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About RET
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.

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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.
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Recent News and Events
RET meeting correction
Correction: The first Sunday in February (next Sunday) is February 1, not February 4 as stated in the original reminder for our annual business meeting. Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee annual business meeting on Sunday, February 1. At this meeting board members and officers will be elected for the coming year. There will be some reports on the past year and discussion about member suggestions for next year. This is your chance to express ideas for the direction in which the group goes in the coming year. Please contact Aleta Ledendecker (aledendecker@me.com or 865-982-8687) if you are interested in being on the board. Officer nominees must have served on the board for at least one year (at any time in the past). If time permits, we will have an open roundtable discussion on topics of your choice following the meeting. Goins Building cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Nominations can also be made at the meeting.

Posted by risler
Jan. 30, 2015

Rationalists Third Sunday Meeting
The Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on January 18 will feature professor John Nolt of the University of Tennessee Philosophy Department speaking on his recent book "Environmental Ethics for the Long Term". This presentation on environmental ethics will consider both contemporary issues and the extent of humanity’s responsibility for life in the distant future. Professor Nolt, is a logician and environmental ethicist. He applies contemporary science, logical analysis, and ethical theory to considerations of ethics beyond the human species and into the far future. Informed by contemporary environmental science, he formulates concrete policy recommendations from carefully justified ethical principles and from speculations concerning the deepest problems of environmental ethics. Please join us in the Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Jan. 15, 2015

RET Skeptic Book Club for January
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee monthly book club meeting on Sunday, January 11, 2:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers on Kingston Pike. The book for discussion is “How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee” by Bart D. Ehrman. New York Times bestselling author and bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church. The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today. Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God. (Amazon Review)

Posted by risler
Jan. 09, 2015

RET First Sunday Meeting
Please join us for RET’s first Sunday meeting on December 7. We will finish the Council for Secular Humanism video about the history of American Freethought. This segment includes discussions of several topics : the rise of Catholicism, challenges to Sunday laws, the Haymarket tragedy, McKinley, the barring of the Truth Seeker publication, Palmer raids, Emma Goldman, the Scopes trial, DeMille (Godless Girl), Mencken, radio evangelism (including plagiarism of Ingersoll), and the decline of freethought between the World Wars. Goins Building cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Dec. 05, 2014

Rationalists Public Lecture
Don't forget our special free public lecture by Tom Flynn of the Center for Inquiry and editor of "Free Inquiry" magazine. He will discuss the "Demography of Unbelief" - A lavishly-illustrated PowerPoint presentation tracing what pollsters know -- and what they get wrong -- about the record growth in the numbers of Americans claiming no religious affiliation from the 1980s to today. Goins Auditorium, Pellissippi State Community College, Saturday Nov. 15, 2:00 pm.

Posted by risler
Nov. 13, 2014

RET Sketic Book Club for November
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee monthly book club meeting on Sunday, November 9, 2:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers on Kingston Pike. The book for discussion is “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap ” by Matt Taibbi . Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration—come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime—but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side. In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice—the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistle blower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights. Through astonishing—and enraging—accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide’s punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all. (Amazon Review)

Posted by risler
Nov. 06, 2014

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