The Brights' Bulletin
September 30, 2008
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
OCTOBER 2008 BULLETIN
NEW "BRIGHTS ACTION” GROUPS ANNOUNCED
In September, a special emailing was sent to all constituents in the world who are subscribed to receive Bulletins. The email announced the formation of three new Special Initiative Groups. These SIGs will be developed and receive communications from Brights Central that pertain to particular areas of action.
SIG 2 is a self-designated portion of the Brights constituency that will take up a forceful stance in support of authentic science and science education.
SIG 3 is set up expressly to enable a self-designated portion of the constituency to stand for a robust demarcation between religion and government.
SIG 4 subscribers are those who understand the distinction between worldview and societal activity, many of whom may wish to further ties with the supers who share their cultural and/or religious heritage or community identity.
Learn about ALL the SIGs and register your own action priorities at:
FOLLOWUP ON EQUINOX
Many thanks to all of you who have already participated in the Equinox fund drive by making pledges or donations. As these times are unsettling, we are grateful to you for whatever amounts you can send to sustain the Brights' endeavor and to perpetuate its worthwhile aims of civic justice by way of illuminating the naturalistic worldview.
The Equinox call for support was a plain and simple presentation, kept so in hopes you would recognize that running an organization with over 42,000 people doesn't happen without financial support. The Brights' Network truly depends on donor support. You may add your own fiscal backing for this movement in any of five ways at:
By the way, we at Brights Central especially enjoy receiving the semi-annual remarks of caring constituents that come along with many donations. Most comments reflect recognition of the work being done. Some notes come with directives, such as the recent: “Keep Brightening the World!” that accompanied a particularly noteworthy donation.
TIMING IS FLEXIBLE
Whatever works for you! . . . as long as it works! ;-)
One current donor, however, has lodged a mild protest against the timing of our biannual funding requests.
The association of the occurrence with “numerous fables, myths, religious and other superstitious events” gives him “a strange feeling.” Resourceful Bright that he is, he has pledged to switch future donations to birthdays in February (Darwin) and in August (Ingersoll).
Actually, the choice of the equinoxes came about both for reasons of astronomy and because we thought it had “a global feeling” befitting an international constituency.
MORALITY PROJECT REPORT
In order to assemble a panel of scientific experts on the topic, the team has identified scientists actively researching the natural bases of morality. A letter of invitation has been drafted and appropriate contact information is now being acquired. You can review both the Project and its Areas A-E at:
For the last five months, each month's registrations have slightly exceeded the prior month's signups. To keep up this nice pattern of growth, be sure you tell others about the Brights! Part of the power to influence others rests with the size of the constituency. The other aspect of strength lies in The Brights' Net's message and well-aligned actions.
NEW VIDEOS ONLINE
Six new mini-videos are now up on the website. Thanks go to Liz, David, and Mike for the editing and uploading. The content consists of remarks by Dan Dennett and other Enthusiastic Brights, each commenting on aspects of the Brights movement and/or The Brights' Network.
During October, there will be some further organizational enhancement of context, but if you don't want to wait, then you needn't. The individual items are available for viewing right now, if you wish. (To start or pause any video, you can click the arrow at lower left.) Plan at least fifteen minutes if you want to watch them all.
THE BRIGHTS' SPOT -- A WELCOMING PLACE
(RECENT REGISTRATION COMMENTS)
John (Australia): “It is time for awareness. It is time for a new level of open-mindedness. It is time for this movement.”
Frank (Texas, USA): “This is a cool idea. I have struggled often to 'label' myself, since I have a cultural background of Anglicanism, but a personal worldview of naturalism. . . This way, people can continue to keep their 'cultural' identities, while being intellectually honest.”
David (Venezuela): “Thank you for having an organization that better helps me describe my worldview.”
Lea (Kentucky, USA): “I'm not sure that I like the title, but the shoe fits. I think I'll try it on and walk around in it a bit.”
Skylar (Texas, USA): “I really like the positive spin on the traditional humanist/atheist/naturalist perspective. I think we have a valid viewpoint to offer the world of ethics and politics and this reputation encourages our message's adoption.”
Joe (North Carolina, USA): “The only requirement I require in joining a group is not being told how to think. The Brights might just be that group.”
VOTING IN THE ELECTION (USA)
As a nonprofit organization, The Brights' Net cannot enter into commentary on candidates in any election. However, it is legal to direct you to materials addressing pertinent issues. Americans subscribing in SIG-1 (Secular Coalition for America) and/or SiG-3 (Separation of Religion and Government) are likely to be particularly interested in material available at the SCA website:
BRIGHTS REPRESENTED AT FREETHOUGHT CONVENTION
The Brights' Net had an educational exhibit table at the annual conference of Atheist Alliance International in Los Angeles. All events took place aboard the ship (hotel), the Queen Mary. Frish (“Fearless Leader of the L.A. Brights”) met and talked with many attendees, as did Paul Geisert, Brights' Net Associate Director. Both met many Brights.
