THE   FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
                  
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
 
         
 
                  
 
  
 
  
 
      
 
 
 
         
                  

APRIL 1, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 12
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 

Man objects to prayer, is arrested at Polk School board meeting 
10 Connects 
John Kieffer, president of Atheist of Florida, Inc. tells 10 News he and the group's vice president went to the meeting to educate school board members and remind them about the separation of church and state. "People can pray all they want, ... 
http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=176636&catid=8 

Atheist Arrested at Polk School Board Meeting 
The Ledger 
By Jeremy Maready BARTOW | A member of the Atheists of Florida group was arrested by Bartow police after a disturbance during a pre-meeting prayer at today's Polk County School Board meeting. The man, whose name wasn't immediately known, ... 
http://www.theledger.com/article/20110222/NEWS/110229946/1410?p=1&tc=pg 

ATHEISM 

Atheism grows among youth, high school students 
People's World 
Right-wing Ayn Rand supporters - objectivists, as they call themselves - are as equally accepted as Democrats, Keynsians, Greens or Communists, so long as they all respect each other and stand for democracy and a separation of church and state. ... 
http://peoplesworld.org/atheism-grows-among-youth-high-school-students/ 

A Place on the Right for a Few Godless Conservatives 
New York Times 
They are atheist conservatives — Mr. Khan an apostate to his family's Islamic faith, Ms. Mac Donald to her left-wing education. Heather Mac Donald, an atheist conservative, derides the way God is credited for good fortune but absolved of misfortune. ... 
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/us/19beliefs.html?_r=1 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

Sam Harris's Guide to Nearly Everything 
The National Interest Online 
There is, however, much playacting at science to justify a peculiar sort of Brave New World where atheism will help do away with female genital mutilation and lie detectors will preclude pleading the Fifth Amendment. There is also much that is ... 
http://nationalinterest.org/bookreview/sam-harriss-guide-nearly-everything-4893 

Top Ten Creationist Arguments (part 2) 
The Guardian 
Part One was so popular, and material is so abundant, that The Thinking Atheist just couldn't resist assembling another list of arguments that we all hear coming from the mouths of those defending God. I'd really like to try some of Ted's beer. ... 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/punctuated-equilibrium/2011/feb/20/1 

Comic defends 'blasphemous' show 
Bicester Advertiser 
During the show atheist Mr Herring revisits his first solo work Christ on a Bike and questions now he is 10 years older than the Messiah when he died, whether he has achieved as much with his life. Dr Stallard wrote: “This is yet another attempt to ... 
http://www.bicesteradvertiser.net/news/oxfordshire/8871791.Comic_defends____blasphemous____show/ 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

Antievolution bill in New Mexico tabled 
National Center for Science Education 
Thomas and Newton also charged that HB 302 was based on model legislation from the de facto institutional headquarters of "intelligent design" creationism, the Discovery Institute. Anderson replied that the bill was his own — but a detailed comparison ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/02/antievolution-bill-new-mexico-tabled-006495 

Antievolution bill loses in committee in Oklahoma 
National Center for Science Education 
House Bill 1551, which would, if enacted, encourage teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as evolution, was rejected by the House Common Education Committee on February 22, 2011. ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/02/antievolution-bill-loses-committee-oklahoma-006500 

Teachers still in discord over creationism vs. evolution 
OSU - The Lantern 
Many high school teachers are failing to teach their students evolution, widening the learning gap between high school and college biology, an Ohio State professor says. The Jan. 28 edition of Science magazine published the survey of 926 public high ... 
http://www.thelantern.com/campus/teachers-still-in-discord-over-creationism-vs-evolution-1.2014202 

SCIENCE 

A Romp Into Theories of the Cradle of Life 
The New York Times 
Darwin speculated that life began in a warm pond on the primordial Earth. Lately other scientists have suggested that the magic joining of molecules that could go on replicating might have happened in an undersea hot spring, on another planet or inside an asteroid. Some astronomers wonder if it could be happening right now underneath the ice of Europa or in the methane seas of Titan... 
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/science/22origins.html?_r=1&ref=science 

Oldest Fossils of Large Seaweeds, Possible Animals Tell Story About Oxygen in an Ancient Ocean 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2011) — Almost 600 million years ago, before the rampant evolution of diverse life forms known as the Cambrian explosion, a community of seaweeds and worm-like animals lived in a quiet deep-water niche under the sea near what is now Lantian, a small village in Anhui Province of South China. Then they simply died, leaving some 3,000 nearly pristine fossils preserved between beds of black shale deposited in oxygen-free waters... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216132032.htm 

Mind Over Matter: EECoG May Finally Allow Enduring Control of a Prosthetic or a Paralyzed Arm by Thought Alone 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2011) — Daniel Moran has dedicated his career to developing the best brain-computer interface, or BCI, he possibly can. His motivation is simple but compelling. "My sophomore year in high school," Moran says, "a good friend and I were on the varsity baseball team. I broke my arm and was out for the season. I was feeling sorry for myself when he slide into home plate head first and broke his neck... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218142440.htm 

