Manjit Kumar

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Manjit Kumar, LM network associate.

Manjit Kumar is a science writer somewhat associated with the libertarian anti-environmental LM network, having written for Living Marxism (on some occasions under the name Manjit Singh, for example in the first issue of the magazine in 1988),[1] co-authored a book with John Gillott, which was sold online by Living Marxism/LM[2], edited the short lived journal Prometheus with his wife Pandora Kay Kreizman and accepted an invitation to speak at the Leeds Salon in 2010.[3]

Kumar married Pandora Kay Kreizman in 1994. Her sister Eve Kay-Kreizman and husband James Heartfield have significant links with the LM network. Kumar lives in North London. He has written for numerous media publications, usually, but not exclusively, reviewing books.[4] He no longer appears to be an active member of the network as the majority of this work appears to have stopped between 2011-2012, with his blog also ending in April 2012 and posts to his Facebook wall also ending around this time. However, his Twitter account does appear to have remained in use.


Targeting Environmentalists

LM network resources

In Science and the Retreat from Reason (Monthly Review Press, 1997) - first published in Britain by Merlin Press (1995) - Gillott and Kumar argue that progress requires the unfettered growth of science. This it sees as threatened by the irrationality of the environmental movement.[5]

Despite being published by the Monthly Review Press, Gillott and Kumar's book attracted a review in their journal Monthly Review that contained some unusually scathing criticisms. In his review John Bellamy Foster argues that although the book advances a 'strong and in many ways brilliant defence of science and reason', in the end it 'turns, in my view, into the opposite.'[6] The book, according to Bellamy Foster, takes on 'all the assumptions' of 'the current "brownlash" against environmentalism', ie the attempt to minimize the seriousness of environmental problems in order to fuel a backlash against environmentalism and 'green' policies.[6]

Bellamy Foster is also highly critical of the authors' thesis, advanced particularly in the book's penultimate chapter, that environmentalists are 'the main contemporary enemies of science and reason'. He also notes the authors' 'naive willingness to accept all technology without question' - something which 'is evident throughout Science and the Retreat from Reason.'[6]

The authors, he says, 'write as if the left is simply being irrational in being skeptical about the wisdom of obtaining "cheap electricity from atomic power" or the application of "genetic engineering"[7] --as if these technologies did not raise quite horrific possibilities.' Gillott, by contrast, is no skeptic but a true believer, writing of 'an imperative to crack on with genetic engineering: it will help improve the human condition. Diseases will be cured, new drugs will be developed, and, in the distant future, we might want to make more fundamental changes to our genetic constitution.' [8]

Bellamy Foster continues, 'Not ones to stop half-way in their criticisms, Gillott and Kumar go on to contend that all of those who believe that there are ecological limits to economic growth (even ecological limits to capital accumulation) have succumbed to "a mass psychosis about limits in nature".[9] Such views, we are told, are anti-science and anti-reason. Yet the fact remains that they are held by many, probably most, scientists, and hence cannot simply be presented--as Gillott and Kumar are wont to do--as attacks on science from without...'

Bellamy Foster continues, 'Ultimately, it is not just environmentalists who come under attack in Gillott and Kumar's book but all of those, among scientists and philosophers, who have raised questions about the role of science in contemporary society. Thus among those who are supposed to have retreated from science and reason we find, astonishingly, such names as Robert Oppenheimer (because of his quote from the Bhagavad Gita--"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds"--when viewing the first atomic blast), Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead'.[10]

Bellamy Foster concludes his review, 'It is difficult to understand, in fact, how a book that began with such a brilliant defense of science and reason, and indeed of realism, could lead in the end to such a state of unreason.'[6]

John Gillott and Manjit Kumar, Cover of the 1995 edition of their Science and the Retreat from Reason. 'It is difficult to understand', wrote one reviewer 'how a book that began with such a brilliant defense of science and reason... could lead in the end to such a state of unreason'

Prometheus and other links to the network

From around 1999 to 2001 Manjit Kumar and his wife Pandora Kay-Kreizman edited the Journal Prometheus, often using it as a platform for other associates of the LM Network, such as Frank Furedi, perhaps the leading associate, of the network, Louis Ryan who had also written for LM magazine and Alan Hudson a former core member of the RCP and longtime director of its publications company Junius Publications. Other contributors who had also written forLiving Marxism/LM included the Co-author of his 1995 book John Gillott, Graham Barnfield, Seamus Heaney, James Heartfield and Norman Levitt. Other contributors who have since had continued links with the LM Network include: Ravi Bali, who introduced an Institute of Ideas's Current Affairs Forum entitled 'The G20 Summit: What next?' in 2009[11], Margaret Boden who has appeared at the Battle of Ideas[12], and Simon Singh, who is a trustee for Sense About Science alongside network members Michael Fitzpatrick and Tracey Brown (who is the director rather than a trustee). Singh is also a member of the Science Media Centre's advisory committe and sat on the SMC board until 2012.


