How life emerged from non-life has been a central question, puzzling scientists and theologists
Christianity was a sophisticated government propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of a the Roman Empire, claims scholar
The emeritus pope made the comments in a letter to prominent mathematician and atheist Piergiorgio Odifreddi
This study exhibits more prejudice than worthwhile research
When the Dalai Lama received £1.1m last year from the Templeton Foundation, he did what all good Buddhist monks who have preached against materialism might be expected to do – he gave it away.
Any message from the Archbishop this Easter?
John Walsh offers some tips for next time
Virtuous atheists may live well and do good – but can they give hope to the hopeless cases?
The Church of England couldn't hope for a better enemy than Richard Dawkins. Puffed-up, self-regarding, vain, prickly and militant, he displays exactly the character traits that could do with some Christian mellowing. In fact, he's almost an advertisement against atheism. You can't help thinking that a few Sundays in the pews and the odd day volunteering in a Church-run soup kitchen might do him the power of good.
Britain is in the thick of an acrimonious debate about secularism and religion. Religious belief and church attendance have been shrinking for decades, yet religion continues to play an important part in our national life. Prayers before council meetings may have been banned last week by a judge and an increasing number of our city churches have sad, decapitated spires and are put to sound secular use as indoor ski slopes or apartments. But there are still bishops in the House of Lords, prayers are said at the Cenotaph, the communal celebrations of Christmas and Easter are yet to become taboo.
Science is wonderful and necessary - one of the great creations of humankind. Most importantly, it is helping us to see just how extraordinary life and the universe really are, far exceeding the unaided imagination even of the greatest poets. At its best, too, science lives up to its own mythology: a disinterested, self-effacing search after truth, carried out by people of humility in true generosity of spirit. As a fairly considerable bonus it has led us to create a wide range of "high" (science-based) technologies that have improved the lives of a great many people, and have the potential to help all humankind and our fellow creatures too.
Books Of The Year
In the last few weeks I have been asked 11 times, "is science the new rock'n'roll?" As we know, in the last 20 years, anything that starts to play to audiences above 17 can be classed as the new rock'n'roll. This is a very limited historical view of what drew the crowds as it only goes back to 1956. Perhaps it should be "is science the new hangings at Tyburn?" or "is science the new barely-armed slaves fighting a hungry tiger?"
The astronomer Royal has won this year's £1m Templeton Prize, an award denounced by many atheist scientists as an underhand attempt to promote religion by linking it with science.
This past 150 years are widely seen as the golden age of biology – when it began to seem that all life is understandable and will soon be understood; and that what can be understood can and should be controlled for our own benefit. In 1859, in the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin first explained the mechanism of evolution "by means of natural selection". Then Gregor Mendel described the units of heredity now known as genes; then, in the early decades of the 20th century, Darwin's notions were fused with Mendel's to create "neodarwinism" – evolution conceived as a shift in the content of gene pools of populations.
Without bells on – the atheist's guide to Christmas music