‘The Brights’ and Secular Humanism

17 07 2005

Each Friday, James Randi posts a weekly ‘commentary’ on the rampant influence of mysticism and religion in daily thought. He has has made a lifetime career of exposing charlatans, fakers, and frauds along the lines of Sylvia Browne and John Edward (of ‘Crossing Over’ fame).

In this weeks commentary he steps on his soapbox and delivers masterful commentary on the rise of religious mysticism as a credible alternative to scientific theory. For anyone bothered by events such as the Kansas Board of Education deleting the theory of evolution from the science texts or the fact that our nations leader invokes an all powerful deity, from which he takes guidance daily, this treatise is an outstanding commentary on the state of affairs.

Randi also mentions an organization called The Brights, a group whose baseline philosophy I basically agree with, but I am uncomfortable with a “Join us! Do not be afraid!” attitude prevalent through the site.

For example, the site states, as a definition of it’s core philosophy:

What is a bright?

  • A bright is a person who has a naturalistic worldview
  • A bright’s worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements
  • The ethics and actions of a bright are based on a naturalistic worldview

That’s all well and good, and gybes pretty well with my own philosophies, though a bit self-referential with the ‘naturalistic worldview’ schtick. But the site continues…

Currently the naturalistic worldview is insufficiently expressed within most cultures, even politically/socially repressed. To be a Bright (someone who fits the definition and registers on this Web site) is to participate in a movement to address the situation.

Okay, hang on a moment. Apparently this group is not comfortable with a simple definition or an ideal. You must participate in the movement to be a ‘Bright’. This really gets into “If you want in the club, ya gotta do the dance, man!”.

I’m going to remain skeptical of these folks for a while. The site is rampant with a ‘join up on this website, and be a Bright!’ sort of content, which unfortunately just makes me want to avoid it all the more. Their forums seem active and interesting, but I think I’ll stick with my own self-definition. Agnostic Secular Humanist, and call it art.

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