a non-random selection: features, comment, essays, talks, interviews, book reviews and more


When politics fills the language gap, can science be neutral? New Scientist  2 November 2016

Language is human; language is political. That's a challenge for scientists such as the ones who argue that bilingualism is good for the brain.

THe future

The lynx effect Has the next mass extinction of species begun? Intelligent Life January/February 2013

The thousand-year stare Imagining and caring about the distant future  Aeon 17 September 2012

What we owe tomorrow's people RSA Comment 15 July 2011

Who needs oil? London in the mid-21st century Evening Standard 13 May 2011

Climate change is a hard sell - especially when it's freezing out Guardian 10 December 2010

Can We Rise Above a Warming Planet? Climate Change, Democracy and Human Nature: lecture, October 2010.


The Neanderthal mind Aeon 15 May 2013, and a radio chat about it on Word of Mouth, NHPR, 10 June 2013.

Us and them Aeon 10 January 2013

Believing in Change: Darwin, Lincoln, Obama Royal Society of Edinburgh lecture, 13 November 2009

Can modern science explain gender differences or our capacity for cruelty and kindness? Independent 1 October 2010

Did Charles Darwin believe in racial inequality? Independent 30 January 2009

Far Weirder Than Hobbits Author's version of 'The Little Troublemaker', New Scientist 18 June 2005

John Maynard Smith 1920-2004 A personal appreciation

Darwin Day and the Peppered Moths
Independent on Sunday 29 February 2004

Unity is Health: An Evolutionary Left
Author's version of 'An Evolutionary Left', Prospect October 2001

Market Eugenics Prospect May 2000

Handaxes: Products of Sexual Selection?
by Marek Kohn and Steven Mithen Antiquity 73, 1999

Views for the Left Peter Singer Independent on Sunday 24 May 1998

Cinderella Revisited Martin Daly and Margo Wilson Independent on Sunday 24 November 1996

Drive an Escort, not a Ferrari, and be happy Robert Frank Independent on Sunday 16 June 1996

evolution: book REVIEws

Daniel Dennett's From Bacteria to Bach and Back Literary Review February 2017

Richard Dawkins's An Appetite for Wonder Independent 28 September 2013

Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature Independent 7 October 2011

Chris Stringer's The Origin of Our Species  Literary Review August 2011

Richard Dawkins's The Greatest Show on Earth Independent 18 September 2009

Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion Independent 29 September 2006

Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell  Independent 10 March 2006

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate Independent 14 September 2002


Hanna Krall's Chasing the King of Hearts  Independent 18 October 2013

Zygmunt Miłoszewski's A Grain of Truth Independent 19 November 2012

Paweł Huelle's Cold Sea Stories Independent 20 October 2012

Artur Domosławski's Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life Independent 18 August 2012

Andrzej Stasiuk's On the Road to Babadag Independent 29 July 2011

Jan Karski's Story of a Secret State Independent 13 May 2011

Race and science

Race Rerun Trends in Ecology and Evolution November 2015

Colour Shift New Statesman 12 June 2006

This Racist Undercurrent in the Tide of Genetic Research
Guardian 17 January 2006. Not a headline I would have chosen, unless I'd defined racism in the article, which I should have done. And maybe yet will, if a sense of duty gets the better of me.