The Brights. As in "I am a Bright." I don't like it.

I don't really like the term 'atheist' either. Sam Harris was right when he said that the term 'atheist' should not even exist because all it is, is an admission of the obvious. It's used to identify a non-believer but there are no words, or labels, for other groups or people who are non-(pronoun).

But I think that the term 'Bright' is the worst. Professor Dawkins is an intimidatingly smart man but when I first read about the 'Brights Movement', I had to cringe. This is what we don't need: a nose-in-the-air campaign to poke and pull at the nerves of theists everywhere. It's snooty and not necessary at all. This is not the way to fight for secularism.

Yes, I do take pride in the fact that I'm not a believer. I like being the minority sometimes. I have no fear in being the underdog and I want the process of secularization to be spread farther and wider, faster and faster, just like any good secularist. But starting the 'Brights Movement' was hokey. 'The Reason Project' was a much better idea and will gain the respect of adversaries a lot better than the 'Brights Movement' will. A name like that is just going to piss people off.

Hats off to Sam Harris.

And no disrespct is meant to anyone who refers to themselves as a "Bright." I'm not lashing out or trying to take shots at anyone. Just putting my two cents in.

-J

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Comment by Tim Habraig on December 24, 2009 at 10:54am
Please, please, take the time to look at the origins and usage of the word!

More than 50,000 have already decided that the identity is for them and the number's rising every day. As I say, why use an word that presupposes that there are deities (or maybe event just the one!) whose existence needs to be denied!

No, Bright is not a synonym for Atheist and it offers a positive message of what you are rather than what you are not and the antonym is not "dim" it's Super - short for Supernaturalist - and yes, why not use a word that confers an air of value or worth. After all if you read that someone's a Christian, Jew or Muslim doesn't that tag automatically confer some element of goodliness.

The word itself, used as a noun rather than a verb, has nothing to do with implying intelligence but all to do with reflecting the age of enlightenment when humans realized that science and a rational interpretation of the world was the way forward.

Not only are the Brights offering a new use of the word Bright (the neologism) but they are also (through the movement) seeking civic parity with those who do faith (to counter the cultural assumption that if you don't have a god you can't have morals or be a good citizen).

Take a look at the definition of the word, and, if it fits you sign up to declare your belonging to the fastest growing constituency on the planet!

http://the-brights.net
Comment by Emekan A'dem on December 16, 2009 at 1:41pm
Colleen,

It just seemed a trifle childish to me. "I'm smarter than you are!" Like kids fighting in a sandbox. While not as extreme, the Brights movement reminds me of certain members of the Religious Right - "I am a Christian and conservative, therefore superior to you." Wouldn't it be easier to just prove it by policy instead?
Comment by Colleen Quinn on December 16, 2009 at 1:36pm
Yes Emekan,
I am of average intelligence and probably a science geek wannabe. I was always more of a social sciences kinda girl than biological. Was an Anthropology major but ended up as a school counselor. So many theists especially in elementary schools! In my limited experience. I always try to imagine my brainy friends' (the doctors, the law professors) reactions to me announcing I consider myself a "bright" and part of a movement of the same name. They are all Catholic. But "brighter" than I for sure.
Comment by Emekan A'dem on December 16, 2009 at 1:26pm
I'm unafraid to use the term atheist - in many ways, I am already an other - but the term "Bright" does annoy me, at most. I'm aware of my own intelligence and people shouldn't need a movement to prove themselves...Plus, there are far more intelligent people than I who ARE theists - are they suddenly not bright at all? Delusional? Yes. Unintelligent? Absolutely not. Atheism and intelligence don't share a causal relationship in the slightest.
Comment by Colleen Quinn on December 16, 2009 at 12:52pm
I'm with you. I don't like the term Brights either. Nor do I like atheist. When I attended the AAI conference in Burbank last October, I would say it was a "science conference" and then add "and an atheist conference". I am not ashamed or intimidated, just think atheist sounds so negative and atheist conference sounds like I'm a trekkie or something. No disrespect to all who are, I'm just really not. Was glad to hear your thoughts on the "Brights" movement.

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