The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #104
December 31, 2011

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- JANUARY 2012 


Round Trip Ahead – Absolutely Free!

We’re off again! – starting another trip around the sun. And it’s at no cost to humanity at all! Simply natural.

In much of the temperate zones, it means four more beautiful seasons ahead – well worth celebrating! But no matter where you reside, 2012 awaits. Make the best of your trip.

Happy New Year, Brights!

Make It Brighter!

In keeping with the brief time for making New Year’s resolutions, several further segments of this bulletin offer examples of actions you might want to turn into a resolution or two.

Why not pick at least one way you can “turn up the Brightness” in your own sphere of influence?

Any suggestion made here is (we think) in keeping with the main goals of the Brights movement to elevate the social and civic status of those who have a naturalistic worldview. Everyone’s circumstances differ. So each person has to decide what’s worth doing.

Be It Resolved

At “Brights Central,” our own hope for 2012 is that Brights will be civic minded. 

Here’s a reminder of the purpose Brights share.

  • Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview
  • Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance
  • Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such individuals

There’s more to the naturalistic worldview than reacting to theism. For too many of us, toiling in the “religion rut” is chewing up all our oxygen.

Oh, there’s plenty to be bleak about regarding the religion realm. (Many who register into the constituency comment on that aspect.) But what if we look beyond faith/religion to the civic realm? Tune up our “civic-mindedness” and pick a new horizon?

That shift of focus can translate into fresh enterprise. There’s plenty to be done in illuminating and elevating the naturalistic outlook as such.

Brights’ Evolution Poster Passes Muster (USA)

The review by outside agencies and numerous educators of Earth and Life: changes over time has culminated in a hoped-for educational sanction.

The December issue of the National Association of Biology Teachers newsletter announced the poster as a teaching tool now available to its membership. In the text showing support, the NABT acknowledged the Brights as providing an “educational service” for disseminating a valuable teaching tool free to science teachers.

In the newsletter, teachers were told: “Please visit http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/poster.html to learn more and see if you qualify for a free poster.” Requests for posters picked up almost immediately after this mainstream notice.

If you aren’t familiar with this project, go to that same link and check it out. Many thanks to Brights who have donated to this project and enabled our printing of these 5-ft-wide posters that we are providing free to science teachers. When the current print run is exhausted, we will reevaluate the project.

International Forums Report

Well worth a look (with possible resonance for the Reality about Morality Project), is a very amusing – and informative – video in which Frans de Waal showcases several examples of "moral" behavior in animals as diverse as elephants and chimpanzees.

The last couple of weeks in the Forums have seen reports of several interesting political situations (USA). Perhaps these matters are of interest to you?

  • Concerns about private financing of political campaigns have been analyzed. This issue has relevance to almost any issue of consequence in the United States.
  • State legislatures are once again considering including "alternatives" to the conventional public school biology curricula regarding the Theory of Evolution, including in New Hampshire and Indiana.

If you have any interest in such topics, or would like to express yourself about your situation, the Brights, or anything at all, it takes just a moment to register at the forums and find your voice.

Easier to Support the Brights (Germany)

Just this month, Brights Central completed arrangements with Amazon Germany to provide a small commission from purchases of books, appliances, anything! Now Brights in Germany and thereabouts can bookmark the new link. Tell your friends, too! All who purchase from amazon.de will be able to add their support to the Brights movement and do it at no cost to themselves.

The arrangement is similar to the longstanding North American arrangement with Amazon, in which The Brights’ Net earns 7% commission on any purchases as long as the shopping session begins on the Brights’ website. The euro to dollar exchange, however, involves a different and somewhat more complex mechanism. With Amazon Germany, the percentage is lower, and support must accumulate for a good while before it is passed along.

Amazon links let Brights help support infrastructure at no cost to themselves! This past month brought 69 GBP to the UK Brights and $611 to Brights Central. BC is in process to add Amazon France.

Volunteering for Reason Rally

Four members of the Brights Forum have already offered to help out at the Reason Rally in Washington DC on March 24. Forum member Sabunim5Dan (coming to the event from Pennsylvania) has offered to work alongside Brights Central to shape a Brights presence there and coordinate volunteers.

If you do plan to attend the rally and would like to get involved at any level (small to large), you can email to the-brights@the-brights.net and put RRVOLUNTEER in upper case in your subject line. When the event planning gets going, you will be notified by email and put in touch with the team.

GirlGuiding Update (UK)

The petition asking that GirlGuiding UK reform its “promise” drew attention and support last month. Quentin, UK Brights coordinator, had placed the petition seeking a secular and inclusive form of the promise children say in order to belong.

After accumulating a thousand petitioners, he followed with a letter to the head of Guiding Development reporting results. As almost a quarter of signatories had added comments or anecdotes underlining their reasoning, Quentin also attached a full listing of these.

Quentin’s civil (positive but assertive) tone is a model for others seeking similar changes in other arenas. He closed with a summary request, as follows: “Suffice to say the vast majority would consider it to be a very positive and forward looking move for Girlguiding UK and that the Scouts would also do well to follow it. I and many others will be watching and awaiting the outcome of your deliberations with great interest and it would be great to hear that you'll take these views into consideration.”

Ambitious Undertakings!

For social change agents, here are a couple of bold strokes you can take to boost the Brights endeavor by way of personal action.

A Situation: The traditional dominance of religion in most societies means that religions get a name that encompasses a worldview (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc.). Citizens with a naturalistic worldview are defined by contrast – as “nonbelievers” and “godless”. Identity is continuously smothered by pejorative labels. But do you have to go along with it?

  • One is not a “nonbeliever” if believing in [list your own beliefs here].
  • And is anyone godless if there isn’t a god?

Brights don't always recognize how strongly they are socially defined in terms of others’ beliefs. And, it really is not easy to break loose verbally from strong cultural trappings.

What You Do:  You express your naturalistic worldview on its own terms, and say it straight, “I have a naturalistic worldview!” Then you say what that means to you. ?[To do that without religion words is a departure from the usual.]

A Situation: There aren’t enough brights of any stripe (humanist, atheist, skeptic, culturally religious but otherwise secular) serving in public office. So add yourself to the roster. No kidding. If you are serious about wanting to build more public understanding of the naturalistic outlook and increase acceptance for those whose worldview is wholly free of beliefs in the supernatural and mystical, let it start with you.

What You Do:  You run for an elective office (or volunteer fill a spot on a community board or committee) in order to add one person to elevate the influence in society from people who have a naturalistic worldview. Begin in your community at the local level (water commission, zoning board, school board, etc.).

VISIBILITY BASICS FOR BRIGHTS

A Basic Kit

The New Year is a good time to equip yourself for 2012. With a couple of items handy, you can show your participation in the Brights’ movement. 

Brights image clingStart with a set of static clings to put on the window of your vehicle, in your workplace, etc. It’s a pretty subtle approach to saying who you are, but nevertheless a nifty message to share.

With a bundle of bookmarks at hand, you’ll be ready to help others find the Brights’ website by creative means ?[you think those up]

Brights bookmark

Both items are available almost at cost from Brights Shopkeeper Diane.

A Clear Personal Statement

Have a lapel pin on hand, so you can wear it when occasions seem fitting. (It’s so much easier to do that when you have one available in your dresser drawer!)

Go ahead and wear the Brights' logo (and your favorite messages) on your sleeve. There’s plenty of apparel to choose from in the Brights’ Shop at Cafй Press.


 

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