The Brights' Bulletin
March 30, 2007
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
April 2007 Bulletin
The March equinox donation season is here! Thanks to all who have donated already, knowing it takes more than good thoughts to make us effective as an online constituency. Resources are necessary. The movement is getting large enough to project influence, but not yet financially able to fulfill the dream.
We’ve got big ideas! Bringing them to fruition is up to you! Please send what you can to support our overall endeavor and the priority projects! There are now over 29,500 Brights. Donations so far average 24 cents per Bright. Five dollars apiece would be a great leap forward!
To make an immediate donation without further words, please go to:
To read the lengthier equinox donation message online, please go to: http://www.the-brights.net/funding/
PRIORITY PROJECTS AT BC
One Brights Central priority for this season involves boosting the capability to poll the growing constituency and enable more Brights to be speaking out on key issues. (BC did this last year, before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers.)
Another priority is placing online a professional-level video segment about the naturalistic worldview featuring some Enthusiastic Brights. (Daniel C. Dennett has already agreed to be involved!)
Let’s all do our part to educate for civic understanding of the naturalistic worldview. We can engage more people with a naturalistic worldview -- facilitate their "coming out," collaborating and moving forward in constructive ways. For ideas and ways to help, go to:
The overriding priority for Brights year-round is to get the word out about the naturalistic worldview. Note that the Brights’ Internet constituency is inclusive of a wide variety of humans (brights of many stripes)!
Invite lots of people to visit the website or, as we learned recently from the registration comment below, just wear the right clothes!
Received from Burke (Canada): "I've been looking for something like this. I was actually swayed to finally filling out this registration by somebody at my university wearing a ‘The Brights’ shirt."
LIVE ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE
At the Brights’ Shop, you can choose from a wide variety of clothing with Brights icon or logo or assorted slogans (e.g., "Living on the Bright Side of Life" or "Brights and Supers: One Humanity; One World.") For Spring, Diane (a Bright in the Northern Hemisphere who runs The Brights' Shop) has added some new T-shirts to the offerings. They are infant/toddler, kids, women's plus size v-neck and women's plus size scoop neck. No reason for Southern Hemisphere Brights not to expand their autumn wardrobe, either! All purchases bring a small royalty to The Brights’ Net. Order items at:http://www.cafepress.com/brightsshop
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE "COMES OUT" (USA)
Democratic Congressman Pete Stark of California is the highest-ranking elected official in the United States to make a public acknowledgment that he does not believe in a supreme being. This makes him the first to say so openly in the history of the U.S. Congress.
The Stark identification was the direct result of a unique contest set up by the Secular Coalition for America, a lobby group that represents "the nontheist perspective" on behalf of a number of secularist organizations. The SCA offered a $1,000 prize to the person nominating the highest-ranking public official who does not believe in God and willingly says so. (The public identifications received full permission of the nominees.) Read about the SCA’s contest at:
The SCA’s mid-March announcement generated notable press and media commentary across the nation. The San Francisco Chronicle produced this headline: "Stark’s atheist views break political taboo." You can read that story at:
SIG-1 REPORT: FOLLOWUP ON SECULAR COALITION ACTION (USA)
BACKDROP: Several hundred American Brights have registered into a Brights Action-SCA Special Initiative Group to show their support for the mission of the SCA lobbying organization. To add your own endorsement, go to SIG-1 at:
SCA CONTEST REVEALS STRONG TABOO: The contest that led to Congressman Stark’s declaration divulged more than his personal viewpoint. It also showed the potency of that "political taboo" noted in the previous item. It is clear that, despite the Chronicle headline, erasing the significant barrier to candor is a long way off.
Of 47 elected officials nominated, Stark was one of just four to acknowledge his convictions. Only four elected officials nationwide!
Furthermore, rankings after Rep. Stark show a huge, huge gap (the next highest ranking elected official was a school board president in Berkeley, California).
