Posted by Bob on October 31, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Brights posted by GPP on October 30, 2003
: : : Bright is a term coined by Daniel Dennett to describe "... a person with a naturalist as opposed to a supernaturalist world view. We brights don't believe in ghosts or elves or the Easter Bunny -- or God."
: : : I didn't think it was going to take off as a turn but I'm starting to see it all the time. I couldn't find a working link to the original Op-ed piece in the New York Times where he coined the term, but I'm enclosing a link to a page where the pros and cons are discussed. Additionally here's a link to a site for 'Brights" http://the-brights.net/
: : Camel, I think you meant to say 'term'. Dennett popularized the term, but did not coin it. "...the coinage is due to Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell of Sacramento, Calif. They have started an Internet group, The Brights, intended to further the influence of "Brights."
: : Here's a link to Dennett's NYT article: http://www.the-brights.net/dennett_nyt.htm
: : I think there's much to be fairly said against the term itself, but the posts at the board you pointed to in your post here were mostly just sneering mockery, not "pros and cons".
: It's also crucial to understand that most--but by no means all--people who subscribe to a 'naturalist' as opposed to a 'supernaturalist' world view, and who don't believe in the Easter Bunny or in God, and thus might be described as "brights" by this definition, would NOT describe themselves as "atheists", who DO believe that there is NO God, but rather as "agnostics" who feel there is simply no need to invoke the concept of God to explain anything, that the whole idea of God is irrelevant. An atheist, on the other hand, is nearly always someone who experiences the religious urge, but rejects it on intellectual grounds.
It's unseemly to describe oneself as "bright" just because we might reject supernatural explanations. (Science and religion have been fighting for thousands of years to explain the world, science has won every time, but hey, who's to say.) Instead, we should designate people as Dims if they cling to pre-scientific beliefs, e.g., astrology, ouija boards, Santa Claus, God, Zeus, Vishnu, Yahweh, Allah, Amen-Ra, the Rapture, baptism, shakras, auras, vibrational energy, devils, angels, brownies, pixies, leprechauns, muses, joss sticks, Feng Shui, miracles, virgin birth, transubstantiation, divine intervention, demonic possession, crystals, magic, lucky numbers, voodoo, the evil eye, prayer, prayer beads, prayer wheels, prayer shawls, prayer candles, novenas, purgatory, heaven, hell, limbo, saints, zombies, werewolves, vampires, holy cards, holy water, holy ground, curses, blessings, wishes, crossed fingers, and the Chicago Cubs. Oops. That last one is one I will cling to, regardless. Look over the menu; if you want more than one, you're going to be a Dim.