The Brights' Bulletin
November 30, 2004
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
THE ACTION ARENA OF REALITY ABOUT MORALITY
The Brights’ Network’s choice of “Reality about Morality” as an Arena for action is a momentous choice for a first significant action foray. The selection is not one of diffidence; nor is the venture for the faint of heart.
The Brights will directly confront the commonly accepted explanations of how people come to have principles of right and wrong motivating their conduct. We shall counter, and counter most vociferously, the notion that “religion is the necessary ingredient for morality.” We will do so, though, only after a committed enterprise to first furnish comprehensible (by public and press), fully documented and irrefutable (scientifically substantiated) statements regarding the genetic and social evolution of human morals.
So that you are fully informed and can offer input should you so wish, please visit the Web site to read an introductory overview and to look over a brief sketch outlining various project areas being considered. The discussion is available at
If you are interested in reading some brights’ comments about this arena, they are available at
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS
“The Brights’ Italia” new Website is up, and warrants your taking a look — even if you don’t read any Italian!
NEW BOOKS BY BRIGHTS
Book titles continue to roll in. Here are the latest additions:
Secular Wholeness: A Skeptic's Paths to a Richer Life
The Essence of Humanism: Free Thought versus Religious Belief
Theological Incorrectness: Why Religious People Believe What They Shouldn't
Heretics: The Bloody History of The Christian Church
Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism
For a complete listing, information on each title (and stipulations for adding books), go to
BRIGHTS’ ICON AND WEB DEVELOPMENT
The desire to have a visual image to represent the Brights’ constituency came early on. Many Brights sent in their artwork proposals. Across two “rounds” of submissions, Brights Central spent much time and energy processing the volunteered artwork, polling constituents, and considering feedback. No image submitted ever sparked consensus (or anything close). As we stated in an earlier Bulletin, it is important for “branding purposes” to move ahead.
For the Phase 1 site modification now in progress, we have settled on an optimistic Brights’ icon to appear within the logo/banner design. It will be part of “the new face” for current site content, but we would expect that, over time, this simple image will undergo further “evolution” (such as when we pursue a full-fledged site overhaul in 2005).
The working image is consistent with notions of “global Enbrightenment” (Turn up the Brightness!)—a hopeful concept that hearkens to the 18th century period of Enlightenment when science and reason seemed to offer the key to the future. Some will appreciate its somewhat “sciency perspective.” Sorry, but the image will not be unveiled until we complete the transfer of files, testing, and so forth and launch the new site milieu.
GERMAN ARTICLE ON THE BRIGHTS’ NET
German Press Die Sueddeutsche Netzeitung has an article on the Brights’ endeavor. It has spurred German registrations to the constituency, which in turn spurred us to employ Google’s free Web page translation service to get a (barely comprehensible) translation.
From what we can decipher, the article features, among others, four of our Enthusiastic (and influential) Brights: James Randi, Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. On the surface, the article appears to be correct regarding the essence and purposes of the Brights’ Net. We did see a few errors regarding the origins of the Brights’ endeavor. These will spur us to add to our “To Do” list. We simply must upload to the Web site a correct “history” for use by the press. To read the article (or practice your German), go to:
A BRIGHTS’ MUSIC PROJECT
Many Brights, and particularly parents and educators, would appreciate having access to a focused repertoire of “naturalistic worldview” musical selections. So here we go. Tony has volunteered to coordinate a Music Project seeking identify those songs particularly evocative of the naturalistic outlook, as follows:
1. Songs that speak to life without hint of God, supernatural forces or entities, a hereafter, etc.
2. Songs that speak to human values.
3. Songs that speak to stewardship of the earth.
4. Any children's songs that have secular texts in harmony with #1,#2,#3 [i.e., avoid the well-known traditional children's songs that are probably in collections anyway, e.g., Frère Jacques.]
Message From Tony:
Songs can be submitted in any language. They can be traditional or composed. The latter may present some problems unless the copyright has expired, but let's give it a go anyway.
Send title and source of the song(s) via email address at <email@example.com>. [Do not sent to the Brights’ Net]
I plan to empanel a group to assess the music's quality and appropriateness for various ages, so if you are interested in being part of the panel, let me know.
After a Panel review, the Music Project will put the texts out for review by the constituency to ensure the compilation is representative of the interests of Brights in general.
EMAIL of BrightenOp
Thanks to everyone who took the time to forward the BrightenOp message (sent you November 6) regarding the results of the U.S. presidential election. Your actions produced a significant increase in Brights’ registrations across the next ten days. It really does work when you let others know about the Brights.
A SEARCH FOR EXAMPLES OF DISCRIMINATION OR BIAS ( USA)
For a lawsuit that is being filed soon, Dr. Michael Newdow (a Bright) would welcome testimony of any Brights who, because of their naturalistic beliefs, have been subjected to bias or discrimination. In order to demonstrate that anti-atheistic bias pervades American society, he is asking anyone who has experienced such bias (whether they deem themselves atheists, brights, freethinkers, humanists, skeptics, etc.) to provide him with a declaration attesting to a specific situation or event. More information, and how to prepare such a declaration, is provided at
Disclaimer: The Brights’ Net takes no position on whether the Pledge litigation will benefit brights. The reality is that litigation will proceed regardless of our thoughts on the matter.
REALITY TV AND CALL FOR AN ATHEIST FAMILY ( USA)
--UGH-- BUT IT WILL HAPPEN ANYWAY
A new ABC television series with a rather salacious title (“Wife Swap”) wants to feature on one show a family headed by parents who are raising their children without imposing religious beliefs on them. On this particular show, two mothers (one Christian and one atheist) exchange families for two weeks, such that both can explore another family’s values and lifestyle and share perspective. The format has won awards in the UK. These comments are from the American press:
Time Magazine: “One of the most entertaining new entries in reality TV, Wife Swap reminds us that the American living room is as fascinating a laboratory of human emotions as Borneo or the corporate boardroom.”
Washington Post: “Wife Swap is promisingly sly and serious, funny and flabbergasting. It's a reality show, yes, but also in its way a fascinating pop sociological experiment, one that increases in complexity and impact as it goes along.”
If you have interest in participating on the segment placing together Christian and Atheist families, see details at
Brights’ Net Disclaimer: This invitation is presented to Brights as an opportunity only because ABC will put this show on, regardless. We would hope to find among Brights who identify as atheist a family that could represent the outlook in a principled, civic fashion — specifically, a family that can champion the stance of a naturalistic worldview in a broad and constructive manner (not anti-religious). The Brights’ Net is not sponsoring or responsible for the actions of any family chosen.
BRIGHTS’ LOCAL CONSTITUENCIES
Murali is forming a national BLC in India and would like anyone who is interested in working together to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOT SPOTS ON THE BRIGHTS’ NET
Jeffrey has suggested that the Bulletins should provide the URL of the Brights’ Forum. In the future, that link will be part of the “TAILINGS” at the end of the Bulletin. For now, here is the Forum URL along with a few other often-used parts of the Web site:
Brights’ Forum: http://www.the-brights.net/forums
Brights Local Constituencies: http://the-brights.net/blc_list.htm
Books by Brights: http://the-brights.net/brights_books.htm
Supporting the Brights: http://the-brights.net/support_info.htm
Enthusiastic Brights: http://the-brights.net/enthusiastic_brights_1.htm
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