THE   FOCUS
centerforatheism.org
                   
 
 
 
 
 
         
 
 
         
 
                   
 
  
 
  
 
        
 
 
 
         
                          

MAY 20, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 20
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: 
http://www.mnn.org
         
 
 
 
 
 
                         
 
 
         
 
                                 
 
  
 
   
        
                 
 
  
 
                
 
               
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Comments, suggestions and subscription:
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FEATURED ARTICLES 

Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in the Military 
New York Times 
Strange as it sounds, groups representing atheists and secular humanists are pushing for the appointment of one of their own to the chaplaincy, hoping to give voice to what they say is a large — and largely underground — population of nonbelievers in ... 
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/us/27atheists.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23 

ATHEISM 

Atheists seek footing at MacDill 
Tampabay.com 
So Crilley and a small group of active and retired military atheists recently banded together at MacDill to provide support for atheists who feel alien in a military culture where professions of faith and patriotism often go hand-in-hand. ... 
http://www.tampabay.com/news/military/macdill/atheists-seek-footing-at-macdill/1166666 

Rapture battle on billboards 
San Jose Mercury News 
By Angela Hill Prompted by an evangelical group from Oakland that has been putting up signs declaring Judgement Day is coming May 21, an atheist group has put up this competing billboard in San Francisco, Calif. On Friday April 22, 2011, ... 
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17910516?nclick_check=1 

Spanish court bans atheist march on Holy Thursday 
WNCT 
By AP MADRID (AP) - A Spanish court that barred atheists from holding a march on Holy Thursday says it would have been offensive to Catholics. The Madrid Superior Court of Justice upheld a ban imposed last week by the Interior Ministry office for the ... 
http://www2.wnct.com/lifestyles/2011/apr/22/spanish-court-bans-atheist-march-holy-thursday-ar-970307/ 

BC bus drivers boycott atheist ad campaign 
CTV.ca 
CIC executive director Justin Trottier admits that questioning faith is a hot-button issue, but insists atheists and agnostics have a place in public discourse. "Canadians are extremely multicultural. There's room for various cultural minorities to ... 
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110422/bc_atheist_bus_ads_110422/20110422?hub=BritishColumbiaHome 

Atheists, evangelical group at odds over billboard 
abc7news.com 
(KGO) -- A billboard battle is popping up in the Bay Area between atheists and an evangelical group. They are asking non-believers to save their souls before it's too late. These messages were not sent from above, but rather from a nonprofit ... 
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=8090710 

American Atheists Convene in Des Moines for Easter, Welcomed to Join Religious ... 
God Discussion 
A resident of Des Moines thinks that the American Atheists' prominent billboards around town are unnecessary since if there is no God, there is no need for billboards. A number of residents were offended and called in to the Iowa Atheists to complain. ... 
http://www.goddiscussion.com/59574/athests-des-moines-religious-council/ 

Social stigma keeps many atheists quiet, leader says 
DesMoinesRegister.com 
Inside and outside the American Atheists national convention Saturday, people wanted to make sure their message was heard. A panel discussion about local activism efforts that included members of Iowa atheist groups kicked off the convention's second ... 
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20110424/NEWS/104240333/-1/DEBATE/Social-stigma-keeps-many-atheists-quiet-leader-says 

Bus ads cause transit stir as staff refuse to drive bus 
www.kamloopsnews.ca 
By JASON HEWLETT A pair of transit drivers who refused to pilot buses carrying an atheist message have been provided with new routes, a spokeswoman for BC Transit said Tuesday. The bus ads, which carry the message "There is probably no God, ... 
http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20110426/KAMLOOPS0101/110429878/-1/kamloops01/bus-ads-cause-transit-stir-as-staff-refuse-to-drive-bus 

Military atheists want their own chaplains 
UPI.com 
WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) -- Two groups representing atheists and humanists serving in the US military are pushing for atheist chaplains to serve their members. The step would have to be approved by senior members of the chaplain corps, ... 
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/04/27/Military-atheists-want-their-own-chaplains/UPI-53291303937530/ 

Sixth Annual Day of Reason 
PR.com (press release) 
Additional Day of Reason guest speakers are George Kane, Minnesota Atheists Chair; Mike Haubrich, Atheist Talk Radio host; Grant Steves, Minnesota Atheist member; and Scott Lohman, Humanists of Minnesota president. Invitations have also been extended ... 
http://www.pr.com/press-release/316796 

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE 

Web Extra: Interview with Bill Maher (AUDIO) 
Mountain Xpress 
In this webcast, we gauge Maher's thoughts on city Council member Cecil Bothwell's atheism, Rep. Heath Shuler and many other subjects that didn't make it in to print. The basic goal in allowing comments on Xpress articles is to try to bring meaningful ... 
http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2011/web_extra_interview_with_bill_maher_audio1 