Prometheus was also used to advance the views of anthropogenic climate change deniers, such as in an article written by Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute and Exxon funded [[Robert Balling Jr.][13], who argued that the threat of global warming has been grossly overestimated.[14] Although a glittering review of Prometheus written by Susan Blackmore for the Times Higher Education Supplement argued the magazine was more balanced.[15]

Prometheus No. 1, edited by Manjit Kumar of the LM network
Prometheus No. 2, edited by Manjit Kumar of the LM network
Prometheus No. 3, edited by Manjit Kumar of the LM network

Media Presence

Manjit Kumar has very little media presence beyond his work for various publications reviewing books, although his latest book, published by Icon Books: 'Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality' (2009), was widely reported on.[16] The popularity of the book was confirmed in an article written by Dr Stephen Spurr in 2012, which highlighted 7 authors whose work had been particularly enjoyed by pupils at the Westminster School, where he was headmaster. Manjit Kumar was one of these, along with two others with links to the LM Network, namely Susan Greenfield and Matt Ridley, both of whom have written articles for the tobbacco industry funded Risk of Freedom Briefings.[17]

Kumar's media presence suggests he now has a very limited connection to the network. However, in 2010, Kumar did give a speech at the Leeds Salon and had aggreed to speak at the Birmingham Salon (although he was forced to withdraw due to illness), indicating he may still have been a somewhat active member of the network until around this time.[18]

Career

  • LM/Living Marxism – Writer/contributor (1988-1995).
  • City Literary Institute, London – Tutor (1995).[19]
  • Paradigm - Deputy Editor of the journal (1995)[20]
  • Merlin Press – Publishes “Science and the retreat from reason” as co-author with John Gillott (1995). In this book with John Gillott published in 1995, one of the two people the book was dedicated to was 'Pandora'.
  • Prometheus – Founding Editor & Writer/contributor, worked with the teacher Pandora Kay-Kreizman, as his 'editorial assistant' (1999(approx)-2001(approx)).
  • Icon Books – Authors 'Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality' (2009).
  • Sunday Telegraph - Writer/contributor (10 October 2010).[21]
  • Tehelka – Writer/contributor (17 July 2010 - 6 November 2010).[22]
  • The Guardian - Writer/contributor (29 March 2003 – 5 February 2011).[23]
  • The Times – Writer/contributor (18 September 2010 – 12 February 2011).[24]
  • Little Atoms – Guest expert (2009-2011).[25]
  • Wired (UK) – Consulting Science Editor (2009-2011).[26]
  • Science Gallery (Dublin) – (10 May 2011).[27]
  • Leeds Salon - Guest expert (13 July 2011).[28]
  • Nature – Guest Blogger (23 March 2011 - 23 November 2011).[29]
  • New Scientist - Writer/contributor (17 July 2010 - 10 December 2011).[30]
  • The Financial Times - Writer/contributor (22 November 2010 - 10-11 March 2012).[31]
  • The Daily Telegraph - Writer/contributor (8 April 2011 - 24 March 2012).[32]
  • The Wall Street Journal - Writer/contributor (28 March 2012).[33]
  • The Independent - Writer/contributor (10 September 2010 - 18 April 2012).[34]
  • New Humanist - Writer/contributor (27 October 2011 - 1 May 2012).[35]


Educational Background

  • BA in Philosophy.[36]
  • BSc in Physics. [37]

Publications

1988

  • Manjit Singh 'Got the time?', Review of Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Press, Living Marxism, November 1988, No. 1, p. 35.

