THE   FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
                   
 
 
 
 
 
         
 
 
         
 
                   
 
  
 
  
 
        
 
 
 
         
                        

APRIL 23, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 17
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 

Watchdog Presses NPS Over Religious Displays at Parks 
New York Times 
By JOHN MCARDLE of Greenwire An environmental watchdog is again raising concerns about the separation of church and state at federal parks and accusing the National Park Service of dragging its feet in coming up with a coherent policy for dealing with ... 
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/04/01/01greenwire-watchdog-presses-nps-over-religious-displays-a-22470.html 

ATHEISM 

Army group says there ARE atheists in foxholes 
Forbes 
By TOM BREEN , 04.01.11, 01:32 PM EDT In fact, atheists, agnostics, humanists and other assorted skeptics from the Army's Fort Bragg have formed an organization they hope will be a pioneering effort to ensure fair treatment and win recognition for ... 
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/04/01/general-us-rel-atheists-in-foxholes_8386632.html 

Atheism on the rise 
KKCO-TV 
GRAND JUNCTION, Co (KKCO) - Atheists are one of the fastest growing groups in the country. According to recent surveys, not believing in god is becoming more accepted in the United States. "There are a lot of people who have been disappointed by ... 
http://www.nbc11news.com/localnews/headlines/Atheism_on_the_rise_119157949.html 

Teenagers Speak Up for Lack of Faith 
Sarasota Herald-Tribune 
Long before there was an atheist club, Mr. Creamer was open about his atheism. And yet as Joshua, the Christian club president, says, “He lets you know what he believes, but I've never seen him try to convert anyone.” The military is so popular here ... 
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110404/ZNYT02/104043015/-1/news?Title=Teenagers-Speak-Up-for-Lack-of-Faith 

Study: Religion dying out among Czechs 
Prague Post 
"It's not the same as atheism. This effect is going to happen whether people like it or not, and it's useful to try to understand it." Communism is often forwarded as a lazy theory for the number of irreligious Czechs. It's part of the reason, ... 
http://www.praguepost.com/news/8141-study-religion-dying-out-among-czechs.html 

NC atheists promote beliefs on signs 
Myrtle Beach Sun News 
By Yonat Shimron - McClatchy Newspapers Taking a cue from the gay rights movement, Triangle atheists are coming out of the closet with a new billboard campaign that attempts to project a friendly, wholesome image of a group long stigmatized for its ... 
http://www.thesunnews.com/2011/04/02/2075643/nc-atheists-promote-beliefs-on.html 

Atheist bus ads 'pushback' against 'fundamentalist crazies' 
Montreal Gazette 
By Susan Lazaruk, Postmedia News April 2, 2011 9:46 PM This photo from a website created by the Centre of Inquiry (Canada) shows an ad on a Toronto bus with an atheist theme. Beginning the week of April 11 two buses each in Kelowna and Kamloops will ... 
http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Atheist+pushback+against+fundamentalist+crazies/4550239/story.html 

Atheist ads to run on Interior, Victoria buses 
The Province 
By Susan Lazaruk, The Province April 3, 2011 Buses with atheist ads are set to roll out in Victoria, Kelowna and Kamloops this month, following the lead of others in cities in Canada and worldwide. Two buses each in Kelowna and Kamloops will carry the ... 
http://www.theprovince.com/life/Atheist+Interior+Victoria+buses/4551126/story.html 

High School Atheist Club Brings Non-Believers Together 
Gather.com 
The Rutherford High School atheist club in Panama City, Fl. gives students struggling with their faith an option not found in many schools. These students can attend Christian club meetings and atheist club meetings to get opposing viewpoints. ... 
http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979187450 

Gillard reaches out to Christian leaders 
The Australian 
In recent weeks, Ms Gillard, who has publicly declared she is an atheist, has told parliament she can still recite scripture learned at her Baptist Sunday school and opposes euthanasia and same-sex marriage on the basis of maintaining traditional ... 
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/julia-gillard-reaches-out-to-christian-leaders/story-fn59niix-1226033650529 

Non-Theist Army Group Seeks Formal Recognition 
Care2.com (blog) 
A much smaller percentage define themselves as atheist or humanist, but clearly there is a significant proportion for whom the stereotype of devout soldiers doesn't fit. For those individuals it will be important to have some kind of non-faith based ... 
http://www.care2.com/causes/civil-rights/blog/non-theist-army-group-wants-formal-recognition/ 

