BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- SEPTEMBER 2010
New Brights Videos
Until now, two videos on the website have carried the load of explaining the noun, bright
: They are titled, "Background on the Noun" and "Atheists by Another Name?" Brights Central had originally planned for a set of six videos touching on that topic. Now, we are glad to report, BC has completed and uploaded four more explanatory videos. So, altogether, the set of videos touching on the "Brand New Term, Brand New Meaning
" aspect" is complete.
The four new additions are: "Shifting Gears," "Accommodating and Adjusting," "Nixing Negations," and "Immediate Reactions." All videos by The Brights' Net have been produced with technical help from David, a volunteer in Pennsylvania (USA). Thanks, David!
New Toolbox Segment (Written by Brights)
How do Brights reply when someone asks, "Then how [if not looking to supernatural, scripture, etc. for your guidance] can you be moral"?
The Brights' Toolbox on the website now displays example responses
by Brights, who put forth their explanations in naturalistic terms, free of supernatural elements. The examples were excerpted from the vast amount of material submitted to Brights Central during July.
Thanks go to the many contributors from across the world who emailed to BC their wording, summarizing what they would personally say in response to the source of morality question. Thanks also to the volunteer reviewers, Kay, Ruban, and Paul, who rated the entries on a numerical scale.
Most of the "naturalistic worldview-based essays" BC received were serious and well aligned with the movement. A smattering of submissions that reproached the questioner were not submitted to review. The set of Brights' explanations uploaded to the website were those unvaryingly viewed as suitable and helpful by all three volunteer reviewers.
Another Addition to Logo Merchandise
Now you have another way to spread the word of the movement besides lapel pins, static clings, and the array of items at the Café Press "Brights' Shop"
New on the Brights' merchandise page are cloth patches
with the Brights' vivid blue logo on white background. These rectangular patches are sew-on (or glue-on) and 2 ¼ x 3 inches in size. Purchase one or many at US$ 3.00 apiece.
You can display the Brights' logo on most anything made of a fabric. You could put a cloth patch on a jacket or hat, but there are other options. Why not a backpack or laptop case, a grocery tote or a book bag, or on your soft-side suitcase? They could even be put on place mats or similar household items. Be creative!
Enthusiastic Bright Reports Attack, Needs Action (Nigeria)
Last month's Bulletin mentioned the harassment endured by the family of humanist activist and Enthusiastic Bright, Leo Igwe, whose campaign for justice for a child rape victim had run up against those in power in the locality. At the time, readers were directed to the website of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) to provide financial support for legal action
in the precarious circumstances.
The situation has worsened. Early in August, Mr. Igwe's family was directly attacked
and his father seriously injured, with subsequent surgery leading to removal of an eye. Despite the report to police, no action was taken. Mynga has communicated the following to Leo:
"Please, may I express concerns of many for your family's welfare and safety? And would you please convey my sympathy to your father for both the material and personal losses? I would like to wish him all the best in a speedy adjustment and recovery from this horrid event." [and]
"When you can, I look forward to hearing specifically what you recommend we do that would be most helpful in your precarious circumstances."
NOTICE: Brights, in their varied locations across the globe, are in as good a position as any individuals to help address the overall situation in Nigeria. If you would like to act, then you will be able to obtain more information on this case and perhaps follow Amnesty International's suggested actions
Local Article Features Brights (and Brights Central)
"The Bright Side
" was the title of a cover story by Rachel Leibrock in the Sacramento News and Review (8/5/10). Because this alternative weekly newspaper is in the same city as the Brights' Internet hub, the article featured several local Brights, including co-founders, Paul and Mynga. It also quoted from members of a Brights Meetup and a moderator on the Brights' international forum.
Overall, the article was a fair-minded presentation. (One notable error, crediting Brights' co-founders rather than philosopher Daniel Dennett with inventing the antonym term, super, was corrected in the next edition of the paper.)
As usual, lots of attention was given to the absence of god-belief, and to terminology like atheist. The author did allude to the fact that the organized Brights' endeavor is an international movement for equal citizenship and participation.
Although the end of the article left the impression that Brights want to "dismantle the religious framework," Mynga stated, "What we are offering for civic consideration is actually an alternative framework to the familiar one imposed by religion [believer and nonbeliever]. A civic framework, that is. No second class citizenship. Mutual understanding among citizens. Full and equitable participation for all. The focus is on civic equality for brights and supers alike."
Surmounting Challenges; Becoming Brights
Peter (Germany): "After having studied religions and always questioning the why's and how's, the logical step for me is becoming a member of [the] Brights."
Anna (Ohio, USA): "I have felt like this since I was a child, when I looked around at everyone in Sunday school and wondered if the other people there really believed all that… I tried to participate socially for many years, but finally found the nerve to say I wasn't playing along anymore. I don't bow my head and pretend to pray when asked to [do so] anymore."
E.T. (India): "Richard Dawkins ('The God Delusion') opened my mind and I realized how foolish I had been so far in my life. I wanted to learn and discover more about nature/earth thru this movement."
Scott (Colorado, USA): "I have long held a belief system contrary to 'the norm' but I also see the manipulation techniques used by the leaders of 'the norm'. I welcome such groups as yours. I also have a personal need since my wife is a fervent follower of Christian doctrine and I cannot even begin to discuss or be honest about my beliefs in her presence."
