THE   FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
                 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
         
 
                 
 
  
 
  
 
   
 
 
 
         
                 

MARCH 23, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 10
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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FEATURED ARTICLES 
On Evolution, Biology Teachers Stray From Lesson Plan 
New York Times 
That leaves what the authors call “the cautious 60 percent,” who avoid controversy by endorsing neither evolution nor its unscientific alternatives. ... 
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08creationism.html?src=twrhp 

Judge dismisses Air Force Academy prayer lawsuit 
KOAA Colorado Springs News 
Their suit alleged the event violates the constitutional separation of church and state because it appears to be sponsored by the academy itself and because ... 
http://www.newsfirst5.com/news/judge-dismisses-air-force-academy-prayer-lawsuit/ 

ATHEISM 

Secular student group doubles number of global affiliates 
CNN (blog) 
It took Bourquin until his sophomore year in college before he felt comfortable enough to share his atheism. Now UGAtheists holds weekly gatherings and ... 
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/10/secular-student-group-doubles-number-of-global-affiliates/ 

Atheists call on like-minded to declare lack of religion in census 
Sydney Morning Herald 
The Atheist Foundation of Australia has begun a campaign calling on those whose faith has lapsed to mark ''no religion'' on their census forms this year ... 
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/atheists-call-on-likeminded-to-declare-lack-of-religion-in-census-20110204-1agw2.html 

More OK not to believe in God? University of Michigan-Flint group for ... 
The Flint Journal - MLive.com 
But the 20-year-old's views didn't fit with any of them — she was an atheist. This school year, Misiura launched her own club, one for people who shared in ... 
http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2011/02/more_ok_not_to_believe_god_uni.html 

Atheists head for high schools with new clubs for Godless teens 
USA Today 
By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY Now. the Secular Student Alliance, which promotes atheism and humanism with chapters at more than 200 colleges, ... 
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2011/02/atheists-group-takes-on-high-school-/1 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

Free Audiobook: “The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas (Unabridged)” 
American Consumer News 
The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas (Unabridged) is now available as an audiobook from Audible.com. The book, published by HarperCollins Publishers Limited and written by Ariane Sherine, Derren Brown, Richard Dawkins, Mitch Benn, Ben Goldacre, Simon Le Bon, Charlie Brooker, David Baddiel, has also made Audible.com’s Top 2000 Best Sellers List for the month of November.. 
http://www.americanconsumernews.com/2010/12/free-audiobook-the-atheists-guide-to-christmas-unabridged.html# 

Author argues we've evolved beyond need for religion 
North County Times 
Q: So would you say that atheists are more highly evolved? A: No, I would definitely not say that. I would say that atheism is cognitively unnatural, ... 
http://www.nctimes.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/article_9d4b709c-c4e3-5e8a-bdfe-2869469991aa.html

Samuel L. Jackson on His Role in 'The Sunset Limited' 
Wall Street Journal (blog) 
Black is an evangelical Christian who believes he can save the cynical, atheist White — and a one-and-a-half hour debate about the meaning of life, ... 
http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/02/04/samuel-l-jackson-on-his-role-in-the-sunset-limited/ 

Life's Meaning Debated in 'Sunset Limited' Drama 
ABC News 
"The Sunset Limited" stars Tommy Lee Jones as the tormented atheist (labeled, simply, White) who has abandoned all hope for mankind and "the primacy of the ... 
http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12864475 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

Despite Court Rulings, Creationism Still Taught In Many American Classrooms 
NPR (blog) 
Intelligent design was not science, held the court, but rather an effort to advance a religious view via public schools, a violation of the US ... 
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/02/08/133596731/despite-court-rulings-creationism-still-taught-in-many-american-classrooms 

Bill Aims To Put Intelligent Design Into NM Schools 
KOAT Albuquerque 
SANTA FE, NM -- A controversial bill on the table could affect what the kids learn at school. Albuquerque Rep. Thomas Anderson introduced a bill that said ... 
http://www.koat.com/news/26812193/detail.html 

Bill promotes teaching of `intelligent design' 
Cibola County Beacon 
By Steve Terrell Public school science teachers who want to teach `intelligent design'' alongside evolution and want to challenge the accepted scientific ... 
http://www.cibolabeacon.com/articles/2011/02/11/news/doc4d547fc469084740671146.txt 

