Nomenclature of the godless [corrected]

There’s been some recent discussion on various blogs of the notion that the term “Brights” be used to describe atheists, agnostics, etc. This was coined by Daniel Dennett Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell, and promoted by Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins, among others. I was going to write a post about how lame this is, but Kieran Healy already said it a while ago.
The problem isn’t that “Bright” is arrogant, but that it’s really dorky. Kieran is put in mind of the Comic Book Guy but I think a more apt Simpsons reference is to Martin Prince. There’s a kind of earnest, optimistic cluelessness about the idea that’s just asking to get beaten up by Nelson. I’m with PZ Myers, who is just fine with “atheist”. Even if it is associated with some particular obnoxious individuals, “atheist” has force and seriousness that “Bright” is sorely lacking.

9 thoughts on “Nomenclature of the godless [corrected]

  1. Josh

    Brandon and I recently asked Nick if there was a derogatory term that homosexuals used for straight people.
    The answer? “Breeders”.

  2. Arcane Gazebo

    Josh: I’d heard “breeders” before. Also used by militant childfree types. (And, of course, applied to Kim Deal, but it’s not derogatory in that case.)
    onymous: Oops, I thought he had but meant to check that before I posted it. Where did it come from?

  3. Mason

    Heterosexuals certainly do have a tendency to propagate. (Sex is hereditary. If your parents never had it, then chances are you won’t either.)
    I find the term “Brights” to be obnoxious. Atheist describes me accurately and if some people are turned off by my proudly labeling myself as such, that’s just too bad.
    In terms of association with particularly obnoxious individuals, that’s also true of Catholicism, etc. There’s no need for them to spoil our opinion of anybody else. (We can work on frying specific targets instead. I’ll play as Mr. Game & Watch!)

  4. Justin

    Anyone know why this is coming up again? Both Kieran and PZ were just reposting old material (PZ’s I’d seen the first time around). If it’s really all because of one comment on a previous Pharyngula thread, that’s pretty impressive topic propagation (AG is the third non-Pharyngula blog I’ve seen writing about this). :-)
    If we’re looking for Simpsons analogies, I’d probably go with Milhouse. It’s just that dorky.

  5. JSpur

    Weren’t “brights” little mystical characters in “Princess Mononoke?”. (Sorry if the spelling is lame but it’s the cocktail hour in Tuscany.)

  6. Jolene

    Aside from sounding dorky and insulting to “non-Brights,” or whatever term they use, it feels as though the Brights are trying to make a religion of not having a religion. Their website (which is alarmingly bright and light in color) looks like a parody of a religious or New Age-spiritual site. Their self-description of “a person who has a naturalistic worldview” is frustratingly vague.

  7. Josh

    JSpur – Well played. You’re thinking of “Kodama” though. Obviously you need a thorough reviewing of your Miyazaki!

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