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Rationalists Third Sunday Meeting
The Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on September 21 will feature professor Phil Hamlin of the University of Tennessee leading a discussion concerning “Perspectives on Evil”. How do we define evil? Does its definition depend on the society in which a person lives? Is it a necessary part of life? Does evil require human agency, or are there evils inherent in nature? Was the Holocaust the ultimate act of evil? Please join us for a lively exchange of ideas on this subject that continues to shape many of our perceptions about the world around us. Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Sept. 19, 2014

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

Rationalists of East TennesseeFirst Sunday Meeting
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday meeting on August 3. RET member Nan Woodbury will recount her 8000 mile bicycle adventure from California to Peru. She will share pictures and stories of her 20 months, 13 counties, 2 sets of tires, and more patches then she can count. Nan says: “To travel at the speed of a bicycle is to see the world in a different perspective. Bicycle speed is slow enough to become part of the landscape, and just fast enough to make progress. This journey was one of discovery about myself, the world we live in, and the connections we make along the way. The adventure changed me and how I understand the world. This is what I want to share with you and maybe my story will change how you see the world too." Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. Refreshments starting at 10:00 am.

Posted by risler
Aug. 01, 2014

Rationalists of East Tennessee double-header
Please join the Rationalists of east Tennessee for a double-header get-together on Sunday, July 20. Our regular third Sunday morning Roundtable discussion will be followed by an afternoon game day. The Roundtable meets at the regular time and place: 10:30 am in the Goins building cafeteria annex on the Pellissippi State Community College campus. It will feature a DVD lecture from the The Skeptics Society by Dr. Sean Carrol titled “The Particle at the end of Universe”. The historic discovery of the Higgs boson is on a par with the splitting of the atom. The key to understanding why mass exists has been found. In this lecture, Caltech physicist and acclaimed writer Sean Carroll takes you behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to meet the scientists and explain this landmark event. What is so special about the Higgs boson? We didn’t really know for sure if anything at the subatomic level had any mass at all until we found it. The fact is, while we have now essentially solved the mass puzzle, there are things we didn’t predict and possibilities we haven’t yet dreamed. A doorway is opening into the mind boggling, somewhat frightening world of dark matter. We only discovered the electron just over a hundred years ago and considering where that took us—from nuclear energy to quantum computing—the inventions that will result from the Higgs discovery will be world-changing. Our regular meeting will be followed at 1:00 pm by a Game Day gathering in the Community Room of Earth Fare Grocery, Turkey Creek. It will feature strategic game such as checkers, chess, jinga, othello or whatever people bring and want to play. Catchphrase will be available as well. You can purchase snacks, meal, desert, drink at the store (No outside food allowed.)

Posted by risler
July 18, 2014

RET Skeptic Book Club for July
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee monthly book club meeting on Sunday, July 13, 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble on Kingston Pike. The book for discussion is “The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease“ by Daniel Lieberman. In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman—chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field—gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.

Posted by risler
July 11, 2014

RET Lunch-Brunch
Friends and members of the Rationalists of East Tennessee are meeting for lunch at the TASTE OF THAI restaurant, Wednesday, July 9, at 11:15 a.m. The restaurant is located at 8926 Town and Country Circle - 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
July 07, 2014

No RET First Sunday Meeting
This note is a reminder that, as usual, there will be no first Sunday meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee in July so people can attend the Lake Hypatia gathering sponsored by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Posted by risler
July 04, 2014

RET Game Day
Don't forget, on Sunday, June 29, The Rationalists of East Tennessee will hold a meeting of fun and games from 12:00 – 4:00 pm in the Community Room at Earth Fare Market, Turkey Creek Shopping Center. Bring a game you would like to play or play one of ours.It's buy-your-own drink, snack, lunch, desert, or some groceries at EarthFare. Since we get the room free, no outside food may be brought in.

Posted by risler
June 26, 2014

RET Third Sunday Meeting
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on June 15. We will view and discuss a DVD presentation by Dr. Kevin Dutton from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series titled “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success”. Dr. Dutton reveals that there is a scale of madness along which we all sit. Incorporating the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, Dutton demonstrates that the brilliant neurosurgeon who lacks empathy has more in common with a Ted Bundy who kills for pleasure than we may wish to admit, and that a mugger in a dimly lit parking lot may well, in fact, have the same nerveless poise as a titan of industry. Dutton argues that there are functional psychopaths among us—different from their murderous counterparts—who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more psychopathic people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the most successful con artists in the world, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath. Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
June 13, 2014

LUNCH BUNCH
Reminder: Rationalist members and friends are meeting for lunch and conversation June 11, 2014, at 11:15 at the Tomato Head West, 7240 Kingston Pike, Gallery Shopping Center in Bearden, phone number 584-1075 for directions. Please let Pauline know at hpauline0719@yahoo.com if you plan to come and haven't signed up already so a place will be held for you.

Posted by paulinehamilton
June 07, 2014

Skeptic Book Club for June
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, June 8. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is “The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime” by Adrian Raine Why do some kids from good environments become mass murderers? Is there actually such a thing as a natural born killer? And, if so, what can we do to identify and treat those born with a predisposition to criminal behavior? For more than three decades Adrian Raine has sought answers to these questions through his pioneering research on the biological basis for violence. In this book, he presents the growing body of evidence that shows how genetics and environmental influences can conspire to create a criminal brain, and how something as seemingly innocent as a low resting heart rate can give rise to a violent personality. Bristling with ingenious experiments, surprising data, and shocking case studies, this is also a clear-eyed inquiry into the thorny ethical issues this science raises about prevention and punishment. Passionate, courageous, and at times controversial, The Anatomy of Violence is a ground-breaking work that will challenge your core human values and perspectives on violence (Amazon Review).

Posted by risler
June 06, 2014

RET First Sunday Meeting
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee our First Sunday meeting on June 1 in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. We will view and discuss the DVD “American Freethought” presented by Roderick Bradford and The Council for Secular Humanism. This is a four-part miniseries probing American freethought, atheist, and humanist heritage from the American Revolution to the 1930 era. The first two parts will be discussed this Sunday: (1) Founding of the Nation, and (2) the Abolition movement - seeds of the rights of women and freethought movements.

Posted by risler
May 30, 2014

Rationalists Annual Public Meeting
The Rationalists of East Tennessee will continue the tradition of hosting nationally recognized scholars for their free annual public meeting this coming Sunday, May 18. Our featured speaker is theology professor Dr. Robert Price discussing “Ethics: for Humans, by Humans”. The meeting takes place at 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Goins Administration Building on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College. Directions may be found on our website at www.rationalists.org. Dr. Price notes that non-theists are constantly assailed with the claim that, in rejecting God, they are removing any basis for morality. This genuine fear probably accounts for much of the public's revulsion at atheism and humanism. Replying, "Hey! We're moral! Don't worry!" is not a sufficient answer. But there is one. Dr. Price combines elements from Thomas Aquinas, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Emil Durkheim to outline a basis for consistent humanist ethics, asking also whether the supposed need to derive morality from God is not actually fatal to theism, and if perhaps much current humanist political ethics is not implicitly faith based after all. Dr. Price is a research fellow of the Council of Secular Humanism Center for Inquiry and a fellow of The Jesus Seminar. He hosts ”The Bible Geek” webcast and “The Human Bible” podcast. The latter is described as analysis that deconstructs and demystifies the Bible; it takes a secular, sober, and impartial look at the Bible—no belief in the supernatural, no favoritism, no animosity. No questions are off limits, and no dogma stifles inquiry. Dr. Price is author of several books including “Deconstructing Jesus”, “The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man” and “The Reason Driven Life”. Mark your calendar to remind you of the date and time of what is sure to be a very stimulating talk that outlines a counter argument to theistic dogma that you can’t be good without God. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

Posted by risler
May 12, 2014

Skeptic Book Club for May
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, May 11. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" by Reza Aslan. Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal. Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry—a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious “King of the Jews” whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity. (Amazon Review)

Posted by risler
May 10, 2014

Congratulations to Betty Clemens
Congratulations to RET member Betty Clemens on the upcoming publication of a chapter she has written for the soon to be released book “Atheists in America”, published by Columbia University Press. Details of the release party and Betty’s email to interested people is appended below. Please contact her for further information. Ralph ---------------------------------------------------- I am forwarding my invitation to attend the book release party In New York sponsored by Columbia University Press. Book title: ATHEISTS IN AMERICA. My chapter title: Aging in America, A Contrarian Life Story. If anyone is interested in attending, please contact me. bettyclemens@aol.com. My chapter was chosen for publication following an invitation issued through the RET Newsletter several years ago. Thought some members might be interested. Thanks. Elizabeth "Betty" Clemens We have a date for the book release party (still finalizing a time, but it will be in the evening, likely 7pmish) on Wednesday, June 25th!! It will be held at the NY Society for Ethical Culture, a great home for humanists and atheists! 2 West 64th Street NY NY 10023 ---------------------------------------- We have the ceremonial hall reserved: a beautiful room with stained glass windows http://www.nysec.org/sites/default/files/images/ceremonial-hall1.jpg The building is from the 1800s and a very special place. I would absolutely love for several of you to do readings from your narrative. Please email me if you're interested in this. Everyone is invited to join, especially friends and family :). The book release party will also be coupled with a "coming out party" in which we celebrate being nonbelievers, mingle, eat snacks and drink wine, and dance (if you'd like). I will be making a facebook event that you can use to invite others shortly. Right now, plane tickets from various locations are pretty cheap - less than $200 in many cases. I'm happy to suggest lodging and accommodations nearby, too. Looking forward to meeting many of you this summer! Melanie

Posted by risler
May 04, 2014

First Sunday Meeting
Please join the 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 May 4. We will view the final DVD lecture on "Biology and Human Behavior: the Neurobiological Origins of Human Behavior" by Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University.

Posted by risler
May 02, 2014

RET Third Sunday Meeting
Please join the 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 April 20. Professor Andrew Kramer of the University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology will present a talk titled “Neanderthals 'R Us: What paleo-genetics and fossils tell us about how we got here and who we came from.” One of the most fundamental questions of our existence will be addressed in Dr. Kramer’s presentation discussing the origins of modern humans and the fate of the Neanderthals. Were these ice age humans simply an extinct side-branch that had nothing to do with our own evolution, or did they contribute directly to our origins? Using ancient DNA and fossil data, Dr. Kramer will present the evidence and provide some provocative, perhaps even surprising, conclusions.

Posted by risler
Apr. 18, 2014

Skeptic Book Club for April
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, April 13. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "The Fact of Evolution" by Cameron M. Smith. Evolution is often described as a "theory." While this is certainly technically true, it is misleading to dismiss evolution as "just a theory" (an unfounded idea), as opponents of evolution like to do. In this illuminating work of popular science, anthropologist Cameron M. Smith amply demonstrates that there are few more well-established facts in the scientific canon than that life evolved on earth. Walking the reader through the steps in the evolutionary process, Cameron uses plenty of real-world examples to show that not only does evolution happen, it must happen. Cameron analyzes evolution as the unintended consequence of three independent facts of the natural world that we can observe every day: (1) the fact of the replication of life forms (producing offspring); (2) the fact that offspring are not identical (variation); and (3) the fact that not all offspring survive (selection). Viewed in terms of this analysis, evolution is no longer debatable; in fact it has to occur. It is simply the inevitable consequence of three obvious, observable, factual natural phenomena. The Fact of Evolution also covers new discoveries in evolution, many of which have occurred in the last twenty years of the "genomic revolution" and have strengthened Darwin's basic idea. In addition, the author discusses complex theoretical issues such as speciation, phyletic gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium, the "Evo-Devo" paradigm, and the concept of bauplane, as well as the facts of primate and hominid evolution. Well-organized, clearly written, and accessible, The Fact of Evolution is ideal for students or any interested lay readers. (Amazon Review).

Posted by risler
Apr. 11, 2014

Reminder of RET Special Meeting-April 6
This note is a reminder to current members of Rationalists Of East Tennessee of the special meeting for the purpose of amending our bylaws. The meeting will be as brief as discussion will allow and will be held just prior to the regular program tomorrow, April 6th. The proposed changes are for the following purposes: 1. Allowing the treasurer greater flexibility in the timing of billing membership dues 2. Clarifying that requirements for our operation are always in compliance with documents we have filed with the state of Tennessee and Federal Government. This meeting is to begin promptly at 10:00 am in the cafeteria annex of the Goins building at the PSTCC, our regular Sunday morning meeting room. The regular program will begin at 10:30 am.

Posted by risler
Apr. 05, 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 April 6. By popular request we will continue the DVD lecture series on "Biology and Human Behavior: the Neurobiological Origins of Human Behavior." by Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University.

Posted by risler
Apr. 04, 2014

RET Reflections Meeting for March
Please join us this Sunday for the Rationalists of East Tennessee March 23 Reflections Meeting, which will be held at the home of of Schera Chadwick & Ted Lollis. We will begin with our traditional pot-luck lunch starting at 1:00 pm. Bring a bag, box, or dish and meet with us us for a late lunch followed by discussion beginning around 1:30pm. The discussion will center on Robert Lee Fulgham's "Conversation Lifeboat" questions. Call 865-690-8742 for further information and driving directions.

Posted by risler
Mar. 22, 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 March 16. By popular request we will continue the DVD lecture series on "Biology and Human Behavior: the Neurobiological Origins of Human Behavior." by Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University.

Posted by risler
Mar. 15, 2014

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 info@rationalists.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.

Posted by risler
Jan. 23, 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 January 19 for a look at A. A. Milne’s ‘The Ivory Door”. RET member Homer Wilkins will reprise his insightful presentation of this much neglected drama by the author of the “Winnie the Pooh” books. The play dramatizes the powerful grip that belief, legend, and myth exert on the minds of people. We will explore the many lessons this adult fairy tale can teach us.

Posted by risler
Jan. 16, 2014

Skeptic Book Club for January
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, January 12. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture" by Frank R. Wilson. The human hand is a miracle of biomechanics, one of the most remarkable adaptations in the history of evolution. The hands of a concert pianist can elicit glorious sound and stir emotion; those of a surgeon can perform the most delicate operations; those of a rock climber allow him to scale a vertical mountain wall. Neurologist Frank R. Wilson makes the striking claim that it is because of the unique structure of the hand and its evolution in cooperation with the brain that Homo sapiens became the most intelligent, preeminent animal on the earth. In this fascinating book, Wilson moves from a discussion of the hand's evolution--and how its intimate communication with the brain affects such areas as neurology, psychology, and linguistics--to provocative new ideas about human creativity and how best to nurture it. Like Oliver Sacks and Stephen Jay Gould, Wilson handles a daunting range of scientific knowledge with a surprising deftness and a profound curiosity about human possibility. Provocative, illuminating, and delightful to read, The Hand encourages us to think in new ways about one of our most taken-for-granted assets.

Posted by risler
Jan. 10, 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 January 5. We will view the introductory lectures on "Biology and Human Behavior: the Neurobiological Origins of Human Behavior" presented by Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University. He will discuss the need for an interdisciplinary approach and show how the dangers of focusing on one approach can lead to ideologies. Next he will present the complexities of the neuron which will give us an idea of the complexity of the brain and, therefore, the complexity of human behavior.

Posted by risler
Jan. 04, 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 December 15. RET member Dr. Charles Omarzu will lead roundtable discussion on "What You Didn't Know About Global Warming" Two videos will be shown which present some unsettling, little known facts about global warming. In the first video, Merchants of Doubt (46 min.), Naomi Oreskes explains how a small group of scientists created doubt about the dangers of global warming by using the same tactics that they used to create doubt about the dangers of lung cancer from smoking, acid rain from coal smoke, and ozone hole depletion from CFCs. Their efforts encouraged global warming denial by right wing politicians and the religious right. The video is based on the book, Merchants of Doubt, which Oreskes co-wrote with Erik M. Conway. In the second video, The Geopolitics of Climate Change (40 Min.) , Gwynne Dyer, gives a military assessment of the international conflicts that are sure to arise if global warming is not brought under control. It is based on his book Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats

Posted by risler
Dec. 13, 2013

Skeptik Book Club for December
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, December 8. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture" By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. Red Families v. Blue Families identifies a new family model geared for the post-industrial economy. Rooted in the urban middle class, the coasts and the "blue states" in the last three presidential elections, the Blue Family Paradigm emphasizes the importance of women's as well as men's workforce participation, egalitarian gender roles, and the delay of family formation until both parents are emotionally and financially ready. By contrast, the Red Family Paradigm--associated with the Bible Belt, the mountain west, and rural America--rejects these new family norms, viewing the change in moral and sexual values as a crisis. In this world, the prospect of teen childbirth is the necessary deterrent to premarital sex, marriage is a sacred undertaking between a man and a woman, and divorce is society's greatest moral challenge. Yet, the changing economy is rapidly eliminating the stable, blue collar jobs that have historically supported young families, and early marriage and childbearing derail the education needed to prosper. The result is that the areas of the country most committed to traditional values have the highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates, fueling greater calls to reinstill traditional values. Featuring the groundbreaking research first hailed in The New Yorker, this penetrating book will transform our understanding of contemporary American culture and law. The authors show how the Red-Blue divide goes much deeper than this value system conflict--the Red States have increasingly said "no" to Blue State legal norms, and, as a result, family law has been rent in two. The authors close with a consideration of where these different family systems still overlap, and suggest solutions that permit rebuilding support for both types of families in changing economic circumstances. Incorporating results from the 2008 election, Red Families v. Blue Families will reshape the debate surrounding the culture wars and the emergence of red and blue America.

Posted by risler
Dec. 06, 2013

Skeptic Book Club for November
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, November 10. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism" by A.C. Grayling. What are the arguments for and against religion and religious belief--all of them--right across the range of reasons and motives that people have for being religious, and do they stand up to scrutiny? Can there be a clear, full statement of these arguments that once and for all will show what is at stake in this debate? Equally important: what is the alternative to religion as a view of the world and a foundation for morality? Is there a worldview and a code of life for thoughtful people--those who wish to live with intellectual integrity, based on reason, evidence, and a desire to do and be good--that does not interfere with people's right to their own beliefs and freedom of expression? In "The Case Against Religion", Anthony Grayling offers a definitive examination of these questions, and an in-depth exploration of the humanist outlook that recommends itself as the ethics of the genuinely reflective person. (Amazon Review)

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Nov. 08, 2013

RET Reflections Meeting for October
Please join us this Sunday for the Rationalists of East Tennessee October 27 Reflections Meeting, which will be held at the home of Carol & Stephen Tokay, 8905 Garrison Drive Knoxville, TN 37931. We will begin with our traditional pot-luck lunch starting at 2:00 pm (note the time). Bring a bag, box, or dish and meet with us us for a late lunch followed by discussion beginning around 2:30pm. The discussion will center on All Hollows Eve, the paranormal, and whether some people have mysterious knowledge or powers. Call 865-691-681 for directions.

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Oct. 25, 2013

RET Third Sunday Meeting
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on October 20. We will view and discuss a DVD presentation by Dr. Dr. Christoff Koch from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series titled “Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist”- What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Neuroscientist Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. Koch recounts not only the birth of the modern science of consciousness but also the subterranean motivation for his quest—his instinctual (if “romantic”) belief that life is meaningful. Koch describes his own groundbreaking work with Francis Crick in the 1990s and 2000s and the gradual emergence of consciousness (once considered a “fringy” subject) as a legitimate topic for scientific investigation. Koch gives us stories from the front lines of modern research into the neurobiology of consciousness as well as his own reflections on a variety of topics, including the distinction between attention and awareness, the unconscious, how neurons respond to Homer Simpson, the physics and biology of free will, dogs, sentient machines, and Der Ring des Nibelungen. Please join us in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Oct. 18, 2013

Skeptic Book Club for October
Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, October 13. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates" by Frans De Waal. For many years, de Waal has observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share their food. Now he delivers fascinating fresh evidence for the seeds of ethical behavior in primate societies that further cements the case for the biological origins of human fairness. Interweaving vivid tales from the animal kingdom with thoughtful philosophical analysis, de Waal seeks a bottom-up explanation of morality that emphasizes our connection with animals. In doing so, de Waal explores for the first time the implications of his work for our understanding of modern religion. Whatever the role of religious moral imperatives, he sees it as a “Johnny-come-lately” role that emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and empathy. Rich with cultural references and anecdotes of primate behavior, The Bonobo and the Atheist engagingly builds a unique argument grounded in evolutionary biology and moral philosophy. Ever a pioneering thinker, de Waal delivers a heartening and inclusive new perspective on human nature and our struggle to find purpose in our lives.(Amazon Review).

Posted by risler
Oct. 11, 2013

RET Meeting - Sept. 15
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on September 15. We will have an open roundtable discussion on “Is the American Experiment with Democracy Over?” Recent recognition of gay rights, including marriage, and legalization of marijuana in many states seem to indicate that America is becoming a more liberal and democratic society. But in other more important areas, recent years have witnessed regressive changes, which can profoundly affect individual freedom and opportunities. The income gap and wealth between the rich and the middle class has grown steadily with globalization, the demise of labor unions, and the transformation from a high-wage manufacturing economy to a low-wage service economy. Voter suppression laws not seen since the days of Jim Crow are now being enacted in most Republican controlled states, especially since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. The move to destroy the public school system is in full swing with states enabling voucher programs that will be a windfall for religious academies. These points and many others will be discussed. Please join us and present your own concerns about the direction of the country. Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Sept. 14, 2013

Skeptic Book Club for September
Pleas join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, September 8. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless" by Greta Christina. Why are atheists angry? Is it because they're selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God? Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry--and are ready to do something about it? Armed with passionate outrage, absurdist humor, and calm intelligence, popular blogger Greta Christina makes a powerful case for outspoken atheist activism, and explains the empathy and justice that drive it. This accessible, personal, down-to-earth book speaks not only to atheists, but also to believers who want to understand the so-called new atheism. "Why Are You Atheists So Angry?" drops a bombshell on the destructive force of religious faith—and gives a voice to millions of angry atheists.(Amazon Review).

