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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Despite tech advances, need for religion remains, Morning Forum speaker says


Carroll

A globally recognized expert in the philosophy of religion and the role of religion in public life explained to a Morning Forum of Los Altos audience Jan. 21 the enduring role of religion in world affairs.

Jill Carroll, Ph.D., founding director of the Amazing Faiths Project, discussed “The Challenges of Religious Tolerance,” emphasizing that contrary to the predictions of the great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, modernity has not diminished man’s need for religion.

Intellectuals like Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud and most academics who followed them embraced the “secularization thesis,” Carroll said, which assumed that science and economic development would render religion obsolete. They believed that man would no longer need religion, as scientific progress would explain the mysteries of life that had led man to create religion.

In stressing how wrong the believers in the ultimate dominance of secularization were, Carroll borrowed Mark Twain’s famous phrase: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

To demonstrate that the anticipated demise of religion isn’t close to happening, Carroll pointed to a number of religious-based developments, including the rise of global fundamentalism, the return of religion in post-communist countries and the spread of evangelical Christianity throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Unfortunately, Carroll said, most Western policy makers in international affairs were until recently heavily influenced by the assumptions of the secularization thesis. Thus, they were unprepared for the developments of the past 45 years. The Iranian Revolution in 1979, she added, took most Westerners by surprise, as they were astounded that such a developed country with a highly educated population could become an Islamist theocracy.

Carroll quoted from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s book “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on God, America and World Affairs (Harper, 2006),” in which Albright acknowledges how she and her academic colleagues thought in secular terms about the dynamics of world politics and overlooked the role religion would play in the “clash of civilizations” that followed the end of the Cold War.

Albright now recognizes the challenge “to harness the unifying powers of religion while containing its power to divide.”

While conceding the logic of what she referred to as “religion bashers” like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, Carroll said they miss the point: “Religion is the most successful, meaning-making apparatus humans have ever developed.”

Carroll also explained how the principle of separation of church and state in the United States is rooted in a respect for the importance of religious freedom. In contrast, separation in France, and until recently Turkey, stems from the belief that government needs to protect its citizens from the ravages of religious conflict. This hostility toward religion and the belief that it should remain private – thus the banning of headscarves – is the result of the religious wars between Protestants and Catholics that devastated Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

According to Carroll, the conversation about religion and politics requires an understanding of the relationship between the secular and the sacred, the public and the private. She contended that “if they are properly separated, they can have a positive influence on each other.”

Carroll concluded her talk with the statement that “as long as religion is part of people’s lives, it will be relevant in global affairs.” We can only save ourselves from the devastation wrought by religious conflict by promoting religious tolerance everywhere, she said.

The Morning Forum of Los Altos is a members-only lecture series that meets at Los Altos United Methodist Church. For membership details and more information, visit morningforum.org.

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