THE   FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
                   
 
 
 
 
 
         
 
 
         
 
                   
 
  
 
  
 
        
 
 
 
         
                         

MAY 13, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 19
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 

Sharon IA Teens Talk On Nick Special 
Patch.com 
The show, which airs at 9 pm, also includes commentary from Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club, and Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "What an amazing opportunity to be able to share what we do ... 
http://sharon.patch.com/articles/sharon-ia-teens-talk-on-nick-special 

ATHEISM 

Just ordinary people all smiles, but no gods 
Longview Daily News 
Chris Seward / McClatchy Newspapers Atheist billboard on Capital Blvd. in Raleigh, North Carolina, can be seen March 29, 2011. RALEIGH, NC — Taking a cue from the gay rights movement, some atheists are coming out of their own closets with a new ... 
http://tdn.com/lifestyles/article_b33f6f64-67c2-11e0-8232-001cc4c002e0.html 

'Non-Theist' Group Puts Up Billboards 
10 Connects 
They were paid for by the Orlando Coalition of Reason, a group that prefers the term non-theist to atheist. The coordinator, Jack Maurice, said the signs are about awareness and uniting non-believers. Maurice said it is just a coincidence that the ... 
http://www.wtsp.com/news/watercooler/article/187544/58/Non-Theist-Group-Puts-Up-Billboards 

Atheists Helping the Homeless Running Strong in Austin 
God Discussion 
For 20 months now, Atheists Helping the Homeless has been handing out toiletries, clothing, supplies and food to the homeless in Austin, Texas. Formed by Joe Zamecki, Texas State Director of American Atheists, and two of his colleagues in September ... 
http://www.goddiscussion.com/46283/atheists-helping-the-homeless-running-strong-in-austin/ 

Atheist Easter procession banned in Spain 
Olive Press 
AN atheist Easter procession has been banned and its organisers taken to court to 'protect the image' of Semana Santa. Madrid's local government has come up with 11 reasons to prevent the event that was planned for Maundy Thursday in the capital. ... 
http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2011/04/19/you-will-believe-in-spain/ 

Parent upset over atheist group at Larkin High 
Chicago Daily Herald 
By Jameel Naqvi At least one parent was upset today when a group of students set up shop in the Larkin High School cafeteria to talk about atheism. The occasion was Ask an Atheist Day, a national event that aims to dispel stereotypes about atheists and ... 
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110415/news/704159710/ 

ISU professor, students gear up for atheist convention in Des Moines 
Iowa State Daily 
The American Atheists, one of the largest atheism activist groups in the nation, will be hosting their annual convention Thursday to Sunday in Des Moines. The convention already has nearly 700 people confirmed to attend, including members of Iowa ... 
http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_7fefe5bc-6b78-11e0-a113-001cc4c03286.html 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

A wobbly road to comic success 
Sydney Morning Herald 
And she did not find God; in fact, she's an atheist who jokes about Islam to pre-empt the ''Why don't comedians ever make fun of Muslims?'' complaints. This shades-of-grey quality sets Martinez apart from others who attract the ''inspirational'' tag. ... 
http://www.smh.com.au/national/melbourne-life/a-wobbly-road-to-comic-success-20110418-1dlia.html 

Atheist Ricky Gervais – A Better Christian than Christians? 
MAARS News (blog) 
By Eryn Sun/christianpost.com Are atheists better Christians than Christians are today? Famous comedian and English actor Ricky Gervais likes to think so. Posting a holiday message for Easter entitled “Why I'm A Good Christian” in The Wall Street ... 
http://news.maars.net/blog/2011/04/18/atheist-ricky-gervais-%E2%80%93-a-better-christian-than-christians/ 

Secular Bible "Not Part of a Quarrel," says Author 
ThirdAge 
Grayling, who has been dubbed a "velvet atheist," due to his relatively casual stance on atheism (as opposed to authors like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, both of whom Grayling counts as friends) patterned the almost 600-page book on the ... 
http://www.thirdage.com/news/secular-bible-not-part-quarrel-says-author_4-14-2011 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

