We have recently learned of a new category of classifying our species. Just when we thought Homo Sapiens was an enviable designation, it quickly passed into disfavor as a newer, more desirable taxonomy appeared: Homo Lucidus, otherwise known as “the Brights.”
As it turns out, this system of classification demarcates those among us who have superior intelligence and can see clearly through all the fog of superstition and fallacious thinking that, well, the rest of us seem to have. They alone have the mental states capable of perfectly rational and clear, objective thinking.
It has been discovered, however, that this new category is entirely self-designating. I mean to say that you can declare yourself a “Bright” if you wish. There’s only one catch. You must be committed to – well – I’ll allow them to state it in their own terms.
According to their official documentation, “Any individual whose worldview is free of supernatural or mystical forces and entities may register as a constituent.” So there you have it. Jews need not apply. Nor Muslims. And certainly not Christians. Anyone who thinks that there is any sort of Intelligent Mind behind the universe is banned from the club. And a club it appears to be, since on its website there are all the markings of an exclusive community. You may go to the Merchandise store and purchase for $5 a Bright Lapel Pen (” a great conversation starter…You can divulge/discuss your naturalistic worldview in amiable and informative ways.”). Don’t forget your Cloth Patch for your jacket ($3) or Window Decal for your car ($2). Also available is an ample supply of shirts, gym bags, coffee mugs, calendars, wall clocks, buttons, etc. all decorated with the official Bright Logo. You do want to be both Bright and fashionable, yes? But I digress.
I thought to myself, “How many of our most famous scientists would have made it into this club?” So, let’s take a journey together and think about this for a moment. For starters, let’s go with Johannes Kepler, who gave the world his Three Laws of Planetary Motion and discovered that planets orbit in ellipses, not perfect circles. Well, I am sorry to say that he would not have made the cut. He was a Christian.
Then how about Copernicus, father of the Heliocentric theory? Sorry, my friend. He too, was a Christian. Oh, and for a time a Catholic cleric. Too bad for him. Well, moving on now to Galileo. Ah, Galileo. Made improvements to the telescope. The Father of observational astronomy. Stephen Hawking writes of him “Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science.” To my utter surprise, he fails membership in the Brights as well. He was a thoroughgoing committed Christian. He had he crazy idea that God actually created this world. How silly of him.
Surely Isaac Newton, whose Principia Mathematica is hailed as perhaps the greatest scientific treatise ever penned, would be a shoe-in for inclusion. He virtually invented Gravity. And he did invent calculus (along with another non-Bright Gottfried Leibniz – but another story on another day). Oh, lest I forget, he also contributed significantly to the theory of light and modern optics. Alas, he too, is locked out. Newton, a Christian, actually wrote more material on his religious subjects than all of his scientific papers put together.
As it turns out, most of the famous scientists, upon whose theories modern science rests, were card-carrying Christians. Robert Boyle, the first modern Chemist and author of Boyle’s law of gases, was a Christian as well. He personally financed many missionaries and Bible printings. In his Will, Boyle provided money for a series of lectures to defend the Christian religion against those he considered “notorious infidels, namely atheists, deists, pagans, Jews and Muslims.” Sorry, Boyle is officially blacklisted from the Club.
Entire books could be written detailing the contributions of famous theistic scientists who would have never been a “Bright.” James Clerk Maxwell, discoverer of electro-magnetism, one of the four fundamental forces of the Universe, gets turned away at the door. His Christianity was well-known to his scientific colleagues. Not so “Bright.” John Dalton, father of modern atomic theory, was a Christian and thus, not a “Bright.” In fact, when I think about it, the four fundamental forces of the Universe – Gravity, Electro-Magnetism, the Strong and Weak nuclear forces – all have been discovered via the contributions of Christian and other theistic thinkers.
So before you knock on the Brights club door and apply for membership – think about those who were denied. Only some of the most brilliant minds ever to grace our planet. And you think you’re Bright?