1989

1990

1992

1994

1995

1999

2003

2008

2009

2010

  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Energy, the Subtle Concept’, New Scientist, 17 July 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘The Edge of Reason’, Tehelka, 2 August 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Why Beliefs Matter’, New Scientist, 7 August 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Theories of everything: Has cosmic science written its last word?’, The Independent, 10 September 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Pathfinders’, The Times, 18 September 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Galileo’, Sunday Telegraph, 10 October 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics’, New Scientist, 16 October 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Cycles of Time’, The Guardian, 16 October 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Merchants of Doubt’, The Independent, 17 October 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘The Naked Scientist’, New Scientist, 30 October 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Neutrino’, New Scientist, 6 November 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Did You See the Gorilla?’, Tehelka, 6 November 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Sleights of Mind’, New Scientist, 20 November 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Species Seekers’, Financial Times, 20-21 November 2010.
  • Manjit Kumar, ‘Chasing the Sun’, The Independent, 3 December 2010.

2011

2012

Resources

Blog manjitkumar.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook Manjit Kumar
Twitter imanjitkumar
Web: manjitkumar.com

Notes

  1. Manjit Singh 'Got the time?', Review of Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Press, Living Marxism, November 1988, No. 1, p. 35.
  2. John Gillott and Manjit Kumar Science and the Retreat from Reason, London : Merlin Press, 1995. ISBN 0850364515 (hbk.) : 0850364337 (pbk.)
  3. "Quantum", Leeds Salon website, accessed 30 May 2010
  4. See Majit Kumar blog, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 16/02/15.
  5. (ibid.)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 John Bellamy Foster, Science in a Skeptical Age by Review of, John Gillot and Manjit Kumar, Science and the Retreat from Reason (Monthly Review Press, 1997), 288 pp., $18. Monthly Review, Accessed 1st August 2007.
  7. p. 173
  8. 'Progress: Designer Genes', Living Marxism Issue 66, April 1994.
  9. p. 166
  10. pp. 22, 113, 197
  11. See Current Affairs Forum, Institute of Ideas website, accessed 17 February 2015
  12. See Speaker biography, Battle of Ideas website, accessed 17/02/15
  13. Balling has acknowledged that he has received $408,000 in research funding from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade (of which his University takes 50% for overhead). Contributors include ExxonMobil, the British Coal Corporation, Cyprus Minerals and OPEC.See Internet Archive capture of, Minnesota News Council, Determination 118 ("In the Matter of the Complaint of Drs. Patrick Michaels and Robert Balling against The Star Tribune"), April 16, 1998, Internet Archive website, capture as of 9 Feb 2012, accessed 17 February 2015
  14. Prometheus 1, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 2 January 2008, accessed 10 March 2011
  15. Susan Blackmore, 'So You Don't Think You Need Poetry?', The Times Higher Education Supplement, 24 November 2000.
  16. Based on a Nexis search for "Manjit Kumar" NOT "Pakistan" NOT "India" NOT "Bangladesh", which returned 108 articles, of which 96 refer to the Manjit Kumar referred to in this page.
  17. Dr Stephen Spurr, '10 ways to enrich your child's science education; Day four: how to get the best out of your child from 11 to 16. The teachers at Westminster School give you their point-by-point plan How we teach science by Dr Stephen Spurr, Head Master of Westminster School', The Times, 25 January 2012.
  18. See News; 'Debate Cancelled', Birmingham Evening Mail, July 13 2010.
  19. See Biographical note, Monthly Review Press website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  20. Bio note on back cover of John Gillott and Manjit Kumar Science and the Retreat from Reason, London : Merlin Press, 1995.
  21. See [ttp://manjitkumar-reviewsarticles.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Sunday%20Telegraph Manjit Kumar Sunday Telegraph publications list], Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  22. See Manjit Kumar Tehelka publications list, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  23. See Manjit Kumar Guardian publications list, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  24. See [ttp://manjitkumar-reviewsarticles.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Times Manjit Kumar The Times publications list], Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  25. little atoms website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  26. 2009 date is approximate based on a speaker note on the little atoms website, accessed 27 January 2015. The 2011 date is based on a biographical note on the nature website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  27. See events page, Science Gallery website, accessed 27 January 2015 and science gallery events, youtube website, accessed 27 January 2015
  28. Audio recording available here: 'QUANTUM: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality', The Leeds Salon website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  29. See Author Biographical note Nature website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  30. See Manjit Kumar New Scientist publications list, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  31. See Manjit Kumar Financial Times publications list, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  32. See Manjit Kumar Daily Telegraph publications list, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015.
  33. See Manjit Kumar Wall Street Journal publications list, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015
  34. See Manjit Kumar Independent publications list, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 27 January 2015
  35. See Author biography note, New Humanist website, accessed 27 January 2015
  36. See Author bio note, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 17/02/15.
  37. See Author bio note, Manjit Kumar Blogspot website, accessed 17/02/15.