The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #44
December 31, 2006

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


JANUARY 2007 Bulletin

Happy New Year!

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TWO FACES OF JANUS

Named for the Roman god of gates and doorways, January is a month that finds people looking both forward and back. What better time than now to make a switch in perspective!

For a long while, we've been sending out Brights' Bulletins on the last day of the month. (This is your December 2006 Bulletin.) Although we will keep to the "last day" deadline, starting now we are going to refer instead to the coming month (This has just become your January 2007 Bulletin!) We're making the change following a suggestion from a Bright, who thought the Bulletin's date should reflect the coming month and thereby better reflect currency.

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LOOKING BACK: CLOSING OUT 2006

Here are a few highlights from the Brights' Central point of view:

GOOD NEWS: In November, the constituency of registered Brights surpassed 25,000! (There was steady and gradual growth in the early part of 2006, and since September there has been a rather dramatic escalation of registrations.)

BETTER YET: The number of BLCs (Brights Local Constituencies) is growing at the fastest rate in three years!

BEST OF ALL: Word of the movement appears to be steadily diffusing beyond the small "freethought community" and reaching people not previously connected with such organizations. It is also getting into niches on the Net.

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LOOKING FORWARD: SPREAD THE WORD

Looking for a New Year's resolution? Here are a few possibilities.

1) I resolve to bring up the subject and direct more people to the website:
"Have you heard about the Brights movement?"
http://the-brights.net

2) I resolve to add a link to my email signature line
(or perhaps, just the phrase, "Google Brights")

3) I resolve to shop at The Brights' Shop
http://www.cafepress.com/brightsshop
Get a bumper sticker for my car; apparel to wear, other merchandise

4) I resolve to buy my books via the Brights' Amazon link!
BRIGHTS' BULLETIN #44 -- 2006 December 31

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FORUM FOLKS GET "CALENDARITIS"

As the New Year neared, several participants on the Brights' Forum began to wish that they had a "Brights' Calendar" for 2007. They have no intention of entering 2008 empty-handed. The idea of producing such an item is taking shape rapidly. If you would like to participate in the development of a stunning calendar, join the discussion of this Action Project at:
http://www.the-brights.net/forums/forum/index.php?showtopic=6186&st=0

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MANY THANKS TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS

Brights Central would like to express sincere thanks to those who have donated time and resources to the Brights Movement in 2006.

Special thanks go to the Forum staff (facilitators and administrators) for their many hours of volunteer service during the past year. It is thanks to you that The Brights' Net is able to provide a venue where people who have naturalistic worldviews can meet and greet and collaborate. We greatly appreciate your dedication to the movement and your flair for handling the Forum's many challenges!

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DENNETT DISPLAYS "CIVIC SENSE" IN "ON FAITH" COLUMN

Daniel Dennett has bounced back from his venture with the surgeon and is keeping his keyboard and our registration center hot. Recent output includes entries in the online conversations of a new Washington Post/Newsweek project, "On Faith."

The item of most likely interest to Brights is his latest entry, December 30. Its title is: "Not Yet the Majority But No Longer Silent." In it, Dennett mulls over the situation of atheists and agnostics in the United States and shares some of his thinking about the Brights' endeavor. See the article at:
http://www.newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/daniel_c_dennett/2006/12/not_yet_the_majority_but_no_lo.html

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NEW SPECIAL INITIATIVE GROUP FORMING (SIG 2)
BRIGHTS ACTION - UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE

Are you troubled by religiously-motivated violence and do you envision some practical engagement with supers to reduce such violence?

If "yes," you should consider endorsing and perhaps participating in a new SIG project, "Brights' Action-URI." This SIG offers an opportunity for online-activist Brights to step into some brights/supers collaboration territory.

A number of staunch activist Brights have identified a global endeavor within which they see potential to be involved with supers in addressing a large-scale problem while also engaging in fruitful give-and-take in an atmosphere of mutual civility and regard. This SIG will explore the brights/supers terrain of the United Religions Initiative, and do so in ways consistent with principles of The Brights' Net (#8: The Brights movement is a positive force; #9: The Brights movement seeks acknowledgement and influence in society.)

