The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #147 (latest issue)
July 31, 2015

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- AUGUST 2015 


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“Morality Reality” for Arabic Readers

We at Brights Central are delighted to have obtained a completed Arabic translation of the Brights’ morality web portal material. An infographic is now in preparation having been sent to the artist. When the Arabic infographic becomes available, Brights in several additional nations can inform their Arabic-reading audiences about the naturalistic foundations of human reality.

We thank George (Lebanon) for volunteering to undertake the long-sought review of the original Arabic translation draft. With his fast review and editing, we pulled off our fastest turnaround yet!  The draft Arabic translation had been provided initially by Ruben in Israel.  (Belated thanks, Ruben!)

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Even More Translating & Tweaking

Please note that, during July, BC also added the Persian translation of the morality web portal to the website, inclusive of infographic. So, now you can convey the portal link via social media to appropriate Farsi audiences, and inform any key websites in Iran and elsewhere! Please do.

We are still in hopes of further fine-tuning the Hebrew draft of the portal content before launching it. Anyone versed in both Hebrew and English and able to produce text in that language at your computer who can volunteer? We have in hand some small revisions to make. Email the-brights@the-brights.net with HEBREW in your subject line. 

As with other language translations, the hope is to provide both accuracy and readability before making the material publicly accessible, and some languages have provided us many more challenges than others, in our efforts to build understanding that human morality is a result of natural evolutionary processes; not scripture, not revelation. Genuine understanding counters a widely held cultural presumption that persons who have a naturalistic worldview lack certain requisites to be moral persons. (See project rationale.)

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At the International Forums

Images of natural things caught the attention of Forum members this month, like these chameleons, one of which enjoys standing on a human’s hand while trying to catch soap bubbles.  Very cute!  What sort of animal behaviors do you find interesting?

The Kuiper Belt Object (and former planet) Pluto was closely imaged by NASA’s New Horizons missions this month, revealing stunning new detail, and the Forum community eagerly awaits new images and analysis.  Are you the first to have heard news?  Drop in to check status and keep us up to date.

Participation requires just a quick and confidential registration.

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What’s of Interest?

Relatively new to the staff at Brights Central, Felicia (shown here) first learned about the Brights in May. Since then, she’s been pleasantly fitting in and showing her versatility to the team, such that now most of BC’s social media postings are coming by way of her.

Felicia hopes to select and convey information generally pertinent to Brights, as well as send along newsy items that are well aligned with the Brights’ overall goal of illuminating and elevating the naturalistic worldview. She invites your suggestions, so if you know of specific organizations she should follow, email to: felicia@the-brights.net

And, of course, we welcome your comments on our Facebook, Twitter & Google+ accounts.

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Area D, Morality Reality Project

As first announced in July, a task team for Project Area (D) is forming this month to pick up on the work of prior task teams (A-C) in the “Reality about Morality” Project.

Solid scientific groundwork has been laid already, thanks to input by nine notable academics, many prominent in associated fields, who advised previous teams. That superb guidance, along with teamwork by the volunteering Brights, has led to the material now offered in several languages at a free web portal on the subject at which an individual can learn the naturalistic foundations of human morality - IF a person has interest!

Of course there is good reason to provide more purposeful education with other audiences. To carry forward from what has been done already, the next team will be engaged in planning how best to proceed with that goal. If you happen to have any experience collaborating on instructional design, materials development or mass communications and can volunteer, you would be very valuable addition to the team, so please do express your interest. See further information at Area D.

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Need a New Tee?  Other Swag?

You can make the Brights’ icon visible in numerous ways with Brights-themed merchandise.

Plenty of swag and apparel awaits at The Brights' Shop at Cafe Press (choose your favorite message!).

You'll find this "No Supernatural Ingredients" shirt - other items, too - at The Brights Kiosk at Zazzle.

All the items are offered as a service to constituents at the minimal percentage markup allowed by those companies.

Brights Central also provides a limited number of items.  Want a flag? (Better hurry.  BC’s supply has dwindled so, rather than purchase, you’d best email a request for us to see if you can reserve one, or not.)

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When the Politicians Cherry-Pick Science

A recent Q&A reported in The Guardian should interest Brights who engage in civic participation.

In a panel discussion on several topics of currency, such as climate change, the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson bemoans the tragedy of scientific illiteracy and the dangers of selecting data to suit a political agenda (“we have politicians cherry-picking science in the interests of their own social, cultural, political and religious belief systems, and that’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy”).

Tyson calls the practice of selecting data to suit personal purposes “one of the great tragedies” of modern civilization.

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Support Our Structure - It’s Easy, Even Free!

The Brights' Net is the nonprofit organization that supports the communications and activity hub (Brights Central) that registers Brights into the constituency from 184 nations across the globe. Most financial support for operations and projects comes from small donations. The $5 or $10 a month ongoing subscriptions are very helpful!

Of course, not everyone can easily supply direct funding. If that describes you, then please don't forget that you can still provide very valuable financial backing by way of commissions on any online purchases. The Brights' Net has affiliations through Amazon and iGive, so your acquisitions will send a small portion our way. (Amazon's portion is a significant 6 or 7% of your purchase prices! “Amazon Smile” offers a tiny, but still welcome, percentage.) There's an eBay arrangement, too, for items you sell.

You may have friends or business associates who also like what we are doing here at BC to advance the naturalistic worldview! If so, tell them about the portals. Maybe they will want to help us maintain the structure and keep doing what we do.

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New Website in the Works (Brights Russia)

Victoria reports that The Brights Russia group is working toward the launch of a Brights’ website for Russian speakers.

In the meantime, participants there continue to be very active in posting relevant items in vk.com, the popular social network. Among other laudable actions, they have produced translations of TED talks and other presentations into Russian, such as this one by Enthusiastic Bright and notable skeptic, Michael Shermer.

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Civic Neutrality in Public Schools (USA)

Brights Central is located in California, and recently Mynga wrote a couple of brief articles for a publication of the California 3Rs Project to inform educators about civic neutrality between religious and nonreligious. The CA3Rs Project targets stakeholders in California’s public schools, including district and county superintendents, administrators, teachers, and parents.  (The Project is co-sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, California County Superintendents Educational Services Administration, and the Religious Freedom Educational Project at the Newseum in Washington DC.)

Most articles published in the 3Rs newsletter are very brief and deal with handling of religions in public schools. Although way back in 2008 Mynga had written a piece entitled “The Secular Side of the Coin,” hardly any attention subsequently had been paid to the nonreligious angle, despite the rapid increase in secular representation in the public.

Both of the 2015 articles bear the same title: “Broaching Borderlands Beyond Religion” (Part 1, January; Part 2; April) and focus on the need for public school staff to keep in mind that not everyone has a religion, and that when dealing with religious and nonreligious students, teachers and administrators are to “be civically neutral” as they go about it.  If you are a stakeholder in an American public school, some of the information may be of interest. (Also, Mynga welcomes feedback; you can comment to the-brights@the-brights.net with 3RS in the subject line.)


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