PAUL BROKS is the author of Into the Silent Land (Atlantic Books)

BARTLE BULL is an author and journalist. His next book is about a series of murders in 1990s Harlem.

MARK COUSINS is the author of The Story of Film (Pavilion Books)

STEPHEN EVERSON is writing a book on metaphysics and the mind

AC GRAYLING is the author of The Heart of Things: Applying Philosophy to the 21st Century (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

RACHEL HALLIBURTON is a freelance critic and deputy editor of

DAVID HERMAN produced programmes with Susan Sontag for BBC2 and C4

MICHAEL HIRSH is a senior editor at Newsweek and the author of At War with Ourselves (OUP)

MICHIO KAKU is professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York and author of Parallel Worlds (Penguin)

TIM KING is a writer and documentarymaker living in France

DAN KUPER works for London Underground

ELENA LAPPIN is a writer and journalist

KEVIN MACDONALD is the director of Touching the Void and the Oscarwinning One Day in September

KENAN MALIK is a writer and broadcaster

SEBASTIAN MALLABY is author of The World’s Banker (Yale University Press)

OLIVER MORTON is one of the authors of Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World (HarperCollins)

CHRIS PALING ’s novel A Town By The Sea is published by Jonathan Cape on 17th February

MICHAEL PROWSE is writing a book on markets for Atlantic Books

DAVID RIEFF is the author of A Bed for the Night (Vintage)

ALASDAIR ROBERTS is a professor at Syracuse University, New York state

SIMON STEVENS was the government’s health adviser from 1997-2004

IAN STEWART is a professor of mathematics at Warwick University

RORY STEWART is the author of The Places In Between (Picador)

KEITH WARD is the author of God: A Guide for the Perplexed (Oneworld)

2PROSPECT February 2005

contents Issue one hundred and seven February 2005

OPINIONS 10Free to distrust

ALASDAIR ROBERTS The Freedom of Information Act will not increase public trust—but that may be a good thing.

10Victims as heroes

RORY STEWART We applaud heroes who suffer but not ones who achieve—they might be better than us.


SEBASTIAN MALLABY The disaster relief profession, like its development cousin, has grown wiser and humbler.

16MSF’s tough succour

DAVID RIEFF Why did Médecins Sans Fronti è res refuse to accept public donations?

17Is God to blame?

KEITH WARD VS AC GRAYLING A theologian and an atheist philosopher clash over the great theme of suffering.

COVER STORY 40Escape from the universe


The universe is destined to end in a “big freeze.”Could an advanced civilisation escape via a wormhole into a parallel universe?It sounds like science fiction, but it is consistent with the laws of biology and physics. Here’s how.

ESSAYS 28Islamophobia myth

KENAN MALIK Scaremongering about Islamophobia promotes a Muslim victim culture. The religious hatred law will not help.

32The NHSworks

SIMON STEVENS Many people complain about NHS “marketisation.”But the solution of giving patients the choice of publicly or privately provided care is helping to deliver an old Labour dream.

PORTRAIT 50Emile Durkheim

MICHAEL PROWSE The great French sociologist is now half forgotten, but he shaped much 20th-century social thought. The inventor of the idea of “anomie”and analyst of suicide still speaks to us.

COLUMNS 8Out ofmind

PAUL BROKS Why do we dream of tsunamis?