‘‘Saying something is a miracle is a failure of imagination’’

JP O'Malley explores consciousness with philosopher and scientist Daniel Dennett.

Who's afraid of diversity in education?

There appears to be an old-fashioned backlash against any challenge to a lack of diversity in academia, writes Samira Ahmed.

"Shyness is very difficult to define precisely because it’s so contradictory"

Joe Moran, author of Shrinking Violets: A Field Guide to Shyness, on this evolutionary puzzle.

When our sun was young

The "faint young Sun paradox" has puzzled scientists for decades. Marcus Chown explains.

We are familiar with the other but only in negative terms"

Sociologist Nilüfer Göle on the distorted view of Muslim life frequently seen in the media.

The truth about brainwashing

The term "brainwashing" is often used as a catch-all explanation when motivations are too difficult to understand, writes Richard Smyth.

"Secularism isn’t about the absence of religion, it’s about the structure of the state"

Yasmin Rehman, veteran campaigner recently named Secularist of the Year, discusses her activism.

“We need critical reflection, individually as well as in the company of others"

Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen on poverty and politics.

Desperately seeking cultural capital

In his regular Endgame column, Laurie Taylor describes a visit to the opera.

Why do we use social media?

Marcus Gilroy-Ware discusses his book Filling the Void, which asks what our use of social media means for our understanding of culture, politics and capitalism.

Read our top 10 long reads

Read our top 10 culture pieces