NEW HUMANIST VOLUME 123 No 5 Tel 0207 436 1151 Fax 0207 079 3588 Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com Tel 0207 436 1171 Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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 Heff er, 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 Something to believe in 6] Parish news 8 ] Yours sceptically Readers’ letters 49] Court logic Chris Maslanka’s quiz 50] Endgame Laurie Taylor takes a stroll
FEATURES 10] Faith Healers Edna Fernandes explores the interfaith business 13] Unmasked Who’s behind the antiScientology protests? Paul Sims finds out 16] Sex appeal The Religious Right has discovered the joys of the flesh, says Dagmar Herzog 20] How do I look? We can’t see what we don’t understand, explains Richard Gregory 22] Fathers under fire Elizabeth Wilson unveils this season’s scapegoat
27] Origin of the specious AC Grayling wades into Intelligent Design 30] Speak Up Sally Feldman explores the sexual politics of the voice 34] Without illusions Doug Ireland talks to Ronald Aronson, author of Living Without God 38] What lies beneath Even the godless need spirituality, says Paul Heelas 42] Cold flesh Owen Hatherley on Francis Bacon’s chilly humanism SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER 2008
Nick Doody is a stand-up comedian and comedy writer. His show Tour of Doody was one of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh Festival. In the diary (page 7) he wonders what ex-Muslims might laugh at.
24] ‘Follow God, work and provoke no one’ Richard Dowden meets the Mourides of Senegal 16 COLUMNS 7] Diary Comedian Nick Doody dusts off his death penalty gags 37] Opinion Martin Rowson sums up the history and future of the world, in one word
BOOK REVIEWS 44] Jenny Bunker is at ease with a secular conscience 44] Natalie Haynes is not amused by a new study of humour 46] Caroline Moorhead reviews an impressive new series on censorship 48] Philip Womack wonders why Peter Ackroyd has meddled with a classic 48] Stephen Howe on a new history of Cromwell’s Irish adventure
Edna Fernandes is a former foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and the author of Holy Warriors: A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism and The Last Jews of Kerala.
Richard Gregory is a distinguished experimental psychologist. On 4 November he will be in conversation with Rationalist Association President Jonathan Miller on the art and science of vision. On page 20 he reviews the current understanding of perception.
Dagmar Herzog is Professor of History at the City University of New York. Her latest book, Sex in Crisis, has caused a furore in America, where she has been accused of advocating teenage sex and destroying the fabric of society. See what the fuss is about on page 16.
Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society and a world renowned expert on the continent. His new book is Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (Portobello).
SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2008 New Humanist 5