The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #52
August 31, 2007

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


SEPTEMBER 2007 BULLETIN

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ANNOUNCING THE NEW TAGLINE

Seventy-six Brights emailed Brights Central with their ideas for suggested catchphrases to succinctly represent The Brights' Net's mission. We now have our official tagline! It is: ELEVATING THE NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW, a motto submitted by Robert R. (California, USA). This phrase quickly rose to the top of the heap as it satisfied a multiplicity of BC's screening criteria.

It is positive / It is short. / It presents no trademark problems / It distinctly emphasizes what the Brights' endeavor is all about / It contains no reference to religion / It meshes well with the three aims of the movement / The "ing" form (elevating) represents action!

Brights Central has already added the phrase ELEVATING THE NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW to accompany the icon on its email signature line. We would ask Brights to please memorize the short slogan and consider varied ways of incorporating it within communications regarding the movement.

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ATHEISTS "OUT" & BRIGHTS "UP!"

Urging more atheists to come out of the closet and be active, Richard Dawkins has started a campaign for atheists called "OUT!" The atheists within the Brights' constituency will want to take a look at the solicitation at:
http://richarddawkins.net/article,1471,The-Out-Campaign,Richard-Dawkins

The Brights has an "OUT & "UP!" campaign. This civic campaign operates across a spectrum of self-identity labels: agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, freethinker, humanist, Jew, skeptic, and many more. Any individual fitting the definition of a bright ("a worldview free of supernatural/mystical elements") is suited to this movement. More people who have a naturalistic worldview need to come OUT and say so!

We also have an "UP" purpose. The Brights movement seeks brights of many stripes to work in their varied ways, whether as individuals or cooperatively, to enhance the social acceptance and civic involvement of persons who have a naturalistic worldview. We go UP as more of us step forward to present ourselves more affirmatively for who we are - people whose worldview is free of supernatural/mystical elements of all sorts.
THE BRIGHTS - ELEVATING THE NATURALISTIC WORLDVIEW
http://www.the-brights.net

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2008 CALENDARS NOW AVAILABLE!

The Brights' annual calendars benefit constituents, furnish understanding of the naturalistic worldview, and build awareness of this movement. The Forum Calendar group has done a splendid job of preparing the 2008 calendar in plenty of time for spreading the news. This calendar reminds you 12 months of the year of the splendor of the natural world. It also sets out in a refreshing way some aspects of having a naturalistic outlook.

Calendars are now available! (The cost is $15.04; The Brights' Net receives $2 on each calendar.) Preview/purchase at:
http://www.lulu.com/content/1098547

NOTICE: If you have in mind to buy a calendar eventually (or perhaps several to use as gifts?), then why not BUY EARLY rather than later on? We will use half the September and October sales profit to help to get the word into new venues. You can definitely further awareness by buying your copies right away!

THANKS: Brights Central is grateful to Marvin for leading the Forum team, to Diane for layout, to all the Forum participants who shaped the content, and to the Brights who sponsored the photo licensing. BC had called for at least 25 Brights to support the calendar project by donating at least $20 each, and we received slightly over the $500 amount needed. These donors are acknowledged on the website at:
http://the-brights.net/movement/merchandise.html

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THE BRIGHTS' NET IS DOWNRIGHT DIFFERENT!

In common with other nonprofit organizations, The Brights' Net has a mission statement, by-laws, and board of directors designed to ensure legal and fiscal accountability. Beyond that, however, it is NOT organized in the traditional fashion. In order to maintain the organization as a true constituency of individuals, its board/executive operates within a purposefully constraining framework.

Brights Central's two-person executive can freely explain the organization. It can work with available resources and dedicated volunteers to pursue the mission. It can cultivate actions within the constituency and rectify missteps. However, any stands taken must be focused on sustaining, guiding, and fostering the movement. Co-directors cannot take positions or speak out on behalf of the constituency on other matters.

Neither should Brights themselves be thought of as speaking for other Brights! Brights must simply speak for themselves. For more, see:
http://the-brights.net/action/activities/individual/

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SHERMER SPEAKS - OPEN LETTER

Michael Shermer is an Enthusiastic Bright who self-identifies as a skeptic. He writes a column for Scientific American, and in its August 21 issue, he addressed an open letter to Messrs. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens. (Dawkins and Dennett are also Enthusiastic Brights.) For Brights, this opinion article offers much food for thought/conversation. You can read it at:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=423C1809-E7F2-99DF-384721C9252B924A&sc=I100322

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BRIGHTS' DELIGHT (REGISTRATION COMMENTS)

Austin (Ireland): "Delighted to see a site like this, presenting free thinkers in a positive light rather than the typical view."

