The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #87
July 31, 2010

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- AUGUST 2010


Serving the African Region (Maghreb)  
 
Frank, a BCC leader in Africa, labels his Brights Community Cluster the "tiniest BCC in the world." It may be small, but it has been productive. The members produced a discussion site for the Brights in the Maghreb (i.e. Mauretania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya)." You can locate the new site at:
http://brightsmaghreb.org
 
As Frank reports it, he and his friends "...decided to run this site in French, but English or Arabic will also be welcome." Brights located in, or concerned with, the general region, including Egypt, can register to join discussions.
 


July's Toolbox Submissions
 
Brights in many areas will often encounter a query about the source of their morality or objection about their ethics. So, how do they answer the question, "Then How Can You Be Moral?" From M (Michigan, USA) came this sentiment: I try to be a good person because it feels GOOD to be a good person.
 
Brights Central drew an abundant supply of quick answers as well as over a hundred detailed near-200-word accounts. The vast majority of responses we received were constructive (i.e., they were in keeping with a naturalistic stance and in keeping with the standard to be a positive movement). BC plans to post on the website in the "Brights' Toolbox" an array of the civil and thoughtful comments received in hopes that they may be of use to other Brights.
 
By the way, we really appreciate those of you who followed the time-saving (for us) submission directions and included your name and location! [In order to proceed in orderly fashion with the process of review and posting to the website, this call for Toolbox submissions is now CLOSED. Thank you!]
 


Morality Project to Form Next Task Team
 
If you have high interest in the "Reality about Morality" project, you will want to be on alert for a special announcement from The Brights' Net coming later in August. Watch your in-box for the notice. It will be sent to all active subscribers.
 
At this point, Project Director Bala will be seeking input toward the early decisions regarding Project Area C. He also will be forming a new task team of volunteers with time and expertise to proceed with the next phase of the project. If you are not familiar yet with the concept of a Brights' task team, please visit their section of the website for more information.
 


Forum Liaison Report
 
The Brights Forum membership was recently made aware of the Livingston Parish, Louisiana (USA) School Board's proposal to teach creationist doctrine in the public school biology curriculum, in this Topic opened by Member headkase:
 
We would be interested in your commentary--especially if you reside in the Board's purview.  Register at the Forum to make your views heard. 
 
Brights Central and the Forum staff are working to implement an upgrade of the Forum software, which we believe will improve our ability to provide constituency services.  Some Forum downtime may be required to implement the change--we hope that this will be as brief as possible.  If you have content posted in the Forum, please know that we will make reasonable efforts to preserve it in the new Forum.
 


A Bright's Message Exposed!!
 
Drummer and vocalist Kjetil (Norway) sent BC a link to a video of Sala performing a new work, thereby alerting us to what he called his own "humble contribution to spreading the Brights' word, hopefully spreading the Brights world."
 
Sure enough; you can spot the T-shirt message…
Supers / Brights
One Humanity
One World
…when you listen to and enjoy the performance on YouTube!
 
T-shirts bearing Kjetil's chosen wording are available in your size at The Brights' Shop at Café Press. Also find there many more items and other messages.
  


"Letter to the Brights" (from Slovakia)
 
Ján Parada has written and posted a "Letter to the Brights" to acquaint us with the country and also with the general state of affairs of its humanists. See at:
http://humanisti.sk/view.php?cisloclanku=2010070003 (in English and Slovak)
  
This brief excerpt from the Letter deals with an option for Slovak handling of "the word":
 
In Slovakia there is a possibility to get acquainted with the notion of brights, thanks to the slovak translation of the book, "The mystery of consciousness" by [Enthusiastic Bright] Daniel C. Dennett." Noting Dennett's early mention of "brights" published in the NY Times, Ján suggested: "In Slovak language, the pronunciation of bright [brajt] sounds a lot like brother [brat]. Christians call each other brothers [bratia], so we could contradict with expression brights [brajti]."   :)
 


Articulating Individual Concerns?
 
