By definition I am a bright. However, I hate the name. Why are Brights not naturalists, which is more descriptive, accurate, and less cocky sounding. Where does the term come from and why do people like it?

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I am someone who sees ethical values as completely separate from supernaturalism and superstition. I don't think we need to worry that the word atheist does not define everything about us. The word Christian means that someone thinks that Jesus is God. It doesn't tell you what they had for dinner or how they act towards others. The problem is that religious people characterize it that way. To a religious person, an atheist is devoid of moral values because the word atheist only means that one believes that there is no god. This is like someone claiming that the word baseball is devoid of carrots. Atheists want to be positive in the eyes of others but as long as there is no universal set of values that we all share, there will be no name that we will all accept. You can always find a problem with a label since each person is unique. For example I oppose the word "evolutionist" or "Darwinist" since it implies that we have a belief in established science worthy of fact status. Science is not something that we believe in. It just information that we have discovered. I suppose I am a gravitationalist as well but proclaiming it is equally absurd. At least the "A" word means what it says.
After looking again at the comments above, I am favoring instead the simpler word 'RIGHT' rather than Bright.

We should be really bold and tough with religionists because it is they who are so wrong.
Religion is a fraud. Gods are but a sham---born of irrationality and simplistic thinking leading to unprovable faiths.

If a theist wants to sneer and say to me: "So you think you are bright or a 'bright' then", a strong answer is:
"Indeed, and that is because we are right.
I am a 'RIGHT' and you are a 'wrong'.
Gods exist nowhere except inside people's heads like the other fictions of this world. You are all wrong."

Let's call ourselves 'rights'. Let's call them all 'wrongs'.
As a further comment, I propose that we grab the word 'right' before the wrongs do.

If we just call ourselves 'brights', there is a danger that the 'wrongs' will call themselves 'rights' when opposing us--just as they keep trying to steal the word 'intelligent' from us.
Equating atheism with an adjective meaning "intelligent" has issues. There are plenty of intelligent, accomplished people who I disagree with on religion. Newton was wrong about a couple things, but he definitely qualifies as bright. Why can't he be Bright?
It all depends on definitions and who and when . . . . and in what century.

To become an atheist as a consequence of intellectual deduction is an intelligent act.

Some other people can display intelligence in their specialities while simultaneously displaying nothing but ignorance when it comes to religion and a-religion.

Newton was a man of his times. In a still dangerous world he was a unitarian, showing that he had spotted the christian fraud. If born this century or last century, we may surmise that, if he was embedded in a world of modern science, he could well have become a proper and good atheist.

I continue to say that atheists are 'rights', they are bright, and the religious are 'wrongs'.
As the website explains the word is used as a noun rather than an adjective. And its origins have nothing to do with intelligence but everything to do with the age of enlightenment.

More's the shame that so many "intelligent, accomplished people" spend their lives propping up and devising convoluted arguments to substantiate something that doesn't exist! Applying their brilliance elsewhere would do the world a power of good.
Bruce, does your last name require you to post long responses? Just kidding, that is an excellent analysis!
A couple of comments, and then our boilerplate response regarding "the name Bright".

Regarding the statement: "Michael Shermer did suggest they should use another word. But they trusted more in their own discernment than in his."

Here is what really happened.

Michael Shermer (who writes the skeptics column in Scientific American) conducted a series of skeptic focus groups on the subject of the name “Bright” (the Brights are Chapter 2 in his book Science Friction). Although the term admittedly did not fare well, no one has come up with a better word — yet. As Michael writes, “all things considered, the word is Bright.” Dawkins, Dennett and many others concur.

Shermer, Dawkins, and Dennett are still listed on the website as Enthusiastic Brights, along with many others.

Regarding the statement: "I think Michael Shermer got it right. But Myrna and Paul trusted they would reach some 100,000 signers on internet for Bright by end of year 2004."

Not so. We never made such a statement. The current reality (early December 2009) is that Brights registrations will reach 50,000 in a month or two. There are registered Brights in 185 nations of the world.

Here is the current statement regarding the neologism Bright.

Here is our "boiler plate" regarding the status of the neologism Bright. I would be interested in how effective you think this response is. Perhaps you have comments on what should be deleted and what should be changed.

Well, six years ago you might have been correct -- but I think the maxim "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" is appropriate.

