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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
Annual Public Lecture
Humanist author Dale McGowan will present the RET annual public lecture Saturday, May 2, at 1:00 pm in the Goins Auditorium of Pellissippi State Community College, Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville. His talk is titled "Twenty Things I Learned About Atheism that Most Atheists Don’t Even Know". This will be an entertaining talk based on his book "Atheism for Dummies". He notes "If the sentence 'Atheists Don’t Believe in God' captures everything there is to know about the subject, then the Grand Canyon is just a big hole in Arizona. Join us as he reveals twenty surprising things he learned about atheism while researching the book. Dale is an author and editor of several books including "Parenting Beyond Belief", "Raising Freethinkers", and "Atheism For Dummies". His most recent title, "In Faith and In Doubt", is the first on marriages between religious believers and nonbelievers. Dale is also the founding Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist charitable and service organization, and content development manager for Patheos, the world’s largest website exploring questions from religious and nonreligious perspectives. He was named Harvard Humanist of the Year in 2008. Dale lives with his family near Atlanta. For further information, visit his web site http://dalemcgowan.com/.
May 02, 2015, 1:00 pm
Third Sunday Meeting
Dr. Charles Omarzu of RET will present a talk on "The Design of Experiments on Living Things" The design of experiments on living things has a wide range of applications - from education to psychology and sociology, and to bio-medical research. The core principles of these designs can be explained in a non-technical way so that they are understandable to a broad audience. This should allow interested parties to critically evaluate research findings and claims made for the value of various treatments and equipment. For this presentation, an interactive approach will be used to help the audience reason its way through testing for various threats to the validity of the experiment. An attempt will be made to provide easy and interesting examples as well as some useful background information. The goal will be to reach the "gold standard" of such designs, which is used, for example, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) as its protocol for testing. Some information may also be presented on claims which have yet to meet this standard.
May 17, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

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