Is Science Being Undermined By Religion?

“As a student of the history and philosophy of science, I have been watching with concern how modern science itself — perhaps the single most powerful force for secularisation — is being re–coded as sacred, either as affirming the Bible or the Vedas, or as ‘lower knowledge’ of ‘dead matter’, in need of spiritualisation. As an old–time partisan of the Enlightenment and scientific temper, I have been watching with concern as my fellow intellectuals and activists, in the United States and India, who identify themselves with social justice, anti–imperialism, women’s rights and sustainable development, have themselves paved the way for re–enchantment or re–sacralisation of science.”

Pittsburgh Symphony Decides Against European Tour

For the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Symphony has decided not to tour Europe. “The PSO never signed contracts for the tour — therefore it didn’t officially cancel — but the tour was listed as being in development for almost a year on the Web site of European concert promoter Hans Ulrich Schmid. It was to include stops in Italy, Slovenia and Austria.”

Tough Times For Libraries

The American Library Association gathers for its annual meeting. Libraries are facing a rocky future in the US. “More than $80 million has been cut from public library budgets in the past year alone, which has weakened or closed libraries in more than 40 states. In addition to budgetary issues, about 70 percent of librarians will reach retirement age within the next 20 years. Who will take their place?”

Lots Of Spam To Go Around

The hottest theatre ticket in Chicago? It’s the Monty Python “Spamalot,” which has opened in previews. It’s the biggest show at the box office since The Producers. “In its first seven-performance week, the show did $778,599 in business, selling virtually every seat. (By contrast, the concurrent first week of the pre-Broadway tryout of “All Shook Up” did only $457,768.)

Mozart’s Last Picture?

Experts say a portrait in a Berlin gallery may be the last-ever portrait of Mozart. “The picture was painted by the German artist Johann Georg Edlinger in 1790, a year before Mozart’s death. The picture was identified as a Mozart portrait when an expert on the composer used computer analysis to compare it with another painted 13 years earlier.”

Where’s The Parental Guidance In PG?

“Parents have always had a hard time drawing the line between hypocrisy and responsibility, and never more than at the present moment, when prurience and prudishness are both operating at high voltage. We’ve just ended a year in which the exposure of Janet Jackson’s breast on national television set off a gasp of horror in some quarters, amusement in others. Regulators have been clamping down on indecency with fines.”

MacMillan: Taking On The Philistines

Composer James MacMillan is on a crusade for Scottish culture. “The Scottish executive’s opposition to so-called elitist art is causing damage to Scotland’s reputation but also to its sense of itself. They have built a palace for themselves in the shape of the Scottish parliament at a cost of £440m – 10 times above the supposed price – yet they’re allowing Scottish Opera to go to the wall for a tiny amount. It represents a cultural vandalism that has to be challenged.”