THE   FOCUS

October 3, 2009
Volume 5, Issue 40
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.

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

FEATURED ARTICLES
 
Music festival's atheist ties stirring controversy
WIS
Dawkins is one of the best known evolutionists in the world and is also an atheist who wrote a book called The God Delusion. Dawkins will be speaking at the ...
http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=11205230
 
City Decides to Continue Pre-Meeting Invocation
New York Times
... a founder and president of the foundation, which claims 14000 members, said her group had two issues with the prayer: separation of church and state, ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/us/02lodi.html
 
Fossil extends evolution story
BBC News
Natural History Museum's Professor Chris Stringer says an ancient
fossilised human-like creature may be a direct ancestor to our species...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8286160.stm
 
Oh, Damn! Blasphemy Day Looks for a Target
Politics Daily (blog)
It all depends on your point of view, and whether you want to complain about an atheist whose beliefs you can't stand or denounce a divinity you don't ...
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/09/30/oh-damn-blasphemy-day-looks-for-a-target/
 
ATHEISM
 
One in 5 Americans may be secular by 2030
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Most Nones would not consider themselves atheists. More than 50 percent believe in either a higher being or a personal God, while only 7 percent are ...
http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=18769
 
Secular humanist student group returns to campus after hiatus
Student Life
Another item on the meeting's agenda was the idea that later in the year the group could adopt the theme “An Atheist Loves You,” with the aim of dispelling ...
http://www.studlife.com/news/2009/09/25/secular-humanist-student-group-returns-to-campus-after-hiatus/
 
Insurer Will Pay $74000 Settlement for Discriminating Against ...
Courthouse News Service
The United States' lawsuit against GuideOne and two of its offices stemmed from complaints filed by an atheist, an agnostic, and the Lexington, Ky., ...
http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/09/25/Insurer_Will_Pay_$74_000_Settlement_for_Discriminating_Against_Atheists_&_Agnostics.htm
 
Imagine No Religion? Atheist Movement Gains Momentum
AlterNet
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is using quotes from famous atheists to spread the message in its national billboard campaign. ...
http://www.alternet.org/rights/142978/imagine_no_religion_atheist_movement_gains_momentum/
 
Coalition of atheists puts out call on billboard
Charleston Gazette
The Morgantown coalition is made up of members of the Morgantown Brights, Morgantown Atheists, Freethinkers Morgantown Book Club and Morgantown Thomas Paine ...
http://wvgazette.com/News/200909290601
 
Alabama Atheists and Agnostics chalking erased
The University of Alabama Crimson White
At approximately 4 pm Sunday afternoon, a few members of the newly recreated non-religious group, Alabama Atheist and Agnostics, did chalking in the ...
http://www.cw.ua.edu/alabama-atheists-and-agnostics-chalking-erased-1.1932344
 
BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE
 
Ricky Gervais makes directorial debut with 'Invention of Lying'
Nebraska City News Press
Q: Some people might take offense to the sort of anti-religion attitude of the film, and you've often said that you're an atheist. ...
http://www.ncnewspress.com/entertainment/x1991987031/Ricky-Gervais-makes-directorial-debut-with-Invention-of-Lying
 
Atheists examine Christmas from angel-free angle
guardian.co.uk
The Atheist's Guide to Christmas features contributions on the theme of Christmas and God by scientists Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh and Adam Rutherford, ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/27/atheist-christmas-book
 
New Book Offers 'Road Map' to Avoid Conflicts Over Religion in ...
Common Dreams (press release)
WASHINGTON - September 28 - A new book published by Americans United for Separation of Church and State gives educators and families detailed information ...
http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/09/28-0
 
Robert Fulford: Evolution's champion Dawkins returns with a new book
National Post
Richard Dawkins argues that those goose bumps are a message from the distant past, one of many ways that evolution has written its own story on our living ...
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/holy-post/archive/2009/09/28/robert-fulford-evolution-s-champion-dawkins-returns-with-a-new-book.aspx#
 
Film Feature
Artvoice
And I thought about it and thought about it, and within an hour I was an atheist. That was something he felt he had to tell me. And then he went, ...
http://artvoice.com/issues/v8n40/the_invention_of_lying
 
The Invention of Lying
guardian.co.uk
It's one thing for Gervais to air his atheism on the standup circuit. It's quite another to do so in the guise of a glossy, user-friendly sitcom pitched ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/oct/02/the-invention-of-lying-review
 
EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D.
 
Texas Board of Education's choice of investment consultant takes heat
Dallas Morning News
The Texas State Board of Education has courted controversy in recent years by promoting intelligent design, debating whether minorities like César Chávez ...
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/state/stories/DN-edboard_27pro.ART.State.Edition1.4bd6020.html
 
Can Evolution Run in Reverse? A Study Says It's a One-Way Street
New York Times
Examining the evolution of one protein, a team of scientists declares the answer is no, saying new mutations make it practically impossible for evolution to ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/science/29evol.html?_r=1
 
Fossils may turn 'evolution on its head'
Los Angeles Times
The discovery of the specimen called Ardipithecus ramidus "is one of the most important discoveries for the study of human evolution," said ...
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-fossils2-2009oct02,0,3420742.story
 
SCIENCE
 
Sex chromosomes linked to evolution of new species
Nature.com (subscription)
Experiments in stickleback fish have shown for the first time that the evolution of new sex chromosomes is the driving force behind the formation of a new ...
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090927/full/news.2009.954.html
 
Spot Discovered On Dwarf Planet Haumea Shows Up Red And Rich With Organics
ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2009) — A dark red area discovered on the dwarf planet Haumea appears to be richer in minerals and organic compounds than the surrounding icy surface...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916092538.htm
 