Posted by risler
Sept. 06, 2013

RET Meeting, September 1 - PSCC Cafeteria Annex
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday meeting on September 1. The topic will be "Roots of Religion - Archeology verses Anthropology" A few months ago we listened to some lectures entitled “Exploring Roots of Religion.” In the last lecture Professor John R. Hale said that religious belief seems to be hardwired into the human consciousness and “Above all, archeology shows how religion lies at the core of every society's perception of its own identity.” We will further pursue this topic and extend it by presenting material from an anthropologist’s perspective using Pascal Boyer's "Religion Explained". The meeting will take place Sunday, Sept. 1, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm in the cafeteria annex of the Goins building on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College.

Posted by risler
Aug. 30, 2013

RET Reflections Meeting for August
Please join us for the August 25 Reflections Meeting, which will be held at the home of Schera and Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville 37922. Call 865-690-8742 for directions. It will be a potpourri roundtable where each person can share with the group an item in which he/she is interested. We will begin with our traditional pot-luck lunch starting at 1:00 pm. Bring a bag, box, or dish and join us for a late lunch followed by discussion beginning around 1:30pm. You are welcome to present any item: something humorous, a brief description of a particularly memorable travel experience, a collection of favorite jokes or puns, word-puzzles, quotations from favorite books, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Be prepared to share one of these with us during our “five minute” time allotments as the talking stick is passed.

Posted by risler
Aug. 23, 2013

Freethought Forum
Larry Rhodes and Ben Snyder will interview James Lindsay, author of the book "God Doesn't;We Do: Only Humans Can Solve Human Challenges". Tuesday 5:00 - 6:00 pm, Knoxville Community Television. This program can be seen in the Knoxville area on Comcast Channel 12 or on Charter channel 6. Outside the area it is streamed live on ctvknox.org. Freethought Forum is jointly sponsored by the Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville.

Posted by risler
Aug. 18, 2013

RET Meeting - August 18 - NOTE CHANGE OF ROOM.
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday meeting on August 18. This meeting will feature a DVD presentation by Dr. Lawrence Krauss from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series titled "A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing" Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? Why is there something rather than nothing? Such questions have been at the center of religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God, but in recent years science has been closing in on answers. In a cosmological story that rivets as it enlightens, pioneering theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains the groundbreaking new scientific advances that turn the most basic philosophical questions on their heads. NOTE: THIS MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE IN ROOM 223 OF THE ALEXANDER BUILDING INSTEAD OF IN THE CAFETERIA ANNEX, WHICH IS OUR USUAL VENUE. WE SHOULD BE BACK IN THE ANNEX FOR THE SEPTEMBER FIRST MEETING.

Posted by risler
Aug. 16, 2013

Skeptic Book Club for August
Pleas join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, August 11. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People" by Neil Shubin. From one of our finest and most popular science writers comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us? With his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe’s fourteen-billion-year history can be seen within us. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our history.

Posted by risler
Aug. 09, 2013

RET Meeting - August 4 - NOTE CHANGE OF ROOM
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday meeting on August 4. Ex-minister and current atheist Teresa McBain will give a presentation titled "The Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, and Dorothy - Finding Community on the Yellow Brick Road." Teresa will detail her journey from theist to skeptic to atheist. She will come to us directly from serving as counselor at Camp Quest Smoky Mountains. Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. NOTE: THIS MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE IN ROOM 223 OF THE ALEXANDER BUILDING INSTEAD OF IN THE CAFETERIA ANNEX, WHICH IS OUR USUAL VENUE.

Posted by risler
Aug. 02, 2013

RET Reflections Meeting for July
Please join us for the July 28 Reflections Meeting at the home of Carol and Stephen Tokay, 8905 Garrison Drive, Knoxville, TN 37931. Call 865-691-6816 for directions. We’ll begin this meeting with our traditional pot-luck lunch starting at 2:00 pm (NOTE THE TIME). Bring a bag, box, or dish and join us for a late lunch followed by discussion beginning around 2:30pm. RET member Phil King will lead a discussion on the subject “Do Fundamentalists Really Believe in God”. The topic is based an article in the New York Times opinion pages, by an op-ed guest columnist, T. M. Luhrmann, entitled, "Belief is the Least Part of Faith". We will consider such questions as why do people believe in God, how can some people be so confident of their belief in God, what evidence is there for God, how do fundamentalist and evangelical Christians view their belief and faith, and how do liberal, ecumenical Christians view the beliefs and faith of fundamental Christians?

Posted by risler
July 26, 2013

RET meeting - July 21-NOTE CHANGE OF ROOM
Please join us for our third Sunday meeting on July 21. RET member Joan Ormazu will present the video "Forks over Knives", a documentary discussing health, diet, and diseases. The film, which won the Documentary/Special Interest Title of the Year in 2012, advocates a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet in order to improve health. Several scientists will discuss their research into nutrition and its effects on minimizing disease in one's life. One of the stars, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., has been a heart surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic for many years. After successful surgery, some patients returned with additional heart disease, which led Dr. Esselstyn to undertake years of nutritional research on arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients. Several patients are interviewed and tell their stories of reversing health problems by changing diet. Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. NOTE: THIS MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE IN ROOM 223 OF THE ALEXANDER BUILDING INSTEAD OF IN THE CAFETERIA ANNEX, WHICH IS OUR USUAL VENUE.

Posted by risler
July 19, 2013

Skeptic Book Club for July
Pleas join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, July 14. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is “Bailout- How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street” by Neil Barofsky In this bracing, page-turning account of his stranger-than-fiction baptism into the corrupted ways of Washington, Neil Barofsky offers an irrefutable insider indictment of the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. During the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job in the esteemed U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City to become the special inspector general overseeing the spending of the bailout money. But from day one his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold the big banks accountable were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials. Bailout is a riveting account of Barofsky’s plunge into the political meat grinder of Washington, and a vital revelation of just how captured by Wall Street our political system is and why the banks have only become bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.

Posted by risler
July 12, 2013

RET Third Sunday Meeting - June 16
Please join us for our third Sunday meeting on June 16. RET member Ralph Isler will present a talk titled "Third Rock from the Sun - A Biography". The origin and history of the earth has fascinated people from the earliest civilizations to the present day. Almost all ancient societies have creation mythologies, usually involving supernatural, or at least superhuman, gods. But over the last 150 years or so, modern science has allowed us to produce a detailed, naturalistic, evolutionary history of the earth from its origin 4.57 billion years ago to the present. This undertaking represents the quintessential model for how historical sciences work to illuminate the past. Emphasis will be not only on what we know about the earth’s history but on how science has determined its age, the time of formation of the first oceans, continental drift, the origins of life, and much more. Goins Building Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
June 15, 2013

Skeptic Book Club for June
Don't forget to attend the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, June 9. The book of the month is “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” by Jared Diamond. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning “Guns, Germs and Steel”, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. “Collapse” moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana. Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, “Collapse” is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide? (Amazon review)

Posted by risler
June 08, 2013

Rationalists of East Tennessee - First Sunday Meet
Please join us for the RET first Sunday meeting, June 2 in the Goins building cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Comunity College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.. The topic will be “Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America” – a DVD presentation by Barbara Ehrenreich from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series. In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal 19th-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God wants to “prosper” you. The medical profession prescribes positive thinking for its presumed health benefits. Academia has made room for new departments of “positive psychology” and the “science of happiness.” Nowhere, though, has bright-siding taken firmer root than within the business community, where, as Ehrenreich shows, the refusal even to consider negative outcomes — like mortgage defaults — contributed directly to the current economic crisis. With the mythbusting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of America’s penchant for positive thinking: On a personal level, it leads to self-blame and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out “negative” thoughts. On a national level, it’s brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster.

Posted by risler
May 31, 2013

RET Reflections Meeting for May
Please join us tomorrow at 1:00 pm for the May 26 Reflections Meeting and potluck lunch. The meeting will be held at the home of Schera and Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville 37922. Call 865-690-8742 for directions. The topic is "Are We Compassionate about Individual Rights of Minorities?" Our nation and many religions profess to respect the rights of individuals and minorities. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, “works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights.” Yet public opinion often condemns minorities, and it often requires acts of individual courage to defend the rights of the underdog. This topic is wide open and skirts the boundary (if there is one) between civil rights and personal morality. You may choose to address broad principles or specific examples.

Posted by risler
May 25, 2013

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)

Posted by risler
Apr. 12, 2013

RET First Sunday Meeting
Please join us on Sunday, April 7, when Rationalists of East Tennessee member Chevy Anz will present show clips from the 1972 film "Marjoe", giving background and insight of what went down behind the scenes. This movie was an expose' of Pentecostal evangelistic chicanery, seen through the eyes of a charismatic title character who takes a film crew on his final tour of the Tent Revival Circuit he grew up in. Oscar-Best Documentary 1972. Goins building cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Apr. 05, 2013

The Hill Lecture in Science Writing
Jeffrey Kluger, senior editor of science, technology and health for Time magazine, will deliver the 21st annual Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Tuesday, April 2. Kluger will lecture on "Science as Civilizer" in the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture Auditorium at 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Kluger is keenly interested in the way scientific knowledge doesn't just edify but can also cleanse, producing a culture that doesn't just get smarter but behaves better. Kluger has worked at Time since 1996 and has written or co-written more than 40 cover stories. Recent topics include NASA's Mars Curiosity rover, parental favoritism, the Fukushima disaster and the discovery of the Higgs boson. He also has written eight books, including "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13," which he co-authored with astronaut Jim Lovell. The book was the basis for the 1995 movie "Apollo 13." Kluger was a technical advisor for the film and had a small role in it. His other books include "Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio" and "Freedom Stone," a children's novel.

Posted by risler
Apr. 01, 2013

Third Sunday Meeting
Join us in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am-12:30 pm on Sunday, March 17 when Dr. Elaine Breslaw will present a talk titled "A Reconsideration of the History of American Medicine"- For most American doctors, and in the eyes of the general public, medical science in this country has a long history. It follows then, according to this set of beliefs that the United States has been in the forefront of medical discoveries and innovations during its early history. That unfortunately is not true. Professor Breslaw will offer a reconsideration of those popular ideas as she describes some of the health problems faced by early Americans as detailed in her recently published book, "Lotions. Potions, Pills, and Magic: Health Care in Early America". Although the focus will be on the nature of medical care in early America, she will consider the role of lay practitioners such as midwives, obeahs, herb doctors, and other non-orthodox remedies, while tracing the declining stature of the medical profession itself during the nineteenth century. That decline was partly due to the inadequate education of medical personnel but was also a result of underlying social, economic, and ethical values of the time that promoted commercialization and encouraged the nationalistic ideal of American exceptionalism. America was left behind while Europe, in the first truly scientific examination of traditional medical therapies, began to question the accepted theories in the mid nineteenth century. Dr. Breslaw will suggest America did not begin to take a lead until a century later.

Posted by risler
Mar. 15, 2013

RET First Sunday Meeting
Come join us this Sunday, March 3, when Homer Wilkins, a long-time member of the Rationalists of East Tennessee, will present a talk titled “Life as a Star Performer in the Cosmic Universe”. The presentation is based largely on the writings and speeches of the late George Wald, a Nobel Prize winning biologist of Harvard. in these writings and speeches he evolves and comments on his own “wholly non-supernatural” religion as the basis of personal and public life. Goins Cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Mar. 02, 2013

Third Sunday Meeting
Come join us this Sunday, February 17, for a discussion of “The Great God Debate: Does Science Support Belief in a Deity?”, a DVD presentation from the Caltech Skeptics Society Lecture Series - Dr. Hugh Ross vs. Dr. Victor Stenger Hugh Ross, an evangelical Christian cosmologist, makes his case for why there is no conflict between science and religion, and claims that in fact, science leads to the inevitable conclusion that God exists and that He’s the Judeo-Christian God. Dr. Victor Stenger counters that the universe, laws of nature, and life do not need a supernatural explanation, and that, in fact, the scientific evidence points to there being no God at all. Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 a.m. www.rationalists.org or (865)-482-4680.

Posted by risler
Feb. 15, 2013

The Skeptic Book Club for February
Don't forget to attend the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, February 10.The book for January is “Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind” by Mark Pagel. A unique trait of the human species is that our personalities, lifestyles, and worldviews are shaped by an accident of birth—namely, the culture into which we are born. It is our cultures and not our genes that determine which foods we eat, which languages we speak, which people we love and marry, and which people we kill in war. But how did our species develop a mind that is hardwired for culture—and why? Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel tracks this intriguing question through the last 80,000 years of human evolution, revealing how an innate propensity to contribute and conform to the culture of our birth not only enabled human survival and progress in the past but also continues to influence our behavior today. Shedding light on our species-defining attributes—from art, morality, and altruism to self-interest, deception, and prejudice—Wired for Culture offers surprising new insights into what it means to be human. Time and location: 4:00 to 6:00pm, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.

Posted by risler
Feb. 09, 2013

The Skeptic Book Club for January
Don't forget to attend the Rationalist's of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, January 13. The book for January is “Griftopia: a Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History” by Matt Taibbi. The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The grifter class—made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding—has been growing in power, and the crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they’ve hijacked America’s political and economic life. Matt Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing account yet written of this ongoing American crisis. He offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals of the bailout; tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; and uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of this country, and the profound consequences for us all. (Amazon.com summary) Time and location: 4:00 to 6:00pm, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.

Posted by risler
Jan. 11, 2013

RET First Sunday Meeting
Come join us for a discussion of “The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future”, a DVD presentation from the Caltech Skeptics Society Lecture Series by UCLA professor Laurence Smith. In a stunning visual presentation, UCLA Professor of Geography and Earth and Space Sciences, Dr. Laurence Smith, forecasts what our planet will be like in the year 2050. The result is both good news and bad: Eight nations of the Arctic Rim (including the U.S.) will become increasingly prosperous, powerful, and politically stable, while those closer to the equator will face water shortages, aging populations, and crowded megacities sapped by the rising costs of energy and coastal flooding. Sunday January 6, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College.

Posted by risler
Jan. 04, 2013

Signinig up for RET discussion forum
Rationalists of East Tennessee members and potential members, On January 7, 2013, the current discussion forum (RETdiscuss) will cease to exist. For those members who wish to continue having access to RETdiscuss (and potential members who wish to pay dues and gain access), it will be necessary to log into the new forum and create an account. The login address is: http://rationalists.org/forum/index.php You will need to create a user name (Please make this recognizable so other members will know who you are). Once you have registered, if you are a member, you will be allowed access to the forums. Those of you who would LIKE to become members may do so by sending a check for $35 to: RET P.O. Box 51634 Knoxville, TN 37950 Once you have access to the RETdiscuss Forum and have agreed to abide by the guidelines, please go to Introductions and introduce yourself to other members. These introductions will remain visible to new members as they join RET, too. Something else you will want to do is go to your profile and adjust whatever settings you wish. Note that you can use the forum to send messages to other members. The e-mail capability also allows RET to send notices out to all members who have that option selected. It is a good idea to bookmark the login page for the new RETdiscuss Forum. You will NOT be getting discussions delivered to your e-mail from the forum (although you may select being notified if there is a reply in the forum to a thread in which you have posted). In order to participate you will need to visit the forum periodically to see what discussions are active. Near the top of the Welcome page you can select to view all new posts since your most recent visit, or you can go to only those threads that interest you. Remember that the current RETdiscuss email server will cease to exist on January 7. This will happen to all discussion groups using the DiscoverET listserv as of that date. Aleta Ledendecker aletaledendecker@bellsouth.net

Posted by risler
Dec. 28, 2012

RET Third Sunday Meeting
Come join us for Dr. Sergey Gavrilet's talk on "Evolutionary Origins of the Egalitarian Syndrome" at this Sunday's meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. Dr. Gavrilets is a Distinguished Professor in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. He will discuss an evolutionary model of group-living individuals competing for individual resources and reproductive success, which simultaneously creates the conditions for the emergence of inequity aversion, empathy, compassion, and egalitarian moral values imposed by natural selection. Sunday December 16, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College.

Posted by risler
Dec. 14, 2012

Special Public Meeting
Be sure you don't miss the Rationalists of East Tennessee special public meeting on SATURDAY, Dec. 8 when Tom Flynn will present his talk on "The Trouble with Christmas" - an informative, thought=provoking, yet humorous presentation.The talk will be held in the Goins auditorium on the Pellissippi State Community College Campus at 2:00 pm. PLEASE NOTE THE TIME! People with direct connections to the Center for Inquiry or who subscribe to Free Inquiry magazine may have received notices that the talk is at 1:00 pm. This was a typographical error.

Posted by risler
Dec. 07, 2012

SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING
THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS - This special public meeting will host Tom Flynn, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism and Editor of Free Inquiry magazine. He will examine the sources of our most treasured holiday traditions– from the Christ Child to Santa Claus, from the wassail bowl to the tannenbaum – and ask whether there’s still time to send them back. It will be an information-filled, thought-provoking, yet wildly funny audio-visual extravaganza. Missing this presentation would be like getting a lump of coal in your stocking! Time and place: SATURDAY, DEC. 8, 2:00 pm in the Goins Building Auditorium on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College

Posted by risler
Nov. 29, 2012

Third Sunday Meeting
Don't miss an opportunity to hear one of the University of Tennessee's most distinguished scientists this Sunday, November 18. Professor Daniel Simberloff, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will present a talk titled "Impacts and Management of Invasive Species: It's NOT Hopeless!" - In May, professor Simberloff had the distinction of being elected to the National Academy of Science, and in July he received the highest honor in ecological research, the Ramon Margalef award. He will discuss the varied impacts of certain introduced species on native populations, communities, and ecosystems, as well as the technologies used to manage some of them. Although one often has the sense that this effort is futile, in fact there have been many successes in managing invasions. Often these are unpublicized. Several newer technologies, still in the development stage, are promising. Sunday November 18, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College.

Posted by risler
Nov. 15, 2012

The Skeptic Book Club for November
Don't forget to attend the Rationalist's of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, Nov. 11. The book for November is "Moonwalking with Einstein" by Joshua Foer. The book recounts Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories. Time and location: 4:00 to 6:00pm, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.

Posted by risler
Nov. 10, 2012

First Sunday Roundtable
Come join us for RET member Al England's presentation "Reflections on the religions and cultures of Korea and Japan". Al has lived for thirteen years in Korea and has also spent a great deal of time in Japan. He will discuss the traditional cultures of these countries and their influence on everyday life. The talk will feature an overview of the various religions and ethical systems practiced in both countries and of their impact on the people. These include Buddhism, Shamanism, Taoism, Christianity, Shintoism, the culture associated with the philosophy of PungSu (a.k.a. Geomancy), and Confucianism. Confucianism is the philosophy that was the basis for daily operation of Korea from 1392 to 1910. Sunday November 4, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College.

Posted by risler
Nov. 02, 2012

Third Sunday Roundtable
Be sure to join us at the Sunday, October 21 meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. It will feature an open roundtable debate on the merits and drawbacks of the presidential candidates and their parties. The discussion will focus on their two sharply different visions for a future United States. The roundtable will be followed by a secret ballot straw poll where participants can express their political leanings. The meeting is scheduled from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex

Posted by risler
Oct. 20, 2012

RET Third Sunday Meeting
Come join us at our Sunday Rationalists Meeting on September 16. Professor Aaron Astor of Maryville College will present a discussion of “East Tennessee’s Divided Civil War Loyalties”. Though East Tennesseans were primarily Unionist during the Civil War, there was a sizable Confederate minority throughout the region. Why did so many East Tennesseans side with the Union, and why did their opponents go with the Confederacy? This lecture will address the reasons behind East Tennessee’s divided loyalties and the effect this uniquely localized, guerrilla-oriented civil war had on various communities. 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex

Posted by risler
Sept. 14, 2012

The Skeptic Book Club for September
Be sure to attend the Rationalist's of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday. The book for discussion is "The Jefferson Bible" with an introduction by Forrest Church. This reissue of The Jefferson Bible offers extraordinary insight into the logic of Thomas Jefferson and the Gospel of Jesus. Working in the White House in 1804, Jefferson set out to edit the Gospels in order to uncover the essence of true religion in the simple story of the life of Jesus. Sunday September 9, 2012 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.

Posted by risler
Sept. 07, 2012

RET First Sunday Meeting
Come join us at our Sunday Rationalists Meeting on September 2. RET member Michael Lance will review the history of World War I, one of the most senseless spasms of carnage in the modern age, defying all rational explanation. Michael will outline the factors that led up to it, the role of technological change in the waging of the war, and the aftermath of hostilities. Special attention will be given to the moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex

Posted by risler
Aug. 31, 2012

RET Third Sunday Meeting
Come join us at the Third Sunday Meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee on August 19. We will feature a DVD presentation from the Caltech Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series by Jared Diamond based on his widely acclaimed book "Collapse". In his million-copy bestseller “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion exposition, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates? Following the discussion, Donna Maxwell will present a 10 minute safety training film from the Tennessee Department of Transportation that is necessary viewing for those wanting to be involved in the Adopt a Highway program. 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex

Posted by risler
Aug. 17, 2012

First Sunday Meeting
Don't forget RET's first Sunday meeting in August. "The Evolution of God" - a DVD presentation from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series by Robert Wright. In this sweeping story that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, bestselling author Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright’s findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex

Posted by risler
Aug. 04, 2012

RET Third Sunday Meeting
Our third Sunday meeting on July 15 features RET member Phil King presenting a continued discussion of Lucretius' insights that strongly changed the history of Western thought. The talk is titled "The Nature of Things: A Stroll in the Park with Lucretius in the First Century BCE” Goins cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Community College - 10:30am-12:30pm.

Posted by risler
July 13, 2012

RET third Sunday meeting
Don't miss RTE's third Sunday meeting, June 17, 2012 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex A Double Header DVD Lecture from the Caltech Skeptic Series -from the unbelievably large to the unbelievably small. 1) How Old is the Universe? by Dr. Gary Weintraub It’s all very well for astronomers to say that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, but how do they know? Vanderbilt University astronomer David Weintraub explains it all for astronomy buffs in an enthusiastic way. 2) The Shape of Inner Space: String Theory and the Geometry of the Universe’s hidden dimensions by Dr. Shing-Tung Yau. String theory describes one of the smallest things you can possibly imagine — six-dimensional geometric spaces that may be more than a trillion times smaller than an electron — that could be one of the defining features of our universe. Dr. Yau tells the story of those spaces,which physicists have dubbed “Calabi-Yau manifolds,” and how Dr.Yau managed to prove the existence, mathematically, of those spaces, despite the fact that he had originally set out to prove that such spaces could not possibly exist.

