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Join the RATionalist Pack

You read New Humanist, perhaps you’ve been to our Christmas comedy shows Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. Now you want to get a bit more involved. Welcome to the RATionalist Pack.

New Humanist is published by the Rationalist Association. By becoming a member you join a freethinking community that’s committed to rationalism in an increasingly irrational world.

Membership is £50 (£35 concessionary) includes a subscription to New Humanist. If you are a current subscriber, upgrade now and you will not be charged until your subscription is due for renewal. Simply email the Secretary or call 020 3117 0630.

RATionalist rat illustrations © 2011 JULY & AUGUST 2011

REGULARS 5 Editorial School for scandal 6 Godless globe 11 Witness SallyFeldman,

SamiZubaida,ZoeMargolis 13 Yours sceptically Readers’

letters 49 Chris Maslanka’s Quiz 50 Endgame The scales fall from Laurie Taylor’s eyes

FEATURES 14 Demonising Muslims When does criticism of religion cross the line into racism? asks Paul Sims 18 Moondance Our closest companion in space could be the reason we are here at all, argues John Gribbin 22 Diagnosis evil Simon

Baron-Cohen wants to redefine how we think of human cruelty. Caspar Melville meets him 24 Captive audience

What’s a prison chaplain for? Richard Smyth finds out 28 Undiscovered A new expansive philosophy of humanity is mounting a fight-back against neuroscience, writes Raymond Tallis 32 No doubt Since there is nothing useful about the God hypothesis, we can happily discard it, says Mano Singham 34 Sketching the present

Laurie Taylor spends an evening with John Berger 38 Different angle Andrew

West’s photos of the Mustard Seed Secular School in Uganda 41 Slayer of religion

Matthew Adams meets literary critic James Wood


What we owe the Moon

[38] A different angle on Africa

[34]JohnBerger’s way of seeing


10 Q&A Marcus Brigstocke talks God and addiction 17 Briefing: Assisted Dying

Terry Pratchett makes the case 21 AL Kennedy The psychics turning grief into money 27 Chown’s Cosmos The dust devils on Mars


44 Richard Wilson confronts the horrors of war in Congo 45 Poem David Harsent 46 Michael Bywater learns the lingo of crime 47 Keith Kahn-Harris discovers religion in modernity 48 Jenny Bunker enjoys Caitlin

Moran’s flippant feminism 48 Richard Norman explores the matter of the human predicament


Racism’s long shadow

JULY AUGUST 2011 New Humanist 3