The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #177

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- MARCH 2018 


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Thought of Springing into Action?

Several months ago our Brights bulletin was suggesting that you "take some time out to think"!

But maybe now it’s time for thoughtful deeds. Times do call for action. Might this be just the moment for you to speak up; to speak out? To jump up and get going?

You cannot presume that all other Brights will necessarily share your stance on issues or join your parade. In this constituency, viewpoints and beliefs run the gamut on so many issues. (Thus, when Brights do speak out publicly, they are talking for themselves as individuals.) Although every Bright has a naturalistic worldview, each also clearly has her/his own mind. That’s why you must decide your action.

Still, that’s no reason to sit back because, concerning “life,” Brights have concluded that there is "no next one.”

Our times provide abundant issues to be addressed, and there are avenues for response. Take a leap. Do your thing. You can surely try to make something better. So, what’s your priority?  What follows is ours.

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Under a "Great Wave"

The recent sudden influx of teacher requests for Earth and Life: change over time poster has hit Brights Central’s office like the famous “Great Wave off Kanagawa!”

Details of the influx were provided in last month’s Bulletin.

We hope to rise to the challenge with aid from Brights around the world. Still, a little extra help right now would surely be so nice! To aid The Brights’ Net in responding more quickly, a donor is being sought who would be willing to provide “matching funds” of a certain amount (anonymous or public, either way). A matching situation generally prompts smaller donors to step forward! If you are a donor who can spur us just now, email to the-brights@the-brights.net with WAVE in your subject line!   

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We've Already Started!

Here’s the wood stack pictured last month, asking you to imagine it as a big bunch of mailing tubes. Now we at BC are busily transforming that image into the desired reality.

Kelly has begun responding to applications from a throng of high schools science teachers that we had only recently learned about! Lots of them!  Last month’s bulletin explains the situation.

Now we’re on our way, but we’ve a long ways to go: more posters to be printed; more mailing tubes; more careful transfers to ensure no wrinkles, more dedication of time at Brights Central.

If enough Brights respond, we can enable many additional tens of thousands of students to acquire a richly exacting naturalistic understanding of life from their schooling! No need for supernatural explanations when “it all makes sense” through science.

Brights have the exclusive privilege of supplying this unique educational resource. It is a major effort of the constituency. Please reflect on the project and do what you can to help with this educational endeavor.  Thank you!

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How Did YOU Hear, Anyway? 

Lately, we’ve been all ears with curiosity about how registrants in 2018 have learned about the Brights movement. Anyone registering as a Bright is asked on the online form. Not everyone answers, but many people do. So, we’ve taken a look and can share a few examples from the recent sampling. (The instances are chosen for brevity and location, or for being a tidbit jokey.)

Did any of these folks hear the same way that you did? 

From friends (Netherlands) / Net Surfing (Pakistan) / on Second Life (Canada) / Wikipedia (Czech Republic) / someone posted a link (Australia) / Google (Vietnam) / from the book of Dan Brown, Origin (Armenia) / research into Dan Dennett (United Kingdom) / agnostic.com (United States) / Daniel Dennett interview on Czech TV (Slovak Republic) / read about it in a crappy Dan Brown novel (India) / from polish Wikipedia (Poland) / one of Dawkins’ articles in ‘The Guardian’ (Germany) / researching james randi (United States) / Richard the chosen one Dawkins (India) / Penn & Teller (Ireland) / TV interview with Dennett (Switzerland) / YouTube (South Africa) / another member (Australia) / my older brother (Ukraine) / a friend (Sweden) / school (Denmark) / skeptics dictionary online (Canada) 

Lots of the answers received – e.g., from Norway, Colombia, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Ecuador – are just too detailed to share. This one from India is an example of many sparked by a one-time event: “from the speech of Professor C Ravichandran, a University professor and a freethinker”.  You too can create some one-time “Google Brights” events! 

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Is Atheism Ascending Academically & Culturally?

A January article in The Atlantic called “How Should Atheism be Taught?” is now available online. 

Isabel Fattal’s piece focuses on a donor’s endowment of the first academic chair in the U.S. for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics. In it, she describes the donor’s path to atheism and his desire that atheism be treated academically as a rich and largely uncontroversial academic subject, rather than as some radical movement or persecuted ideology.  

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A recent research study by the Barna group, produced in partnership with Impact 360 Institute, indicates that the new generation of youth born between 1999 and 2015 is becoming a cultural force in its own right. The study focused on numerous facets of Generation Z (teens age 13 to 18) and included a look at “religious identity” among these youth. Concerning their worldviews, the report declared Gen Z to be “the first truly ‘post-Christian’ generation.” This aspect of the 128-page published report forms the substance of Barna’s online Atheism Doubles among Generation Z posting, which carries with it some interesting charts drawn from the larger report. These teens identify as atheist at a far higher rate than the U.S. adult population; double, in fact. What Barna terms “this precipitous falling off” of religious identity is not likely to be good news to many of the Barna Group’s clients.

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A Bright, or a Super?—Which Are You?

Since you receive this Bulletin, we can presume that you are already living on “the Bright side” of life, rather than “the super side”.  (If in doubt about the difference, check the home page for definitions. Or, view and ponder a PDF that gets into the weeds on the matter.)

Zazzle.com just reported to BC that the “Living on the Bright side of life” image is now available for purchase in an additional item: the grocery tote.

Head to our Brights’ Kiosk if interested in this item! Use over and over. It’s natural. It’s washable! Five sizes.

(Note: Check the Brights’ Kiosk occasionally for sales, and save, because Zazzle sales come and go quite frequently.)

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A Dog/Owner “Stare Fest”

Going beyond previous studies of zebrafish, wrasse, Wistar rats, and sticklebacks, this month’s wee story of nature involves a far more familiar animal: dogs.

Experimenters have been looking at the human/dog interchange as the organisms eye one another. Does gazing into your dog’s eyes affect your physiology? (Any biological effects on your dog of his staring into your eyes?)

Interestingly, with the ogling, there are biological changes afoot!  These physiological changes don’t happen with wolf-human actions, despite the strong genetic similarity of dogs and wolves.

This “Hotline Story,” like previous ones from a Danish Bright, is available in both Danish and English languages).

Footnote: The cocker-golden mix rescue pictured here is Brandi, who visits BC quite frequently. Held in this photo by webmaster Kevin, she goes home with the quick-snap photographer, Mynga. Brandi has little patience for staring feats, so none has been attempted.

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Refreshing our Translation Volunteers List

Other than the home page, the website’s “Reality about Morality” portal continues to be the most accessed section of the Brights’ website. This portal offers a concise gloss of how human morality actually came about—naturally.

Given the sustained interest, Brights Central is looking to further the global reach. We are exploring the viability of garnering volunteer help with certain additional languages.

If you would like to explore working with Brights Central to carry out a translation process from English into a target language (you need to be comfortable in both), please email to the-brights@the-brights.net with TRANSVOL in upper case letters in your subject line. Briefly state your capability. (If you consider yourself a possible candidate, do go ahead and inquire so that we can answer any of your questions.)

Although professional translators would be ideal, this is not required if we can obtain a small volunteer task team for the drafting and review process. The overall task of translating the infographic and the associated explanations is really just a few pages of work.

If you are new to the Brights, you may not be aware:  The original morality portal development was guided jointly by Brights Central and an accomplished volunteer team leader, Ruban. Their pivotal product, an infographic, was produced first in English with researchers from relevant fields providing input and eventual scientific authentication. The infographic was then transformed into a more comprehensive information portal (augmented by explanations) and translated from the English into 14 additional languages. 


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