The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #156 (latest issue)
April 30, 2016

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- MAY 2016 


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A Bracing Outlook

Last month’s bulletin started off with what some considered a gloomy topic (“Death, if you think about it”).

Perhaps a sharp shift would offset that?

How about considering that other aspect:

Being alive!

With a naturalistic understanding, there’s lucidity
[From the thesaurus: rationality/clarity/brightness]

To quote famed atheist, biologist, and Enthusiastic Bright Richard Dawkins: 
“Don't kid yourself that you're going to live again after you're dead; you're not. Make the most of the one life you've got. Live it to the full.”

Forthright awareness offers an incentive: it enlivens!
[From the thesaurus: invigorates/cheers/brightens]

Knowing the end is really just that – THE end - adds certain value to being alive. It’s something for Brights to savor!

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Blogging from Brights

In the “Science-minded Citizen” blogline…

This month you’ll find an essay from Adam Manning in the U.K. on how changed one can be from a short-term exposure to some solid science education.

His title? — “Saturated in Science: Memories of a Part Time Course in a Full Time Life.”

In the “Luster” blogline…

The “Living a Good Life” essay is a “how-to-do it” by LadyJulBug in the U.S.

This prospective teacher has pointers she wants to share. For her, “happiness meansliving a greater good life,” and education and science are key to finding your way to it.

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Essays in the Brights Blog are yours to read… and to share with your friends if you think that the messages bear repeating.

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Secular Citizens Head to DC

People who hold to nontheistic perspectives want their voices heard, and they want public policy to be based on facts and reason, not faith. So, following on the principle that a democracy works best with everyone’s voice is heard, secular Americans are rallying on the national mall on June 4.

Advocacy opportunities the two days preceding the event are being arranged for those citizens who want to visit with their representatives in Congress.

Plans for the main Rally Day include speakers, entertainers, top-level scientists, political leaders and tens of thousands of participants who want to celebrate their secular, humanist and other nonreligious identities. Notables present to support the “speak out!” goals of the gathering include: Bill Nye, Carolyn Porco, Johnny Depp, Margaret Cho, Amber Herd, members of Wu-Tang Clan, Cara Santa Maria, Lawrence Krauss, Julia Sweeney, Penn Jillette,  Shelley Segal, Gay Men’s Chorus of DC, James Randi, The Fab 4, Paul Provenza, Eugenie Scott and more.

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Gratitude to Special Brights!

Brights Central has emailed individual e-cards to all donors who have, since January, “adopted a classroom” or provided earmarked contributions to the ongoing “poster project” – a charitable program of The Brights’ Net.

Because of these generous donors, BC has enabled “the Brights” to work to erase a 300-school backlog of qualifying high school science teachers who have been anticipating receipt of one of the unique evolution posters, Earth and Life: changes over time.

The print order has been placed, the proof inspected, and now we are awaiting delivery next week of the latest version. The new poster is 3 inches longer than the prior one and has been updated to include QR codes that lead teachers and students to further resources. As these posters are distributed across coming months, we can expect that over 97 thousand students will benefit in the near future.

Of course it’s not too late to adopt a classroom, or get us going on begin another funds accumulation for a subsequent printing! Please consider helping out! Because The Brights’ Net is a 501(c)(3) organization, individual contributions are tax deductible in the United States. Best of all is if your workplace presents employees with a matching opportunity. If you would like to arrange such involvement, BC will be pleased to complete necessary paperwork for your employer.

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View Humanity in Small and Large

In Small:  A social network study involving an analysis of cell phone records (University of Oxford in England and Aalto University School of Science in Finland) yields this announcement: 
“Study suggests humans are only capable of having five people in their closest circle." 

In Large: According to a study published by the journal Nature, human populations in South America grew like an invasive species for much of human history on that continent, regulated by their environment as they spread into new places. From the senior author, a striking question:
"Have we overshot Earth's carrying capacity today? Because humans respond as any other invasive species, the implication is that we are headed for a crash before we stabilize our global population size."

Read more in this report: “Populations of early human settlers grew like an 'invasive species,' researchers find

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International Forums

Who knew that rays jump out of the water?  This writer didn’t. It is just the latest celebration of the natural world to be recently posted to the forums. Come see the soaring and belly flops (forum post links to BBC One’s amazing visuals), and comment, adding on what you know!

There is diverse content at the Forums, and your submissions are welcome. Registration is quick and confidential.  See you there!

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Translators, Lend a Hand?

Are you fluent in both English and another language?  If so, consider offering your services to the Brights' initiative to illuminate and elevate the naturalistic understanding. 

We want to spark and facilitate some further sharing of information from the “Reality about Morality” project.

Toward that end, Brights Central plans to target some educational and outreach messages to speakers of the 15 languages for which the Brights’ morality infographic is available.  We’d like those messages from BC to be presented in the targeted language, rather than in English.

Can you help?  Messages will be no longer than 500 words apiece.

If you can volunteer for the effort, please email to the-brights@the-brights.net with your non-English language in upper case letters, in the subject line. (Example: FRENCH)  Thanks!

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Bumper Sticker 4U (Free in May!)

One worthwhile thing every Bright can do is let others know about the Bright. Lots of people know about atheism and agnosticism, but they don't recognize the entirety of how a bright looks at the reality of the world.

So, let 'em know!

If you'd like to start some conversations, or just help spread the ideas of this initiative, we’ve got a bumper sticker for you, and in May (only), you can get one free to place on your car, or bulletin board, or binder! 
(The bumper sticker is 11 inches long and UV protected.)

Priced on the website at just above cost (and to cover appropriate shipping/handling), this month of May (only) BC will send you one free within the U.S. if you supply a self-addressed and stamped #10 envelope (68 cents) to use in mailing your sticker to you. Mail your SASE envelope to Attn: Awesome Sticker, The Brights' Net, P O Box 163418, Sacramento CA 95816.

A sticker on display offers you more opportunities to act on what the Brights tagline says: illuminate and elevate the naturalistic worldview.

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Regarding Religion: Women and Men

The Gender Gap in Religion around the World
(Demographic study from the Pew Research Center, March 22, 2016)

 

• Women are more likely than men to be affiliated with a religion
(percentages of men and women ages 20+ who are religiously unaffiliated or affiliated across 192 countries)

• Religiously affiliated are more likely to be female
(percentages of men and women ages 20+ in each major religious group across 192 countries)

• Among Christians, women are more religious than men on all measures; gender gaps among Muslims less consistent
(average percentage point differences between men and women on measures of religious practice, commitment, and belief)

• Atheists more likely to be men in several countries
(Uruguay, United States, Germany, Spain, U.K., Australia, China, France, & Average)

• United States more religious; has wider gender gaps than other developed nations
(percentage of women and men in the general population who pray daily, consider religion very important, and attend religious services weekly)

• Across many countries, the gender gap with men is smaller for women in the labor force
(the average percentage-point difference, between women by work status and men on three measures of religious commitment)

Bulleted emphasis items above drawn from “Are women generally more religious than men? Does it matter?” (an opinion essay from evolutionliteracy.com, 3/23/2016)


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