News

The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

From loony left to loony righteousness

Under the scathing title "If there is no God, what is the Oxford atheist scared of?" Paul Johnson issued (in the Spectator on 16 March) a rousing challenge to Richard Dawkins to debate the existence of God in public with him. But no, says Johnson, the man is scared. Why else "his craven refusal to come out of his safe academic burrow and debate with me ... the existence or non-existence of God"? Johnson thinks Dawkins doesn't know whether he can do it: "He is unsure of his arguments, his cause and his skills. He is scared he would make a fool of himself in front of the world ..."

Teasing the nuts from the bolts

Science and Wonders: Conversations about Science and Belief by Russell Stannard, Faber, pounds 8.99; Science and religion continue to bicker over who owns what, says Colin Tudge

BOOK REVIEW / The eve of destruction

THE SIXTH EXTINCTION: Biodiversity and its Survival by Richard Leakey & Roger Lewin Weidenfeld pounds 18.99

Toads spring right-handed surprise

Toads are right-handed, according to a team of Italian and Australian biologists.

LETTER: When students turn to Jesus

From Dr Richard Dawkins

Art and science may both be ways of understanding the world, but that does not mean they are interchangeable enterprises. In fact, it's likely that a Richard Dawkins of the arts is an impossibility

Brian Eno asked an impertinent question earlier this week. Before handing the Turner Prize over to Damien Hirst he put this to the assembled gathering: "Why have the sciences yielded great explainers like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, while the arts routinely produce some of the loosest thinking and worst writing known to history?" An impertinent question, whatever its larger pertinence, because the gathering in front of him contained quite a few of the people responsible for that writing. He was rewarded for his frankness with a slightly uneasy murmur, the almost imperceptible sound of fur being rubbed the wrong way.

out there: Seeing (and feeling) is believing

Everyone has felt the sensation of being watched, only to turn round and discover that they are, indeed, being watched

Mail apologises over Powers libel

High Court: Actress earns 'substantial' damages over adultery claims

BOOK REVIEW / PLUS cA CHANGE

DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA by Daniel C Dennett, Allen Lane pounds 25

Is adultery natural?

OPINIONS

BOOK REVIEW; Once more into the gene pool

RIVER OUT OF EDEN: Richard Dawkins; Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pounds 9.99

Travels in conceptual space

Peter Bowler praises an authoritative account of the evolution of Darwin's genius; Charles Darwin: Voyaging Janet Browne Jonathan Cape £25

Sun, sand and sex-change turtles

The "Sunshine State" is running out of sand and Florida's desperate authorities want to transport replacement supplies from the Bahamas, 50 miles away.

Up the pole

Anthony Powell, in his diary, describes Dorothy Hodgkin as a hag and a biologist ("At Lady Maggie's..." 21 January). She was neither. I painted Hodgkin's portrait in 1987 (the painting now hangs at the Royal Society of Chemistry in Burlington House), and she had one of the most interesting faces I have ever seen, serene and beautiful, a face that reflected her character and her intellect.

Giant sperm that ensure paternity

Scientists have discovered the ultimate weapon in the battle of the sexes: giant sperm which guarantee that a male cannot be cuckolded.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
Bruges
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas