The Brights' Bulletin
January 31, 2007
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
FEBRUARY 2007 Bulletin
A stunning wall calendar by Brights is now available. It has as its focus the awesome beauty of the universe as seen through the eyes of individuals who have a naturalistic worldview. Co-Directors are delighted to publish a Brights’ Net product that shows the naturalistic worldview standing on its own two feet! Pictures and quotes should inspire brights and supers alike. The very first “review” of the full product Brights Central (BC) has received states: “This calendar is brilliant – hugely inspirational; I was moved.” Daniel Dennett deemed the cover – gorgeous!
Because these calendars are one month late, The Brights’ Net is taking only a small $2 royalty, split with Shopkeeper Diane, who did the final layout. Thus, these 2007 calendars are very near to cost of printing.) The USD price of the “Brights 2007 Calendar” is $13.79 (Available around the world; “media mail” is least expensive shipping within the U.S.).
You can preview and purchase (using PayPal or credit card) at:
One might ask: “But isn’t it a month too late?” Well, too late for what? This product actually results from a delightfully speedy process that began December 19, about the time most folks are last-minute shopping for their 2007 calendars. One person posted in the Action Forum: “I would LOVE to have a calendar that caters to a bright sensibility by honoring the achievements of 3000-odd years of enbrightenment...” A small group of Brights grabbed onto that idea and ran with it, wrapping up the project in only 5 weeks with a very nice first edition! It shows what volunteers who decide to collaborate can do!
A 2008 version is on the drawing board for release at a more appropriate time of the year, but you can start your collection with “Edition #1” - right now! Who knows? With more to come, this one may become a collector’s item!
On January 16 Olov ( Sweden) was welcomed as the 27,000th person to register into the international constituency of Brights. At our current rate, we should top 30,000 registrations before long! You can help make this happen by spreading word about the Brights movement. You can help educate as well! For example, when you meet with others who express a naturalistic worldview, be sure to help them understand how a “civic justice endeavor” of, by, and for “brights of all stripes” differs from the traditional membership (beliefs-based) organizations with which they are most likely familiar.
A non-English speaker can now access the entirety of the Brights’ site in a machine-translated form (by Babel Fish). One can get a site version in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Japanese, and Korean. The visitor to the home page clicks first the request for [translation / traducción / traduzione / Traduzir / Übersetzen / etc.], and then an icon for the specific language desired. This new feature will impart much more understanding of the movement across the globe.
Kevin Schultz will continue as The Brights’ Net webmaster, but at a token amount of $75/month.
Bill Betz is taking on the tasks and title of “BLC Coordinator”. As such, he will draw together information on existing Brights’ Local Constituencies around the world. Although the pay is nominal (also $75), this task is an important one. After it is accomplished, Bill will begin to help BLC leaders organize to accomplish worthwhile tasks.
As sufficient income from contributors and sales warrants, BC will in the future increase the paid staff, both in number and remuneration.
Leadership in the Brights' Morality Project is being assumed by Mr. Ruban Bala, an evolutionary social scientist/researcher from Rutgers and the University of London. BC and Ruban, with a team of several of the original Morality Project members, will be compiling a list of empirical studies relevant to the idea that “morality is a result of an evolutionary process in the naturalistic world.” The compilation will be sent to members of the international scientific community for authentication. We'll be keeping everybody posted! For information on the Brights Morality Project, please see:
PARENTING BEYOND BELIEF: ON RAISING ETHICAL, CARING KIDS WITHOUT RELIGION
Edited by Dale McGowan, Ph.D, Foreword by Michael Shermer, and among the many contributors are additional Enthusiastic Brights such as Richard Dawkins, Penn Jillette, Matt Cherry, and Margaret Downey. A book to empower parents to rear kindhearted and independent children, with contributions from experts and wisdom from everyday parents.
CHURCHES AD HOC: A DIVINE COMEDY
Herman Kreiger’s photo essay provides an offbeat look at churches in America. He d emonstrates an eye for comedy, offering up a sampling of the sometimes absurd ways in which the religion around us can be perceived.
The alphabetical listing of books by individual Brights now tops fifty titles! See all at:
Camp Quest is a residential summer camp for youngsters whose embryonic worldviews are taking shape in a family environment largely free of supernatural beliefs. Camps will be operating in six locations in 2007. ( U.S. and Canada, but they are also open to English-speaking youngsters from elsewhere.). Camp Quest Smoky Mountains ( Tennessee, June 3-10); Camp Quest Classic ( Ohio, June 16-23); Camp Quest West ( California, July 8-15); Camp Quest Minnesota (July 22-29); Camp Quest Michigan (August 5-12); Camp Quest Ontario (TBA).
The CQ programs are organizationally independent but are, at all locations, grounded in a naturalistic outlook, with emphasis on such ingredients as these: rational inquiry; analytic, skeptical and creative thinking; scientific method; self-respect; ethics; competency; d emocracy; free speech; and the separation of religion and government.
Camp activities vary by location, but critical thinking challenges and nature study combine with such camp standards as arts and crafts, hiking, swimming, challenge courses, etc. to make for a fun time and m emorable experiences for all the youngsters. To learn about the various programs for 2007, go to Camp Quest Classic’s home page, which also lists the other camps (at bottom):
Webmaster Kevin reports the forum’s recent upgrade to the latest stable release and thanks everyone on the facilitation and admin teams, and the members. (Note: Users should submit any bugs encountered by posting into the Administrative-Feedback and Suggestions forum.
