Brights Describe Their Brightness and Notions of a Naturalistic Worldview April 1, 2009

Brights Describe Their Brightness and Notions of a Naturalistic Worldview

A while back, I taped an interview for The Brights’ Net. That interview became part of a set of videos explaining the Brights movement.

Those videos are finally up and my company in them includes Daniel Dennett and Margaret Downey!

The purpose of the videos is to explain our notions of a naturalistic (as opposed to supernatural) worldview and why the term “Bright” is an appealing one.

Both of those videos can be seen here.

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  • Wes

    I’ve never been a fan of the term “brights”. I’m fine with “atheist”.

  • keddaw


    Stupid idea. Atheists are a diverse bunch which includes incredibly intelligent academics and business people and stupid people with a grudge against the church they grew up in or a rebellion against their parents. To classify everyone as ‘bright’ is as dumb as classifying everyone who sees Jesus as their saviour as ‘saved’. We are supposedly on the rational side but this nomenclature is anything but.

  • Erp

    I’m leaning towards freethinker myself though I currently use humanist (sometimes prefixed with non-theistic).

    I like freethinker because it is established and it means someone who tries to think freely and does not accept any dogma without question.

  • another Mike

    And — how far do you get in helping others to think for themselves if you label yourself as “bright”, which probably suggests to them that you think they are stupid. Most of my religious friends are pretty damned “bright” in other areas. It is hard for smart folks to admit that they have been brainwashed, and as I understand it, almost all people can be conditioned to believe absurd things. I think that Voltaire covered this pretty well. But having said this, I still dig Hitchens.

  • tamarind

    ‘Brights’ is such a ridiculous term. Can someone just make it go away already?

  • Nick

    I think the general idea is sound but I agree with another Mike: Calling your group “bright” inadvertently implies other groups are “not bright.” Not the intention but it’s going to be perceived as such.

  • Originally I thought the Brights was a fairly good idea. But I’m not a fan of it now. As mentioned above the term Atheist is just fine and gets right to the point.

  • The problem is that, like it or not, the word “bright” already has a well-established English meaning. It is going to be read as “intelligent”, and it’s going to sound arrogant.

    It doesn’t matter that it’s not “supposed” to be read that way. It’s going to be, subconsciously. The meanings of words can not be changed by fiat.

    Perhaps if you found someone with the last name of Bright and retconned the title to be in honor of them… that could short-circuit the connotation.

    Otherwise, bleh. I like atheist. It has it’s own negative connotations, but we’re working on that.

  • I’m with the other commenters…I don’t like the term. I’m also honest enough to admit I have nothing better to offer, either.

  • It’s like something a mentally disabled child would say, “I’m a bright.”

  • Anonymous

    I’m with Sam Harris: WTF does it matter what we call ourselves? How about aunicornists?

  • What do you call those who hold a naturalistic worldview? What they’ve been called since the beginning of the 20th century: naturalists. Philosophers John Dewey, James Woodbridge, and George Santayana were part of the American naturalist movement, and these days most academic philosophers consider themselves naturalists in this sense: naturalists as opposed to supernaturalists. Very simple, descriptive and with a long historical precedent.


    Tom Clark
    Center for Naturalism

  • Brooks

    I’m fine with calling myself atheist, too. Not only does it sound arrogant, Bright just sounds kind of cheesy. I just prefer to call myself an atheist because most people at least have a basic understanding of what I mean when I identify as an atheist and I don’t have to go into a long explanation of what I mean like I might with Bright or some other uncommon term. The whole Bright concept also sounds too quasi-religious for me.

  • Erik

    I have nothing much more to add than those above me here, but I hope this website doesn’t become The Friendly Bright, because that would be lame.

  • Marta

    why do we insist on being organised, named or unified? these are things I dislike most about churches.

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