THE FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
       
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
         
 
       
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
 
 
         
       

JANUARY 14, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 1
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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Comments, suggestions and subscription:
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FEATURED ARTICLES 

Atheist Group's Billboard Targets 'Closet' Non-Believers 
CBS New York 
NORTH BERGEN, NJ (1010 WINS) – An atheist group that has paid for a large billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel reading “You KNOW it's a Myth” says it is ... 
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/11/27/atheist-groups-billboard-targets-closet-non-believers/ 

City Room: An Atheism Billboard 
New York Times (blog) 
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK Among the many advertisements lining I-495 in New Jersey en route to the Lincoln Tunnel is a new one promoting atheism for the holidays ... 
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/for-the-holidays-an-atheism-billboard/?partner=rss&emc=rss 

Group paying for three billboards protesting Denver Nativity scene 
Denver Post 
Straus, who is the co-founder of Boulder Atheists, said that he is a strong believer in the First Amendment and the separation of church and state. ... 
http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_16744426?source=commented-news 

ATHEISM 

Atheist Julia Gillard told it's time to get biblical 
NEWS.com.au 
PROFESSIONAL speechwriters have encouraged Julia Gillard to use the language of faith freely at times of national grief, despite her professed atheism. ... 
http://www.news.com.au/national/atheist-julia-gillard-told-its-time-to-get-biblical/story-e6frfkvr-1225961724831 

Atheists' ad blitz calls Christmas a myth 
NorthJersey.com 
BY STEPHANIE AKIN Drivers approaching the Lincoln Tunnel this holiday season will be the targets of an atheist advertisement that its sponsors describe as a ... 
http://www.northjersey.com/community/religion/Atheists_ad_blitz_calls_Christmas_a_myth.html 

No truce in 'war on Christmas' 
Columbus Dispatch 
This year, atheist groups are getting into the spirit, introducing ad campaigns in the months before the holidays to encourage people to consider their ... 
http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/11/25/no-truce-in-war-on-christmas.html?sid=101 

'Atheist' Oz PM Gillard urged to use more religious terms in condolence speeches 
Sify 
"A lot of people are atheists in modern Australia and people would expect her to be truthful rather than hypocritical," he added. (ANI) 
http://www.sify.com/news/atheist-oz-pm-gillard-urged-to-use-more-religious-terms-in-condolence-speeches-news-international-kl1pufhihbi.html 

Hitchens proclaimed winner of religion debate with Tony Blair 
680 News 
The Catholic convert relied heavily on that oft-repeated mantra during a two-hour debate with prominent atheist author Christopher Hitchens as they set out ... 
http://www.680news.com/news/national/article/148943--hitchens-proclaimed-winner-of-religion-debate-with-tony-blair 

The convert and the atheist at war over religion 
Telegraph.co.uk 
Hitchens, who has previously skewered Mother Theresa in his writings, called for the Pope to be arrested, and laid out his atheist stance in his 2007 book ... 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/8165128/The-convert-and-the-atheist-at-war-over-religion.html 

Atheist Group Putting Up Anti-Nativity Billboards 
KMGH Denver 
The group's website said COCORE is an umbrella organization of Colorado-based groups supporting reason, free thought, and the separation of church and state ... 
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/25960637/detail.html 

Dueling billboards face off in Christmas controversy 
CNN (blog) 
An atheist billboard that calls Christmas "a myth" has sparked a growing controversy near the Lincoln Tunnel, a 1.5-mile-long twin tube that connects New ... 
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/30/dueling-billboards-face-off-in-christmas-controversy/ 

Hitchens-Blair argue about a hot-button topic 
Global Regina 
It wasn't the first time atheism garnered headlines. The subject has been an increasingly hot topic in recent years. Skeptics and humanists -- who reject ... 
http://www.globalregina.com/Hitchens+Blair+argue+about+button+topic/3913959/story.html 

Non-religious group offers alternative 
The University of Alabama Crimson White 
In general, atheism implies a world view that does not draw upon the spiritual at all; for most of our members, this implies a scientific or analytic mode ... 
http://www.cw.ua.edu/2010/11/30/non-religious-group-offers-alternative/ 

The God that Fails 
Urbanite Baltimore 
He and his scholarly work have won the attention of those thinkers and scientists responsible for an atheist revival, including Richard Dawkins, ... 
http://www.urbanitebaltimore.com/baltimore/the-god-that-fails/Content?oid=1331336 

Christ meets Bigfoot: more irreverent atheist ads set to hit Canadian cities 
Vancouver Sun 
By Carmen Chai, Postmedia News December 1, 2010 5:26 PM The group of atheists behind last year's controversial bus ads that suggest God "probably doesn't ... 
http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Christ+meets+Bigfoot+atheist+cities/3913741/story.html 

Denver Nativity Scene Protested By Boulder Atheists 
Huffington Post 
A group of Boulder atheists is launching a billboard campaign to protest the annual nativity scene set up outside the Denver City and County Building. ... 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/01/denver-nativity-scene-pro_n_790419.html 

