Parenting Beyond Belief: On secular parenting and other natural wonders

It is finished.

Well, not really. Still have to write the front matter and Chapter 1 (called the “Dummies chapter”). And there’s still the four-week author review round, where I go through the whole manuscript annotated with the comments of three editors (technical, project, and development) and iron it out. But the hard part — the Creation — that’s done.

The end was pretty ugly, just pushing the words out. I seriously don’t want to hear the word atheist or any of its relatives again for three months.

Because I didn’t write the book in sequence, you’ll have to figure out which chapter I wrote last. It’s not terrible, just mundane. I’ll see if I can spackle some cracks in the review round, perk it up a bit.┬áBut overall, for a ten-month project done in four months, I think the book came out all right.

Thanks so much for your help. This blog will be quiet for a little while now. Please pull the door all the way shut on your way out. It sticks.

Q: The Horsemen

I’m finishing up the chapter on great works of atheism in the 21st century. One of the things I’m trying to offer is a way for the uninitiated to think about the books of the Four Horsemen — Harris (End of Faith), Dawkins (God Delusion), Dennett (Breaking the Spell), and Hitchens (God Ain’t All That). They tend to be lumped together, but they’re dramatically different in tone and approach.

One last question then:

Q: What insight would you offer the uninitiated reader about any or all of these four books?

It might be something that surprised or irritated you, a suggestion about which one to read first — anything at all.

As an example, I might make the point that Dawkins’s tone in TGD is a lot less contemptuous and angry than most people expect. I rank him third out of the four on the Contemptometer.

(These aren’t the only books I’ll be talking about, of course, but they’re the ones I’d like to have your thoughts on.)

STAND STILL!

I’m starting to appreciate the short timeline of this thing. Just 72 hours to go before the deadline, I can’t wait to be done. Not just because it’s monopolized my time and attention for four months, but because I’m driving myself crazy running up a sand dune.

This book is supposed to give a snapshot of atheism today (among many other things), but atheism won’t stand still. Every time I finish a chapter, there’s news that trumps what I wrote. I quoted the nonreligious numbers from ARIS in several chapters (15.1% of the US), only to have the Pew study bump that to 20%. I try to count the heads of SSA chapters and they keep growing new heads. I said there was one atheist in Congress. Then he lost his seat after 40 years. Then I found out an Arizona rep, Kyrsten Sinema, is an out atheist…but her race was too close to call. Then they called it, and she won. So there’s one atheist in Congress, but I have to change the name.

And what if John Boehner suddenly comes out?

It goes on like this. I have an errata sheet as long as my arm, and I can fix those during the author review period between now and December 18. But who knows how much will change by the time the book comes out in March?

It’s a good time to be writing about the movement. Much more exciting than it was even ten years ago. I’ll just have to insert the phrase “At this writing…” before every number, name, and fact in the damn thing.