Posted by risler
June 16, 2012

The Skeptic Book Club for June
Be sure to attend this Sunday's book club meeting where we will discuss "Man Made God: A Collection of Essays" by Barbara G. Walker. Ms. Walker turns a critical eye towards: -Religion as big business -Religion's effects on children -The Bible as a "moral guide" and "history" -Biblical infallibility -The doctrine of "original sin" -The biblical attitude towards sexuality -God as "Father" -Church doctrine regarding women -Church history vis-à-vis the Dark Ages, Inquisition, and book- and witch-burning -Christian afterlife traditions -Traditional Christian origins -And much more... A brilliant exposé of the long lost history of religious ideology, including goddess worship, and a scathing indictment of the male-dominated cultus. Sunday June 10, 2012 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.

Posted by risler
June 09, 2012

Third Sunday Meeting
Be sure to come to RET's Sunday, May 20th meeting for a lively discussion of the Rally for Reason. Saturday March 24 marked a watershed in the American Freethought movement. A crowd estimated to be as large as 20,000 gathered on the Washington mall to express their trust in science and reason rather than in supernatural gods. The Rally was attended by several RET members. On Sunday they will have the opportunity to share this experience and to present their thoughts about the usefulness of such major public displays for influencing social awareness of the “nones” and for affecting political policies. 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College.

Posted by risler
May 18, 2012

The Skeptic Book Club for May
Don't forget to attend the Book Club on Sunday. May's book is "The Invisible Gorilla" by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself—and that’s a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot. Sunday May 13, 2012 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.

Posted by risler
May 11, 2012

Annual Public Lecture
Please remember tomorrow, Sunday, May 6, is the Rationalists of East Tennessee annual public lecture. Dr. J. Anderson (Andy) Thomson M.D., psychiatrist, author, and trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason will present the RET Annual Public Lecture at Pellissippi State Community College 2-4 p.m. in the Goins Auditorium. Please note the time change from our usual Sunday meetings. The presentation is titled "How and Why Human Minds Build and Believe in God(s)". Dr. Thomson notes that few people realize the cognitive neurosciences have mapped out how and why human minds produce beliefs in the supernatural, but this knowledge is now available and should soon be a usual part of a 21st century education. The talk will describe the basics of the current psychological explanation of religious beliefs and how certain rituals reinforce them. Andy is a staff psychiatrist at the University of Virginia Student Health Center and at the Institute for Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy. He also has his own private practice as a psychiatrist in Charlottesville. He is noted for his work on evolutionary psychology, as well as for his exploration of the cognitive and evolutionary basis of religious belief, as presented in his recent book with Clare Aukofer entitled "Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith" (Pitchstone Publishing, 2011). In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman (6/17/2011), Thomson stated, "There is a massive, irreconcilable conflict between science and religion. Religion was humanity's original cosmology, biology and anthropology. It provided explanations for the origin of the world, life and humans. Science now gives us increasingly complete explanations for those big three."

Posted by risler
May 05, 2012

Is America Heading Toward Theocracy?
Come to Sunday's Roundtable for a lively discussion of the religious right's agressive political agenda. Local residents complain because they can’t have open prayers at public meetings. Theists around the country complain that religion is under attack. Yet the Christo-Republicans, with their control over many state governments, are waging a religion-driven war on women and on science. They are openly trying to impose the mostly anti-American Ten Commandments on citizens everywhere. Tennessee has just passed a "Monkey Law" bill that is intended to surreptitiously sneak Creationism into the classroom. Bring your comments, complaints, and rants to the meeting for an open examination of the threats the current crop of politicians poses to a free secular society. Time and location: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Bldg., Cafeteria Annex

Posted by risler
Apr. 12, 2012

The Skeptic Book Club
April's book is "The Fair Society.: The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice" By Peter Corning We have been told, again and again, that life is unfair. But what if we are wrong simply to resign ourselves to this situation? What if we have the power—and more, the duty—to change society for the better? We do. And our very nature inclines us to do so. That is the provocative argument Peter Corning makes in The Fair Society. Drawing on the evidence from our evolutionary history and the emergent science of human nature, Corning shows that we have an innate sense of fairness. While these impulses can easily be subverted by greed and demagoguery, they can also be harnessed for good. The Book Club meets at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, 4:00 to 6:00 pm the second Sunday of every month.

Posted by risler
Apr. 06, 2012

First Sunday Meeting
Don't miss April's First Sunday Meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. Professor Aleydis Van de Moortel of the University of Tennessee will discuss archaeological excavations at the prehistoric site of Mitrov in central Greece. These investigations are throwing new light on the rise of the Mycenaean elite (circa 1600 BCE) as well as on their demise and the region's transition to the Dark Ages (circa 1200 BCE). Pellissippi State Community College. Sunday, April 1, 10:30 am.

Posted by risler
Mar. 29, 2012

Rally for Reason
Carl and Aleta Ledendecker will be renting a van in order to attend the Reason Rally in Washington D.C. on March 24, splitting the cost with any who wish to ride with them. They expect to leave Friday morning in time to arrive in DC for dinner Friday night. Plans include staying at a "relatively" inexpensive motel in Alexandria and taking the Metro to the Mall on Saturday morning. Return to Knoxville will be either Saturday evening or Sunday morning, depending on the wishes of participants and the number of available drivers. In order to secure a place on the van for this RET field trip, call Aleta at 865-724-5273 or email her at aletaledendecker@earthlink.net.

Posted by risler
Mar. 18, 2012

Third Sunday Meeting
Our third Sunday meeting in March will feature RET member Howard Box, who will lead a discussion on Stephen Greenblatt's book "The Swerve" The book deals with Lucretius, who was an Epicurean philosopher during the Roman Empire, and who taught that the soul did not survive death and that all living things were made up tiny particles or atomi. Epicureans called on people to enjoy a good life (not a hedonistic one as is often supposed) without worrying about the wrath of God or the gods, who did not concern themselves with anything so insignificant as human affairs. This has a modern ring to us, as it should since writings of Lucretius, as Stephen Greenblatt so ably shows, helped to shape the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. Lucretius' ideas were unwelcome to many in the Church hierarchy, and those who followed his ideas were often in danger of persecution or even execution. Time and place: Cafeteria Annex in the Goins Administration building on the Pellissippi State Community College Campus, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Mar. 16, 2012

Submit Your Book Selections Quickly
It is time to choose books for the months of May to September for Skeptic Book Club. If you have a suggestion for a timely non-fiction book which presents ideas you think RET members would like to discuss, please send the title to me. Do not hit the reply button to this message. Please send your e-mail to cjomarzu@charter.net, so it will not have to be forwarded. The deadline for suggesting a book is March 17. Joan Omarzu

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 11, 2012

First Sunday Meeting
Be sure to attend our first Sunday in March meeting. RET member Phil King will discuss the process of simplifying and organizing our lives for desired outcomes in world of rapidly expanding access to information. In today's world, information comes to us at an ever-increasing rate. The richness of life and the success with which we maneuver through its pitfalls usually depend upon paying attention to detail. However, this very detail can mire us down into hopeless paralysis and inactivity. We must learn to simplify the situation, consider the many different ramifications of our actions, and then act decisively and confidently (without striving for perfection). So we need to simplify and organize information and activities for a desired outcome. Time and place: Cafeteria Annex in the Goins Administration building on the Pellissippi State Community College Campus, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Posted by risler
Mar. 02, 2012

Third Sunday Meeting
Be sure to attend the RET Third Sunday Meeting, tomorrow, February 19. Professor John Neff of the University of Tennessee Department of Pathology will discuss the World Health Organization's recommendation of the first malaria vaccine [funded by the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation] for use in infants and young children, by 2015, in some sub Saharan African countries. This represents a remarkable breakthrough for treating the disease. The meeting will take place in the cafeteria annex of the Goins Administration Building on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College at 10:30 am.

Posted by risler
Feb. 18, 2012

Things We Do and Things We View
Things We Do and Things We View. Reflections Feb. 26, 2012 1:00 to 4:00 pm Liberal Arts* have been the backbone of our educational hierarchy for centuries now, and they affect our lives on a daily basis – with or without an active search for them. Today we’ll share our various creative arts passions – hobbies & habits: Things We Do and Things We View. Which of the creative arts turns you on? A particular kind of music? A particular style of visual or performing art? Literature? Looking through a telescope into the night sky? Working a cross-word puzzle? Reading a scientific journal or blog? Looking into a microscope at microbes? Some other intellectual activity? What excites your interest? Please come and share with our group so that we might get to know each other better and perhaps learn to appreciate another’s favorite creative art. There will be a pot-luck lunch before our discussion begins, so bring a dish, or box to share… or JUST COME – there’s always too much food! We hope you'll join us at Schera & Ted’s home [9219 George Williams Road, near Cedar Bluff; call 690.8742 for directions]. _________________________________________________________ * The newspapers we read; the movies we watch; the discussions we have around the water cooler at work; the images we view at museums, in magazines, on tv; the problems we solve with our finances; the wisdom we bring to bear while raising our children or navigating our marriages; the experimental methods we bring to our sciences in the exploration of new frontiers of knowledge… these are all representative of the liberal arts at work in our daily lives.

Posted by schadwick
Feb. 13, 2012

First Sunday Meeting
Be sure to attend Sunday's (Feb. 5) meeting at 10:30 am in the cafeteria annex of the Goins Administration Building on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College. RET member Dr. Randy Curlee will present fundamental concepts in the field of economics. Economics is a subject that often evokes strong sentiments. Positions on public policy, politics, and even ethics are discussed within economic frameworks. Some do not equate economics with science, while others look to vague interpretations of economic schools of thought to defend their own personal views or refute those of others. This lecture will address what economics is and is not. We will discuss the main branches of economics—micro vs. macro, theoretical vs. empirical, positive vs. normative—and pose basic questions. What does an economic school of thought entail? What are the basic assumptions on which economics is built, and how have those assumptions changed over time? How is economics being integrated with other sciences such as psychology, sociology, and even medicine? How can economics contribute to the major issues of our day?

Posted by risler
Feb. 04, 2012

Reflections Meeting This Sunday
The Silence of the Atheists Jan. 29, 2012 1:00 to 4:00 pm Topic: “The Silence of the Atheists” For this Reflections meeting, we’ll all prepare by reading a short news article from the west coast: “Seattle Atheists’ Bus Ad Exaggerating Number of Nonbelievers?” [just copy & paste the link below into your browser] http://www.christianpost.com/news/seattle-atheists-bus-ad-exaggerating-number-of-nonbelievers-64896/ Since RET has considered doing a similar “public awareness” campaign here in Knoxville, this article contains many points of interest for us. We’ll examine and discuss the following issues: • How are statistics regarding individuals’ religious beliefs gathered? Let’s compare sources of data. • Is the American Religious Identification Survey 2008, led by Trinity College, a reliable source of data? If not, why? • Why is there generally such a large discrepancy between those who identify as “non-believers or agnostics” versus those unafraid to use the “atheist” adjective? • Can we join in solidarity with the Seattle Atheists who declare that “We are a silent group, and want to be silent no longer”? • Does the fact that Seattle is considered one of the most unchurched areas in the country, whereas we’re probably among the most churched areas, increase our silence in our community, our work-places, our families? There will be a pot-luck lunch before our discussion begins, so bring a dish, salad, fruit, finger-food, dessert, bottle or box to share… or JUST COME – there’s always too much food! (smiley face) We hope you'll all join us at Schera & Ted’s home [9219 George Williams Road, near Cedar Bluff; call 690.8742 for directions].

Posted by schadwick
Jan. 23, 2012

RET business meeting and presentation
Tomorrow, Sunday, January 22nd, the Rationalists of East Tennessee will hold their Annual Business Meeting and Election of Officers from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, at Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Bldg., in the Cafeteria Annex. The past year will be reviewed. We will discuss how the RET program should proceed in 2012, and elect officers and board members for the coming months. Please attend the meeting and bring your ideas to share! We need input from all our members for RET to remain a vital force in the community. Following the business meeting, if time permits, we will view a DVD presentation by Dr. Andy Thomson on "How Religion Hijacks Evolved Adaptations". Dr. Thomson will be the speaker, on a different topic, for the our public meeting.

Posted by risler
Jan. 21, 2012

Third Sunday Meeting
Don't miss our third Sunday meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. RET member Joe Barnhart will bring his expertise in philosophy and religion to bear on the question of "How Might Karl Popper the Rationalist or John Dewey the Pragmatist Interpret the Visions of Paul?" The meeting will held in the Goins Cafeteria Annex on the Campus of Pellissippi State Community College from 10:30am to 12:30 pm. Come a little early for coffee, cookies, and socializing.

Posted by risler
Dec. 16, 2011

Don't Miss Our Open Roundtable Discussion
Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 - 10:30 am - Goins Cafeteria Annex, PSCC --- W(h)ither Democracy? The gains of liberalism in America over the last century or so are being whittled away by the current electorate’s embrace of conservatism. Public union bargaining rights are being dismantled in several states, legislation aimed at disenfranchising liberal leaning voters has been passed in Tennessee, and laws that that would limit women’s access to birth control methods are under consideration in many places. One Republican presidential candidate would eliminate child labor laws and social security. Congress cowers before a 1% minority of wealthy oligarchs who control 44% of the country’s wealth. Fascism arises only in failed democracies. Is democracy on the verge of withering away in America? Bring your ideas and comments to a freewheeling open roundtable discussion.

Posted by risler
Dec. 03, 2011

Come to Reflections This Sunday
Reflections Nov. 27, 2011 1:00 - 4:00 pm How Do Non-Believers Celebrate “Holy-days”? [or Do They?] How do free-thinkers celebrate the numerous religious holidays recognized by our federal government – exactly what, when, how and why do they celebrate? Most of us are overly familiar with Christian holidays and traditions, many of which have morphed into almost totally secular/commercialized, corrupted versions of their original purposes. Do we as non-believers just “go along to get along” and passively accept these religious remnants still being forced down society’s throat? Or do we rebel, and refuse to be co-opted by others insincere observations? How do we spend this work-free time? Have we created traditions for our own families? Or do we take the time to travel abroad or visit relatives? We’ll spend this meeting discussing the upcoming holy-day season: and how we chose to modify our participation or otherwise occupy ourselves at this busy time of year. Join us for pot-luck lunch at Schera & Ted's home BEGINNING AT 1:00 pm. Bring a bottle, dish, bag or box to share with us before our discussion begins. Address: 9219 George Williams Road, 37922; phone: 865.690.8742 for directions.

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 22, 2011

Don't Miss Third Sunday Meeting on Nov. 20
Sunday, November 20, presentation Topic: “It ain’t necessarily so” Speaker: The Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, describe the epic history of the Israelites and constitute much of the foundation on which Judaism and Christianity are based. But they are a mixture of fact, legend, and mythology, which are not easily distinguishable for the average reader. RET President Ralph Isler will address the questions of who wrote the Torah, why many stories are duplicated with different emphasis or even contradictions, and what modern archaeology reveals about the historicity of such events as the Exodus and the military conquest of Canaan. Time and location: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Bldg., Cafeteria Annex

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 18, 2011

Notes for BookClub Attendees Nov. 13th
Chapter Summary of The Humanist Approach to Happiness The Pursuit of Happiness People often treat responsibility as if it is a bad word. Something we should avoid if we want to be happy. Just the opposite is true. Freedom, and therefore happiness, can only be achieved through responsibility. When you accept responsibility for your life, you gain control over it in a way that is unparalleled. No longer a victim of fate, you can do something to improve your life and the lives of those around you. The Rule of Threes The rule of threes is simple. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to make a decision, make sure you consider at least three options. If you think you only have two options, you are missing something. If you force yourself to consider at least three options, you will generally ensure that you have covered your bases thoroughly. The True Holy Trinity Being ethical, compassionate and responsible are the traits of the true holy trinity. Cultivate these traits in yourself and look for these traits in others. If someone is missing even just one of these traits, be afraid. Be very afraid. The World Doesn’t Revolve Around You! While it is easy to talk a good talk about the dignity and worth of individual human beings, it turns out that actually treating real people with compassion and respect isn’t all that easy. Understanding that each person in the world is a real person with real dreams, desires and problems changes the way you view other people and makes it easier to be compassionate with them. What a Dork! To experience true happiness, we must apply both freedom and compassion to ourselves. This isn’t always easy as we are usually our own worst critics. What follows are some tips on how to be compassionate with yourself so that you can enjoy the freedom of being you. Reality Based Decision Making Being skeptical means being optimistic that there is a solution to your problem and being proactive in finding a solution that will really solve your problem and not just provide empty promises and an empty pocketbook. Simply put, the more we accept reality, the easier it is to solve our problems. Keep it Simple Stupid Make “Keep It Simple Stupid” your mantra. Apply it to your work, your writing, your lifestyle, your finances, your relationships and your philosophy. Its Your Body If you want to live a long and happy life you must live a healthy life. Unhealthy people simply don’t live long enough to qualify as having had a long life by Humanist standards. Plus, it’s kind of hard to enjoy life to the fullest when you are sick or in pain. Just Say No While Humanists believe that people should be allowed to pursue their happiness however they want, not all pursuits lead to happiness. There is a difference between pleasure and happiness. You have a choice. You can choose to do things that bring you happiness, or you can choose to do things you know are counterproductive. If you do find yourself battling addiction, take responsibility for your actions, change your behavior and think before you act so that you can make better choices in the future. Respect your elders As you grow older you will find yourself in more and more situations that you may not have any experience with. This is normal. No one is expected to know everything. Smart people seek out the advice of those who have gone before in order to learn what they can before they make really horrid mistakes. Fairy Tale Relationships Judging by the historical record, the subject we humans are most interested in learning about is romance and the sexual relationships that follow. This chapter is all about the importance of developing ethical relationships, learning how to recognize good relationships. And, because people seem to need this help the most; how relationships work in the real world as opposed to the fairy tales they see on TV. Run for the Hills While we Humanists would like it if everyone were ethical, compassionate, responsible and worked together in peace and harmony, we do live in the real world. We aren’t stupid. The reality is, no matter how much we might want them to be, some people just aren’t all that nice. Unfortunately, people don’t come with warning signs and staying away from bad people can take a lot of courage. Breaking Up in Hard to Do As a Humanist, what you want to strive for is that you end your relationships in the same ethical, responsible and compassionate way you would expect of yourself in other areas of your life. It isn’t always easy, but you will feel much better about yourself if you stick to your moral values, then if you lapse in a moment of anguish. Things your mother never told you about sex Sex is a big deal. There are consequences to having sex and you should be prepared for those consequences before engaging in sex with anyone. The Humanist approach to sexuality is that it should be pleasurable, loving and guilt free. But that doesn’t mean that anything goes. With the freedom to express your sexuality however you see fit comes responsibility. Help - I think I’m dying! While grief is indeed painful, Humanists view it as a normal part of life. It is not something you should run from, but neither should you suffer from it unnecessarily. Conclusion “Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to help make others so.” - Robert Ingersoll

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 09, 2011

Don't Miss Book Club this Sunday
Skeptic Book Club November 13th, 2011 4:00 to 6:00 pm The Skeptic Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a bit of everything from a mostly rational viewpoint. At our November meeting we will discuss Jennifer Hancock's book The Humanist Approach to Happiness. This book is easy to read and is meant to be used by teenagers as well as adults. Many of us heard Jennifer talk about rationalism recently at a meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee and on a Freethought Forum program on community TV. Our discussion of Humanism does not need to be limited to Hancock's book. The websites below give information about humanism today and may provide topics for discussion. International Humanism and Ethical Union http://www.iheu.org/ Council for Secular Humanism http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=affirmations American Humanist Association http://www.secularhumanism.org/

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 09, 2011

Don't Miss Sunday Nov. 6 Program
Professor Gladys Alexandre of the University of Tennessee will present a talk entitled "Our microbial friends". When thinking about "bugs" or "germs" one is usually making reference to pathogenic microbes that can cause diseases. Although these organisms are significant, they actually represent only a tiny fraction of all living microorganisms. As a group, these tiny life forms are fascinating both because of their diversity and the vital contribution they make to life on our planet. Dr. Alexandre introduces the positive side of microorganisms and provides examples to show that many may assist in human tasks. Join us at the PSTCC Cafeteria Annex: Welcome at 10 am, with presentation and Q&A from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

Posted by risler
Nov. 05, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TUESDAY
On Tuesday, November 1 , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from viewers, the co-hosts, John Clark & Dixie Daniels, will discuss secular ethics. Please call in with questions or comments concerning the moral and ethical views of non-theists.

Posted by risler
Oct. 29, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
Tuesday Oct 25 the FFTV show will be about sharing de-conversion stories. Co-hosts Larry & Faithless will clarify the question: Why we call it DE-conversion. Stating that children are commonly first converted to Religion by their parents, churches, even schools, etc. And later have to UN-learn or DE-convert from their religion. Please consider SHARING YOUR OWN STORY with viewers by calling in at 865-215-2288. The earlier in the show we get calls the better the show will be.


READ MORE >>

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 24, 2011

Freethinker Concert Tonight
Check out the youtube below, called "Creation Science 101". http://youtu.be/uIwiPsgRrOs This singer is obviously a freethinker; so consider coming to the live concert tonight at TVUUC! Roy Zimmerman in concert - $15 suggested donation at the door. A master of intelligent satire you won't want to miss! Call Vicki -865.523.4176- for more information; or email vicki@tvuuc.org See you tonight!

