The Brights' Bulletin
August 30, 2005
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
EASY TO COPY BRIGHTS’ ICON
You can now copy and paste the icon into your materials when you want to spread word of the movement. For example, a tiny version makes an attractive addition to your signature line.
Find the image in four positions at:
Use any version (up, down, right, left) along with the URL (www.the-brights.net), the words “The Brights” or “The Brights’ Net.”
If you add a slogan/phrase, please be consistent with the characterization of the movement as a constructive one. See principles at:
Phrases generated by some Brights are available at:
ANTONYM MINI-PROJECT (THE POLL IS READY)
Brights Central received serious pleas that, for pragmatic reasons, we should have and use a term that is opposite to the noun “bright.” Thus, BC proceeded to initiate a mini-project to obtain an appropriate noun designation for persons whose worldview does incorporate supernatural and/or mystical elements. We would then use it to refer to "non-Brights" in communications and published articles.
In a prior bulletin, we solicited contributions from Brights at large. After evaluating over 80 submissions, there are some possible candidates for consideration.
ACTION: You can now weigh in with your opinion regarding ten contenders, each a noun with some potential to serve as an antonym term.
First: Visit the project summary and annotated antonym listing at:
Then: After selecting the noun term you most prefer, vote it in the poll. (The URL to go to the simple poll is provided at the end of the summary discussion.) The poll closes on September 15.
Participants who previously signed up to this endeavor should expect to receive a crucial email during the first week of September.
Fifteen Brights volunteered to help complete the Brazilian translation of selected aspects of the Brights’ Net into Portuguese. Thank you!
FORUM COLLABORATORS PRODUCE PAPER
Seeking to reach “a common center of opinion” on how best to explain Brights to religious people, a volunteer collaboration of a dozen Forum discussants yielded a short “consensus article” for posting on a highly popular Psychology of Religion site. The site is endorsed by a number of educational and professional groups and, according to Psychology Today, offers “up-to-the-minute religion news without straying from pure science”. (Site creator is Michael E. Nielsen, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Georgia Southern University.)
The Brights’ collaboration product is now the basis for a new “Defining Religion” exercise that Dr. Nielsen assigns to his students (and anyone else interested in how psychologists define religion):
“Your assignment is to argue whether or not The Brights should be considered a religion. Be sure to provide rationale supporting your position. In writing your argument, refer to the concepts of empiricism - observation and objectivity - that we discussed in class and that are in our text...” [continued on site]
To read more task specifics and the Brights’ Forum collaboration article, go to:
BRIGHT ATTENDING EUROPEAN CONFERENCE (BRUSSELS, BELGIUM)
The Brights’ Forum gave considerable discussion regarding a Bright attending the European United Religions Initiative Conference in Brussels.
The focus of the conference is focused on prejudices between people of different cultures, religions and convictions in the EU enlargement-process.
Should Brights have “a seat at the table”?
After weighing the merits and drawbacks of an action proposal (initiated by Sarge) that a representative of the Brights seek acceptance to participate in the event, Forum discussants moved the proposed project forward, articulating their “not a religion, nevertheless belong” angle to conference conveners. Conferring with BC on basic ground rules for any such “representation,” one Forum facilitator (Emo) volunteered to attend at personal expense and applied for acceptance.
Emo recently received the following message from the coordinator of the United Religions Initiative Europe:
“We are pleased to herewith confirm your participation in the European URI-assembly ‘Overcoming irritations and prejudices’ which will take place September 22-24, 2005, in Brussels.”
Now that a person with a naturalistic worldview will be seated at the Brussels table, the Forum discussion continues as to how best to be involved consistent with conference goals and the communication guidelines of The Brights’ Net.
The Forum discussion on the topic is at:
COMMENTS FROM BRIGHTS’ REGISTRATIONS
I like the optimistic tone of your website, while it seems to me America has lost its mind. James (California, USA)
My friends and I have launched Bright Day, which has no religious meaning, no gifts, and celebrates a worldview free of superstition. We chose July 20 (my birthday) because I want to give up celebrating that day. Deborah (New Jersey, USA)
WASHINGTON LOBBYIST FOR NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW (USA)
The Secular Coalition for America has hired a Washington, DC lobbyist for non-religious Americans. This is a milestone.
The SCA, a coalition of non-religious organizations, has selected Lori Lipman Brown, a former Nevada State Senator, as its new director/lobbyist. We heard her speak at the Secular Students Alliance conference at The Ohio State University, and we think her a superb choice to represent the rights of all brights, whatever their self-identity (humanists, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, Brights, etc.).
The 501(c)(4) tax status of the Secular Coalition for America enables political lobbying, whereas the The Brights’ Net, as a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, is highly restricted. The Brights’ Net fully supports the SCA’s mission. Thus, when a USA Bright registers as a Bright, she or he is informed about the existence of the SCA. Read about the new lobbyist and the SCA itself at:
ENTHUSIASTIC BRIGHTS IN THE NEWS
Daniel Dennett has a major op-ed piece in the New York Times on the pseudoscientific nature of “Intelligent Design” creationism.
“Show Me the Science, August 28th: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/opinion/28dennett.html
Penn Jillette’s movie “The Aristocrats” is drawing interesting reviews. “A rigorously scholarly documentary about the theory and practice of joke-telling that also happens to be one of the filthiest, vilest, most extravagantly obscene movies ever made - and one of the funniest.” (A. O. Scott, NYT):
Note: you may have to register (free) to view NYT materials.
SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE REPORT (USA)
In mid-August, the Co-Directors participated in the SSA national convention at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Student activists from across the nation attended the conference. The overall conference theme was: “Connecting the Secular Movement with Other Communities.” Our own topic focused more on the endeavor to link secular people themselves to each other.
In the PowerPoint presentation (“Connecting the Unconnectables: A Case Study from The Brights’ Network”), we explained to students this endeavor to link up independent thinkers who are generally not “joiners” by nature so they can press for civic fairness as part of an Internet constituency. Spreading the word to those of similar bent can help build the constituency. Each constituent is encouraged to more positively and candidly express naturalistic inclinations and be assertive about their rights to be acknowledged and able to participate in society.
If you know a college age student you may want to guide him/her to:
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