NEW HUMANIST VOLUME 122 No6 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 Editorial Assistant Paul Sims Designer Nick McKay Cover, illustrations Martin Rowson Cartoons Judy Walker Business Manager Judith Walker Subscriptions Jillian Gibbins Subscriptions enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 0207 436 1171 Advertising email@example.com Website www.newhumanist.org.uk ISSN 0306-512X
Published by the Rationalist Association 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, 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, 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 The A word 6] Parish news 8 ] Yours sceptically Readers’ letters 45] Hit and misanthropy Chris Maslanka’s quiz
46] Endgame Laurie Taylor can’t contain himself
featuRes 10] Allah’s ambassadors Edna Fernandes gains unique access to the Taliban’s school 14] Demob happy Former Guardian religious affairs correspondent Stephen Bates on leaving the faith game
16] Holy communion Is God-bashing the new religion? asks Richard Norman 20] Getting better all the time We have a moral obligation to genetically enhance human beings, argues John Harris 22] Check republics Sally Feldman reclaims the royal game for rationalism 26] God almighty PLC Marketing expert Winston Fletcher analyses a world-beating strategy 28] Global warning Philosopher Tzvetan Todorov reflects on the Danish cartoon protests 32] Campus crusades Nigerian universities are under threat from fundamentalists, warns Ebenezer Obadare november & december 2007
36] Ring master Director Sergei Eisenstein used the tricks of the circus to captivate the crowds, says Owen Hatherley
34] Shock waves Ted Nield on the science that shifts the world
columNs 7] Diary Carrie Quinlan on the secular joys of Christmas 13] Thinkers Shirley Dent on William Blake 31] Mahmoud’s Gaff Exclusive extracts from the Iranian President’s blog, with translation by Peyvand Khorsandi
book Reviews 40] Michael Binyon reviews a horrific memoir from the Chechen wars 41] Jonathan Derbyshire on Harold Bloom’s angels 42] Daniel Miller gets to grips with nihilism 43] Toby Saul on how blasphemy changed the way we think 44] Andrew Mueller takes on Sixties counter-culture 44] Bill Thompson enjoys an introduction to quantum physics
Carrie Quinlan‘s diary appears on page 7. A writer, comedian and actor, she is best known for her appearances on Radio 4’s Now Show and Personality Test.
John Harris is Professor of Bioethics at the University of Manchester and author of Enhancing Evolution (Princeton). On page 20 he argues why we have a moral duty to genetically enhance human beings.
Journalist Edna Fernandes travelled extensively while researching her book Holy Warriors: A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism (Portobello). On page 10 she takes us inside the ultra-conservative Deobandi madrassa.
Peyvand Khorsandi is the son of the exiled Iranian satirist Hadi Khorsandi and has written for the Financial Times, Big Issue and Iranian. com. He has been kind enough to translate extracts from Mahmoud’s Gaff, the official blog of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, which appear on page 31.
Ebenezer Obadare writes about the rise of religious fundamentalism on Nigerian campuses on page 32. He experienced this first-hand while teaching in the country in the mid-’90s. He is now an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Kansas.
NOvEMBER DECEMBER 2007 New Humanist 5