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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.

Every living species 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.
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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches