The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #5
September 9, 2003

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


The Brights' Bulletin #5, Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert

Webmaster: Kevin Schultz

 

 Hello again, Brights!

 

 * Brights Update

* Our Rather Plain Bulletins

* A Call for Soundbites

* Meet Up with Other Brights

* Sharpen Your Quills? ( USA)

* Task Team Report:  Forum

* Different Paths to Adding Brights

* Commentary from Mynga and Paul

* Tailings: Link to Archive Bulletins and UNSUBSCRIBE

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THE LATEST

 In the World:  There are now Brights in 74 nations, thousands of Brights overall, and over 880 Web links leading to the Brights' Net.

 On the Site: Check out two short readings, "The Civic Umbrella" (adapted from Secular Nation) and "Nixing Non-belief - The Brights" (adapted from Humanist Living).  < http://www.the-brights.net/essays.htm >

 Of Note: A second Nobel Laureate, Sheldon Glashow, joins Richard Roberts as an "Enthusiastic Bright." Babu Gogineni, who directs the International Humanist and Ethical Union from its base in London, is another recent addition.

< http://www.the-brights.net/new_meet_some_brights.htm >

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NOTHING SNAZZY

 Why does the Bulletin use simple text format? Many Brights do not have the capability to receive text in any form other than plain text. Currently, it takes too many resources to separate the two groups and create both "fancy" and plain text Bulletins. So, relish the simplicity!

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ACTION OPPORTUNITY--GOT SOUNDBITES?

 We can use some soundbites. Short stuff--a dozen words, no more (goal). Give us brief raw material for countering society's fixation on what is missing from our worldview and showing what is present within it. We particularly want statements that wrap up the essence of the Brights movement in a POSITIVE way. For example, it would be nice to have a brief "tag line"-- something to follow "The Brights' Net: XXXXX"  Here is a chance to contribute personal creativity to this nascent movement at an opportune time-the beginning!

 ACTION: Please E-mail your sentence(s) or phrase(s) to the-brights@the-brights.net with the following in your subject line: SOUNDBITES

 You may wish to study the site a bit to have firmer understanding of what we are about. The link to the Brights' Principles is mid-way down the Brights' Net home page.

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ACTION OPPORTUNITY--MEET OTHER BRIGHTS (INTERNATIONAL)

 Many Brights ask about the possibility of meeting other Brights. (We hear from some folks who know NO OTHER PERSON in their circle of acquaintances who has a naturalistic worldview!) So, we have arranged for Brights MeetUps.

 Where are MeetUps? London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Wellington, Lisbon, Mexico City, Toronto, Washington, DC, and numerous other cities. There are many USA cities (e.g., Phoenix, Denver, Des Moines, Nashville, Philadelphia). In fact, there are over FIVE HUNDRED CITIES in all where MeetUps can take place (it takes 5 persons minimum).

 The first "MeetUp" date is on Monday, Sept. 22. For that date, act quickly.  There will be a MeetUp date each month.

 The idea is very simple. (The MeetUp.com site explains it all.)  They set a time for a MeetUp at a public location (e.g. coffee house). As other Brights in your city are interested, they agree to gather as a group.  This is a brand new concept, so it may take a while before there are enough interested Brights in a given location, even if your city is listed.

 ACTION: < http://www.brights.meetup.com >

If you wish to explore having a MeetUp in your city, go to the MeetUp site to sign up (free, or membership-both almost the same service). Then make arrangements to meet others in your area. 

 You can make a MeetUp a social event or an action event. If you choose to have an action event for MeetUp on September 22, we invite discussion of the following Agenda Item, followed by a report back to Brights' Net.

 MEETUP AGENDA ITEM: HOW CAN MEETUP GROUPS HELP THE BRIGHTS MOVEMENT TO GROW AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY?

 Send us your group's opinion/conclusion on the topic. E-mail to the-brights@the-brights.net a couple of paragraphs, and perhaps attach a digital picture (.jpg preferred) for posting on the Brights' Web site. Put MEETUP REPORT [YOUR CITY] in the subject line of the e-mail.

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ACTION OPPORTUNITY-DO THEY "PLAY FAIR"?