Tennessee's antievolution legislation still under fire 
National Center for Science Education 
Referring to the verdict in the Kitzmiller case, in which teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools was found to be unconstitutional, the News Sentinel observed, "The judge noted that the focus only on scientific controversies was a clue ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/04/tennessees-antievolution-legislation-still-under-fire-006627 

Tennessee's "monkey bill" on hold 
National Center for Science Education 
... of Albert Einstein in support of HB 368, quoting the physicist as saying, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel (April 8, 2011), "A little knowledge would turn your head to atheism, while a broader knowledge would turn your head to Christianity. ... 
http://ncse.com/news/2011/04/tennessees-monkey-bill-hold-006631 

SCIENCE 

Neurological Basis for Embarrassment Described 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 16, 2011) — Recording people belting out an old Motown tune and then asking them to listen to their own singing without the accompanying music seems like an unusually cruel form of punishment. But for a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley, this exact Karaoke experiment has revealed what part of the brain is essential for embarrassment... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110415083158.htm 

Online Calculator Allows Households to Track Carbon Footprint 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 16, 2011) — Tips to reduce your carbon footprint frequently include buying compact florescent light bulbs, taking your own bag to the grocery store or buying local produce. But how much difference do these actions make... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110415163527.htmStigma Weighs Heavily on Obese People, Contributing to Greater Health Problems 

ScienceDaily (Apr. 16, 2011) — The discrimination that obese people feel, whether it is poor service at a restaurant or being treated differently in the workplace, may have a direct impact on their physical health, according to new research from Purdue University... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303065211.htm 

'Thunder' Protein Regulates Memory Formation 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2011) — Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered in mice a molecular wrecking ball that powers the demolition phase of a cycle that occurs at synapses -- those specialized connections between nerve cells in the brain -- and whose activity appears critical for both limiting and enhancing learning and memory... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414131438.htm 

The Eyes Have It: Dinosaurs Hunted by Night 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2011) — The movie Jurassic Park got one thing right: Those velociraptors hunted by night while the big plant-eaters browsed around the clock, according to a new study of the eyes of fossil animals. The study will be published online April 14 in the journal Science... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414141354.htm 

WISE Delivers Millions of Galaxies, Stars, Asteroids 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2011) — Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414165126.htm 

Search for Dark Matter Moves One Step Closer to Detecting Elusive Particle 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2011) — Dark matter, the mysterious substance that may account for nearly 25 percent of the universe, has so far evaded direct observation. But researchers from UCLA, Columbia University and other institutions participating in the international XENON collaboration say they are now closer than ever before... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414104213.htm 

First 3-D Topographic Map of Early Maya City 'Head of Stone' Delineates Ancient Buildings 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2011) — Archaeologists have made the first three-dimensional topographical map of ancient monumental buildings long buried under centuries of jungle at the Maya site "Head of Stone" in Guatemala... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414091112.htm 

Solar Power Without Solar Cells: A Hidden Magnetic Effect of Light Could Make It Possible 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2011) — A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by University of Michigan researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414161404.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

Atheist says separating church, state is tough work 
Worcester Telegram 
(T&G Staff/JIM COLLINS) By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF WORCESTER — It wasn't that long ago that the Secular Coalition of America solely depended on volunteers to lobby on Capitol Hill on behalf of atheists, agnostics, humanists and ... 
http://www.telegram.com/article/20110415/NEWS/104159731/1003/NEWS03 

Graduation Site Debate Continues 
Patch.com 
"Signs proclaiming 'Jesus Christ is Lord' would make a Jewish or Buddhist or atheist kid feel like a pariah." Hasson told a story about a case 20 years in San Francisco, when a group of residents wanted a parking barrier removed from the Japanese Tea ... 
http://enfield.patch.com/articles/graduation-site-debate-continues 

Children in Australia's Secular Schools Told in Religious Study Class That ... 
God Discussion 
One parent's daughter was upset because she was told that her atheist mother would not go to heaven. Parents say that the Education Department is discriminating against them because of the way that Christianity is being taught in the schools. ... 
http://www.goddiscussion.com/46109/children-in-australias-secular-schools-told-in-religious-study-class-that-they-are-going-to-hell/ 

