Center for Atheism July 2010 Newsletter

THE FOCUS
centerforatheism.org

JULY 23, 2010
Volume 6, Issue 29
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 .

Comments, suggestions and subscription:
info@centerforatheism.org .

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FEATURED ARTICLES

Controversial preacher’s son joins campaign against homophobia
Montreal Gazette
Phelps is the new executive director of The Centre for Inquiry, an atheist and agnostic organization that believes in the separation of church and state. …
http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Controversial+preacher+joins+anti+homophobia+campaign/3288691/story.html

ATHEISM

Atheists Break Out New Ritual Tool: The Blow-Dryer
ABC News
By DAN HARRIS, ERIC JOHNSON and Wielding a blow-dryer, a leading atheist conducted a mass “de-baptism” of fellow non-believers and symbolically dried up the …
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/atheists-conduct-de-baptisms/story?id=11109379&page=1

The Atheist Pocket Debater iPhone App Remains on Top Ten Best Selling Apps …
PR Web (press release)
Is Atheism winning the battle of religion in iphone app world? Currently The Atheist Pocket Debater app is on the top ten book apps list competing with Holy …
http://www.prweb.com/releases/iPhone_app/atheist_book_app/prweb3954134.htm

GodBlock inspires controversy — among atheists
People’s World
But a number of atheists don’t like the tool either. The program, according to its designers, “will test each page that your child visits before it is …
http://peoplesworld.org/godblock-inspires-controversy-among-atheists/

Will atheism spell trouble for Gillard?
Sydney Morning Herald
If Ms Gillard, an avowed atheist, passes the ”heart-space” test, Ms Rose says she’ll get the endorsement of her Order of Wisdom, Learning and Light. …
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/will-atheism-spell-trouble-for-gillard-20100717-10ff0.html

American Atheists chief plans to retire this fall
Toledo Blade
The organization works for the separation of church and state and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. Mr. Buckner said he wants to spend more …
http://toledoblade.com/article/20100717/NEWS10/100719754/-1/NEWS

Time is right for secular reforms – Bacik
Irish Times
Speaking at the agm of Atheist Ireland at the weekend Ms Bacik said there was now an appetite for constitutional reform in a country which was no longer …
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0719/1224275018710.html

Spicer resigns as humanist leader over religion in schools row
Irish Times
… ethical humanist approach to society, and that the pursuit of the French model is more suited to a simply secular or atheist pressure group,” he said. …
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0719/1224275018698.html

Mind your Ps and Qs, please
Ottawa Citizen
British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins has said he will try to have Pope Benedict arrested to face questions over the matter. …
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Mind+your+please/3292647/story.html

Billboard Battle in Bible Belt: One Nation ‘Under God’ or Not?
ABC News
The phrase “under God” was spray-painted by vandals onto an atheist billboard on Billy Graham… It all started when an atheist group decided to remind …
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/evangelicals-respond-nation-billboards-nc/story?id=11197974&page=1

EU to hold atheist and freemason summit
EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Brussels is to hold an EU summit with atheists and freemasons in the autumn, inviting them to a political dialogue parallel to the …
http://euobserver.com/9/30506

Fred Phelps’ son gets new job: promoting atheism and battling homophobia
Xtra.ca
CFI is an atheist charity that promotes “skeptical, secular, rational, and humanistic enquiry.” In recent months, Phelps, 51, garnered international …
http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Fred_Phelps_son_gets_new_job_promoting_atheism_and_battling_homophobia-8955.aspx

BOOKS, FILM, THEATRE, TV, YOU TUBE

Reading the Bible (Or the Koran, Or the Torah) Will Make You an Atheist
Big Think
… youth group by a pastor who told his parents: “He’s no longer learning about the Bible from me. He is now converting everyone in the class to atheism.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3rGev6OZ3w

Atheist Vs. Believer in ‘Freud’s Last Session’
ABC News
… world-renowned psychoanalyst and the youthful Oxford professor, an atheist turned Christian — go head to head in the dynamic, often-comical production, …
http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wirestory?id=11231478&page=1

‘Agora’ **
Chicago Tribune
She plays the astronomer and atheist Hypatia, daughter of Theon (Michael Lonsdale, master of understatement as always), who was final director of the …
http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/sc-mov-0720-agora-20100722,0,6630569.story

EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, I.D.

