The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #37
May 31, 2006

(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)


Brights' Bulletin #37 -- 2006 May 31

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LAPEL PINS NOW AVAILABLE

A small lapel pin is a great conversation starter. Get one to wear with pleasure and pride! It will pique the curiosity of persons who notice it and provide you with many opportunities to answer their queries. You can divulge/discuss your naturalistic worldview in amiable and informative ways. See the pin and how to order it at:
http://www.the-brights.net/movement/merchandise.html

If you want to remind yourself of other ways to help grow The Brights' Network, take a look at:
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/individual/

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ANNOUNCEMENT FROM FORUM STAFF

Brights! - Your forums have been refurbished! The Brights movement's forums are hosting Action Proposals and providing a friendly place for Brights everywhere to escape the pressures of daily life and unwind with people like themselves.

Now, following a recent software update, the Facilitation Team has given the forums a makeover including new sections, better section names, and a new selection of news items and links, all of which have made it easier to navigate and find the topics that interest you. There are now several forums with titles such as "Arts & Creativity" and "Science & Philosophy" to encourage discussion on a diversity of topics. Perhaps the most important forum is the one entitled "The Brights Movement," where everyone can discuss for instance this Bulletin, and anything else to do with the movement and its aims.

The Facilitation Team has also appointed two new Facilitators, Bobsie and Mslongjr, to help in the smooth running of the forums. Last but not least, Furiku (previously a Facilitator) has been promoted to an Administrator role, and the Team would like to thank her for volunteering to implement the changes. We invite old and new Brights to check out the new look!

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BRIGHTS "TORNADO" STIRS ACTION

A spanking new Brights Local Constituency is really booming, with 250 people joining it across the past couple of months. The Missouri Brights (named for a state centrally situated in the U.S.) is already the largest BLC in the nation. The whirlwind of activity in this BLC is a consequence of the ambitious vision and innovative leadership of Will Morris, who is 24 years old and one technologically savvy Enthusiastic Bright.

The Missouri Brights generated a front-page article in the Columbia Tribune titled "Movement Places its Faith in Empirical Evidence." The group got across to the press the point of the brights, as this teaser quote shows quite well: "...Now there's an organization that aims to gather together the minority group whose worldview prefers the natural to the supernatural and relies heavily on empirical evidence as a way of knowing the world." You can check out the entire article at
http://www.mobrights.net/node/268

The Missouri Brights BLC sent in a lengthy account of activities. Here, we highlight two exciting and ambitious endeavors:
---At the University of Missouri-Columbia, they have formed "Students for a Secular State" (creating the largest coalition of student organizations on campus). The coalition plans to combine individual group funds to bring in speakers for…
---…the first-ever Brights Conference they are planning for April of 2007 (they already have a number of confirmed speakers and a daring wish list of invitees).

Showing what just one young, eager and steadfast Bright can do in a short time, Will reports: "My individual efforts alone have alerted almost 1000 interested people to the Brights movement." He has started a "MySpace" Brights group that currently has over 750 members." If you are interested in that, visit:
http://groups.myspace.com/Brights

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RECENTLY NOTED DELIGHTS OF BRIGHTS

"I do indeed fit your definition and am happy to add my name to your membership list. I will no longer have to define myself in terms of what I don't believe. Thanks for that!" (RoseAnn)

"It's taken me 80 years to find a constituency that fits. I was born to Jewish parents. As a girl, I went through Deism, Pantheism, and anything that allowed me to think freely."
Bravo Brights! (L.K.)

"A thoughtful friend sent me a comment from the Bright's Bulletin, and I am grateful for the knowledge this movement exists. I will endeavor to be a positive addition." (Mark)

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NEW STAMP DESIGN AT THE BRIGHTS' SHOP (USA)

The rules of the U.S. Postal Service have changed since Shopkeeper Diane first implemented the "Brights' icon" postage stamp for Brights. Last month, the USPS did not allow a company logo, but now it does. Consequently, she has created an additional version, adding "the brights" wording beneath the icon. You can choose which of the two postage stamp designs you prefer to use on your envelopes.

Thank you, all pioneer shoppers at the new Brights' Shop at Cafe Press! Due to your purchases, we've made a mark already! After our first month of being open for business, Brights Central received notice from Cafe Press that our shop fell into its "Top Sellers!" category for that month. It seems that T-shirts were the most popular item.
http://cafepress.com/brightsshop

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BOOKS BY BRIGHTS

"The Mystery of the Seance: the force of belief" by William H. Blazier. When an unidentified teenage girl dies in a fiery car crash, Mr. and Mrs. Peters are convinced that it is their missing daughter, Lilly. Desperate for solace, they consult a medium in hopes they can make contact with her.
http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/book_details.html?book=tmots

"The Cosmic Force: an intriguing investigation" by William H. Blazier. Strange happenings are afoot at Freeport College. Ed Packer, an investigative writer, is called in to explore the situation. He soon discovers that a campus fraternity, Kappa Kappa Kappa might be involved.
http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/book_details.html?book=tcf

Whenever you shop Amazon, don't forget there is a link on the Brights' website you can use. The books cost you no more, and The Brights' Network receives a small percentage of the sale.
http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/index.html

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DIM VIEW TURNS SPECTROSCOPICALLY BRIGHT!

An editorial in the April "Science & Theology News" frowned upon Richard Dawkins' treatment of religion in his recent TV special and tagged his upcoming book, "The God Delusion" (slated to appear in the UK in September) as " …more or less the same as what Daniel C. Dennett did in his recent book Breaking the Spell, which is more or less the same as we have seen recently from Pascal Boyer and Steven Pinker. These anti-religious atheists, who want us to call them ‘brights,' are now presuming to study religious behavior as if it were schizophrenia or claustrophobia.”

