June 22, 2003September 21, 2003Meeting Report

September 5, 2003

Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert

Are We Brights?

Paul and Mynga gave a well-rehearsed talk using PowerPoint™ graphics and with each giving short alternating statements.

They had participated in the “Godless March” in Washington, DC last year, but had misgivings about the use of the terminology provided by our philosophical opponents. Partly because of this, we have not been successful in galvanizing those who think like us. There is no civic identity for freethinkers. The other side controls the language. Homosexuals had a similar experience, but partially overcame their problems by gaining public acceptance of the term “gay.” Paul quoted Dawkins’ definition of a meme, “a self-replicating element of culture passed on by imitation.” He then came up with the suggestion that we rise above the words that divide us and call ourselves “brights!”—a new meme, if we can get it accepted. A “bright” is anyone whose worldview is totally naturalistic and chooses to consider him- or herself one. The brights are an international constituency of individuals (not a membership organization). One signs up by going to the web site at http://the-brights.net. The idea is to educate society towards the full public participation of those with a naturalistic worldview and the ending of the demonization to which we are subjected.

Paul invented the term, Mynga helped define the concept, and they presented the idea to a freethought convention in Florida. The idea exploded worldwide when Richard Dawkins prematurely published an article about Brights in the Guardian (a leading British newspaper) last June. Daniel C. Dennett followed with an article in the New York Times. Paul and Mynga have since been kept quite busy giving public lectures about Brights. Our own Kevin Schultz also has the major responsibility of serving as the webmaster for the Brights.

Report prepared by Wayne Luney, HAGSA Recorder

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