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Rationalists of East Tennessee is an organization created to benefit people by expanding understanding of the universe through the use of empirical and rational methods. Our purposes are as follows:
To foster an environment suitable to free speech and exchange of ideas.
To promote free inquiry into the nature of the universe and of human societies.
To encourage critical thinking on all aspects of human life.
To emphasize the importance of the scientific method.
To explore ethical and intellectual alternatives to supernatural beliefs.
To model humanistic ethics through service to the greater community.
To provide a fellowship for people who share these purposes.
How Do I Join RET?
We welcome you to attend our meetings to find out more about us. Find out what we're doing next by browsing the calendar at left or by sending email to info at rationalists.org.
Once you've decided we're a group you'd like to associate with, either download our brochure and fill out the blank or print the HTML application found here.
Recent News and Events
RET third Sunday meeting - May 19 Please join us for our third Sunday meeting on May 19. Professor Derek H. Alderman, Head of the Dept. of Geography, University of Tennessee, will present a talk titled “Untangling the Place of Kudzu with Southern Culture and History” Professor Alderman's presentation will examine the invasive kudzu vine from a cultural and historical perspective, emphasizing the changing ways in which people, especially southerners, have identified with and used the plant since its introduction to the US in the later 1800s. Emphasis will be placed on how contemporary southerners have incorporated this exotic organism into their cultural landscape expressions, including the ways in which they talk about the world, public symbols, and even naming patterns. This lecture will provide a fascinating introspection into a very distinctive aspect of southern culture that we seldom consider.
Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30am-12:30pm.
Driving directions can be found at www.rationalists.org.
Posted by risler May 17, 2013
Special Public Meeting and Book Club Discussion fo Please join us this Saturday May 11 when the Rationalists of East Tennessee will hold their annual public lecture, presented this year by Dr. Massimo Pigliucci , professor of philosophy at City College, New York. Dr Pigliucci was one of the founding members of RET. His talk is titled “Science, Philosophy, and the Meaning of Life”. Dr. Pigliucci argues that a combination of science and philosophy offers the best possible tool for understanding the world and ourselves. Science provides facts; philosophy leads us to reflect on the values with which to assess them. Over the centuries, the two have become uncoupled, and only by rejoining them can we reach our full potential. The lecture is free to the public and will be held at 2:00 pm in the Goins building auditorium. Refreshments and socializing will follow.
On Sunday afternoon May 12, Dr. Pigliucci will also lead the RET monthly book club meeting. His most recent publication, “Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life”, will be the subject of discussion. The meeting will be held at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike at 4:00 pm. All are welcome .
Posted by risler May 09, 2013
RET First Sunday Meeting Please join us for the May 5 meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. We will show the first of two lectures from The Teaching Company on "Exploring the Roots of Religion" by Professor John R.Hale. These lectures present underlying history and connections in modern religions. They will cover Zoroastrianism, religions in Rome, and shed some light on the sources of modern myths.
The meeting will take place in the Goins building cafeteria annex at Pellissippi State Community College from 10:30am - 12:30 pm. Come early for socializing and snacks.
Posted by risler May 03, 2013
RET Reflections Meeting Please join us for the The April 28 Reflections meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. The meeting and potluck lunch will start at 1:00 pm at the home of Schera and Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville 37922. Call 865-690-8742 for directions.
The topic is "No Magic Bullets: Gun Control Issues After Newtown"
We need no reminders of what happened in Newtown, nor of all the previous mass killings within our memories. Months after the tragedy, social networks, online fora, incessant media coverage still rages even though a legislative proposal on gun control was introduced and hearings have begun in the Senate Judiciary Committee. How do we as a society make decisions on such emotionally charged, highly complex controversies? Not easily, and frequently not well. On Sunday we’ll share our thoughts, feelings, and opinions here within our safe group.
Posted by risler Apr. 26, 2013
RET Third Sunday Meeting Don't forget to join us tomorrow, April 21,, for the Rationalists of East Tennessee meeting.The topic is "2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World" - A DVD presentation by Dr. John Demos from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series.
The term “witch-hunt” is used today to describe everything from political scandals to school board shake-ups. Long before the Salem witch trials, women and men were rounded up by neighbors, accused of committing horrific crimes using supernatural powers, scrutinized by priests and juries, and promptly executed. The belief in witchcraft — and the deep fear of evil it instilled in communities — led to a cycle of accusation, anger, and purging that has occurred repeatedly in the West for centuries. Award-winning historian and Professor of History at Yale University, John Demos puts this cultural paranoia in context. He takes readers from the early Christians persecuted in Rome through the Salem witch trials, McCarthy’s hunt for communists, and the hysteria around child sex-abuse cases and satanic cults in the 1980s. An original and fascinating look at the cultural, societal, and psychological practice of witch-hunts, Demos illuminates the dark side of communities driven to rid themselves of “evil,” no matter what the cost.
Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am.
Posted by risler Apr. 20, 2013
Skpetic Book Club for April Don't forget to attend the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, April 14. The book of the month is “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking “ by Susan Cain. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak-- that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In "Quiet", Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, "Quiet" has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. (Amazon Review)