BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- NOVEMBER 2009
New from the Brights' Forum: "Evolution Education" Flyer
Brights Central (BC) is pleased to announce the posting of a new resource on the website. It's the "Evolution Education" Flyer. Members of the Brights' Action Forum led the voluntary collaboration that produced it, and some volunteers in the SIG2 (categorically sound science) initiative group added their insights. (Staff at the National Center for Science Education organization reviewed a second draft.)
Special thanks go to these Forum members: "Albatross" for his design support, and to "Militant Bright" for joining forces with Brights Central to bring the product online so that Brights everywhere can make use of it.
This Flyer points neophytes toward comprehension of key concepts of evolutionary theory. Its "bare-bones" resource listing mentions some helpful learning tools (accurate, appealing, generally available).
The Flyer is available for downloading, duplication, and distribution by Brights in situations aligned with and supportive of the movement. You can obtain a full-page print in two sizes (8/12x11 or A4) on the website
Using the Flyer (USA) - A View from the Action Forum
FROM DAVIS: Posting of our "Evolution Education" Flyer coincides nicely with creationists' plans to distribute their seriously abridged copies
of Darwin's Origin of Species
at many college and university campuses across the United States this month (November).
This is an opportunity for Brights Community Clusters (BCCs) and interested Brights to counter the misinformation. Before any response action, though, it is helpful to review the Brights' communications policy
and to remember that aggressive confrontation usually proves counterproductive.
Interview with Mynga at AAI
Brights can access a capsule summary of The Brights' Net's Director's thinking about the Brights movement and its relevance to such topics as civic involvement, public education, and atheism by viewing an 8-minute video interview recently posted on Youtube
The exchange with Paul Fidalgo of the Secularism Examiner took place earlier this month at the Atheist Alliance International convention on one of the occasions Mynga was visiting at the Brights' outreach booth. (As previously reported, the table was staffed by student volunteers from the Cal Poly Brights group at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo.)
Leave your comments about the content on the YouTube site. The more commentary posted there, then the better the video's placement and visibility on listings is likely to be. (Besides, Mynga will check back in a week or so to read them.)
NEW: Brights Bookmarks
Are you looking for a clever way to introduce someone to the Brights' website? A bookmark beats a business card any day.
After receiving many requests from Brights for just such an item, The Brights' Net has developed a fine one. Having at hand a practical and pleasant Brights bookmark is sure to be a convenient way to tell others about the movement.
This bookmark is two-sided and 7x2 inches. More details are on the website's merchandise page
The items will not be posted on-line since we want to maintain the high quality paper stock and printing used for this bookmark, but you can have some Brights bookmarks for your own personal use and/or for giving to others. The Brights' Net has a supply to provide at its cost of production and fulfillment (no profit) so that you can put them to use right away. We are recommending different methods to enable inexpensive (lowest-cost in time as well as money) distribution to Brights in both US and non-US locations.
USA: Please address an envelope to: Attn: Bookmarks, The Brights' Net, 930 Alhambra Blvd., Room #223, Sacramento, California 95816. Inside it, include a self-addressed and stamped envelope [affixed with two-ounce postage - 61 cents!], which we will use to send you 12 bookmarks. (If you wish to defray the movement's printing cost, then slip a dollar bill into your envelope.)
Non-USA orders and USA orders via PayPal: The cost of fulfilling orders from PayPal is high, so we are asking $3.00 to help cover the expense of international postage, PayPal fee, and fulfillment. Please include in your order a complete mailing address. Your order will be forwarded for completion to Diane, The Brights' Net shopkeeper. More details can be found on the website's merchandise page
NEW: The 2010 Brights Calendar
For the first time, our international calendar
departs from using photographs to feature artwork by a Bright! We accepted Scottish artist Derek Beggs' offer to choose from any of his works for the next annual calendar. The result is a very fine sampling of artwork that imparts an upbeat and amiable slant on the naturalistic worldview. Key dates were selected on the Brights Forum, and Diane Reed volunteered the design. The quotes and pictures portray a positive, friendly, science-based outlook that people of every stripe can appreciate, not just brights. It's great for gifting! The price is US$16.47. Check it out!
Retired Bright Delights in Change
Message to BC from John: "Hello all. I am an early Bright, tho not very active. I guess my 'claim to fame' is that in my younger life, I was a Benedictine monk/priest. My process has been what you might call a long 'reductio ad nihil' (gradually reducing the supernatural to non existence). I am retired now and happy as a lark!"
"Reality about Morality" Project Update
In last month's Bulletin, we anticipated posting new material to the site and emailing a mid-October special announcement about the Project, which has just reached completion of Project Area B. However, due to travels and illness and the rapid approach of this Bulletin, we had to postpone the announcement itself to mid-November. Apologies!
Nevertheless, part of the promise has been fulfilled. Fresh items have been posted on the site and there's certainly nothing stopping any Bright who wishes to explore the new material. Feel free to plunge ahead!
So that Brights can more effectively counter "common knowledge" that morals are presented to humanity by a supernatural deity through scripture, it is important for Brights to firm up their own understanding. The newly posted material has a lean list of articles and books that lead toward a contemporary understanding of human morality.
