THE   FOCUS

September 28, 2008
Volume 4, Issue 39
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. 
Live streaming is available at: 
http://www.mnn.org.

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FEATURED ARTICLES

The Candidates and the Court - Published: September 20, 2008                             Among the many issues voters need to consider in this campaign is this vital fact: The next president is likely to appoint several Supreme Court justices. Those choices will determine the future of the law, and of some of Americans' most cherished rights.   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/opinion/21sun1.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

At Ground Zero, Scenes From the Ice Age - By DAVID W. DUNLAP - Published: September 21, 2008 - Those who say the World Trade Center site is changing at a glacial pace have no idea how right they are.  A fantastic landscape in Lower Manhattan — plummeting holes, steep cliffsides and soft billows of steel-gray bedrock, punctuated by thousands of beach-smooth cobblestones in a muted rainbow of reds and purples and greens…http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/22/nyregion/22rocks.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Anti-Gay Church Raided for Child Porn - Just Out - Portland,OR,USA
As a result, six minors were temporarily placed in state custody. Courts will decide the children's status in the event of any "long-term separation" from... http://blogout.justout.com/?p=2357

Politics From Pulpit Will Deliver Challenge to IRS - Wall Street Journal - USA
He then challenged a secularist group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, to complain to the IRS about his partisan activity, ...                    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122221687842869577.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Pastors plan to defy IRS ban on political speech - Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
These critics, such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, argue that Sunday's sermons at churches in Oregon, Texas, New Mexico, .. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pulpit25-2008sep25,0,5235934.story

Atheist Soldier Sues Gates Over Mandatory Christian Prayer Sessions
The Public Record - Los Angeles,California,USA
Chalker, who said he is an atheist, asked his superiors for permission to leave the prayer sessions and on each occasion his request to be excused was http://www.pubrecord.org/religion/354-atheist-soldier-sues-gates-over-mandatory-christian-prayer-sessions.html

 
 
News Articles
  (Some publications may require that you sign up for membership to view their article.)

ATHEISM

Creationist Adnan Oktar wins ban on Richard Dawkins site - Times Online - UK
A Muslim creationist has succeeded in having Richard Dawkins's website banned in Turkey, after complaining that its atheist content was blasphemous. ...                          http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4791175.ece

Secular schools of thought tainted - Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
Imagine if Bob Hawke, our only openly atheist prime minister, had allocated $165 million for religious schools to have an atheist, agnostic or humanist ...                                            http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/secular-schools-of-thought-tainted/2008/09/21/1221935447618.html

Atheists read religious texts for charity - The Daily Collegian Online - University Park,PA,USA
Penn State Atheist and Agnostic Association member Yasic Naumenko (senior-physics) reads a passage from the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. ...                        http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2008/09/22/atheists_read_religious_texts.aspx

 

God 0, Atheism 2; Hitchens Eats Another Religious Figure for Lunch
Discover Magazine - New York,NY,USA
Rather than hit these atheist talking points head on, the Monsignor sputtered and evaded his way through the hour, clinging to an agenda focused on ...                                       http://blogsdiscovermagazine.com/realitybase/2008/09/23/god-0-atheism-2-hitchens-eats-another-religious-figure-for-lunch/

 More atheists are sharing their views - Louisville Courier-Journal - Louisville,KY,USA
By Peter Smith • psmith@courier-journal.com • September 24, 2008 When she first logged onto an atheist Web site five years ago, Mikel Childers' hands were ...
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080924/NEWS01/809240787/1008

Ask an atheist! - smudailycampus.com - Dallas,TX,USA
This argument is no stranger to any philosopher (or biologist) since this archaic idea has been debated for over 100 years. ...
http://media.www.smudailycampus.com/media/storage/paper949/news/2008/09/25/Opinion/Ask-An.Atheist-3451708.shtml

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE

New in the shop – 2009 Charles Darwin Diary - National Secular Society - London,UK
And a new book from the United States: Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity. For about two decades, John W Loftus was a devout ...            http://www.secularism.org.uk/101500.html

 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D.

