The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #115
October 31, 2012

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- NOVEMBER 2012 


No supernatural. No superstition.
The ethics and actions of a Bright are based on a naturalistic worldview.

Farther, Faster, Stronger?

Might  the online constituency of Brights help to boost impact or geographical reach of useful individual actions of a single Bright? The possibility is worth looking into. Don’t sit back if you have an idea about amplifying the audience or outcome of your own activity. Explore it.

"Explore it" is exactly what a Bright in Illinois did with the graphic of evolutionary changes on earth that he had produced for a local project. He contacted Brights Central, which then sought supportive funding from constituents. As a wall poster, the image is no longer in just one location; its reach has extended to 28 US states, Germany, Mexico, Uganda, Canada and the UK.

Tentative ideas are best explored via the Brights International Forums where other Brights can offer formative feedback regarding the feasibility of your idea.

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News that Reverberates

Word of the 20 October death of philosopher and visionary Paul Kurtz has resounded throughout secular and freethought communities across the world. At these links, you can reach the Washington Post obituary, Wikipedia entry, and a more deeply informative retrospective about Professor Kurtz written by American secular leader and Enthusiastic Bright, Herb Silverman.

Paul Kurtz authored or edited more than 50 books, some of them rather weighty tomes. If you’d like to read or put on your bookshelf quite a short one, you can consider the book he had submitted as his personal choice for the “Books by Brights” segment of the website: Affirmations: Joyful and Creative Experience.

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Gifting Benefits Brights!

This message appears in November in case you’re someone who is shopping early and online for holiday gifts. (Or, perhaps you have friends who fit that description?) Please recall that your online purchases at any time of year can do double duty if you plan to link shopping to The Brights’ Net. Each purchase spurs a small donation to the Brights at no extra cost to the buyer.

Amazon:  Buy books (or anything) and earn up to 7% commission for the Brights movement. Simply start your shopping at Amazon.com (or .uk, .de, .fr) via a link at the website

iGive:  Here’s a way you can shop online and send a bit of support to the Brights. You first install an iGive.com link and designate The Brights’ Net as recipient. Then, you just start your shopping via that site. You can reach over 900 different stores! To name a few “B”s— Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & and Beyond, Bloomingdales, Brookstone, Burpee). A small percentage (amount varies by merchant) will come this direction. Even installing the link earns a one-time bonus for the Brights.

You and your friends can easily reach either of these financial support pathways from the home page (midway down, right column).

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Research Yields Pride

From Chris (a new Bright in Great Britain): “As a long term atheist, the term 'Bright' was and is becoming more and more frequently used in conversation with the company that I keep, and in the literature I enjoy. And whilst it has never been in my nature to feel any need to belong or be accepted, I have no hesitation having researched the movement myself in proudly calling myself a Bright.

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International Brights’ Forum Report

On the "casual chat" front, there was some interest shown by Forum members this month in the record-breaking free-fall of Felix Baumgartner, whose plunge from a helium balloon broke a number of world records.  A few of the Forum's regulars followed events together, near to real-time.

On a more serious front, the Forum community is discussing an interdisciplinary workshop: Moving Naturalism Forward, which features many notables and luminaries of the secular community.  In the Forum Topic on the subject, the interplay of implications is on display already: do we naturalists pit a cold, asocial scientism against the heartfelt yearnings of humanity?  Does a secularist mindset imply tolerance for a range of beliefs, naturalistic or not?  Is the baby gone with the bathwater to any extent when mythologies are replaced by physics?  Drop your two cents' worth into the Topic.

Registration is quick and easy.  See you in the Forums!

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November Freebies

Last month BC mailed bookmarks to American Brights who sent in their stamped self-addressed envelopes. (Many thanks to those of you who enclosed a dollar or more to help with the extra postage required to mail items internationally! So, now we can send bookmarks internationally, using the accumulated funds received during October.) 

Please note that this FREE offer is only for Brights in non-USA locations.

If you would like to acquire a few bookmarks (bearing this image), please put in your request to Brights Central right away.  (Email to the-brights@the-brights.net with BOOKMARKS in upper case letters in the subject line of your email).

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For Video Camera Buffs

Are you an amateur or professional videographer? How about assisting by volunteering to make a very short video for The Brights’ Net’s official YouTube channel?   BC has ideas for certain video topics that we’d like to see in the video gallery at our official YouTube channel, but perhaps you do too.

We are particularly interested in acquiring and posting short submissions that address aspects within the three priority action arenas or encourage or aid civic participation by Brights in the community at large. However, we’d be all ears for your idea too, as long as it aligns well with the overall aims and principles of the Brights movement. Tell us how you’d like to use your camera to address any topic including but not limited to science or civics education, events (in your country of residence or interest), and parenting.