Dodging a bullet in Texas 
National Center for Science Education 
FTE is perhaps best known as the publisher of Of Pandas and People , the "intelligent design" creationism textbook at the center of the Kitzmiller v. ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/02/dodging-bullet-texas-006484 

Biology textbooks approved in Louisiana 
National Center for Science Education 
At its December 9, 2010, meeting, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 8-2 to approve high school biology textbooks, despite the ongoing complaints of creationists objecting to their treatment of evolution... 
http://ncse.com/news/2010/12/biology-textbooks-approved-louisiana-006357 

High school biology teachers reluctant to endorse evolution in class 
PHYSORG.COM 
The majority of public high school biology teachers are not strong classroom advocates of evolutionary biology, despite 40 years of court cases that have ruled teaching creationism or intelligent design violates the Constitution, according to Penn State political scientists... 
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-high-school-biology-teachers-reluctant.html 

Evolution bills draw national attention 
Sand Springs Leader 
A pair of bills dealing with the teaching of evolution in Oklahoma public schools has drawn national attention - including scrutiny from a science education ... 
http://sandspringsleader.com/news/education/article_7c7b72a2-3487-11e0-a593-001cc4c03286.html 

SCIENCE 

Discovery of Jumping Gene Cluster Tangles Tree of Life 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2011) — Since the days of Darwin, the "tree of life" has been the preeminent metaphor for the process of evolution, reflecting the gradual branching and changing of individual species... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204144545.htm 

How the Body’s Frontline Defense Mechanism Determines If a Substance Is a Microbe 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2011) — The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has just published an article describing how the first line of defense of the human immune system distinguishes between microbes and the body's own structures. The basis of this recognition mechanism has been unclear since the key protein components were discovered over 30 years ago -- and has now finally been cracked by researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204091251.htm 

Nanoscale Micorscopy and AFM Positioning: Shining Light on a Needle in a Haystack 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2011) — The researchers characterize their new technique as a neat solution to the "needle in a haystack" problem of nanoscale microscopy, but it's more like the difference between finding the coffee table in a darkened room either by walking around until you fall over it, or using a flashlight. In a new paper, a group from JILA -- a joint venture of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado -- finds tiny assemblies of biomolecules for subsequent detailed imaging by combining precision laser optics with atomic force microscopy... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110113155.htm 

New Images Show Cloud Exploding from Sun Ripples Like Clouds on Earth 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) — Physicists, led by a researcher at the University of Warwick, studying new images of clouds of material exploding from the Sun have spotted instabilities forming in that exploding cloud that are similar to those seen in clouds in Earth's atmosphere... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204091247.htm 

Quantum Quirk: Scientists Pack Atoms Together to Prevent Collisions in Atomic Clock 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) — In a paradox typical of the quantum world, JILA scientists have eliminated collisions between atoms in an atomic clock by packing the atoms closer together. The surprising discovery, described in the Feb. 3 issue of Science Express, can boost the performance of experimental atomic clocks made of thousands or tens of thousands of neutral atoms trapped by intersecting laser beams... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203141814.htm 

Scientists Unlock One Mystery of Tissue Regeneration 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) — The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. Due to the presence of dedicated stem cells, many organs can undergo continuous renewal. When an organ becomes damaged, stem cells in the organ are typically activated, producing new cells to regenerate the tissue. This activity of stem cells, however, has to be carefully controlled, as too much stem cell activity can cause diseases like cancer. Current research in stem cell biology is starting to unravel the control mechanisms that maintain a balance between efficient regeneration and proper control of stem cell function... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203124722.htm 

Powerful New Methodology for Stabilizing Proteins Developed 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) — A team of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has discovered a new way to stabilize proteins -- the workhorse biological macromolecules found in all organisms. Proteins serve as the functional basis of many types of biologic drugs used to treat everything from arthritis, anemia, and diabetes to cancer... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203141526.htm 

Northern Mars Landscape Actively Changing 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) — Sand dunes in a vast area of northern Mars long thought to be frozen in time are changing with both sudden and gradual motions, according to research using images from a NASA orbiter... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203141810.htm 

