How to hobble religion
Contrary to popular belief, migration from Muslim countries is one reason why Europe is becoming more secular, not less
They predicted the Boxing Day tsunami, but can Thailand’s sea gypsies stay afloat on the waves of modernity?
Trying to resolve the stubborn paradoxes of their field, physicists craft ever more mind-boggling visions of reality
I type, therefore I am
More human beings can write and type their every thought than ever before. Something to celebrate or deplore?
A right to believe?
You are entitled to believe what you will, but your beliefs must be subject to criticism and scrutiny just like mine
Slaves to the algorithm
Computers could take some tough choices out of our hands, if we let them. Is there still a place for human judgement?
I still love Kierkegaard
He is the dramatic thunderstorm at the heart of philosophy and his provocation is more valuable than ever
I have books on chopping wood, baking bread and butchery. But what do I really know if I never set foot in the forest?
In whose footsteps?
We were a group of secular Buddhists visiting the cave temples of India. What would we learn on the journey?
Mad, or bad?
Even in the decade of dissent, Thomas Szasz stood alone when he attacked the idea of madness from the political right
The white man Jesus
There’s a reason why the Bible is silent about the colour of Jesus’ skin. So why has this become an issue for our age?
I grew up in the future
My mom is a futurist, that peculiar subclass of optimists who believe they can see the day after tomorrow coming
Unreason, like the poor, will always be with us. But why does quackery survive when science is making life better?
It’s not just me, you and everyone we know. Citizens of the world have moral obligations to a wider circle of humanity
When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?
Godless yet good
There's something in religious tradition that helps people be ethical. But it isn't actually their belief in God
Your point is?
Science can’t stop talking in terms of ‘purposes’, but if the universe cares about us, it has a funny way of showing it
No drama, King Obama
In Javanese culture, a ruler must stand chivalrously above strife: cool, intelligent and self-contained. Sound familiar?
‘Openness’ is the new magic word in politics – but should governments really be run like Wikipedia?
A new normal
The first night that gay marriage became legal in Washington was a strange mixture of beauty and bureaucracy
Earth's holy fool?
Some scientists think that James Lovelock's Gaia theory is nuts, but the public love it. Could both sides be right?
Bang or whimper?
We’re still here, which means we have a vacancy for an apocalypse scenario. The one we choose could be revealing
The great swindle
From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty
The sultan's Sudoku
Order and conformity make for satisfying number puzzles, but eerie countries. Welcome, Daniel Tammet, to Oman
A people's truth
The Hanford nuclear site was meant to be safe for its neighbours. Now they are fighting the experts to tell their story
The atheist paradox
Now that Christianity is the dominant religion on the planet, it is unbelievers who have most in common with Christ
Couched in kindness
Jakucho Setouchi is a revered nun and famous novelist, yet few know how psychoanalysis shaped her spiritual life
The ends of humanity
Socialism is dead, and the transhuman future looms. Is there any way to recover a sense of global purpose?
Buddhism and ecology both refuse to separate the human and natural worlds – and demand that we act accordingly
Is the scientific endeavour always a bold and noble quest for truth? Not when it is writing its own history