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 21, 2011

Reflections: Sun.Oct. 23 1:00 - 4:00 pm
What’s New(s)? This will be a BYOT session [Bring Your Own Topic] -- where we’ll each bring a brief snyposis of a current news issue, and be ready to spend five minutes on the importance of the topic, what its impact could be on the citizens of the world, and why it’s meaningful to you. All in five minutes! You can do it. Just give some thought to a current news item which interest you, and share your enthusiasm or concern with us - briefly. Let’s try to avoid partisan issues, but items which impact society, ecology, living standards, equality, and justice are fair game. Join us for pot-luck lunch at Schera & Ted's home BEGINNING AT 1:00 pm. Bring a bottle, dish, bag or box to share with us before our discussion begins. Address: 9219 George Williams Road, 37922; phone: 865.690.8742 for directions.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 21, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW!
On Tuesday, October 18th , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from viewers, the co-hosts, Faithless Forrest & Dr. Ralph Isler, will discuss "Modern Physics, Cosmology, Atomic Theory, & Conservation laws." Please call in with questions or comments, but remember to turn your tv volume down/off while on the phone.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 17, 2011

Don't Miss Sunday Program
RET member Michael Lance will present a talk titled "What would you have done?" How could ordinary Germans have committed the Holocaust? Controlled experiments like the Stanford prison experiment and Milgram experiment on obedience provide us insight on how the mind reacts to authority figures. Join us on Sunday, Oct. 16th, at the PSTCC Cafeteria Annex: Welcome at 10 am, with presentation and Q&A from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 14, 2011

Religion in the Workplace
This notice of an upcoming workshop is forwarded to RET members by Ted Lollis. UT to Host Workshop on Religion in the Workplace October 24 Posted By Rebekah Winkler On October 11, 2011 (10:15 am) In Headlines, Press Releases KNOXVILLE-Religion in the workplace will be the topic of a workshop this month by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of Religious Studies. The workshop, "Religion in the Workplace and the World: A Training Seminar for East Tennessee Professionals," will be held October 24 at UT's Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. The event is open to the public, and the $50 registration fee includes lunch and refreshments. The training seminar is for human resources professionals, managers and business owners to help them build cultural diversity in their workplaces and with their business clients. In the face of globalization, changing economic realities, demographic shifts, and religious pluralization, increasing awareness about religion in the workplace has proven to help create a harmonious professional environment. This field of study is attracting growing interest from academics, management scholars, human resources professionals, legal experts and the media. Rosalind Hackett, head of the religious studies department and organizer of the workshop, says the cultural competence skills they teach are critical for managers in an age of cultural diversity. "We know that workplace claims of discrimination based on religion are second only to sexual harassment," Hackett said. "Managers and supervisors need to understand how to balance the various rights and obligations of religious practices, observances, and beliefs among their employees." In order to help professionals in East Tennessee achieve that balance, the day-long workshop will offer the following: a.. an overview of the legal framework related to religion in the workplace; b.. a basic understanding of the way that diverse religious practices may manifest themselves in the workplace; and c.. guidance on how and when to reasonably accommodate those expressions. For more information or to register for the workshop, call UT Conferences at 865-974-0280, e-mail conferences@utk.edu, or visit the website. - Contact: Rosalind Hackett (865-974-2466, rhackett@utk.edu) Charles Primm (865-974-5180, charles.primm@tennessee.edu)

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 12, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW!
On Tuesday, October 11th , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from viewers, the co-hosts will discuss various topics. Please call in with questions or comments, but remember to turn your tv volume down/off while on the phone.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 10, 2011

Don't Miss Skeptic Book Club This Sunday!
The Skeptic Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a bit of everything from a mostly rational viewpoint. On October 9, we will be discussing : “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. One need not have read the book to attend. When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? And finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a creator who set things in motion – or does science offer another explanation? The authors tackle all these questions in the context of our current understanding of the basic structure of the physical world.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 07, 2011

Any Outdoors Folks Among Us?
SLICKROCK Backpacking and Fishing October 28, 29 & 30 It is known as Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness. There are 14,900 acres within the Cherokee (TN side) and Nantahala (NC side) National Forests. This area also includes watersheds of Little Santeetlah and Slickrock Creeds and the high ridge which divides them. The Slickrock Creek Trail (7.4 mi.) extends along the creek from its mouth to its headwaters, passing two major falls. Several trails drop into the Slickrock Basin from surrounding ridges, each connecting to the Slickrock Creek Trail. Slickrock is known for "slippery rocks" and hence the name. Our plan will be a moderate hike with backpacks where we'll hike into Slickrock Creek from a parking area just south of the Cheoah Dam and bridge. We will hike the Ike Branch Trail (0.6 mi.) to Yellowhammer Gap, and then another 0.5 mi. to Slickrock Creek. From here we can go up the creek toward Wildcat Falls or right to Lower Falls. We can camp anywhere along the creek and therefore, we can pick a great spot to accommodate our group without overdoing it! We can return the same way we came in so as not to attempt the numerous creek crossings and deal with those rocks. Some of us will fish while others may enjoy hiking upstream or reading a book by the creek. Fall foliage should be past prime but still beautiful. For more info, go to main.nc.us/graham/hiking/slickrock.html. Contact Jason Haberman for more information: terynjay@yahoo.com or 865-934-8442

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 07, 2011

Upcoming Reflections Topics
October 23rd, 2011 What’s New(s)? This will be a BYOT session [Bring Your Own Topic] -- where we’ll each bring a brief snyposis of a current news issue, and be ready to spend five minutes on the importance of the topic, what its impact could be on the citizens of the world, and why it’s meaningful to you. All in five minutes! You can do it. Just give some thought to a current news item which interest you, and share your enthusiasm or concern with us - briefly. Let’s try to avoid partisan issues, but items which impact society, ecology, living standards, equality, and justice are fair game. November 27th, 2011 How Do Non-Believers Celebrate “Holy-days”? [or Do They?] How do free-thinkers celebrate the numerous religious holidays recognized by our federal government – exactly what, when, how and why do they celebrate? Most of us are overly familiar with Christian holidays and traditions, many of which have morphed into almost totally secular/commercialized, corrupted versions of their original purposes. Do we as non-believers just “go along to get along” and passively accept these religious remnants still being forced down society’s throat? Or do we rebel, and refuse to be co-opted by others insincere observations? How do we spend this work-free time? Have we created traditions for our own families? Or do we take the time to travel abroad or visit relatives? We’ll spend this meeting discussing the upcoming holy-day season: and how we chose to modify our participation or otherwise occupy ourselves at this busy time of year. December 25th, 2011 There will be no Reflections meeting this day; we’ll all be busy somewhere else. See last month’s topic for clarification; if you were at the November meeting, you know the details. 

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 06, 2011

Don't Miss Free Thought Forum TOMORROW!
On Tuesday, October 4th , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from viewers, the co-hosts will discuss "Evolution Confusion." Please call in with questions or comments, but remember to turn your tv volume down/off while on the phone.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 03, 2011

First Sunday Meeting- Oct. 2, 2011
Topic: “Money and Interest Groups in American Politics”. .Speaker: Professor Anthony Nownes from the Department of Political Science at the University of Tennessee, will discuss whether money determines what our government does? What effect does “buying” elected officials have on important issues such as the environment or tax breaks for the wealthy? Do “special interest” groups dominate US politics at the expense of ordinary citizens, or are interest groups a positive manifestation of citizen involvement in government? Professor Nownes will discuss these timely questions as we enter a new round of campaigning for the 2012 elections. Time/location: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Bldg., Cafeteria Annex

Posted by risler
Oct. 01, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW!
On Tuesday, September 27th , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the co-hosts will discuss: "Religion in the Military”. Please place a call to CTV during the show with any questions or comments you can think of!

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 26, 2011

Book Club Selections
Skeptic Book Club meets at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 8029 on Kingston Pike. Here are the books that have been suggested for Skeptic Book Club by those who come to the meetings regularly or occasionally. Anyone who has attended, or expects to attend, book club meetings may vote for up to six or seven books. The six books that receive the highest number of votes will be read and discussed by the club. Please indicate the books you are voting for by e-mailing me the numeral and the first two or three words of the title. Please send your selections to me at cjomarzu@charter.net. Voting ends September 30. Joan Omarzu 1. Freethinker in the Reactionary South: Rants of a Contrarian by Robert L. Hamlet http://www.amazon.com/Freethinker-Reactionary-South-Rants-Contrarian/dp/1608447650/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316547874&sr=1-1 I was a World War II baby, growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, the "Buckle of the Bible Belt". Ironically, although most people were presumably very religious, segregation of the races was accepted as proper and just. My father was a member of an extreme evangelical Protestant sect. He was far more bigoted than most, not only hating blacks but Jewish people and Catholics as well. Like most young boys, my father was my role model. In my youth, I accepted his prejudices without question and accepted his view of the world. It was not until after college, while "seeing the world" serving three years as a U.S. Naval Officer, that I began to realize how distorted my father's views were. I also came to realize the destructiveness of being consumed with hate and ignorance. I now desire a tolerant secular world with due respect for the brotherhood of all mankind. In 1993, I converted to Deism. (Robert L. Hamlet graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee in 1965. After serving in the navy, he earned a law degree and worked for thirty-three years as an Audit Supervisor for the State of Tennessee.) 136 Pages 2. The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/B004AYCWY4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316548501&sr=1-1 Dawkins begins The Greatest Show on Earth with a short history of his writing career. He explains that all of his previous books have naïvely assumed the fact of evolution, which meant that he never got around to laying out the evidence that it [evolution] is true. .. Dawkins came to realize that a disturbingly large percentage of the American and British public didn't share his enthusiasm for evolution. ..So Dawkins decided to write a book for these history-deniers, in which he would dispassionately demonstrate the truth of evolution beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt.After only a few pages of The Greatest Show on Earth, however, it becomes clear that Dawkins doesn't do dispassionate, and that he's not particularly interested in convincing believers to believe in evolution... While The Greatest Show on Earth might fail as a work of persuasive rhetoric—Dawkins is too angry and acerbic to convince his opponents—it succeeds as an encyclopedic summary of evolutionary biology. If Charles Darwin walked into a 21st-century bookstore and wanted to know how his theory had fared, this is the book he should pick up.Dawkins remains a superb translator of complex scientific concepts... he has a way of making the drollest details feel like a revelation. As Darwin famously noted, There is grandeur in this view of life. What Dawkins demonstrates is that this view of life isn't just grand: it's also undeniably true. Color illus. 496 pages 3. Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore http://www.amazon.com/Climate-Cover-Up-Crusade-Global-Warming/dp/1553654854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316565219&sr=1-1 Canadian environmental activists Hoggan and Littlemore pull no punches in this spirited indictment of global warming deniers. Their well-sourced research spotlights premeditated prevarications about the threat of greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and coal industry, in league with junk scientists, compliant conservative politicians and unsavory public relations practitioners. Persistent obfuscation of science by these anti-environment players is further abetted, say the authors, by a manipulated media that, in a misguided effort toward journalistic balance, pairs scientific certainty about an encroaching climate crisis with quotations from people who make a living denying it. Readers predisposed to believe the worst about the oil, coal and electric industries will find their fears buttressed by the book's detailed overview of an orchestrated climate coverup by Astroturf (fake grassroots) organizations, right-wing think tank echo chambers, the tens of millions of industry dollars poured into primarily Republican campaign coffers and the PR profession's Orwellian use of language. But global warming skeptics might also be swayed by the detailed dissection of an ongoing campaign to convince the public that climate change is still unproven. "“… the most detailed and probing analysis to date of the interrelations between business organizations and conservative think tanks in campaigns to question global warming….The sleuthing is sophisticated and impressive… Recommended.” 240 pages 4. The End of Energy by Michael J. Graetz http://www.amazon.com/End-Energy-Unmaking-Environment-Independence/dp/0262015676/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316566869&sr=1 "A winner -- and quite possibly the best and most important book from this outstanding political writer. The End of Energy is a beautifully written book on a fascinating and vital topic. Each chapter offers a gripping story, a history lesson, and a public policy moral. It sounds an alarm that we ignore at our peril: we keep ducking this problem, searching for easy answers (a technological fix) and doing foolish things (low prices). Graetz is out to wake us up." James Morone , Brown University "The End of Energy is a tour de force, carrying the reader through four decades of U.S. energy policymaking. With scholarly care and policy insight, Michael Graetz shows step by step -- and misstep by misstep -- how we've ended up with greater dependency on fossil fuels than ever despite constant calls for a changed energy path that would cut emissions, reduce the threat of climate change, and end the national security burdens that come with vast quantities of imported oil. This book is a must-read for students, policymakers, business leaders, and anyone interested in the sorry story of U.S. energy policy." Daniel C. Esty , Yale University, 384 pages 5. The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures by Nicholas Wade http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Instinct-Religion-Evolved-Endures/dp/B003B3NVZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316548157&sr=1-1 Taking up where he left off in Before the Dawn (2006), an engaging examination of human evolution in light of explorations in the human genome, longtime New York Times science reporter Wade deftly explores the evolutionary basis of religion. He draws on archeology, social science and natural science as he vigorously shows that the instinct for religious behavior is an evolved part of human nature because, like other human social traits that have evolved over many thousands of years, the practice of religion conferred a decided survival advantage to those who practiced it. Natural selection operates according to principles of survival and reproduction of offspring with heritable traits. Many of the social aspects of religious behavior offer advantages—such as internal cohesion—that lead to a society's members having more surviving children. More importantly, since religions have evolved as their societies have developed, is it possible, Wade asks, for religions to be reworked so that as many people as possible can exercise their innate religious instincts to their own and society's benefits? Sure to be controversial for its reduction of religion to a product of natural selection, Wade's study compels us to reconsider the role of evolution in shaping even our most sacred human creations. 320 pages 6.The Invisible Gorilla, How our Intuitions Deceive Us by Cristopher Chabris, Daniel Simons http://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Gorilla-How-Intuitions-Deceive/dp/0307459667/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316634796&sr=1-1 Do you remember when you first saw--or more likely, didn’t see--the gorilla? For me it was one afternoon a number of years ago when I clicked open one of those noxious-but-irresistible forwarded emails. The task was simple--count the number of passes in a tight cluster of basketball players--but the ensuing result was astonishing: As I dutifully (and correctly) tracked the number of passes made, a guy in a gorilla suit had strolled into the center, beat his chest, and sauntered off. But I never saw the gorilla. ...The video, which went on to become a global viral sensation, brought "inattentional blindness"--a once comparatively obscure interest of cognitive psychologists--into striking relief. The Invisible Gorilla uses that ersatz primate as a departure point (and overarching metaphor) for exploring the myriad of other illusions, perceptual or otherwise, that we encounter in everyday life--and our often complete lack of awareness as we do so. ...Writing with authority, clarity, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Simons and Chabris explore why these illusions persist--and, indeed, seem to multiply in the modern world--and how we might work to avoid them. 320 pages 7. Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate by Juan Williams http://www.amazon.com/Muzzled-Assault-Honest-Juan-Williams/dp/0307952010/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316635442&sr=1-1 Prize-winning Washington journalist Juan Williams was unceremoniously dismissed by NPR for speaking his mind and saying what many Americans feel—that he gets nervous when boarding airplanes with passengers dressed in Muslim garb. In Muzzled, Williams uses his very public firing as a launching pad to discuss the countless ways in which honest debate in America—from the halls of Congress and the health care town halls to the talk shows and print media—is stifled. In today’s partisan world, where media provocateurs rule the airwaves and political correctness dictates what can and cannot be said with impunity, Williams shows how the honest exchange of ideas and the search for solutions and reasonable compromise is deliberately muzzled. Only those toeing the party’s line—the screaming voices of the extremist—get airtime and dominate the discussion in politics and the media. Each side, liberal and conservative, preaches to a choir that revels in expressions of anger, ideology, conspiracies, and demonized opponents. The result is an absence of truth-telling and honest debate about the facts. 304 pages 8. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Airely http://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Decisions/dp/0061353248/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316564370&sr=1-1 Irrational behavior is a part of human nature, but as MIT professor Ariely has discovered in 20 years of researching behavioral economics, people tend to behave irrationally in a predictable fashion. Drawing on psychology and economics, behavioral economics can show us why cautious people make poor decisions about sex when aroused, why patients get greater relief from a more expensive drug over its cheaper counterpart and why honest people may steal office supplies or communal food, but not money. According to Ariely, our understanding of economics, now based on the assumption of a rational subject, should, in fact, be based on our systematic, unsurprising irrationality. Ariely argues that greater understanding of previously ignored or misunderstood forces (emotions, relativity and social norms) that influence our economic behavior brings a variety of opportunities for reexamining individual motivation and consumer choice, as well as economic and educational policy. Ariely's intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read. 384 pages 9. The Fair Society: The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice by Peter Corning http://www.amazon.com/Fair-Society-Science-Pursuit-Justice/dp/0226116271/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316640014&sr=1-1 We’ve been told, again and again, that life is unfair. But what if we’re wrong simply to resign ourselves to this situation? What if we have the power—and more, the duty—to change society for the better? We do. And our very nature inclines us to do so. That’s the provocative argument Peter Corning makes in The Fair Society. Drawing on the evidence from our evolutionary history and the emergent science of human nature, Corning shows that we have an innate sense of fairness. While these impulses can easily be subverted by greed and demagoguery, they can also be harnessed for good. Corning brings together the latest findings from the behavioral and biological sciences to help us understand how to move beyond the Madoffs and Enrons in our midst in order to lay the foundation for a new social contract—a Biosocial Contract built on a deep understanding of human nature and a commitment to fairness. He then proposes a sweeping set of economic and political reforms based on three principles of fairness—equality, equity, and reciprocity—that together could transform our society and our world. 256 pages 10. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose http://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Disciple-Semester-Americas-University/dp/B003UYV1VA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316634638&sr=1-1 In what could be described as religious gonzo journalism, Roose documents his experiences as a student for a semester at Liberty University, the largest Christian fundamentalist university in the United States. Coming from progressive Brown University, the author admits that the transition to Liberty, with its iron-clad attempts at controlling student behavior, came with much anxiety. He trains himself to control his foul language and even begins to pray and study the Bible regularly, much to the bewilderment of his liberal Quaker parents. He suffers his way through a course debunking evolution, but finds enjoyment in a Scripture class. Roose may be young—he's a 19-year-old college sophomore—but he writes like a seasoned veteran and obviously enjoys his work. He quickly makes friends at Liberty, but is naïvely stunned and not a little disgusted by their antigay rhetoric. School founder Rev. Jerry Falwell granted Roose an interview for the student newspaper shortly before the famous evangelical's death in May 2007. "Complicated" is how Roose describes Falwell, which is a good descriptor for his undercover student experience. 336 pages 11. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Life-Henrietta-Lacks/dp/1400052181/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316565777&sr=1-1 Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2010: From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories? 400 pages

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 23, 2011

Reflections Meeting Sept. 25th
Reflections Meeting on Sunday, September 25th, STARTING at 1:00 pm at the Ledendecker's Home. The topic will be “The Ethics of Buying and Selling Organs”, covering both live donations and deceased donations. In some countries the default position is organ donation and to choose otherwise, one must specify. In this country it is the opposite. In some countries it is legal to provide financial support in a variety of ways for live donations. In this country, that is not allowed, and it can impact live donations. For instance, the donor must miss several weeks of work, but the recipient has to be VERY careful about even suggesting to cover those expenses. There are several suggestions for making live organ donation easier in this country. In some countries living donors can be paid. This, too, has led to abuses. We will discuss these issues, and other related ones following a pot-luck lunch. Bring a bag, box, bottle or dish and join us at Aleta and Carl Ledendecker's home, 2123 Stonybrook Road, Louisville, TN 37777. Call 982.8687 for directions. If the weather permits, their pool will still be filled for hearty folks to enjoy.

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 19, 2011

Don't Miss Free Thought Forum TOMORROW!
On Tuesday, September 20th , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. There will be a special presentation on "Pastafarianism and Talk Like a Pirate Day", complete with actors and costumes. Due to the studio being used for this extravaganza, no call-ins will be possible for this episode of FTF. Don't miss tomorrow's special show, and please consider making calls into later episodes.

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 19, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW!
On Tuesday, September 13th , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "Angry Atheists? We have good reason to be!” Please place a call to CTV during the show with any questions or comments you can think of!

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 12, 2011

Please Suggest More Books!
We have had some suggestions for books for Skeptic Book Club meetings after November, but we will need more before we vote. If there are books that you would like to have the book club read and discuss, please send suggestions to me by September 18. Joan Omarzu [cjomarzu@charter.net]

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 08, 2011

Sunday Book Club
Skeptic Book Club Sept. 11, 2011 4:00 to 6:00 pm The Skeptic Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a bit of everything from a mostly rational viewpoint. On Sept. 11, we'll discuss "Religion and Science" by Bertrand Russell In this timely work, Russell, philosopher, agnostic, mathematician, and renowned peace advocate, offers a brief yet insightful study of the conflicts between science and traditional religion during the last four centuries. Examining accounts in which scientific advances clashed with Christian doctrine or biblical interpretations of the day, from Galileo and the Copernican Revolution, to the medical breakthroughs of anesthesia and inoculation, Russell points to the constant upheaval and reevaluation of our systems of belief throughout history.

Posted by risler
Sept. 08, 2011

Don't Miss Freethought Forum Tomorrow
On Tuesday, September 6th , FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "What if this actually WERE a Christian nation?” Please place a call to CTV during the show with any questions or comments you can think of!

Posted by risler
Sept. 05, 2011

First Sunday Meeting
This Sunday, Sept. 4, Professor Darrin Hulsey, from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, will address "Convergent Evolution in Cichlid Fishes - What Is Really Known?". Dr Hulsey will discuss the insights provided into speciation and the evolutionary process by the wide varieties in this distinctive class of fishes.

Posted by risler
Sept. 01, 2011

Don't Miss Freethought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, August 30th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "The Ghosts". Our co-hosts will also conclude our month-long emphasis on Robert Ingersoll. Have your comments and questions ready to call-in and support our crew!

