About Dale


DALE McGOWAN double majored in Music and Anthropology at UC Berkeley (1986), then studied film scoring at UCLA before getting a Master’s in Instrumental Conducting at Cal State Northridge (1991). He conducted a college orchestra and taught music theory and music history while earning a Ph.D. in Composition from the University of Minnesota (1999).

In 2006, Dale switched to writing. His books include Parenting Beyond Belief (2007, 2nd ed. 2016), Raising Freethinkers (2009), Voices of Unbelief (2012), Atheism For Dummies (2013), In Faith and in Doubt: How Religious Believers and Nonbelievers Can Create Strong Marriages and Loving Families (2014), and the satirical novels Calling Bernadette’s Bluff and Good Thunder. 

In 2009, Dale founded Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist philanthropic organization. Under his leadership, FBB became the world’s largest humanist charity, raising over $2 million for philanthropic projects worldwide, launching a network of more than 100 humanist volunteer teams in the U.S., and creating groundbreaking disaster recovery and international service programs.

Dale was named Harvard Humanist of the Year in 2008 and FBB’s Humanist Visionary in 2015.

Dale is currently Director of Engagement for Patheos, the world’s largest website for commentary from various belief perspectives. He has a few book projects in various states of undress and has returned to music commentary with his blog Unweaving the Score.

Dale and Becca, an award-winning elementary teacher, live near Atlanta with their three children.

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