The Brights' Bulletin
February 28, 2005
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
A BRIGHTS' LOCAL CONSTITUENCY COORDINATOR
It is a pleasure to announce that the Brights' Net will be able to provide more support to the BLC constituencies around the world. Now the 40+ BLCs have a Coordinator! Canadian Tammy Richards is taking on the role.
Tammy worked previously as a legal assistant and now is a stay-at-home mom and self-help writer. Her writing is a happy blend of positive psychology and memetics and focuses on the power of belief (from a naturalistic perspective, of course). You can contact Tammy by putting BLC COORDINATOR in the Subject line of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLC LEADERS/MEMBERS PLEASE NOTE
Would the following Brights please get in contact with the BLC Coordinator by emailing email@example.com and in the subject line include BLC COORDINATOR.
Patj . . . @earthlink
THE NEW WEBSITE
Status report on the Phase 1 renovation (same general content but new architecture). A lot was accomplished this past month, and most of the work is done. (Thank you, Theo.) Volunteer graphics artist Paula has completed two PDF download items for concisely spreading the gist of the Brights' endeavor using the new icon. Now it's mostly the long list of nitty-gritty details to be accomplished.
One thing we find exciting about the new site is its standards for accessibility of the content. The intent for this revamped Brights' site is that it be available to everyone, no matter what their choice of web browsing device, computer hardware, or physical abilities.
WANTED: TALENTED WRITERS FOR SHORT ARTICLES
Thanks to volunteer Dwain, Brights Central now has a database of over 500 email eddresses for membership organizations around the world. Many of these groups have a newsletter and could use mini-articles as filler.
Volunteer writers are needed to develop interesting short (max 300 words) newsletter articles under a column title (to be invented).
More information and submission guidelines onsite at
ACTION: Invent a title for this newsletter column. Optimistic titles are favored (e.g. connecting to "brighten" or "enbrighten"), but the field is wide open to creativity. Keep the title short. Help us sort by putting COLUMN TITLE in the subject line, and email to:
INBOX - BRIGHT DELIGHT
From Melissa: "It is wonderful to be a Bright! This one word indicates our optimistic views for the future of humanity, yet it also embraces the change of mind that is so desperately needed right now for mankind to flourish, and to find new paths to harmony. Respect and reason are the highest achievements to be attained for me personally, and that is only possible when people live according to those convictions. I am a bright for life!"
AN ANTONYM TO BRIGHT (INTERIM REPORT)
Bright (noun) has, at present, no antonym. Two Brights presented their cases that a coinage would be quite helpful to the Brights' overall endeavor. It would offer an alternative to the "bright/dim" adjectival contrast to which so many people are prone and for which the label "non-Brights" is less than helpful. A sensible coinage could aid speakers and writers in communicating in lucid and unambiguous language what are distinctly contrasting outlooks.
For more on this topic go to:
THE RHETORICAL TOOL BOX - I'LL PRAY FOR YOU
Bulletin 20 asked readers to tell us how they reply to "God Bless You," with hopes of accumulating some that are friendly while allowing a Bright to express a naturalistic angle. We received hundreds of emails. Most all of the unique contributions went onto the website's "tool box" from which Brights can select their favorite to use. Some succeeded in combining affability with distinct expression of a supernatural-free worldview.
View the "God Bless You" collection at:
We continue this small brainstorming project with a topic mentioned by several different writers.
One can reply to "I'm praying for you" or "We will put you in our prayers" with a simple, "Thank you." Beyond that, what might Brights say as social acknowledgement while being honest about their worldview? We will presume a well-intentioned speaker with whom one wishes to get along cordially.
The best expressions received will be posted to the website for anyone's use as needed or desired.
ACTION: Send in your suggested short(!)comment to use in a "praying for" situation. Help us sort by putting PRAY4 in the subject line, and email to:
THE 2004 TURN UP THE BRIGHTNESS CONTEST
To be considered, a submission published in letters to editors and/or OpEd essays or articles for public media (newspapers, periodicals, magazines, etc.) had to (1) use the word "bright" appropriately, and/or (2) speak to the need or aims on the home page of the Brights, and/or (3) mention the Brights' Net web site URL.