Rare Insect Fossil Reveals 100 Million Years of Evolutionary Stasis 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) — Researchers have discovered the 100 million-year-old ancestor of a group of large, carnivorous, cricket-like insects that still live today in southern Asia, northern Indochina and Africa. The new find, in a limestone fossil bed in northeastern Brazil, corrects the mistaken classification of another fossil of this type and reveals that the genus has undergone very little evolutionary change since the Early Cretaceous Period, a time of dinosaurs just before the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203113758.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

Prayers at government meetings in Marshfield under fire by Madison group 
Wisconsin Rapids Tribune 
"I'm a firm believer in the separation of church and state," Meyer said. "It frustrates me when issues like this come up." Asking residents to rise and pray ... 
http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/article/20110204/WRT0101/102040624/Prayers-at-government-meetings-in-Marshfield-under-fire-by-Madison-group 

Princeton, Kentucky 
Princeton Times Leader 
... head of the Kentucky Division of Historic Properties, initially said he denied Watts request based on concerns about separation of church and state. ... 
http://www.timesleader.net/articles/stories/public/201102/06/0528_news.html 

Chaplain gets permission to post historical documents 
WYMT 
"As soon as it got some attention, to pray for lawmakers and to hold a rally. on concerns about separation of church and state. Later he said he Richardson, ... 
http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews/headlines/Chaplain_gets_permission_to_post_historical_documents_115342909.html 

Kline sponsors bill to reaffirm 'In God We Trust' 
Minnesota Independent 
That resolution has sparked concern among separation of church and state watchdogs. The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) sent a letter to members of the ... 
http://minnesotaindependent.com/77295/kline-sponsors-bill-to-reaffirm-in-god-we-trust 

Fight Continues Over State Grant for Cross 
Courthouse News Service 
... is also fighting the state's moment of silence in schools law, claimed the $20000 grant violates the First Amendment's separation of church and state. ... 
http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/02/09/34022.htm 

Bill would allow organizations to deny services to gay couples 
Iowa Independent 
Separation of church and state, separation of church and state! I'm sick and tired of the only argument against gay and lesbian freedoms are ENTIRELY ... 
http://iowaindependent.com/52135/gop-bill-would-allow-organizations-to-deny-services-to-gay-couples# 

Prayer Luncheon Goes On As Planned 
KKTV 11 News 
Along with alleging the event violated the constitutional separation of church and state, the suit alleged that Mullin and other faculty members believed ... 
http://www.kktv.com/news/headlines/Prayer_Luncheon_Goes_On_As_Planned.html?ref=484 

State House to continue prayers before daily sessions 
Honolulu Star-Advertiser 
The ACLU's letters noted that invocations often referenced Jesus Christ, contravening the separation of church and state. The Senate voted to do away with ... 
http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/115698434.html# 

Atheists: Questions Remain in Goal Donation 
The Ledger 
By Matthew Pleasant WINTER HAVEN | The lawyer for Atheists of Florida says hundreds of public records released by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd that detail ... 
http://www.theledger.com/article/20110206/NEWS/102065083/1002/sports?Title=Atheists-Questions-Remain-in-Goal-Donation 

Suwannee County Commission: Prayers will continue 
Branford News 
Live Oak — The chairman of the Suwannee County Commission said Friday that while the county has not received any letters from atheist organizations ... 
http://suwanneedemocrat.com/suwannee/x2072624126/Suwannee-County-Commission-Prayers-will-continue 

Secular Coalition Opposes Reaffirmation Of 'In God We Trust' as National Motto 
God Discussion 
“In God We Trust” does not apply to the more than 16 percent of Americans who identify themselves as atheist, agnostic, nonreligious, or unaffiliated, ... 
http://www.goddiscussion.com/40371/secular-coalition-opposes-reaffirmation-of-%E2%80%98in-god-we-trust%E2%80%99-as-national-motto/ 

District claims victory in invocation lawsuit. Opponents say “It's not over.” 
Lariat Saddleback College 
The issue came to light initially in the spring 2004 at Saddleback's scholarship ceremony when mathematics instructor Karla Westphal, an atheist, ... 
http://www.lariatnews.com/news/district-claims-victory-in-invocation-lawsuit-opponents-say-it-s-not-over-1.2463049 

MISCELLANEOUS 

Pete Stark jabs at religious right with 'Darwin Day' resolution 
San Jose Mercury News 
Pete Stark, who made waves in 2007 by coming out as Congress' only avowed atheist, delighted secular humanists and took a jab at religious conservatives ... 
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17352799 ===============================================