April 10, 2009
Volume 5, Issue 15
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:

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                                 MAY 7, 2009 (THURSDAY)

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

Atheist wins right to have baptism removed as he did not consent ... - United Kingdom
An atheist has won the right to have his baptism removed from Church of England records after claiming he was too young to give his consent to the ceremony. ...

Early Alarm for Church on Abusers in the Clergy
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN - Published: April 2, 2009
The founder of a Roman Catholic religious order that ran retreat centers for troubled priests warned American bishops in forceful letters dating back to 1952 that pedophiles should be removed from the priesthood because they could not be cured...

Spanish Court Weighs Inquiry on Torture for 6 Bush-Era Officials
By MARLISE SIMONS - Published: March 28, 2009
LONDON — A Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation into allegations that six former high-level Bush administration officials violated international law by providing the legal framework to justify the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said...


Dallas-area atheists discuss their outlook, relationships
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
Now he's recognized as something that confuses and even frightens some – he's an atheist. "When you tell someone you're not a theist, it's like saying I'm ...

The End Christian America
Newsweek - USA
Meanwhile, the number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold from 1990 to 2009, from 1 million to ...

Atheist group slowly evolving
Topeka Capital Journal - Topeka,KS,USA
FOR MORE Interested in the Atheist Community of Topeka? Go to its Web site,, or attend the group's lecture meeting at 6 pm ...

Billboard definitely not a sign from God
Charleston City Paper - Charleston,SC,USA
Barker does not claim to be a missionary of atheism, but there's hardly a better way to describe him. As co-president of the Freedom From Religion ...

Losing our religion: Agnosticism on the rise around CMU
Central Michigan Life - Mt. Pleasant,MI,USA
The Nonreligious, Atheist, Free Thinker and Agnostic Alliance is an RSO that started earlier this semester and meets at 9 pm every Tuesday in Brooks Hall ...

The anti-God squad
Yorkshire Evening Post - Leeds,England,UK
Not that 24-year-old Norman and his colleagues in the Leeds Atheist Society aren't used to being on the receiving end of extreme emotions. ...

Coming Out: An Atheists Dilemma
The Pendulum - Elon,NC,USA
Fewer than 1 percent of ARIS respondents self-identified as non believers, 0.9 percent as atheist and 0.7 percent as agnostic, while 12 percent stated ...

Doctor pushes science over religion
GW Hatchet (subscription) - Washington,DC,USA
A table outside the entrance to the event was covered with literature for organizations such as the Secular Student Alliance, the Atheist Alliance ...

Canadians losing faith in religion: Poll
Calgary Herald - AB, Canada
He was raised in a dogmatic protestant sect but has since come to call himself an "atheist-humanist." "I don't believe in metaphysical things; ..


Hemant Mehta’s step-by-step process to publication - USA
By night (all right, and also during the day) he’s “the eBay atheist” or “the friendly atheist.” Hemant Mehta is the young author of I Sold My Soul on eBay, ...


Texas rejects effort to require teaching of evolution 'weaknesses'
Dallas Morning News - Dallas,TX,USA
Critics of evolution managed to add a few small caveats to the curriculum, but none as sweeping as the strengths-and-weaknesses rule. ...

Texas science standards recall Dover intelligent design battle
York Daily Record - York,PA,USA
By JEFF FRANTZ Eric Rothschild, one of the lawyers for the group of parents that sued Dover school district over intelligent design in 2004, is surrounded ...

Retooled Texas Standards Raise Unease Among Science Groups
Education Week News (subscription) - Bethesda,MD,USA
Supporters of "intelligent design," he noted, have claimed that scientific evidence supports their view—an assertion rejected by the vast majority of ...


Young Pulsar Shows Its Hand
ScienceDaily (Apr. 5, 2009) — A small, dense object only twelve miles in diameter is responsible for a beautiful X-ray nebula that spans 150 light years...

Birds Can 'Read' Human Gaze
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2009) — We all know that people sometimes change their behavior when someone is looking their way. Now, a new study reported online on April 2nd in Current Biology shows that jackdaws—birds related to crows and ravens with eyes that appear similar to human eyes—can do the same...