Kelowna Transit Books Atheist Ad Campaign 
HQ Kelowna 
by James Moore | Ads that question the existence of God will appear on the side of buses in Kelowna next week. Guy King is a member of the organisation that's paying for them. He says the Okanagan's Centre for Inquiry isn't looking to pick a fight with ...
http://hqkelowna.com/news/local/news/Local/11/04/6/Kelowna-Transit-Books-Atheist-Ad-Campaign 

Schwyz businessman fights church taxes 
World Radio Switzerland 
The self-declared atheist had already lodged a complaint with the Swiss Federal Court. But last September, the court ruled that the 130-year-old taxation policy did not violate religious freedom rights. In the canton of Neuchâtel, payment is voluntary. ... 
http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/wrsnews/schwyz-businessman-fights-church-taxes.shtml?24049 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? 
FORA.tv 
Thoughts on a terrifying prospect... 
http://fora.tv/2010/09/05/Eric_Kaufmann_Shall_the_Religious_Inherit_the_Earth 

Lack of belief in gods 
The Guardian 
At best you're going to end up feeling insulted and abused (that's where pointless elegant refutation usually leads me) Atheism, unlike theism, has to be arrived at internally and can't - or at least shouldn't - be imposed externally. ... 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/punctuated-equilibrium/2011/apr/03/1 

Rival bible 
BBC News 
Do you think atheism needs its own bible? Get in touch using the form below or join the debate on Twitter or Facebook . Yes, all atheists need a good book. It's just that we all write and read our own already; so why waste paper? ... 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9446000/9446028.stm 

REVIEW: 'Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars' 
The South Los Angeles Report 
Black atheist author Siviku Hutchison removes the ifs, ands and buts from that thought by demonstrating that the right religion is often wrong for the black community. Her new book “Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars,” ... 
http://www.intersectionssouthla.org/index.php/story/review_moral_combat_black_atheists_gender_politics_and_the_values_wars/ 

A.C. Grayling Writes a Secular 'Bible' 
Wall Street Journal (blog) 
By Christopher Shea I have a soft spot for the British philosopher AC Grayling since watching him take part in a debate in Davos over the separation of church and state, back in 2003 or 2004, and interviewing him afterward. ... 
http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/04/04/a-c-grayling-writes-a-secular-bible/ 

Wicked Company: Freethinkers and Friendship in Pre-Revolutionary Paris, By ... 
The Independent 
Rousseau and Voltaire are interred in the Pantheon; Holbach and Denis Diderot, the Jesuit-turned-atheist philosopher and leader of the vast Encyclopédie project, lie in unmarked graves in a Paris church whose priest politely disavows all knowledge of ... 
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/wicked-company-freethinkers-and-friendship-in-prerevolutionary-paris-by-philipp-blom-2260507.html 

Anthony David's 'God Said' video roasts religious wingnuts 
Creative Loafing Atlanta 
David, who has recently stated publicly that he's an atheist, says he hopes the video, directed by Devaughn Hughson will spark discussion. I'm sure there will be some disagreements. I put some of my more radical ideas in there, and there will probably ... 
http://clatl.com/cribnotes/archives/2011/04/06/anthony-davids-god-said-video-roasts-religious-wingnuts 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

Fear of death spurs belief in intelligent design 
Mother Nature Network 
New study finds that people prefer intelligent design when faced with death since it provides meaning to their lives. By LiveScienceMon, Apr 04 2011 at 12:15 PM EST Comments When faced with the thought of death, people are more likely to believe in ... 
http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/fear-of-death-spurs-belief-in-intelligent-design 

Bill Allowing Teachers to Challenge Evolution Passes Tennessee House 
Science AAAS 
Critics say the measure will enable K-12 teachers to present intelligent design and creationism as acceptable alternatives to evolution in the classroom. The bill's text, if passed into state law, would protect teachers from discipline if they "help ... 
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/04/bill-allowing-teachers-to-challenge.html 

Some Say Plan Allows Creationism In Class 
WSMV Nashville 
Critics say this targets evolution and could open the door for some to bring creationism and intelligent design into the classroom. "I'm not a scientist. Most of the people in this room aren't scientists. We should not tell science teachers how to ... 
http://www.wsmv.com/politics/27470147/detail.html 