Prototype Developed To Detect Dark Matter
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — A team of researchers from the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR) and the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale (IAS, in France) has developed a "scintillating bolometer" -- a device that the scientists will use in efforts to detect the dark matter of the universe, and which has been tested at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory in Huesca, Spain...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090925092650.htm
 
Superheavy Element 114 Confirmed: A Stepping Stone To The 'Island Of Stability'
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been able to confirm the production of the superheavy element 114, ten years after a group in Russia, at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, first claimed to have made it...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924163526.htm
 
Children Who Are Spanked Have Lower IQs, New Research Finds
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — Children who are spanked have lower IQs worldwide, including in the United States, according to new groundbreaking research by University of New Hampshire professor Murray Straus. The research results will be presented Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, at the 14th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, Calif...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924231749.htm
 
Scientists See Water Ice In Fresh Meteorite Craters On Mars
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed frozen water hiding just below the surface of mid-latitude Mars. The spacecraft's observations were obtained from orbit after meteorites excavated fresh craters on the Red Planet...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924143506.htm
 
Getting A Leg Up On Whale And Dolphin Evolution: New Comprehensive Analysis Sheds Light On The Origin Of Cetaceans
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — When the ancestors of living cetaceans—whales, dolphins and porpoises—first dipped their toes into water, a series of evolutionary changes were sparked that ultimately nestled these swimming mammals into the larger hoofed animal group. But what happened first, a change from a plant-based diet to a carnivorous diet, or the loss of their ability to walk...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924185533.htm
 
Nanoparticle-based Battlefield Pain Treatment Moves A Step Closer
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — University of Michigan scientists have developed a combination drug that promises a safer, more precise way for medics and fellow soldiers in battle situations to give a fallen soldier both morphine and a drug that limits morphine’s dangerous side effects...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924141800.htm
 
Cracking The Brain's Numerical Code: Researchers Can Tell What Number A Person Has Seen
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — By carefully observing and analyzing the pattern of activity in the brain, researchers have found that they can tell what number a person has just seen. They can similarly tell how many dots a person has been presented with, according to a report published online on September 24th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924123306.htm
 
Twin Keck Telescopes Probe Dual Dust Disks
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — Astronomers using the twin 10-meter telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have explored one of the most compact dust disks ever resolved around another star. If placed in our own solar system, the disk would span about four times Earth’s distance from the sun, reaching nearly to Jupiter’s orbit
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924163528.htm
 
Finding Water On The Moon Has Major Implications For Human Space Exploration
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — The discovery of large quantities of water on the moon will have very significant implications for human space exploration, according to Kingston University space expert Dr Chris Welch. The findings by NASA, which have been hitting the headlines today, were reportedly made after researchers examined data from three separate missions to the moon...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924141249.htm
 
Study Uncovers 'De-urbanization' Of America
ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — More than any other populace on Earth, Americans are on the move. Because of factors such as employment, climate or retirement, 14 percent of the U.S. population bounces from place to place every year...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924093553.htm
NASA's Spitzer Spots Clump Of Swirling Planetary Material

ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2009) — Astronomers have witnessed odd behavior around a young star. Something, perhaps another star or a planet, appears to be pushing a clump of planet-forming material around. The observations, made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, offer a rare look into the early stages of planet formation...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090923142121.htm
 
Quantum Mechanics Advance Reported Using Superconducting Electrical Circuit
ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2009) — Physicists at UC Santa Barbara have made an important advance in quantum mechanics using a superconducting electrical circuit. The finding is reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090923151730.htm
 
SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE
 
Prayer debate to draw a crowd in Lodi
Stockton Record
That not only violates numerous court decisions on the separation of church and state, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation argued, ...
http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090928/A_NEWS/909280316
 
French Mayors Fear Burqa Ban Could Not Be Enforced
New York Times
Renaud Gauquelin, mayor of Rillieux-La-Pape near Lyon, said failing to take a stand would mean failing to defend the separation of church and state and, ...
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/09/30/world/international-uk-france-burqa-ban.html
 
Lodi council unanimously supports prayer policy
San Jose Mercury News
Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, which promotes separation of church and state, sent the council a letter in May saying that it should make ...
http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091001/A_NEWS/910010345/-1/NEWSMAP#STS=g0eodqps.e39
 
No more on running through Scripture on a football Friday night
Atlanta Journal Constitution
There is something called separation of church and state and it is a public school. I'm sure everyone there is not Christian. Brainwashing starts at a early ...
http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2009/09/30/no-more-on-running-through-scripture-on-a-football-friday-night/
 
Crowd turns out to support LFO cheerleaders, who held religious ...
Rome News Tribune
Regardless, I do believe in the separation of church and state. While I was the Christian teachings to reach every living person, I do not want some piece ...
http://romenews-tribune.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Update-+Crowd+turns+out+to+support+LFO+cheerleaders-+who+held+religious+sign+at+game%20&id=3738941&instance=home_news_lead_story
 
Schools under scrutiny for financing private school with taxpayer ...
Arizona Republic
... in Sequoia's classrooms at Joy; classroom prayer and crosses displayed in class could raise issues related to separation of church and state, Neil said. ...
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/10/02/20091002sto-joy1002.html
 
Church property law to get a look in Oklahoma
NewsOK.com
... infringement on the Catholic Church of Oklahoma and would violate the separation of Church and State and the long-standing traditions of our country. ...
http://newsok.com/church-property-law-to-get-a-look/article/3405591
 
MISCELLANEOUS
 
None

===============================
        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:  

                                 NONE

 ===================================