Podcast Ep. 108: David Smalley, Founder of Secular Media Group

We have a bonus mid-week episode!

David Smalley, host of the show Dogma Debate, was in my area a few days ago and took some time to chat with me about his new series of children’s books, the most effective ways to talk with people who disagree with us, and all things politics (Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and atheist candidates for office).

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Smalley is a former Christian musician who became an atheist after studying psychology, sociology, world religions, and his own faith. He soon turned into a secular activist.

He was the editor-in-chief of Secular World and American Atheist magazines, the author of Baptized Atheist, and now runs the Secular Media Group.

His company will soon release a children’s book titled Tiny Thinkers: Charlie and the Tortoise, written by MJ Mouton.

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J.K. Rowling on Her Protesters: I Didn’t Know “I’m Praying for You” Could Be So Intimidating

In a speech at the PEN America gala last night, author of the Harry Potter series J.K. Rowling gave a wonderful talk about the freedom of speech.

While most of the media attention has centered around what she said about Donald Trump — she called him “offensive and bigoted” — I wanted to note something else she mentioned.

After acknowledging that her own freedom of expression hasn’t suffered much during her career because she was fortunate enough to live in a liberal country, she told some brief stories about people who opposed her work, including one “Christian fundamentalist”:

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An Atheist Explores the Philosophical Side of Resurrection

It’s easy to make up stories about what happens to you after you die — religions do it all the time. But what do we actually know about the afterlife? Does science have anything relevant to say about it, or is it silly to even ask?

Matthew O’Neil explores these questions and more in his new book After Life: Solving Science and Religion’s Great Disagreement (Ockham Publishing, 2016).

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In the excerpt below, O’Neil offers a philosophical take on the concept of resurrection:

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The Arabic Translation of The God Delusion Has Reportedly Been Downloaded 10 Million Times

I’m not sure about the legality, but if Richard Dawkins isn’t bothered by the copyright ramifications, then neither am I.

An unauthorized PDF translation of Dawkin’s The God Delusion, by Iraqi emigrant Bassam Al-Baghdadi, who lives in Sweden, has reportedly been dowloaded ten million times,

with 30 percent going to Saudi Arabia. Bassam said that there were over 1,000 downloads on the very first day after he uploaded it, and the numbers only climbed as the translation was picked up and shared on the blogs, websites and forums of prominent Arab atheists. The book has prompted unprecedented controversy and debate in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

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Reading Harry Potter Leads to Brain Damage, Says Principal With No Joy in His Life

Graeme Whiting, headmaster of the Acorn School in England, caused a stir over the weekend when he wrote on the school’s website that fantasy books can lead to brain damage for the kids who read them:

The only way you'll get brain damage from Harry Potter is running into Platform 9 3/4 at full speed.


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