September 21, 2008
Volume 4, Issue 38
Published by the Center For Atheism (CFA)
Editor: David Birnkrant
The Focus provides links to articles collected from major newspapers and magazines, and is emailed weekly.

This Week in Atheism is a cable show that discusses the articles featured below, every Wednesday at 6:30 PM (EST), Manhattan Cable station 57. 
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Protons and Champagne Mix as New Particle Collider Is Revved Up

By DENNIS OVERBYE - Published: September 10, 2008

BATAVIA, Ill. — Science rode a beam of subatomic particles and a river of Champagne into the future on Wednesday.  After 14 years of labor, scientists at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva successfully activated the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest, most powerful particle collider and…

Friendly Invaders

By CARL ZIMMER - Published: September 8, 2008

New Zealand is home to 2,065 native plants found nowhere else on Earth. They range from magnificent towering kauri trees to tiny flowers that form tightly packed mounds called vegetable sheep…

The Origins of the Universe: A Crash Course

By BRIAN GREENE - Published: September 11, 2008

THREE hundred feet below the outskirts of Geneva lies part of a 17-mile-long tubular track, circling its way across the French border and back again, whose interior is so pristine and whose nearly 10,000 surrounding magnets so frigid, that it's one of the emptiest and coldest regions of space in the solar...

For Stem Cells, a Role on the Battlefield

By ANDREW POLLACK - Published: September 8, 2008

When people envision using human embryonic stem cells for "regenerative medicine," they often talk about making neurons to treat Parkinson's disease, cardiac cells to repair the damage caused by a heart attack, or pancreatic islet cells to replace those destroyed by diabetes

Stolen guns used in fatal Wash. shooting rampage

By MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE - Authorities said the man accused of a shooting rampage that left six people dead in northwest Washington stole the guns used in the attacks as well as a pickup truck involved in a high-speed chase…

Who are the British creationists?

By Julian Joyce - BBC News

Widely believed in the United States, creationism - the belief that God created the earth and man in six days - is enjoying a resurgence of support in the UK, say its believers and its critics…

News Articles
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Children in Christian families more likely to attend church ...
Nolan Chart LLC - Warrenton,VA,USA
University of Washington Professor Shannon Beasley will present the findings on atheist children and a survey of 543987 adults to a congressional inquiry in ...

Ex-preacher speaks to students about atheism
Indiana Daily Student - USA
John Loftus, an ex-evangelical preacher and author of the book "Why I Became an Atheist," told both believers and non-believers why he considers ..

Student of 'gay Jesus' fame aims at Islam
Chronicle-Telegram - Elyria,OH,USA
Aaron Weaver, head of the campus Activists for Atheism club, has decided to turn his attention to another religious icon — the Prophet Muhammad. ..

Ask an atheist! How would you convert an atheist? - Dallas,TX,USA
This view mistakes atheism as a religion. "Atheism is to religion as bald is to hair color." Often times, if you ask someone what would convince him that ...


Logic shaky in book tying music, evolution
Myrtle Beach Sun News - Myrtle Beach,SC,USA
By Dinesh Ramde - AP Book review "The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature" by Daniel J. Levitin (Dutton. 336 pages. $25.95). ...

David E. Comings, MD Discusses His Book Did Man Create God
American Chronicle - Beverly Hills,CA,USA
He adopted the Intelligent Design line that evolution was seriously flawed. One of his complaints was that beneficial mutations and mutations in general ...


Lecture examines anti-evolution movement
Louise Mead of the
National Center for Science Education, founded to defend and promote the teaching of evolution in public schools, traced the morphing of ...

Church sorry to Darwin, 126 years after belittling evolution theory
SINDH TODAY - Sindh,Pakistan
.. furore last week when he called for creationism - the Biblical theory of evolution - to be treated in school science lessons as a legitimate world view. ...

Don't get creative with facts when it comes to evolution
Times Online - UK
It's been a damned good week for God, all things considered. Not only have those scientists been trying to find His very own particle in a large bicycle ...

Evolution theory: Church sorry to Darwin - New Delhi,India
AP The Church of England owes Charles Darwin an apology for its hostile 19th-century reaction to the naturalist's theory of evolution, a cleric wrote on an ...

The Darwin wars: still raging
Guardian Unlimited - UK
His closing one-two consists of arguing that Grayling is confused about atheism's contribution to science and that anyway atheism doesn't exist. ...

The Catholic Church is to debate God and evolution
Times Online - UK
The five-day encounter, entitled Biological Evolution, Facts and Theories. A critical appraisal 150 after "The Origin of Species" has been timetabled to ...

Vatican, ally defend legitimacy of evolution
International Herald Tribune -
VATICAN CITY: A professor at a Vatican-sponsored university expressed dismay Tuesday that some Christian groups reject the theory of evolution ...

Evolution fine but no apology to Darwin: Vatican
Reuters - USA
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous ...

