Autumn cover

The Autumn 2014 issue of New Humanist is on sale now in High St branches of WH Smith and selected independent newsagents around the UK.

Live in the UK? Get six months of New Humanist for just £1! See below for details.

Highlights include:

  • What do we really know about the universe? Marcus Chown dispels 10 cosmic myths, explaining why gravity does not always suck, why the Big Bang did not happen in one place, and why time does not always go forward:

We associate the direction of time with the direction in which eggs break, castles crumble and people grow old. What all these changes have in common is a transition from an ordered to a disordered state. Technically, physicists call this an increase in “entropy”.

The reason things can become more disordered is obviously that they were more ordered in the past. And, if we follow this reasoning to its logical conclusion, we find that the ultimate reason is that the universe began in a highly ordered state – the Big Bang. Think for a moment what this means. Eggs break, castles crumble and babies grow old because the universe is expanding from a Big Bang – because the most distant galaxies are flying away from us. How incredible is that?

  • Allegations of an Islamist plot to take over schools in Birmingham triggered a national scandal. Samira Shackle reports on what really went on
  • Tim Minchin talks to Ariane Sherine about his latest film and musical projects – and his political aspirations
  • What does it mean to mark the Holocaust, as it slips from human memory? Toby Lichtig explores the personal and the political elements of remembering
  • Fatema Ahmed on the strange world of Muriel Spark
  • Caspar Melville remembers Stuart Hall and Richard Hoggart, and examines their academic legacy – the discipline of Cultural Studies
  • Author Carys Bray on religious doubt, creativity, and her decision to leave the Mormon Church
  • Renni Eddo-Lodge tracks the rise and fall of Robin Thicke
  • In South Africa, the occult economy is thriving. Sarah Emily Duff reports
  • More than any other event, death separates the devout from the damned. Sally Feldman asks what a secular funeral can offer
  • Isabel Allende discusses her new novel and the politics of her home country, Chile
  • Mark Fisher on “The Americans”, the subversive spy drama that has us rooting for the Soviets

PLUS: Book reviews and columns from Jonathan Rée, Andrew Copson, Juliet Jacques, David Wearing, and Alice Bell

Get six months of New Humanist for just £1! UK customers, direct debit only. After six months your subscription will continue at the annual rate of £27. You can cancel at any time. Overseas readers can subscribe for £27 a year or take out a digital-only subscription for £10.