This project is open to all Brights who can envision circumstances in which supers may become allies of the Brights' Net's civic justice endeavor.

Note: The Brights' SIG mechanism permits sub-sets of the constituency to support an action independently from the constituency as a whole. There are no registration fees associated with a SIG. To read more about, endorse, and/or perhaps sign into this "Brights Action-URI" initiative as an online participant, go to:
http://www.the-brights.net/action/activities/organized/sigs/sig_two.html

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SAMPLING OF RECENT REGISTRATION COMMENTS

MYRON, TEXAS (USA): "Thanks for starting this important work. Agree that those with our worldview should not be forced to accept the label, 'atheist,' which in my neck of the woods, would be tantamount to admitting to be a serial killer."

ANDREAS (DENMARK): "The main reason for joining The Brights' Net is that it is a stated positive force, not a negative force. Not calling the brights superior or bashing other people because they disagree. So, my gratitude for someone creating a network for people that have a naturalistic world view and believe in science. That doesn't feel superior or the need to bash everyone who disagrees."

STUART (SCOTLAND): "I was brought up in a Catholic school (even though my parents themselves aren't religious), but the theology never sat well with me. I was always made to feel ashamed that I wasn't a True Believer or followed the faith. I've spent most of my life feeling like I was missing out on something, that I was included in the great whole that was the rest of my community and I've been searching for something to take its place for years. It took a few good books and a lot of thinking to realize I already had what I needed and knew what was true, I just needed the confidence to say it out loud. The concept of a Bright feels so natural and honest to me and makes such sense that as soon as I found out about it I had to come see for myself."

MOLLY, MICHIGAN (USA) "How extraordinary to learn that coming out as an ‘agnostic-type' is necessary – I could have sworn growing up that I was entirely ordinary or mainstream – but given the tenor of the times, I am happy to lend myself to be counted for the cause. Here's to religious freedom, including freedom FROM religion, and tolerance for all..."

WILLIAM, WASHINGTON (USA) "Being silent is self-destructive."

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BOOKS BY BRIGHTS

The latest book to be added is "An Anatomy of Skepticism," by Manfred Weidhorn, who is Guterman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, He has published thirteen books and nearly one hundred essays. He has received the Farrow Award for Excellence in Churchill Studies, the Emmett Award for Best Essay, as well as numerous commendations for other books.
http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/

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BLC FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE U.S.

Bob would like to coordinate the creation and administration of a Brights Local Constituency group local in New Hampshire, USA.
bob.erb@gmail.com

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DARWIN DAY AND EVOLUTION SUNDAY

On or around Charles Darwin's birth date, many will take part in a celebration of science and humanity, usually focusing on the marvelous contributions of this influential contributor to the advancement of science. To see if there is a Darwin celebration near you, go to:
http://www.darwinday.org

The Second Annual Evolution Sunday will occur on February 11, 2007. Evolution Sunday is being sponsored by The Clergy Letter Project, a collection of more than 10,400 members of the Christian clergy who have signed a letter asserting that Christianity and modern evolutionary science need not be at odds with one another.
http://www.christianalliance.org/site/c.bnKIIQNtEoG/b.592941/k.CB7C/Home.htm

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WORTHWHILE VIDEO

Tony (USA): "I was just wondering if the 'Beyond Belief' convention at the Salk Institute was mentioned or advertised through this site. I have watched the clips and, although I think it could have been better managed or executed, think that others may find these talks valuable and/or interesting."
http://www.beyondbelief2006.org/Watch/

Note: After watching but a small portion of the aforementioned conference, the Co-Directors second Tony's recommendation.

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TAX STATEMENTS FOR CHECK DONATIONS

All Brights who donated should have received by now their U.S. tax statements. Email:the-brights@the-brights.net and put CHECK CONTRIBUTION in your subject line if for some reason you did not get your contribution acknowledgement.

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REFERENCE GUIDE TO PERSONNEL AND OTHER BRIGHTS INFORMATION

http://www.the-brights.net/reference_guide.html

Bright Regards
Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell

Co-Directors of www.The-Brights.Net
A bright is a person with a naturalistic worldview


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