The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #16
August 18, 2004

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


CIVIC ACTION ARENAS

Last month's proposal of "priority arenas" for focusing Brights activism has sent the e-mails rolling in to Brights Central (BC). We have had lots of reading to do, and we appreciate all the interest. Special thanks go to Brights who took time to comment on some aspect or to offer suggestions for alternative realms of activism they perceive to be more fruitful. The real delight came in reading missives from persons willing to lead and/or to participate in planning for activism within the arena they deemed most important. Coordinating Brights activism will, for the time being, depend on volunteers.

You may read a summary of three promising realms of activism at
http://the-brights.net/action_arenas.htm

The deadline for input to BC is August 31. If you have not yet indicated your own preference among the three proposed action arenas (or recommended a replacement you favor as a alternative), it is not too late to do so. Type your arena preference in caps. (e.g., ARENA #) or ALTERNATIVE ARENA in the subject line, with comments in the body of an e-mail. Send to
the-brights@the-brights.net

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ICON POLL RESULTS

The last Bulletin asked for advice on conceptual/graphic direction for an icon, and 615 Brights, took time during the last week of July to study six candidate icons (along with related graphics and commentary) and then send in their judgments via a poll. Images they examined were the "six survivors" from a batch of over a hundred originally generated and submitted by Brights.

Results: Sentiment across the options in the narrowed field continued to spread wide, illustrating beautifully the imposing diversity of Brights' opinion. In this latest advisory, no icon/concept drew a majority's favor. The plurality for first-ranked Sun-Illusion was not too impressive. (It reached 1/3 only if we would modify the image.) The Alinea earned second ranking. This Bulletin cannot include graphics, but you may view these top two "winners" with their accompanying conceptual explanations, at
http://www.the-brights.net/icon_process.htm

It appears the democratic approach to icon generation/selection has gone far enough. (It surely has gone on long enough!) Given the wealth of good information collected so far, we propose to shift gears at this point and work with a couple of professional designers. We have in mind to modify or perhaps blend visual elements to carry forward key ideas. Then (in September, we hope) you will get the chance to vote the finalist(s) up or down: "Yes this is OK to adopt" and "No, you must try again; this is simply not good enough to represent the Brights."

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RELIGION BOOKS, REVIEWERS, EDITORS AND WRITERS

A recent Christian Science Monitor article reviewed a book by a theologian at Oxford pronouncing "disbelief" as having fading public appeal, and the review gave brief mention to the Brights as part of the current picture.

That notice from the reviewer, Jane Lampman (who writes about religion for the Monitor) calls to mind the usefulness of individual Brights simply directing the attention of the staff of local press and media to the Brights' Net site. For example, if you have read or seen nothing yet in your local newspaper, you might contact a religion editor or a person who regularly expounds on relevant matters to say: "I see that you [write/do stories] about [religion/ethics/civics]. Are you aware of the Brights? Please check out this new endeavor to establish a level civic playing field for people whose worldview is naturalistic at http://www.the-brights.net "

By the way, intrigued by the title, Paul read the object of the review: "The Twilight of Atheism." Author Alistar McGrath proclaims atheism to be on the wane, its heyday having spanned the 200 years between the fall of the Bastille and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In our view, some rather astounding (and highly questionable) demographics had certainly passed by the reviewer; nevertheless, she took note of the fact that McGrath had so constrained his gaze that he was seemingly oblivious to the present-day situation. Said she: "[He] does not venture into the community of humanists, which has considerably more intellectual heft, and which might give a more comprehensive sense of the contemporary picture (including a new group calling itself the 'Brights')." The complete review is at:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0803/p16s01-bogn.html

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FORUM GOES INTERNATIONAL

The Brights' Forum has now geared up with facilitators to support at least some broad-spectrum discussion by participants who use languages other than English. To date, we have available the following:

Portuguese: general and community discussion

German: general and community chat

Scandinavian: general chat in the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish languages

This access to the forum environment is provided in hopes that Brights who are most comfortable in these languages can eventually transition to the main Forum, which posts a great many more discussion topics in English.

Regarding languages, one topic of keen interest here at BC is the translation (if any) of the noun, bright. If you are well versed in any of the above languages, be sure to join in! You may reach the initial "general chat" discussion threads by going to the International Languages section at
http://www.the-brights.net/forums/index.php?act=SC&c=13

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BRIGHTS LOCAL CONSTITUENCIES (BLCs)

Still more regions are acquiring BLCs that permit Brights in a general area to get in touch with one another and focus on local issues. A geographical listing of all BLC locations is at:

http://www.the-brights.net/brights_local.htm

Here are the most recent additions to the listing.

North San Francisco Bay Area, USA: Ormond / ormond@mail.com

Lower Alabama, USA: Ralph / epiphaedrus@aol.com

Southern Ontario, Canada (Sarnia/London): Pamela / infidel@canada.com

Greenwich to New Haven/Westport, Connecticut, USA: Saul / stefan#8@aol.com

Almost immediately after the Westport BLC was set up, it earned a bit of local attention. In an article in The Hour ( Fairfield County), staff writer Jennifer Connic reported: "One of the definitions for bright is smart, clever and witty, but for one resident it means an enlightenment movement that has touched him… (He) explained that the Brights is designed to have a direct interaction at the local level and encourage activism." Kudos to Saul for garnering local press right away.