Tennessee Pushes Legislation to Safeguard Anti-Evolution Teachers 
DailyTech 
Bo Watson (R) (center) insists the state's new bill isn't an attack on evolution, despite the fact that the bill explicitly labels it a "controversial" theory. (Source: Times Free Press) Even politicians supporting the bill acknowledge that ... 
http://www.dailytech.com/Tennessee+Pushes+Legislation+to+Safeguard+AntiEvolution+Teachers/article21279.htm 

TN bill would let God into science classrooms 
The Tennessean 
She teaches evolution at Marshall Middle School in Nashville the way the Tennessee Department of Education outlines it for seventh grade — in part through a lesson about the made-up "Geekfeezel" bird. The birds survive the thinning of the ozone layer ... 
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110403/NEWS0201/104030365/TN-bill-would-let-God-into-science-classrooms?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs 

Tenn. bill addresses teaching evolution 
UPI.com 
Cinder, a deceased 14-year-old chimpanzee from the Saint Louis Zoo (UPI Photo/St. Louis Zoo) NASHVILLE, April 4 (UPI) -- A bill in the Tennessee legislature would allow teachers to freely discuss alternate theories to evolution such as intelligent ... 
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/04/04/Tenn-bill-addresses-teaching-evolution/UPI-11331301940846/ 

SCIENCE 

Optical Transistor Advance: Physicists Rotate Beams of Light With Semiconductor 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2011) — Physicists have managed to control the rotation of light by means of a ultra thin semiconductor. The advance could potentially be used to create a transistor that works with light instead of electrical current... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330094149.htm 

Engineered Protein Fragment Blocks the AIDS Virus from Entering Cells 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2011) — In what could be a potential breakthrough in the battle against AIDS and a major development in the rational design of new drugs, scientists have engineered a new protein that prevents the virus from entering cells. This protein is based on a naturally occurring protein in the body that protects cells from viruses, except the human-made version does not cause inflammation and other side effects at the dosages needed to inhibit AIDS... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331114847.htm 

Out of Work? Your Resume Is No Good Here: Unemployed Americans Face Discrimination, Study Finds 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2011) — When the unemployed complain of fighting an uphill battle to reenter the job market, believe them... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110401121446.htm 

How Brain's Memory Center Repairs Damage from Head Injury 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2011) — Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center have described for the first time how the brain's memory center repairs itself following severe trauma -- a process that may explain why it is harder to bounce back after multiple head injuries... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331094617.htm 

Misreading Faces Tied to Child Social Anxiety 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2011) — Children suffering from extreme social anxiety are trapped in a nightmare of misinterpreted facial expressions: They confuse angry faces with sad ones, a new study shows... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331103957.htm 

Brain Research Reveals Possible Causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2011) — New research published today in The Journal of Physiology sheds light on areas of the brain thought to be the root cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) -- the poorly understood condition also known as 'cot death'... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331191524.htm 

Long Lost Cousin of T. Rex Identified by Scientists 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2011) — Scientists have identified a new species of gigantic theropod dinosaur, a close relative of T. rex, from fossil skull and jaw bones discovered in China... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331191528.htm 

Getting to Know the Strong Force: One of the Four Fundamental Forces of the Universe 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2011) — In new work, high-energy physicists have observed two long-sought quantum states in the bottomonium family of sub-atomic particles. The result will help researchers better understand one of the four fundamental forces of the universe -- the strong force -- that helps govern the interactions of matter... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331094613.htm 

Mysteries of Jupiter and Saturn Rings: Forensic Sleuthing Ties Ring Ripples to Impacts 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2011) — Like forensic scientists examining fingerprints at a cosmic crime scene, scientists working with data from NASA's Cassini, Galileo and New Horizons missions have traced telltale ripples in the rings of Saturn and Jupiter back to collisions with cometary fragments dating back more than 10 years ago... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331204358.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

US House reinstates DC school voucher program 
BusinessWeek 
In a statement, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State accused House Republicans of hypocrisy for approving vouchers while proposing billions of dollars in domestic spending cuts. Several Democrats pointed out a GOP pledge to accompany ... 
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MA71IG0.htm 

Council candidate Sonia Brown's church ties questioned 
El Paso Times 
"When you add all this up, it seems clear this church is promoting her candidacy," said Rob Boston, a senior policy analyst for Washington, DC-based Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Boston said his group has complained to the ... 
http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_17760974?source=most_viewed 

ACLU To Sue Over Cranston West Prayer Banner 
WLNE-TV (ABC6) 
The story has been gaining a lot of media attention, many feel that the banner should not be displayed in the school due to a separation of church and state, while others feel it should stay out of tradition. The school board recently voted to keep the ... 
http://www.abc6.com/Global/story.asp?S=14380657 

