Once every century or so great scientific breakthroughs grip the imagination of the world. With the publication of the results of the human genome project, we stand on the threshold of such a breakthrough. Science is now poised to understand the forces behind evolution, explode racial myths, change the way doctors diagnose disease, and try to help people live longer. The new approach - looking at systems of genes rather than individual genes - will transform biologists' view of the human body. Alan Woods explains how this discovery proves amongst other things that there is no scientific ground for racism or genetic determinism, and analyses the significance of this discovery from a socialist point of view.

Nearly 40 South African pharmaceutical companies are taking the South African government to court in order to defend their massive profits, even if this means the death of millions of people who are HIV positive. The case opened at the Pretoria High Court on March 5th. This article examines how the profit motive of the pharmaceutical multinationals prevails over the lives of millions of people.

Over the past weeks the news has been dominated by the story of yet another crisis in farming. The rapid spreading of the food and mouth epidemic in Britain is a direct consequence of capitalist farming methods.

This is the headline of an article about Vygotsky written at the University of Joenkoeping in Sweden. Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (1896-1934) was a Russian Marxist psychologist and pedagogue active from the years before the revolution until his death in 1934. His theories, for a long period unknown outside Russia, have gained an increasing echo among radical psychologists and pedagogues during the last decade, not least in the US, but also in Europe.

"With the greatest enthusiasm we welcome the republication of Reason in Revolt in Spanish. In the six years since the book was first published in English and Spanish it has received a favourable response from many parts of the world, both from labour movement activists and from scientists. Interest in our ideas has been expressed in many countries. It has so far been translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek, Urdu and Turkish, and new translations are being prepared in German and Dutch." Alan Woods and Ted Grant comment on the latest scientific discoveries in genetics, black holes and the Big Bang, and how they confirm the views put forward in Reason in Revolt six years ago.

When Reason in Revolt was published seven years ago, it was greeted with enthusiasm by many people, not just by Marxists but those who were interested in the new scientific theories of chaos and complexity. But some readers found the authors' opposition to the theory of the Big Bang hard to accept, after all it seemed that the whole scientific community accepted the theory without question. But last week Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok published a paper in Science in which they propose an alternative model to the Big Bang theory. They suggest that the universe goes through and endless cycle of big bangs, expansion and then stagnation. Their ideas are at an early stage but they are clearly a step forward from the mystical idea that the universe was created out of nothing.

On Monday, May 20, the famous American palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould died of cancer at his home in New York. Gould made a major contribution to development of modern science with his theories on evolution, and challenged some of the accepted views of bourgeois science.

We are publishing for the first time on our website the preface to the first volume of the US edition of Reason in Revolt, published last summer. Though written one year ago, we think that it is still an useful introduction to all the main subjects dealt with in the book, such as Marxism and religion, the Big Bang theory and chaos and complexity.

On Saturday, October 12, Alan Woods participated in the official launch of the German edition of Reason in Revolt (Aufstand der Vernunft) which has just come out. The publication has already aroused a lot of interest in left circles in Germany and Austria, where a series of public presentations is being prepared for the next few months.

Over 400 people attended 3 different meetings in Vienna and Linz organised to launch the German edition of Reason in Revolt in Austria between December 12 and 14. Alan Woods spoke at these meetings and huge interest was shown by those attending. Now several discussion groups have been set up around the book in different universities and schools, and the campaign around the book is to continue next year.

The first volume of Reason in Revolt has, by all accounts, been well received in the USA. In general, the Anglo Saxon world has been highly resistant to broad philosophical generalizations and to Marxism in particular. Yet without such philosophical generalizations it is impossible to acquire a rational understanding of the world in which we live.

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