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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Keith Ward: Biologists are too dogmatic about God... they are not philosophers

It is surely embarrassing for science to be defended on the grounds that it is founded on an absolute prior commitment to a highly disputed and deeply problematic philosophical view. If ever there was a dogmatic faith that zooms well past the evidence, this is it.

Did Charles Darwin believe in racial inequality?

His anniversary has thrown a fresh spotlight on ideas about race that still excite his friends and foes. Marek Kohn looks at a troublesome legacy

Darwin Season, Radio 4

Melvyn and Co trace the origin of intelligent listening

Hit & Run: The Big Bird migration

Sesame Street, with its cast of weird monsters with big mouths and bright primary-coloured hides, is not only still thriving, but has gone global almost four decades after its birth. The legendary puppeteer Jim Henson, the alter ego of Kermit the Frog, may have been dead for 18 years, but characters he introduced to Sesame Street as long ago as 1969 - Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Snuffleupagus and The Cookie Monster – are almost exactly as they were back then, though now they are multilingual.

Last Night's TV: The Genius of Charles Darwin, Channel 4; I'm Kylie's Body Double, BBC 3

It is a very strange thing, the way in which the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has come to resemble that which he most despises. There is something almost biblical in the desire of this high-profile hard-rationalist to smite the unbelievers, and remove them from the face of the earth, using the implacable power of science and reason. God knows, as he wouldn't say himself, how we'd manage without the chap.

Darwin's Garden, by Michael Boulter

Down the paths to evolution

Songbirds develop super muscles for dawn chorus

Mozart is said to have been inspired by the repertoire of musical notes produced by his pet starling. Now scientists can explain how the songbird is able to control such a varied voice.

The Kiwi's Egg: Charles Darwin and natural selection, By David Quammen

Darwin came up with the theory of evolution, right? Wrong. Evolution, if not in the scientific mainstream, was part of the common intellectual currency of his time. His own grandfather espoused a version of it. What Darwin proposed was the blind, purposeless and godless mechanism by which it worked: natural selection.

Paperbacks: Black Mass, by John Gray

Bracing in its iconoclasm, John Gray's cyclical view of world history fuels a bleak but plausible polemic. He believes that the replacement of millenarianism by

The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, ed. Richard Dawkins

A fine workout for agile minds

Disappearing tortoises: Playing God in the Galapagos

On one of Darwin's pristine islands, the tortoises are dying out. So should we introduce a similar breed, or simply stop meddling?

Cycling: Saddle up, kids, it's good for you

Very few children cycle to school, but plans are afoot to change that, says David Prosser

Every species of animal and plant to be given a `barcode'

AN AMBITIOUS project to take a genetic "barcode" of every animal and plant begins today in an attempt to identify and label the 10 million species on Earth.

Scientists find skydiving secret of wingless ants

A SKYDIVING ant has won the accolade of being the only wingless insect known to be capable of controlled flight. Scientists found that when they tossed worker canopy ants out of a tree they gracefully glided back to the same tree with incredible accuracy.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'