New X-ray Spectroscopic Tool For Probing The Interstellar Medium
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2009) — Astronomers are reporting the first clear detection of signatures long sought in the spectra of X-ray astronomical sources...

Process For Making 'Unbreakable' Glass Developed
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2009) — Wine glasses that don’t shatter? Baby bottles that don’t break? Coffee mugs that last generations...

Hydrogen Cars Closer To Reality With New Storage System
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2009) — Researchers have developed a critical part of a hydrogen storage system for cars that makes it possible to fill up a vehicle's fuel tank within five minutes with enough hydrogen to drive 300 miles...

Hermit Arthropods 500 Million Years Ago?
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2009) — When animals first crawled onto land, one of the greatest obstacles they had to contend with was figuring out how to breathe. No longer bathed in oxygen-rich marine waters, their gills would surely have dried out...

Unexpected Behavior Of Quantum Dots When Combining To Form Molecules
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2009) — A study has demonstrated that the behaviour of quantum dots is different from that posited by atomic physics so far, and this is due to the spin of the electron...

One Of Brightest Gamma-Ray Bursts Ever Seen
ScienceDaily (Apr. 3, 2009) — Europe's Integral satellite has captured one of the brightest gamma-ray bursts ever seen. A meticulous analysis of the data has allowed astronomers to investigate the initial phases of this giant stellar explosion, which led to the ejection of matter at velocities close to the speed of light. In particular, the astronomers believe that the explosion lifted a piece of the central engine’s magnetic field into space...

Virus-built Battery Could Power Cars, Electronic Devices
ScienceDaily (Apr. 3, 2009) — For the first time, MIT researchers have shown they can genetically engineer viruses to build both the positively and negatively charged ends of a lithium-ion battery...

Whole-brain Circuit Map Could Reveal What Goes Wrong In Autism, Schizophrenia And Other Brain Disorders
ScienceDaily (Apr. 3, 2009) — Thirty-seven scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and 20 other major research institutions in the U.S. and Europe have issued a major challenge to the neuroscience community. At long last, the time has come, they argue in a just-published paper, to assemble a comprehensive map of the major neural circuits in the mammalian brain...

How Low Can It Go? Sun Plunges Into The Quietest Solar Minimum In A Century
ScienceDaily (Apr. 3, 2009) — The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower...


Iowa Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Upholds Religious Liberty ...
Common Dreams (press release) - Portland,ME,USA
... down a state law banning same-sex marriage is a welcome reaffirmation of religious liberty, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State. ...

Catholic diocese bans sex-ed class in leased Perth Amboy school
The Star-Ledger - - Newark,NJ,USA
The Perth Amboy busing solution is a twist on the issue of separation of church and state, but some public school officials wonder if it could become a ...

Group warns Nev. capital not to fund Twain church
The Associated Press
(AP) — A group that advocates the separation of church and state is warning a Nevada city that it will sue if the city gives anymore money to a church that ...

Dungy doesn't make Obama's list
Politico - Washington,DC,USA
Dungy’s potential appointment drew flak from liberal groups such as People for the American Way and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, ...

EurasiaNet - New York,NY,USA
The Georgian constitution calls for a clear separation between church and state, but critics believe that the financial relationship between President ...

Separation of Church and School
Texas A&M The Battalion - College Station,TX,USA
This is where Americans draw the "separation of church and state" ideal from, and has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean Congress may not adopt ...

Falmouth Town Meeting OKs funds for church repairs
Cape Cod Times - Hyannis,MA,USA
By Aaron Gouveia FALMOUTH — Despite some concerns over separation of church and state, town meeting voters overwhelmingly approved spending nearly $200000 ...

Department of Health and Human Services Should Revoke Bush-Era ...
Common Dreams (press release) - Portland,ME,USA
WASHINGTON - April 9 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State has called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind a ...


Ronald Reagan tried to convert Mikhail Gorbachev to Christianity ... - United Kingdom
"The president concluded that there was one thing he had long yearned to do for his atheist son," according to the declassified minutes of the meeting. ...

        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 or         
  , 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.



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