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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If naturalist is not helpful because it has other meanings, then bright is not helpful for the exact same reason.
see "The Pearlist Persuasion"
"In the vernacular, there really is no suitable noun with which to refer individually or collectively to people having that specific attribute (a naturalistic worldview)."

Before I heard of 'bright', I had already chosen the term 'natural', as in, "I'm a natural, I have a naturalistic worldview." I like Dennett's term 'super' for those with supernaturalist worldviews. Naturals and supers. Why not? Works better than brights and supers, in my opinion.

I still use the term 'natural' (though I rarely find the need to these days), but technically I'm also a 'bright', by definition.

Natural also doesn't suffer from the problem of, "So, you're a bright, eh? How arrogant, I guess you think all the rest of us are dims or dulls." When faced with that assumption, it's hard to say, "Well, actually Dennett proposed 'super' ..." It just doesn't fit as the 'opposite' of bright. However, if someone goes "So, you're a natural, I guess you think we're unnatural, or artificial or something." You just reply, "No, just super, as in, you believe in the supernatural. I'm a natural and you're a super." Simple, makes sense.
You know, that does make sense. I like the term Bright but my friends don't seem to care for it. Natural sounds better than Naturalist.
I am just opposed to any term that requires explaining away obvious misunderstandings when you say it. If you say I am a bright, you make others confused and defensive. Atheist makes people nervous and angry (even though it is still my preferred term). Naturalist says what it means, it is already an accepted philosophical term, and it does not offend others which will instantly put others off. Just like the term pantheist which they try to define just like bright, it takes too much work trying to make something mean some thing that it does not mean. I guess there is no good word.
Whether brights/atheists/freethinkers/naturalists we are critical thinkers and we don't "herd" well! No one name will satisfy all atheists. I'm personally fond of Freethinkers. What is your suggesation, Mark? "Naturalist" doesn't quite get there. It sounds like someone who studies wildlife in Africa. Humanist sounds like a social worker. Nobody ever said being an atheist was going to be easy.
Whether brights/atheists/freethinkers/naturalists we are critical thinkers and we don't "herd" well! No one name will satisfy all atheists.

Ha, well that explains it, I have always had issues with label's, as I feel they really say nothing but what you think I am.

I hesitated before I joined the group because I didn't know much about what "brights" was intended to represent. I am still not sure I like the word, but it is growing on me. I do like the ideals to which the word is reaching however, and that is enough for me.

Agreed. It's counterfeit intellectualism.


Anyone with comparable cerebral development doesn't need a $20 logo and an overused noun to feel as though they fit in. True enough, a simplistic label can help like-minded people get together and talk about interesting subjects, and I do enjoy pissing off religious people by wearing my Atheist t-shirt. Challenging a person's world-view isn't going to be made any easier by having a cheesy label.


Intellectuals don't spend their time thinking about what they're going to call a social movement of rational people. That just seems, irrational and self-centered.


My $.02



see "The Pearlist Persuasion"
Because naturalist sounds like a hippy cult.
And Brights sounds like Mensa, except people proclaim themselves a member.
OK, I don't mean any disrespect. I see that people are tied to the name. I expected that since I posted my discussion in the Brights group. The truth is that Naturalist is to Bright as Methodist is to Episcopal. I hope that we don't create camps over the labeling. If we can find a term that works for humanists, brights, pantheists, naturalists, atheists, and freethinkers, then we can all be happy and sing camp fire songs. Honestly, there is no good word at the moment and I give kudos to the Bright movement for trying to find that word. I don't think that we've found it but I am all for the finding.




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