 Does Beliefnet purposefully bash Brights?  Decide for yourself.  We did.

 Beliefnet, Inc. is a privately held company funded by employees, individual investors and a yBlue Chip Venture Company. You can read about the organization and note its principles at: < http://www.beliefnet.com/about/index.asp >

 Steven Waldman, Beliefnet co-founder, composed a commentary that aired on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" program (9/4). His essay, "Not Such a Bright Idea," is well worth a read. (We thought it an example of egregious straw-man argument.)  You will find the commentary along with our reply to NPR, on our site at < http://the-brights.net/npr_&_response.htm >

 The Beliefnet site also has another critique, published simultaneously. This one is titled "A Bright Unto the World?" It is compliments of Rebecca Phillips, a producer at Beliefnet, who has written often for the organization. She draws huge conclusions about the response to Brights on the basis of selected anecdotes. Read her piece at:< http://www.beliefnet.com >

 ACTION: If you have perspectives you wish to share regarding either Phillips' or Waldman's journalism, we would suggest you send them along to Beliefnet.

< http://www.beliefnet.com/about/feedback_general.asp >.

 You might want to write a grumpy letter, but please let "MS MANNERS" whisper into your ear!  We hope that you phrase all your comments to any recipients courteously, speaking specifically to problematic actions or statements. We say this in light of our hope of keeping a "bright and shiny reputation" for the eloquence and fair-mindedness of Brights.  Thanks!  If you send us a copy of your missive (mailto: the-brights@the-brights.net), double thanks!

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TASK TEAMS UPDATES

 FORUM: Led by our Webmaster Kevin, the Forum group (Brian, Daryl, Matt, Sue) is laying the groundwork and has us well along the path to producing a Brights' Forum. This team got off to a very fast start and has done a smashing job of moving forward with the Brights' Forum project.

 NEWSLETTER ANNOUNCEMENTS: We have recently restarted this group due to technical trouble with the list-serve.  However, now we have the team up and running. Several Brights make up the new team and are now establishing using a new collaboration method, getting acquainted and selecting a leader.

 WEB LINKS: This team, established to invite more links to The Brights' Net site, is being led by Dwain. The groups is gathering data to identify likely sites to contact.

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BOTH SKEPTICS AND BOOSTERS ADD BRIGHTS

 Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and columnist for Scientific American, "came out" as a Bright in a recent e-Skeptic newsletter. He received a rash of criticism from skeptical readers regarding the term.y Simultaneously we received a delightful rash of signups.

 A mere one-line mention in a rather lengthy article can spur visitors to our site. For example, Fred Edwords, Editor of the Humanist magazine, when writing about the latest Humanist affirmation, happened to label the Humanist view of the supernatural as a "bright" life stance. Consequence? We got signups.

 Massimo Pigliucci, who writes a regular column on his Skeptic Web site, has touted the Brights concept at < http://www.rationallyspeaking.org >. Apparently that news spread to a number of folks at < http://www.atheistparents.org >.

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COMMENTARY FROM MYNGA AND PAUL

 Many superb comments are sent to us. It's hard to choose which to share. Here is the seed of an idea we hope to encourage Brights to latch onto. The societal "umbrella view" of us is as "nonbelievers," and our worth is weighed accordingly. This person's remark shows that he sees the Bright idea and approach as something more hopeful and promising. From background that precedes what we quote below, we learn that Steve's personal situation is seemingly influenced by society's implication that, due to his worldview, he is not a moral person or fit parent.

 "To state the real view of the world as a positive thought, rather than [be termed] a person devoid of any beliefs will be important in explaining these concepts to my children, ages 4 & 6. Thanks, Steve"

 We Brights simply must work to educate society toward understanding the multi-faceted richness and depth of a naturalistic worldview. We have to help parents like Steve to articulate this worldview, INCLUSIVE OF MORALITY. In looking to future actions, we plan to keep his situation and this notion firmly in mind.

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TAILINGS

 You can read prior Email Bulletins in the archive at

< www.the-brights.net/broadcast_archive.htm >

 If you prefer not to receive the Brights' Bulletin, please

reply to this e-mail and place UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

 


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