THE   FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
                   
 
 
 
 
 
         
 
 
         
 
                   
 
  
 
  
 
        
 
 
 
         
                        

MAY 6, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 18
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 

Appeals court rules Day of Prayer is constitutional 
Pocono Record 
The Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals did not overturn the decision on merit, but determined that the Freedom From Religion Foundation -- an atheist group that filed a lawsuit claiming the day violated the separation of church and state -- did not ... 
http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110414/NEWS90/110419826/-1/NEWSMAP 

ATHEISM 

BU Humanists aim to educate public about their beliefs 
Daily Free Press (subscription) 
Rick Berger, co-president of HBU, said he hopes Ask-An-Atheist Day helped dispel preconceived ideas people might have about atheism and humanism. “We see no evidence for the supernatural, whether it be unicorns, teapots, spaghetti monsters or a ... 
http://dailyfreepress.com/2011/04/14/bu-humanists-aim-to-educate-public-about-their-beliefs/ 

Council pays out but denies discrimination 
Stornoway Gazette 
He argued the reason for this was due to his personal atheism views clashing with strong views of staff at the school. He claims that the action was taken as a last resort after a formal letter of complaint from a solicitor was ignored by both the ... 
http://www.stornowaygazette.co.uk/news/local-headlines/council_pays_out_but_denies_discrimination_1_1576166 

Atheists: About 18 percent of Americans admit they do not believe in religion 
Belleville News Democrat 
BY YONAT SHIMRON - McClatchy Newspapers RALEIGH, NC -- Taking a cue from the gay rights movement, some atheists are coming out of their own closets with a new billboard campaign that attempts to project a friendly, wholesome image of a group long ... 
http://www.bnd.com/2011/04/09/1661423/atheists-just-ordinary-people.html 

Council pays out in school religion row 
Herald Scotland 
AN atheist living on a Scottish island has been awarded £1000 compensation from his local council after a protracted wrangle over religious education at his eight-year-old son's primary school. David Michael, from Great Bernera off the west coast of ... 
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/education/council-pays-out-in-school-religion-row-1.1096037 

One group under science and reason 
Daily Utah Chronicle 
SHIFT has taken part in several community events, including the satirical "Send an atheist to church," with all proceeds going to the Homeless Youth Resource Center. SHIFT has also hosted two renowned leaders of the international-secular movement, ... 
http://www.dailyutahchronicle.com/news/special-section/one-group-under-science-and-reason-1.2539593 

Atheist bus ads make debut on 'school special' 
www.kamloopsnews.ca 
Atheists and skeptics had their advertisements visible Thursday, including the side of this city "School Special," making its way through the intersection of Notre Dame and Summit Thursday afternoon. One of the organizers behind a bus-ad campaign ... 
http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20110414/KAMLOOPS0101/110419853/-1/kamloops01/atheist-bus-ads-make-debut-on-8216-school-special-8217 

Spain: Government bans Atheist Procession during Holy Week 
Spero News 
By Martin Barillas In Spain, government authorities in Madrid have decided to forbid a rally planned by atheists that would have coincided with the traditional marking of Holy Week. Billed by supporters as an “atheist procession,” the rally would have ... 
http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?idCategory=33&idsub=124&id=52211&t=Spain%3A+Government+bans+Atheist+Procession+during+Holy+Week 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

The Moral Landscape: How Science can Determine Moral Values by Sam Harris – review 
The Guardian 
First, the atheism. On that useful quadrant – interesting and right, interesting and wrong, uninteresting and right, uninteresting and wrong – Harris is mostly in the uninteresting and right category. Uninteresting because he is concerned only with the ... 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/apr/09/moral-landscape-sam-harris-review 

Leading atheist publishes secular Bible 
CNN (blog) 
Grayling, reached Friday at a New York hotel just as he began his US book tour, has been dubbed by some a “velvet atheist” or an “acceptable face of atheism,” he says, in contrast to more stridently anti-religious writers like Christopher Hitchens and ... 
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/11/leading-atheist-publishes-secular-bible/ 

The reviews are in for "Next Fall" 
Minnesota Public Radio 
Adam is an atheist and out, Luke is Christian and closeted. When Luke is injured critically in an accident, Adam and his family gather at the hospital. According to The Jungle Theater "NEXT FALL takes a funny and provocative look at what it means to ... 
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/state-of-the-arts/archive/2011/04/the-reviews-are-in-for-next-fall.shtml 

