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Glorious failures

In 1845 Sir John Franklin left Britain in search for the Northwest passage. He never returned. Did his crew start eating each other or were they killed by the Inuit
Matt Ridley  

Eugenics and liberty

Eugenic science originated in Britain 100 years ago. Yet, unlike other western countries, Britain never passed eugenics legislation. Why? It was no thanks to the scientists, the conservatives or the socialists-but thanks to a bloody-minded backbencher in the House of…
Matt Ridley  

Darwin on the mind

Until recently the mind was studied by people who believed that it was shaped by outside influences not innate structure-and who knew nothing about evolution. Now the Darwinians are taking over. Matt Ridley considers the rise of evolutionary psychology and…
Matt Ridley  

Cloning and liberty

Dolly's arrival has been greeted as a threat rather than a great advance. We should stop debating how to ban human cloning and start celebrating its potential benefits instead
Matt Ridley  

Virtue is a grace

Modern economics is founded on the assumption that human behaviour is driven by rational self-interest. How then can it explain real acts of generosity and selflessness? Matt Ridley considers a new economic model of the emotions which shows that altruistic…
Matt Ridley  

The sibling theory of civilisation

Conflict between siblings is a more significant force in human history than class struggle, according to Frank Sulloway, a Harvard psychologist. He believes that first borns tend to be conformist and younger siblings rebellious-and offers a pile of statistics to…
Matt Ridley  

Ice age politics

Why did the big mammals suddenly die out in America? Was it climate change or slaughter by native Americans? An event of more than 11,000 years ago is refracted through the lens of modern politics
Matt Ridley  

Another man’s poison

The medical profession has established beyond doubt that high cholesterol contributes to heart disease. What it won't accept is that low cholesterol can be dangerous too-causing violent and suicidal behaviour in some people. Matt Ridley explains why going back to…
Matt Ridley