A number of people have expressed concern about the noun “bright” but they still want to be included among us. You may be interested to know our thoughts.
From day one (April 19, 2003), the word Bright has referred to the Enlightenment, a time when reason and science offered a hope for humanity to move toward a better world. Never have the Brights claimed superior intelligence to supers ("supers" are Daniel Dennett's suggestion in "Breaking the Spell" -- they are individuals who believe in supernatural forces). “Bright” refers to a worldview, not to the intelligence of individuals who hold that worldview. In addition, most of the over 49,000 Brights in 185 nations like the word Bright (if not for self-identification, then for organizational purposes).
The word Bright continues to give us media and Internet exposure as few other words would do. One can Google ---"Brights Net"--- and we are first on their listing, with over 35,000 references to the website. . Change the name – lose the contacts.

Even so, we are not opposed to a change. After all, the Brights’ Net’s concept is what is important, not the vocabulary — individuals with a naturalistic worldview working together for social and civic change. Regarding the charge of arrogance, read on for some other views from the Brights:

Ravi: “The criticism that comes up again and again is on the meaning of 'bright' that means intelligent. I can see the force of the objection, but I doubt it is as bad as it is made out to be. Most religions allow their leaders to pass off with ludicrous titles like 'Honorable', 'Venerable', 'Worship', 'Holiness', 'Grace', ‘Your Eminence’, ‘Most Reverent’, and other such nonsense. It seems that we are so used to this kind of prattle that we no longer even notice it. 'Brights' goes nowhere as far. So what is the problem?”

Paul (Brights Co-Director): “If you think “Bright” carries a lot of semantic baggage, please consider the cornucopia of secondary meanings given by society to the words atheist, agnostic, freethinker, and secular humanist. Such terms carry eons of baggage and multiple meanings that cannot be shed. In addition, worse, think of the negative meaning associated with what religionists use to refer to the community of reason: godless, irreligious, nonbelievers. The movement needed clean and neat new words that represent those who have a naturalistic worldview. I believe the word will become a part of the standard lexicon, in a manner similar to gay.”

Colin: "I have come all the way from "What a stupid idea" to my present thoughts that Bright is a very good idea …. So one can change in spite of my 75 years!!"

Ken: “I wanted to let you know that as I've spent time with that topic my interest has shifted to the main idea, the movement itself, and my appreciation for that has grown. I love the simplicity and clarity of the definition ("naturalistic worldview") and the structure (no bureaucracy or authoritarian rules). You've designed it to utilize perfectly its main means of propagation, the internet. I believe its simplicity and lightness will help it spread and become established.”

Michael Shermer (who writes the skeptics column in Scientific American) conducted a series of skeptic focus groups on the subject of the name “Bright” (the Brights are Chapter 2 in his book Science Friction). Although the term admittedly did not fare well, no one has come up with a better word — yet. As Michael writes, “all things considered, the word is Bright.” Dawkins, Dennett and many others concur.

Stranger memes than the word bright have become commonplace expressions (zine, blog, prequel, grok, and even scrooge) and are now accepted.

One thing bright does not mean -- “we are more intelligent than you.” From day one we have stated that Bright is designed to remind people of the Enlightenment - a time when reason and science were viewed as the means to a better world - and not with the intent of equating bright with intelligent. Daniel Dennett, in “Breaking the Spell” presented the appropriate contrasting terms as brights and supers.

Notice is hereby given that a human being in the real world created this noun, and as such, its imperfection is stipulated. Your suggestions on for a replacement are, as always, welcome.

Bright Regards
Paul Geisert, Associate Director for Constituency Services
Elevating the Naturalistic Worldview
Thanks for this Paul. I'm one of the early adopters. I like Bright. I never even thought of the "smarter than you" connotation. I thought of it as "bright and happy and not weighed down by superstition". I still like Bright and call myself a Bright even in the face of opposition by critics all over the web.

When people ask me my religion I reply "I don't have a religion, I am a Bright". That then leads to a conversation that is not filled with the presuppositions that ensue if I say "I am an atheist".
see "The Pearlist Persuasion"
Fuck semantics! that's all atheists fight over. Get over it. Brights is a damn good term.
Damn you copouts who would rather fight over a term/word than participate in construct group building
Better a Bright than a Dim.




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