St. Charles Darwin Unveiled: Catholics, Anglicans Finally Agreed ...
EcoWorldly - San Francisco,USA
In a May 7 1879 letter to an atheist, John Fordyce, who had asked him whether evolution and God were compatible, Darwin replied, stressing he had never been ..                                    http://ecoworldly.com/2008/09/19/st-charles-darwin-unveiled-catholics-anglicans-finally-agreed-on-evolution/

THEORY OF EVOLUTION - Washington Post - United States
A professor at a Vatican-sponsored university has expressed dismay that some Christians reject the theory of evolution. Gennaro Auletta, who teaches at ..                                 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/19/AR2008091903522.html

Proposed curriculum standards in Texas would give Darwin a boost
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
Dr. McLeroy, who describes himself as a creationist, said the theory of evolution has "plenty of weaknesses," and those should be outlined to students when ...                    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/092408dntexevolution.13ec04c.html

Darwin in Sunday School - New Statesman - London,England,UK
He did not suggest for a moment that creationism and "intelligent design" should be taught on a par with evolution, but that when students raised doubts, ..
http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/paul-rodgers/2008/09/church-darwin-england-science

God, science and other dark thoughts
Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
At a time when religion and science are going back to war, and battles over intelligent design and creationism are heating up, these new discoveries are ..
http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/miranda-devine/god-science-and-other-dark-thoughts/2008/09/26/1222217514775.html?page=2

SCIENCE

Scientists shed light on the evolution of pregnancy in mammals
News Locale - Gulbarga,Karnataka,India
Washington, September 19 (ANI): Scientists at Yale University say that the origin and evolution of the placenta and uterus in mammals is associated with ..                                    http://www.newslocale.org/scitech/stnews/scientists_shed_light_on_the_evolution_of_pregnancy_in_mammals_200809196115.html

Digital evolution: early fish had primitive fingers, says study - AFP
The findings, published Sunday in the British-based science journal Nature, upend the prevailing theory on the evolution of digits. ...                                                                                  http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ixfmncs1tHVt9WDGMcxwbIH0oS0Q

Insight into the evolution of parasitism
Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (Pressemitteilung) - Bayreuth,NRW,Germany
And this will undoubtedly give us new insight into the evolution of parasitism." Dieterich, C., Clifton, SW, Schuster, L., Chinwalla, A., Delehaunty, K., ...                                                                      http://idw-online.de/pages/de/news278403

In the outback, ancient marine reef offers clue to early life
The Age - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia
Researcher Jonathan Giddings said further studies of the reef could reveal insights into the evolution of ancient reefs as well as this episode of extreme ..                                          http://www.theage.com.au/national/in-the-outback-ancient-marine-reef-offers-clue-to-early-life-20080921-4l0h.html

Ancient reef find 'may push back evolution' - ABC Science Online - Australia
By Heather Catchpole for ABC Science Online The find may be the missing piece of the puzzle in the evolution of early animal life. ...                                                                               http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/22/2371233.htm?site=science&topic=latest

Proposed standards would give evolution a boost - Houston Chronicle - United States
Miller said the "strengths and weaknesses" requirement has been seized on by creationists to promote unscientific attacks on evidence supporting evolution. ...
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6020403.html#

Interstellar Space Molecules That Help Form Basic Life Structures Identified
ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2008) — A team of scientists led by researchers from the Instituto Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has succeeded in identifying naphthalene, one of the most complex molecules yet discovered in the interstellar medium...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080919075007.htm

NASA's Swift Catches Farthest Ever Gamma-Ray Burst
ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2008) — NASA's Swift satellite has found the most distant gamma-ray burst ever detected. The blast, designated GRB 080913, arose from an exploding star 12.8 billion light-years away...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080919185809.htm

Harnessing New Technology To Keep Older People Behind The Wheel For Longer
ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2008) — A new study has highlighted the key role technology could play in extending the age at which people can drive safely on our roads...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080911111520.htm

Natural Childbirth Linked To Stronger Baby Bonding Than C-sections
ScienceDaily (Sep. 19, 2008) — The bonds that tie a mother to her newborn may be stronger in women who deliver naturally than in those who deliver by cesarean section, according to a study published by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the October issue of Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080918170817.htm

Mother's Flu Shot Protects Newborns
ScienceDaily (Sep. 19, 2008) — Newborns can be protected from seasonal flu when their mothers are vaccinated during pregnancy, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080917095346.htm

Astronomers Discover Most Dark Matter-dominated Galaxy In Universe
ScienceDaily (Sep. 19, 2008) — A team led by a Yale University astronomer has discovered the least luminous, most dark matter-filled galaxy known to exist...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080918170630.htm

Scientists Behind 'Doomsday Seed Vault' Ready World's Crops For Climate Change
ScienceDaily (Sep. 18, 2008) — As climate change is credited as one of the main drivers behind soaring food prices, the Global Crop Diversity Trust is undertaking a major effort to search crop collections—from Azerbaijan to Nigeria—for the traits that could arm agriculture against the impact of future changes...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080917145518.htm