Stephen (Vermont, USA): "It is exactly the way it is supposed to be."

Steve (Virginia, USA): "I almost felt like crying when I found out about this site. My isolation in a field of believers seemed complete. I look forward to exploring this new world."

Sam (U.K): "I'm not one who's generally interested in belonging to any form of 'group' in any sense of the word. However, I feel compelled to add my tiny squeak to the (hopefully) building voice of the Brights...and hope that one day being a naturalist will be respected (not personal respect) as much as it appears that being religious is now. Thank you for providing the opportunity. Kind regards"

Benjamin (Australia): "Just want to thank you for this movement and I love the fact I can be part of a group. As an atheist I disbelieve; as a bright I stand for something."

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BRIGHTS' ONLINE FORUM

One way to get acquainted with other Brights and discuss a wide variety of topics is to join The Brights' Forum. The Forum's portal has an RSS feed with links to news of potential interest and some Brights Online blogs. Across time, over 6,900 topics have been explored. You can browse the Forum, but you will need to register in order to make any comments. If you are new to Forum activity, there are facilitators who will help you to get started.
http://www.the-brights.net/forums/

EXAMPLE THREAD: New member "Jumblegreen" has posted this question: "Why are there not any secular ethical teachings? ... I am hard put to find any secular system of ethics expressed as a teachable set of ideas." View the new thread or respond at:
http://www.the-brights.net/forums/forum/index.php?showtopic=7332

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BRIGHTS LOCAL CONSTITUENCIES

A BLC is a group of Brights who get together online or for in-person meetings. There is no set format and each BLC is quite different. The regional focus varies: nation/state/city. There are now over 50 Brights Local Constituencies. Thanks to Will's efforts, we now have an updated listing on the site at:
http://www.the-brights.net/community/blc/list.html

How to start a new BLC is at:
http://www.the-brights.net/community/blc/start.html

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VOLUNTEER BRIGHTS SUPPLY OFFLINE AID

Thank you to the volunteer Brights who are working with two special populations of persons who want to communicate but cannot do so by computer:

JOEL'S PROJECT: A few persons in U.S. prisons had contacted The Brights' Net by mail with pleas for response. These incarcerated individuals, allowed no computer contacts, are housed within a predominantly Christian population. Joel volunteered and has developed a project to communicate directly with them by postal mail, sending excerpts from the Bulletin and pertinent news items from time to time.

MARILYN'S PROJECT: Marilyn is a counselor who is working with a person on a very difficult family religious situation.

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UK BRIGHTS SURVEY

From Quentin (UK): The UK Brights 2007 survey is now closed. It has been a massive success with a response rate of over 20%. Many thanks to all those who gave up their time to take part. The results are in the process of being analysed, but it is clear there are some things of which some Brights need to be reminded:
1. The Brights is not a typical membership organisation - it is a constituency of individuals, all of whom have a naturalistic worldview.
2. The constituency includes both those who want only to use the word and those (activists) who also want to promote it and the movement's objectives.
3. The label simply characterizes one's worldview as being naturalistic rather than inclusive of supernatural (That is, being a bright does not bring with it a set of beliefs.)
4. Bright says nothing specific about your view of deities, religion, or supernatural or mythical entities

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GETTING BRIGHT RIGHT

Some say - But bright means intelligent.
Yes, as an adjective it does mean clever or quick - and it also means vivid (color) and sharp (trumpet sound) and radiant(light) and full of promise (future) and more. But, in this movement, it means something different than all these.

Here bright is a noun. Bright (n.) means: person who has a naturalistic worldview. What that reflects is the Age of Enlightenment, a time when rationality and science were viewed optimistically as pathways to a better future. For more background on "enbrightenment" - the metaphor that matches the movement - go to:
http://the-brights.net/vision/symbolism.html

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PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE STATEMENTS (USA)

The early stages of the next presidential campaign are in motion, and citizens are trying to get a feel for the various candidates. American Brights may want to examine and then keep tabs of remarks made by presidential candidates on highly relevant topics. They will need information to judge whether a candidate would place a person who has a naturalistic worldview into a lesser position than the rest of the citizenry.

One place to go to get a sense of where current candidates stand on varied topics is the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life's website. Its "Religion and Politics" section points to various candidates' positions and to statements they have made on certain issues. EXAMPLE: If interested in separation of religion and government, go to:
http://pewforum.org/religion08/compare.php?Issue=Church_and_State

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NOTICE TO WEBMASTERS AND ARTISTS

The RGB colors for the blue in the Brights logo are: Red = 0, Green = 129, Blue 198. (The Pantone PMS color is 3005.) Please employ the recommended color for Brights graphics. Further recommendations are in the Visual Identity Guidelines that you can reach through this link:
http://www.the-brights.net/movement/downloads/

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BURSTING WITH BRIGHT ADVICE?

