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.
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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
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn