March 20, 2009
Volume 5, Issue 12
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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Atheist nurse tries to get himself 'de-baptised' from Church of ...
Telegraph.couk - United Kingdom
An atheist is trying to get himself "de-baptised" from the Church of England because he believes he was accepted into the religion without his consent...

Scholar Claims Dead Sea Scrolls 'Authors' Never Existed
By TIM MCGIRK / JERUSALEM Tim Mcgirk / Jerusalem – Mon Mar 16, 1:40 pm ET
Biblical scholars have long argued that the Dead Sea Scrolls were the work of an ascetic and celibate Jewish community known as the Essenes, which flourished in the 1st century A.D. in the scorching desert canyons near the Dead Sea. Now a prominent Israeli scholar, Rachel Elior, disputes that the Essenes ever existed at all - a claim that has shaken the bedrock of biblical scholarship...

5th Circuit Affirms Texas Schools' Moment of Silence Law
Anabelle Garay - The Associated Press - March 17, 2009
A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a Texas law that requires public school students to observe a daily minute of silence in order to pray, reflect or otherwise remain quiet...

Christian Book Expo in Dallas to feature high-profile atheist
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News Is Dallas' new mega-event for Christian book lovers really featuring a best-selling atheist author who delights in ...

Obama: Decriminalize Homosexuality Worldwide
ABC News - USA
Endless---just because you are christian we have to have a government which enforces your vision of christianity. there is separation of church and state ..

Ill. House wants school reflection voluntary again
Chicago Sun-Times - United States
Talk show host and atheist Rob Sherman and his teenage daughter sued and a federal judge ruled in January that the law indicated an "intent to force the...,w-house-school-reflection-voluntary-031909.article

From Arctic Soil, Fossils of a Goliath That Ruled the Jurassic Seas
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD - Published: March 16, 2009
There were monstrous reptiles in the deep, back in the time of dinosaurs. They swam with mighty flippers, two fore and two hind, all four accelerating on attack. In their elongated heads were bone-crushing jaws more powerful than a Tyrannosaurus rex’s. They were the pliosaurs, heavyweight predators at the top of the food chain in ancient seas...


Pastor, atheist didn't hold back during 1975 Dallas debate
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
WA Criswell argues with atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair of Austin after she interrupted him during a debate hosted by Ed Busch for WFAA radio. 'What a night!...

Christian bus campaign gets ten times more complaints than atheist one
Professional Fundraising - London,UK
A pro-Christian advert responding to the atheist bus campaign has become the fourth most complained-about advert in the history of the Advertising Standards...

New Atheist Ad Campaign Takes a More Thoughtful Tone
Seattle Weekly - Seattle,WA,USA
And now, it appears, atheists agree. A group of local atheists are launching a Metro bus campaign to try to bring this mostly-godless city around even...


Don’t mention God: how Darwin’s marriage survived
Sunday Herald - Glasgow,Scotland,UK
By Mike Merrit A LEADING Scottish playwright has produced a new twist on the life of Charles Darwin: the evolution of the relationship between the scientist...

Penn Jillette Answers Your Questions
New York Times Blogs - New York,NY,USA
Do you think in 50 years, American atheism, now at 5 to 10 percent, could reach current European levels at 50 percent? - Josephus I read them all and love...


Science minister won't confirm belief in evolution
Globe and Mail - Canada
Canada's science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won't say if he believes in evolution...

Science minister ends evolution brouhaha
Globe and Mail - Canada
OTTAWA — Canada's Science Minister has cut short a brewing controversy over his views on evolution. Gary Goodyear raised eyebrows when he refused to tell ...

Science minister's coyness on evolution worries researchers
CBCca - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
Gary Goodyear, minister of state for science and technology, left some scientists 'flabbergasted' by his refusal to say whether he accepts evolution...

Science minister says his evolution views not relevant - Canada
Canada's science minister said that he didn't answer a question about his views on evolution because he says the question is "irrelevant' to his portfolio...

Scientists still wary after science minister confirms belief in... - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
Gary Goodyear, the secretary of state for science and technology, says questions about his belief in the theory of evolution are irrelevant...