Susan (Florida, USA): "This website seems a welcome change from the usual complaining about other viewpoints to the promotion and discussion of evidential/naturalistic analysis."
 
William (Arizona, USA). "It's refreshing to know there is an organized group of rational thinkers working toward positive aims."
 
Deborah (Connecticut, USA): "I am an atheist who staunchly defends the rights of everyone to hold whatever religious or non-religious views they wish without fear of reprisal or intimidation. That said, I am also deeply concerned that magical thinking increasingly 'informs' our political and civic discourse. Specifically; I worry about its impact on science and education. For this reason, I have decided to become a Bright."
 


"Free-thinking" Free Schools (UK)
 
The recent push by Education Secretary Michael Gove to have "free schools" created and run by parents, voluntary groups, and others raises the issue of atheists running schools. Remarking on the Gove plan in June, Enthusiastic Bright Richard Dawkins professed a liking for the idea, but not for a school to inculcate atheism.
 
According to the Telegraph and a BBC report, Professor Dawkins stated: "I like the idea very much, although I would prefer to call it a free-thinking free school. I would never want to indoctrinate children in atheism, any more than in religion. Instead, children should be taught to ask for evidence, to be sceptical, critical, open-minded."
 


Camp Quests 2010 Top Prior Years
 
Report from Secular Summer Camp Director of Camp Quest (USA), Amanda Metskas:
"We had a great session at CQ Ohio: 78 campers, which is our largest session ever. We have record registrations at almost all of our other locations this summer too."
 
From Mynga: "It is my understanding that these camps are grounded in civic pluralism. That is, they have a secular framework (neutral to citizen's worldviews), but not a ghetto-making form of secularism (worldview type). I hope this 'civics' aspect (equality and pluralism within secular law) is something that is thought through by leaders and practiced at the camps (i.e., is part of the camp 'curriculum')."
 


Two Journeys to Freethought Yield Two Firm Conclusions
 
Erick (Texas, USA): "Coming from a Christian home I have been exposed to a very superstitious way of living and would not want to see that for myself or my future progeny."
 
Cris (Philippines): "I was enrolled in a Catholic Christian private school. I can't blame my parents who only thought of a seemingly 'proper' education I would reap in time. I finished all of my schooling in Christian universities. I never faltered to be [a] skeptic about the supers nonetheless. Thinking along the coordinates of the natural worldview grants me as different in this society. And I will not stop being different if it that's what it means. Most of all, I won't allow mystics to stop me from wondering."
 


[A Bright's] Advice to Brights
 
It is important to remember that The Brights' Net is a constituency of individuals. One Bright does not speak for other Brights in the constituency. And, any decision to take or ignore a Brights' advice is clearly the individual's - you! Here's a piece of advice that one can relate to the customary focus on matters of belief and non-belief (and use of terms like believers and nonbelievers).
 
From Mike (Suffolk, UK): "I recommend that we no longer use the words "belief" and "believe". When in discussion with religious friends and I am asked what I believe, my answer never includes these words. I say that 'my understanding of the world is...' or that 'my observation and/or experience and/or reason lead me to think...' When my understanding is less robust, I may say that 'in my opinion...' And, when I don't know, I say so!"
 
"Even in everyday conversation, I have trained myself not to use these words. For example, ordinarily I wouldn't say, 'I believe it's going to rain tomorrow.' I'd say, 'I think it's going to rain' or maybe 'according to the weather forecast, it looks like it's going to rain.' With a little care it is possible to avoid 'belief' and 'believe' in most cases."
 
From Brights Central: Do you have your own advice to offer Brights? If so, email to the-brights@the-brights.net with ADVICE in uppercase in your subject line. Include your name and location. Please keep your message very short! (And include a rationale, please.)
 

