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New South African Book

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nevwhy
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« on: January 28, 2010, 17:17:47 PM »

Hi All
A guy by name Steve Hurlin who I recently met playing guitar and vocals at The Grove Mall in eastern Pretoria, had a book published in New York 2 months ago called "Courage to Doubt". Foreword by Dan Barker of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. It is about Steve's de-conversion from religion over ten years ago, having been a missionary for many years prior.
I got a dozen or so like-minded friends together on Tuesday evening where Steve chatted about the writing of the book. It was wonderful for everyone from 21 to 70 to meet each other. It formed the perfect opportunity for a bunch of rational thinkers to get together and chat. We want to meet at least every second month. Other rational thinkers in Pta are welcome to contact me.

Steve does not have spare copies - the book is available at Kalahari.net and loot.co.za. My copy is on order.

By the way,  this is not just a promotion of the book and I am not Steve in disguise. I was prompted to make this post by the reminder to renew my membership of this forum which I will try to visit more often in future.
Cheers - Neville
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 09:26:47 AM by nevwhy » Logged
rwenzori
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2010, 05:03:56 AM »

I see your mate Steve has posted on the forum. Good to meet you both.

The blurb on Amazon about his book looks interesting:
Quote
Courage To Doubt starts with a chapter entitled, 'Journey to Freedom'. Originally written as an essay in September 1997, it has been adapted for this book as an account of the author's conversion from Christianity to atheism, his journey to intellectual freedom. Other chapters include: • Baloney Detection Kit: Train Your Brain. • Spot The False Argument: Train Your Brain More. • The Christian Argument, debunking the 3 pillars of faith. • Morality Without God • Moral Models In The Bible • The Godless Life


I'd like to check out the Baloney Detection Kit to see how it compares to my own Crap Detector and my trusty E-meter.  Wink
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Mandarb
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2010, 08:47:23 AM »

Hi Neville

You guys should check out the Skeptics in the Pub meetings as well, the Pretoria one is beginning to get on track.
Facebook Link, and the thread on the forum.

I'll have a look if I can find the book next time I'm in a book store.
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 01:54:49 AM »

Good to be on board. Thanks for the interest in my book. It can only be ordered via kalahari.net or loot.co.za at this point. It is also available through Exclusive Books but only as an import (takes about 3 weeks to arrive). I am currently looking into getting it properly distributed in South Africa so we can all see it "on the shelf". Unfortunately no SA publishers wanted to touch the book because "we serve God and want nothing to do with you or your atheistic book." Sooo - I published in New York, what the heck. Now I want to get it back into SA for our beloved SA readers (he he) and I seriously appreciate all the folk who have been helping so far. Wanna get a Pretoria pub thingy going again? Sounds like fun.
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Peter Grant
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2010, 11:42:07 AM »

Unfortunately no SA publishers wanted to touch the book because "we serve God and want nothing to do with you or your atheistic book."

That's so depressing, they actually said that? Which publishers did you try?
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Mandarb
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2010, 12:25:55 PM »

Hmm. Have you tried Penguin? One of the regulars at the Joburg Skeptics in the Pub works there. He might be able to help, but he's not active on the forum.
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 10:05:47 AM »

I admit that I didn't try all the publishers in SA. I tried many of them though but I can't remember which ones specifically (this was all in 2008). One of them even asked me how old I was (I was 49 at the time) and he said, "When you mature one day you will know that God is everything".

In retrospect I should have tried Penguin but I am now tied into a 3-yr contract with Raider Publishing International. They gave me a really good deal but I am now kind of stuck with finding a distributer in SA. Will keep you all posted.
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Peter Grant
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2010, 12:18:27 PM »

One of them even asked me how old I was (I was 49 at the time) and he said, "When you mature one day you will know that God is everything".