An (Atheist) Easter Message from Ricky Gervais 
Wall Street Journal (blog) 
This is of course Pascal's Wager, which assumes that God if he exists would reward blind faith above logic and living a good life as an atheist. To the Christians' God by the way, it's just as bad to believe in the wrong God as no God at all. ...
http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/04/14/an-easter-message-from-ricky-gervais-why-im-an-excellent-christian/?mod=google_news_blog 

"In God We Teach" documentary revisits Kearny student and teacher clash over ... 
The Jersey Journal - NJ.com 
The 62-minute film tries to sort out the misunderstandings of the separation of church and state and how that applies in the classroom setting. The story is told from the perspectives of both Paszkiewicz and LaClair, and includes LaClair's opinion ... 
http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/kearny/index.ssf?/base/news-0/130233032123970.xml&coll=3 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

'Intelligent design' in Tenn. schools? 
msnbc.com 
20, 2005, in Harrisburg Pa., after hearing the verdicit from US District Judge John E. Jones that prevents the Dover School District from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class. The debate lives on in Tennessee, where a bill passed the House of ... 
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/04/08/6433919-intelligent-design-in-tenn-schools 

Opposition to Florida antievolution bill continues 
National Center for Science Education 
Intelligent design. Dead. So now it's a 'critical analysis.'" The editorial concluded, "The injection of religion into a scientific theory — which obviously is what SB 1854 seeks to foster — has no place in the public school classroom. Period. ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/04/opposition-to-florida-antievolution-bill-continues-006614 

Bills would create teams of higher ed experts to weigh in on SBOE curricula 
The American Independent 
For science standards, the board invited Stephen Meyer, head of the Discovery Institute — an anti-evolution think tank based in Seattle, and other supporters of intelligent design/creationism who added their signatures to the Institute's “Dissent form ... 
http://www.americanindependent.com/179012/bills-would-create-teams-of-higher-ed-experts-to-weigh-in-on-sboe-curricula 

Creationists notch big win in Tennessee 
CBS News 
So much for separation of church and state. And there are those that hyperventilate about "sharia law". We evidently have our own version in play. by kpsodhi April 8, 2011 3:35 PM EDT It should not be taught in public schools because the is no evidence ... 
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20052007-501465.html 

SCIENCE 

Newly Merged Black Hole Eagerly Shreds Stars 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2011) — A galaxy's core is a busy place, crowded with stars swarming around an enormous black hole. When galaxies collide, it gets even messier as the two black holes spiral toward each other, merging to make an even bigger gravitational monster... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110408124301.htm 

Frequent Shopping Prolongs Life, Study Suggests 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2011) — A spot of regular retail therapy really does seem to help people live longer, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406192437.htm 

'Naked' Penguins Baffle Experts 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2011) — Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Washington, and other groups are grappling with a wildlife mystery: Why are some penguin chicks losing their feathers... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110408140924.htm 

Test Moves U.S. Navy a Step Closer to Lasers for Ship Self-Defense 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2011) — Marking a milestone for the U.S. Navy, the Office of Naval Research and its industry partner on April 6 successfully tested a solid-state, high-energy laser (HEL) from a surface ship, which disabled a small target vessel... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110408114356.htm 

NASA's Next Mars Rover Nears Completion 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2011) — Assembly and testing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is far enough along that the mission's rover, Curiosity, looks very much as it will when it is investigating Mars... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110408102856.htm 

Quantum Mapmakers Complete First Voyage Through Spin Liquid 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2011) — Scientists from Oxford University have mapped a state of matter called 'quantum spin liquid', whose existence was proposed in the 1970s but which has only been observed recently... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405123245.htm 

Video Games Effective Treatment for Stroke Patients 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2011) — Virtual reality and other video games can significantly improve motor function in stroke patients, according to research from St. Michael's Hospital. Patients who played video games, such as Wii and Playstation, were up to five times more likely to show improvements in arm motor function compared to those who had standard therapy... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110407121441.htm 

NASA's Kepler Helps Astronomers Update Census of Sun-Like Stars 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2011) — NASA's Kepler Mission has detected changes in brightness in 500 sun-like stars, giving astronomers a much better idea about the nature and evolution of the stars... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110407141330.htm 

Flexible Schedules, Results-Oriented Workplaces Reduce Work-Family Conflict and Turnover 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2011) — New research from the University of Minnesota finds that a workplace environment that allows employees to change when and where they work, based on their individual needs and job responsibilities, positively affects the work-family interface and reduces turnover... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406122219.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

