The Brights' Bulletin
November 30, 2008
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
DECEMBER 2008 BULLETIN
IT'S A JOLLY SEASON FOR REASON
The Brights' Net is sending a bearded chap to disseminate "Reason's Greetings" to the Brights in this growing constituency.
Despite his flying above the rooftops of 43,000 Brights across the world, this friendly fellow is better grounded in reality than his familiar fantasy counterpart. You'll see.
The whimsical trip, artistically rendered by Sylvain in a gracious gesture, is a fine presentation of Professor Dennett.
SHARING - FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE IN 2009
"DO-IT-YOURSELF" GREETING CARDS (FREE)
If you enjoy both the image and message of the flying "Santa" you may want to share it with some family and friends. It's a nifty way to convey your good wishes for 2009.
To print this New Year's card, you do need to have a color printer and 8 1/2 x 11 papers. Download the PDF by clicking here (780 kB), print and fold. Have fun!
A BRIGHTS-EYE VIEW OF 2009
Compassion, reason, wonder at the universe, and good old-fashioned FUN all blend together in an item that's appropriate for gifting - to supers and brights alike. You (or recipients) can bask in the benefits of a positive, friendly worldview all year 'round.
Like its predecessors before, the Brights' calendar is the excellent work of an international online team of volunteers on the Brights' Forum. This year's professional quality version is a bit quirky and original! Go to LuLu.com to view or purchase. (US$ 14.73)
Dr. Oliver Curry, Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, when asked to look over the project team's compilation of scientific studies researching the natural bases of morality, passed along some useful input to the endeavor, saying: "This sounds like a great project, and I'm very happy to help with it." In addition to suggesting additional empirical studies, he suggested rewording one of the four assertions. As he explained about the statement that morality is acquired "during the evolutionary development of the human species":
"'Evolution' and 'development' have quite distinct meanings in evolutionary biology. And evolutionists tend to avoid anything that implies that human evolution proceeded in an upward direction (developed). So it might be better to say: 'acquired during the evolution of the human species' or 'acquired during the course of human evolution'".
KAZAKHSTAN IS #181
David: Brights Central has this message for you: "By registering, you have just added the 181st nation to the listing of Brights."
A MATTER OF CIVIC JUSTICE
From new registrant, Jason (Illinois, USA): "I nearly cried when I found this site. I thought I was the only person in the U.S. who felt like a minority without a voice. I knew others held naturalistic views, but none had expressed the fact that the issue is one of civic justice. Thanks."
BC: Thank you, Jason, for catching on so quickly to the "main idea" of the Brights movement. As the "Vision Statement" for the website states: "Persons who have a naturalistic worldview must be accepted as fellow citizens and full participants in the cultural and political landscape and not be culturally stifled or civically marginalized due to society's extensive supernaturalism." This endeavor depends on more people being open about their worldview and educated about how to be constructive change agents to move society (not just the U.S., by the way) pragmatically in this direction.
EDITING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
The Brights' site has made the task of changing your profile much easier. You now have the power to:
1) Change your email address,
2) Stop/start the Bulletin or the BrightenOps,
3) View or modify your personal information, and/or
4) For USA: Information and links to contact your legislator(s).
For all/any of the above (and a bit more) go to the home page, right-hand column and click on "Edit Registration" to display all the information you have provided to The Brights' Net.
"BRIGHTS OF ALL STRIPES" SURVEY
This month's short survey went out to Brights who are active as Bulletin subscribers. Thank you to everyone who opened the email and took the five-question survey! Responses topped 6,000.
A later bulletin will convey key findings. In the meantime, the survey is already revealing one item of particular interest to Brights Central: Having no supernatural elements in one's worldview doesn't mean a person is free of association with religion. As BC expected (based on spontaneous registration comments), the boundary between brights and supers is distinct from the more familiar religion/no-religion demarcation.
TELL A FRIEND
Telling others about the Brights is one of the most important ways to grow this constituency. Here is a simple way to accomplish that: Tell A Friend!
GOT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE?
To help spread word of the movement, it was Brights Central's initial intent that the Brights' icon and logo be made widely available to Brights. And, for a while, one could view the standard logo version in Wikipedia along with the description of the movement (a very valuable thing).
Recently, Wikipedia raised an issue that the logo is not copyrighted / trademarked and consequently removed it from the display.
Now we need some professional advice regarding how best to proceed to get the Brights' logo appropriately registered and securely placed in our hands. If you are versed in branding and can help, please contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BRIGHTS' SPOT -- A WELCOMING PLACE
(RECENT REGISTRATION COMMENTS)
Michael (Maryland, USA): "I'm excited to be part of an ethos by choice for the first time in my life."
Emmanuel (France): "I discovered I was a Bright a few days ago. I found a cause to fight for and I have the will to contribute to the extension of the ideology."
