The Brights' Bulletin
November 30, 2006
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
BRIGHTS' BULLETIN #43 -- 2006 November 30
TWO MORE LANGUAGE WEBSITES GOING LIVE
The home page has links leading to "Brights sites” in languages other than English. All sites in the home page listing (top right column) are developed by volunteer Brights. They serve to introduce the "the basics” of the Brights' endeavor in a familiar language. This month, two new sites are being added to those already available.
A Spanish language website is already up, thanks to Carlos.
Un Web site en español ya está listo, gracias a Carlos.
A Polish site is under construction, thanks to Jacek.
Oswieceni to ludzie o naturalistycznym swiatopogladzie.
UPGRADING HOST SERVICES
Apparently, either individual verbosity or number of Forum members participating is at record levels at the Forum!
Recently, users have experienced down-times and ensuing frustrations. Activity has shot up so high so fast that Verio, the commercial host for The Brights' Net and the Forum's Invision platform, has notified BC that we overrode our permitted usage levels again. It is obviously time for some changes.
Webmaster Kevin has been exploring alternatives. He has already boosted the contracted service with Verio to a higher level plan. Now, he is undertaking steps to "migrate the site” to a new service provider. Bear with us should you encounter any rough spots in this transition, which is beginning right away.
AND A HO, HO, HO (DECEMBER GREETINGS)
The following are some of the ways that Brights respond when they receive a warm and friendly "Merry Xmas” greeting:
"(I simply repeat their greeting to me, exactly)”
"and a jolly holiday to you!”
"Thanks! And a Bright New Year, too!”
"Happy Human Light”
"A Bright's good cheer to you and yours”
"Fiat Luminosus” (Let there be Brights!)
"Peace!” (peace to all)
"and a happy Winter Solstice” to you”
"Thank you...and a Happy Winter Solstice holiday to YOU!"
These and other responses submitted by Brights (along with explanations) are bound for posting to the Brights' Toolbox on the website. If you have an additional response you'd like to see included, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put MERRY-MERRY in upper case in your subject line. Your justifications are also welcome!
AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATES
LATE SHOPPERS: You can now purchase an Amazon Gift Certificate (any denomination) and approximately 6% will be sent to the Brights at no additional cost to you. Of course this works also for any merchandise you buy via Amazon, books and merchandise. Please don't forget -- you must complete your purchase(s) through Amazon from within the Brights' Net site. It is a painless way to spread some December cheer to the Brights' endeavor. Use:
PETITION GOES TO PRIME MINISTER (UK)
The 10 Downing Street web team accepted for posting a petition expressing opposition to faith-based or sect schools on the basis that they encourage and propagate divisions within society. The petition was submitted by Quentin, a Bright who leads an online BLC. As a courtesy to his "UK Brights” (Google Group), Brights Central sent out a regional BrightenOp of the complete wording.
The following text is the concluding paragraph of Quentin's petition: "Schools should be places where our children are taught to think about the world around them and come to their own conclusions. In short, they should be taught, not only about the profusion of religions and faiths but also about how moral and socially responsible lives can be led without them; rather than, at a time before they have sufficiently developed critical faculties, being indoctrinated.”
There are currently over a thousand signatures. Any British citizen can sign the petition (by 16 May 2007) at:
PAID BLC COORDINATOR POSITION
A paid position ($75/month for 6 months -- or longer) as the Brights Local Constituencies Coordinator.
The BLC Coordinator position has three goals:
1. Gather information on the current and ongoing status of all BLCs
2. Keep Brights Central (BC) informed on all BLC activity and progress
3. Serve as a resource to BLCs groups which wish to pursue the goals and purposes of the Brights movement
Complete information on BLCs at: http://www.the-brights.net/community/blc/
(make sure to follow all the links on all the subsequent pages)
If you have an interest, please email us (at email@example.com) (put COORDINATOR in the subject line) and we will send you further information.
ALBERTA BRIGHTS ORGANIZE (CANADA)
A Brights Local Constituency (BLC) has formed in Alberta. Check it out by dropping an email to Alan:
DENNETT ON THE MEND
Since the last Bulletin, BC received a message from Daniel Dennett saying to Brights:
"Check out edge.org for a new essay by me that celebrates being a bright (and uses the term without further definition). Feel free to link it. It is also linked at boing boing and elsewhere...”
In the article, "Thank Goodness!” he describes experiences surrounding a recent surgery as follows: "I translate my religious friends' remarks readily enough into one version or another of what my fellow brights have been telling me: ‘I've been thinking about you, and wishing with all my heart...'
The message closed with a nifty: "Keep it up!” (much appreciated by BC)
NOVEMBER ENROLLMENTS FAST AND FURIOUS, BUT ARE THEY ON TOPIC?
This week saw Brights Central processing over 150 emails a day and tallying new registrations at a delightfully fast pace! This surge in enrollments is welcome, although it is proving to be a somewhat "mixed blessing” for the Brights movement, as another Bulletin item (below) makes clear. Titled "Goings as well as Comings,” it refers to a smattering of departures, too.
Signup remarks frequently indicate the motivations of new enrollees. It seems that a high proportion of our fresh registrants have read recent books by Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion”) and Sam Harris ("Letter to a Christian Nation”). Both authors are steadfast atheists who consider religion to be harmful. Both of these books argue the author's case against faith, and their book tours have received considerable media play.
