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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
Skeptic Book Club for March Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, March 9. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" by Jonathan Haidt. As America descends deeper into polarization and paralysis, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has done the seemingly impossible—challenged conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum. Drawing on his twenty-five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, he shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind. (Amazon Review)
Posted by risler Mar. 07, 2014
RET First Sunday Meeting Please join us in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday meeting on March 2. We will view and discuss a DVD presentation by Dr. Robert Trivers from the Skeptics Society Distinguished lecture Series titled "The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life". Whether it is in a cockpit at takeoff or the planning of an offensive war, a romantic relationship or a dispute at the office, there are many opportunities to lie and self-deceive — but deceit and self-deception carry the costs of being alienated from reality and can lead to disaster. So why does deception play such a prominent role in our everyday lives? In his bold new work, Rutgers University evolutionary theorist Robert Trivers unflinchingly argues that self-deception evolved in the service of deceit — the better to fool others. We do it for biological reasons—in order to help us survive and procreate. From viruses mimicking host behavior to humans misremembering (sometimes intentionally) the details of a quarrel, science has proven that the deceptive one can always outwit the masses. But we undertake this deception at our own peril.
Posted by risler Feb. 28, 2014
RET Third Sunday Meeting Please join us in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on February 16. RET member Ralph Isler will discuss the second part of his outline of the history of the earth. After a brief review summarizing the previous segment of the presentation
and how science provides insight into the early history, we will discuss how cyanobacteria created the oxygen-rich atmosphere necessary for most life forms, continental drift, mass extinctions, and several other topics which provide us with a background for understanding our present environment .
Posted by risler Feb. 14, 2014
Skeptic Book Club for February Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, February 9. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "50 Simple Questions for Every Christian" by Guy P. Harrison. Written in a respectful and conversational style, this unique book is designed to promote constructive dialogue and foster mutual understanding between Christians and non-Christians. The author, a skeptic and journalist, asks basic questions about Christian belief.
What is the born-again experience? Why would God want to sacrifice his only son for the world? Do miracles really happen? How reliable is the Bible? What is the rapture? Why isn't everyone a Christian? Each question is followed by commentary and analysis that is skeptical and tough but never argumentative or condescending.
Christians will find the book useful as a basis for developing their apologetics, while skeptics will welcome Harrison's probing rational analysis of religious claims. (Amazon Review)
Posted by risler Feb. 07, 2014
Rationalists of East Tennessee Annual Business Mee The annual RET business meeting will be held on February 2, 2014 at 10:30 AM in the Cafeteria Annex of the Goins Administration Building at Pellissippi State Community College. 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 of member suggestions for next year.
If you are interested in serving on the board, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so you can be added to the slate. Nominations can also be made at the meeting.
You have to be a paid member to vote or serve on the board. So remember to pay your dues before the meeting (or at the meeting) if you have not done so for 2014.
If you are not a member, but are interested in finding out more about RET functions, please visit us.
Following the business meeting, there will be a Woman’s Potluck and Games gathering at 1:00 pm at Carol and Stephan Tokay’s house, 8905 Garrison Drive, Knoxville 37931. We’ll be playing Catch Phrase and other games people have on hand. Bring a bag, box, or dish to share.
Posted by risler Jan. 31, 2014
RET fourth Sunday activities Please join us for either or both of two RET functions on Sunday January 26.
The Adopt A Highway community outreach program of trash pickup will take place from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon. Meet at the Burger King restaurant on the northeast corner of the Lovell Road and Pellissippi Parkway intersection at 9:30 am for breakfast, preparation, and viewing of the training video if you have not already signed the required form.
Following the trash pickup, our 4th Sunday Reflections Meeting will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the home of Schera and Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, TN 37922.
The subject will be “Meaningful Relationships with Non-human Friends”. Call 865-690-8742 for directions.