Creationism in class? Brits say, heavens, no
Chicago Tribune - United States
Reiss' resignation comes on the heels of the Church of England's launch of a Web site supporting Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. ...,0,3893579.story

Butteville board drops Intelligent Design
Mount Shasta Herald - Mt. Shasta,CA,USA
By Skye Kinkade Members of the
Butteville Union Elementary School District believe the issue of possibly teaching intelligent design at their school as ...

No place for creationism in science class, state says - Wilmington,NC,USA
But neither creationism nor the related "intelligent design," which says life forms are so complex only a higher power could have created them, ..

Vatican Official Defends Evolution Against 'Useless' Creationism
VATICAN CITY — A professor at a Vatican-sponsored university expressed dismay Tuesday that some Christian groups reject the theory of evolution ...,2933,424942,00.html


Did evolution come before life?
New Scientist (subscription) - UK
A rudimentary form of natural selection likely existed in the primordial soup even before life arose on Earth. If so, the complex "ecosystem" of prebiotic ...

He cooked up a new theory on evolution
Boston Globe - United States
(Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff) By Billy Baker One day 10 years ago, Richard Wrangham was lying in front of the fire in his home thinking about human evolution. ...

Infidelity Dissected: New Research On Why People Cheat

ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2008) — The probability of someone cheating during the course of a relationship varies between 40 and 76 percent. "It's very high," says Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, PhD student at the Université de Montréal's Department of Psychology...

Curbing Coal Emissions Alone Might Avert Climate Danger, Say Researchers

ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2008) — An ongoing rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels might be kept below harmful levels if emissions from coal are phased out within the next few decades, say researchers...

Untapped Potential Of Antidepressants For Cancer

ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2008) — A comprehensive review of current scientific literature, published in the peer-reviewed journal ecancer, has suggested that antidepressants can help the human body fight cancer by boosting its own immune response, amongst other mechanisms...

Computational Biochemist Uncovers A Molecular Clue To Evolution

ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2008) — A Florida State University researcher who uses high-powered computers to map the workings of proteins has uncovered a mechanism that gives scientists a better understanding of how evolution occurs at the molecular level...

Robot Scout: Fly Me (Safely) To The Moon

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — The first attempt to land humans on the moon -- Apollo 11 -- was a triumph that almost ended in disaster. At just 400 feet from the lunar surface, with only about a minute's worth of fuel remaining, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin saw that their ship's computer was taking...

Psychiatry: When The Mirror Becomes An Enemy

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — A nose that's too big, hair that's too curly or a beauty mark in the wrong place – who hasn't focused on a small detail of their appearance while staring at a mirror...

My, What Big Teeth You Had! Extinct Species Had Huge Teeth On Roof Of Mouth

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — When the world's land was congealed in one supercontinent 240 million years ago, Antarctica wasn't the forbiddingly icy place it is now. But paleontologists have found a previously unknown amphibious predator species that probably still made it less than hospitable...

Hurricane Ike Impact Felt In Space

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — Hurricane Ike has delayed the scheduled Friday arrival of a Russian Progress cargo ship at the International Space Station 220 miles above Earth...

Brains Rely On Old And New Mechanisms To Diminish Fear

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — Humans have developed complex thought processes that can help to regulate their emotions, but these processes are also linked with evolutionarily older mechanisms that are common across species, according to a study by neuroscientists at New York and Rutgers...

Good Luck, Not Superiority, Gave Dinosaurs Their Edge, Study Of Crocodile Cousins Reveals

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — In a paper published in Science, Steve Brusatte and Professor Mike Benton challenge the general consensus among scientists that there must have been something special about dinosaurs that helped them rise to prominence...

Nano-sized 'Cargo Ships' To Target And Destroy Tumors Developed

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — Real-world problems come in two broad flavors: those requiring sequential reasoning and those requiring transformative reasoning: a break from past thinking and restructuring followed by an insight (also known as Eureka or "Aha!"), which is a process by which...

Beautiful Death: Halos Of Planetary Nebulae Revealed

ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2008) — Stars without enough mass to turn into exploding supernovae end their lives blowing away most of their mass in a non-explosive, but intense stellar wind. Only a hot stellar core remains in the form of a white dwarf...

Switched-on New Nanotechnology Paints For Hospitals Could Kill Superbugs

ScienceDaily (Sep. 11, 2008) — New nanotechnology paints for walls, ceilings, and surfaces could be used to kill hospital superbugs when fluorescent lights are switched on, scientists heard at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin...

1843 Stellar Eruption May Be New Type Of Star Explosion

ScienceDaily (Sep. 11, 2008) — Eta Carinae, the galaxy's biggest, brightest and perhaps most studied star after the sun, has been keeping a secret: Its giant outbursts appear to be driven by an entirely new type of stellar explosion that is fainter than a typical supernova and does not destroy the star...