Stan (Chicago, USA): "I think the label of 'super' is brilliant. Rather than using a term that would be seen as derisive you have chosen one that is beyond reproach. Great idea."
Andrea (California, USA): "I am excited to become a part of a community founded on and maintained by top intellectuals who fearlessly advocate reason. Thank you."
Hali (Pasadana, USA.): "I was born and raised in a 'cult' church, and the teachings never made sense to me. Even as a child. I am very glad my friend informed me about this website. My search for a definition I actually relate to is finally over."
BOOKS BY BRIGHTS
MEDITATIONS OF JOHN BURROUGHS: NATURE IS HOME
COMPUTING THE MIND: HOW THE MIND REALLY WORKS
BILLBOARD AND POSTER CAMPAIGNS DRAW ATTENTION
Last month's bulletin reported on a highly successful bus posters campaign of the National Secular Society. Starting in January, London's bendy-buses would be carrying the slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Money poured in to put posters on more bendy-buses.
Last year FreeThoughtAction.org started a successful campaign to put "Don't believe in God? You are not alone" on billboards in American cities. FTA is an adjunct of the American Humanist Association, which has for some time smiled on the billboard campaign.
Enthused by the successful bus poster endeavor in the UK, AHA added its own edgy message in time for the current holiday season. "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake" will soon be seen on the Metro buses in Washington, DC. AHA's press release ["Humanists launch godless holiday campaign"] proclaims use of the bus ads to "raise public awareness of humanism as well as controversy over humanist ideas."
GOD GETS PRESS FROM AD CAMPAIGNS
Here's one controversial aspect. None of these campaigns is actually godless. God stars in all. He is there in "There's probably no God" and in "Don't believe in God?" and in "Why believe in a god?" God is even in the "godless holiday" campaign.
A Christian on a blog puts it this way:
"Personally, I am very grateful to the atheist organizations behind the billboard campaigns. THANK YOU. THANK YOU for raising the public awareness about God and opening up multiple, multiple opportunities to talk about Him and answer questions, many times to strangers on the street! I couldn't have come up with a better plan myself! Thank you Atheists, and God bless you!"
GOT ODDS ON GOD?
According to one religion correspondent, the bendy-bus effort led to a spate of betting on the existence of God. Odds shortened from 33-1 to a mere 4-1 since news emerged of the forthcoming advertising campaign.
NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE?
No - I don't believe in a god.
No - I believe there is no god.
No - I am/live without any god-belief.
It's been hard to step out of religion, to stop using the term, even if one thinks there (probably or definitely) isn't one. But it's not impossible.
Yes - I have a naturalistic worldview.
BRIGHTS LINKED IN
LinkedIn is a social network of experienced professionals that aims to connect people that share common interests around the world. Each LinkedIn member has a profile that summarizes one's professional accomplishments. More info at the LinkedIn Network is at http://www.linkedin.com
Tiago [email@example.com] invites Brights to visit the Brights LinkedIn Group he has established!
IT'S A DOWNER ECONOMY
STILL, IF YOU ARE SHOPPING FOR STUFF -- You can review all the Brights merchandise at:
BRIGHTS HAVE AMAZON IN UK -- UK Brights get a cut (6% or so) of everything purchased - not just books. Support UK Brights' actions with your purchases through Amazon, at no additional cost to you. Use the UK searchbox at:
US Brights -- $154.85 is the amount that Brights' purchases through Amazon brought to The Brights' Net during November. Buy ANYTHING through the website link and you send 6% of the sale to The Brights - at no additional cost to you! This is an important source of funds for this organization. For the Brights to get credit click here:
Or, you can copy the following URL and put it on your website or in an email and send it to others. http://www.amazon.com/?tag=thebrinet-21
PROTEST ACTIONS AND REMINDERS
The National Secular Society in the UK is among those protesting the reported September banning in Turkey of the website of Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist and Enthusiastic Bright). See:
Those who see relevance to the matter of Turkey joining the European Union are writing letters and urging that others do so, applying the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes these statements relevant to matters of religion or belief:
Article 18 -- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19 -- Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
AS A CONSTITUENT
Check out the listing of some example ways to contribute as a constituent almost entirely on one's own accord.
AS A DONOR (USA)
Those 70 1/2 years of age or older can make gifts directly from an IRA to The Brights' Net that count toward the minimum annual distribution for 2008 and are not subject to income tax. Contact your tax consultant for details. If under 70 1/2, December gifts are tax deductible from 2008 taxes (per usual).
A BRIGHT'S POEM
The man proved tougher than the stone.
A million and more uphill battles
built muscle, sinew and rage.
The rock, worn down to a missile,
forced skywards by triceps, deltoids
and adrenaline, struck,
and skittled indolent Olympians
from their hill.
The man remained.
REFERENCE GUIDE TO CONTACTING PERSONNEL AND LOCATING INFORMATION
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Bright Regards from Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert at Brights Central