Pete Stark has been in Congress since 1973; his electoral situation is secure. As a civic action endeavor, Brights want to change public understanding. We are working toward the day when any candidate need not have to accumulate over 30 years of silent experience before being comfortably frank about his/her worldview. It may take 30 years, now is the time to start the educating.
MORALITY PROJECT REPORT
BACKGROUND: For information, see Project Area A at:
Brights view morals as having a naturalistic basis (no contribution from any supernatural). The Morality Project is structuring a "Declaration" regarding that position. BC has, in conjunction with Ruban (team leader), settled on wording for four assertions. As substantiation for what we contend, Ruban has nominated for consideration over 35 studies from peer-reviewed journals in biology, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, political science and economics. (He has put the citations in APA format, too. Thank you, Ruban!) The next step is to expose this draft material to adequate scrutiny, starting with MP team members.
RECENT REGISTRATION COMMENTS
Have a look at some of the reasons we at Brights Central stay inspired!
Dr. John (USA): "What a wonderful concept! I already feel at home as a bright."
Constantine (California, USA): "Finding this organization is like stumbling upon a culture that has already rolled out its welcoming wagon for me. I cannot describe how excited I am that I've found an organization that describes my worldview essentially perfectly."
V. (USA): "Former catholic priest that likes your material!"
Glen (Canada): "You rock, I have been looking for a world view that I could support."
Ralph (Australia): "I am very pleased to register. It seems like such an obvious way to foster some kind of sense of commonality among a group of people who literally have ‘nothing’ in common. I wish I had thought of it."
Bonnie (Michigan, USA): "I'm impressed. A network for those who are not involved in theology and aren't basing their beliefs on that. A very refreshing thing these days...especially here in the US where we are leaning toward a theocracy. Social and civic issues should NOT be directed with supernatural belief."
Debra and Richard (USA): "I'm so excited to find your group, I'll be notifying my friends; we are a silent group and it's time to change that."
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Perhaps you have a question or a recommendation for the Brights’ co-directors? If you would like to comment by telephone, Drs. Paul Geisert and/or Mynga Futrell will be available Monday, April 2 from 8 AM until 8 PM, Pacific Time Zone, USA.
Check the appropriate time on http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/ using San Francisco as your reference point. The phone number is (removed).
Please, plan ahead. Arrange carefully to call within the time range presented above. Also, anticipate English only and a likely maximum of 5 minutes duration.
BRIGHTS LOCAL CONSTITUENCIES (BLCs)
If you are interested in meeting with other Brights, please go to http://www.MeetUp.com and register. If you indicate that you are looking for a Brights MeetUp, you will show up on their maps, which makes it easy for other local Brights to find you and start a group. It costs you nothing to register, and you will not get spammed by them. All email to you is routed through MeetUp, so you are not putting your email address out there for the world to abuse.
Have other questions about local groups? Contact Bill:
SIG-2 PARTICIPATION GROUP FORMING
BACKGROUND: The general project description is at:
This notice is to the current endorsers/registrants of SIG-2:
If you wish to be involved in upcoming strategy discussions, you will need to be registered into the Brights’ Forum. Therefore, if you are not yet a Forum member, please register soon at the-brights.net/forums.
John, leader of this project, has arranged for a special private discussion section within the Action Forum. To be guided to the private forum, you can contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org .
CO-DIRECTOR PAUL ON THE AIR
You can download and listen to a 30-minute talk-show, "Sounds Reasonable," hosted by Bright Charles Berman, interviewing guest, Paul Geisert (March 19, 2007)
NEW "ENTHUSIASTIC BRIGHT"
Taner Edis, author of "The Ghost in The Universe: God in the Light of Modern Science" and other books, becomes the latest Enthusiastic Bright:
TURN UP THE BRIGHTNESS! (IN REPLY TO "WHAT SHOULD BRIGHTS DO?")