Posted by risler
Aug. 29, 2011

Don't miss Reflections Meeting Sunday
Please join us for Reflections on Sunday, August 28, 2011 BEGINNING at 4:00 pm. [NOTE TIME CHANGE] Our subject for discussion will be The Future. We will ask you to offer predictions about what will happen in the future five, fifty and 100 years from now in the fields of Communications, Politics, Economics, Religion, Environment, Medicine, Privacy and Social Interaction. For instance, how will the Communication Age influence Social Interaction? What if they do find Fusion and energy is free? What will be the environmental results of medical advances making people live significantly longer? What is the future of Politics when more people have a voice on the Internet? So bring your Carnac the Magnificent turban and we will write down your predictions and see what happens in five years. Join us for a pot luck dinner BEGINNING at 4 pm at Carol and Stephen Tokay’s home at 8905 Garrison Drive, Knoxville TN 37391. Call (865) 691-6816 if you have any questions or would like directions. Bring a bottle, dish, bag or box to share with us before our dialogue begins.

Posted by risler
Aug. 26, 2011

Don't Miss Free Thought Forum Tuesday
On Tuesday, August 30th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "The Ghosts". Our co-hosts will also conclude our month-long emphasis on Robert Ingersoll. Have your comments and questions ready to call-in and support our crew!

Posted by schadwick
Aug. 21, 2011

Third Sunday Meeting
This Sunday, August 21st, our former Presdient, Phil King, will investigate some of the evidence for a historical Jesus, looking at criteria utilized by historians. Also we will discuss Jesus as a Jewish apocalypticist and try to determine whether Christians today should apply what Jesus said to their daily lives. We will be considering Jesus from a historical perspective - not from a theological perspective. Join us at the Cafeteria Annex in the Goins Building on the PSTCC campus from 10:00 am for coffee & sweets and for Phil's presentation beginning at 10:30 am.

Posted by schadwick
Aug. 17, 2011

Don't Miss Free Thought Forum Tomorrow
On Tuesday, August 16th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "The Injustice of The Atonement". Our Co-hosts will also continue our month-long emphasis on Robert G. Ingersoll. Please place a call to CTV during the show with any questions or comments you may have!

Posted by schadwick
Aug. 15, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum Tomorrow
On Tuesday, August 9th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live- streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, co-hosts Larry and Joe will discuss The Pentatuch (the first five books of the Bible), as well as continuing their dialogue on Robert Ingersoll (whose birthday was August 11th, 1833).

Posted by schadwick
Aug. 08, 2011

Don't Miss First Sunday Meeting
First Sunday Meeting Aug. 7, 2011 10:30 am - 12:30 pm RET member Charles Omarzu will present and discuss several short story documentaries by film maker Annie Leonard. The "Story of Stuff" will be featured. This is a 20 minute animated documentary about the life cycle of material goods. It is being used by many groups as awareness training critical of excessive consumerism and has been viewed by over 12 million people. Stories about electronics, bottled water, cap and trade, and Citizens United vs the FEC will also be presented.

Posted by schadwick
Aug. 05, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TODAY
On Tuesday, August 2nd, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, our co-hosts will begin a month-long focus on Robert G. Ingersoll from a biographical point of view. Please call in with your questions about Ingersoll, or any comments you may have on this famous Freethinker.

Posted by schadwick
Aug. 02, 2011

Reflections Meeting
Please join us for Reflections on Sunday, August 28, 2011, BEGINNING at 4:00 PM. Our subject for discussion will be The Future. We will ask you to offer predictions about what will happen in the future five, fifty and 100 years from now in the fields of Communications, Politics, Economics, Religion, Environment, Medicine, Privacy and Social Interaction. For instance, how will the Communication Age influence Social Interaction? What if they do find Fusion and energy is free? What will be the environmental results of medical advances making people live significantly longer? What is the future of Politics when more people have a voice on the Internet? So bring your Carnac the Magnificent turban and we will write down your predictions and see what happens in five years.


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Posted by schadwick
July 27, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, July 26th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "Religious Conflict Around the World". Johannes and Dale will be discussing historical and current religious strife/disputes.

Posted by schadwick
July 25, 2011

Don't Miss Reflections on Sunday
Independence and Interdependence. Our Reflections topic for July 24th will be thinking together about the opposing concepts of personal independence and our concomitant needs for interdependence. Both of these concepts have application to many realms of human life (citizenry, social interactions, politics, as well as religion, and the arts) and where these two spectra overlap will be discussed. Also one’s views about how the overemphasis of one concept over the other can have social, environmental, economic, global consequences. While researching this topic, I discovered that there are TWO separate and different “Interdependence Days” celebrated over the globe. One is on September 12th each year, and its founding cause was, of course, our 9/11 national tragedy. The other one, celebrated on July 5th, I presume is meant to counter our national holiday on the previous day.


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Posted by schadwick
July 21, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, July 19th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, Faithless Forrest will host a special guest interview with Ms. Jennifer Hancock on the topic of "The Humanist Approach to Happiness". Ms. Hancock is an enthusiastic proponent of Humanism, an author and speaker, visiting us from Florida. Don't miss the interview with this dynamic humanist!

Posted by schadwick
July 18, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, July 12th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: “Providence & Predestination". Joe Barnhart will co-host the discussion regarding John Calvin's ideas.

Posted by schadwick
July 11, 2011

Remaining July Events
RET Mid-July Update Remaining July Events  Sunday, July 17th Third Sunday Meeting 10:30 am – 12:30 pm Author and humanist Jennifer Hancock (www.jen-hancock.com) will present a talk entitled "The Pursuit of Happiness, How Humanists Do It". Some of the most influential people on our planet today are humanists and humanism, as a philosophy, has been one of the most powerful forces for positive social change on the planet. Why is that? One of the reasons is because Humanists are obsessed with happiness. But the Humanist pursuit of happiness is not hedonistic. Instead, Humanists pursue happiness through the cultivation of personal responsibility. In this talk you will learn about the Humanist philosophy. Why Humanists are so concerned with happiness. What the Humanist approach to finding happiness is all about. How the Humanist pursuit of happiness can help make the world a better place. And why this matters. Jennifer will have her books available for purchase following the meeting.  Sunday, July 24th Reflections Meeting 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm Independence and Interdependence Our Reflections topic for July 24th will be thinking together about the opposing concepts of personal independence and our concomitant needs for interdependence. Both of these concepts have application to many realms of human life (citizenry, social interactions, politics, as well as religion, and the arts) and where these two spectra overlap will be discussed. Also one’s views about how the overemphasis of one concept over the other can have social, environmental, economic, global consequences. While researching this topic, I discovered that there are TWO separate and different “Interdependence Days” celebrated around the globe. One is on September 12th each year, and its founding cause was, of course, our 9/11 national tragedy. The other one, celebrated on July 5th, I presume is meant to counter our national holiday on the previous day. Join us for pot-luck lunch at Schera & Ted’s home BEGINNING AT 1:00 pm. Bring a bottle, dish, bag or box to share with us before our discussion begins. Address: 9219 George Williams Road, 37922; phone: 865.690.8742 for directions.

Posted by schadwick
July 10, 2011

Request - Camp Quest Donations
Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains is only 3 weeks away (July 31 - August 6). I would challenge you to join me in making a significant monetary donation to this effort - to go the extra mile to ensure that Jonas has the resources he needs.


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Posted by pking
July 10, 2011

Camp Quest Needs You!
Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains is a one-week summer Camp for young folks, ages 8-17, who’d enjoy a dogma-free environment while exploring nature, science, and their own thoughts and questions. Please see http://www.rationalists.org/cq for a full description. Camp Quest already has 27 youth registered for this year’s camp during the first week of August at Tremont. The camp director, Jonas Holdeman, is looking for additional adult counselors due to the large registration this year, particularly two more adult female volunteers. If you enjoy being around children and being in the beautiful smoky mountains, this could be a very rewarding experience for just a few days. Take a look at the web-site to see all the fun-filled faces of the campers. Then, perhaps you’ll be motivated to contact Jonas Holdeman at (865) 896-9270 and join this exciting summer adventure. Thanks for your serious consideration of this opportunity.

Posted by schadwick
July 09, 2011

Don't Miss Book Club this Sunday
Skeptic Book Club July 10, 2011 4:00 to 6:00 pm The Skeptic Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a bit of everything from a mostly rational viewpoint. On July 10th, we'll discuss "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Value". Sam Harris has written a simple, yet extraordinarily powerful book about the "science of morality" and it is quite a revelation. He cuts through the cloudy thinking of religion and relativism to get at the heart of the problem: How do we as human beings maximize our well being? Harris provides no hard and fast answers, he is attempting to lay the foundations here. He is not, like Moses, stumbling off Mt. Sinai with stone tablets emblazoned with the "truth," he is merely sketching an orientation which might allow us to tackle the mountain ourselves.


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Posted by schadwick
July 07, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TODAY
On Tuesday, July 12th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: “Providence & Predestination". Joe Barnhart will co-host the discussion regarding John Calvin's ideas.

Posted by schadwick
July 05, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, June 28th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live- streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "Our place in the Universe". Co-hosts Faithless Forrest and Larry Rhodes will discuss the April 24, 1990, Space Shuttle Discovery lift off from earth with the Hubble Space Telescope aboard.

Posted by schadwick
June 27, 2011

Don't Miss Third Sunday Meeting
This Sunday, June 19, 2011, from 10:30am-12:30pm, our speaker will be RET member Michael Lance, who will present “Europe Between Hitler and Stalin”. Please join us for this important presentation.


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Posted by schadwick
June 17, 2011

Free Thought Forum TODAY
On Tuesday, June 14th, Freethought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "Robert Ingersoll & Mark Twain". Co-hosts will be Faithless Forrest and Dale Haste.

Posted by schadwick
June 14, 2011

Reflections Meeting
Just a note to remind everyone that there will be no Reflections Meeting in June, due to the proximity to our Solstice Party at the Ledendecker's on June 25th. Hope to see many of you splashing happily in Aleta & Carl's lovely pool.

Posted by schadwick
June 11, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TODAY
On Tuesday, June 7th, Freethought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live-streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "Intelligent Design, Dover School Board, & the Scientific Method". Co-hosts Larry Rhodes and Dale Haste will lead the discussion on the Anniversary of the Dover School board selection of books for the upcoming year.

Posted by schadwick
June 07, 2011

RET Events - Week of June 5
June 5: Presentation from the Tennessee Health Care Campaign - June 7: Freethought Forum (details, below)


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Posted by pking
June 02, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, May 24th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live- streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: “Prayer - Witchcraft - Meditation". Larry Rhodes & Faithless Forrest will co-host.

Posted by schadwick
May 23, 2011

Don't Miss Reflections on Sunday
Reflections Meeting on Sunday, May 22, 2011, from 1:00 - 3:30 pm. Bring a bag, box, bottle, or dish and join us for potluck starting at 1:00 pm followed by a circle dialog on the subject below.


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Posted by schadwick
May 19, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, May 17th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live- streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: “Bertrand Russell's Birthday.” Joe Barnhart and Faithless Forrest will lead the discussion on Bertrand Russell.

Posted by schadwick
May 16, 2011

Rob Boston - May 15, 2:00 p.m.
Rob Boston speaks at Pellissippi State Technical Community College at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, 2011


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Posted by pking
May 13, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, May 10th, FreeThought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live- streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "Emotion – Hedonism – Pleasure.” Larry Rhodes and Joe Barnhart will lead the discussion on the Moral Relativism.

Posted by schadwick
May 09, 2011

Don't Miss Book Club this Sunday
The Skeptic Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. On May 8th, 2011, we'll be discussing this work of Dr. John Allen Paulos. “Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up”. "Few of the recent books on atheism have been worth reading just for wit and style, but this is one of them: Paulos is truly funny. De-spite the title, the Temple University math professor doesn't actually discuss mathematics much, which will be a relief to any numerically challenged readers who felt intimidated by his previous book Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences. In this short primer (just the gist with an occasional jest), Paulos tackles 12 of the most common arguments for God, including the argument from design, the idea that a moral universality points to a creator God, the notion of first causes and the argument from coincidence, among others. Along the way, he intersperses irreverent and entertaining little chapterlets that contain his musings on various subjects, including a rather hilarious imagined IM exchange with God that slyly parodies Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations with God. Why does solemnity tend to infect almost all discussions of religion? Paulos asks, clearly bemoaning the dearth of humor. This little book goes a long way toward correcting the problem, and provides both atheists and religious apologists some digestible food for thought along the way.”

Posted by schadwick
May 05, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, May 3rd, Freethought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live- streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "Day of Prayer". Co-hosts Larry Rhodes and Faithless Forrest will lead the discussion on the Challenge of Faith-Based Initiatives.

Posted by schadwick
May 02, 2011

First Sunday Meeting
On Sunday, May 1, 2011, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Professor Brian O'Meara, from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, will speak to us on "Understanding the History of Life from Living Organisms". From the first moment children see a mounted dinosaur skeleton towering over them, the power of fossils, and paleontology in general, to understand the history of life is apparent. However, there is a complementary approach that is less well-known but also very useful called phylogenetics. This approach uses information from extant organisms to figure out how they are related and then builds on this information to make inferences about the past. I will present a basic overview of how this is done and then discuss some discoveries from this approach, ranging from where strains of flu originated to the history of human migrations to what long-extinct frogs sounded like.

Posted by schadwick
Apr. 29, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
On Tuesday, April 26, Freethought Forum will be broadcast by Community TV from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. [Comcast Cable Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, and live- streaming via http://www.ctvknox.org/]. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "When Jehovah had a Wife: What Bible Stories did your parents, or pastor NEVER tell you?" Co-host Joe Barnhart and Faithless Forrest will lead this discussion on Polytheism.

Posted by schadwick
Apr. 25, 2011

Don't Miss Reflections on Sunday
THIS Sunday, April 24th, we’ll share a pot-luck lunch STARTING AT 1:00 pm. Please bring a dish, bag, box, or bottle, and join us at Schera & Ted’s home [9219 George Williams Road, call 690.8742 for directions]. To follow-up on “The Age of Empathy”, recently discussed by the book club, we will watch a short video animation by RSA [the British Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce delivers a series of cleverly animated talks to really bring a topic to life]. The subject will be “The Empathic Civilization” by Professor Jeremy Rifkin. Then we’ll have a circle dialogue, open discussion, and continue noshing. Please see the RET calendar on our website for more details.

Posted by schadwick
Apr. 22, 2011

No FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
Tuesday, April 19, Freethought Forum will be preempted by the City Council meeting. The show will return to its usual time, 5:00 to 6:00 pm, next week on April 26th. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the topic will be: "When Jehovah had a wife: Bible stories from your parents". Co-host Joe Barnhart and Faithless Forrest will lead the discussion on Polytheism.

Posted by schadwick
Apr. 18, 2011

Don't Miss Third Sunday Meeting Tomorrow
Sunday, April 17th, starting at 10:30 am, Prof. Fran Ansley of the UT College of Law will address the topic "Why unions are needed in today’s world more than ever — and why they need significant reinventing." Please join us in the Cafeteria Annex of PSTCC in the Goins building at 10:00 am for refreshments and socializing. The program will end at 12:30 pm and many folks enjoy going to lunch together afterwards.

Posted by schadwick
Apr. 16, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 New TIME 5:00 - 6:00 pm. The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the co-hosts will be discussing "Life, Death & Immortality: How do we live knowing that there is no afterlife?"


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Posted by schadwick
Apr. 11, 2011

Skeptic Book Club on Sunday
Join us on Sunday, Apr. 10, 2011, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, when we'll be discussing "The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society" by Frans de Waal. De Waal (Chimpanzee Politics), a renowned primatologist, culls an astounding volume of research that deflates the human assumption that animals lack the characteristics often referred to as humane. He cites recent animal behavior studies that challenge the primacy of human logic and put animals on a closer behavioral footing with humans. Based on the studies of mammals, from primates to mice, de Waal proposes that empathy is an instinctual behavior exhibited by both lab rats and elephants. But de Waal's aim isn't merely to show that apes are transactional creatures with a basic understanding of reciprocity—but to reveal that the idea that humans are naturally calculating, competitive and violent is grounded in a falsehood willfully and selfishly perpetuated. Throughout the book, de Waal illustrates how behaving more like our wild mammalian cousins may just save humanity. His contention, colored by philosophical musings and fascinating anecdotes of observed emotional connections between animals, argues persuasively that humans are not greedy or belligerent because animals are; such traits are far from organic or inevitable but patently manmade.


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Posted by schadwick
Apr. 08, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 New TIME 5:00 - 6:00 pm. The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Between taking calls from the viewing public, the co-hosts will be discussing Childhood Religious Indoctrination/Education.

Posted by schadwick
Apr. 04, 2011

First Sunday Meeting
Don't miss our first April meeting at PSTCC on Apr. 3, 2011 10:30 am-12:30 pm. Professor Christine Shepardson, from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, will speak on "The Bible Tells Me So: The Politics of Biblical Interpretation". A lot of Americans rely on the Bible to support their views on everything from how to treat the environment, to the use of our country's military, to the rights of gays and lesbians. We've all heard people say that they hold a certain political view "because that's what the Bible says." But it's interesting that different people use the Bible to support completely opposite political views - for example, some Christians quote the Bible to support the use of military force, while other Christians quote the Bible to argue against war altogether. This lecture will examine some of the complicated conscious and unconscious choices people make in interpreting Christian scripture, and think about some of the unspoken politics behind the claim, "the Bible tells me so."

Posted by schadwick
Apr. 01, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
FreeThought Forum -- March 29, 2011 New TIME 5:00 - 6:00 pm. The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. This Tuesday "Faithless" Forrest, and Joe Barnhart will be discussing Rationality vs Theology while taking your calls & questions.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 28, 2011

Don't let the rain cause you to miss Reflections T
Reflections is a pot-luck lunch/dialogue and will be held at Schera & Ted's home [9219 George Williams Road, West Knoxville, 37922]. Call 865.690.8742 for directions. Bring a dish, bag, box, or beverage and join us for good food and discussion. Note NEW TIME: Lunch begins at 1:00 pm with dialogue circle from 1:30 through 3:30 pm. Our topic tomorrow, March 27th, will be "Communicating with Civility". RET has had for many years a rather free-wheeling Discussion List where members can bring up topics of current interest, exchange opinions about a wide-range of subjects, and inquire of others about their experiences with ethical, philosophical, economic, or political issues, etc. • For those of you who have participated in (or even just quietly observed) the RET-discussion list, please share your experiences with us. • Do you have opinions about civility during RET communications, electronic or otherwise? • Why does our electronic discourse frequently degenerate into bitter argumentation when our in-person exchanges do not? • Is it possible to effectively encourage civil exchanges and discourage harsh, disrespectful ones? • How important is it to us, as non-believers often accused of lacking ethical standards, to conduct our interactions on a respectful and courteous level? Sorry to be getting this reminder announcement out so late. Hopefully many of you will brave the elements and join us for lunch & dialogue tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 26, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TODAY
FreeThought Forum on local TV New TIME for "Freethought Forum" on Community Television of Knoxville (CTV) The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Today, March 22nd, the co-hosts will discuss various topics between taking calls from the public.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 22, 2011

Book Club Selections
Here is the Skeptic Book Club schedule for the months from May through October. The club meets at Barnes and Nobles Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, at 4:00 on the second Sunday of the month. Skeptic Book Club Schedule May 8, 2011 Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up by John Allen Paulos June 12, 2011 Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream by William Powers July 10, 2011 The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris August 14, 2011 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang September 11, 2011 Religion and Science by Bertrand Russell and Michael Ruse (May 29, 1997) October 9, 2011 The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 22, 2011

Third Sunday Meeting on March 20th
Meet at the Cafeteria Annex of PSTCC off Pellissippi Parkway 10:30 am - 12:30 pm "Martin Buber's 'I-Thou' and 'I-It' Philosophy and Sport" will be presented by Dr. Joy DeSensi, Associate Dean of the Graduate School at UTK. Dr. DeSensi is a professor in the Department of Exercise, Sport, and Leisure Studies. Her primary scholarly interest focuses on sociocultural issues of sport, including all aspects of diversity and ethics in sport management. She is co-author of Ethics and Morality in Sport Management (3rd ed.), as well as numerous articles in the field.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 18, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
FreeThought Forum -- March 15, 2011 New TIME 5:00 - 6:00 pm The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. This Tuesday "Faithless" Forrest, Sam G., and Larry R. will be discussing 'The Real "Faith of Our Fathers": Mayflower compact origin of U.S. What if this WERE a Christian nation?' while taking your calls & questions.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 14, 2011

Don't Miss Book Club this Sunday
The Skeptic Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a bit of everything from a mostly rational viewpoint. Feel free to join us even if you haven't read the book. Sunday, March 13th, Florence Wilden will lead the discussion on "Not for Profit: Why Democracy needs the Humanities" by Martha C. Nussbaum.


