An activist wears a mask of US President Donald Trump during a demonstration against the ending of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in front of the American Embassy at Pariser Platz in Berlin, Germany. Photograph: Omer Messinger/EPA.

President Donald Trump and other US officials recently expressed great confidence in the capability of the American Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GM(...)

A newborn baby girl named Danica Camacho, the Philippines’ symbolic “seven billionth baby” who was part of the United Nations’ seven billion global population projection, in Fabella Maternity Hospital Manila on October 31st, 2011. The UN had predicted the world’s population would reach seven billion on October 31st, 2011. Photograph: Reuters/Erik De Castro

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that if we fail to prevent global warming rising by more than 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial wo(...)

‘Some critics of religion such as Dawkins (pictured) and Dennett do indeed point out, convincingly to me, that scientific explanations of the universe are reliable while religious ones are not.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

The relationship between science and religion has never been easy but it became much more difficult in Europe after Galileo discovered in 1610 strong (...)

‘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(...)

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