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A Bright Meme 
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Thread Flintstone

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Post A Bright Meme
Here's an article by Dawkins, starting a meme, finding a new label...

books.guardian.co.uk/revi...12,00.html




Thu Jun 26, 2003 4:56 pm
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Post Re: A Bright Meme
I haven't gotten the chance to read the whole article, but at first glance it seems like a horrible idea. Maybe I'm missing a crucial point.




Fri Jun 27, 2003 1:35 am
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Thread Flintstone

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Post Re: A Bright Meme
I think it's a good idea, but he did not choose le bon mot (ie the right word). I understand the desire to replace "atheist", sort of a negative term with a postive term. However, "I'm a bright" sounds way too much like "I'm smarter than you are" to be accepted by the general population. I don't think it will work, but it could be interesting to see if this meme catches on at all...

Other possibilities?
naturalist -- ooops, are you a nudist?
momentist -- don't believe in afterlife
factualist -- ?

Naw, he's going for something a little more poetic, perhaps something from fantasy literature or role-playing gaming (heheheeeeeee! how's that for playing to an audience?) would work. :hat




Fri Jun 27, 2003 8:38 pm
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Post Re: A Bright Meme
Personally, I think we already have the appropriate term: Freethinker. I honestly don't know how you could improve upon that.

Still haven't read all the article...soon...soon...




Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:55 pm
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Post Re: A Bright Meme
;)

I'm all for it and I sighned on. I don't mind the opponents judging that we imply greater intelligence. I know from the article, we are suppose to counter that assumption and assume a stance of modesty. Then again, what does gay have to do with homosexuality? Yet it has succeeded in giving the homosexual community political clout. Even though the community now identifies gays as a group to disapprove, the unconscious mind cannot help but make positive connotations with the word gay (happy, giddy, etc.)

The same will happen with the Brights. They will eventually figure that means something like atheist, the subconscious will think instead of intelligent, insightful, etc.

I think it is worth a try! We need some political clout and a very broad umbrella to cover all who lead their lives as if there is no supernatural world to appeal to.

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Monty Vonn
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Sun Jun 29, 2003 7:39 pm
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Post Re: A Bright Meme
The argument that the homosexual political movement is indebted to the label 'gay' is most tenuous. Even if it were granted, it is hardly justification the abandonment of the much more sterile term atheist. Furthermore, I think that if you consult the popular culture, you will discover that, contrary to feelings of happiness and giddyness, the term 'gay' has become quite stigmatized and conjurs up images of debauchery, effeminancy, amorality, lasciviousness, ineffectuality, and all the other manner of prejudice in the minds of those the movement seeks to persuade, even to the point where the term has fallen into disuse. The political success owes less to the connotative vagaries of the term and its power of suggestion, than to the ability of a single inclusive name to induce unification and constituent organization.

If political influence is what you seek, perhaps the terms atheist and freethinker are ill-equiped for the task, having not the potency to draw all manner of disbelievers into a single fold. Yet it seems to me that 'Bright' offers no better solution and worse, could promote division within and without the ranks, by virtue of the very implications inhering in the name. The suggestion of intellectual superiority is no small matter and would engender feelings of hostility rather than attractiveness among the opposition. The 'gay' political movement was well aware of this and chose a politically inclusive rather than exclusive label. 'Bright' fails on this account, ever so miserably.

I'm happy with atheism as an intellectual movement. As such, it is free from the political manuevering and manipulations, and is beholden to none other than reason herself. Nevertheless, I recognize the need for political organization and, not wishing to malign the good name of freethinker, I concur that there is need for a political label through which an atheistic political agenda could be pursued. For this purpose, bright is ridiculously impoverished and impotent for reasons explained above. The appropriate term must be politically inert, and it must be socially inclusive. I leave its conception to you.




Mon Jun 30, 2003 2:19 am
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Post Re: A Bright Meme
The reason I do not accept the term "Atheism" is because the term has no meaning in absense to the word "Theism". This gives the word "Theism" primacy, which I do not wish to do. I believe the prime starting position is no position at all. Theism came later as a position and must prove itself to gain legitamacy. Having no position requires no proof and is the beginning point. I believe it is also the superior position. It requires no proof or defence.

Humanism is a runner up. It too is misinterpreted as humans being superior to all other considerations, instead of being interpreted as modesty, that we can only know the cosmos through our limited species-specific human senses and faculty.

Humanism is also a political movement, that many non-supernaturalist may not desire, agree or follow. So I believe we should continue to search for a term that gives a broader coverage for a unified movement.

I, for one, am willing to give "The Brights" a try. Although having a naturalistic view on the world does not require high intelligence, the correlation is so abundently clear that it is an accurate adjective for naturalists. I believe others who disagree with us would also consider most people they know that fit in this category as brighter than the everyday norm. But they pridefully say "You cannot think your way to heaven. It takes the faith of a child."

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Monty Vonn
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Mon Jun 30, 2003 12:27 pm
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