Atheists to display 'Reason's Greetings' banner at holiday parade 
San Jose Mercury News 
By Kimberly White SANTA CRUZ -- When this year's holiday parade kicks off Saturday morning in downtown, one of the newest additions will be the Atheists of ... 
http://www.mercurynews.com/central-coast/ci_16747271?nclick_check=1 

Atheist-themed ads appear on Fort Worth buses 
Fort Worth Star Telegram 
Their sponsor, the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, says it's only coincidence that the atheist-themed ads will debut during Christmas season. ... 
http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/11/30/2669603/atheist-themed-ads-appear-on-fort.html 

Atheist or Agnostic, a Place for Humanists 
BU Today 
Many atheists call themselves humanists because of the perceived baggage of the a-word. Whatever the term, on a campus steeped in Methodist history and ... 
http://www.bu.edu/today/node/11962 

DART policy against 'religoiusly based' ads includes atheist messages now ... 
Dallas Morning News 
By MEREDITH SHAMBURGER / The Dallas Morning News Don't expect to see ads bearing an atheist message like those on Fort Worth city buses to appear on DART ... 
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/120210dnmetatheistads_hp.2845d21fc.html

Leading atheist Dawkins enters fray over Pope email joke 
DigitalJournal.com 
The outspoken atheism campaigner Professor Richard Dawkins has entered the fray over a Scottish soccer referee who was fired for forwarding an email joke ... 
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/300955 

Atheist ad campaigns stir the pot during holiday season 
Yahoo! News (blog) 
By Liz Goodwin By Liz Goodwin liz Goodwin – Thu Dec 2, 3:30 pm ET Atheists and Catholics have posted dueling billboards in New York City, ... 
http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20101202/ts_yblog_thelookout/atheists-slick-ad-campaigns-sometimes-meet-with-resistance 

Atheists hope to spark debate by bringing controversial ad campaign to BC 
The Province 
By Andy Ivens, The Province December 2, 2010 This photo from a website created by the Centre of Inquiry (Canada) shows a poster with an atheist theme which ... 
http://www.theprovince.com/life/Atheists+hope+spark+debate+bringing+controversial+campaign/3914635/story.html 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

Christopher Hitchens on his 'living' cancer 
BBC News 
Christopher Hitchens - author, journalist and champion of the "new atheism" movement - has given an interview to Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman. ... 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/9233571.stm 

Transcripts and audio: Christopher Hitchens on not believing 
Globe and Mail 
What Shelley, in his famous essay, called the necessity of atheism,. wasn't something that troubled me very much. I just thought it was the more intelligent ... 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/transcripts-christopher-hitchens-on-not-believing/article1814261/ 

Navy Dad Loses Custody of Children Due to Being Agnostic 
Midweek Politics 
--A Navy dad has custody of his kids taken away because he is an atheist, and we wonder whether Craig Scarberry actually was the center of a violation of ... 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnyTyUU6juA 

Nora's Will 
Boston Globe 
A weary old atheist, José early on tangles with the egotistical rabbi (Max Kerlow), who's certain he knows how “Dora'' should be sent off. ... 
http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2010/12/03/noras_will_is_a_testament_to_wit_and_subtlety/ 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

Judge approves settlement in civil lawsuit 
Mount Vernon News 
... displaying religious items in his classroom, by teaching intelligent design and by expressing his own religious beliefs to students in the classroom. ... 
http://www.mountvernonnews.com/local/10/11/30/judge-approves-settlement-in-civil-lawsuit 

SCIENCE 

An Odyssey Through the Brain, Illuminated by a Rainbow 
The New York Times 
Who has seen the mind? Neither you nor I — nor any of the legions of neuroscientists bent on opening the secrets of that invisible force, as powerful and erratic as the wind... 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/science/30brain.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a210 

Whale Sharks Use Geometry to Avoid Sinking 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — They are the largest fish species in the ocean, but the majestic gliding motion of the whale shark is, scientists argue, an astonishing feat of mathematics and energy conservation. In new research published November 25 in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology marine scientists reveal how these massive sharks use geometry to enhance their natural negative buoyancy and stay afloat... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101124214717.htm 

Large Hadron Collider Experiments Bring New Insight Into Primordial Universe 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — After less than three weeks of heavy-ion running, the three experiments studying lead ion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider have already brought new insight into matter as it would have existed in the very first instants of the Universe's life. The ALICE experiment, which is optimised for the study of heavy ions, published two papers just a few days after the start of lead-ion running... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101126094540.htm 

Reliable Culture of Human Embryonic Stem Cells 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — Human embryonic stem cells have enormous potential for use in pharmaceutical development and therapeutics; however, to realize this potential there is a requirement for simple and reproducible cell culture methods that provide adequate numbers of cells of suitable quality... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101126094456.htm 

Sewage Water Bacteria: 'Missing Link' in Early Evolution of Life on Earth? 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — A common group of bacteria found in acid bogs and sewage treatment plants has provided scientists with evidence of a 'missing link' in one of the most important steps in the evolution of life on Earth -- the emergence of cells with a nucleus containing DNA (eukaryotic cells)... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101126094444.htm 