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Posted by schadwick
Mar. 11, 2011

Skeptic Book Club
Here is a list of the books that have been nominated for Skeptic Book Club. Please choose up to six for the next round of book club meetings if you attend or plan to attend book club meetings. Vote by e-mailing the numbers and the first two or three words of the titles of books you like. Please vote by March 17th. Joan Omarzu cjomarzu@charter.net 1. Religion and Science by Bertrand Russell and Michael Ruse (May 29, 1997) 272 pages http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Science-Bertrand-Russell/dp/0195115511/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299430123&sr=1-1 In this timely work, Russell, philosopher, agnostic, mathematician, and renowned peace advocate, offers a brief yet insightful study of the conflicts between science and traditional religion during the last four centuries. Examining accounts in which scientific advances clashed with Christian doctrine or biblical interpretations of the day, from Galileo and the Copernican Revolution, to the medical breakthroughs of anesthesia and inoculation, Russell points to the constant upheaval and reevaluation of our systems of belief throughout history. In turn, he identifies where similar debates between modern science and the Church still exist today. Michael Ruse's new introduction brings these conflicts between science and theology up to date, focusing on issues arising after World War II. This classic is sure to interest all readers of philosophy and religion, as well as those interested in Russell's thought and writings. 2. Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream by William Powers 296 pages http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-One-Room-Cabin-Beyond-American/dp/1577318978/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299430970&sr=1-1 Take four giant steps forward. Turn right; do it again. Turn right again; repeat. Right; repeat. Now imagine living in a space roughly the size of the area just paced off. Without electricity or running water. In the middle of nowhere. Having recently returned from years in the Bolivian rain forest, environmental activist Powers experienced a nearly debilitating form of culture shock upon his reentry into the heart of American consumerism. His salvation came from ardent permaculturist Dr. Jackie Benton, who offered Powers the use of her spartan cabin in rural North Carolina. Living among other “wildcrafters”—organic farmers, furniture artisans, and eco-developers—Powers learned firsthand what it means to be self-sufficient in the midst of a nation that profligately squanders its resources and looks askance at those who choose to live deliberately. While there are no easy answers to be found in such an extreme experiment, Powers’ eloquent memoir reveals the breadth of this conflict and the depth of one man’s commitment to himself and his community. 3. 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang 304 pages http://www.amazon.com/Things-They-Dont-About-Capitalism/dp/1608191664/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299431715&sr=1-1 Chang (Bad Samaritans) takes on the "free-market ideologues," the stentorian voices in economic thought and, in his analysis, the engineers of the recent financial catastrophe. Free market orthodoxy has inserted its tenterhooks into almost every economy in the world--over the past three decades, most countries have privatized state-owned industrial and financial firms, deregulated finance and industry, liberalized international trade and investments, and reduced income taxes and welfare payments. But these policies have unleashed bubbles and ever increasing income disparity. How can we dig ourselves out? By examining the many myths in the narrative of free-market liberalism, crucially that the name is itself a misnomer: there is nothing "free" about a market where wages are largely politically determined; that greater macroeconomic stability has not made the world economy more stable; and a more educated population itself won't make a country richer. An advocate of big, active government and capitalism as distinct from a free market, Chang presents an enlightening précis of modern economic thought--and all the places it's gone wrong, urging us to act in order to completely rebuild the world economy: "This will some readers uncomfortable... it is time to get uncomfortable." 4.The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow 208 pages http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Design-Stephen-Hawking/dp/0553805371/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299432219&sr=1-1 Starred Review. The three central questions of philosophy and science: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other? No one can make a discussion of such matters as compulsively readable as the celebrated University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk), Hawking deftly mixes cutting-edge physics to answer those key questions. For instance, why do we exist? Earth occupies a "Goldilocks Zone" in space: just the perfect distance from a not-too-hot star, with just the right elements to allow life to evolve. On a larger scale, in order to explain the universe, the authors write, "we need to know not only how the universe behaves, but why." While no single theory exists yet, scientists are approaching that goal with what is called "M-theory," a collection of overlapping theories (including string theory) that fill in many (but not all) of the blank spots in quantum physics; this collection is known as the "Grand Unified Field Theories." This may all finally explain the mystery of the universe's creation without recourse to a divine creator. This is an amazingly concise, clear, and intriguing overview of where we stand when it comes to divining the secrets of the universe. 41 color illus. throughout, 7 b&w cartoons. 5. Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up by John Allen Paulos 176 pages http://www.amazon.com/Irreligion-Mathematician-Explains-Arguments-Just/dp/B003JTHSLI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299445100&sr=1-1 Few of the recent books on atheism have been worth reading just for wit and style, but this is one of them: Paulos is truly funny. Despite the title, the Temple University math professor doesn't actually discuss mathematics much, which will be a relief to any numerically challenged readers who felt intimidated by his previous book Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences. In this short primer (just the gist with an occasional jest), Paulos tackles 12 of the most common arguments for God, including the argument from design, the idea that a moral universality points to a creator God, the notion of first causes and the argument from coincidence, among others. Along the way, he intersperses irreverent and entertaining little chapterlets that contain his musings on various subjects, including a rather hilarious imagined IM exchange with God that slyly parodies Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations with God. Why does solemnity tend to infect almost all discussions of religion? Paulos asks, clearly bemoaning the dearth of humor. This little book goes a long way toward correcting the problem, and provides both atheists and religious apologists some digestible food for thought along the way.


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Posted by schadwick
Mar. 10, 2011

Trash Pickup
The trash pickup is this Sat., March 12, 9am. Participants will meet at the Burger King located at the Lovell Rd. Exit of the Pellissippi Parkway. If you have any questions, please contact Donna Maxwell at gloamer1@hotmail.com or at 865-748-0682. 

Posted by risler
Mar. 09, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
March 8th, 2011 5:00 - 6:00 pm New TIME for "Freethought Forum" on Community Television of Knoxville (CTV). The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Tuesday, March 8th, the co-hosts will be discussing "Closeted Atheists & Coming Out (like Gays)" beginning at 5:00 pm.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 07, 2011

First Sunday Meeting
Don't miss the RET meeting tomorrow Mar. 6, 2011 at PSTCC from 10:30am-12:30pm "The Four Horsemen" A roundtable moderated by Donna Maxwell The first part of an informal discussion between Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett will be shown. It includes such topics as: religion's immunity to criticism, can science and religion co-exist, what are atheists trying to accomplish, and should atheists criticize all religions equally. A roundtable discussion of these points will follow the showing.

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 05, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TODAY
FreeThought Forum -- March 1st, 2011 5:00 - 6:00 pm New TIME for "Freethought Forum" on Community Television of Knoxville (CTV) The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Tuesday, March 1st, Joe B., Jonas H., and Larry R. will be discussing "The Problem of Suffering" beginning at 5:00 pm. The Problem of Suffering. Below are some talking points I hope are useful to today's hosts, Joe Barnhart, Jonas Holderman and Larry Rhodes


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Posted by schadwick
Mar. 01, 2011

Reflections Meeting
Don't forget the Reflections Dialogue Group Pot-luck/Discussion THIS SUNDAY Feb. 27, 2011 1:00 to 3:30 pm (NOTE NEW TIME) at the King residence (see below). The path traveled by most non-believers, freethinkers, agnostics, and/or atheists begins with an “Ah-ha” moment – a specific time when we first questioned our environmentally-imposed religious framework. This may be a period in our lives, one specific event or idea, but most of us recall it well, and some freethinkers have dubbed it a “de-conversion” experience.


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Posted by schadwick
Feb. 25, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
FreeThought Forum -- Feb. 22, 2011 5:00 - 6:00 pm New TIME for "Freethought Forum" on Community Television of Knoxville (CTV) The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Tuesday, Feb. 22nd, "Faithless" Forrest, Jonas, and Larry will be discussing "The Faith of the Founders, the foundation of the Separation of Church and State" beginning at 5:00 pm.

Posted by schadwick
Feb. 21, 2011

Don't Miss Third Sunday Meeting
Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 10:30 am - 12:30 pm Knoxville's Community Mediation Center: An Overview and Hands-on Demonstration CMC Director Jackie Kittrell and Board Chair (RET member) Beth Cooper will describe the work of CMC, a highly acclaimed nonprofit organization providing mediation services to individuals and families involved with the judicial system in this area. The services are mainly provided by volunteers who have been specially selected and trained as mediators. The professional staff offers facilitation services, conflict management training, and educational presentations. Interested in becoming a volunteer? Come and learn about the process!

Posted by schadwick
Feb. 18, 2011

Former RET Member, Bill Miller, Dies
Bill Miller, former RET Member, has died in Arizona.


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Posted by pking
Feb. 17, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TOMORROW
FreeThought Forum -- Feb. 15, 2011 5:00 - 6:00 pm New TIME for "Freethought Forum" on Community Television of Knoxville (CTV) The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Tuesday, Feb. 15th, "Faithless" Forest, Jonas, and Larry will be discussing "From Eros to Agape" beginning at 5:00 pm.

Posted by schadwick
Feb. 14, 2011

Don't Miss Book Club Tomorrow
Skeptic Book Club Feb. 13, 2011 4:00 - 6:00 pm The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk In "The Genius in All of Us" Shenk beautifully explains why the nature-nurture debate is dead. It is not just the genes we are born with, but how we are raised and what opportunities are open to us that determine how smart we will become. Nurture and experience reshape our genes, and thus our brain. Shenk argues that the idea we are either born with genius or talent, or we aren’t, is simply untrue. Ambition, persistence, and self-discipline are not just products of genes, but can be shaped by nurture and environment. Certainly it is important to have good genes, but that determines at most only 50 percent of your talent. He underscores the point that intelligence is made up of the skills that a person has developed--with an emphasis on “developed”--through hard work. Encouraging ourselves and our children to work hard requires being surrounded by others also wanting to achieve striving for excellence. Moreover, Shenk gives the hopeful message not just for kids, but also for adults. Happily for us, the human brain remains plastic, changeable and trainable well into old age. So no matter how old you are, if you’d like to be smarter--get to work! --Louann Brizendine


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Posted by schadwick
Feb. 12, 2011

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum Tomorrow
The Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville host Freethought Forum on CTV on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 6:00 PM. CTV is available in Knox County, Tennessee, on Comcast Cable Channel 12 and Charter Channel 6. Live streaming is available on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org/. Tomorrow, July 26th, the topic will be "Religious Conflict Around the World". Johannes and Dale will be discussing historical and current religious strife/disputes between taking calls from the viewing audience.

Posted by schadwick
Feb. 08, 2011

Media Fund
The Rationalists of East Tennessee have established a Media Fund to support our outreach efforts. At present, our only sponsored media project is the Freethought Forum (Tuesdays, 5:00 - 6:00 PM on Community Television of Knoxville). Please send your checks to: Rationalists of East Tennessee P.O. Box 51634 Knoxville, TN 37950 or contribute through PayPay at info@rationalists.org. Eliot Specht Treasurer Rationalists of East Tennessee

Posted by espect
Feb. 06, 2011

Don't Miss First Sunday Meeting Tomorrow
First Sunday Meeting Feb. 6, 2011 10:30 am - 12:30 pm "The Evolution of Confusion", the DVD of Daniel Dennett's talk which was presented at the 2009 Atheist Alliance International Conference will be shown and discussed. This roundtable will be chaired by our new President, Ralph Isler.

Posted by schadwick
Feb. 05, 2011

First Sunday Meeting
First Sunday Meeting Feb. 6, 2011 10:30 am - 12:30 pm "The Evolution of Confusion", the DVD of Daniel Dennett's talk which was presented at the 2009 Atheist Alliance International Conference will be shown and discussed. This session will be chaired by our newly elected President, Ralph Isler.

Posted by schadwick
Feb. 02, 2011

Reflections on Sunday
Reflections on Society's Attitudes Towards Non-Believers January 23, 2011 Venue: Home of Schera & Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, 37922 Call 865.690.8742 for directions. TIME: 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Bring a dish or just come! People generally like and trust folks they consider to be "like me", believing themselves to be moral and good Americans. What do the conservative, evangelistic sects of Eastern Tennessee think about non-believers? They certainly don't consider us to be "like them", and therefore may have difficulty relating to us. We'll start with the questions below:


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Posted by schadwick
Jan. 21, 2011

Watch FreeThought Forum-Tomorrow!
TUESDAY, Jan. 18, 2011, from 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm - Don't forget to watch Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or Live streaming on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org. Joe Barnhart & Jonas Holdeman will discuss "Dreams: Aspirations or Inspirations?" between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing the public about rationalism and free thought here in East Tennessee. For all RET and ASK members: Consider calling into the show with a question or comment. That sometimes gets the ball rolling and encourages local callers!

Posted by schadwick
Jan. 17, 2011

RET Annual Business Mtng - Jan 16
Letter from the RET President


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Posted by pking
Jan. 13, 2011

SERAM - Jan 29, 30 - Huntsville AL
The Southeast Regional Atheist Meet will be held in Huntsville, AL, on January 29-30. If you are interested in attending, you can find more information at: https://atheists.org/events/Southeast_RAM

Posted by pking
Jan. 09, 2011

Watch FreeThought Forum-Next Week!
Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or Live streaming on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org)on TUESDAY, January 4th, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Faithless Forrest & Dale Haste will discuss "Concepts of Hell" between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing the public about rationalism and free thought here in East Tennessee.

Posted by schadwick
Dec. 27, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum-Tomorrow!
Dec. 28, 2010 - 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm Don't miss Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or Live streaming on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org)on TUESDAY, December 28th, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Sam Goeltz & Joe Barnhart will discuss "The Meaning of Life" between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing the public about rationalism and free thought here in East Tennessee.

Posted by schadwick
Dec. 27, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum-TODAY!
(Second notice due to error in date of first one) Dec. 21, 2010 - 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm Don't miss Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or Live streaming on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org)on TUESDAY, December 21st, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Larry Rhodes and Faithless Forrest will discuss "Christmas & Solstice" between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing the public about rationalism and free thought here in East Tennessee.

Posted by schadwick
Dec. 21, 2010

Don't Forget - TODAY's WINTER SOLSTICE PARTY
RET'S ANNUAL WINTER SOLSTICE PARTY Saturday, December 18th Beginning at 6:30 pm Join us for good food, festive beverages, and lively conversation at our bi-annual Solstice Party. Don't forget to come -- THIS SATURDAY! Carol and Stephen Tokay will welcome one and all to their lovely Centenary home at 8905 Garrison Drive*, Knoxville, 37931-2416 - beginning at 6:30 pm on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18th, 2010. Bring a dish, bottle, or box and Join Us ! *Call 691.6816 for directions

Posted by schadwick
Dec. 14, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
This message is coming to you a second time due to an error in the host line-up; see below. Dec. 14th, 2010 TODAY @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm Don't miss Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or Live streaming on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org)on TUESDAY, December 14th, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Larry Rhodes and Joe Barnhart will discuss "Faith vs Science" between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing the public about rationalism and free thought here in East Tennessee.

Posted by schadwick
Dec. 14, 2010

First Sunday Meeting
The Evolutionary History of Flowers Dec. 5, 2010 10:30 am - 12:30 pm Our speaker on Sunday, December 5th, will be Dr. Joseph H. Williams from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Flowering plants, the angiosperms, make up the vast majority of the green world in which we live. The origin of flowering plants was truly a "big bang" in evolutionary history. In this presentation Dr. Williams shows what researchers have learned over the past 150 years as they came to understand the reproduction mechanism of flowering plants and why this unique process has been so successful.


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Posted by schadwick
Dec. 02, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
Nov. 30, 2010 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm Don't miss Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or Live streaming on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org)on TUESDAY, November 30th, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Larry Rhodes and Dale Haste will discuss "Religion in the Military" between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing the public about rationalism and free thought here in East Tennessee.

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 30, 2010

Reflections on Immigration
Reflections on Immigration Sunday November 28th, 2010 4 to 6 pm Except for Native Americans, we are all descended from immigrants - Immigrants who have not only provided labor for a growing economy but also given the US a distinctly unique social and political culture. The process continues to this day but not without increasingly complex and numerous difficulties for all involved. Bring a dish, a box, or just yourself and JOIN US at Schera & Ted's home, 9219 George Williams Road, in West Knoxville (37922). Call 865.690.8742 for directions.


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Posted by schadwick
Nov. 26, 2010

Reflections on Immigration
November 28th, 2010 After Thanksgiving Dialogue/Dinner Group Reflections on Immigration 4:00 to 6:00 pm on Sunday Except for Native Americans, we are all descended from immigrants - Immigrants who have not only provided labor for a growing economy but also given the US a distinctly unique social and political culture. The process continues to this day but not without increasingly complex and numerous difficulties for all involved. After your holiday travels/meals, join us for some lively dialogue on this important issue for our nation at the home of Schera & Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, 37922 [call 690.8742 for directions]. Bring a dish, a box, a bottle, left-overs, or just yourself and find friendly rationalists with whom to "polish off" the gleam on your Thanksgiving holiday for 2010!


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Posted by schadwick
Nov. 24, 2010

SOLSTICE PARTY!
WINTER SOLSTICE PARTY Join us for good food, festive beverages, and lively conversation at our bi-annual Solstice Party. MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW! Carol and Stephen Tokay will welcome one and all to their lovely Centurian home at 8905 Garrison Drive* Knoxville, 37931-2416 beginning at 6:30 pm on Saturday, December 18th, 2010. Bring a dish, bottle, or box And join us ! *Call 691.6816 for directions

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 24, 2010

Save the Tree of Knowledge
Please act today—tell the Chester County Commissioners you want the Tree of Knowledge to stay! Dear friends, I forward a very disturbing message from freethought activist Margaret Downey. For the past three years she has coordinated the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia's Tree of Knowledge display, one of the most conspicuous freethought/humanist alternative holiday displays in the country. This consists of a large outdoor tree decorated with reproductions of covers of current and classic freethought/humanist/atheist books. It stands alongside various religious holiday displays on the courthouse lawn in West Chester, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb. Tomorrow, November 18, the Chester County Commissioners will vote on an aggressive legal maneuver to take possession of the courthouse lawn as the Commissioners' property. This will almost certainly spell an end to all alternative holiday displays -- very likely, a return to the bad old days of a manger, some reindeer, and not much else. It would be a significant step backward if Chester County turned its back on the growing religious—and nonreligious—diversity of the nation and of its own community. Margaret Downey's message, reproduced below, contains complete instructions for contacting the Chester County Commissioners by phone and email. Please read and act today to let the Commissioners know that the Tree of Knowledge has a national constituency—and to let them know, as the old phrase goes, that the whole world is watching. Tom Flynn Executive Director, the Council for Secular Humanism All Rights Reserved. ©2010 Council for Secular Humanism, 3965 Rensch Road, Amherst, NY 14228


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Posted by schadwick
Nov. 17, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
Don't miss Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or Live streaming on the CTV website, http://www.ctvknox.org)on TUESDAY, November 23rd, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Larry Rhodes and Faithless Forrest will discuss Henry Potter vs. the Christian Fantasy World between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing the public about rationalism and free thought here in East Tennessee.

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 14, 2010

Skeptic Book Club
Skeptic Book Club, Nov. 14, 2010 Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike 4:00 to 6:00 pm Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe Harvard’s humanist chaplain believes one can find purpose, compassion, and community without the existence of God. To suggest otherwise, he insists, is a form of prejudice. Yet half of all Americans, according to various polls, say they would never vote for a well-qualified atheist presidential candidate. “No other minority group in this country,” he writes, “is rejected by such large numbers” (approximately 15 percent of Americans—nearly 40 million—are atheists). Defining humanism as, simply, “goodness without God,” Epstein discusses why and how to attain it. Such humanism has, he says, roots in the ancient world and in regions as different as Asia and the Middle East. He traces it from the Epicureans to Spinoza to the Enlightenment and Jefferson’s pursuit-of-happiness doctrine. Humanists don’t deny the significance of God, but rather consider God to be the most influential literary character ever created. Throughout, he persuasively claims that the humanist approach to life can provide the nonreligious with purpose and dignity. A thoughtful account of an often contentious topic. --June Sawyers (reviewer)

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 11, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
Hosts for Nov 9th will be Faithless Forrest and Larry Rhodes, who will discuss Comparative Religion between calls. You might ask why we atheists are speaking to you about religion? We think that a deeper understanding of religion is one of the best ways to shock people to a more rational world view. Watch Community TV on Tuesday, Nov. 9th, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm [Comcast Channel 12, and Charter Channel 6].

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 08, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
Don't miss Free Thought Forum on Community TV (Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 6, or on-line)on TUESDAY, November 2th, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Joe Barnhart and Larry Rhodes will discuss "Ethics" and religion between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing East TN about rationalism and free thought.

Posted by schadwick
Nov. 02, 2010

Reflections on Oct. 24th
Reflections on "How Does The DSM-V Impact our Society & Its Importance to Each of Us" Oct. 24, 2010 The American Psychiatry Association published its first famous reference book, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), in 1952. The name is somewhat misleading. This psychiatric bible is used daily by, not only medical practitioners, but by leagues of attorneys while planning defense and/or prosecution strategies, by judges while trying cases, by insurance companies for defining exemptions of coverage, in the training of law enforcement officers, military troops, and military intelligence. It is more than a list of statistics in that it attempts to draw a sharp line between mental health and illness. But it has thus far only succeeded in creating criteria that are complex and blurred at the edges, thus making real world application difficult and treacherous. The Fifth edition of the DSM has been under study for more than a decade with an expected completion by 2013. Members of the 13 work groups charged with revising the DSM have been criticized for secrecy and direct ties (presumed beneficial relationships) with the pharmaceutical industry. What these task force members decide can have far reaching effects on our legal and educational systems, as well as on journalism, our political choices, and human relations. We will review a few of the major revisions proposed and discuss the following questions: • How do we conceive of the spectrum that runs from mental health to mental illness? • Do we allow for the extremes of personality varieties before jumping to the accusation of mental impairment when we're arguing with an adversary? • Do we recognize that all individuals think differently, and that variety itself may be an evolutionary advantage? • Are homeless street people all mentally ill? • Was the deinstitutionalism of the "insane" in the late twentieth century good or bad for society as a whole? • Are we uncomfortable with the power, legal and otherwise, that the medical profession holds over us? • How can we be more proactive in staying abreast of psychiatric practices and the impact they may have on society as a whole and on us as individuals? • Is internet addiction a mental illness?


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Posted by schadwick
Oct. 20, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
The background topic (between taking questions and comments from callers) will be "Famous Freethinkers and Freethought Resources". Tell your friends and remember to watch today - Tuesday from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm on Community TV (Comcast 12, Charter 6).


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Posted by schadwick
Oct. 18, 2010

Third Sunday Meeting
Join us at PSTCC Cafeteria Annex tomorrow -Oct. 17th- from 10:30am - 12:30pm, for "The Highest Court in the Land: Retrospective and Prospective". Constitutional Law Professor Otis H. Stephens Jr. will discuss major cases from the Supreme Court in its 2009-2010 term and offer some thoughts about the upcoming term, which began October 4th with recently confirmed Justice Kagan on board.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 16, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
Don't miss Free Thought Forum on Comcast channel 12 (Community TV) TUESDAY, October 12th, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm. Joe Barnhart and Melissa Brenneman will discuss "Gender Issues" in religion between taking calls from viewers. Please tell all your friends about this new venue for informing East TN about rationalism and free thought.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 11, 2010

Skeptic Book Club
Don't forget to join us at Barnes & Noble bookstore on Kingston Pike on Sunday, Oct. 10th from 4:00 - 6:00 pm to discuss the book below, and perhaps come along for dinner afterwards. Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Tom and Dick Smothers had confrontations with CBS censors when they did their satirical television series from 1967 to 1969. To write this authoritative and entertaining examination of a comedic cornerstone, TV critic Bianculli (Illiteracy) interviewed scores of producers and performers. He reveals what went on behind the cameras and also probes the generational, artistic, and moral duels being fought in the '60s. He opens with the childhood of the brothers (and sister) when their father became a WWII POW fatality. After high school and college bands, the brothers rode the folk music wave into San Francisco's Purple Onion, switched to comedy at Aspen, and recorded their debut comedy album in 1960, exploding into fame on Jack Paar's Tonight show. After the failure of their 1965–1966 CBS sitcom, they went full throttle when their variety series, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, began taping in 1967, pushing boundaries musically, comically, satirically, politically and courting controversy.

