NEW HUMANIST VOLUME 123 No 6 Tel 0207 436 1171 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 Martin Rowson 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 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, Bernard Crick, 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 viva la revolucióón 6] Parish news 8 ] Yours sceptically readers’ letters 49] Negligent angels chris maslanka’s quiz 50] Endgame Laurie Taylor puts his foot in it
FeATures 10] Zero confidence Will crunch lead to punch? asks Steven Lukes 12] Deep trouble Kerem oktem visits a Turkey caught between theocracy and fascism 16] Nine lessons and carols for godless people ricky Gervais, robin Ince, Phill Jupitus, natalie Haynes, darren Hayman and many more . . . 24] Changing our minds The brain is far more flexible than we thought, says norman doidge 26] God trumps Which religion is simply the best? Find out by playing our exclusive festive card game
28] Uncertainty principle Alexei Sayle tells Laurie Taylor why he no longer needs to be right 32] Something to declare Human rights means favouring the downtrodden, says conor Gearty 35] Hingland flings Sally Feldman finds out what’s under the kilt 39] Dangerous mind? edward Said has been subjected to a torrent of accusations. Stephen Howe fillets the facts 42] All that is solid melts into art damien Hirst is the artist we deserve, says daniel miller november & december 2008
Ariane Sherine is a comedy writer and a regular contributor to the Guardian. on page 7 she tells the story of the Atheist bus campaign.
Kerem Oktem is a research Fellow at St Antony’s college, oxford. visiting Turkey in october, he found a country caught between an increasingly Islamist government and the secular “deep state”.
18] Fifty years of solitude After castro, what will the cuban people believe? roger davidson reports from Havana
columNs 7] Diary Ariane Sherine invites you on board the Atheist bus campaign 15] Opinion rabbi Jonathan romain makes the religious case against faith schools 38] Thinker Thomas Aquinas was no man of reason, argues Shadia drury
book reviews 44] Michael Binyon is impressed by Gilles Kepel’s analysis of Jihad 45] Philip Womack finds redemption in a norwegian classic 46] Nina Power takes philosophy lessons from a wolf 46] James Crabtree is not quite convinced by Jeff Sharlet’s family 48] Jenny Bunker rues a missed opportunity 48] Stuart Sim visits George Pelecanos’s mean streets
Roger Davidson has been visiting cuba for many years. reporting from Havana on page 18, he looks at the humanist origins of the revolution and explores the role of the catholic church in the post-castro nation.
Norman Doidge is a clinical psychiatrist and is on the faculty of the University of Toronto. on page 24 he draws on his bestselling book The Brain That Changes Itself to explain the new world of neuroplasticity.
Conor Gearty is rausing director of the centre for the Study of Human rights at the London School of economics. commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal declaration of Human rights on page 32, he calls for a renewed commitment to the disadvantaged.
november december 2008 New Humanist 5