Tuesday, December 16, 2014

David Niose

David Niose has spent the last decade immersed in secular-progressive politics and the culture wars. He has served as president of two Washington-based advocacy groups—the American Humanist Association and the Secular Coalition for America—and litigated cases across the country on behalf of church-state separation and equal rights. He is the author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, as well as the popular Psychology Today blog "Our Humanity, Naturally," and has been featured on Fox News, MSNBC, the Associated Press, The National Journal, Christian Science Monitor, BBC, and many other media outlets. He is currently Legal Director of the American Humanist Association.

Niose's new book is Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m currently reading The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith – the updated fortieth anniversary edition that was released in 1998. This book is recognized as a classic, but I still don’t think it gets the attention it deserves. In fact it is particularly relevant today as a refutation of conservative economics.

Galbraith was everything you’d want a public intellectual to be, and this book was his masterwork for the general reader. He took a complex subject, economics, and presented it from a unique standpoint that broke with traditional thinking. And importantly, he conveyed his new ideas with a lucid style of writing that was easy for the non-economist to understand. He was also very witty.

Many people don’t know that Galbraith invented the term “conventional wisdom,” and presented the concept in this book. He was critical of the herd mentality and obviously admired and practiced independent thinking. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “It is much safer to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.”

Next on my reading list will be Living the Secular Life by Phil Zuckerman, who is one of America’s great scholars on secularism. His academic work is among the most frequently cited on the subject, and I’m expecting that this book will be another important contribution.
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--Marshal Zeringue