New poll, new or most popular terms based on polls on this page and the Skeptic Magazine polls
What unifying umbrella term should people with a naturalistic worldview use? [90 votes total]

Brights (12)
Community of Reason (I belong to, I'm a member of) (16)
Critical Thinkers (2)
Inquirers (0)
Freethinkers (28)
Open Minders (0)
Philosophical Naturalists (5)
Skeptics (2)
Rationalists (10)
Realists (4)
Secularists (11)

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Posted By: Bill Atkinson

Posted On: Mar 19, 2005
Views: 877

I vote for the term "Other".

I am an Other. You are AnOther. We are all BrOthers. The Natural World is our MOther.

"Other" is already in use in the Muslim world: I believe it is the English translation of the Arabic word for infidel- meaning not one of "us".

"Other" is non-pejorative, neutral, not cute, not self aggrandizing, unpretentious, and this proposed use is sufficiently unorthodox to command attention.

Bill Atkinson

Posted By: Michel Virard

Posted On: Dec 1, 2004
Views: 943
Reasons for choosing "Bright"

Ce following is an exchange of e-mails (last year) between myself and the original promoters of the name Bright (Mynga & Paul, who manned the web site).
(Messages in chronological order)

1> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michel Virard []
> Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 3:52 PM
> To: Paul Geisert
> Subject: Re: New Bright signs up at!
> Hello,
> Thank you for the welcome. For non-mainstream individuals (at least in
> the US), it is always a warm feeling to discover a community of like
> minded people. For the brights, I had the same reaction I had more
> than 10 years ago when I discovered Les Sceptiques du Québec: I had to
> be part of it NOW!
> Yet, I do have a nagging question in the back of my mind: knowing that
> the choice of "brights" to re-label non-believers in the supernatural
> was obviously going to cause waves of sarcastic comments, was there a
> deliberate desire to provoke the believers when the term was chosen ?
> One could certainly have chosen a less provocative yet positive term,
> even going to a pure neologism, free of undesirable subliminal
> meanings in English (as well as in other main languages), don't you
> think ? On the other hand, perhaps making waves is actually the name
> of the game...
> Regards
> Michel Virard, ing.
> Symtec international
> Montreal QC Canada
> Tel (514) 343 4571

Paul Geisert & Mynga Futrell wrote:

2> Michel
> Sorry it took so long to get back to you, we are inundated with
> Brights work.
> You are right on all counts. The name is a problem and a blessing.
> Here is some “canned” thoughts on the matter.
> Thanks for your comments; we get a fair number of people expressing
> the same idea.
> In the chaotic nature of society, the word Bright is giving us media
> exposure like no other word could. We are not opposed to a change in
> the future when the Brights’ Net matures. After all, it is the
> concepts of the Brights’ Net that are important—everyone working
> together for social and political change.
> Here is how another Bright responded to the charge of arrogance.
> Ravi: “I went through the material on the Brights presently available
> on the net. Quite interesting. It confirms my interest in being a
> member. The criticism that comes up again and again is on the meaning
> of 'bright' that means intelligent. I can see the force of the
> objection, but I doubt it is as bad as it is made out to be. Most
> religions allow their leaders to pass off with ludicrous titles like
> 'Honorable', 'Venerable', 'Worship', 'Holiness', 'Grace' and other
> such nonsense. It seems that we are so used to this kind of prattle
> that we no longer even notice it. 'Brights' goes nowhere as far. So
> what is the problem?”
> If you think Bright carries a lot of baggage because some say the word
> is arrogant, please consider the cornucopia of secondary meaning given
> to the words atheist, agnostic, and secular humanist. And, worse,
> think of the negative meaning associated with what religionist refer
> to the community of reason: godless, irreligious, nonbelievers. So the
> Brights should be scolded because we use a word that others can
> possibly interpret as intelligent and perhaps a little arrogant?
> Finally, words such as freethinker, atheist, naturalist, and humanist
> carry eons of baggage which cannot be shed. Each has multiple
> meanings. The movement needed a clean and neat new word.
> Michael Shermer (who writes the skeptics column in Scientific
> American) did a series of small studies and focus groups. Thus far, no
> one has come up with a better word than Bright. All things considered,
> he concluded that “The word is Bright.”
> Here are two brief comments from Brights when they signed into the
> Brights constituency. Colin put it: "I have come all the way from
> "What a stupid idea" to my present thoughts that Bright is a very good
> idea, in the months since the convention. So one can change in spite
> of my 75 years!!" Roger gets the last word: “I am excited by your
> ideas and after initially recoiling at the name ‘Bright’ I have
> quickly accommodated to its wit and brilliance.”
> Mynga and Paul
> -----------------------
> Paul Geisert (He is a Bright)
> Mynga Futrell (She is a Bright)
> (They are two Brights in Sacramento, California
> and part of a growing constituency of Brights at
> A Bright is a person whose worldview is naturalistic--
> free of supernatural and mystical elements. Brights
> base their ethics and actions on a naturalistic worldview.

3) Thank you for taking time to answer me. I can imagine you got some

The answers you gave me are all well considered opinions and, yes, I
will support and defend the Bright name for the time being. If one has
to change later, as you said, we can always do so: we do not have a
holly scripture to abide by. The beauty of a scientific idea is that it
is always revisable and thus a bright idea should be revisable too.

Michel Virard

Posted By: Arwyn

Posted On: Feb 5, 2004
Views: 1056
Poll choices

I was divided between Freethinkers and Rationalists. I've known religionists who are also freethinkers (they think and judge for themselves, but they still "believe", and I've known non-believers who I would not call rational, convinced of the truth of all kinds of wierd conspiracy theories, alien visitations and other irrational stuff.

So I picked Rationalists, because I've known more religious freethinkers than I've known irrational non-believers.