THE   FOCUS

April 3, 2009
Volume 5, Issue 14
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:

              SEE "GIFT TO LIFE" BLOOD DONATION PROGRAM 
                                 MAY 7, 2009 (THURSDAY)


                         (SPECIAL NOTICES - BOTTOM OF PAGE)-                                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FEATURED ARTICLES

Judge rules Texas pledge may reference God
The Associated Press
David Croft had argued that inserting the words were unconstitutional and amounted to a violation of separation of church and state. He and his wife, ...
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hMyhqzeHHz-TjcBVGPV6hVYZ2lXgD976OE6G0

The Texas-Size Debate Over Teaching Evolution
Newsweek - USA
Thus, even if the Texas board had defiantly voted to declare evolution to be questionable and debatable, its decision could still have spelled the end of a ...
http://www.newsweek.com/id/191400

Following atheist trend, Britons seek 'de-baptism'
AFP
The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster ...
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hXewjxfwDkrs_yqGIME33WCLQtbg

Changing from civil union to marriage
Danbury News Times - Danbury,CT,USA
The legislation was approved after a three-hour committee debate over the separation of church and state. Attempts by Rep. Bruce V. Morris, D-Norwalk, ...
http://www.newstimes.com/ci_12031691

Defamation of Religion Passes at U.N. Human Rights Council Again
The United Nations Human Rights Council has once again passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries which urges the creation of laws in member states to prevent criticism of religion, namely, Islam...
http://www.humaniststudies.org/enews/?id=393&article=1

Abortion row shakes Brazil opinion
BBC News - UK
The archbishop later insisted it was not he who was ordering the excommunication, but that he had been simply restating the teachings of the Church. ...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7978696.stm

Iowa court says gay marriage ban unconstitutional
The Associated Press
The Polk County attorney's office, arguing on behalf of Brien, claimed that Hanson's ruling violates the separation of powers and said the issue should be ...
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iHUp4BkOCwXHCaN3c1RyYj61fYTQD97B2OF80

ATHEISM

Local atheists lift their voices in bus ads
Seattle Times - United States
Seattle Atheists are starting a bus-ad campaign intended to give atheists a voice, provide a way for them to connect, and to put a "positive face on atheism ...
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008942258_atheists29m.html

Atheists put message on high with billboards in Dallas-Fort Worth area
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
This week, drivers in Dallas and Fort Worth will notice billboards sponsored by local atheists and agnostics. "Don't believe in God? ...
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-billboards_01met.ART0.State.Edition1.4a59352.html

British Author: Pope's Condom Comments 'Stupid'
FOXNews - USA
Richard Dawkins, popularly known for his controversial views on atheism and Darwinism, said Pope Benedict XVI could be responsible for millions of deaths if ...
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,512064,00.html

Richard Dawkins says Pope is 'stupid'
Telegraph.co.uk - United Kingdom
By Jon Swaine Professor Dawkins, the prominent biologist and atheist, said that Benedict XVI would have blood on his hands if his beliefs were followed by ...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5088516/Richard-Dawkins-says-Pope-is-stupid.html

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE

Search This Blog using Google
ScienceBlogs - USA
If it's true that atheism is a "religion" because it has a "non-belief system," there are a helluva lot of atheists out there, since there are a lot of ...
http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2009/03/freethinker_sunday_sermonette_144.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=channellink

The Atheist's Dilemma: Family Guy Takes A Stance
Cinema Blend - USA
By Steve West: 2009-03-31 01:41:13 What’s more shocking: that Brian came out as an atheist on Family Guy this week, or that Family Guy added a little ...
http://www.cinemablend.com/television/The-Atheist-s-Dilemma-Family-Guy-Takes-A-Stance-16575.html

Was last night's Family Guy the first-ever endorsement of atheism ..
TV Squad - Santa Monica,CA,USA
And even there, the well-worn theory that there are no atheists in fox-holes (or during particularly scary mall promotions) was in full effect. ...
http://www.tvsquad.com/2009/03/30/was-last-nights-family-guy-the-first-ever-endorsement-of-atheis/

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D.

