Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


The Brights

A long time ago, Bob asked

Maybe. I have to learn more about the brights. Is there a good website?

but I did not notice because I had not subscribed to his comments. Let that be a lesson to all of us who do not subscribe to the comments feed in blogs such as this one.

The answer to Bob’s question is


but there is a bad website. It’s at www.the-brights.net.

The Brights did 3 excellent things.

They came up with a rather pleasing logo

Brights Logo

that represents a sunrise in a world where north on a map is not necessarily up.

They came up with a definition

A bright is a person who has a naturalistic worldview without supernatural and mystical elements

and an antonym

A super is a person who has a supernatural worldview

to head off the inevitable observation that the opposite of bright is dim.

But then they kind of wandered off into that well-meaning no-man’s land where all liberal causes seem to go once the t-shirts are printed.

They started an entirely admirable campaign to counter the idea that morality can only come from belief in improbable entities. It was originally announced as a two year campaign in 2004. Perhaps they are working up to a big finale? It should come any day now.

They had a number of handy suggestions for what to respond if someone should inadvertently wish you a Merry Christmas or if a theist should unwittingly respond to your sneeze with an unasked for Bless You! (my favourite responses are Merry Christmas and Thank You! respectively) but then they kind of lost their way.

Many would say that they got off to a bad start with the name The Brights but I kind of like it. The world needs a positive term for a positive set of beliefs. For that, I salute them. I also like their handy-dandy definition, their logo and their antonym.

I am a bright. I believe in a naturalistic worldview without supernatural or mystical elements.

3 responses to The Brights

Matt January 5, 2007

“have a naturalistic…” rather than “believe in a naturalistic…”?

Avoids all that nasty confusion about belief, though I’d can certainly imagine you saying “I’m not confused, so it’s fine”. Also flows better IMHO.

Bob January 13, 2007

OK, I’m keen to have a look at the Brights. The logo is pleasing enough and I like their live-and-let-live kindness in responding politely to others with different beliefs.

I would worry that to shun all mystical interpretations regarding the world at this date is likely to end up leaving rather dull conversations about a lot of interesting and important “why” philosophical questions, ironic as that is in this circumstance. This of course assumes that you take the view that religion is just another phenomenon that will someday understandable by science but even then will still be a much richer and more expedient mechanism for humans to communicate on the topics that it addresses (big life events like death and morality — not collection plates.)

Kevin January 13, 2007

I also a problem with the word ‘mystical’ for a while. I finally rationalized my position by concluding that ‘mystery’ and ‘mysterious’ captures my sense of wonder and continual asking of questions that I cannot answer. Mystical crosses the line into believing in improbable answers.

Chomsky (via Pinker): Our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries.

I am happy to classify the ‘why’ questions as mysteries for now. They may be promoted to problems at some point and then science will be able to tackle them. Or they may remain mysteries forever. I am fine with that too.

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