THE   FOCUS

January 16, 2009
Volume 5, Issue 3
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.

Comments, suggestions and subscription:
info@centerforatheism.org.

SEE NYC ATHEISTS BLOG:
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FEATURED ARTICLES

Catholics ordered to keep quiet over Virgin visions
By Jerome Taylor and Simon Caldwell
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Catholics who claim they have seen the Virgin Mary will be forced to remain silent about the apparitions until a team of psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists have fully investigated their claims under new Vatican guidelines aimed at stamping out false claims of miracles...
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catholics-ordered-to-keep-quiet-over-virgin-visions-1332016.html

US Catholic contract unconstitutional: ACLU suit
Reuters - USA
The suit filed in US District Court in Boston said the Department of Health and Human Services violated the separation of church and state by giving the US ...
http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE50B6W820090112

Atheist ad campaign spreads to Italy after Spain, Britain
AFP
ROME (AFP) — Atheists in predominantly Catholic Italy said Monday they plan to begin a bus advertising campaign denying the existence of God following ...
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5idhoNwIX5uGkKdwwzmNcUHCCaOWQ

Atheist's quest to remove God from presidential oath rejected
Washington Examiner - Washington,DC,USA
By Freeman Klopott Atheist Michael Newdow's most recent attempt to eliminate the phrase "so help me God" from the presidential oath failed when a US ...
http://www.dcexaminer.com/local/011609-Atheists_quest_to_remove_God_from_presidential_oath_rejected.html
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ATHEISM

Why worry? Be atheist
Globe and Mail - Canada
Sherine, who was raised a Christian but is now an atheist, found this intensely off-putting: Didn't nearly a quarter of Britons describe themselves as ..
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090109.wrenzetti0110/BNStory/Entertainment

Atheist bus leads to first non-religious version of Thought for ...
Telegraph.co.uk - United Kingdom
The BBC has agreed to broadcast a non-religious version of Thought for the Day for the first time, following the success of the atheist bus adverts. ...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/4208815/Atheist-bus-leads-to-first-non-religious-version-of-Thought-for-the-Day-on-BBC.html

BBC Radio 4 to broadcast its first atheist 'Thought for the Afternoon'
guardian.couk - UK
Ariane Sherine, the creator of the controversial Atheist Bus Campaign, will give the first atheist "Thought for the Afternoon" on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow. ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jan/09/bbc-radio

Former Archbishop of Canterbury: atheists use 9/11 as excuse to ...
Telegraph.co.uk - United Kingdom
"The argument for intelligent design may have some appeal for many Christians but is ultimately a negation of what science is about, which is to make a ...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/4218676/Former-Archbishop-of-Canterbury-says-atheists-use-911-as-an-excuse-to-attack-all-religions.html

Richard Dawkins on board with a pro-atheist message
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
By Henry Chu REPORTING FROM OXFORD, ENGLAND -- All they are saying is give atheism a chance. Earlier this month, 800 buses rolled out of depots across ...
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-dawkins-qa12-2009jan12,0,3974830.story

Atheists want to prevent 'So help me God' from being said during ...
News & Observer - Raleigh,NC,USA
And that has rankled leaders in the atheist and humanist communities. So they've sued. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday. "Our Founding Fathers knew that ...
http://www.newsobserver.com/2178/story/1364534.html

Atheists advertise on buses in Barcelona
PerthNow - Perth,WA,Australia
They were paid for by the Catalan branch of Spain's Union for Atheists and Free Thinkers (UAL). The same message was plastered on roughly 800 buses and in ...
http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,24905239-5012756,00.html

Bishop criticises atheist bus ads
Bath Chronicle - Bath,England,UK
The Bishop of Bath and Wells has attacked an atheist advertising campaign which declares: "There's probably no God". The Rt Rev Peter Price said the bus ...
http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/news/Bishop-criticises-atheist-bus-ads/article-605588-detail/article.html