SMYRNA: Atheist group to protest Cobb Prayer Breakfast 
WXIA-TV 
SMYRNA, Ga. -- A Smyrna-based group plans to picket this year's Cobb County Prayer Breakfast. The Atlanta Freethought Society will protest the use of a county phone number as a recorded event information line. "We want people to understand that the ... 
http://www.11alive.com/news/article/187958/1/SMYRNA-Atheist-group-to-protest-Cobb-Prayer-Breakfast 

Atheists will protest prayer meeting 
Marietta Daily Journal 
But a small group of protesters from the Smyrna-based Atlanta Freethought Society and American Atheists say they will protest the event on the sidewalk outside of the Cobb Galleria Centre, where the event will be held, as they take issue with the fact ... 
http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/12840746/article-Atheists-will-protest-prayer-meeting?instance=secondary_story_bullets_left_column 

FRC to Mobilize Coalition Effort in U.S. Supreme Court Religious Liberty Case 
PR Newswire (press release) 
A militant atheist organization, American Atheists, Inc., sued the State of Utah in federal court for allowing UHPA to erect these crosses. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his office made the decision to retain national appellate powerhouse ... 
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/frc-to-mobilize-coalition-effort-in-us-supreme-court-religious-liberty-case-120325719.html 

Student sues public high school over prayer 
The Brown Daily Herald 
"But we weren't about to say anything as freshmen, and I was still kind of in the closet with my atheism." Ahlquist did research on the topic and discovered the presence of a prayer in a public school could be illegal, she said. ... 
http://www.browndailyherald.com/student-sues-public-high-school-over-prayer-1.2549171 

Atheist leader stirs emotions at LOCC 
Branford News 
During Tuesday night's council meeting, Lewis protested the meeting's opening with prayer and said council members are violating the Constitution's call for separation of church and state. “Religion doesn't belong in a government building," said Lewis. ... 
http://suwanneedemocrat.com/local/x325991624/Atheist-leader-stirs-emotions-at-LOCC 

South Orange County Community College District Prayer Lawsuit Settled 
OC Weekly (blog) 
Under the pact the district made with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Washington, DC-based group that represented the plaintiffs, commencement ceremonies will continue to include either a moment of silence or nonsectarian ... 
http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2011/04/south_orange_county_community.php 

Meigs Courthouse is home to Ten Commandments display 
Chattanooga Times Free Press 
The American Civil Liberties Union and county residents filed suit to have them removed, and a federal judge agreed in May 2002 that the plaques violated the constitutional separation of church and state. The judge ordered the commandments removed and ... 
http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/apr/16/meigs-courthouse-home-ten-commandments-display/ 

US Supreme Court refuses to hear suit over state funding of Kentucky faith ... 
Daily Journal 
Alex Luchenitser, an attorney with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says plaintiffs were pleased with the Supreme Court's decision Monday. A lawyer for Kentucky Baptist Homes, now called Sunrise Children's Services, did not return a ... 
http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/e417c06a4f45452382c3c6c6c77aa67e/KY--Faith-Based-Lawsuit/ 

Sarasota commission asked to stop praying 
Sarasota Herald-Tribune 
“We respectfully request that you discontinue public prayers at Sarasota city commissioners meetings (and any governmental meetings involving the public) in order to be in compliance with the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state ... 
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110418/ARTICLE/110419548/2055/NEWS?Title=Anonymous-citizen-Sarasota-City-Commission-should-stop-praying 

Atheists will protest prayer meeting 
Marietta Daily Journal 
When asked if he viewed the county's participation as a violation of the separation of church and state, Moon said he did not. “It's a non-denominational event, and mostly, the people who make up the committee are business people. ... 
http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/12840746/article-Atheists-will-protest-prayer-meeting?instance=lead_story_left_column 

Decision to close courthouse Friday questioned 
WQOW TV News 18 
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the county board chair saying that decision violates the separation of church and state. The county administrator says the decision to have off Friday was part of an agreement reached through ... 
http://www.wqow.com/Global/story.asp?S=14485799 

MISCELLANEOUS 

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