Posted by schadwick
Oct. 08, 2010

Don't Miss FreeThought Forum TV Show on Tuesday, O
Our First Topic this month will be Church/State Separation. Before and between calls, we'll talk about the importance of Church/State separation; its origins, and how it not only protects individuals, but the religious, and government institutions as well.


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Posted by schadwick
Oct. 03, 2010

Thinking Rationally about Climate Change
Thinking Rationally about Climate Change Oct. 3, 2010 10:30 am - 12:30 pm A Survey of the Capabilities and Limitations of Climate Science, Modeling and Prediction. Presented by Melissa Allen. An RET member and climate researcher, Melissa Allen, will present an overview of the history and development of climate science along with highlights of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. With these tools, we look at what observational data and computer models can tell us and where predictive uncertainties lie. Join us for a stimulating discussion on one of our age's most popular scientific controversies.

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 30, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
Don't forget to watch Free Thought Forum on Community TV Tuesday, Sept. 28th, from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Our topic this week will be: The True foundation of our National Heritage. Where our democracy actually comes from, and what our Founding Fathers actually said and believed. Not the re-writing of history that the Religious Right wields to make their various points.

Posted by schadwick
Sept. 27, 2010

Talk, Eat, & Swim Sunday Afternoon
On Violence and Human Nature Sept. 26, 2010 4:00 - 6:00 pm REFLECTIONS On Violence & Human Nature September 26th, 2010 Are we rationalists and "free thinkers" able to consider peace, war and violence in radically new ways? Let us reflect on the following questions calmly, seriously, and with absolute freedom of thought: • Are human beings naturally violent? • What is hatred? What are its sources? • How can love overcome the power of hatred? • How does nonviolence overcome the power of violence? • How can we prove that unconditional love makes us psychologically healthy & that hatred, just like an illness, occurs when something has gone wrong? • How does violence against the natural world relate to violence between human beings?


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Posted by schadwick
Sept. 24, 2010

Watch FreeThought Forum
On Tuesday, Sept. 14th, our program will be on “The Nature of the Atheist Society of Knoxville and the Rationalists of East Tennessee”. Hosts Larry Rhodes and Faithless Forrest Erickson will introduce these organizations in some depth. You will learn how many interesting meetings around our area can be attended each week for those wishing to discuss religion, non-religion, atheism, agnosticism, free thought, rationalism, secular humanism, etc., or just get together to share a beverage in a friendly and welcoming setting.


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Posted by schadwick
Sept. 13, 2010

Roundtable Sept. 5
Sept. 5, 2010 10:30 to 12:30 Open roundtable. Members can present any items which they want to discuss. Possible topics may include Billy Graham question and answer articles, Is America Sliding into Fascism, jeremiads of Chris Hedges, or anything else that people would like to discuss in a free-wheeling, free-thought forum. A soap box will be provided. Time/location: 10:30 - 12:30, Pellissippi State, Goins Bldg., Cafeteria Annex


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Posted by schadwick
Sept. 01, 2010

FreeThought on local TV-August 31st
The following message from Larry Rhodes announces the first community tv broadcast by Rationalists, Freethinkers, & Atheists here in Knoxville. "I just talked to the people at the Community TV station, and we're all set to go on Tuesday at 5:30 PM. i.e. August 31st. This will be a joint-venture of RET and ASK, so be sure to set your VCR or (more likely) your TiVo, to record it! It's going to be a live call in show, so it should be very interesting (funny and embarrassing, but interesting)! "Basically, we will state the Atheist position about Church/State separation and that being without "faith" is not a bad thing, etc. And let the callers say the rest. Mostly we'll just react to callers, and hope to keep the attention of the "middle grounders" Also, it's not about just the Christians or Jews, it's about Free thought, and the fact that believing in unsupported, supernatural claims isn't good for mankind in general. We really just hope to raise awareness in the Knoxville community that Atheism isn't what the church says we are. And that it's Ok to be good without god. (A monumental task in Knoxville, Tennessee). Wish us luck! Larry Rhodes Atheist Meetup Knoxville, TN " We're hoping that all RET members and friends will be watching and wishing us success on this new outreach venture with ASK (the Atheist Society of Knoxville).


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Posted by schadwick
Aug. 26, 2010

Reflections on August 22nd
REFLECTIONS August 22nd, 2010 TOPIC: The Decline, Fall, and Potential Resurrection of American Education [K-12] In 2007 Philip Atkinson, a British researcher, author, and philosopher, wrote about the impact of communal decline upon education, stressing three basic failures of the American Educational system: 1. Failure To Impose Discipline: Clear thinking is the result of disciplined thoughts. If pupils are not forced to discipline their behavior, then they will not discipline their thoughts and so will be unable to think clearly; this is the very opposite of the purpose of education. 2. Failure To Demand Respect For Teachers: If a lesson is to be heeded, the teacher must have the respect of the pupils. In the year 2000 the awed respect that children of my generation (1950s) had for their teachers has been replaced by the opposite. School children no longer fear their teacher, for their erstwhile master is now their servant. The cane has been replaced by the panic button. Teachers no longer command and demand, but amuse and appease. This must undermine the whole purpose of education. 3. Failure To Teach Essential Subjects: The most important lesson for every child is that of learning to read and write, for the use of language is the ability to think. Nonetheless, the education system has abandoned the traditional teaching of reading and writing, with its fixed spelling and grammar, so no longer teaches citizens how to either communicate or think clearly. Whether or not we agree with all of Mr. Atkinson's charges, I think most of us would agree that the educational system of this nation is not performing like it was when we were in it.


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Posted by schadwick
Aug. 21, 2010

August 15 - Dr. Charles Maland
Pellissippi State; 10:30 - 12:30; "Charlie Chaplin and the Making of a Classic: CITY LIGHTS;" U.T. Professor Charles Maland


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Posted by pking
Aug. 13, 2010

Skeptic Book Club - August 8
Skeptic Book Club will meet at 4:00 on Sunday, August 8, at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. Chuck Omarzu will lead our discussion of: "Nazi Nexus: America's Corporate Connection to Hitler's Holocaust," by Edwin Black.


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Posted by pking
Aug. 04, 2010

First Sunday Roundtable August 1st
Roundtable discussant: David Driscoll, Atheist Alliance International Ambassador for the Southeast Mr. Driscoll is co-host of the American Freethought Podcast, www.americanfreethought.com, and host of the Secular Nation Podcast www.atheistalliance.org/podcast He will speak about the work of Atheist Alliance International and about freethinking topics of current concern.


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Posted by schadwick
July 30, 2010

PICNIC in North Carolina
The Third Annual Regional Atheists Picnic Sunday September 19th 2010 starts at NOON at Lake Julian Park Picnic shelter #2 The success of this picnic depends on you. Sign-up on-line for what you will bring (food and supplies, alcohol not permitted ).Examples (Sodas, chips, cups, plates, prepared foods). Remember, we have a variety of people coming with a variety of tastes/dietary requirements (everything from Junk-food Junkie to Vegan).


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Posted by schadwick
July 30, 2010

Suggest Books by August 8
Joan Omarzu has extended the deadline (to August 8th) for suggesting books.


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Posted by pking
July 27, 2010

Cultural SIG
Shakespeare on the Square Friday, July 30th. Aleta and Carl invite you all to consider attending the Tennessee Stage Company's production of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) on Market Square at 7:00 PM on Friday, July 30, with them. (Lawn chairs recommended). It is FREE but $5 is requested as a donation. It has three actors doing 36 plays in 90 minutes. We have seen this before and it is one of the funniest things you will ever see. We should try to meet at 6:30 to get good seating.


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Posted by schadwick
July 25, 2010

Reflections on July 25th
There have been many debates over the years regarding the quality of journalism and how it may have varied over the decades. • What are the key attributes of your favorite journalists? • Do you think of journalism as a profession and, if so, do you think most journalists conduct themselves professionally? • What practices do you wish reporters would improve or follow? • What about the relatively new practice of "embedding" reporters with troops in combat situations? • What are your favorite sources for world news? • Does the mainstream media meet your needs or do you prefer electronic, visual, or auditory complementary or primary sources?


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Posted by schadwick
July 19, 2010

Skeptic Book Club
It's that time again---time to suggest books for our next round of Skeptic Book Club meetings. Please choose a non-fiction book (or two)that covers a topic that you think will be of interest to our group. Suggest a book that you have read and found to be worthwhile. Also, you can recommend a book you have not read, if it has been recommended by a reviewer you respect and you have read other favorable reviews. The deadline for suggesting books is July 26, so put on your thinking caps & SEND in your suggestions THIS WEEK!


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Posted by schadwick
July 18, 2010

Bicycle Cades Cove by Moonlight; Outdoors SIG
I will be leading a tour of Cades Cove by moonlight. The 11-mile loop is closed to automobile traffic at night. It has been repaved and is suitable for either road (skinny tires) or mountain (fat tires) bicycles. There are just a few hills; you can walk up the steeper parts if you haven't been riding much. The ride is Saturday July 24, when the moon is full. The park service requires a headlight and either a tail-light or a rear reflector; rangers have been on the road enforcing this. I require that you wear a helmet. Take Lamar Alexander Parkway from Maryville through Townsend to the "Y". Turn right on Laurel Creek Rd. to Cades Cove. Continue straight past the Cades Cove Campground entrance on your left and park on the left side of Laurel Creek Rd. just before the closed gate to the Cades Cove Loop. On the night of the ride only, I can be reached at (865) 659-2042. I hope to see you there! Moonrise -- 7:58 PM Ride begins -- 11:00 PM Zenith -- 1:04 AM Moonset -- 6:10 AM Contact me for more information: Eliot Specht specht@alum.mit.edu (865) 675-7467

Posted by espect
July 05, 2010

Third Sunday Meeting
Hope everyone can make it to the meeting this coming Sunday -- the topic is, in my opinion, of critical interest. Professor Glenn Graber, of the UT Philosophy Department, will present an "interactive session" based on an exercise he's used in class. It deals with the allocation of scarce medical resources (what some call "rationing"). Given the discussions of "death panels" and the like during the recent debates on health care reform, this is very timely. Prof. Graber maintains that some such choices are inevitable, and he will survey a variety of ways in which we might ground the choices. Thanks, Margaret

Posted by schadwick
June 16, 2010

SOLSTICE PARTY!
RET Summer Solstice Potluck Saturday June 19 at 4:00PM Location: Ledendecker's 2123 Stonybrook Road, Louisville, TN 37777 865 982-8687 Swimming, games, BYOB


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Posted by schadwick
June 15, 2010

Reflections on June 27th
Reflections on Privacy. There are many aspects of privacy: physical, informational, organizational, personal, spiritual, and intellectual, to name a few. And there is a general acceptance of the human need for privacy as one of our basic human rights. But have you ever wondered from whence the need for privacy comes?


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Posted by schadwick
June 08, 2010

Skeptic Book Club reminder
Skeptic Book Club will meet at 4:00 on Sunday, June 13, at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. We will discuss: Whither Socialism? by Joseph Stiglitz


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Posted by dbuck
June 08, 2010

Need topic suggestions and/or volunteers
All, Please submit a roundtable topic you'd like us to put on the RET calendar to Ralph Isler at risler1@comcast.net And, we need some more members to volunteer to present on a topic or to facilitate a discussion on a topic this coming fall and winter and even next year. Please contact Ralph if you're willing to do your part!

Posted by dbuck
May 28, 2010

Public Access TV Project
The RET Board has approved a pilot production of a Public Access TV show possibly called "Speaking Rationally.'" A trained production team, who will do all of the technical work, has already volunteered so all we need is a few people to host the show. As currently envisioned the show will have two hosts who will present and discuss (15 minutes) a freethought, science, state/church, etc. topic and then respond to screened calls (15 minutes) from the listening audience (with a few prearranged calls as backup if the response is slow). The Public Access office is on State Street. Directions: http://www.ctvknox.org/location To start we are considering a show every two weeks and there can be more than two hosts selected so that the same two are not obligated for every show. The shows would be live and require some preparation including going over what will be discussed (perhaps a little rehearsal) with the producers. Approval of the topic of discussion will also be required. This is great opportunity for RET and the freethought community as a whole. Please contact Carl Ledendecker if you are interested in this important project. Carl Ledendecker ledendecker@earthlink.net 865 982-8687 evenings The Rationalists of East Tennessee 5-18-2010

Posted by dbuck
May 18, 2010

Reflections on May 23rd
Join us on Sunday, May 23rd, to wander through the poppy-fields of conversation about our individual concepts of Altered States of Consciousness. Bring a dish to share (or just come) to 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, 37922, starting at 4:00 pm [call 865.690.8742 for directions).


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Posted by schadwick
May 17, 2010

Change in roundtable topic
Slight change for Sunday. While the event is same time and place (10:30, Sunday at Pellissipi) our discussant will be Professor Robert Compton, Departments of Physics and Chemistry, University of Tennessee. Dr. Compton topic is Chirality: One of the Facts of Life.


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Posted by dbuck
May 10, 2010

Reminder - Skeptics Bookclub
Sunday, May 9, from 4-6pm at Barnes and Noble in Knoxville. Book: The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Author: Norman Doidge


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Posted by dbuck
May 03, 2010

Big weekend reminder!
- Saturday, May 1st, Potluck Dinner at Marsha Doyle's - 7908 Queenborough Lane to honor our special speaker, Victor Stenger. Please bring a covered dish to share. Festivities start at 6 PM. - Sunday, May 2nd - Annual public event to be held in the auditorium at Pelissippi State in the Goins Building at 2:00 - 4:00 PM (NOTE SPECIAL TIME!) Our speaker is Victor J. Stenger, emeritus professor of physics, University of Hawaii, author of the 2007 bestseller "God: the Failed Hypothesis -- How Science Shows that God Does not Exist."


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Posted by dbuck
Apr. 26, 2010

Reflections on April 25th
Sunday, April 25th, 4:00 to 6:00 pm, bring a dish (or not) and join us in dialogue at Schera & Ted's home, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, 37922. Call 865.690.8742 for directions.


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Posted by pking
Apr. 18, 2010

Roundtable reminder - April 18
Sunday, April 18th, 10:30 to 12:30 - Topic: The Radical Origins of our Right to Speak Against War: The Trial of Eugene V. Debs - U.T. History Professor Ernest Freeberg


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Posted by pking
Apr. 18, 2010

bookclub reminder
A couple of weeks after we discuss the book, we will be able to meet the Author, Victor Stenger in person. He will be the speaker at RET's Annual Public Lecture on Sunday, May 2, in the Auditorium at Pellissippi State T.C.C. from 2-4 p.m. "There is nothing new - and everything new - about the New Atheism. Victor Stenger (one of the New Atheists himself) eloquently reminds us that although the persuasive arguments against religious belief have existed for millennia, they are now strengthened and confirmed with the insights of modern physics and philosophy to such a degree that we are brought to a tipping point. We have surpassed the critical mass of evidence and reasoning where the time has come for atheists to step forward - and they are indeed stepping forward confidently - to occupy the intellectual and moral high ground that is their rightful place. What is truly 'new' about atheism is that the world, after too many centuries of giving religion a free rein, is now prepared to see and embrace the positive wisdom of doubt.' Victor Stenger, with his affirming, incisive and illuminating observations, shows us that there is truly grandeur in taking a stand, for something precious: science and reason." The Skeptic Book Club meets at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 8029 Kingston Pike at 4:00 on April 11.

Posted by dbuck
Apr. 07, 2010

Reminder - No roundtable Sunday
Due to breaks and Holiday, there will be no Roundtable April 4th.

Posted by dbuck
Mar. 29, 2010

Book Club on Sunday, March 14
What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought Mar. 14, 2010 4-6pm , by Keith E.Stanovich (Discussion led by Melissa Brenneman)


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Posted by pking
Mar. 13, 2010

Reflections on March 28th, 2010
The second meeting of the new Reflections group will again be held at the home of Schera Chadwick & Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, 37922 (call 865.690.8742 for directions). This potluck/dialogue will begin at 4:00 pm, and the topic will be: Hospice and Final Exit - Similarities and Differences. Although both of these philosophies and the institutions which have arisen to support them deal with humane approaches to the end-of-life period, they differ in some significant ways. While both organizations fully recognize the dignity of and respect for the patient, what existential questions do their different approaches suggest?

Posted by schadwick
Mar. 13, 2010

Party/Roundtable - This Weekend
Remember our roundtable on Sunday. On Sunday, March 7, our discussant will be Detective Jim Watson of the Knox County Sheriff's Department. Detective Watson will provide an overview of the types of crimes committed with computers, detection of the crimes, and safety ideas. Come early for coffee and treats and socializing of course! Time/location: 10:30 - 12:30, Pellissippi State, Goins Bldg., Cafeteria Annex ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also, remember our Farewell Party for John, Patty and Clarabelle (more, below).


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Posted by dbuck
Mar. 03, 2010

Reflections Meeting
Dear RET members and friends, This is just a reminder to those of you who may be interested in our new Special Interest Group (SIG), Reflections, which will begin this Sunday at the home of Schera Chadwick & Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, TN 37922. So bring some chips & dip, or other snacks, and join in this, our initial, discussion. Please call 865.690.8742 if you'd like more explicit directions to our place.


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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 26, 2010

Roundtable next sunday
Is Evolution Progressive? Feb. 21, 2010. Location is Pelissippi College as always. Speaker: Michael Lance The late Steven Jay Gould posed a thought experiment in his most popular book A Wonderful Life: if we could rewind the tape of life 4 billion years and then rerun it, would higher intelligence evolve again? Gould's verdict was an adamant "No!", however, the view that evolution is destined to produce higher intelligence is widely accepted by most people and even some scientists. Recently, some religious believers have started claiming that the supposed progressive nature of evolution implies the existence of some higher power. This view is distinct from previous intelligent design claims as it states that the theory of evolution properly understood implies the existence of God as opposed to the God of the gaps who exists only because evolution can't explain all the facts. Is this the evolution of intelligent design? Arguments from both sides in this debate will be presented and discussed.

Posted by dbuck
Feb. 14, 2010

Who is Mark Twain - Skeptic's Bookclub
We'll meet at the usual spot, Barnes and Nobel from 4-6pm on Sunday, February 14th. Bring your Valentine date! The book is by Mark Twain. Here's a description...


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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 08, 2010

Hi Friends of Darwin!
RETers have traditionally volunteered to help this wonderful local event. Here's your chance to get involved again!

Related Link: Darwin Day website

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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 03, 2010

Freedom of Information and Inquiry in K-12 Educati
RET is very fortunate to have the winner of the 2010 Tennessee Library Association Freedom of Information Award as our roundtable speaker this Sunday! Talk starts at 10:30 but come early for coffee and snacks. Title: Freedom of Information and Inquiry in K-12 Education. LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) issues and censorship. Presenter: Karyn Storts Brinks Location: Pelissippi State College, Goins Administration building. Annex off of the cafeteria.


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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 02, 2010

Reminder: Roundtable Sunday
The Practicality of Nonviolence: Thinking About Obama's Nobel Speech Jan. 17, 2010 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 pm at Pellissipi: Rev. Ralph Hutchison, Director of Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, discusses the President Obama's Oslo address. According to the President, evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

Posted by dbuck
Jan. 12, 2010

Reminder: Book Club on Sunday
Sunday, January 10th, Gerald Armel will lead a discussion of his book, "Encyclopedia of Discouraging News." If you have not already received a complimentary book from local author Gerald Armel and would like to read a copy before the January meeting, please contact him at service@sonomar.com and he will mail one to you. Location: Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike, Knoxville TN. 4-6pm.

Posted by dbuck
Jan. 04, 2010

Next Rountable - January 3rd
Florence Wilden will lead a rountable on "The Common Good and Individual Liberty" for our first event of 2010. The discussion is an exposition on the political ideologies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, an Enlightenment philosopher, and Ronald Dworkin, a Constitutional law professor. In their writings on "The Social Contract" and "Sovereign Virtue" each argues that the common good and individual liberty are not in conflict but rather flow naturally into one and other. The talk starts at 10:30 but come early to socialize and have some coffee/tea/snacks. This is also a good chance to renew your membership so bring your checkbooks if you haven't already paid your dues.

Posted by dbuck
Dec. 22, 2009

Please RSVP for Solstice Party December 19th
December 19th - Winter Solstice at Colleen and Greg’s! A celebration of the changing seasons on the longest night of the year to welcome more sunshine! Enjoy music, games, a bonfire, food, and friends! Colleen and Greg will provide the food, salads, soft drinks, ice, and fun! Bring any alcohol you wish to consume. Bring your friends and family!! TIME: ~ 3:00 pm until 8:00 officially (until midnight unofficially)

Related Link: RSVP

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Posted by dbuck
Dec. 14, 2009

Skeptics Book Club - Dec 13 (and shopping tip)
Come join us for some fun discussion and stimulating history. Plus, this topic will be revisited somewhat in March when we have Detective Jim Watson of the Knox County Sheriff's office leads a roundtable discussion on Internet scams, and security crimes. Book: Ben Franklin's Web Site: Privacy and Curiosity from Plymouth Rock to the Internet by Robert Ellis Smith 2000 Time: Sunday, December 13, 4:00pm - 6:00pm Location: Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike Discussant, Chuck Janack Also, if you plan to do some holiday shopping on Amazon.com, consider going to www.rationalists.org first and clicking on one of the bookclub book links to get to Amazon. Anything you buy after using that link will generate money for RET from Amazon.

