‘Why do prominent scientists such as Richard Dawkins still campaign to replace religion with science?’ Photograph: Alan Betson

It has long been predicted that religion will wither away as science spreads globally. This prediction has failed to come true, however, as outlined b(...)

Plants are easily the dominant life form on Earth, constituting 80% of total biomass. Humanity barely registers in comparison. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

We take plants entirely for granted, farming them for food and timber, cultivating selected garden plants for pleasure and chemically killing others ((...)

Animals that pass the mirror test have large brains relative to body size and have higher levels of empathy and social awareness. You might wonder about ants passing the test, but the brains of some ant species constitutes 15 per cent of body mass

The mirror test, developed in 1970 by evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup, State University of New York, is used to test whether or not an animal (...)

The new research is the work of a company called Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd, based in Ness Ziona, Israel. Photograph: VVG/Science Photo Library

As we all know, cancer is a great scourge. The Irish Cancer Society website tells us that one person dies from cancer every hour in Ireland and cancer(...)

Declining birth rates are no longer confined to the western world. Photograph: Erik De Castro/Reuters

The conventional projection by the UN is that world population, currently 7.7 billion, will increase to 11.2 billion in 2100, then stabilise before sl(...)

 We are fortunate to be meat-eaters because meat drove the evolution of our large brains and complex bodies. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

The Lancet medical journal published a comprehensive report last month on human diet and global food systems. Our food production systems are causing (...)

Pills or placebo? Science may not be the only way to understand illness and healing and that the placebo effect is a biological response to the act of caring –  the rituals involved trigger specific neurobiological pathways that modulate body sensations, symptoms and emotions

According to my Collins dictionary, a placebo is “an inactive substance or other sham form of therapy administered to a patient usually to compare its(...)

Sir Roger Scruton believes heresy is central to understanding the erosion of free speech

A principal function of the university is to conduct rational enquiry in order to discover/create new knowledge. Rational enquiry is dependent on acad(...)

Lava erupts near Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano. Experiments show that hot spring pools can sequester simple biological chemical building blocks into membrane-enclosed compartments. Photograph: Armann Hoskuldsson/Reuters

Although life began on Earth about 3.8 billion years ago, figuring out how living cells first arose from lifeless molecules remains one of the biggest(...)

Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, proposed eugenics as a science in the late 1800s

Many science writers have an unfortunate tendency to present the history of science as a Whig history – an inevitable progression of discoveries leadi(...)

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