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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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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 Skeptic Book Club for September
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee monthly book club meeting on Sunday, Sept. 14 at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble on Kingston Pike. The book for discussion is “Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures” by Virginia Morell. Noted science writer Virginia Morell explores the frontiers of research on animal cognition and emotion, offering a surprising and moving exploration into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals. Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a fish? Or a parrot, dolphin, or elephant? Do they experience thoughts that are similar to ours, or have feelings of grief and love? These are tough questions, but scientists are answering them. They know that ants teach, earthworms make decisions, and that rats love to be tickled. They’ve discovered that dogs have thousand-word vocabularies, that parrots and dolphins have names, and that birds practice their songs in their sleep. But how do scientists know these things? Animal Wise takes us on a dazzling odyssey into the inner world of animals from ants to wolves, and among the pioneering researchers who are leading the way into once-forbidden territory: the animal mind. With thirty years of experience covering the sciences, Morell uses her formidable gifts as a story-teller to transport us to field sites and laboratories around the world, introducing us to animal-cognition scientists and their surprisingly intelligent and sensitive subjects. She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has only recently overturned old notions about why animals behave as they do. She probes the moral and ethical dilemmas of recognizing that even “lesser animals” have cognitive abilities such as memory, feelings, personality, and self-awareness–traits that many in the twentieth century felt were unique to human beings. By standing behaviorism on its head, Morell brings the world of nature brilliantly alive in a nuanced, deeply felt appreciation of the human-animal bond, and she shares her admiration for the men and women who have simultaneously chipped away at what we think makes us distinctive while offering a glimpse of where our own abilities come from. (Amazon Review)

Posted by risler
Sept. 12, 2014

Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday Meetin
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday meeting on September 7. We will return to the Council for Secular Humanism's video presentation "American Freethought." Topics presented include Women's Rights and Freethought Movements. Seneca Falls, Darwin, Comstock (not a freethinker), the American Tract Society, "The Truth Seeker" and Robert Green Ingersoll will also be covered. The Executive Producer of the video is Tom Flynn, who will address an RET general public meeting this coming November. Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. Refreshments starting at 10:00 am.

Posted by risler
Sept. 04, 2014

Victor Stenger has died
Physicist Victor Stenger, who was the speaker at the annual public meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee in 2010, passed away on August 27. Dr. Stenger was a prolific author and one of the strongest voices the secular movement has had for pointing out the fallacies of creationism from a scientific point of view. His advocacy for rationalism will be missed.

Posted by risler
Aug. 30, 2014

Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meetin
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on August 17. Professor Edward Caudill of the University of Tennessee will give a presentation titled "Intelligently Designed: How Creationists Built the Campaign Against Evolution." Rather than looking at creationism as a scientific controversy, professor Caudill approaches it as a political exercise, grounded in creationists' appeal to cultural values such as rights and individualism, the astute use of media, and legitimate scientists' inability to address the general public. The problem is not whether intelligent design/creationism is science. It is not. The compelling issue, instead, is "How did such a silly idea as a 6,000-year-old earth win so many followers in the most scientifically advanced culture in the history of humanity?". Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Aug. 15, 2014

RET Lunch-Brunch for August
Please join friends and members of the Rationalists of East Tennessee for lunch at the TASTE OF THAI restaurant, Wednesday, August 13, at 11:15 a.m. The restaurant is located at 8926 Town and Country Circle - the phone number is 865-691-4442. It is just off North Peters Road, across from Best Buy and Lowe's Home Improvement. If you have not signed up or if you have signed up and need to cancel, please contact Pauline Hamilton at 437-9966 or hpauline0719@yahoo.com so tables will be ready.

Posted by risler
Aug. 08, 2014

RET Skeptic Book Club for August
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee monthly book club meeting on Sunday, August 10, 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble on Kingston Pike. The book for discussion is “Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason” by Seth Andrews. "...and then Noah loaded the dinosaurs onto the ark." Assertions like these seem comical until you realize that many Christian parents aren't kidding when they teach them to their children as facts. Every day, impressionable young minds are conditioned to blindly accept wild biblical tales of floating zoos, talking shrubbery, 900-year-old humans, the undead, curses, levitation, demon/human hybrids and men who obtain super-human strength from the length of their hair. Allegiance to these teachings is expected, often demanded. Curiosity is muted. Doubt is frowned upon as a sin. And for those who dare to raise a dissenting hand, the threat of Hell looms ominously. A former religious radio host raised in the cradle of Christianity, Seth Andrews battled his own doubts for many years. His attempts to reconcile faith and the facts led him to a conclusion previously unthinkable, and this once-true believer ultimately became the founder of one of the most popular atheist communities on the internet. (Amazon Review)

Posted by risler
Aug. 08, 2014

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