Finger-Trap Tension Stabilizes Cells' Chromosome-Separating Machinery 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — Scientists have discovered an amazingly simple way that cells stabilize their machinery for forcing apart chromosomes... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101124171542.htm 

A New Electromagnetism Can Be Simulated Through a Quantum Simulator 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — A quantum simulator is a variant of a quantum computer that allows us to outperform classical computers in the understanding of complex quantum systems... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101124085725.htm 

Elderly to Outnumber Children by 2050 in Most Parts of World 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — The fact that the world population is growing older will not only affect our pensions. In just a few decades there will be more elderly people than children in most parts of the world (with the exception of Africa)... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101126094441.htm 

Size of Mammals Exploded After Dinosaur Extinction, Researchers Confirm 
ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2010) — Researchers have demonstrated that the extinction of dinosaurs         65 million years ago paved the way for mammals to get bigger -- about a thousand times bigger than they had been. The study titled, "The Evolution of Maximum Body Size of Terrestrial Mammals," released in the journal Science, is the first to quantitatively explore the patterns of body size of mammals after the demise of the dinosaurs... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101125202007.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

Council has moment to reflect 
Maple Ridge News 
“I just firmly believe in the separation of church and state,” she said. “I think the greatest respect you can do is separate the two. ... 
http://www.bclocalnews.com/tri_city_maple_ridge/mapleridgenews/news/110702844.html 

Obama Halts Sermons during Soup Kitchen Meals 
AllGov 
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State welcomed Obama's decision, but also was disappointed that it did not go further. ... 
http://www.allgov.com/Top_Stories/ViewNews/Obama_Halts_Sermons_during_Soup_Kitchen_Meals_101126 

Capitol protestor found not guilty 
Hawaii News Now 
By Brooks Baehr - bio | email HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The head of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church has been acquitted of a ... 
http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=13569794 

Church and state issues crop up again 
New Britain Herald 
By LISETTE VELASQUEZ NEW BRITAIN — The League of Women Voters held a well-attended panel discussion on the issue of separation of church and state Monday ... 
http://www.newbritainherald.com/articles/2010/11/26/news/doc4cf07e2515d14369694131.txt 

SB COUNTY: 'In God We Trust' display considered 
Press-Enterprise 
... a federal appeals court upheld the use of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on US currency after a Sacramento atheist sued. ... 
http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_ngod28.47782e8.html 

Under the U.S. Supreme Court: Governors get mangers under the Christmas tree 
UPI.com 
The high court has seemed to approach the separation of church and state on a case-by-case basis instead of using some single overarching principle. ... 
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/11/28/Under-the-US-Supreme-Court-Governors-get-mangers-under-the-Christmas-tree/UPI-66051290933000/ 

Bible distribution in classrooms divides Ontario community 
National Post (blog) 
There is no official Church and state separation in Canada but court decisions have “talked about the need to ensure that the state doesn't impose religious ... 
http://life.nationalpost.com/2010/11/30/bible-distribution-in-classrooms-creates-friction-in-ontario-community/ 

Fort Worth T buses will feature ads with message refuting God 
Fort Worth Star Telegram 
... one of the groups is Metroplex Atheists, which has several hundred members that actively campaign on issues such as separation of church and state. ... 
http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/11/30/2667674/t-bus-ads-will-feature-ads-with.html# 

Atheist activist plans to battle County Board on 10 Commandments 
Harrisburg Daily Register 
However, an atheist activist who fought a $20000 state grant to Bald Knob Cross and a Ten Commandments monument at Tower Square in Marion has set his sights ... 
http://www.dailyregister.com/news/x1966827026/Atheist-activist-plans-to-battle-County-Board-on-10-Commandments 

ACLU Files Suit Against NJ Town's Council Prayer Policy 
CBS New York 
POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ (CBS 2) — A small town's council is being accused of defying the separation between church and state by calling on its members to ... 
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/11/30/aclu-files-suit-against-nj-town-councils-prayer-policy/ 

Group questions legality of flag-policy plan in King 
Winston-Salem Journal 
... flags — religious or non-religious — that they see fit on their own property.” Two of the symbols are not religious: those for Atheism and Humanism ... 
http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2010/dec/02/group-questions-legality-of-flag-policy-plan-in-ki-ar-583704/ 

Charter school's future hinges on appeal to state 
Pocono Record 
When it revoked the charter, the board cited fiscal mismanagement and an unclear separation of church and state due to the school's relationship with the ... 
http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101202/NEWS/12020311 

Lawmaker Seeks Curriculum For Bible Course 
Fort Smith Times Record 
"There's such a thing as separation of church and state, and they just keep pushing it and pushing it and pushing it," Dixon said. ... 
http://www.swtimes.com/news/article_5fd1b1aa-fe29-11df-9483-001cc4c002e0.html 

MISCELLANEOUS 

Does religion make you fat? Atheist Tim Covell says it does 
Westword (blog) 
26 2010 @ 11:01AM ?Atheist author Tim Covell's propagating a new obesity theory, and it has nothing to do with carbs, fat or high fructose corn syrup. ... 
http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2010/11/does_religion_make_you_fat_ath.php# 

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