Goodyear continues to deflect questions on evolution beliefs
Globe and Mail - Canada
In an interview published in Tuesday's Globe and Mail, Mr. Goodyear declined to answer a question about whether he believes in evolution, saying that...

Education chief eyes 'new era' in science teaching
Berkshire Eagle - Pittsfield,MA,USA
"Whether it's global warming, evolution or stem cell research, science will be honored. It will be respected and supported by this administration," he said...


'The Unexpected Outcome' Is A Key To Human Learning
ScienceDaily (Mar. 15, 2009) — The human brain’s sensitivity to unexpected outcomes plays a fundamental role in the ability to adapt and learn new behaviors, according to a new study by a team of psychologists and neuroscientists from the University of Pennsylvania...

Human-generated Sounds May Be Killing Fish
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — Anthropogenic, or human generated, sounds have the potential to significantly affect the lives of aquatic animals - from the individual animal's well-being, right through to its reproduction, migration and even survival of the species...

Solar Water Heating Pays For Itself Five Times Over
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — An analysis of the engineering and economics for a solar water-heating system shows it to have a payback period of just two years, according to researchers in India. They report, in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues, on the success of the 1000-liter system operating at a university hostel...

Preserved Shark Fossil Adds Evidence To Great White's Origins
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — A new University of Florida study could help resolve a long-standing debate in shark paleontology: From which line of species did the modern great white shark evolve...

New Method For Monitoring Volcanoes
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — Seventeen of the world’s most active volcanoes have been supplied with monitoring equipment from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden to measure their emission of sulphur dioxide. The measurement results will be used to make it easier to predict volcano eruptions, and they can also be used to improve today’s climate models...

Hubble Provides New Evidence For Dark Matter Around Small Galaxies
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a strong new line of evidence that galaxies are embedded in halos of dark matter...

American Adults Flunk Basic Science
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — Are Americans flunking science? A new national survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences and conducted by Harris Interactive® reveals that the U.S. public is unable to pass even a basic scientific literacy test...

High IQ Linked To Reduced Risk Of Death
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — A study of one million Swedish men has revealed a strong link between cognitive ability and the risk of death, suggesting that government initiatives to increase education opportunities may also have health benefits...

AIDS Vaccine Gets Closer: Targeting Virus' Achilles Heel
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — Rutgers AIDS researchers Gail Ferstandig Arnold and Eddy Arnold may have turned a corner in their search for a HIV vaccine. In a paper just published in the Journal of Virology, the husband and wife duo and their colleagues report on their research progress...

Brain Tumors: New Therapy Surprisingly Successful
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — The combination of two drugs produces a critical improvement in the treatment of certain brain tumours. This has been demonstrated by researchers at Bonn University working in co-operation with German and Swiss colleagues in a current study. They treated 39 patients who had been diagnosed with a so-called gliablastoma...


The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off
By FRANK RICH - Published: March 14, 2009
SOMEDAY we’ll learn the whole story of why George W. Bush brushed off that intelligence briefing of Aug. 6, 2001, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” But surely a big distraction was the major speech he was readying for delivery on Aug. 9, his first prime-time address to the nation...

Without a Pastor of His Own, Obama Turns to Five
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN - Published: March 14, 2009
President Obama has been without a pastor or a home church ever since he cut his ties to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. in the heat of the presidential campaign. But he has quietly cultivated a handful of evangelical pastors for private prayer sessions on the telephone and for discussions on the role of religion in politics...

New Debates Over Church, State, School and Charters
Gotham Gazette - New York,NY,USA
"We are not," she said, "looking to change separation of church and state in charter schools." Much of this presents challenges for the church as well...

More than 500 rally in support of state religious license plate
Greenville News - Greenville,SC,USA
That argument is misleading, according to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which says the case is about the state’s preferential...

Vermont gay marriage bill focus of public hearing
San Francisco Chronicle - CA, USA
"If our country is built on the separation of church and state, how come the Bible's words determine the outcome of this issue?" she asked..

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