 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE

Pope's trip highlights church-state struggle in Europe
International Herald Tribune - France
And no one expects France to overturn its dearly held tenet of laïcité, or strict separation of church and state, despite the pope's admonition that ...                                                               http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/20/europe/pope.php

Pope Seeks Greater Role for Catholics in Europe on Policy Issues
New York Times - United States
Nor does anyone expect France to overturn its dearly held tenet of "laïcité," a strict separation of church and state, in spite of the pope's admonition ...                                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/world/europe/20pope.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

Pope connives with Sarkozy to undermine French secularism
National Secular Society - London,UK
Separation of Church and State (established in France in 1905) is the universal democratic response by peoples and nations who want to govern themselves ..                                               http://www.secularism.org.uk/101485.html

Suit fights DC deal with Christian mission - Daily Record (subscription) - Baltimore,MD,USA
"That gift violates the constitutional separation of church and state," said Arthur B. Spitzer, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the ..                                                          http://www.mddailyrecord.com/article.cfm?id=148491&type=Daily

Atheist family challenges minute of silence law -Austin American-Statesman - Austin,TX,USA
.. and a nod they're just sort of calling it a moment of silence," said David Croft, a suburban Dallas parent and atheist who seeks to overturn the law. ...                                                  http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/09/22/0922moment.html

Church-state watchdog questions today's See You At The Pole - WNCT - Greenville,NC,USA
AP WASHINGTON (AP) - The Reverend Barry Lynn, who heads Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is casting a suspicious eye on today's prayer ..
http://www.wnct.com/nct/lifestyles/faith_values/article/church_state_watchdog_questions_todays_see_you_at_the_pole/19492/

Group opposed to religious boundary files opinion - 27east.com - Southampton,NY,USA
On September 17, the Alliance for the Separation of Church and State in the Greater Westhampton Area submitted the unsolicited letter written by Marci ..
http://www.27east.com/story_detail.cfm?id=169065

Proposed Federal Regulation Could Jeopardize Patients' Health Care ...
Americans United - Washington,DC,USA
AU's Lynn said the regulation conflicts with church-state separation. The US Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional any laws or regulations that elevate ...
http://www.au.org/site/News2?JServSessionIdr001=akrtkewty8.app5b&abbr=pr&page=NewsArticle&id=10053&security=1002&news_iv_ctrl=1241

State police chaplains resign over prayer restrictions
Richmond Times Dispatch - Richmond,VA,USA
Carrico believes the decision goes beyond a constitutional separation of Church and State. "It's a separation of Jesus and state, which offends me greatly," ...
http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/news.apx-content-articles-RTD-2008-09-24-0224.html

Warroad pastor grabs national attention
Grand Forks Herald - Grand Forks,ND,USA
Many, especially the group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, are trying to get Booth stopped, and have lobbied the IRS to yank his ..
http://www.grandforksherald.com/articles/index.cfm?id=87745&section=News

IRS wary as some pastors plan to talk politics
Toledo Blade - Toledo,OH,USA
Barry Lynn, a Unitarian minister and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is a leader of the opposition to the Pulpit ...
http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080926/NEWS10/809260299

Pastors plan to preach politics from the pulpit
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
No big deal, save for that whole "separation of church and state" thing and the fact that IRS rules say that's grounds for religious organizations to lose ...
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2008/09/pastors-plan-to.html

 

MISCELLANEOUS

"What Americans Really Belive" By Rodney Stark And Baylor ...
PR Web (press release) - Ferndale,WA,USA
Is the atheist population in the United States rapidly increasing? Several books by atheists hit the bestseller list in 2006 and 2007, seemingly signaling a ...
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/09/prweb1369324.htm


  CONVENTIONS / MEETINGS / EVENTS 
 
 Freedom From Religion                                Oct. 10-12, 2008      Chicago
 
 Gift for Life Day                                                Nov. 4, 2008             NATION WIDE    
 
             
 
        CFA Program
 
The Center for Atheism (CFA) was established by the New York City Atheists as a separate and independent national organization to propose, develop, and be a catalyst for new national activities supporting the objectives of atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics, secularists and separation-of-church-and-state advocates. 

CFA will accept and review suggestions from individuals and other secular organizations that will foster our goals.
 
 
          Special Notices

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