UNHAPPY IN AMERICA -- "I live in America, and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of Christians and they are stressing me out. Where can I easily move that has a high concentration of the naturalistic view?" (Anonymous)

What destination do you suggest for Anonymous? Send ideas to the-brights@the-brights.net and put ADVICE FOR UNHAPPY in your subject line.

FRUSTRATED WITH ATHEIST GROUPS -- "
I've been to several different atheist group meetings. Unlike church, they tend to be unfriendly and don't give anyone a reason to come back. I'd love to find one that was different. The only focus seems to be some kind of competition on who can be the most intellectual." (Jim, California, USA)

How can Brights BLCs and Brights MeetUps be gatherings that Jim would like to attend? Send ideas to the-brights@the-brights.net and put ADVICE FOR GROUPS in your subject line.

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A FOOTBALL SEASON CHALLENGE (USA)

Richard S. Russell (Wisconsin) challenges football fans to put their money where their team is. (His team is the Green Bay Packers.) Richard has pledged a dollar to match the points in each of the season's games that are won by the Packers (For example, Brights get $31.24 if the Packers win by a score of 31-24). He did this the entire last season, and now challenges other Brights to match the points for their favorite team.

Does anyone want to emulate Richard? If so, go to the website home page (see bottom of page for "support the Brights").

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SUPPORT THE BRIGHTS AT NO COST

Please get in the habit of using the Brights website if you are going to Amazon for purchases, not just books! Any purchase made via the Brights' website earns up to 6% for the Brights and occasionally even more at no additional cost to you! (Brights in the UK must use the UK Amazon link, not the one for U.S.) You must go to the Brights' site and click the Amazon search box in the left column for the Brights to get credit.
http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/

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MORE BOOKS BY BRIGHTS

"Books by Brights" is a free service to Brights who have written books at least tangentially related to the purposes of The Brights" Net.

"THE ROOM" by Ray Melnick: "She's everything Harry always wanted the love of his life to be: compassionate, generous and lovely. He finally meets a woman who understands and truly loves him, but the cosmos takes a different path." (The room of the title is a place of cosmic convergence, a repository of memory, and a place where pain and sadness resides and their memories linger.)

"HUMAN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY: HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY FROM AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE" by Arndt von Hippel, M.D.: A review of life's layered progression from bacterium to nucleated cell to multicellular organisms shows how inadvertent information transfers and accidental mergers of desperately competing life forms brought about important advances. (von Hippel's other books include: "IN DARWIN'S IMAGE" and "AN EVOLUTIONIST DECONSTRUCTS CREATIONISM.")

Books by Brights are at:
http://the-brights.net/people/books/

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BC RESPONSIVE TO ATHEIST APPEAL (USA)

The state director of American Atheists asked The Brights' Net for help in notifying Brights of a rally for Church/State Separation taking place in Austin, Texas on September 8. Brights Central sent an announcement to Texas Brights informing them of the event.

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CO-DIRECTORS' CORNER

PAUL NO LONGER ON FACEBOOK: Thanks to all for trying to contact me – I find time does not permit me the pleasure of using FaceBook. I am no longer registered.

OUR ADVENTURES AT CAMP QUEST WEST: We much enjoyed leading two activities at the camp in northern California's Sierra foothills. Its focus on critical thinking, skepticism and free inquiry offers a unique experience for youngsters. And what a delightful challenge for the adult volunteers!

In our first lesson, we showed the 30 young participants how to water witch using dowsing rods. Most all the campers "found" water (in visible plastic bottles). They didn't do so well when presented with four sealed boxes, one of which had a bottle of water. (They did no better than chance.) Conclusion: people can dowse for water - if they pretty much know already where water is likely to be!

The second day was an activity on "individuality and self-identification." (Message: With humans, there is individual uniqueness behind any label.) The activity started with a bag of potatoes (LABEL = POTATO) and ended with the kids sticking various labels on themselves. Children loved the stickers. Many chose to wear several of the available options, including some that said, A BRIGHT.

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REFERENCE GUIDE TO PERSONNEL AND OTHER BRIGHTS INFORMATION

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

All previous Bulletins may be found in the right column of the home page at www.the-brights.net

Bright Regards from Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell
Co-Directors of The Brights' Net, email: the-brights@the-brights.net

The Brights - Elevating the Naturalistic Worldview


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