The Brights' Bulletin
February 28, 2006
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
Brights' Bulletin #34 - 2006 February 28
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
The next three Bulletins will kick off with a brief reminder of the movement’s major aims (as presented on the home page).
Aim 1: Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements.
How do you personally prefer to promote the aforementioned? Do you slip the noun form of “bright” into casual conversation when the context is suitable? (The word itself can be a great device for enticing curiosity about the naturalistic worldview.) Do you integrate it where feasible into what you say when writing a letter to the editor or when responding to a question posed by others? These are actions which, in appropriate situations, help to gradually introduce the term into the vernacular. Do you add “a Bright” to your email signature line? A fertile circumstance for extending understanding is created as each Bright (i.e., you) makes some use of the term.
Approaches that focus on the definition, rather than the term, are equally valuable. When you say to others, “Well, my worldview is naturalistic” or “Sorry, but I’m free of supernatural,” you self-identify in a way that is wholly free of reference to religion or philosophy or even belief! These are positive and constructive phrases for a civic self-identity, much more likely to be preludes to genial and edifying conversation than to dispute. And, as more and more people who do have a naturalistic worldview simply acknowledge that fact as opportunities arise, they gradually increase awareness within their spheres of activity that there are more of us around than perhaps was previously thought. (And there are!)
NEW LOOK – NEW BANNERS – NEW COLOR
Theo has been working on fine tuning the website art in preparation for our opening a Brights’ merchandise center. To aid in promoting recognition of the movement, there is a need to normalize treatment of the icon and logo across various items, such as mugs, buttons, and T-shirts.
You can see some upgrades of art on the home page (top header and right borders). Notice that the header now incorporates the logo, where as before, it just had the words.
In order for everyone to get in on the action to help spread the Brights’ “visual identity,” Brights Central (BC) will soon be posting online in a guide to graphics usage. As a prelude, you may wish to take a look at the page “Symbolism for the Brights”.
The bolder color blue for the Brights’ icon is a “grabber”! You can also check out (and, if you have your own website, you can adopt) the revised “Brights’ Web Banners” which now also incorporate the logo. Go to:
THE FORUM IS DOWN – UP – DOWN – UP
The Brights’ Forum is up and running. It has been a rocky two weeks for avid users, but our Webmaster delights in the new situation. Previously both the website and Forum were located on a server that had a number of clients. We have moved both components to a private server which gives much more freedom and control to The Brights’ Net.
If you haven’t’ looked recently, check out the features of the recently upgraded Forum, which are rather impressive. Also, if you have not visited at all before, the Forum now has a welcoming foyer for guests.
ENTHUSIASTIC BRIGHT JAMES RANDI RECUPERATING
James (The Amazing) Randi registered as a Bright when the word was first presented publicly in April 2003. He is doing fine after undergoing bypass surgery on February 9th. The Brights’ Net wishes him a speedy recuperation. Well-wishers who would like to do something for others (recommended by his family) may consider donating blood at their community blood center. “Cards by Brights” may be sent to Randi in care of JREF, 201 SE 12 Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, USA.
LOST AND FOUND DEPARTMENT
We have lost an email from a Bright that had been resting on our “back burner.” It had a really fine set of creative suggestions regarding how individual Brights could help spread the word. If you are that Bright, please do resend you excellent list to email@example.com. Put upper case LOST EMAIL in your subject line.
If you are not that person but have some ideas of your own regarding the topic, please follow the same instruction!
NEW FACILITY FOR BRIGHTS ACTION
The Brights’ Net is a constituency of individuals, and the Co-Directors cannot (and do not) take positions for “the Brights.” Neither can any Bright speak for the others. This is a point BC has often emphasized: Brights speak for themselves. Even the results of a poll that garners a rather overwhelming majority cannot be represented to others as the opinion of the constituency as a whole.
While fruitful in a great many ways, there have been tradeoffs in terms of certain activities, particularly those involving interactions with associations which are organized along customary lines. Consequently, we are establishing a mechanism to allow individual Brights to join with other Brights and form “a group” to engage in specific and well-defined actions as “that group.”
Here’s how it will work. From their current e-mail address, individuals will sign themselves into the special action or endorsement initiative (Special Initiative Group). They then automatically become tagged in the Brights’ database as a member of the named SIG. The Brights’ Net can thereby report out the group’s “opinion” by its SIG name.
The first SIG group is planned to enroll Brights who are US citizens. After BC gets some experience by setting up the initial action, we will be able to follow with additional initiatives that target the full international constituency. Eventually, we envision SIGs that can even engage in ongoing activity under specific guidelines.
American Brights - please watch for the details in a “BrightenOp(portunity)” e-mail in early March.
BOOKS BY BRIGHTS
“And God Created Lenin: Marxism vs. Religion in Russia, 1917-1929”: by Paul Gabel. An investigation of the world's only attempt to rid a society with a well-entrenched religion, also analyzing why the Bolsheviks failed to accomplish their goal.
“Science and Nonbelief”: by Taner Edis. Can science and religious belief co-exist? This work provides a non-technical introduction to the leading questions that concern science and religion today.
If you shop Amazon for books or other items, please buy through The Brights’ Net link. Amazon will donate to this organization a small percentage of the cost, with no extra expense to you. To date almost $100 has been provide to The Brights’ Net educational nonprofit through Amazon purchases.
BREAKING THE SPELL – THE BOOK
A harsh Salon review of Daniel Dennett’s new book “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” resulted in over 80 registrations in one day. There are now over 10,000 websites commenting on the book that includes the word “bright.”
BREAKING THE SPELL – TWO PODCASTS
There are two pod-casts you may be interested in listening to. One is a Richard Dawkins speaking on Point of Inquiry (The Center for Inquiry). In this interview with DJ Grothe, he discusses his newest work, a two-part documentary series for British television entitled “The Root of All Evil?” In it, Dawkins challenges what he calls “the process of non-thinking called faith.”
Another Podcast has an hour long interview on “On Point” with Dan Dennett on “The Nature of Religion.”
CLASSIFIED ADS EXPERIMENT
One issue each of The New York Review of Books and Harpers currently have a Brights’ classified ad. To date we can only clearly trace two registrations to Harpers’. This is not a cost effective method of drawing interest and will not be repeated. Word of mouth by Brights and media mention remain the ways people learn about this endeavor.
CO-DIRECTORS TO ICELAND
The Co-directors will be off to “the top of the world” in June for a presentation (please note: this is not at any expense to The Brights’ Net). Also speaking at the conference will be two Enthusiastic Brights: Margaret Downey (USA) and Richard Dawkins (UK).
Taking its title from one of the hosts (Atheist Alliance International), this “Positive Voice for Atheism” conference takes place on June 23 and 24. The conference planners include several Icelandic freethought organizations, headed by host organization SAMT (the Atheist Society of Iceland). The organizers have put together three tours of Iceland for those that want to use the opportunity to take an extended vacation in Iceland and travel a bit and see all the most important sights in Iceland and experience this young volcanic island - the land of Ice and Fire.
Iceland serves as wonderful “half-way” point for exchanges between Europeans and Americans. Brights who may have interest in attending this conference may find more information on the conference and the various speakers (including two historians) at http://www.samt.is/conference/
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