Studies: Human evolution still going on
UPI.com
The spread of the new gene is just one instance of recent human evolution and of a specific group changing genetically in response to local conditions, …
http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2010/07/22/Studies-Human-evolution-still-going-on/UPI-62771279837272/

SCIENCE

Breakthrough Achieved in Explaining Why Tectonic Plates Move the Way They Do
ScienceDaily (July 17, 2010) — A team of researchers including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego geophysicist Dave Stegman has developed a new theory to explain the global motions of tectonic plates on the earth’s surface…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100716125841.htm

Astronomers Discover an Unusual Cosmic Lens
ScienceDaily (July 16, 2010) — Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have discovered the first known case of a distant galaxy being magnified by a quasar acting as a gravitational lens. The discovery, based in part on observations done at the W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, is being published July 16 in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100716085631.htm

Studies Explore Effects of War on Former Child Soldiers
ScienceDaily (July 16, 2010) — Despite international bans, more than 250,000 children fight as soldiers in 86 countries across the globe, almost half of them in Africa. Two new studies explored how these children adjust after they return to their homes. Key to successful adaptation, the studies found, was the characteristics of the communities to which the children returned…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715090640.htm

New Radiation Mechanism May Ward Off Cancer, Oil Spills and Terrorism
ScienceDaily (July 16, 2010) — Radiation similar to that used to treat cancer may someday help clean up environmental disasters such as the Gulf oil spill and detect explosive powder hidden underneath clothing…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715105953.htm

Human Sperm Gene Is 600 Million Years Old, Scientists Discover
ScienceDaily (July 16, 2010) — Just as styles in sexy clothes or fashion change from year to year and culture to culture, “sexy” genes, or genes specific to sex, also change rapidly. But there is one sex-specific gene so vital, its function has remained unaltered throughout evolution and is found in almost all animals, according to new research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715172000.htm

New Revelations About Mercury’s Volcanism, Magnetic Substorms and Exosphere from MESSENGER
ScienceDaily (July 16, 2010) — Analysis of data from MESSENGER’s third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009 has revealed evidence of younger volcanism on the innermost planet than previously recognized, new information about magnetic substorms, and the first observations of emission from an ionized species in Mercury’s very thin atmosphere or exosphere…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715152855.htm

Scientists Develop New Way to Grow Adult Stem Cells in Culture
ScienceDaily (July 15, 2010) — Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a technique they believe will help scientists overcome a major hurdle to the use of adult stem cells for treating muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting disorders that accompany aging or disease: They’ve found that growing muscle stem cells on a specially developed synthetic matrix that mimics the elasticity of real muscle allows them to maintain their self-renewing properties…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715152859.htm

Super-Hot Planet With Unique Comet-Like Tail Discovered
ScienceDaily (July 15, 2010) — Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the existence of a baked object that could be called a “cometary planet.” The gas giant planet, named HD 209458b, is orbiting so close to its star that its heated atmosphere is escaping into space…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715123546.htm

SEPARATION CHURCH / STATE

Experts: Education survey has key points
Abilene Reporter-News
The survey revealed somewhat complex views of Texas adults on the intersection of religion and education — 68 percent said separation of church and state …
http://www.reporternews.com/news/2010/jul/15/experts-survey-has-key-points/

U. of I.’s teaching partnership with Catholic Church draws scrutiny
Chicago Tribune
Faculty and administrators now will review that policy to determine if it violates the separation of church and state or threatens academic integrity. …
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-catholic-professor-20100717,0,5015388.story

Bridgeport reviews legality of religious events on public land
Ct Post
Afraid of violating separation of church and state by permitting religious activities, they end up obstructing freedom of religion. …
http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bridgeport-reviews-legality-of-religious-events-581062.php

Sharron Angle’s take on separation of church and state
Las Vegas Sun
Indeed, although many Americans view the separation of church and state as one of the keys to the nation’s success as a multicultural society, …
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/jul/18/angle-tries-erase-line/

ACLU targets prayer banner at high school
Providence Journal
The latest chapter in the debate over separation of church and state is to be discussed — behind closed doors — at a committee meeting Tuesday night. …
http://www.projo.com/news/content/CRANSTON_PRAYER_07-20-10_7KJ8MN3_v32.1915b5a.html

Council members debate separation of church and state
The Wichita Eagle (blog)
Sandell Stangl is the president of the Great Plains Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She said council members are free to …
http://blogs.kansas.com/gov/2010/07/20/council-members-debate-seperation-of-church-and-state/

Courthouse Displays Decision Delayed Until September
Leesburg Today
There was a small faction of people in the audience who called for the separation of church and state and the removal of all displays from the courthouse …
http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2010/07/20/news/9633courthouse072010.txt

Augusta Gets Stop Prayer Letter
WJBF-TV
“I do believe in the separation of church and state but really once again I don’t want to comment too much on it before the attorney reviews it,” says …
http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2010/jul/20/augusta-gets-stop-prayer-letter-ar-603418/

Oklahoma religious group draws scrutiny over support of state candidate
NewsOK.com
State Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel Americans United for Separation of Church and State says an e-mail sent by the group Reclaiming …
http://www.newsok.com/oklahoma-religious-group-draws-scrutiny-over-support-of-state-candidate/article/3478345?custom_click=lead_story_title

School Department won’t fight prayer case in court
Providence Journal
The latest chapter in the often acrimonious debate over separation of church and state surfaced when the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil …
http://www.projo.com/news/content/CRANSTON_SCHOOL_PRAYER_07-22-10_DAJ97QD_v55.3a64492.html

MISCELLANEOUS

Advertising link causes blogger strike
Nature.com
Paul ‘PZ’ Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris, has garnered a large following with his mixture of strident atheism and evolution. …
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/full/news.2010.368.html

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