Calif. atheist activist to argue in Washington, D.C., court that prayer should be removed from inauguration
By JENNIFER GARZA - McClatchy Newspapers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The traditional element of prayer at the presidential inauguration can't seem to find universal blessing this year...
http://www.newsobserver.com/2178/story/1367595.html

Atheist appears in Washington court to argue against inaugural prayer
guardian.co.uk - UK
Today, Sacramento, California, resident and atheist activist Michael Newdow will argue in Washington, DC, District Court that prayer and any reference to ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/15/obama-inauguration-religion

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE

School Officials to Face Federal Judge
Indiana's NewsCenter - Fort Wayne,IN,USA
By Brien McElhatten HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The battle over the separation of church and state is alive and well in Huntington. ...
http://www.indianasnewscenter.com/news/local/37483599.html

Noted atheist, Christopher Hitchens, underwent 'waterboarding'
*WARNING: SOME VIEWERS MAY CONSIDER THIS VIDEO TO BE GRAPHIC IMAGERY*
Examiner.com - USA
by Trina Hoaks, Atheism Examiner Almost a year ago, Christopher Hitchens subjected himself to the widely controversial "waterboarding." Nearly a year ago, ...
http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner~y2009m1d15-Noted-atheist-Christopher-Hitchens-underwent-waterboarding

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D.

150 Years After 'Origin of the Species', Science and Religion ...
YubaNet - Nevada City,CA,USA
9, 2009 - When Charles Darwin published his landmark book On the Evolution of Species in 1859, his theories on evolution were quickly accepted by the vast ...
http://yubanet.com/life/150-Years-After-Origin-of-the-Species-Science-and-Religion-Remain-in-Conflict-Over-Evolution.php

Like it or not, you pay for faith in evolution
WND.com - Grants Pass,OR,USA
The site, funded by a federal grant and aimed at influencing teachers to promote evolution, excludes and ridicules perspectives – and religious groups that ...
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGEview&pageId=85537

'Banquet at Delmonico's' by Barry Werth
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
Herbert Spencer promoted evolution as a progression in nature and society. By Art Winslow In his spirited and comprehensive 2005 analysis "Darwinism and Its ...
http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-ca-barry-werth11-2009jan11,0,3658663.story

For God's sake, have Charles Darwin's theories made any difference ..
Times Online - UK
And, finally, although Darwin showed micro-evolution – most famously in the variations of the forms of the beaks of Galapagos finches – his leap to the ...
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article5488488.ece

BESE OKs rules on teaching 'controversial' science
Shreveport Times - Shreveport,LA,USA
"I'm satisfied that you cannot teach creationism or intelligent design" with other language in the rules," Pastorek said. A provision stating "The materials ...
http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20090113/NEWS04/90113017

Debate over science lesson content expected today
The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com - New Orleans,LA,USA
The proposed BESE rules essentially repeat that language, including the statement that "materials that teach creationism or intelligent design or that ...
http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/01/debate_over_science_lesson_con.html

SCIENCE POLICY SHIFTS: State decision rekindles creationism vs ...
The Daily Advertiser - Lafayette,LA,USA
All the students have taken biology, the class where students learn about evolution. Seventeen-year-old Kiera Sam said she wouldn't have a problem with ...
http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20090114/NEWS01/901140332/1002

Creationism ban stripped from rules
2TheAdvocate - Baton Rouge,LA,USA
The section removed said: "Materials that teach creationism or intelligent design or that advance the religious belief that a supernatural being created ...
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/37554394.html

Louisiana Creates: New Pro-Intelligent Design Rules for Teachers
Science Now - Washington,DC,USA
The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank, is a proponent of Intelligent Design. In a statement on the institute's Web site, its education analyst ...
http://blogs.sciencemagorg/scienceinsider/2009/01/louisiana-creat.html