Yeah, because belief in an imaginary friend is such an obvious sign of maturity. This sort of stupidity makes me so angry, especially when it is in a position to censor what we read.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2010, 19:38:18 PM »

This sort of stupidity makes me so angry, especially when it is in a position to censor what we read.
It wasn’t that long ago that SA had the National Censors’ Board, made up of fifteen kerktannies and dominees spread countrywide, whose sole purpose was to guard against the subversion and corruption of the Christian state ethic.  They kept SA’s public insulated from all sorts of artistic confrontations and, though the Board was dissolved yonks ago, their legacy yet persists.

Oh, and SA isn’t the right place to publish a provocative book.  Europe and the US are not only far more receptive, but they also have the wherewithal and daring to take an occasional gamble on a dark horse.

Steve, what was your initial print run?

'Luthon64
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nevwhy
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 09:37:26 AM »

Nice to see some intelligent life out there. Following my mentioning of Steve's book there have been a few developments - we'll see how things turn out in due course. I am keen on the Skeptics in the Pub idea - in Pretoria. I am sure I could drag a few friends along. Keep us posted on any plans.
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Faerie
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2010, 11:37:13 AM »

Unfortunately no SA publishers wanted to touch the book because "we serve God and want nothing to do with you or your atheistic book."

That's so depressing, they actually said that? Which publishers did you try?

Incredible books in the Bedford Centre also dont stock "anti-religious books".  The book I asked for:  "My inner Fish". The DO however have about three shelves full of "spiritual books" including new age crap and the like.

Go figure.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2010, 11:50:26 AM »

I think I can add a positive note here: Estoril books in Cresta have a (small) "Science" section that includes titles such as "The God Delusion", it's even visibly stationed close to the front door...

This is, of course, dwarfed by the section on "Esoteric and Spiritual" material. But then, it's simply good business to have it that way, those do sell like hot-cakes.
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nevwhy
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2010, 14:37:33 PM »

Just popped into my favourite bookshop and what did I find? Well, Einstein's volume of essays collected as "Einstein on Humanism" at R28 is not bad, but then this title intrigued me "Open Minds, Closed Minds and Christianity" by Colin Bower (http://www.aardvarkpress.co.za/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=9780958490733). The Table of Contents makes each chapter look like a captivating book on its own and the 22 page introduction pulls no brutal punches despite using classy language that will see my vocabulary expanding its boundaries.  I paid R70 for it!

The author is a Cape Town boy who would no doubt be a delight to meet at a gathering of like minds. Anyone read this book?

My copy of Steve Hurlin's "Courage to Doubt" is at my post office but the queue was 40 minutes long. Will try again another day - damnit!. Sorry Steve.

Oh yes - my favourite bookshop? The Faerie Glen Hospice Bookshop in Pretoria. The philosophy shelf always has some gems.
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Kenwhy
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2010, 11:52:24 AM »

After Neville told me about "Courage to Doubt", I browsed the online bookshops in an effort to get "the best deal" (as a recent "retrenchee" with a family to feed I'm turning each penny over twice!). I found it on Amazon.uk for GBP 6.99 and to get around international postage and duty, family of mine in the U.K. are bringing it out (with Dawkins' Greatest Show on Earth and Hitchens God is not Great) when they visit in March. Interestingly, the UK prices on TGSOE and Hitchens are less than half of what I can get them for on Loot or Kalahari. I do like to support Kal and Loot, but when I have an opportunity like this, I make use of it.

So, Steve, I trust that you still get your due reward from sales off Amazon.uk? The down side is that I have to wait until late March to lie back in the couch, put my feet up and savour the prospect of a good read!

I live in P.E. and some years ago was a member of a, since defunct, sceptics society in the city run under the auspices of Cedric, The Legendary and Prolific. It may be the right time to resurrect - apologies for the religious reference (he he) - the society and, as Neville has suggested, set up a book review with you Steve, via Skype for us in P.E.?

Ken
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2010, 11:15:56 AM »

Hey Ken. Thanks for buying the book, even in your retrenched state. I feel honoured that the book is coming to you in such awesome company as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens - imagine the discussion those three books could have on the trip (he he).

I will be only too happy to do a Skype thingy with you guys in PE. Please feel free to contact me via email to set up the details.
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