The Brights' Bulletin
April 30, 2006
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
NOTICE THE BULLETIN NUMBER!
This Bulletin marks the third anniversary of The Brights' Network. In Bulletin #1 (2003 May 4), we announced the launch of the Brights' website. To visit the starting point for what is now quite a series of monthly Bulletins, go to
MEDIA ACTION IN APRIL
This month there was another spurt of media attention that produced an outbreak of registrations to the Brights. Most influential at motivating registrations were the interviews by Bill Moyers (Charlie Rose Show, on PBS TV) and Janeane Garofalo (Majority Report), both of whom were asking Dan Dennett about his new book.
Apparently Enthusiastic Bright Richard Roberts was on Irish radio giving mention of being a bright. Richard Dawkins was at some event, too. (Both were referenced in new signups, and that's how Brights Central learns about most media events.) By this means, we also found out that one broadcast of The Lionel Show (WOR) devoted a full three hours of radio call-in to a "Calling All Brights!" theme in the New York area.
Mynga and Paul were interviewed on a one-hour radio program ("The Things That Matter Most"). The listeners were all deep in the heart of Texas. That program aired early Sunday morning, April 9. Since the hosts were clearly religious (and the radio audience likewise), we did not expect the program would spur any signups. Still, it was great fun! (A separate Bulletin segment has details.)
BRIGHTS ICON POSTAGE STAMPS (USA)
One of the more interesting options for Americans who want to spread "the Bright idea" to others is the 39-cent postage stamp you can purchase at the Bright's Shop, online at CafePress.
You would want to be prudent in their use (the price is hefty!). Nonetheless, it's a very interesting way to spread the standard icon image around. The stamp will definitely attract the notice of your recipients!
SAY IT WITH MERCHANDISE
Besides the stamps, the online Bright's Shop carries quite a selection of merchandise bearing the authorized Brights' logo (vertical and horizontal versions). If you shop there, keep in mind that a portion of the sales price is directed to the movement.
You can have a message to go on any T-shirt or sweatshirt you purchase from the online Brights' Shop. There are currently three maxims to choose from.
"Living on the Bright Side of Life"
"Supers / Brights / One Humanity / One World"
"All Natural / (it suits me)"
Please note: As evidence that Brights have a lively sense of humor, any "reluctant registrants" will find an additional saying for their personal coffee mug or mouse pad. It is this: "LOVE THE IDEA / (hate the label)".
INVENT A T-SHIRT SAYING?
Do you have an additional short message to recommend? Be sure your suggestion aligns well with the civic aims (http://the-brights.net) and principles (http://the-brights.net/vision/principles.html) of the Brights movement.
Send your proposed wording to firstname.lastname@example.org and put NEW MAXIM in uppercase letters in your subject line.
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Actually, it is "double thanks" to all who donated during the spring equinox fund drive. The Brights' Net succeeded in matching and surpassing the anonymous donor's matching grant of $5000! This assures that we can continue to provide a stable Internet communications hub along with the website's accompanying constituent services.
The scribbled remarks accompanying some donations were just as uplifting as the monetary contributions. (Such comments seem to be coming from folks who recognize this as mostly a volunteer endeavor.) It is also heartening to learn how more people are speaking out in a positive way, and doing so via their personal choice of means (as Brights, or perhaps simply as "persons who hold a naturalistic worldview").
The Brights' website facilitates communications and actions within the growing constituency, smoothing the way for others to come out from the shadows to identify in a religion-free way (as persons who have naturalistic worldviews). We will pursue the purposes and principles stated on the Web site to the extent of available time and resources.
LOBBYING FOR SECULARISTS (USA)
This question is for American citizens: Do you support the Capitol Hill lobbying efforts of the Secular Coalition for America? If you value that endeavor, then be sure you have indicated your support by registering into the brand new "Brights' SCA" Special Initiative Group. This first SIG requires no action on your part beyond just typing in your email address at the appropriate spot on the Brights' website. (This step, which takes about 30 seconds, provides us a simple tally of Brights in the SIG. No information is released to the Secular Coalition!) The count in the brand new SIG is 532 and climbing.
FOLLOWING DENNETT'S LEAD
The "B" section of The Skeptic's Dictionary at http://skepdic.com/ includes the noun form of the word, bright. That entry, with definition and explanation, has been an item in the Dictionary for a while now. Along with the definition is the statement: "The term is intended to be a pragmatic civic identity term rather than a philosophical belief term."
The editor has only recently expanded the Dictionary's "S" section. The newly added word is also a new noun. The entry begins as follows: "'Super' is a noun that denotes someone who believes in the supernatural. Those who are not supers are brights."
Philosopher (and Enthusiastic Bright) Daniel C. Dennett is the person who introduced the juxtaposing of the brights with the supers. He says of ‘super' in his new book, "Breaking the Spell," "it's a nice word with positive connotations like gay and bright and straight" (Dennett 2006: 21).
