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California Freethought Day

Authors' and Podcasters' Panel

The following details are still being updated from our prior year.

This year's event will feature a variety of authors and podcasters, hosted by Thomas Smith.

Thomas Smith, from "Opening Arguments"

Thomas SmithThomas is a professional podcaster who started in 2010 reading the bible for the first time as an atheist. Tens of people listened to the creatively named "Thomas and the Bible" as he discovered how truly terrible and unreadable that book is.

Since then, he has become an undeniable podcast mogul!* His current shows include Serious Inquiries Only, Philosophers in Space, and Comedy Shoeshine. His flagship show, Opening Arguments!, breaks down legal issues in the news and has extensively documented how Christian Fundamentalists have taken over the Supreme Court and are demolishing church-state separation.

Follow Thomas on Twitter (@SeriousPod).

*This statement hasn't been reviewed by the FDA. Or... anyone.

Thomas will be facilitating the Authors and Podcasters panel in the mid-afternoon.

Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy, from "Oh No, Ross and Carrie!"

Ross BlocherRoss is co-host of the hit podcast "Oh No Ross and Carrie!" and an investigator of all things fringe science, alternative medicine, paranormal and spiritual. He is an investigator with the Center for Inquiry Investigations Group (CFIIG), which offers a $250,000 prize for proof of paranormal abilities.

Ross was born into evangelical Christianity and spent a good amount of time in churches of various denominations and memorizing scripture. At the same time, he voraciously read books about ghosts, vampires, aliens, and chupacabras. While his beliefs changed in college, his interest in them didn't, and Ross has spent the time since trying to understand the varieties of belief.

Follow him on Facebook and Instagram (@RossBlocher).

Carrie PoppyCarrie is an investigative journalist best known for co-hosting "Oh No Ross and Carrie!" Her TED talk has over two million views, which is a lot. Carrie está aprendiendo español y les invita a hablar con ella MUY DESPACIO.

Follow her on Twitter (@CarriePoppyYES).

Oh No Ross and Carrie! is a 10-years-running podcast about two friends directly making their way through the world of fringe science, spirituality, and claims of the paranormal. It's been described as "very funny, but also journalistic" (The Guardian), "wry, revealing" (New York Times), and navigated with an "excellent journalistic eye" (Vulture).

Follow the podcast on Facebook (@ONRAC) and Twitter (@OhNoPodcast).

Cheryl Abram

Cheryl AbramCheryl is a cybersecurity strategist, consultant, learning designer, and thought leader.extensive work and life experiences in the military, public service, and motherhood, Cheryl’s “person-centered” perspective guides her thinking, teaching, and practice of prioritizing human rights.

Cheryl is an active and prolific writer, speaker, and YouTube content creator. She’s the author of Firing God, Tales from Eternity and Longing to Learn.

Follow her on Instagram (@YpifanyLLC) and YouTube (@PersonCenteredCyber).

Ian Harris, from "Critical AND Thinking"

Ian HarrisIan is a comedian, director, and podcast host. As a comedian his act is a fascinating and funny mix of spot-on impressions and clever, cutting-edge comedy that has landed him on Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, and his own TV special, "Critical & Thinking".

His keen grasp of science is evidenced by his satirical, skeptical take on everything from religion to global warming-deniers and beyond and has been compared to Lenny Bruce, Bill Maher, and George Carlin.

The podcast he co-hosts, Critical AND Thinking with Ian Harris and Ty Barnett, discusses political and social issues every week. The show is informative, edgy, politically charged, and features some of the most thought-provoking guests on any show.

Ian has performed for American Atheists, American Humanist Association, the Reason Rally, and has been a regular at DragonCon.

Follow Ian on Twitter (@Comediocre), Instagram (@comediocre1), and YouTube (@ianharriscomedian).

Alexis Record, author of Bedtime with Bitsy

Alexis RecordAs a child, Alexis was forced to memorize scripture before she could even read. She memorized six books of the Bible and hundreds of other verses before turning 12.

Alexis earned an interdisciplinary degree in biblical studies and psychology from San Diego Christian College where she graduated valedictorian, then devoted the first thirty years of her life to Bible study, foreign missions, and church service.

The birth of her daughter ignited her faith deconstruction. Years later, during a bedtime read of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe -- her daughter asked, "Is Aslan evil?" This innocent question led to bedtime-delaying discussions on life, morality, and biblical fundamentalism.

Her book, Bedtime with Bitsy: A Critical Read of the Chronicles of Narnia, applies the deconstruction skills she learned in her journey out of faith to C. S. Lewis' Christian allegories for children.

Today Alexis serves as the executive director of Sunday Assembly San Diego, an inclusive, non-religious community. She lives in San Diego with her spouse and two children.

More to come!

Stay tuned for more additions