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Issue #161 (latest issue)

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BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- NOVEMBER 2016 


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Serendipity? / Scientific Theology?

Reported in the Brights' Internationa Forums:  

Oops! -- A serendipitous discovery has opened up the possibility of solving several problems in the field of renewable energy:  A catalyst-assisted process can create ethanol directly from dissolved CO2 with only a nominal input of energy.  Ethanol is a stable liquid fuel that might be burned renewably when solar plants are dark and winds are calm.  Here’s the headline.

So, “scientific theology” is a thing.  Is this a tolerable alliance between different ways of knowing, or a corrupting trespass of one ideology on another — or both?  Drop your thoughts in the Topic here.

But whether to access amusing modern trivia or deep philosophy, all are welcome to read the Forums, and posting requires only a brief registration.  See you there! 

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Morality Portal Offers Newest Research

The Reality about Morality project team has aggregated the latest in peer-reviewed research and updated the Brights’ Morality Web Portal with sixteen key additions.

The recently added studies offer further evidence of the natural underpinnings of human morality. That is, the new material adds distinct potency to the four empirically grounded assertions (absent supernatural involvement) presented on the Brights’ morality infographic.

For serious students of the subject of morality, direct link access to the “open science” published studies (PDF format) is provided. So, if you are interested in keeping up with the newest research on that subject, you can check out these latest additions (in the web page list, search the date, 2016).

See a general project overview.

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It's "So Cool!"

Too bad that those of you who are donating to the evolution poster project aren’t also seeing all of the wonderful feedback coming in to Brights Central from the teachers who receive the unique 5 ½ foot wide resource, Earth and Life: changes over time.

Talk about “wow”!

If you want to glimpse the remarks about the poster that BC has received just within the past couple weeks, you can check them out - in full - on the comments webpage.  The gist provided right here is extracted from the full context:

• So cool!

• Relevant to all the subjects that I teach [Physics, Chemistry, and Biology]

• A great resource for students

• Really improves student learning

• (Shows them) the scale of time

• Generates a good amount of discussion

• [Helps our teachers] know and understand how to better teach evolution to students

• Amazing resource

• An awesome addition to my classroom

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The Why & How

Teachers appreciate that Earth and Life: changes over time gives youngsters both the “big idea” of evolution and some crucial “deep detail.” The visual combination helps youngsters to see the physical/biological connections.

Brights can appreciate that the concise and engaging visual format “speaks” to teenagers. Students learn how life on earth (and humanity) has come to be. No supernatural involvement there! Students can more readily comprehend the natural processes of evolutionary change. 

When it comes to the goal of illuminating the naturalistic outlook, the poster project is a winning one for the Brights.  If you haven’t been involved yet in supporting this project, you can start now.  You will know that you are truly making a difference. We Brights are doing our part to elevate naturalistic understanding in the coming generation!

(Please note: this poster is not commercially available! By agreement with developers, the dissemination is restricted to instructional settings in which “making an impact on comprehension” is highly probable.)

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From The Brights' Blog

To a “Science-Minded Citizen,” observation is the most fundamental of scientific process skills. It’s certainly one that Adam Manning takes to heart.

Says he: “It’s all too easy to take the living world around us for granted, to not even notice it and to consign nature to designated parks, zoos or far off lands.” 

This month Adam writes about taking a closer look at what exists close by. Check out his “Wildlife in Your Neighborhood” post.

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You Can Just Say No!  (UK)

@UKBrights highlights for Brights an issue of interest: the government’s plans to permit unlimited religious selection in English “faith schools” (by lifting an existing 50% enrollment cap) and points a pathway for those wishing to counter such a move.

Background.  The faith schools make up a third of all schools in England and thus far have only been able to religiously select half of their places. Many organizations, united under an Accord Coalition disapprove any move to further segregate children on faith grounds through the state funded education system.

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Option for Action

An online opportunity to endorse the petition calling on the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May to abandon plans for 100% religiously selective schools in England exists on the website of the British Humanist Association and can actually be signed by individuals from any country.

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Put Your Power in a Project

There are numerous ways to help support the educational projects of the Brights. Note: The various pathways are always accessible from the home page (right column).

Indirect:  If you are an Amazon shopper, by regularly starting your shopping sessions at the Brights’ site you will be sending 6% or 7% of your every purchase.  Using iGive.com or eBay.com also enables you to send support at no cost to you.

Direct:  General pathways include PayPal, Givv.org, and sending a USD check to the postal address at the bottom of the home page. If you prefer to make donations by credit card, choose the "Network for Good" option on the standard donation page

Whatever path you choose – many thanks for playing your part in the Brights’ initiative! Join others in educating about the naturalistic outlook (no supernatural!).  

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Vagaries of Visiting Visually

The Russian Brights have a meaty website, and we at Brights Central check in with it now and then (using Google translate). It’s like being a tourist without tour guide; there’s lots to be lost in the translation!

Still, as can be seen from the three graphics examples at left, one will typically run into a visual treat there. The graphics are just great. (Example interpretations, top to bottom:  religion vs. science? wishing for brighness worldwide? Daniel Dennett as a deity?)  Enjoy.

But a site visit also offers access to some substantive material.  A recent blog entry (accompanying the topmost graphic) tackles philosophical interpretations of methodological naturalism.

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With SASE, Get Your Cling FREE

A static cling bearing the “No Supernatural Ingredients” image shown here carries a $2 value on the website’s merchandise page.  During the month of November and while supplies last, BC will be glad to send one free with just your standard self-addressed envelope stamped already with one ounce postage.

Of course, we do recognize that the combo ends up costing you almost a dollar! So, you can expect to receive back some “surprise!” bonus items in the envelope.

But no large envelopes, please! A standard office envelope means everything fits for the one ounce 47 cents US postage and still permits our enclosing a couple of light-weight bonus items.

Of course the cling comes to you in hopes that you will display it in a spot where others will have the opportunity to view it. Properly installed, the item is long lasting (one BC staffer has had one on the sidewalk side car window for over 5 years).

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Note to Brights regarding such free offers:  Given the international postage rates, BC has to count on American Brights to help out a bit so that we can also send to Brights located elsewhere and request offered items via email. Based on any incoming small donations, we supply to Brights in other nations as we can.  A dollar or two for another Bright will be a kindly action. For a non-USA request, email your postal address to the-brights@the-brights.net with “CLING” in the subject line.  


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