Texas Opens Classroom Door for Evolution Doubts
Wall Street Journal - USA
By STEPHANIE SIMON The Texas Board of Education approved a science curriculum that opens the door for teachers and textbooks to raise doubts about evolution ...
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123819751472561761.html

Anti-Evolution Bill Still A Fruitless Exercise
Tampa Tribune - Tampa,FL,USA
By WILLIAM MARCH and CATHERINE DOLINSKI TALLAHASSEE - A bill aimed at undercutting acceptance of evolution in Florida science classes, which kicked up a ...
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/mar/28/na-anti-evolution-bill-still-a-fruitless-exercise/

Texas board comes down on 2 sides of creationism debate
CNN - USA
The debate pitted proponents of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution against supporters of religion-based theories of intelligent design, or creationism. ...
http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/27/texas.education.evolution/

New Texas science standards saddled with incoherent changes
Ars Technica - Boston,MA,USA
Elsewhere, standard themes from the creationist and intelligent design literature made an appearance. Students are expected to consider the "sudden ...
http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/03/mixed-results-for-science-in-texas.ars

Evolutionary Semantics, Texas-Style
New York Times - United States
This was not a straightforward battle over whether to include creationism or its close cousin, intelligent design, in the science curriculum. ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/opinion/31tue3.html?_r=1

Suit dismissed in firing over creationism e-mail
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
Texas curriculum standards have long required that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, including the premise that humans evolved from lower forms of life, ...
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-teasuit_01tex.ART.State.Edition1.4ad6a02.html

Former science director's suit against TEA dismissed
Austin American-Statesman - Austin,TX,USA
... was critical of teaching creationism and intelligent design, an idea that the origins of life are best explained as the intentional result of a creator. ...
http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/04/01/0401comer.html

Texas on evolution: Needs further study
Salon - USA
The words would influence how evolution is taught in Texas classrooms and would be immortalized in Lone Star textbooks. As the largest textbook market in ...
http://www.salon.com/env/feature/2009/03/28/texas_evolution_case/

Muslim students weigh in on evolution
Nature.com (subscription) - London,England,UK
The Can$250000 Islam and Evolution research project is the first large study of students, teachers and scientists in countries with significant Muslim ...
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090402/full/news.2009.230.html

SCIENCE

Early Agriculture Left Traces In Animal Bones
ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2009) — Unraveling the origins of agriculture in different regions around the globe has been a challenge for archeologists. Now researchers writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report finding evidence of early human experiments with grain cultivation in East Asia. They gathered this information from an unlikely source―dog and pig bones...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324081439.htm

Does Prebiotic Material Exist In Outer Space?
ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2009) — Both a Spanish and a French astrophysicist have identified a band in the infrared range that serves to track the presence of organic material rich in oxygen and nitrogen in the interstellar dust grains. Should any telescope detect this band, the presence in space of aminoacids and other substances, which are the precursors to life, could be confirmed...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326152507.htm

Brain Activity Predicts People's Choices
ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2009) — The activity in one brain structure can predict people's preferences, according to new research in the March 25 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The study shows that even when people rate options similarly, they will choose the one that causes more activation in the caudate nucleus, a brain region involved in anticipating reward...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324171554.htm

Sexual Reproduction: Birds Do It, Bees Do It; Termites Don't, Necessarily
ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2009) — Scientists at North Carolina State University and three universities in Japan have shown for the first time that it is possible for certain female termite "primary queens" to reproduce both sexually and asexually during their lifetimes...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326141549.htm

Crabs Not Only Suffer Pain, But Retain Memory Of It
ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2009) — New research published by a Queen's University Belfast academic has shown that crabs not only suffer pain but that they retain a memory of it...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090327072759.htm

New Protein Important In Breast Cancer Gene's Role In DNA Repair Identified
ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2009) — For years, researchers have known that under normal conditions, the breast cancer protein BRCA1 orchestrates the repair of damaged DNA, but the details of just how BRCA1 moves to the damaged site and recruits the right nuclear repairmen for DNA restoration remains a mystery...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090318104328.htm

New Research Highlights Dramatically Reduced Risk Of Developing Dementia
ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2009) — People with memory problems are less at risk of developing dementia than previously thought, a new study led by the University of Leicester and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust reveals..
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090323093013.htm

Why Is There More Matter Than Antimatter In The Natural World?
ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2009) — A team of researchers from Perimeter Institute, Cambridge University, and Texas A&M has for the first time estimated, from mathematical symmetry arguments, the size of a fundamental imbalance pervading the subatomic world...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325132855.htm

