Arts and Entertainment

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, London

Leading article: Prize fighters

One of Alastair Campbell's most celebrated – and sensible – pieces of advice to Tony Blair was that "we don't do God". The perils of "doing God" were on full display yesterday, after the announcement that Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, former President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College Cambridge, was this year's winner of the Templeton Prize. This award – which was once for "progress in religion", but has since broadened its remit – routinely raises passions, a phenomenon probably not unrelated to its £1m value. Even so, this year's outpouring of vitriol was unusual.

A winning formula: Comedian Robin Ince is heading out on a nationwide tour with a group of scientists

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?"

For the love of God... scientists in uproar at £1m religion prize

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.

The Beginning of Infinity, By David Deutsch

Brain the size of Birmingham, ego bigger still

Here On Earth, By Tim Flannery

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.

Storms of my Grandchildren, By James Hansen

The science behind our catastrophic weather to come

Books of the Year: Novelty Christmas books

Forget the clementines: these fun volumes can fill those stockings (though they're not all winners...)

Album: Saint Etienne, A Glimpse of Stocking (Foreign Office)

Without bells on – the atheist's guide to Christmas music

Books of the year: Science

There's the odd formula here, but the best of these books make the world's wonders accessible to all

The Black Cloud, By Fred Hoyle

Sir Fred Hoyle was a mathematician and astronomer of the front rank, whose theory of how elements are formed – in stars, from hydrogen – was resoundingly right (although he seems to have been resoundingly wrong in dismissing the "Big Bang" theory, as he sarcastically dubbed it). He was also a sci-fi writer of some renown, and this is a welcome reprint of his best-known work, from 1957.

The Evolution of God, By Robert Wright

Richard Dawkins' atheism has provoked a series of intelligent books about religion, from Marilynne Robinson's Absence of Mind and K aren Armstrong's The Case for God to this anthropological and philosophical enquiry by Robert Wright, an agnostic.

An ungodly row: Dawkins sues his disciple

Evolutionist's charity accuses protégé of stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds

Last Night's TV: Giant Squid: Inside Nature's Giants Special/Channel 4<br/>Reggie Perrin/BBC1<br/>Sex Trafficking in Cambodia &ndash; Stacey Dooley Investigates/BBC3

On the (highly) scientific scale of natural squirmyness, cephalopods rank pretty high. Even grilled, seasoned with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, they take a certain oomph to tackle. Raw, enlarged and sprawled on a dissection table... well, suffice it to say thank goodness it wasn't tea time. Not for me anyway.

Allison Pearson reveals agonies in writing her latest book

Best-selling author tells of how she was engulfed by 'bad clinical depression.'
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'