The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #101
September 30, 2011

(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- OCTOBER 2011 


International Brights Forum Report
 
This month the community was excited by several newsworthy events, including the announcement by CERN that it seems to have observed matter moving faster than light.  Strange new physics, or measurement error?  Other weighty subjects such as the ethics of the death penalty came up, too.

But the Forums shouldn't be construed as only a place for intellectual wrangling!  Plain celebration of the beauty of the natural world is not uncommon, either, and casual discussion of diverse interests is welcome and invited.  If you have any "bright" ideas to share, it takes just a moment to register at the Forums and introduce yourself.  We're looking forward to seeing you there!
 

Celebrating Secular Values
 
Speakers scheduled for the Reason Rally being planned for March 24, 2012 on the mall in Washington, DC include some public supporters of the Brights (Richard Dawkins, Hemant Mehta, James Randi). The Brights’ Net is one of the co-sponsoring organizations. Despite the USA location, everyone is invited! Whether or not at this early date you hope to attend, you can help spread word of the jamboree, which will include the “Bad Religion” rock band fronted by singer/songwriter Greg Graffin.
 

Enthusiastic Brights Draw Notice
 
(Italy) The Center for Cognitive Science of the University and Polytechnic of Torino recently announced Daniel Dennett as winner of its 2011 Mind&Brain Prize. The prize is awarded to pioneering scientists whose groundbreaking research has significantly advanced the comprehension of the functioning of the human mind and brain.
 
(USA) British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins was the subject of an extensive profile article in the weekly “Science Times” section of the New York Times on September 19. Online, there is also a video interview and an encapsulation of his view of evolution.
 

Web Page Added – Rationale for Movement
 
The home page at the-brights.net outlines briefly the reasons behind the Brights initiative. There is a page with further explication.
 

Equinox Funding (Better Late Than...!)
 
We appreciate all who contributed to The Brights' Net twice-a-year fund drive. Thank you!! You are helping sustain the communications and action hub of the Brights movement for another six months.
 
We are especially grateful to those of you who subscribed via PayPal to a monthly subscription. We has received a couple of requests to add an alternative to PayPal and will be checking those out soon. And, for those Americans who emailed to ask whether The Brights' Net is a 501c3 nonprofit organization for tax deduction purposes, the answer is "Yes, it is!" Sorry for not making that fact clear in the letter. You will receive an acknowledgement in January.
 
Although the semiannual equinox is when we email the direct request for support, donations in any amount are appreciated at any time. Procedures are on our fundraising page.
 

Many FREE Ways to Support the Movement
 
The subject line of the equinox fund letter pointed to “One Way to Help” the Brights movement. But, of course there are many different ways to lend a hand to this endeavor that don't connect in any way whatsoever to money.
 
As we stated in the letter, “Brights choose many different ways to participate” and “Actions taken by Brights are theirs to do.” There are plenty of other free ideas to ponder.
 
Any and all actions you take that align with the aims and principles on the home page are “enbrightening” support for the movement.
 
Just being well informed about the movement [that is, correct in explaining it to others] is one of the very best ways to lend support. If you need a refresher, check out some of the website pages that give an overview of the movement:


Activism in Canary Islands (Spain)
 
23/09/11 - Josй reports from Tenerife on his actions since forming a Brights Community Cluster there:
  1. A six-month fee to hire the "Brights de Tenerife" MeetUp Group web page
  2. Six registered members
  3. One personal blog titled "Yo soy Bright" (I am Bright). 1,452 visitants so far.
  4. Three MeetUp events on different topics. Next activity (OCT 15th) will be a visit to a planetary.
  5. One 35-minute interview (Spanish language) on a local radio to explain "the brights" movement

Eastside Brights Has Its Own Focus
 
This BCC in Washington State (USA) has undergone transitions and leadership changes since 2006. Geoff, the current leader states: “Many secular groups focus on what they are against: religion and its influence. When I asked the Brights how they implemented their principles in practice, their answers were all about reducing their carbon footprint. Not being religious is a small part of what our membership is about. We have great talks and discussions on interesting topics.”
 
Member comments
 
Next up for the Brights in Issaquah
 

Brights Morality Arena
 
Although science has been rapidly accumulating evidence for the naturalistic basis of human morality, relevant concepts are not readily imparted to the general public. The Project Area C team has been intent on streamlining four research-based statements to better communicate key notions via viral images.
  • For example, one of the tweaked versions is:
    1. Morality is a product of evolution and human experience.
    2. Morality is not exclusive to human beings; elements of it can be found in animal relationships too.
    3. Because morality was acquired through evolution, it exists in all societies and cultures.
    4. Infants exhibit signs of morality even before they have experienced much of the world.
  • As a reference point, the 4 statements and supporting evidence can be found here: 
    http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/organized/arenas/1/area_b/statements.html
Communications go to the current team leader, Ruban, at: mp-leader@the-brights.net
 

Upsetting News (SIG4)
 
At Brights Central we were saddened this week by the death last Tuesday of Marvin Rosenblum. Marvin, an organizer for the International Federation for Secular and Humanistic Judaism, had long been contact person for Jewish Brights. He was such a warm and wonderful person - his smile somehow prompting a smile. We will miss Marvin’s support for the broader concept that a person can have a naturalistic worldview and also acknowledge and affirm their cultural and/or religious heritage or community, wherein they might favor educating their children about the heritage and/or participating in that community.
 

Surveying the Challenges
(From the Registration Inbox)
 
A Canadian: “I just wanted to maintain a peaceful relationship with people surrounding me. I may not be able to express myself as a Bright before them, but I'm really happy to find out a group of people that I can share my thought with.”
 
An Australian: “Individuals in the rest of the world, concerned by the rise of the religious right in the US, are given hope when we encounter groupings such as this originating from the USA.”
 
A Swede: “The problem with people who would fall into the category of ‘Brights’ is that they usually are free-thinkers and don't gather in organized ways to make a difference.”
 
A Brazilian: “I think that we have to do everything in our power to prevent people of being slaves of the misconceptions.”
 
An American: “Advocacy on behalf of the naturalist and empiricist worldview is profoundly necessary in a political culture constantly bathed in theism and mysticism.”
 
Another American: “Reason and logic should not require a movement. It is a twisted world in which we live.”
 

Wall Posters Reaching Classrooms
 
When we mail out a five-foot-wide poster in its protective tube, we are always curious to see if it reaches the teacher. So far, we haven’t had any complaints from science teachers that the free Earth and Life: changes over time wall poster they expected to receive had not arrived; most let us know when it does. When weeks go by and we haven’t heard, though, we email to check for sure that they received it.
  • Cindy, in Ohio said: “I did receive it — thank you! I'm getting it laminated, and then it will be up on the wall.
  • Barbara, in Mexico, said: “Thank you, we received the poster and are already enjoying it. Thanks again.
Have you told a teacher? Think about your locale and how you might get out the news that any high school science teacher who teaches about evolution can acquire this full-color classroom wall poster FREE. Links to glimpse the pictorial and instructions for acquiring a poster are at:
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/#poster
 
Anyone interested in obtaining a first printing version at cost of printing/mailing can email Brights Central (the-brights@the-brights.net) for instructions on purchasing. (It’s quite unique and a great value.) Please put “dark sky poster” in your email subject line.
 

Book by a Bright
 
In William Olson’s “Right on Time” novel, an anthropologist negotiates sociopolitical implications of his research.
 

Boost the Brights – Subscribe!
 
If you are inclined and able to do so, there are several ways to add support via monthly subscription.


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The Brights' Bulletin



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