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Next Meeting: Observations and Reflections on Living in Korea 1999-2011

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Calendar of Events
First Sunday Meeting
Professor Erin Darby of the University of Tennessee will speak on the rise of monotheism in early Israelite society.
Mar. 01, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Skeptic Book Club
"Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey from Belief to Atheism" by Jerry DeWitt - Sunday, March 8,2:00 pm at Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. Atheism’s leading lights have long been intellectuals raised in the secular and academic worlds: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens. By contrast, Jerry DeWitt was born and bred into the church and was in fact a Pentecostal preacher before arriving at atheism through an extraordinary dialogue with faith that spanned more than a quarter of a century. Hope After Faith is his account of that journey. DeWitt was a pastor in the town of DeRidder, Louisiana, and was a fixture of the community. In private, however, he’d begun to question his faith. Late one night in May 2011, a member of his flock called seeking prayer for her brother who had been in a serious accident. As DeWitt searched for the right words to console her, speech failed him, and he found that the faith which once had formed the cornerstone of his life had finally crumbled to dust. When it became public knowledge that DeWitt was now an atheist, he found himself shunned by much of DeRidder’s highly religious community, losing nearly everything he’d known. DeWitt’s struggle for identity and meaning mirrors the one currently facing millions of people around the world. With both agnosticism and atheism entering the mainstream—one in five Americans now claim no religious affiliation, according to a recent study—the moment has arrived for a new atheist voice, one that is respectful of faith and religious traditions yet warmly embraces a life free of religion, finding not skepticism and cold doubt but rather profound meaning and hope. Hope After Faith is the story of one man’s evolution toward a committed and considered atheism, one driven by humanism, a profound moral dimension, and a happiness and self-confidence obtained through living free of fear. (Amazon review)
Mar. 08, 2015, 2:00 pm
Third Sunday Roundtable
Dr. Tessa Burch-Smith of the University of Tennessee's Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology will present a talk titled "Genetic Engineering in Agriculture".
Mar. 15, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Life Sciences
Life Sciences are concerned with the structure and behavior of living organisms, their relationships to each other and to their environments, and include biology, botany, biochemistry, ecology, physiology, and zoology. Today we pose three general questions below and you may choose one to discuss in detail, or two briefly. Usually we have around 4 to 8 minutes each, depending on how many members attend the meeting. ----- Ethics Related to Organ Transplants ----- Medical Malpractice ----- Environmental Ethics On Sunday, March 22nd, we’ll share a pot-luck lunch starting at 1:00 pm, with our discussion beginning around 1:40 pm. Please bring a dish, bag, box, or bottle, and join us at Schera & Ted’s home [9219 George Williams Road, call 865.690.8742 for directions].
Mar. 22, 2015, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Observations and Reflections on Living in Korea 1999-2011
RET member Alan England will present a talk titled "Observations and Reflections on Living in Korea from 1999-2011. Alan will provide a brief survey of Korean culture, education, religion, life style, language, politics, technology, and other aspects of Korean society experienced during his 13 years of residence. Mention will be made of some updates in the last three years since he returned to the US. Pellissippi State Community College, Goins building cafeteria annex, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.
Apr. 05, 2015, 10:30 AM
Highway Trash Pick-up
The next RET Adopt a Highway trash pickup will take place on Saturday, April 11 at 1:00 pm. Meet at the Burger King restaurant on the northeast corner of Lovell Road and Pellissippi parkway. Remember gloves, sunscreen, hat and a picker-upper. Rain date: April 18
Apr. 11, 2015, 1:00
Skeptic Book Club
The book for our March meeting is “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History” by Nicholas Wade. Please join us on Sunday, April 12, 2:00 pm at Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. For this understandable reason, the idea has been banished from polite academic conversation. Arguing that race is more than just a social construct can get a scholar run out of town, or at least off campus, on a rail. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory. Inconveniently, as Nicholas Wade argues in A Troublesome Inheritance, the consensus view cannot be right. And in fact, we know that populations have changed in the past few thousand years—to be lactose tolerant, for example, and to survive at high altitudes. Race is not a bright-line distinction; by definition it means that the more human populations are kept apart, the more they evolve their own distinct traits under the selective pressure known as Darwinian evolution. For many thousands of years, most human populations stayed where they were and grew distinct, not just in outward appearance but in deeper senses as well. Wade, the longtime journalist covering genetic advances for The New York Times, draws widely on the work of scientists who have made crucial breakthroughs in establishing the reality of recent human evolution. (Amazon Review)
Apr. 12, 2015, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
RET Third Sunday Meeting
Professor Bruce MacLennan of the University of Tennessee will present a talk based on his recent book titled "The Wisdom of Hypatia". Hypatia was one of the most famous philosophers of the ancient world. The mix of classical philosophies she taught to Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the fourth century forms the very foundation of Western spirituality as we know it today. The Wisdom of Hypatia is a hands-on guide to using the principles of philosophy to bring purpose, tranquility, and spiritual depth to your life. To the ancients, philosophy was a spiritual practice meant to help the seeker achieve a good life and maintain mental tranquility. Bruce J. MacLennan, PhD, provides a concise history of philosophy up to Hypatia’s time and a progressive program of spiritual practice based on her teachings. Explore the three most important philosophical schools of the Hellenistic Age. Discover the techniques described in the historical sources, and put into practice the profound insights of the world’s greatest minds. Pellissippi State Community College, Goins building cafeteria annex, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.
Apr. 19, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

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