If the possibility of contributing video holds interest for you, send us an email to the-brights@the-brights.net with “YOUTUBE4BC” in the subject field explaining what you would like to share with the constituency, as well as your past experience with shooting videos and your area of expertise (if applicable). Keep in mind that Brights Central will not be considering ideas or accepting contributions that are inflammatory against religion. Videos at The Brights’ Channel should be informative and educational for both sides of the deity-belief/nonbelief coin.

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Blogging at the-brights.net

“A Rational Woman” is already on board to present her views. So is one “Science-Minded Citizen.” We’re in the process of adding one or two more. If you missed the earlier invitation to apply to blog, you can still do so (or initiate at a later date when your circumstances permit).

We will be starting with quite a small stable of writers, favoring those that tweaked staff interest and built some confidence by responding immediately and completely to the requested information (presenting a reasonable proposal overall, evidencing likely carry-through, and providing a writing sample that other Brights might enjoy).

We expect to finalize contributors this month and send a special BrightenOp to the constituency to introduce the blog itself. Having run into trademark issues with the tentative title (“BrightenUP!”), BC is exploring another. While doing so, we are also still accepting suggestions for something rather catchy and unique. 

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Voluntary Support Deserves a Nod

Thanksgiving, an American holiday, is on the horizon. It shouldn’t pass without those of us at BC (Mynga, Paul, Kevin, Kelly, and Carolyn) expressing our gratitude to all Brights “out there” who are acting in some voluntary way to support the vision, aims, and principles of the overall Brights movement. You know who you are!  Some of you have “titles” and others don’t. Some of you have informed BC of your activity, and others haven’t. And, if you haven’t done so yet, please send an email to the-brights@the-brights.net and clue us in.

Special mention and “Thanksgiving” gratitude also goes to those Brights who have subscribed through PayPal or another outlet to send a small ongoing monthly donation to support the Brights’ endeavor. This is an immensely valuable contribution, as is the commitment of those of you who remember to start your online shopping at the website links! While the Equinox donations pay for staff and rent, and the diminutive individual donations and commissions combine to enable website services and keep the lights on in the office.

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A Challenging Situation

If you email BC in the next week or so, you will likely notice a delay. There is going to be a slow-down of responses due to restrictions on the executive director’s activities. Although Mynga will be away for a short period following breast cancer surgery on 10/29, she anticipates a good outcome. Her attitude is placid (she has dealt with this previously). And, of course, Kelly or Paul will convey to her any good thoughts or wishes that happen to arrive at the-brights@the-brights.net with MYNGA in the subject line.

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Who Cares about Science?

Priorities at Home


Children learn best through direct experience. Joy and satisfaction come from personal actions, along with opportunities to try and surmount obstacles to inquiry. Parents who nurture attributes like curiosity and perseverance may equip their children to better confront other barriers as well.

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Presidential Campaigns and Science (USA)

Science is of interest to a great many participants in the constituency of Brights. Certainly, it is a matter of immense civic importance across the world.

In a prior bulletin, we reported that the Romney and Obama campaigns, while not willing to debate in that realm, had been prodded to at least “speak in print” to science-based concerns, with the results posted on a website.

Now we can pass along the information that Scientific American has independently evaluated the responses of the two presidential campaigns.

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BC Quite Serious about Science

Brights Central has been kept unexpectedly busy of late, as word of the evolution poster project has reached more teachers via science educator listsrvs, most recently in Virginia, Florida and New Jersey. Kelly continues to build awareness state by state via e-mail communications.

So far, she reports, over 16,000 students now have the poster on their classroom walls. It’s not there for mere decoration either; rather, it is put there by teachers with serious plans to integrate the material into their teaching about evolution. All have applied to BC with a commitment to such use. The exhilaration of many teachers upon receipt of the item is stirring. (Some of the most recent teacher feedback has been added atop the “Poster Comments” page.)

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Not So Easy

The classroom display of the Earth and Life: changes over time poster sends out a strong message in less-than-supportive environs. It provides evidence of a teacher’s firm commitment to sound science teaching.

Example: “The poster looks amazing! I live and teach in Alabama where the bias against evolution can be strong. This poster will be on the wall permanently so that my students will be able to relate the geology with the biology in one place. They will get the real story of why every living thing is a cousin to another.

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Teachers Recognizing Brights

It isn’t just the poster itself that teachers notice and love. There is also recognition and appreciation by many of the overall Brights’ endeavor.

Example (an excerpt; use link to see full text of comment): “YES, I did receive my wonderful, awesome, amazingly detailed poster and it is on my wall as we speak. I have laminated it and it will be a part of my classroom all year long … I really love every aspect of the poster! The only criticism would be the size of the pictures/words. I have found that you can really only see it clearly up close. I reference it all the time and … [i]f I could change anything about it I would make it 2-3 times bigger. But please know I really do love the poster and am so happy to have it! I can't thank the Brights enough for making such a relevant and educational poster and for making it free of charge to teachers! Thanks for all that you do!

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