The Brights' Bulletin #22 - 2005/02/28 (excerpts)
THE NEW WEBSITE
Status report on the Phase 1 renovation (same general content but newarchitecture). A lot was accomplished this past month, and most of thework is done. (Thank you, Theo) Volunteer graphics artist Paula hascompleted two PDF download items for concisely spreading the gist of theBrights' endeavor using the new icon. Now it's mostly the long list ofnitty-gritty details to be accomplished.
One thing we find exciting about the new site is its standards foraccessibility of the content. The intent for this revamped Brights' siteis that it be available to everyone, no matter what their choice of webbrowsing device, computer hardware, or physical abilities.
WANTED: TALENTED WRITERS FOR SHORT ARTICLES
Thanks to volunteer Dwain, Brights Central now has a database of over 500email eddresses for membership organizations around the world. Many ofthese groups have a newsletter and could use mini-articles as filler.
Volunteer writers are needed to develop interesting short (max 300 words)newsletter articles under a column title (to be invented).
More information and submission guidelines onsite at
ACTION: Invent a title for this newsletter column. Optimistic titles arefavored (e.g. connecting to "brighten" or "enbrighten"), but the field iswide open to creativity. Keep the title short. Help us sort by putting COLUMN TITLE in the subject line, and email to:
AN ANTONYM TO BRIGHT (INTERIM REPORT)
Bright (noun) has, at present, no antonym. Two Brights presented theircases that a coinage would be quite helpful to the Brights' overallendeavor. It would offer an alternative to the "bright/dim" adjectivalcontrast to which so many people are prone and for which the label"non-Brights" is less than helpful. A sensible coinage could aid speakersand writers in communicating in lucid and unambiguous language what aredistinctly contrasting outlooks.
For more on this topic go to:
THE RHETORICAL TOOL BOX - I'LL PRAY FOR YOU
Bulletin 20 asked constituents to tell us how they reply to "God BlessYou." We received hundreds of emails. Some succeeded in combiningaffability with distinct expression of a supernatural-free worldview. Mostall of the unique contributions went onto the website's "tool box" fromwhich Brights can select their favorite to use. View the "God Bless You"collection at: http://www.the-brights.net/toolbox.htm
We continue this small brainstorming project with a topic mentioned byseveral different writers.
One can reply to "I'm praying for you" or "We will put you in our prayers"with a simple, "Thank you." Beyond that, what might Brights say as socialacknowledgement while being honest about their worldview? We will presumea well-intentioned speaker with whom one wishes to get along cordially.
The best expressions received will be posted to the website for anyone'suse as needed or desired.
ACTION: Send in your suggested short(!)comment to use in a "praying for"situation. Help us sort by putting PRAY4 in the subject line, and emailto: email@example.com
THE 2004 TURN UP THE BRIGHTNESS CONTEST
To be considered, a submission published in letters to editors and/or OpEdessays or articles for public media (newspapers, periodicals, magazines,etc.) had to (1) use the word "bright" appropriately, and/or (2) speak tothe need or aims on the home page of the Brights, and/or (3) mention theBrights' Net web site URL.
Inscribed plaques are going to two individuals, both of whom accomplishedhaving quality (all three criteria) multiple letters published during2004. Arrangements are being made to get the awards on their way toKenneth C. MacDonald from Pennsylvania, USA, and John Ramster fromGlasgow, Scotland. Congratulations and thanks, Kenneth and John
The contest was fun to kick off, but harder to sustain at both ends. BChas decided not to run a "Letters to the Editors" Contest for 2005" due tothe low number of letters in 2004 that actually fulfilled the criteria forthe contest.
ENTERING THE ACTION ARENA (REALITY ABOUT MORALITY)
A summary introduction to this project is posted at
1) POLL ON PRACTICAL DEFINITIONS
In order to have a basis of understanding of terms, the first formal stepin Project Part A was establishing four pragmatic definitions for theproject. A poll was conducted and all statements were approved (450+respondents). Thus, with full understanding that these terms have manyother conventional definitions, and that some individuals would have likedto have a word or two changed, we will proceed to employ these asinitially stated.
(83% yes) MORAL (adj.): good according to a standard of right and wrong
(87% yes) MORALS (noun): motives, intentions, and/or actions of anindividual (or a group of individuals) arising from a personal (orcollective) sense of right conduct.
(83% yes) MORALITY (noun): a set of motives, intentions, and/or actions ofan individual or a group conforming to principles or standards of rightconduct
(77% yes) ETHICS (noun): the study of morals and morality
2) CLARIFYING CONCEPTIONS REGARDING DEFINING OF TERMS DIRECTLY ABOVE
A few of the comments we received indicated some serious misconceptionsabout this "defining terms" aspect of the project. Here are threeclarifications:
A Bright stated: "None of the proposed definitions of morality actuallyhas any positive content. None says anything about what is ‘right'".
Response: The purpose is not to determine "what is right according to theBrights." It is to have a standard set of definitions so that thateveryone stays in the same verbal ballpark as we go along.
Another Bright stated: "I would like the word "behavior" used in place of"conduct" in the definitions."
Response: These sorts of changes cannot be negotiated across thousands ofBrights. The words chosen were those most commonly used in Internetdefinitions and a robust majority of respondents has accepted them as written.
Finally, a Bright stated "In my view the basis, the foundation, the placeto start, is not ethics and morals, but *values*. Values are more readilyagreed upon - food, shelter, security, companionship, children,stimulation, etc."
Response: Certainly values will enter the picture, but not at the start.The project must first flesh out the naturalistic realities that can be"certified" by science as being fact-based statements describing how morals have developed for our species.
3) NEXT STEP IN THIS PROJECT AREA
Brights will receive in March an email with a series of assertions about the nature of human morality. You will also be provided information on howto help with this project. Look for the March BrightenOp(portunity).
DO YOU KNOW A HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE AGE BRIGHT? (USA)
ACTION: Let them know about the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), the newestentrant onto the American freethought scene.
SSA is an educational nonprofit organization aiming to educate high schooland college students around the country about the value of scientificreason and the intellectual basis of secularism in its atheistic andhumanistic manifestations. The majority of SSA resources go into thesupport of affiliate groups. They are trying to develop affiliate campusgroups that share values of naturalism, reason and compassion in theservice of making the world a better place for all humanity. They seek toaffiliate with groups that are Naturalistic, Economically Neutral, CivilRights Minded, and Non-discriminatory.
For more information contact:
The archive of all prior Bulletins is at