Editorial: Ultimate Proof

We think evidence decides the matter. Yet even suicide bombers think they have evidence to support their cause.

In this issue of IAI News, a head to head from two combatants in the recently released IAI tv debate After the End of Truth which has caused something of a storm. The debate was not short of disagreement.  On one side one of the world’s most influential analytic philosophers, John Searle, was defending realism and philosophy’s classical values: objectivity and truth.  On the other philosopher and director of the IAI, Hilary Lawson, argued that realism had failed and an independent reality was a fantasy. So we’ve given both of them a right to reply.   

And continuing the theme, from climate change to cancer scares, when it comes to the truth we’re in love with the idea of evidence. But is it time to end the affair? Here, philosopher and Green Party politician Rupert Read takes on the “tyranny of evidence”. By contrast, Oxford cosmologist Roger Davies admits that our maps of the universe may be riddled with inconsistencies, but, as he argues in God’s Map, we'd be lost without them. Such philosophical debates have real and urgent repercussions.

This issue of IAI News also looks at an immediate and hot topic:  the truth behind the Western understanding of radical Islam. Are the ideologies of the West distorting the portrayal of ISIS? Counter-extremism expert Haras Rafiq asks: is Islam really the root of the problem? Meanwhile critic and scholar Ziauddin Sardar discusses interpretation and misinterpretation of Sharia law, and the history of conflict between Islam and the West.


 Image credit: Gabriel Molina

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