Why Certain Fishes Went Extinct 65 Million Years Ago
ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2009) — Large size and a fast bite spelled doom for bony fishes during the last mass extinction 65 million years ago, according to a new study...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326134020.htm

Gorilla Gets MRI At Bronx Zoo
ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2009) — A brain scan was performed on a gorilla at the Bronx Zoo...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326134018.htm

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE

Judge dismisses parent's lawsuit over 'one state under God ...
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
.. argued that the insertion of the words in 2007 by legislators was unconstitutional and amounted to a violation of the separation of church and state. ...
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/032709dnmettexaspledge.78988d59.html

Vt. Governor vows to veto marriage bill
Vermont Cynic (subscription) - Burlington,VT,USA
“We say that there is separation of Church and State, but if this bill does not pass, I find it hard to believe in such a separation. ...
http://www.vermontcynic.com/news/vt-governor-vows-to-veto-marriage-bill-1.1634486

Americans United Issues Statement on Tony Dungy Appointment to ...
Common Dreams (press release) - Portland,ME,USA
WASHINGTON - March 31 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed disappointment at the Obama administration's decision to ask ...
http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/03/31-15

Group drops challenge against Carson City church
Nevada Appeal - Carson City,NV,USA
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State likely wouldn’t be able to get a court to force First Presbyterian Church to return $78800 it ...
http://www.nevadaappeal.com/article/20090402/NEWS/904029948/1058&title=Group%20drops%20challenge%20against%20Carson%20City%20church

Tax Funding for Baptist University Violates Kentucky Constitution ...
Common Dreams (press release) - Portland,ME,USA
The brief, filed March 31, traces the development of church-state separation in the United States and examines how that principle is protected in the ...
http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/04/01-11

Eisenhower moves graduation to school following legal threat
Greater Milwaukee Today - WI, USA
By KATHERINE MICHALETS - GM Today Staff NEW BERLIN - After a national separation of church and state organization challenged New Berlin Eisenhower High ...
http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2009/April_09/04022009_02.asp

Tax Transcends Church and State
Martha's Vineyard Gazette - Vineyard Haven,MA,USA
“One had to do with the fact that it was private property and the other was because of the doctrine of separation of church and state. ...
http://www.mvgazette.com/article.php?20480

MISCELLANEOUS

Atheist pastor won’t be challenged – in case he is shown to be right?
National Secular Society - London,UK
... the Netherlands are reported to have decided to take no disciplinary action against the pastor of a Protestant church who is a self-proclaimed atheist. ...
http://www.secularism.org.uk/108530.html


=============================================
        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

          Atheists to Counter ‘National Day of Prayer' with Blood Donations Lifesaving Action, 
        Not Passive Prayer, Is the Message

What do you do on May 7, 2009, the “National Day of Prayer,” if you are an atheist, do not believe in prayer and are opposed to the observance of a prayer day being imposed on all American citizens?

While Believers are praying on May 7th (an act that has been scientifically proven to be ineffective), groups of atheists will go to Blood Banks in scores of U.S. locales to donate their blood and sign up for organ donation programs. It is a nationwide action which we hope will point out that there are alternatives to silently beseeching a deity to perform miracles.

"While religious people are on their knees, we atheists will be on our feet, giving a part of ourselves for the benefit of humanity. We Atheists know that prayer does not work--but  medical science does."

"We want to make a public statement about how nonreligious people can observe the so-called National Day of Prayer, which we have renamed Gift to Life Day,". "At the same time, we want to let America know that there are millions of us who know that praying is nothing more than talking to yourself. So on that day, we atheists will be engaging in action that we can prove scientifically has real-life impact on our fellow citizens."

If you want to start a Gift to Life Day in your locale, it’s simple. Here’s what you do:

        1) Find your local blood bank by accessing www.americasblood.org or         
            http://www.givelife.org, then type in your zip code to find your local blood bank.

        2) Phone the blood bank to make arrangements for a group donation.

            (You will find them amazingly supportive and accommodating.)

        3) Notify your local newspaper, TV and other media that your group is

            doing this and why. It’s important to alert them long before the event.

It's simple, it's positive, it's effective. Come on, Agnostics, Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Secularists, Nonbelievers, Separation of Church and State advocates, join us in our humanitarian protest against the Day of Prayer! Show the world that while religious people are on their knees, Atheists are on their feet giving of themselves to humanity.

 

 

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