Susan Greenfield 49] Philip Womack enjoys Philip Ball’s debut


James Crabtree is Director of Public Services at the Institute of Public Services Reform (IPPR). He worked previously in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. Earlier this year he worked for the Obama campaign in new Hampshire. He looks at how the candidates are vying for the evangelical vote on page 10.

Daniel Miller lives in Berlin. He is one of the authors of Essential Architecture (A&C Black, 2008). On page 31 he discusses the influence of the radical spatial ideas of Henri Lefebvre.

Sanal Edamaruku is president of the Indian Rationalist Association and Rationalist International. On page 14 he describes the night hundreds of millions of viewers watched a tantrik guru attempt to kill him live on Indian TV.

Andrew Mueller‘s book I Wouldn’t Start From Here: A Misguided Tour of the Early 21st Century is published this summer by Portobello. As Reviews Editor for Melody Maker he learned to despise summer music festivals. On page 26 he tells you why you should too.

Peter C Kjærgaard, who writes about European creationism on page 39, is Associate Professor of the History of Ideas at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He is director of the Darwin in Denmark project.

MAy JUnE 2008 New Humanist 5