POSTED IN THE FORUMS BY PETTWAY "The Brights Movement is really in its infancy... I think that ALL ACTIONS with regards to the movement at this stage should be aimed at getting the word out. Writing letters, making pamphlets, stuffing bookmarks, etc. Think of the number of people that could be reached if we each pledged to write one letter to the editor of a local paper in which we were able to plug the Brights movement. The energy and resources required to write a letter are minimal, but the impact with regards to growing the movement could be great."
For letter-writing suggestions, go to:
NINE NEW BOOKS BY BRIGHTS
"The Myth of Free Will: Essays & Quotes by 40 of the World’s Leading Thinkers" by Cris Evatt (compiling intellectual firepower of Steven Pinker, Daniel C. Dennett, Michael Shermer, Thomas W. Clark, and many others to show a consensus that Free Will is a myth and that it’s time to grapple with this)
"Human Evolutionary Biology: Human Anatomy and Physiology from an Evolutionary Perspective" by Arndt Von Hipple, MD (blending of human physiology and modern evolution theory garnered from many scientific fields and a lifetime of personal and professional experiences)
"An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam" by Taner Edis (examining science and Islam today via an intriguing alternative to the Christian-centered approaches that dominate current thinking about science and religion)
"An Atheist Reads the Torah: Secular Humanistic Perspectives on the Five Books of Moses" by Alan Perlman (presenting a rational, scientific alternative to the clerical/religious version of the early history of the Jews as described in the first five books of the Bible)
"A 21st Century Rationalist in Medieval America: Essays on Religion, Science, Morality, and the Bush Administration" by John Bice (atheist and liberal opinion columnist taking an unapologetically secular perspective mainstream in newspapers)
"An Evolutionist Deconstructs Creationism" by Dr. Arndt Von Hipple (addressing the question of evolution theory’s opening the way for rational investigation of creationist claims to absolute truth, natural law and divine guidance)
"Different Drummers: Nonconforming Thinkers in History" by Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell (classroom-tested, grades 6-8 social studies teaching supplement: cultivating students’ respect for freedom to think freely and hold dissimilar philosophical beliefs and to foster desire to safeguard independence of thought within society)
"What It Is or How I Learned to Love The Whale" by James H. Dautremont, JD (monograph exposition of many of the issues with which Melville dared to grapple showing him as a visionary and casting "Moby Dick" as means to show religious beliefs as cloud inhibiting the search for truth and understanding of reality)
"The Most Dangerous Animal: Human Nature and the Origins of War" by David Livingstone Smith (post-9/11 analysis exploring the relationship between war and human nature, drawing on evolutionary biology, history, psychology, philosophy and anthropology to produce an account of the psychology of collective violence)
WORD USAGE PROJECT - ANY VOLUNTEERS?
The Brights’ Net wants to initiate a "Usage Project" to evaluate the status of the neologism, bright. Volunteers would do a thorough search of the Internet for all articles, blogs, etc. that have used "bright" correctly (as a noun, not as an adjective, and not in a context where the word itself was being discussed). The ideal result would be a listing of citations current as of May, laying groundwork for subsequent action to establish the term and meaning.
SECULAR HUMANIST LEADER ON THE MEND
Paul Kurtz, philosopher and internationally known secular humanist, had successful cardiac surgery during March. The day of the surgery, The Brights’ Net Co-directors sent our wishes for "a dramatically successful surgery and a swift recovery." At last word, he is recuperating well.
LOOKING FOR A BRIGHT TO WRITE
We have a small set of letters from individuals interested in the Brights movement. Some come from individuals who do not use a computer, and some from prisoners who have no computer access.
We have no time to respond to these inquiring individuals.
We would like to have an individual who would be willing to respond/correspond to the letters we receive. You could print out a page or two from the website to send. (You would need to use a personal address since prisons in general do not allow P.O. Box Numbers to get through a screening process.)
The prisoners who have written us in general are not allowed access to computers and the Internet, hence they cannot join the Brights via the website. Yet prisons provide access to worship services for prisoners.
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,