Bright

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(Redirected from Paul Geisert)
For the adjective, see brightness; for people named Bright see this list.

The term bright, used as a noun, is a neologism invented by Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell (now the co-Directors of The Brights Net) in 2003 as a positive-sounding umbrella term to describe various kinds of non-religious and non-superstitious people. They define the word as follows:

A bright is a person whose worldview is naturalistic - free of supernatural and mystical elements. A bright's ethics and actions are based on a naturalistic worldview.

The term thus captures most atheists and agnostics as well as some humanists and freethinkers.

The idea has been publicized by Richard Dawkins in articles for The Guardian [1] (http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,981412,00.html) and Wired [2] (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.10/view.html?pg=2), and by Daniel Dennett in the New York Times [3] (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/bright/bright_index.html).

Part of the inspiration to seed a positively laden term came from the modern usage of the word "gay" to mean homosexual. The project borrows heavily from the theory of memes.

Some people (both religious and non-religious) have objected to the term because they read it as as implying that the non-religious are more intelligent ("brighter") than the religious. (In his Wired article, Dawkins states "Whether there is a statistical tendency for brights (noun) to be bright (adjective) is a matter for research.") There was a similar backlash early in the life of the word "gay": for example the satirical magazine Private Eye ran a cartoon strip called "The Sads" for many years.

Others, especially nonbelievers, have objected to Geisert and Futrell's campaign on the grounds that a usage such as "gay" must arise organically, rather than through deliberate creation, if it is to stick.

External links

  • The Brights Net (http://www.the-brights.net/) — website set up by Geisert and Futrell to publicise their idea
  • The Brights Net Forums (http://www.the-brights.net/forums/) — Official Forums of the Brights' Movement


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