Atheist group head told LO council they pray to a "child murderer" 
Branford News 
Live Oak — The director of a Lake City-based atheist group told Live Oak City Council members Tuesday night that they are violating the Constitution's call for separation of church and state by beginning their meetings with prayer. ... 
http://suwanneedemocrat.com/suwannee/x1142034406/Atheist-group-head-told-LO-council-they-pray-to-a-child-murderer 

Florida lawmakers take up religion in funding, courts 
Brandon News and Tribune 
By ELAINE SILVESTRINI | The Tampa Tribune Church and state are intermingling in Tallahassee, as lawmakers consider bills critics say could both help and harm religion in Florida. And it seems only God knows whether any of them will become law. ... 
http://beta2.tbo.com/news/breaking-news/2011/apr/11/florida-lawmakers-take-up-religion-in-funding-cour-ar-51161/ 

Saddleback, Irvine Valley to discontinue some prayers 
OCRegister 
Wagner, was filed in November 2009 by Americans United for Separation of Church and State on behalf of Saddleback College professors Karla Westphal, Alannah Rosenberg, Margot Lovett and Claire Cesaero-Silva, Irvine Valley College professor Roy Bauer, ... 
http://www.ocregister.com/news/-296058--.html 

After Prayer Complaint, Chillicothe City Council Presents Changes 
10TV 
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — City Council members are tackling the issue of separation of church and state after a woman complained about how their meetings begin. The formal complaint was filed in December by a woman who felt that a prayer should not be said ... 
http://www.10tv.com/live/content/local/stories/2011/04/12/story-chillicothe-city-council-meetings-prayer.html?sid=102 

Plaintiffs In Lawsuit Over Spartanburg Religious Class Disputing Ruling 
News Channel 7 
Parents Robert Moss and Ellen Tillett filed a lawsuit against the district, saying the course violated the separation of church and state. The judge ruled that the district's policy is in compliance with the establishment clause of the First Amendment. ... 
http://www2.wspa.com/news/2011/apr/14/plaintiffs-lawsuit-over-spartanburg-religious-clas-ar-1716929/ 

DC mayor, others decry school voucher program 
NECN 
Critics question the voucher program's effectiveness and say it pulls funding away from public schools that need it more and blurs the separation between church and state. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and ... 
http://www.necn.com/04/14/11/DC-mayor-others-decry-school-voucher-pro/landing_politics.html?&blockID=3&apID=21c5b2b6d8414fbca3871a37a748e98c 

Meigs County Will Display Ten Commandments at Courthouse 
WTVC 
County Mayor Garland Lankford says he does believe in the separation of church and state, but also believes that in this case, majority rules. When asked if he thought the display would be challenged, Lankford said, "We will test that whenever somebody ... 
http://www.newschannel9.com/news/county-1000288-hang-meigs.html 

Federal appeals court dismisses lawsuit filed against Obama over National Day ... 
Greenfield Daily Reporter 
"This decision is part of an ominous trend in the federal courts to deny Americans the right to challenge church-state violations," the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said in a prepared ... 
http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/937570e8cffa4b82b7f9489f00215524/US-Day-of-Prayer/ 

Judge upholds religious class at SC school 
WACH 
Robert Moss, Ellen Tillett and the Freedom from Religious Foundation sued in 2009, saying that giving credit violates the First Amendment separation of church and state. South Carolina law allows credit if the evaluation is based on secular criteria ... 
http://www.midlandsconnect.com/news/story.aspx?id=605424 

MISCELLANEOUS 

God has no place in the Pledge 
The Brooklyn Paper 
In 1954, at the height of Cold War hysteria, Congress inserted the phrase “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance at the instigation of the Knights of Columbus, a conservative Catholic organization. This was done to contrast the United States with those “godless” Communists... 
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/14/all_opedpledgeanti_2011_4_8_bk.html 

Justice Kagan Dissents 
The New York Times 
CloseLinkedinDiggMySpacePermalink In the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 ruling about a school-choice program in Arizona, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion leaves intact a program that has disbursed almost $350 million of state funds, most of it to schools choosing students on the basis of religion... 
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/opinion/10sun2.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha211 

Christopher Hitchens: most provocative quotes 
Telegraph.co.uk 
The writer, polemicist and devout atheist Christopher Hitchens is known for his confrontational style of debate. Here we list some of his more controversial outbursts. Outspoken author and journalist Christopher Hitchens. Photo: Jeff Hutchens "[Mother ... 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8448250/Christopher-Hitchens-most-provocative-quotes.html 

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