Fresh forum functionality includes: new text editor, new file attachment system, inline message system, RSS feed validator, internal code optimizations, an updated CAPTCHA (anti-spam) system, additional AJAX functionality (for example, submitting topic ratings), new poll features, numerous bug fixes, and additional administrative and security enhancements. A complete list can be viewed at:
Kevin has plans to “migrate” The Brights’ website from our current commercial host (Verio) to DreamHost. DreamHost is also a commercial service, but it offers FREE to 501c3 nonprofits a level of hosting services that surpasses the current service. (The savings is over US$50/month.) Except for a short downtime, you should see no changes in the website or the Forum. D emocracy In Action will continue as provider of commercial database services to The Bright’ Net.
Christian Globensky, artist, says of first hearing about Brights: “I was immediately tempted by the idea...” Now he has mounted in Metz ( France) an exposition, developing his “Proclamation of Humanitarian Art.” The head of the Fine Arts School in Metz, Olivier de Monpezat, characterizes the artistic aspiration as “being an aesthetic bearer of a discourse that proposes to reconcile the East and the Occident, the North and the South” / “a quest of a new direction” / “a will to pass on a vision of the world, of the capacities of humanity to make it more human”). Having just received and opened the 64-page exhibition catalog, Co-Directors are likewise “immediately tempted...”
Activist Brights have put up “unofficial* sites,” providing valuable services to Brights. These are deserving of visits to see what’s available.
FROM WILL AND DAVID: Are you thinking to organize a Brights’ group and want a free place for your communications? Check out our “CivilBrights” site, a social utility that networks you with other Brights around you. The fundamental intent is to aid, enable and provoke BLCs (Bright Local Constituencies) to flourish around the world, free of charge. Anyone can create a homepage, start a group, and interact with other Brights, locally and internationally. Starting your own BLC is now easier than ever before (and “free” is cheaper than MeetUp). Simply click on the Groups section of CivilBrights where the “Create BLC” option is available. People can work together to plan meetings/events, post blogs, or simply monitor the circumstances of all other BLCs.
FROM BOB: Are you perhaps looking for more dynamism than is provided on the main site? “BrightsOnline” offers blogs, essays, links to selected sites, Brights UK activities, a Frapper map and more. Check it out now and then at:
*(Unofficial -as regards The Brights’ Net - in that you may encounter some opinions or actions that diverge from overall movement aims and principles).
The Brights’ Net has arranged an extension of the Amazon setup that helps support the Brights’ endeavor. Henceforth, sales made to citizens of the United Kingdom through links from the Brights’ website will earn The Brights Net 6% of the sales price. As with Amazon.com, buyers at Amazon.co.uk pay no more for their purchases (books or anything else), but must go through the Brights’ link when buying. Details at:
Shopkeeper Diane reports that there is FREE SHIPPING on all sales over $50 through February 14th.
By our records, Co-Directors have officially acknowledged all the 2006 donations. Whew! (The messages we send to donors within our “thank you” emails serve as evidence to IRS for donor’s tax deduction purposes; we complete these as soon as we can after receipt of funds.) If you contributed during 2006 but for some reason did not receive your acknowledgement, email email@example.com with TAX in your subject line to spur our sending out a duplicate.
Eric, Netherlands: Great site! After straining myself to be polite and calling myself both a 'cultural Christian' and agnostic humanist, I now am (a) Bright.
Susan, Texas U.S.: I am only replying for myself, but my entire household -- my husband and my two teenaged children -- meet the definition of brights as well.
Brian, South Africa: I just knew that I'm not really an atheist! Now I know that I'm a bright.
Payne, Texas U.S.: Living in the midst of the bible-belt can be frustrating at times, but through a movement such as the brights, I finally feel that I may be able to express myself in a real and rational manner.
Jan, Denmark: Fantastically positive initiative.
You are who you are! How you might wish to identify involves choices, much depends on circumstance. Take the Co-directors. They hold different philosophical beliefs from one another. They also differ in how and when they apply various terms of self-identity. Nevertheless, no supernatural or mystical elements are in either’s outlook. Their type of worldview is naturalistic, and both therefore are brights (by definition). They are Brights, too. For more on brights and Brights, see:
FROM PAT: Richard Dawkins opened my eyes. I was an "agnostic" fence sitter for years but he freed me from my irrational ideas. I am a Marine Corps officer who flies F/A-18s and I would like to represent that all of us are not right wing Christian conservative bible thumpers. I love the website and keep up the good work. [Note: A number of U.S. military personnel have enrolled in the Brights.]
FROM ADAM: I am a sixth and seventh grade science teacher. As a science teacher all of my explanations of the natural word that I share with my students are necessarily "naturalistic". In my personal life, education and investigation has transformed my worldview from that of a "Sky God Baptist" to a "teapot agnostic" (and therefore practical atheist). All of these euphemisms aside, I am most proud to call myself a "Bright". If my skills as an educator can be of service to the movement, feel free to pass the work gloves. My hands are ready to help!
Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell
Co-Directors of www.The-Brights.Net
A bright is a person with a naturalistic worldview.