NEW HUMANIST VOLUME 124 No 2 Tel 0207 436 1151 Fax 0207 079 3588 Email email@example.com Editorial Offices 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD
Editor Caspar Melville Commissioning Editor Laurie Taylor Associate Editor Sally Feldman News Editor Paul Sims Designer Nick McKay Cover Martin Rowson Business Manager Judith Walker Subscriptions Jillian Gibbins Subscriptions enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 0207 436 1151 Advertising email@example.com Website www.newhumanist.org.uk ISSN 0306-512X
Published by the Rationalist Association registered charity No 1096577, a company limited by guarantee No 4118489 RA President Jonathan Miller Vice presidents Laurie Taylor, Susan Greenfi eld, Paul Kurtz RA Board Jim Herrick, David Pollock, Diana Rookledge, John Metcalf, Laurie Taylor, Sally Feldman, Jose Gonsalves, Marilyn Mason, Winston Fletcher Chairman: Jonathan Stopes-Roe Honorary associates (an incomplete list) David Aaronovitch, Peter Atkins, Lord Birt, Colin Blakemore, Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, Sanal Edamaruku, Ekow Eshun, Michael Foot, AC Grayling, Stuart Hall, Tony Harrison, Simon Heﬀ er, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Hobsbawm, Richard Hoggart, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Sir John Maddox, Haydn Mason, Claire Rayner, Amartya Sen, David Starkey, Ralph Steadman, DJ Stewart, Ian Stewart, Claire Tomalin, David Tribe, Arnold Wesker, Francis Wheen, Lewis Wolpert For a full list visit our website
4 New Humanist
REGULARS 3] Editorial Puzzling history 6] Parish news 7] Diary Natalie Haynes finds even geeks can be offended 8 ] Yours sceptically Readers’ letters 49] Bonus balls Chris Maslanka’s quiz 50] Endgame Laurie Taylor is standing up for himself
FEATURES 11] In praise of the coup African tyrants are only afraid of their own armies. It’s a threat we can use, says Paul Collier 14] Hatefest Ian Williams looks ahead to the UN’s big anti-racism jamboree 16] Red pilgrims Michail Ryklin talks to Caspar Melville about the faith at the heart of communism 21] The unlovable press Is tabloid muck-raking really important to democracy? asks Julian Petley 24] Nick Cohen visits liberal Britain on its sickbed
25] God Trumps Part II We bring you 12 more faiths and their foibles in our fabulous parlour game 28] Fault lines Twenty-five years ago the strike began that changed everything. Francis Beckett reports 30] Bad vibrations From Guantánamo to next door, music can be torture. Martin Cloonon on the abuses of sound 36] Moral dilemmas Steven Lukes on the secular basis for judging others 39] Lost in the maelstrom Fifty years on, CP Snow’s vision for the humanities lives on, says Eliane Glaser 42] Blog standard What kind of books do online pundits write? Stephen Howe reports MARCH & APRIL 2009
33] Green-eyed monster Is jealousy an intrinsic part of human nature? asks Sally Feldman
11asks Sally Feldman
BOOK REVIEWS 44religion out of science for good 46finds out what Google would do 47grapples with a controversial epic 48impressed by Kenan Malik’s take on Rushdie and race
BOOK REVIEWS 44] AC Grayling wants religion out of science for good 46] Bill Thompson finds out what Google would do 47] Philip Womack grapples with a controversial epic 48] Lindsay Johns is impressed by Kenan Malik’s take on Rushdie and race 49] Jenny Bunker never quite learns what really killed Socrates
never quite learns what really killed Socrates
Paul Collier is Professor of Economics at St Antony’s College, Oxford. On page 11 he explains how coups can help African democracy. His latest book Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places is published by Bodley Head in March.
Martin Cloonan works in the Department of Music at the University of Glasgow. He is co-author, with Bruce Johnson, of Dark Side of the Tune: Popular Music and Violence (Ashgate). On page 30 he discusses the link between music and violence.
Michail Ryklin is a Russian philosopher and cultural critic. A prominent Putin critic, he has been living in exile in Berlin since 2007. On page 16 he talks to Caspar Melville about why he thinks communism was the most important religion of the 20th century.
Eliane Glaser is a radio producer and writer. She is the author of Judaism Without Jews (Palgrave) and is a contributor to New Humanist and the London Review of Books. On page 39 she calls for a renewed commitment to the humanities as an antidote to both religious and scientific dogma.
MARCH APRIL 2009 New Humanist 5