BOOK REVIEW: 'Divinity of Doubt': Prosecutor Bugliosi Takes on God ... 
HNN Huntingtonnews.net 
Early in the book, which is written in a delightfully conversational style, Bugliosi takes on atheism and the current Big Three writers on atheism (Chapter 4, Atheism and Its Current Leading Prolocutors" beginning on Page 39): Richard Dawkins, ... 
http://www.huntingtonnews.net/3665 

'Atheist Manifesto' Combines Density with Levity 
PopMatters 
While he spends far more energy dismantling this system's ramshackle foundations in myth, fear, and incoherence than he does constructing a post-secular replacement based on irreverence, atheism, and the material world, Onfray succeeds in his ... 
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/139798-atheist-manifesto-combines-density-with-levity/ 

AC Grayling tackles The Good Book 
Sydney Morning Herald 
My wife did give me a card,'' he says, giggling, ''that said, 'I used to be an atheist until I realised I am God'. ''And I know that on Monty Pythonesque grounds there's a good likelihood that in five centuries' time I will be one as a result of this. ... 
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/ac-grayling-tackles-the-good-book-20110420-1dno6.html 

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D. 

Intelligent Design Tries Again In Texas, Group Says 
Houston Press (blog) 
The State Board of Education may soon take another step in its effort to adopt material that pushes Intelligent Design, they say. "Two years ago State Board of Education members thumbed their noses at the science community and approved new curriculum ... 
http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2011/04/inteeligent_design_tries_again.php 

Recommended: Creationism headed to Texas classes? 
msnbc.com 
Critics of the plan argued that it would allow non-scientific ideas such as creationism and intelligent design to slip into Texas classrooms even though the board president at the time, Don McLeroy, had previously said, "Anything taught in science has ... 
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/04/27/6544304-creationism-on-the-rise-in-texas- 

High school senior leads Louisiana fight against anti-evolution law 
Washington Post (blog) 
By Valerie Strauss A 17-year-old Baton Rouge high school senior is leading the fight to repeal a Lousiana law that gives teachers license to equate creationism with evolution -- and now he is doing it with the support of more than 40 Nobel laureates. ... 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/high-school-senior-leads-louisiana-fight-against-anti-evolution-law/2011/04/21/AFs8M4LE_blog.html 

Nobel laureates push for repeal of Louisiana education law 
SunHerald.com 
However, it allows use of supplemental materials, chosen at the local level, on science subjects including evolution, cloning and global warming. BESE can prohibit supplemental materials it deems inappropriate, but teachers and local school boards ... 
http://www.sunherald.com/2011/04/22/3049686/nobel-laureates-push-for-repeal.html 

Nobel laureates support repeal of creationist bill 
New Scientist (blog) 
The Louisiana saga is the latest attempt by creationists to challenge the teaching of evolution in schools. In previous high-profile cases, creationists have attempted to disguise creationism as other concepts such as "intelligent design", ... 
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/04/andy-coghlanforty-two-laureate.html 

Louisiana Students March On Baton Rouge, Demanding Accurate Science Classes 
Change.org (blog) 
Even beyond issues of separation of church and state, Kopplin, a senior, understands the practical impact of the bill on his fellow students. "When Louisiana students apply to college, people won't know if that student was taught creationism in their ... 
http://news.change.org/stories/louisiana-students-march-on-baton-rouge-demanding-accurate-science-classes 

SCIENCE 

Brown Recluse Spider: Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2011) — One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421212230.htm 

How Molecules Get to the Right Place at the Right Time 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2011) — In a multicellular organism, different cells fulfill a range of diversified functions. Often such specialization depends on the delivery of molecular goods to distinct places within a cell. It ensures that particular functions only occur at defined cellular sites. This establishment of intracellular asymmetry in the otherwise fluid environment of the cell cytoplasm requires active transport processes. Messenger RNAs (mRNA) represent an especially important type of freight. They are copies of genetic information stored in the nucleus. In the cytoplasm the information encoded in mRNAs is used for the synthesis of proteins... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420111910.htm 

For Family Violence Among Adolescents, Mattering Matters 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2011) — Adolescents who believe they matter to their families are less likely to threaten or engage in violence against family members, according to a new study led by Brown University sociologist Gregory Elliott... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418135543.htm 

Scientists Engineer Nanoscale Vaults to Encapsulate 'Nanodisks' for Drug Delivery 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2011) — There's no question, drugs work in treating disease. But can they work better, and safer? In recent years, researchers have grappled with the challenge of administering therapeutics in a way that boosts their effectiveness by targeting specific cells in the body while minimizing their potential damage to healthy tissue... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421141646.htm 