Frish was especially skilled at enticing those walking by in the aisles to come over and talk – he was just great. Nearby Brights can contact him (and his Los Angeles area group) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each registering Bright got a Brights' button (which they promised to wear at the convention) and a static cling. Such merchandise is available for purchase online via the Brights merchandise page at
One “game” attracted involvement of passersby who noticed the Brights' “Win $1” poster with its challenge to name a country that did NOT have a resident Bright. The first $1 went quickly to the person who guessed the Vatican. The odds were far on the side of “the house,” however, since Brights are in almost all nations easily named. (Some without a Bright are Belarus, Kiribati, Lesotho, North Korea, and Seychelles.) We ended up giving away only 5$ and had alerted a great many “players” and observers that there are Brights in most every major nation.
ILLUMINATING AND EDUCATING
The Brights' Net is developing some single-page educational materials that explain major aspects of the Brights' movement. The exhibit table at the AAI convention displayed a couple of the recently developed fliers, although the intended use is different. They are to serve as discussion items for Brights Community Clusters, particularly the Brights in-person MeetUps. Besides being periodically sent to leaders of BCCs, the material will be made available online for downloading by activist Brights or any interested Brights.
BRIGHTS' CALENDAR COVER ENTICES
Several Brights calendars were on display at the Los Angeles convention. The starfish wearing sunglasses ("Basking in the Naturalistic Worldview") drew notice, and attendees who thumbed through the display were impressed with the calendar's messages and quality. The December photo (contributed by a Bright from the Isle of Man) with its “If you want a better tomorrow, spread a little happiness today” message was a favorite, as was the September (child investigating) with “Science is the best toolbox for understanding.”
Thanks again go to the folks at the Brights' Forum who developed this refreshingly upbeat calendar, with its international flair (no domestic holidays, but some fascinating dates of human progress). The calendar is produced as a service to the constituency. To purchase one for $14.78 USD plus shipping, go to: http://www.lulu.com/content/3754932
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RECEIVES AAI AWARD
At its conference, the Atheist Alliance International presented Mynga Futrell with its second annual “World of Thanks” award. Former AAI president Bobbie Kirkhart, who was the recipient in 2007, presented the award. In doing so, she cited Mynga's pressing AAI to be “a positive voice for atheism,” as well as her involvement in worldview education (Objectivity, Accuracy and Balance In Teaching About Religion) and civic justice (The Brights' Network).
In her acceptance talk, Mynga gave a searing challenge to the atheist audience to redirect energies from longstanding futile actions to pragmatic strategies to gain influence in civic institutions. The award, a lovely crystal globe, etched with the continents of the world and resting on a glass stand, is now in The Brights' Net office. Drop by and give the world a spin sometime!
LOCAL BRIGHTS MEET ABOARD THE QUEEN MARY
Responding to an invitation email sent from Brights Central, nine individuals ventured onto the ship after the AAI conference for a social gathering and a chance to meet other Long Beach area Brights. An acquaintance of Mynga's attending the conference had obtained the “Duke of Edinburgh suite” for his hotel stay. Thanks to some quick action with the hotel, he extended that stay so that those Brights who came aboard were able to enjoy their informal “Meet and Greet” in his lovely stateroom. Snacks and beverages were supplied, and much discussion ensued. Co-founders answered questions about the movement, and a really good time was had.
NEWS, NOTES & NOTIONS
Stuart (UK) reports an advance: “I thought you may be interested to know that the British government has repealed the laws on blasphemy.”
Pew Research Center (USA) reveals that religious conservatives are changing views, reconsidering the desirability of religious involvement in politic and coming much more in line with the views of moderates and liberals than was previously the case. Similarly, the sharp divisions between Republicans and Democrats that previously existed on this issue have disappeared.
Jane (Arizona, USA) is reflective: “I often think about why belief in the supernatural is so popular and think other naturalistic movements need to provide people with the same benefits they get from religion(community, assistance, answers, etc.) to take hold in our society.”
New registrant/(Saudi Arabia)/name omitted: (the first registered Saudi Bright)
Kyle (Illinois, USA): “Thank you for supporting the rights of a child as a human, not hereditary property.”
A METALLIC TAKE ON THE BRIGHTS' LOGO
Thanks go to Jason
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REFERENCE GUIDE TO BRIGHTS INFORMATION
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Bright Regards from Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert at Brights Central