Tim (Texas, USA): "As a public school teacher I am amazed at the level of influence that supernatural and mystical ideas still hold on our faculty and students."
Bradley (Indiana): "It is amazing that in our day of reason and science so many people continue to cling to beliefs that are clearly false and go against reason. This community's a "God-send".
From the humans at Brights Central: "Well, actually, Bradley, it's just a "human-send." ;)
Morality Project Forming Task Team
Last week Brights Central sent out a BrightenOp[portunity] to all Brights subscribed to receive email. The message pertained to the Morality Project
and invited volunteers who consider they have applicable expertise to submit an application for a spot on the "Area C Task Team." (Considered will be applicants from academia, instructional design, communications, public relations and related disciplines.)
The Area C phase of the project is loosely projected as a 6-month endeavor to define and achieve outcomes. Preferred for this effort are experts able to apply pertinent experience in communicating social scientific concepts to the lay public and/or policymakers. A Bright can apply via email to email@example.com
. with AREA C TASK TEAM in uppercase letters in the subject line. One must produce a <150-word narrative on qualifications, state contact information, and agree to release email to other project participants.
Brights Forum Report (from our Liaison)
The Forum proceeds apace, with new registrations for the last three months up 29% over the same period last year. New and established users are enthusiastically discussing everything from Theodicy to Transhumanism--subjects deeply informed by and informing of the naturalistic worldview.
It should be noted, however, that such abstruse topics do not represent the totality of Forum culture! Some of our long-standing continually-active Topics include:
-->"Song of the Day
" (which is just what it says on the label: a place to share whatever music you find enjoyable)
Such Topics are fun and lighthearted, and they also demonstrate the astonishing normality of people holding to naturalistic worldviews, in spite of widespread stereotypes that brights are somehow outside the mainstream.
Guests to the Forum are encouraged to register
and discuss whatever matters "float their boats".
Report from the Brights' Prisoner Project
Each month Joel helps BC send "A Little Brightness" (his newsletter adaptation of the Brights' Bulletin) to a growing list of incarcerated prisoners: The communications are going two ways! His longstanding volunteerism for the Brights draws both feedback and actions from prisoners. This month, he reports:
1) "In a separate e-mail, I'm sending Jeremiah's response to the question "Then How Can You Be Moral?" It's naturally late because of the slow communication process…"
2) [Regarding how one of Joel's ALB subscriber changed course after the July Bulletin segment on an alternative to proselytizing so as to illuminate a Naturalistic Worldview more in sync with the Brights movement's goals regarding fellow citizens]:
"I have been treading lightly recently. The excerpt in [July's] newsletter about encouragement instead of conversion was helpful to my situation. -Jason"
The "Inbox" (New Brights)
Patricia (California, USA), "I still feel a little skeptical about attaching any label to myself, but considering your mission and goals, which I fully support, here I go!"
Daren (Idaho, USA): "I am pleased with the conditions of your organization's actions. No hostility is necessary toward others or their creed to welcome and advance the naturalistic worldview. Keep up the good work as it is a pleasure to observe. Thank you."
Sofia (Portugal): "I am truly glad that this movement exists and I'll certainly do my best to make it well known. If for nothing else, being able to identify as a Bright, once people get to be familiar with the term, saves a lot of time when trying to explain my views of the world. Even if the term generates controversy, and in a way I'm glad it does, it can bring visibility to all of us naturalists who were able to break free from the rule of mysticism, superstition and religion, and prove that we can be as moral and good human beings as, if not more, everyone else."
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!"
How Did You Hear (about the Brights)?
In the registration by Doug (Pennsylvania, USA):
"[I heard from an] editorial in NYT (I think) years ago... I'm slow to embrace change."
Welcome, newly registered Brights - however you found us or however long it took you!
Posted by maxjermo (Texas, USA) on the Brights Forum:
"Interestingly enough, I found the Bright movement through the game of Chess, thanks to the efforts of mushin on gameknot. So, I would like to say thanks again to mushin for providing the path for me to get here."
Message to all Brights: Don't forget to tell someone else about the Brights movement. It is the way we grow !!!
4175 Brights on Facebook "Like" Improved Page
During July and August, Peter, a New York University student, showed up three hours a week in the Brights Central office. Thanks to his spending some of that time revitalizing the Brights Facebook page, it is starting to get more usage (667 active users in August). This last week of August drew 879 page visits.
Emailing Brights Central
Here are a couple of requests to aid security and efficiency at BC.
1) Please send an attachment only when providing adequate information regarding the reasoning and/or the nature of the content. Thank you!
2) While we appreciate being considered more than acquaintances, keep in mind that BC's email address (firstname.lastname@example.org
) is for communications directly related to the Brights movement. Therefore, please do not add BC to your lists for communications among family, friends, colleagues, etc. Thank you!
A Cost-Free Way to Support This Movement!
Most everyone who subscribes to the Brights Bulletin already knows an important way to financially contribute to the Brights movement at no cost to them! But, we want to keep reminding you to use the site's Amazon link
, because that commission on your shopping is oh-so-helpful to the basic operational expenses at Brights Central. So, please bookmark or click (each time you shop there):
Anything you purchase during the shopping session will earn The Brights' Net 7% (USA) of the sale price. In August, Amazon provided 45 GBP to UK Brights' activities and $378 to the international hub. (You can always locate the Amazon portal on the home page of The Brights' Net - right hand column.) Thanks for remembering!