The problem with the word bright is that it is too easily seen as confirming this link between atheism and intellectuality. Or to put this more precisely, if people with no belief in god begin to self-identify as brights, they run the risk of apparently confirming what many religious people already suspect about them, that they consider themselves to be better or more intelligent than people who believe in a god.
My view exactly; to the uninitiated observer (whose hearts and minds the movement is ostensibly trying to win) saying "I am a Bright" would look a bit too close to waving one's MENSA card in their face. Never mind that that's not the intended purpose; the perception is what counts. Which makes it looks like the Bright movement is the product of the classic wonks with plenty of abstract intelligence, a good deal of pride in it, but not enough basic social nous to avoid rubbing people the wrong way; not exactly the people you'd want doing your PR.
But that's not the only possible flaw with the "Bright" movement; the belief that people who don't believe in the supernatural are immune to dogmatic beliefs is a fallacy, as anybody who has ever spoken to a Marxist or an Objectivist (and there's another sect claiming to be guardians of "rationality") will know.
Which thoughts lead on to the second point about the kind of movement the brights idea is likely to foster. It is certainly going to contain some odd bedfellows. Scientific atheists and Marxist atheists will be united in thinking that there is definitely no god, but they'll fight like cats and dogs over the fate of the bourgeoisie. The agnostics will irritate both groups by sitting on the fence, whilst freethinkers drive themselves crazy trying to find a viewpoint unique to themselves. The skeptics will watch the whole thing from afar with slightly cynical smiles, and the postmodernists will talk past themselves, as per usual. As for the rest of the world? They wont see past the name. And laughter and parody will be the result. Therefore, one can only hope that the bright meme fails on its evolutionary journey.
And then there will be the inevitable "What Kind Of Bright Are You" test all over the blogosphere and LiveJournals everywhere. (via Stumblings)
Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.
Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.