New Brights - Liking the Bright Idea
R. Bright (USA): "It's eerie that a movement that is so dead-on for me has the same name as me. I hope I can be of some use to this organization and hopefully help humanity progress."
Dan (Ohio, USA): "This is a wonderful idea to attempt to re-label a term with which misunderstanding and irrational hatred is often directed!"
Chris (Canada): "It is nice to know others strive to live in a world that makes sense to me. I would gladly join and spread notice that a community like this exists and hopefully bring others who share my view."
Betty (Virginia, USA): "This is the first thing that has made complete sense to me in the whole of my life."
Emmanuel (Mexico): "Thank you very much - gives me hope and realize that we are not alone on this."
Sophia (California, USA): "I am very excited and feel absolutely delighted to know that I am not out of my mind because of the way I think! I AM NOT ALONE AND TO ME THIS IS VERY LIBERATING!!"
Justin (South Africa): "I think organizations like this are the beginning to a better world."
Vinaya (India): "O Brave New World that hath such people in it!"
Justin (Texas, USA): "It's nice to finally find a positive thinking group that shares my worldview. There are too many groups out there who are too focused on 'bringing down' others - I prefer the positive direction of raising awareness without judgment of others' beliefs."
October registrations rose above September registrations. The constituency has had five months of increasing growth. Keep the Brights growing: Mention the URL in your email signature line, on your website, and say "Google Brights" when opportune occasions arise. Send anyone interested to our website for more information
Finding Brights in Corners of the World
There are currently 48,777 registered Brights in the world, representing 185 nations. We'd like to reach the goal of 50,000 by year's end. By the time we reach 50,000 registrants, though, it would be nice to say that there is a Bright in every nation of the world.
There are 192 UN-listed nations, and there is not a single Bright in 7 of them. If you can spread the word to someone in another country whom you know might very well be interested in knowing about the movement (particularly anyone residing in less well-known spot), please do your part to invite them to view the website
! (Know of anyone at the Vatican who has a naturalistic outlook?)
Connecting Brights with Brights
Whenever there is a local leader anxious to form a Brights' cluster, Brights Central will facilitate the process. After a bit of a hiatus, it seems that local groups are forming once again. Most recently, BC responded to requests from emergent leaders in Norway and in Massachusetts (USA) by sending announcements to Brights in the target areas.
BC contacts Brights via the SalsaLabs system, so emails are kept private. Interested Brights can then contact the leader themselves. Some Brights groups are in nations very antagonistic to those holding a naturalistic worldview. These groups are provided assurance that they will remain unannounced and private.
Some Brights groups appear to have just "sprung up," and Kelly is trying to search these out. (It is not an easy task on the Net.) One major set of groups is listed on brights.meetup.com where over 100 groups welcome Brights. Some of these are Brights groups, while many are atheist, humanist, agnostic, etc. groups that welcome Brights to membership. BC can then communicate more regularly with the Brights groups to aid them in moving to certain types of actions advantageous to advancing the specific aims of the Brights movement.
New iTunes App May Interest Many Brights
A unique Charles Darwin image at the ITUNES App Store has ties to the Brights: Bright Fredrik Olsson, developer of "Evolution Images," is donating half the proceeds from his newest creation (Brights/Darwin - Cost, US$1) to the Brights movement.
The distinctive formation process: An evolutionary algorithm is used to generate new generations of images, where only the images that best match your source image (Darwin) is kept. The generated images can be used as cool avatar images for Twitter, Facebook, and other social services. Use-case ideas for evolution include: Generate stylish avatars, Visual education of evolution, Benchmarking your device, and Drain your battery faster.
The Religion/Nonreligion Department
From F (Pakistan): "I live in Pakistan, that should be enough of a reason to become a Bright! Scary Christian High schoolers, telling me that I'll go to Hell if I don't accept Jesus in my heart and give up the heathen religion of Islam. 2 good reasons, I would say to support any movement that encourages a sane and moral viewpoint about the world."
From Jamie (UK): Always been skeptical about god. Big fan of Jesus the man. Never had any religious pressures as a child. Father of 4 girls. Passing on choice values of belief. 14-year old is an atheist. 12-year old has not decided. Next 2 are too young to ask. My occupation is childcare which has led me to lease a church which can no longer sustain a congregation. I am particularly interested in the protection for children from religious instruction."
From Amy (Florida, USA): "It has been much more difficult than I expected to finally 'come out' as an atheist, freethinker, 'Bright' and it is encouraging and comforting to affirm I am not alone."
A Study of Likely Interest
Sam Harris, Jonas Kaplan and colleagues have published the first research study
comparing religious faith to ordinary belief at the level of the brain: "The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief"
Are You a Savvy Computer Detective?
We are trying to get a handle on: 1) all the many websites that are a Brights website, and 2) all websites that have a link to The Brights' Net website.
We would like to form a volunteer task team to locate every Brights-related website. The team would work to compile an accurate listing by language and URL. The spectrum includes English language, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc., so the task of location is not so simple. Tell us your expertise, and let us know if you would like to participate. (You can read about task teams here