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Home > Culture and Society

Bright idea

It's a shame that Commissions which involve moral questions will automatically assume that you'll need a Bishop, an Imam and a couple of Others to get the ethical angles covered.

15 October 2003

It's a shame that Commissions which involve moral questions will automatically assume that you'll need a Bishop, an Imam and a couple of Others to get the ethical angles covered.

So it's understandable that people like philosopher Daniel Dennett have been pushing for a new term to describe those with a naturalistic approach to the universe. Atheist means something different, likewise agnostic and if you check yourself into hospital as a Humanist, you can be sure of sniggers at best from the nursing staff.

Because your main problem is combatting the idea that those who go out of their way to identify themselves as non-religious are a smug bunch who want to demonstrate their mental superiority, rather than another group who need to be better understood.

And what have these brainiacs plumped for? The Brights. Oh, Jesus. Well done.

"Under this broad umbrella, as Brights, these people can gain social and political influence in a society infused with supernaturalism."

And look like a bunch of Frasier Cranes in the bargain. Way to go, Poindexters.

p.s. While we're doling out the free P.R. 101, Dawkins is a loose cannon, who preaches better to the converted, but can sound a little embarrassing once he moves outside of zoology.

Renowned biologist Richard Dawkins, who coined the word "meme" (it refers to any idea, habit, world, song lyric, fashion, etc. that passes from one person to another by imitation), is particularly interested in how contagious this particular meme will be. An advocate of the term "Bright," he wonders whether it will proliferate as quickly as backward baseball caps, exposed navels, and phrases like "D'uh" and "a fun time" or simply fade away? Will the Internet be a factor? Will the term appear cool or smack of silly trendiness?

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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