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.

From the fourth to the twelfth of April, shortly after returning from an outstanding congress of the Pakistan Marxists, Alan Woods was in Austria on a speaking tour, organised by the Austrian Marxist newspaper, Der Funke ("The Spark"). The tour, which was partly taken up by anti-war meetings and partly to present the German language edition of Reason in Revolt, was a great success.

On Sunday April 27, the British Channel 4 broadcast a documentary which went into detail into "how far drug companies are prepared to go to get their drugs approved and get the prices they want". Basing itself on four different cases, the program made a very powerful case for its main conclusion: "if the Big-Pharma powers remain unchecked soon many more people will be dying for drugs."

Since last summer we have seen a widespread debate about the pros and the cons of GM products. There are people for and against GM products from all the different political shades. The bourgeois papers have been very keen on giving voice to different people in the debate. What is missing, however, is a class point of view. No one poses the question from the point of view of ordinary working people.

On December 23, 2003 the US government officially acknowledged the outbreak of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in a herd of cattle in the state of Washington.This is officially the first case of mad cow in the US, but is in reality the second case of an outbreak in the integrated Canadian and US cattle industry.  The farming and cattle crisis is at root a reflection of the crisis of capitalism worldwide and a result of "globalization".

Even those who accept the theory of evolution frequently draw reactionary conclusions from the evidence provided by science. In Darwin’s day, natural selection was presented as a justification of capitalism and its dog-eat-dog morality. The fact that such ideas have no basis in what he actually wrote is conveniently ignored. A recent BBC documentary attempts something similar in trying to establish that the violence of human males is genetically determined and can be proved by looking at the behaviour of chimpanzees. Alan Woods explains why this theory is flawed.

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