If you are leading or participating in a local BLC, you might write your own article to announce to local press that your BLC exists. Contact your local newspaper (telephoning first is probably best), and then submit a description of what you are planning and doing. Borrow freely from material on the Brights' website to ensure consistency with the overall endeavor.

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MEETUP DOT COM

MeetUp.com is a commercial Internet venture. It serves a great variety of communities and is entirely separate from the Brights' Net. There are, however, over 2,000 Brights who have registered interest in having local meetups.

MeetUp.com is proposing that persons attending Brights MeetUps become "MeetUp Group Organizers" for their community and take responsibility for MeetUp meetings. MeetUp is currently appointing official local Organizers, who can: pick when and where to meet, contact members of the Meetup Group directly via e-mail, and schedule additional group events.  As Organizer, you would have access to automatic event reminders, RSVP tracking, automatic venue suggestions, polling tools, message boards, and more.

This presents a great opportunity for some BLC Leaders. You can run your BLC as a MeetUp group and use their resources. This would be a way to increase your BLC membership. We suggest you check it out: To learn more, use this link for MeetUp's FAQ:

http://brights.meetup.com/organizer_learn.jsp?qs=583406:5ab155

If you decide to be a MeetUp Group Organizer, use this link to put your name forward for consideration:

http://brights.meetup.com/organizer_form.jsp?qs=583406:5ab155

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A SUGGESTION FOR MEETUPS

Leader Pat J. of Tennessee writes:

For each meeting where there are new people, may I suggest that the first topic after the initial intros is to ask the new people if they have been to the Brights' website? (At our meetups, almost none of the new people who show up have been to the site. Most found out about it by browsing Meetup.com) If they have not been to the website, give them the address, ask them to go to the site and read what the Brights are about in the next few weeks. Then, if they agree with the aim of the Brights, they can come back to the next meetup and ask questions if they have any.  I've found that one needs to stress that they should sign up on the website.  They, of course, can stay and take part in the rest of the meetup.

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BRIGHTS VOTE ( USA)

The forthcoming presidential election is likely to be a tight race among major candidates, and that fact has engendered a question to Brights Central: "Are the Brights endorsing a candidate?"

The Brights' Network will not take positions on political candidates, and this is an opportune time to explain why.

First, At Brights Central, we furnish information to the public 'about' the Brights' endeavor—its aims, principles, organization, actions, etc.—but BC does not take partisan positions, and we answer media inquiries accordingly. As we grow the constituency, what BC will work toward is acquiring infrastructure to facilitate constituents collaborating with one another and speaking out on the key issues consistent with stated civic and social aims but, politically, it remains up to autonomous Brights to speak/vote/campaign for themselves, independently. See Brights' Principle #1 at
http://the-brights.net/here_we_stand.htm

Second, the Brights' Network organized as a U.S. nonprofit corporation in order to develop an infrastructure of communications for the Internet constituency. As such, it cannot legally take a position on political candidates.

It helps to keep in mind that the Internet constituency contains a broad diversity of persons who have in common only their supernaturalism-free worldview and their interest in the Brights' endeavor. An essay on the website offers a fuller explanation of such matters:
http://the-brights.net/who_are_the_brights.htm#Governance

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PLEDGE ACTION FOR FAMILIES ( USA)

With the school year soon to begin for most American youngsters, many families will be faced with the issue of how to handle the Pledge of Allegiance ritual. BC has just today started a strand in the Brights' Forum to discuss this very topic. The thread begins at
http://www.the-brights.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=2300

You can read comments without registering, but to participate, you need be a registered Brights' Forum member. You can register at
http://www.the-brights.net/forums

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"TURNING UP THE BRIGHTNESS" AWARD - - 2004

As a Bright, WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. Spread word of the Brights while speaking your mind about related issues. Your efforts will keep the name Brights' Net in the public eye, and yours may be one of the top three published letters/essays/commentaries acknowledged at year's end with a plaque. To read the guidelines, go to the web at:

http://www.the-brights.net/ltrs_editors.htm

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BRIGHTS SUPPORT

The Brights' Net makes a sustained drive for financial support only twice a year. But we can't stop you if you go to the bottom of the page at http://the-brights.net/support_info.htm and click on the PayPal symbol.

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TAILINGS

From Webmaster Kevin Schultz, webmaster@the-brights.net

*--- If you are having a problem with the appearance of your Bulletin or in receiving the Bulletin, please e-mail me and place the word PROBLEM in the subject line.

*---If you prefer to read the Bulletin on line or to suspend future Bulletins, please e-mail me and place the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

Note: Comments that involve the content within any Bulletin or other matters should be directed to the-brights@the-brights.net

You can read all prior Bulletins and "Brighten Ops" in the archive at

http://www.the-brights.net/broadcastarchive.htm

Why does the Bulletin use simple text? Many Brights around the world do not have the capability to receive e-mail in any other form. The new website will add html capabilities and the option, so that you can choose to receive the Bulletin as text or html.

—————————————

Brights Central
Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert


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