Geologists Dig Up One Of The Largest Lakes In The World, Dammed By Ice During Last Ice Age

ScienceDaily (Sep. 11, 2008) — Geologists are digging in the bed on the western bank of what was once a 700-800 kilometre-long lake along the 62nd parallel in Russia. Large lakes, dammed up by a huge ice sheet one or more times during the last Ice Age, used to dominate this enormous plain...

Getting to the bottom of evolution (subscription) - London,England,UK
Today, two evolutionary biologists have published genetic evidence in Nature 1 that they claim refutes the leading theory of anal evolution. ...

Last of the Neanderthals

By Stephen S. Hall - National Geographic News

The latest research and a stunningly lifelike new reconstruction help to illustrate the lives of our closest prehistoric relatives and uncover the reasons why they vanished…

Hadron Collider to Have "Practical" Spin-Offs?

John Roach - National Geographic News

In addition to solving big mysteries of the universe, the massive atom smasher may help treat disease, improve the Internet, and open the door to faster-than-light travel, scientists say.

Scientists find 'redesigned hammer' that forged evolution of ...
EurekAlert (press release) - Washington,DC,USA
Yale researchers have shown that the origin and evolution of the placenta and uterus in mammals is associated with evolutionary changes in a single ...



Sarkozys Greet Pontiff in Paris
Buzzle - Costa Mesa,CA,USA
Pope Benedict began his first visit to
France yesterday amid controversy over the French separation of church and state and Nicolas Sarkozy's public ...

McCain faces tough questions on abortion on US TV
Reuters - USA
McCain won applause when speaking about his belief in God and the separation of church and state enshrined in the US Constitution. ...

The Pope has an audience with Carla
Independent - London,England,UK
By John Lichfield in Paris Pope Benedict and President Nicolas Sarkozy urged
France yesterday to reconsider its strict separation of church and state and to ...

Church spat might head to Supreme Court - Rochester,NY,USA
.. state to determine property ownership, and that is a violation of the US Constitution's first amendment regarding the separation of church and state. ...

Pope tries to woo secular French back to the Church (2nd Roundup)
Monsters and - USA
Shortly after his arrival in Paris earlier Friday, the pope said that the continued separation of church and state was essential for religious freedom. ...

ACLJFilesReplyBriefinSupremeCourtFirstAmendmentCase;Numerous ...
MarketWatch - USA
... like the American Humanist Association, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and People for the American Way, filed briefs "in support ...

Montgomery County sets precedent for equal time, equal access
Clarksville Online - Clarksville,TN,USA
I believe in this little thing with constitutional clout called "separation of church and state." I feel the same way about the Ten Commandment signs on a ...

Key Political Moments: JFK In Houston
About - News & Issues - New York,NY,USA
He spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association about religion: the importance of the separation of church and state enumerated in the First ...

Survey shows increase in support for separation church and state
Daily Mississippian - Oxford,MS,USA
"More people believe in separation of church and state nowadays because they believe that religion is a private matter whereas politics is very public. ...

Sarah Palin, faith-based mayor
Salon - USA
The conference included a videotape presentation on the separation of church and state by David Barton, a regular on the Christian right speaking circuit ...

Amendment 2 Causes Debate
WJHG-TV - Panama City,FL,USA
He says the passing of this amendment infringes on the separation of church and state. "When you have a government that recognizes only one arrangement, ...

Church and state on collision course
New Zealand Herald - New Zealand
Separation of religion from state was enshrined in a 1905 law and the policing of it has, if anything, become even fiercer in recent years as the country ..


Religious leaders learn to stay on IRS's good side
OCRegister - Santa Ana,CA,USA
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a non-profit organization, persuaded the IRS to look into the pastor's activities. ...

Groups fight DC shelter funds
Washington Times - Washington,DC,USA
According to the lawsuit, filed in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, ...



Colo. Springs looking at more charges against atheist attacker
KRDO - Colorado Springs,CO,USA
(AP) - Colorado Springs authorities are looking at more possible charges against an atheist man who allegedly threatened two neighbors with a knife because ...

UnNews:Large Hadron Collider 'destroys God by accident'

GENEVA, Switzerland – Concerns that the Large Hadron Collider might destroy the Earth proved unfounded on Wednesday, but scientists warned that they may instead have accidentally destroyed God shortly after powering up the machine…'destroys_God_by_accident'

Of Sacred and Secular
Austin American-Statesman - Austin,TX,USA
He characterized famous atheist writers including Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett as "nasty" and "angry. ..

Half of Americans believe
Washington Times - Washington,DC,USA
Baylor researchers also criticized a much-ballyhooed "new atheism" as a barely discernable trend, saying the number of Americans who are atheists has stayed ...


 Atheists  Alliance International                   Sept. 25-28, 2008    Long Beach, Ca.
 Freedom From Religion                                Oct. 10-12, 2008      Chicago
 Gift for Life Day                                                Nov. 4, 2008            NATION WIDE    
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