Conventional Wisdom of How Neurons Operate Challenged: Axons Can Work in Reverse 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2011) — Neurons are complicated, but the basic functional concept is that synapses transmit electrical signals to the dendrites and cell body (input), and axons carry signals away (output). In one of many surprise findings, Northwestern University scientists have discovered that axons can operate in reverse: they can send signals to the cell body, too... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217171344.htm 

How Couples Recover After an Argument Stems from Their Infant Relationships 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2011) — When studying relationships, psychological scientists have often focused on how couples fight. But how they recover from a fight is important, too. According to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, couples' abilities to bounce back from conflict may depend on what both partners were like as infants... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218142453.htm 

Hydrogen Cartridges Fuel Laptops and Phones for Outdoor Enthusiasts 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2011) — How does a Michigan State University scientist fuel his enthusiasm for chemistry after 60 years? By discovering a new energy source, of course... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217151455.htm 

Controlling a Computer With Thoughts? 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2011) — Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been awarded funding for two projects that will place brain-computer interfaces (BCI) in patients with spinal cord injuries to test if it is possible for them to control external devices, such as a computer cursor or a prosthetic limb, with their thoughts... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217124913.htm 

3-D Video Without the Goggles 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2011) — High-quality video communications capable of supporting flawless video conferencing and home entertainment without goggles could become a reality... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217083024.htm 

Herschel Measures Dark Matter for Star-Forming Galaxies 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2011) — The Herschel Space Observatory has revealed how much dark matter it takes to form a new galaxy bursting with stars... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216133951.htm 

Choosing Your Neighbors: Scientists See How Microbes Relate in Space 
ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2011) — Like people in cities, microbes often live in complex communities that contain many different microbial types. Also like us, microbes tend to gravitate to and "hang out" with certain other types in their community, more than with the rest. And sometimes, when opportunities arise, they move to more favorable locations... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214155451.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

DID SCHOOL DISTRICT VIOLATE CONSTITUTION BY HOLDING EVENT AT CHURCH? 
East County Magazine 
By Miriam Raftery February 18, 2011 (San Diego's East County) – Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a national nonprofit organization, says that it's “problematic” and likely unconstitutional for the Grossmont Union High School ... 
http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/5508 

Movement afoot to end blue laws here 
The Times and Democrat 
DeBarr, citing separation of church and state, said council members should not base their vote on personal religious preferences but should base it upon democracy. "One of my main philosophies ... is to give everyone in Orangeburg County the ability to ... 
http://www.thetandd.com/news/local/article_5c994388-3d79-11e0-9d51-001cc4c002e0.html 

Ten Commandments Removed from Giles Co. Schools Again 
WSET 
Civil-rights groups say the displays violated the Constitution's separation of church and state. Officials have not said what the next move will be for the district. You must be logged in to rate this story. Login or register. 
http://www.wset.com/Global/story.asp?S=14077067 

Subcommittee votes to keep school banner 
Turn to 10.com 
The ACLU says it violates the separation of church and state. Several local religious leaders said they would fight to keep it there. The banner, which starts "Our Heavenly Father" and ends with "Amen," exhorts students to do their best and bring ... 
http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2011/feb/23/4/subcommittee-votes-keep-school-banner-ar-404127/ 

Lawsuit threatened over Christian display in Cheboygan Co. 
UpNorthLive.com 
"It's a violation of the establishment clause which mandates the separation of church and state to display Christian items from a public office," said Rebecca Markert, the Staff Attorney for Freedom from Religion Foundation. ... 
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=584728 

Court weighs God in homeland security 
UPI.com 
American Atheists National Legal Director Edwin Kagin, whose group advocates for the complete separation of church and state, argued laws pointing to God are part of an attempt to create a "theocracy." The sides are appealing a trial court judge's 2009 ... 
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/02/24/Court-weighs-God-in-homeland-security/UPI-69021298587516/ 

Atheists: No dependence on God in war on terror 
Legal News Line 
According to its website, American Atheists is a nationwide movement "that defends civil rights for Atheists; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy." In 2009, a circuit court judge ... 
http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/231357-atheists-no-dependence-on-god-in-war-on-terror 

Appeals court considers law crediting God for Kentucky's security 
Louisville Courier-Journal 
She questioned what would happen if an atheist became executive director of the Office of Homeland Security and balked at requirements to post the plaque and annual reports crediting Almighty God. But Thomas said the law doesn't require anyone to ... 
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110224/NEWS01/302240044/-1/ZONE07/Appeals-court-considers-law-crediting-God-Kentucky-s-security&odyssey=nav|head 

MISCELLANEOUS 

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