BC encourages all these "new Brights” to take a thorough tour through the website (especially the home page) to be clear on what this movement is all about. In fact, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that the Brights' cause is not one of fighting religion (although many Brights, including Dr. Dawkins, may have that as an individual goal).
The Brights movement has a different focus entirely (not religion). Brights are working for civic justice in today's world, a world chock full of beliefs in supernatural. It offers diverse people a broad civic identity with which to come forward and work to gain acceptance for people who have a naturalistic worldview.
The Brights' Network exists to facilitate communications and spread the idea, urging Brights to take actions to improve conditions for their civic participation (alongside supers). In such an endeavor, the principles of civic pluralism must apply.
GOINGS AS WELL AS COMINGS
Recently, some Brights have asked us to withdraw their names from the registry. As one said (after reading "The God Delusion”): "I felt I had misunderstood what the movement was about. I therefore decided I needed to disassociate my name from an anti-religious movement.”
He went on to say "I am all for working to establish equal rights for those who have a naturalistic worldview (I have such a worldview myself... but it's a naturalistic religious worldview) and those who are atheists or agnostics, but I don't think denying the right of others to practice a religion and participate in the democratic process- be it naturalistic or supernaturalistic- is necessary in order to obtain those rights.”
This individual has definitely misconstrued what is happening. The movement does not advocate denying rights of anyone. Far from it! The Brights movement is exactingly defined on the website. Its purposes and principles are all easily found on the home page. The Brights' Network continues to be dedicated to the civic goal of creating a level playing field (brights and supers) for participation by brights. Organizational resources are devoted to urging/facilitating/supporting endeavors that are well aligned with stated principles. (There has been no deviation from these principles from Day One.)
The Brights' Net does not promote eradication of religion. But there are individuals within the constituency who do! The Brights movement is not anti-religious. But some Brights are! The Brights movement is not religious. But some Brights do participate in religion. The Brights' Net continues to welcome all individuals who state by registering: "I am a Bright.”
DIVERSE INDIVIDUALS / UNIQUE ORGANIZATION
The fact that the internationally known scientist Richard Dawkins is both a Bright and a vociferous atheist does occasionally place The Brights' Net organization in a ticklish position. The key to astute discernment lies in understanding the unique governance structure of this organization, the only one we know of that runs as a constituency of individuals. The stance of The Brights' Net is sweeping and defined by broad aims. Any published statement comes about only by accrual of signatories to it. (Other organizations typically have a board and executive director deciding what positions represent the organization as a whole.)
Brights are constituents who fit the definition and indicate their support for the broad aims; they are not people who toe a "party line.” What Brights may say as individuals need not always jibe with all of the stated principles of the Brights' Net. (In this case, #8)
Co-directors rejoice whenever some Brights roll up their sleeves to work with others in actions that focus on the aims of the movement. Sometimes, we admit we just grit our teeth. ;-)
ENTHUSIASTIC REGISTRATION (USA)
From Michael: "Genius. I wonder if you've considered (forgive me if the question comes off as condescending) the propaganda potential of this word you've appropriated? The slogans just pour out. ‘My county, Bright or wrong'; ‘Two Brights don't make a wrong'; ‘Bright on!'; ‘Looking for forward to Bright new day'; ‘Walk on the Bright side of the road'...”
THE BRIGHTS- A CULT?
Anthony, another new Bright, stated as a registration comment: "Within the first second of learning of the Brights, my reaction was ‘New Age Cult'. Obviously, that lasted no more than a few seconds after visiting your site, and now I proudly register. But please be aware of this phenomenon.”
Both Co-Directors state: "If this is a cult, then we are out of here.”
BULLETIN & ACTION ALTERNATIVES
TO STAY UP TO DATE: Read over the monthly bulletin. If it happens that an e-mailed Brights' Bulletin gets by you one month, you will always be able to access it on the site. Links to the current edition and all previous ones are on the home page (middle of right column).
TO PARTICIPATE, TOO: We promise NOT to burden your in-box, but you need to keep your email current or you will miss some opportunities for action to consider. Only active subscribers receive the "BrightenOps” which go out from time to time, sometimes as a courtesy to an activist BLC. Brights Central may also send just to Brights in one locality an occasional announcement of regional import. Subscription settings are in the right column of the home page.
HALF OF AMERICANS DOUBT GOD EXISTS?
One needs to be really careful about who has developed any opinion research study and the protocol and standards for the study. Brights might want to check out this article and decide for themselves its validity. Assuming it is acceptable, it provides a basis for understanding that individuals can go to a church, mosque, synagogue, etc. and also have a naturalistic worldview.
TAX STATEMENTS FOR CHECK DONATIONS
Apologies to those Brights who donated by a check in the mail during the September fund drive and still have not received thanks and acknowledgements. You can expect your U.S. tax statement to arrive in December. Honest! And, all Pay Pal donations recently received and any donations received during the month of December will be sent to donors in January 2007.
REFERENCE GUIDE TO PERSONNEL AND OTHER BRIGHTS INFORMATION
Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell
Co-Directors of www.The-Brights.Net
A bright is a person with a naturalistic worldview