Large Hadron Collider Sets World Record Beam Intensity 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2011) — CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has set a new world record for beam intensity at a hadron collider when it collided beams with a luminosity of 4.67ื1032 cm-2s-1. This exceeds the previous world record of 4.024ื1032 cm-2s-1, which was set by the US Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s Tevatron collider in 2010, and marks an important milestone in LHC commissioning... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422131709.htm 

Functioning Synapse Created Using Carbon Nanotubes: Devices Might Be Used in Brain Prostheses or Synthetic Brains 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2011) — Engineering researchers the University of Southern California have made a significant breakthrough in the use of nanotechnologies for the construction of a synthetic brain. They have built a carbon nanotube synapse circuit whose behavior in tests reproduces the function of a neuron, the building block of the brain... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421151921.htm 

Worm Studies Shed Light on Human Cancers 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2011) — Research in the worm is shedding light on a protein associated with a number of different human cancers, and may point to a highly targeted way to treat them... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421091128.htm 

Jurassic Spider from China Is Largest Fossil Specimen Discovered 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2011) — With a leg span of more than five inches, a recently named Jurassic period spider from China is the largest fossil specimen discovered, and one that has modern relatives in tropical climates today... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421210754.htm 

'Time Machine' Made to Visually Explore Space and Time in Videos: Time-Lapse GigaPans Provide New Way to Access Big Data 
ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2011) — Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute have leveraged the latest browser technology to create GigaPan Time Machine, a system that enables viewers to explore gigapixel-scale, high-resolution videos and image sequences by panning or zooming in and out of the images while simultaneously moving back and forth through time... 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421151916.htm 

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE 

Crosses come down in Utah; Go up in Pulaski 
WDBJ7.com 
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Utah crosses unconstitutional, citing separation of church and state for the memorials of state employees on state property. "We're always amazed at how two simple pieces of wood placed together can be so ... 
http://www.wdbj7.com/news/wdbj7-crosses-come-down-in-utah-go-up-in-pulaski-20110422,0,3929782.story 

Scrima at odds with police chief over book 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
Waukesha City Administrator Lori Luther, who was out of town, responded to the concern raised by Jack over separation of church and state by text message. "I have a duty to uphold the constitution and protect this organization. ... 
http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/120517444.html 

National Day of Prayer events in Oklahoma and beyond will proceed without ... 
NewsOK.com 
Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister who is president of the Norman chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said the appellate court's ruling will make it more difficult for someone to argue for First Amendment rights. ... 
http://newsok.com/ruling-lifts-cloud-off-national-prayer-event/article/3561130 

Waukesha mayor accuses police chief of hypocrisy 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
City Administrator Lori Luther, who is out of town on vacation, said last week that Scrima is putting the city at risk of legal action over separation of church and state. "Without question, there will be no further book discussions in my presence," ... 
http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/120654844.html 

Creationism Among New Proposals for Public School Science Materials 
Public News Service 
"This particular state board has adopted curriculum materials that downplay the importance of slavery in starting the Civil War, that claim the Constitution does not protect separation of church and state in the country. Nothing really surprises us ... 
http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/19738-1 

Polygamous sect's property trust to remain with state, for now 
Salt Lake Tribune 
Attorneys for the sect, however, argued that the state had violated the Constitutional separation between church and state when it took over the trust, and that every day the state continued to control it was a violation of the Constitution. ... 
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/51704934-78/court-state-sect-trust.html.csp 

Request for "In God We Trust" motto display at courthouse turned down in ... 
The Republic 
Commissioner John Clarke told The Oklahoman that he thinks it's sad a religious gesture can't be displayed because of the potential of a lawsuit over the separation of church and state. Clarke said he believes the commissioners will reconsider the ... 
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/5c6f939507fc41b3affc7438e82422ff/OK--No-Motto/ 

Egypt secular parties in race for credibility 
Reuters 
On Egypt's streets, the Arabic word for "secular" is often equated with "atheist," a taboo idea. Posters with the Brotherhood's logo during the referendum campaign carried slogans such as "agreeing to the constitutional amendments is a religious duty. ... 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/24/us-egypt-secular-idUSTRE73N15O20110424 

Atheist/agnostic group rebuking Warren officials for publicizing prayer event ... 
MLive.com 
That is the question one Metro Detroit municipality is facing after being confronted by the nation's "largest atheist/agnostic association." According to letters obtained by MLive.com, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is rebuking Warren officials ... 
http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2011/04/post_58.html 

Atheists protest prayer at School Board meeting 
News Chief 
By MERISSA GREEN BARTOW - About 30 atheists attended the Polk School Board meeting to express their opposition to board members saying a prayer. They called it a form of bullying and said the board members shouldn't be praying at the meetings since ... 
http://www.newschief.com/article/20110428/NEWS/104285142/1021/news01?Title=Atheists-protest-prayer-at-School-Board-meeting 

MISCELLANEOUS 

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