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New Harmony & Boatload of Knowledge
New Harmony & the "Boatload of Knowledge" In the winter of 1825-1826, scientist William Maclure and reformer Robert Owen led a boatload of scientists and artists down the Ohio River to colonize New Harmony, Indiana. Another Scot, Frances Wright, flirted an American super hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, repeatedly traveled to New Harmony, and founded Nashoba, a colony for freed slaves near Memphis, Tennessee. Neither colony survived, but Maclure s scientists and five of Owen s adult children remained in New Harmony, and one of them joined Wright during a meteoric career in New York City. Collectively, they helped bring about vast improvements in education, in labor, in race relations, and in the role which rationalism & science have come to play in our modern society, including the foundations of the US Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution. Presented by RET member Ted Lollis
June 07, 2015, 10:30 AM
Skerptic Book Club
The book for our June meeting is “Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World” by Mark Miodowink. Please join us on Sunday, June 14, at 2:00 pm at Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik constantly asks himself. Miodownik studies objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. In Stuff Matters, Miodownik explores the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor to the foam in his sneakers. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.
June 14, 2015, 2:00 pm
Solstice Party
Summer Solstice Party _ Pot Luck Come and enjoy good company, games (Bocci, Badminton, Swimming, Bubbles, Rocket Balloons) Kid Friendly Contact Aleta Ledendecker, aledendecker@me.com
June 20, 2015, 5:00 to after dark
Third Sunday Meeting
The third Sunday in June will feature a DVD presentation from the Skeptic Society Distinguished Lecture Series. Professor Michio Kaku will give his views on "The Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100". Dr. Kaku takes us on a journey into the future to reveal the revolutionary developments in medicine, computers, quantum physics, and space travel that will forever change our way of life and alter the course of civilization. For example: the Internet will be in your contact lens, you will control computers and appliances via tiny sensors that pick up your brain scans, sensors in your clothing, bathroom, and appliances will monitor your vitals, and nanobots will scan your DNA and cells for signs of danger, allowing life expectancy to increase dramatically. Also, radically new spaceships using laser propulsion may replace the expensive chemical rockets of today, and you may be able to take an elevator hundreds of miles into space by simply pushing the up button.
June 21, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Smoky Mountain Freethought Advance (Not Retreat!)
Because the Lake Hypatia July 4 “Advance!” is not being held this year, we have good news! The Rationalists of East Tennessee is holding a substitute event in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, in Townsend, TN, July 3 and 4th. Cost $120/person (children under 18 are free). Meals are a la carte at an additional fee. Lodging and Advance are at Tremont Lodge and Resort, 7726 E Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882-4039 (865) 448-3200 or (844) 448-3200 with a 10% discount if RET is mentioned as the Group. A block of rooms will only be held until May 29, so reserve soon! There is a stunning list of speakers already confirmed with more to come, plus there will be the traditional “Freethought Jeopardy” and even fireworks. For more information contact Aleta Ledendecker at aledendecker@me.com.
July 03, 2015
Smoky Mountain Freethought Advance (Not Retreat!)
Because the Lake Hypatia July 4 “Advance!” is not being held this year, we have good news! The Rationalists of East Tennessee is holding a substitute event in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, in Townsend, TN, July 3 and 4th. Cost $120/person (children under 18 are free). Meals are a la carte at an additional fee. Lodging and Advance are at Tremont Lodge and Resort, 7726 E Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882-4039 (865) 448-3200 or (844) 448-3200 with a 10% discount if RET is mentioned as the Group. A block of rooms will only be held until May 29, so reserve soon! There is a stunning list of speakers already confirmed with more to come, plus there will be the traditional “Freethought Jeopardy” and even fireworks. For more information contact Aleta Ledendecker at aledendecker@me.com.
July 04, 2015
No First Sunday Meeting
There will be The Smoky Mountain Advance on July 3rd and 4th instead. Contact aledendecker@me.com for details.
July 05, 2015
HIghway Trash Pick-up
Remember, the Rationalists of East Tennessee will have their summer trash pickup on Saturday, July 11 at 5:30 pm. The late hour is intended to avoid the midday heat. We should easily finish before sunset. Meet at the Burger King at the intersection of Lovell Road and the Pellissippi Parkway. Gloves, insect repellant, hat, and a picker-upper device are recommended. Should finish by 8 or 8:30.
July 11, 2015, 5:30
Skeptic Book Club for July
The book for our July meeting is “House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again” by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi . The Great American Recession resulted in the loss of eight million jobs between 2007 and 2009. More than four million homes were lost to foreclosures. Is it a coincidence that the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in household debt in the years before the recession—that the total amount of debt for American households doubled between 2000 and 2007 to $14 trillion? Definitely not. Armed with clear and powerful evidence, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi reveal in House of Debt how the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending. Though the banking crisis captured the public’s attention, Mian and Sufi argue strongly with actual data that current policy is too heavily biased toward protecting banks and creditors. Increasing the flow of credit, they show, is disastrously counterproductive when the fundamental problem is too much debt. As their research shows, excessive household debt leads to foreclosures, causing individuals to spend less and save more. Less spending means less demand for goods, followed by declines in production and huge job losses. How do we end such a cycle? With a direct attack on debt, say Mian and Sufi. More aggressive debt forgiveness after the crash helps, but as they illustrate, we can be rid of painful bubble-and-bust episodes only if the financial system moves away from its reliance on inflexible debt contracts. As an example, they propose new mortgage contracts that are built on the principle of risk-sharing, a concept that would have prevented the housing bubble from emerging in the first place. Could we have prevented the Great Recession and its consequences? And what actions are needed to prevent such crises going forward? Please join us on Sunday, July 12, at 2:00 pm at Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville.
July 12, 2015, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Third Sunday Meeting
RET member Professor Marty Carcieri will present a talk titled "Rawls and the Right to Die"
July 19, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

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