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OBITUARY: Christopher Reeve
Michael Cook | 26 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Why are we rushing to canonize Christopher Reeve? To presidential hopeful John Kerry, the quadriplegic actor was "truly America's hero". As far away as Australia, he was "the most impressive person I have ever met" for one of that country's leading politicians. Even President Bush paid tribute to his "personal courage, optimism, and self-determination".

What women need is a Kyoto Protocol of their own
Carolyn Moynihan | 26 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Some things in life are predictable. If you play with fire, the old saying goes, you get burnt. If you drive too fast you crash. And if you live in a highly sexualized society you may be taken for a sex object and raped.

The mystery of the Indonesian hobbits
Carlos Marmelada | 26 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
An Australian research team, led by paleoanthropologists Peter Brown and Mike Morwood, recently announced the discovery of a new human species, different from us, but co-existing with our species, Homo sapiens (1). The specimen found on the Indonesian island of Flores measures a bit over a meter tall, and has a cranial volume of 380 cm3, similar to that of a chimpanzee. However, it appears to be an intelligent species based on the stone instruments associated with it. If this information is confirmed, we have here an extraordinary discovery.

The Vatican releases a compilation of its social teachings
Diego Contreras | 26 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Competing notions of human dignity are often at the root of headline stories around the world, as witness debates over issues ranging from stem cells to the war in Iraq. Since the end of the 19th century, the Catholic Church has tried to set down guidelines on social, economic and political issues in an increasingly complex world. A number of documents have been published on these teachings and these have now been compiled by the Holy See as a "Compendium of the social doctrine of the Church", a 520-page manual with a 200-page index.

The black tide of pornography
Jaime Nubiola | 26 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
The only pornography that everyone frowns on is "child pornography". But "deluxe pornography", masquerading as eroticism, is making great strides in the media, advertising and fashion. Philosopher Jaime Nubiola sets out to define the difference.

Is having a good time the point of life?
Christopher Martin | 26 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Some people would say that it can't be that the point of a person's life is having a good time because it would be selfish, or unsatisfying. I think both those answers are correct, but I want to give another, or a set of others. Having a good time, having pleasant experiences, can't be the point of your life because it wouldn't be a life, because it would be pointless, because it would be self-contradictory.

Cheating, America’s ethical crisis
Michael Cook | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Trust was a key issue in the recent American election. Words like integrity, honesty, lies, deceit and evasion filled the evening news. Bush supporters accused Kerry of lying over his war record. Kerry supporters accused Bush of lying over the weapons of mass destruction.

Joyce Jillson, astrologer to the stars
Michael Cook | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Bridging the gap between serious astrology and entertainment astrology.

The demented genius of The Far Side
Michael Cook | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Gary Larsen, The Complete Far Side, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2003, 1272 pages (20 pounds/10kg), US$85 (Amazon)

The death of the death of God
Francis Phillips | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Alister McGrath
The Twilight of Atheism: the rise and fall of disbelief in the modern world
Doubleday. US$23.95. ISBN 0-385-50061-0

Bush’s family edge
Michael Cook | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
The most striking map of the American election was the distribution of blue Kerry counties and red Bush counties. What it shows is a fringe of blue within a few miles of the West Coast beaches, a ribbon of blue along the Mississippi and a stub of New England blue, along with a few Kerry counties in the immense Southwest. But basically there was a vast hinterland of red, stretching from East to West. Even in states which Kerry carried easily like Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York, specks of blue float in a sea of red.

The health of American marriages
Social Action | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
If you take your evidence from television shows, then young men are not interested in marriage. But a US national survey of young men aged 25-34 shows that most men are "the marrying kind", although men are delaying marriage until older ages. Those from traditional, religiously observant family backgrounds are more likely to be married, or to seek marriage and to have positive views of marriage, women and children than young males who come from non traditional and non religious family backgrounds. However, around twenty per cent of young men are personally averse to marriage.

Revisiting the man who invented tolerance
Christopher Martin | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
This year marks 300th anniversary of the death of the English philosopher John Locke in 1704, an event which has been commemorated by several conferences. Locke is important for a number of reasons. He was the first considerable figure of the empiricist school of philosophy, which sought to find a secure foundation for our whole system of knowledge in our sensations. As a political philosopher, he articulated the importance of the division of the three powers of the state, the legislative, the judiciary, and the executive, a distinction which is enshrined in the US constitution and in the constitutional practice of all respectable free countries.

Dear Tony Blair: why are you creating an ex-Christian Britain?
William Keenan | 19 November 2004 | FEATURES |  
Dear Tony Blair: You call yourself a Christian. You are interested in theology. But I would suggest that this might be an opportune time for you quietly to contemplate a very important question: Why do so many people now believe you are presiding over one of the most anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, anti-religious Governments in modern times?

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