August Activity Suggestions
 
For many Brights in the northern hemisphere, summer is a good time to brush up on or advance naturalistic understandings. There may also be opportunities to write letters to the editor or engage in other forms of activism to advance the naturalistic worldview. There may be opportunities to visit a library or bookstore (or Amazon). Look into the "Action Arenas" and elsewhere on the Brights' site for activity ideas. Here are a few possibilities for summer reading and activism:
 
1) Choose a book from the Morality Project's list of recommended readings.
 
2) Bolster your or your family's grasp of evolutionary theory with something from the "Evolution Flyer" and its Bibliography.
 
3) Plan how to integrate some of the "Seven Secular Virtues" into your family's lifestyle!
 
4) Get active - Actually write that letter to the editor or buy a Brights T-shirt or pursue any of the Brights' [constructive] activism opportunities for individuals suggested on the website!
 
5) Become a "checkbook activist" to help The Brights' Net add more information to the Brights' site.
 


Legal Harassment of Enthusiastic Bright (Africa)
 
Nigerian Leo Igwe is a dedicated humanist activist, and he has been undergoing a campaign of harassment by local police. Leo's stance on bringing to justice a powerful man accused of rape has involved multiple arrests of Leo and his family on unsubstantiated charges.
 
The International Humanist and Ethical Union is seeking financial support for its Human Rights Defense Fund to help cover legal fees.  Read more about Leo's case at that link.
 


New E-Book by a Bright
 
"Beyond the Age of Mythology" by Lynn Dewey (pen name of Oklahoma author) is a sci-fi tale that introduces an alien world, "the beyonders," and an eight-foot tall bird-like love interest.
  


Brights Registering from Diverse Locations
 
Sundas (Pakistan): "I live in a 98% Muslim majority country; that alone can be quite stifling; it's great to find a network of likeminded people."
 
Sofia (Portugal): "It's great to have found this site, there aren't enough of us yet and I tend to feel quite alone in my opinions and views of the world."
 
David (New Jersey): "My dedication to publicly endorse the idea of an understandable and non-mystic world has reached a high recently. I'm glad to know the Brights exist."
 
James (East Sussex, UK): "Thanks for inviting me onto your network. I'm looking forward to help people raise their consciousness above imaginary friends so they can marvel at the real wonders of the universe!"
 
Freddy (Venezuela): "Me impresiona que haya un movimiento con esta vision, pocas personas en este pais se dedican a esto y a investigar sobre la esencia del naturalismo." (It strikes me that this is a movement with this vision, few people in this country [Venezuela] are dedicated to this and to investigate the essence of naturalism.)
 
Victor (Brazil): "I have nothing to say but thanks and congratulations for this project. Spreading knowledge isn't enough; we need to spread 'sense' in the peoples' heads."
 
Vlad (Romania): "Since the world atheist doesn't imply a naturalistic world view, I would be both happy and proud to call myself a bright."
 
Brent (Massachusetts, USA): "Fantastic name, I really like what the movement stands for! cheers"
 


Letting Others Know
 
Do you have a Brights banner on your website or FaceBook page?
 
Have you gone to the merchandise page for lapel pins, bookmarks and static clings?
Bookmarks are free (USA) or at cost!
 
Check out the Brights' Shop at Café Press.
New design by Diane (a composite icon)
 


One "Free & Easy" Way to Contribute to the Brights Movement
 
In much of the northern hemisphere, a new school year is just around the corner. If you are shopping for school items at Amazon, be sure to click to Amazon through the Brights' link. Anything you purchase during the session will earn The Brights' Net 7% (USA) of the sale price. Amazon remains an easy no cost way to donate money to both UK and/or US Brights' activities. (You can always locate the Amazon portal on the home page of The Brights Net - right hand column.)
 


Reference Guide to Contacting Personnel and Locating Information
 
All contact and general information can be found on the website
 
All the Bulletins, including this one, may be found via the link in the right column of the home page.
 
To financially support the civic aims and principles of the movement, visit the Support the Brights page.
 
 


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