In Tax-Credit Case, High Court Sidesteps Constitutional Issue 
Wall Street Journal (blog) 
By Ashby Jones The Establishment Clause of the US Constitution seemed poised to take center stage on Monday in a case which asked whether an Arizona tax-credit program violates the separation of church and state doctrine. The upshot: the Court upheld ... 
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2011/04/05/in-tax-credit-case-high-court-sidesteps-constitutional-issue/ 

Despite counsel's warning, Rapides Police Jury OKs displaying Ten Commandments ... 
Alexandria Town Talk 
"There have been numerous court opinions that this would be inappropriate to do because of the tradition of (the separation of) church and state," Wells said. "I know this is important to a lot of people, but my general opinion would be that this is ... 
http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20110405/NEWS01/104050311/1002/Despite-counsel-s-warning-Rapides-Police-Jury-OKs-displaying-Ten-Commandments-courthouse 

France's governing party debates secularism 
Forbes 
The UMP were considering 26 ideas that party officials say are aimed at bringing France's stringent laws decreeing the separation of church from state into step with the times. With Europe's largest Muslim population - estimated at about 5 million ... 
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/04/05/general-eu-france-islam_8392283.html 

Rapides jurors vote to display Ten Commandments 
Danbury News Times 
Jury legal counsel Tom Wells warned that posting the Commandments could violate the constitutional separation of church and state, especially if public money was used. "There have been numerous court opinions that this would be inappropriate to do ... 
http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/Rapides-jurors-vote-to-display-Ten-Commandments-1322918.php 

School voucher debate riles Minnesota Senate 
Minnesota Independent 
Separation of church and state watchdog groups have called the tax credit strategy a “backdoor voucher program.” “If government officials set up a program where contributions to these religious institutions are offset by a 100 percent tax credit, ... 
http://minnesotaindependent.com/79883/school-voucher-debate-riles-minnesota-senate 

Complaint filed over library referendum 
TribLocal 
Sherman, widely known for his atheist activism, said if the measure passes, he will ask the elections board or the attorney general to void the vote. He takes issue that the library describes the referendum as creating “increased revenue for library ... 
http://triblocal.com/buffalo-grove/2011/04/01/complaint-filed-over-library-referendum/ 

Groupraps town over Christian invocations 
Orlando Sentinel 
Calhoun, an atheist, said he tried asking town officials to have a moment of silence instead of a prayer, in which the use of Jesus Christ's name is often used. "You feel like you're required to participate in that by standing up or bowing your head," ... 
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/os-lk-lady-lake-prayer-at-meetings-20110403,0,1265841.story 

ACLU sues city over prayer display at Cranston West 
Providence Journal (blog) 
At a news conference announcing the suit's filing, Cranston West sophomore Jessica Ahlquist, the plaintiff, said the prayer banner was a government endorsement of a specific religion that made students like herself, an atheist, feel excluded. ... 
http://newsblog.projo.com/2011/04/cranston-aclu-sues-city-over-p.html 

Cranston School Committee retains lawyers to fight for prayer banner 
Providence Journal 
By Maria Armental Rhode Island ACLU's federal lawsuit has been brought on behalf of Jessica Ahlquist, a sophomore at Cranston West who is an atheist. CRANSTON — School Committee members dismissed a federal complaint challenging the constitutionality ... 
http://www.projo.com/education/content/CRANSTON_PRAYER_RESPONSE_04-06-11_UAND14I_v10.18630c5.html 

Public school will defend prayer banner 
UPI.com 
Ahlquist, an atheist, says the banner, which has hung in the auditorium for more than 50 years, violates the First Amendment and is seeking an order for its removal and damages from the Cranston School Committee. The prayer, which begins "Our Heavenly ... 
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/04/06/Public-school-will-defend-prayer-banner/UPI-58891302129698/ 

MISCELLANEOUS 

Nobel winners condemn 'religious' science prize 
AFP 
"Yet nine out of ten eminent scientists are atheist-freethinkers for whom science is primarily about the reliable determination of truth." Richard Roberts, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1993, said Rees could not have accepted the prize while ... 
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gbDOjGn2lKfxbLoC4xWNaaoWaV5w?docId=CNG.8d00429b889e9bb8fbb49b947c2102b1.2d1 



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