Inscribed plaques are going to two individuals, both of whom accomplished having quality (all three criteria) multiple letters published during 2004. Arrangements are being made to get the awards on their way to Kenneth C. MacDonald from Pennsylvania, USA, and John Ramster from Glasgow, Scotland. Congratulations and thanks, Kenneth and John
The contest was fun to kick off, but harder to sustain at both ends. BC has decided not to run a "Letters to the Editors" Contest for 2005" due to the low number of letters in 2004 that actually fulfilled the criteria for the contest.
NEW BRIGHTS LOCAL CONSTITUENCY
New BLC being formed:
USA, Washington, D.C. (metro area): Julie / firstname.lastname@example.org
ENTERING THE ACTION ARENA (REALITY ABOUT MORALITY)
A summary introduction to this project is posted at
1) POLL ON PRACTICAL DEFINITIONS
In order to have a basis of understanding of terms, the first formal step in Project Part A was establishing four pragmatic definitions for the project. A poll was conducted and all statements were approved (450+ respondents). Thus, with full understanding that these terms have many other conventional definitions, and that some individuals would have liked to have a word or two changed, we will proceed to employ these as initially stated.
(83% yes) MORAL (adj.): good according to a standard of right and wrong
(87% yes) MORALS (noun): motives, intentions, and/or actions of an individual (or a group of individuals) arising from a personal (or collective) sense of right conduct.
(83% yes) MORALITY (noun): a set of motives, intentions, and/or actions of an individual or a group conforming to principles or standards of right conduct
(77% yes) ETHICS (noun): the study of morals and morality
2) CLARIFYING CONCEPTIONS REGARDING DEFINING OF TERMS DIRECTLY ABOVE
A few of the comments we received indicated some serious misconceptions about this "defining terms" aspect of the project. Here are three clarifications:
A Bright stated: "None of the proposed definitions of morality actually has any positive content. None says anything about what is ‘right'".
Response: The purpose is not to determine "what is right according to the Brights." It is to have a standard set of definitions so that that everyone stays in the same verbal ballpark as we go along.
Another Bright stated: "I would like the word ‘behavior’ used in place of ‘conduct’ in the definitions."
Response: These sorts of changes cannot be negotiated across thousands of Brights. The words chosen were those most commonly used in Internet definitions and a robust majority of respondents has accepted them as written.
Finally, a Bright stated "In my view the basis, the foundation, the place to start, is not ethics and morals, but *values*. Values are more readily agreed upon - food, shelter, security, companionship, children, stimulation, etc."
Response: Certainly values will enter the picture, but not at the start. The project must first flesh out the naturalistic realities that can be "certified" by science as being fact-based statements describing how morals have developed for our species.
3) NEXT STEP IN THIS PROJECT AREA
Brights will receive in March an email with a series of assertions about the nature of human morality. You will also be provided information on how to help with this project. Look for the March BrightenOp(portunity).
DO YOU KNOW A HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE AGE BRIGHT? (USA)
ACTION: Let them know about the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), the newest entrant onto the American freethought scene.
SSA is an educational nonprofit organization aiming to educate high school and college students around the country about the value of scientific reason and the intellectual basis of secularism in its atheistic and humanistic manifestations. The majority of SSA resources go into the support of affiliate groups. They are trying to develop affiliate campus groups that share values of naturalism, reason and compassion in the service of making the world a better place for all humanity. They seek to affiliate with groups that are Naturalistic, Economically Neutral, Civil Rights Minded, and Non-discriminatory.
For more information contact:
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Do you have comments for the Co-Directors? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org and put DIRECTORS in the subject line.
Do you have a question for the Coordinator of Brights' Local Constituencies? Send to the Brights email email@example.com and put BLC COORDINATOR in the subject line.
Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert
Webmaster: Kevin Schultz
Brights Local Constituencies Coordinator: Tammy Richard