SCIENCE

Research Ties Human Acts to Harmful Rates of Species Evolution
New York Times - United States
Atlantic cod and Bighorn sheep are generally harvested by humans as mature adults, whereas predators would target the smaller or weaker. ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/science/13fish.html?_r=1&ref=science

Ecstasy For Treatment Of Traumatic Anxiety
ScienceDaily (Jan. 10, 2009) — Treatment with a pharmacological version of the drug ecstasy makes PTSD patients more receptive to psychotherapy, and contributes to lasting improvement. Norwegian researchers explain why...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108121656.htm

How Did Life Begin? RNA That Replicates Itself Indefinitely Developed For First Time
ScienceDaily (Jan. 10, 2009) — One of the most enduring questions is how life could have begun on Earth. Molecules that can make copies of themselves are thought to be crucial to understanding this process as they provide the basis for heritability...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090109173205.htm

Milky Way A Swifter Spinner, More Massive, New Measurements Show
ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2009) — Fasten your seat belts -- we're faster, heavier, and more likely to collide than we thought. Astronomers making high-precision measurements of the Milky Way say our home Galaxy is rotating about 100,000 miles per hour faster than previously understood...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105131208.htm

Smoking During Pregnancy Fosters Aggression In Children
ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2009) — Women who smoke during pregnancy risk delivering aggressive kids according to a new Canada-Netherlands study published in the journal Development and Psychopathology. While previous studies have shown that smoking during gestation causes low birth weight...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090106100011.htm

Brown Dwarfs Don't Hang Out With Stars
ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2009) — Brown dwarfs, objects that are less massive than stars but larger than planets, just got more elusive, based on a study of 233 nearby multiple-star systems by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090106140143.htm

Macbeth's Curse: Link Between Sleeplessness And Paranoia Identified
ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2009) — Research funded by the Wellcome Trust has identified a link between sleeplessness and paranoid thinking, a theme highlighted in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. In a study published online in the journal 'Schizophrenia Research'...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108150857.htm

Jupiter-like Planets Could Form Around Twin Suns
ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2009) — Life on a planet ruled by two suns might be a little complicated. Two sunrises, two sunsets. Twice the radiation field...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105120322.htm

Volcanoes Cool The Tropics, But Global Warming May Have Helped Override Some Recent Eruptions
ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2009) — Climate researchers have shown that big volcanic eruptions over the past 450 years have temporarily cooled weather in the tropics—but suggest that such effects may have been masked in the 20th century by rising global temperatures...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105175356.htm

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE

Texas AG fights to keep prayer at inauguration
Montgomery County Courier - Houston,TX,USA
"I personally do not see that separation of church and state means that there should be no prayer at public gatherings," Seracuse said. ...
http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2009/01/09/conroe_courier/news/prayer0109.txt

Federal judge to hear arguments that Antioch library discriminated ...
San Jose Mercury News - CA, USA
A separation of church and state argument is not applicable in this case, Chandler said. "The Supreme Court has said for more than 25 years that you must ...
http://www.mercurynews.com/crime/ci_11411328?nclick_check=1

Gay bishop Gene Robinson to lead prayers at Barack Obama inauguration
Times Online - UK
I wonder how a bishop can do something that his church forbids. A gay bishop does not practise what he preaches. Sep. of church and state is a distorted ...
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article5504882.ece

Suit decries US funding of Catholic outreach
Boston Globe - United States
"We think this is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state," said Brigitte Amiri, the lead ACLU attorney in the lawsuit against Health and ...
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/01/13/suit_decries_us_funding_of_catholic_outreach/

NEWS: Supreme Court Asked to Nullify Prop. 8
Opposing Views - Los Angeles,CA,USA
By Americans United - 8 Hours Ago Americans United for Separation of Church and State has joined a legal brief asking the California Supreme Court to ...
http://www.opposingviews.com/articles/news-supreme-court-asked-to-nullify-prop-8

MISCELLANEOUS

DARWIN AWARDS
Darwin Awards
And now...what you've all been waiting for.............
http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/ 
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