SUPERS AND BRIGHTS / BRIGHTS AND SUPERS
What do these two neologisms add up to? So that all the brights and all the supers together can be plainly seen to sum up to everybody, we'd wish the definition for a 'super' to be in worldview terms. It would then read: "a person whose worldview incorporates supernatural and mystical elements," But, who's to quibble here. Dennett's neologism goes along beautifully with the neologism, 'bright.'
BRIGHTS CO-DIRECTORS TO VISIT EUROPE
As previously announced, the Co-Directors will be making a presentation at an international conference in Iceland. This conference, co-hosted by Atheist Alliance and Iceland groups, takes place June 23-25 and is open to all who have interest. Details are at:
Traveling that distance, we have decided to head onward and accomplish a long dreamed of (and much postponed) personal trip. Actually, the "travel theme" is not a Brights one; the itinerary stems from aspects of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's life. Be assured that this trip is fully personal (no Brights' Net expenditures). As we travel, we would relish opportunities to meet with Brights all along the way whenever possible.
The world's largest Brights' Local Constituency is in London. Other sizeable groups of Brights are in Paris and Rome. So, from Iceland, we will proceed to visit London, Chunnel to Paris, Eurail to Geneva and then amble along by assorted means on our way to Rome. If you are somewhere along the route from London to Rome, through Paris, Switzerland and Tuscany, let us know. We arrive in London June 27 and will be in Europe the entire month of July.
Would you like to organize a small gathering (or an audience to listen to a more formal presentation)? If yes, we will try our very best to plan a stopover in your region. We can contact on your behalf all the Brights in your geographic location, and we can stay in email contact for the trip. Contact us if you are seriously interested, and we will provide a more specific timeframe. email@example.com
"THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST" -- RADIO SHOW
Rick Davis and Lael Arrington have a Houston radio show they bill as a conversation "…about things everyone is passionate about, but that matter much more than sports or politics." Each week presents a different spiritual perspective or current topic of interest, but, as the hosts say, "(O)ur purpose is always the same: to ask questions about our basic beliefs and see how they line up with solid evidence and the reality we all experience."
Their April 9 topic was "Meet the Brights." Paul and Mynga were the guests (by telephone). Given that the program was aimed at a religious audience, we feel we got a fair opportunity in our three 10-minute interview segments to present a strong explanation of what it means to have a naturalistic worldview and to live free of supernatural. We also got to touch on science and evolution. You can hear the one hour program (just 30 minutes of it with us) at: http://www.thethingsthatmattermost.com/gallery04092006.htm
We suspect the hosts' conclusions are pretty much the same every week. In fact, you might want to skip the last twenty minutes after we sign off. (That's where the hosts converse with one another - reflecting on the interview). The finale covers familiar territory. It's their Christian arguments of how reason leads one to belief in God.
JAMES RANDI BACK IN ACTION
Enthusiastic Bright James Randi is back at the helm of his SWIFT online resource (addressing the paranormal, pseudoscientific and supernatural). In thanking those who have filled in for him during his recovery from a recent heart attack, Randi described his readiness to resume authorship of website commentary, as follows:
"(N)ow that I'm much more mobile and somewhat stronger, it's time for me to saddle up and lead the troops again. I've stuck my "walker" in the closet, I only use my cane occasionally, and I'm slowly being weaned off the spectrum of medications assigned to me. My voice quality improves daily, I actually had a haircut, and tap-dancing is just around the corner!"
What a guy!
BOOKS BY BRIGHTS
Four titles have been added this month to the listing of materials written by persons who are part of the constituency of Brights. When you go to make any purchase at Amazon.com make sure you do it through The Brights' Net. You pay the same amount, and The Brights' Net gets a commission.
"One Nation Under God" by Vince Wales. A novel which seems too close to reality for comfort.
"Landmines Of The Mind: One Thousand Asseverations, Surmises, And Questions About The Design Of The Universe And The Meaning Of Life" by Manfred Weidhorn.
"Our Almost Impossible Universe - Why the Laws of Nature Make the Existence of Humans Extraordinarily Unlikely" by R. Mirman. (No, it's not a creationist book)
"The Person Of The Millennium: The Unique Impact Of Galileo On World History" by Manfred Weidhorn.
THIS MOVEMENT'S MAJOR AIMS (#3)
Due to length limitations, the review of the third and final aim is being postponed to the May Bulletin.
The definition and goals of the organization: http://www.the-brights.net
The Brights' Forum (open 24/7/365): http://www.the-brights.net/forums
The archive of all prior Bulletins:
Link to Amazon.com (you pay the normal amount and The Brights' Net gets a donation):
Brights' Shop (merchandise): http://www.cafepress.com/brightsshop
Sustaining The Brights' Net : http://www.the-brights.net/action/support/
BRIGHTS CENTRAL INFO
Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert: firstname.lastname@example.org
Webmaster and Forum Consultant: Kevin Schultz: email@example.com
Web Architect: Theo Skye
CafePress Shopkeeper: Diane
BLC Coordinator: Tammy Richard
Outreach Coordinator: Debra Deanne Olson