The editor can of course speak as he pleases about individual public brights and their positions, but his piece bore the title "A Dim View of Brights" and wrapped up with a broad implication that brights are "…constantly ridiculing the faithful and their faith." This instance of typecasting could not be allowed to stand. Consequently, Co-Directors Paul and Mynga wrote a 1200-word reply under the title, "A Spectroscopic Scrutiny of Brights." Despite its bluntness regarding the subject of editorial tunnel vision, the 1400-word piece was accepted for publication basically as written. It will appear in the S&TN July/August issue. The tidbit below captures the general gist of the reply article:

"There's a need for some spectrographic analysis here! One cannot map onto brights in general any specific attitudes toward religion, be they positive or negative. Instead, think spectrum. Think diversity! If you can imagine of " a rainbow of brights," you'll be moving onto the right track. The catchphrase "civil rights for brights" gets you closer yet.”

After the reply article is published, we will arrange a means whereby constituents of The Brights' Net can access and read both articles.

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MEETUP PARTICIPANTS

Are you leading a Brights MeetUp or a Brights Local Constituency (or do you attend one)? We need to update the website's current listing of groups. For existing listings, see: http://www.the-brights.net/community/blc/list.html.

Currently the website's listing has only the BLCs. We want to expand the list to include any group of Brights that is meeting fairly regularly, be it a BLC, a MeetUp, or a college campus group. If you are attending a group and find that it is not included, please email information (group name, type of group, location, contact email, etc.) to the-brights@the-brights.net and put GROUP in your subject line.

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THE MOVEMENT'S MAJOR AIMS

This is the last of three Bulletins reviewing the aims of The Brights' Network.

Aim 3: Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of individuals who have naturalistic worldviews.

Persons who live free of supernaturalism should have social and political clout proportionate to their numbers. The active contributors to this movement work (within their own circumstances and in ways they personally deem conducive) to craft a social awareness of this fact. Our priority undertaking involves developing a noticeable presence online.

Registrants to this Internet constituency put forward a notice of their having worldviews free of supernatural and mystical elements, nothing more. Activist constituents stand firm against society's marginalizing and discriminating against persons such as themselves. The activists will be the ones to pursue strategies, alone and in collaboration, aimed at all brights being accepted as citizens on a level civic playing field with the citizens whose worldviews do embrace supernatural elements.

Most effective are the contributors who understand that the movement is focused on civic justice rather than on beliefs. The principles of the movement encourage proceeding in ways that shift focus to the civic situation, thereby liberating each person from the restrictive realm so circumscribed by religion. Through the Internet, we want to create societal recognition that large numbers of Brights do exist, and that they will no longer accept being ignored as a segment of society. Neither will they be receptive to being typecast as a marginalized identity group defined almost solely by condescending terminology derived from religious terms (godless, non-believer, infidel).

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INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS COUNT!

BC received a message from Sharon (abbreviated here):
I recently testified on behalf--and as a member--of the ACLU in a "Ten Commandments" lawsuit in my state. Afterwards, when the news media asked my lawyers what my religious beliefs were, they answered as per my instructions: I am a naturalist and a Bright. When they (of course!) asked what a Bright is, we were able to spread the meme, and create a teachable moment. "Brights believe in a naturalist worldview, free of supernatural and mystical elements." The case should be decided by the end of the month. However, the judge seemed hostile to our side from the get-go, so we expect to end up in Appellate Court. Wish us luck! A fellow Bright!

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CO-DIRECTORS HIT THE ROAD

Beginning June 22, Mynga and Paul will be traveling. Therefore, although we will be staying in touch and maintaining most communications, you can expect a reduction of activity at Brights Central. We return home to Sacramento on August 4.

On this journey - long-awaited and significant for us personally - there will be stopovers in *Reykjavik, *London, Brussels, *Paris, *Geneva, Milan, *Padova, Florence, *Lucca, *Rome, and Glasgow. (Asterisk indicates at least three days.) The trip involves a bit more adventure (unearthing of information) than following the tourist track. When in younger days we were adventuring on bicycle and approaching Gaspe (Quebec, Canada), we were told at first, "bon voyage!" then a bit later, "bon chance!," and finally, "bon courage!" At our age now - and given our customary mode of too-flexible(!) planning - on this particular undertaking, we will probably welcome all three gestures from any well-wishers. ;-)

By the way, as we mentioned in a prior Bulletin, this is a personal trip built on a theme quite unrelated to the Brights, and it is at no expense whatsoever to The Brights' Net. Nonetheless, thanks to the generosity and diligence of several Brights serving as volunteer organizers for gatherings, informal discussions with Brights and a few formal presentations are taking place in some locales along the route of our travels.

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TAILINGS

Definition and goals of the organization: http://www.the-brights.net

Brights' Forum (open 24/7/365): http://www.the-brights.net/forums

Archive of all prior Bulletins: http://www.the-brights.net/movement/bulletin/archive.html

Brights' Shop (merchandise): http://www.cafepress.com/brightsshop

Sustaining The Brights' Net: http://www.the-brights.net/action/support

Link to Amazon.com (you pay normal amount and The Brights' Net gets a donation): http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/

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BRIGHTS CENTRAL INFO

Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert: the-brights@the-brights.net

Webmaster and Forum Consultant: Kevin Schultz: webmaster@the-brights.net

CafePress Shopkeeper: Diane Reed: bright-stuff@comcast.net

Adjunct Volunteers -- Web Architect: Theo Skye / BLC Coordinator: Tammy Richard / Outreach Coordinator: Debra Deanne Olson


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