Posted by dbuck
Dec. 07, 2009

RET member survey
Dear members and potential members of the Rationalists of East Tennessee, Below is a link to a short, 7-item survey for you to complete. We'll summarize and discuss the results at the Annual RET Business Meeting January 24th and make organizational changes accordingly. Your input and especially your participation is critical to the success and evolution of our organization.

Related Link: Click here for Survey
Posted by dbuck
Dec. 02, 2009

Challenges in Bioenergy
We've got our regular roundtable discussion this Sunday, December 6th. Speaker: Dr. Brian Davison, of the Bioenergy Science Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will discuss pros and cons of using biofuel. He's written a paper that can be found online by googling his name along with "Biomass Conversion into Biofuels and Bioproducts" NOTE: Childcare will NOT be available at this roundtable but will resume in January. Discussion starts at 10:30 but we'll serve up coffee and socializing around 10:00.

Posted by dbuck
Nov. 30, 2009

Reminder - Roundtable Sunday, Nov 15
Topic: A Constitutional Global Governance – A Must for Global Security Discussant: Moshe Siman-Tov Time: 10:30 - 12:30...but come early for coffee and conversation. Children's Program: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein Location: Pellisippi State Goins Admin building in Annex off of cafeteria.


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Posted by dbuck
Nov. 09, 2009

UPDATE! Trash pick-up, Saturday Nov 7
Trash pick-up is definitely a GO! We could use a few more volunteers. Call Donna at 865-748-0682 if you can come! Location: two-mile stretch of the Pelissippi Highway (140) near the Lovell Road exit. Meet at the Burger King at Lovell road around 8:30 (earlier if you want to eat breakfast or have coffee there). The goal will be to start pick-up by 9:00 and finish around 11:00. Bring gloves, wear old shoes, and dress appropriately. You'll have to sign some paperwork and briefly be trained on the rules and safety. Trash bags will be provided. This community work allows RET to have adopt a highway signs for this location.

Posted by dbuck
Nov. 02, 2009

Reminder - Skeptics Book club
"Outliers: The Story of Success." should provide for some interesting discussion. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, also wrote "Blink", "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference", and "What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures". "Outliers" is an empirical examination of what factors (big or small) really contribute to success. The review of these very interesting findings leads to the bigger discussion about what should we be doing if we wanted to increase the chances of ourselves being successful...or our kids...or our society as a whole. Location: Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike Time: 4-6pm. Discussant, Aleta Ledendecker

Related Link: order your copy
Posted by dbuck
Nov. 02, 2009

Remember to turn back your clocks and....
come to the RET Roundtable Discussion Sunday, November 1st! Dr. Harry F. Dahms, University of Tennessee's Department of Sociology, will discuss, "Universal Basic Income as an Alternative to Welfare State Public Policies" It'll be at Pelissippi State College with coffee/treats at 10:00 and the talk starting at 10:30. Children's Program: Beth Cooper will read Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller and help the children discuss why manners matter.

Posted by dbuck
Oct. 28, 2009

Christopher Hitchens at UT October 27th
An evening with the author of God is not Great- How Religion Poisons Everything Date: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009 7:30 PM Location: UC Auditorium Cost: Free and Open to the Public I've already heard some RETers stating they were going to this. It ought to be very interesting. Additionally, the Atheist Society of Knoxville (headed up by our own Larry Rhodes) is going to meet at the Copper Cellar for their normal Happy Hour, and then March, en masse, to see Christopher Hitchens speak.

Posted by dbuck
Oct. 24, 2009

Reminder - Rountable Sunday
Next Sunday, our very own Lorrie Lance will lead a roundtable discussion on Education and how our country should proceed. What advice would you give to the Obama administration regarding education? The No Child Left Behind Legislation has been widely criticized, but what would be a better alternative? Lorrie Lance will lead a roundtable discussion about best practices in education and how they inform the legislative process. Children's Program: "The Aminal" by Lorna and Lecia Balian and discussing the importance of being an empiricist. (Yes, that is the correct spelling of the book title.)

Posted by dbuck
Oct. 12, 2009

Skeptic's bookclub - Sunday 4-6pm
A reminder that we have a very interesting book for next week. Do you think you're an excellent judge of reality or cause and effect? Not always. :-) Location: Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike Book: The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow 2008 Discussant, Joan Omarzu


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Posted by dbuck
Oct. 05, 2009

Good without God - Debate at UT October 8
Great chance to meet up for a worthwhile event! It's a debate hosted by The Veritas. Note that The Veritas is a Christian organization that says they welcome and honor skeptics. They seem to be seeking honest dialog and that's something RETers desire. Let's show up! Let's contribute! What better proof that ethics exist without belief in gods? Good Without God? The Problem of Justice and Human Rights Thursday, October 8 @ 7:00 pm Clarence Brown Theatre, University of Tennessee * David Reidy * Nicholas Wolterstorff

Related Link: http://veritas.org/tennessee/schedule
Posted by dbuck
Oct. 02, 2009

Soren Sorensen - October 4
“The End of the Universe” - Oct. 4, 2009 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Dr. Soren P. Sorensen, Professor and Physics Department Head, University of Tennessee - Pellissippi State, Goins Bldg., Cafeteria Annex - Also Children's Program


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Posted by pking
Oct. 01, 2009

No roundtable Sunday - Asheville picnic
Please note that there is no roundtable scheduled for this Sunday because it falls on the same day as the 2nd annual Regional Atheist picnic in Asheville. Lee Erickson is taking a van and may have some room yet. You can call him at 977-1242. If he fills up, there may be others who would like to carpool. If you're one of these people, e-mail me at buck.dave@gmail.com and I'll try to pair people up for more car-pooling. And don't forget to go to http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=24 where you can sign up to bring something to this potluck picnic. Directions to Lake Julian: Take I-40 East to exit 46A (I-26 East). Follow I-26 to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.) Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd. The entrance to the park is @1.3 miles down on the right across from Overlook Rd. Sincerely, Dave Buck

Posted by dbuck
Sept. 14, 2009

Directions and chance to carpool to Asheville Picn
One last reminder for the 2nd Annual Regional Atheist Picnic Time: NOON on Sunday, Sept 20. Where: Picnic shelter #2, Lake Julian Park, Asheville, North Carolina To see what people are bringing to this potluck, and to sign up with the food or items you will share (and don't forget to post that you're from RET), go to the link below. http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=24 Directions from Knoxville: Take I-40 East to exit 46A (I-26 East). Follow I-26 to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.) Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd. The entrance to the park is @1.3 miles down on the right across from Overlook Rd. I know people are heading down but no one has inquired about carpooling except Carl and Aleta. E-mail me at buck.dave@gmail.com and I'll start putting together a list of people who'd like to ride together to Asheville.

Posted by dbuck
Sept. 08, 2009

Skeptic's bookclub - Sept 13
God : The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God DoesNot Exist. By Victor J. Stenger 2007 Discussant, Carl Ledendecker Time, Sunday, September 13 from 4:00 to 6:00 Location: Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike

Posted by dbuck
Sept. 07, 2009

Roundtable this Sunday
September 6th at Pellissipi, Join in a discussion of the philosophy of the foundation of "Theology" led by Andy Shor. Time: 10:30 to 12:30 but join us at 10:00 for coffee, snacks, and chatting. Title: Can the Definition of "God" Be Made Logically Consistent? "If you asks a believer what he means by "God", the answer might be, "Everybody knows who God is". On the other hand, you might hear "God is beyond human understanding"; in other words, nobody knows what God is. Sometimes the definition seems to change from sentence to sentence to present a moving target. "God" is often given conflicting attributes, but even the most basic definitions have serious problems. How can one talk of believing or disbelieving in something that lacks a consistent definition?"

Posted by dbuck
Sept. 01, 2009

Jerry Sillman Memorial Service
A memorial service for Jerry Sillman (RET founder) will be Saturday, September 19, 11:00 a.m.; UU Fellowship of the Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina


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Posted by pking
Aug. 28, 2009

Reminder: please send Jerry Sillman tributes
Thank you if you already sent me your tribute. For those others who could write just a few words about their memories of Jerry, please send them to buck.dave@gmail.com by this week so I can publish them in the upcoming RET newsletter. Thanks!

Posted by dbuck
Aug. 17, 2009

2nd Annual Regional Atheist Picnic - Sept 20
When: Sunday September 20th 2009 Where: Picnic shelter #2, Lake Julian Park, Asheville, North Carolina It's a fantastic potluck picnic coordinated by the West North Carolina Atheists for all the freethinkers in our region. Gather for food, drinks, and a great time! Sign-up online for what you will bring (food and supplies, alcohol not permitted). Examples (prepared foods, sodas, chips, cups, plates, etc...). Remember, we have a variety of people coming with a variety of tastes/dietary requirements (everything from Junk-food Junkie to Vegan). The list is started in a sub-forum on the WNCAtheists Forum and can be accessed directly here: http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=24 This online list is only accessible through the direct link above, unless you are logged-in as a registered user, so use the link above if you are not registered and do not wish to be. Directions and links to information about Lake Julian Park can be found at: http://www.wncatheists.com/RegionalPicnic.html Many carpooled last year and we can coordinate that again this year. E-mail me at buck.dave@gmail.com and I'll start putting together a list of people who'd like to ride together to Asheville.

Posted by dbuck
Aug. 13, 2009

RET: August 16th meeting canceled
Unfortunately, our roundtable discussant rescheduled at the last minute. With more advanced notice and perhaps at a time other than the end of summer, we could have held a general roundtable instead. However, we had too many members who were going to be out of town, no volunteers to help set up coffee, and we didn't want to move Andy's talk yet again. So, make a note: No RET meeting this Sunday. We'll be back on schedule next month on September 6th with Andy Shor leading a roundtable on the question, "Can the definition of "God" be made logically consistent?"

Posted by dbuck
Aug. 10, 2009

Camp Quest Update.
Despite some (no, make that a lot) of rain, Camp Quest was a tremendous success this year. We had 18 campers (8 boys and 10 girls) who were evenly matched by age. We had seven kids who were 8-9 years old (3 boys and 4 girls) and three who were 14-16 years old. The latter served as Counselors in Training (CITs) and helped us with the younger campers while also participating in the camp themselves. The CITs, plus the fact that we had an absolutely fantastic group of kids, along with top notch counselors made for a fantastic camp experience.


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Posted by dbuck
Aug. 03, 2009

Book Club this Sunday!
Remember, Skeptic's bookclub will hold its monthly meeting at Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike from 4:00 to 6:00. This month's Book: The Art and Politics of Science by Harold Varmus 2009 Discussant: Margaret Klein Remember, if you think you might want to buy the book, go to the RET website first at www.rationalists.org and consider clicking on the Amazon link to buy it there. RET gets a little money from Amazon when people buy books (or anything at all really) if they first come through our site. Cheers!

Posted by dbuck
Aug. 03, 2009

Tributes to Jerry Sillman
For those who knew Jerry, I invite you to write a tribute and/or list some of your memories of Jerry that I can place in the September RET newsletter. I'd especially appreciate what you remember as to how Jerry helped start the Reality Fellowship and the early days of Jerry in RET. Please send these to me at buck.dave@gmail.com. Thank you.

Posted by dbuck
Aug. 03, 2009

Media-ocrity - Isler - August 2nd
Ralph Isler will organize comments on the subject, "Media-ocrity" - Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 - 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (come early for fellowship and coffee) - Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Building's cafeteria annex


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Posted by pking
July 29, 2009

Jerry Sillman Dies - RET Founder
Jerry Sillman, a founder of Rationalists of East Tennessee and long-time friend to many, died on Sunday, July 26, 2009, of congestive heart failure.


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Posted by pking
July 27, 2009

Meet up at Camp Quest
Camp Quest in the Smoky Mountains starts Sunday and RETers are welcome to come visit that morning and go on a hike and then lunch after. We have a handful coming for sure so you won't be alone. Just meet at 10:00 am this Sunday at Tremont which is in the Smokies, past Townsend.


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Posted by dbuck
July 23, 2009

Roundtable discussion Sunday
Some old physics questions... Why did calculations of blackbody spectra disagree so drastically with measurements? Why couldn't the photoelectric effect be explained by straightforward absorption of energy from light? What was the medium filling space that allowed light to propagate? What was the structure of atoms? Sunday's roundtable, lead by Ralph Isler, will discuss how in a few short decades, these questions were answered and how those answers led to a very different understanding and perception of our universe. It might sound a bit technical but the goal is to explain and discuss all of this in the context of the layperson, not a physics lab. ;-) Location is at Pellissippi State in the Cafeteria Annex. Roundtable starts at 10:30. Come early for coffee, tea, and snacks though.

Posted by dbuck
July 13, 2009

Book Club this Sunday!
This week, the Skeptic's bookclub will be discussing "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" by Naomi Klein 2008 Location: Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike Time: 4:00 to 6:00 pm Discussant, Chuck Janack

Posted by dbuck
July 08, 2009

Reminder: No roundtable this Sunday
We traditionally do not hold a roundtable discussion on the first week of July so people can attend the Lake Hypatia celebration. More details on that in the July Newsletter due out tonight.

Posted by dbuck
June 30, 2009

RET Roundtable: The Sinking of the Titanic
Join us Sunday to hear Dr. John Muldowny, from UT, discuss the cultural phenomenon surrounding the sinking of the titanic. As usual, the roundtable starts at 10:30 at Pellissippi State (see rationalists.org for directions). Come early for coffee, snacks, and socializing.


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Posted by dbuck
June 18, 2009

Book Club this Sunday!
Skeptic Book Club will discuss, "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body" by Neil Shubin. If you decide to buy the book, please consider clicking on the book on the RET homepage and buying it from Amazon. RET gets money from any products purchased after going through our website first. Discussion Leader: Joan Omarzu Time: 4pm - 6pm Location: Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike

Posted by dbuck
June 09, 2009

Frankenpig, Mr. Potato Head, and the Ethics of Eat
Come join us this coming Sunday for another member-led roundtable discussion. Daryl Learn Houston will discuss food on several levels; perhaps whetting your appetite or causing you to consider changing your diet. Daryl writes, "Michael Pollan, in a book entitled "The Omnivore's Dilemma," outlines the conundrum the omnivore faces. In a nutshell: if your body is equipped to digest most anything, how do you decide which things to eat? This problem operates at a very basic level in that we must figure out what won't kill us. But as our culture over thousands of years has left us a pretty good record of what is safe to eat, the problem, for those who choose to consider it, becomes a matter of ethics. For example, how do we justify eating meat at all, since we can extract protein and fat from other food sources? What about the ethics of culinary decadence in the face of starvation, even in the first world? These points and a number of others concerning cultural aspects of eating habits will form the topic of the discussion." As usual, the roundtable is at Pellissippi State from 10:30 to 12:30. Of course, come early for snacks and coffee!

Posted by dbuck
June 01, 2009

June 20, Summer Solstice Party
SUMMER SOLSTICE PARTY - Saturday, June 20th, 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. - Ledendecker’s home (2123 Stonybrook Road, Louisville, TN 37777)


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Posted by pking
May 26, 2009

Reminder: Roundtable Sunday - Defining Religion
This Sunday our roundtable discussion leader is Mark Hulsether, PhD. Mark's thesis argues that Sam Harris' definitions of religion are too narrow-- "admittedly they stick against some kinds of religion and admittedly this is important, but we also need to think about a whole range of expressions of religion for which it does NOT work and contexts in which it is not particularly constructive, even judged by Harris' own stated goals." Time: 10:30 - 12:30 Location: Pellissippi State Technical Community College Goins Administration Building, Annex to the Cafeteria. Come early for coffee and snacks. P.S. Did you all read the letter to the editor addressing RET? http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/may/11/logic-alone-cannot-account-humanity/

Posted by dbuck
May 14, 2009

Day of Reason Picnic
Just a reminder that we're celebrating the National Day of Reason at Carl Cowan Park this Thursday at 5:30 pm. I've received RSVPs from many folks and RET will be buying veggie burgers, hot dogs, a few sides, ice, drinks, and condiments for everyone. If you haven't yet, e-mail me at buck.dave@gmail.com to let me know how many will be present. The park is on North Shore Drive about a mile west of 140. It's on your left, just before a Weigles gas station. We'll be back by the shelter next to the splash pad. See you then!

Posted by dbuck
May 05, 2009

Buckner, President, American Atheists
Sunday, May 3rd, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Building, Auditorium - Ed Buckner, President, American Atheists. Buckner's title is, "This Is a Free Country, Not a Christian Nation: In Freedom We Trust." RET's Annual Guest Lecture is free and open to the public.


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Posted by pking
Apr. 27, 2009

Roundtable Discussion Reminder!
Topic: Evangelicals in America Speaker: Chuck Omarzu Location: Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria Annex


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Posted by dbuck
Apr. 15, 2009

April 12, The Sociopath Next Door
RET's Skeptic Book Club meets on Sunday, April 12, 2009, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book this month is, "The Sociopath Next Door."


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Posted by pking
Apr. 08, 2009

April 5th - Massimo Pigliucci Speaks
The public is invited to hear Massimo Pigliucci speak on science and religion at Pellissippi State on April 5th at 1:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Mar. 28, 2009

Reminder: Upcoming Roundtable
This Sunday, RET member Homer Wilkins will discuss "Awareness of Mortality and How it Plays out in Real Life" Discussion starts at 10:30 but come early for coffee and fellowship. Location is back to our normal meeting place in the Annex in the Goins Building at Pellissippi state Beth Cooper will be leading the children's program in the adjoining room. The book is "Double Dare", by the Berensteins, a story about peer pressure. After discussing the book, we'll play a game where the kids will be given descriptions of various actions/behaviors and they must decide if they are good or bad things to do and why.

Posted by dbuck
Mar. 09, 2009

Sharron King on Freethought Radio
Coming Up on Freethought Radio: Weekend of March 7, 2009 Guests: Sharron King, Tennessee Freethinker & Henry Steinberger of SMART Recovery


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Posted by pking
Mar. 05, 2009

Skeptic Book Club
Book: "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism," by Andrew Bacevich Discussion Leader: Margaret Klein Place: Barnes and Nobel on Kingston Pike Time: Sunday, March 8, 2009 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Related Link: RET

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Posted by dbuck
Mar. 02, 2009

Mar 1 - Change in Meeting Place
Due to an anticipated power outage in the Goins Administration Building at Pellissippi State Technical Community College on Sunday, March 1st, our meeting place has been changed FROM the Goins Cafeteria Annex TO THE ALEXANDER BUILDING, RM. 206.

Posted by pking
Feb. 26, 2009

RET Roundtable March 1st
March 1st, 2009, Roundtable Discussion led by Dr. Neil Greenberg Dr. Greenberg is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Dr. Greenberg's topic will be “The War between Truth and Reality”


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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 25, 2009

RET weekend events
Lot's going on this weekend! Saturday, 8:30am - Trash Pick-up on Pellissippi. Please volunteer, even for a little while! Location: Meet at Burger King, just off Pellissippi Parkway, at the Lovell Road exit. Contact Melissa Brenneman at padlrdie at yahoo or at gmail Leave your # so she can call in case weather causes a cancellation. Saturday, February 14, 5:30pm - Dinner at Pizza Kitchen with Bob Collins. Location: On Northshore between Kroger and Ebenezer road. RSVP me at buck.dave at gmail.com Sunday, February 15, 10:30 - RET guest speaker Bob Collins. Pellissippi State (come early for coffee and fellowship) - Children's Program in adjoining room - Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex.


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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 09, 2009

RSVP for Dinner with Bob Collins
As you all know, Bob Collins will be our speaker on February 15, discussing his favorite false bible prophecies. In stead of a potluck, RET will take Bob out to dinner the night before his talk and hope you will join us for some fun and socializing. DATE: Saturday, Feb 14th TIME: 5:30 pm PLACE: Pizza Kitchen http://www.thepizzakitchen.net/ That's Valentine's Day and Pizza Kitchen has plenty of room for us if we come early. I've made the reservations for 20 people already. To get a better headcount, if you plan to attend, please RSVP by e-mailing me at buck.dave@gmail.com.

Related Link: map

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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 05, 2009

February 8th Bookclub
"The Virtue of Selfishness," by Ayn Rand. Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Discussion Leader: Thomas Knapp (More information on the Book Club topic, below)


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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 02, 2009

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter
February 2009


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Posted by dbuck
Jan. 29, 2009

Feb 1, Professor Joe Barnhart
February 1st, 2009, Roundtable Meeting, Led by Professor Joe Barnhart, "Nonoverlapping Magisteria," Pellissippi State, 10:30 a.m. (come early for coffee and fellowship) - Children's Program in Adjoining Room - Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex.


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Posted by pking
Jan. 26, 2009

UT Darwin Day - Volunteers Needed
The University of Tennessee’s 2009 Darwin Day events are scheduled for February 9-12. For details and to volunteer to help, see below.


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Posted by pking
Jan. 22, 2009

January 25 - Annual Business Meeting
If you already are a member, remember to bring your checkbook to pay your annual dues ($35/person) so you can vote. A good time to become a member if you are not already. A good time to contribute more to the rational, freethinker movement in East Tennessee!


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Posted by pking
Jan. 20, 2009

Jan 18 - Dr. Rubenstein and Children’s Program
Philosophy Sunday, Dr. Jay Rubenstein, University of Tennessee, "Crusade and Apocalypse, or Why the World Ended in 1099.” - Pellissippi State, 10:30 a.m. (come early for coffee and fellowship) - Children's Program, Mleeka Learn Houston and Dave Buck, "Stellaluna,” by Janelle Cannon.


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Posted by pking
Jan. 12, 2009

Jan 11 Book Club - Pay Dues
January 11, 2009 - Skeptic Book Club - "The Age of Reason," by Thomas Paine. - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Discussion Leader: Aleta Ledendecker (More information on the Book Club topic, on paying your dues and on ONE LUCKY NEW MEMBER, below)


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Posted by pking
Jan. 07, 2009

Annual Business Meeting Jan 25th
(Letter from the RET President)


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Posted by jpmccaffrey
Jan. 01, 2009

Jan 4 - What can Government do for You (Isler)
January 4th, Roundtable discussion, Led by Dr. Ralph Isler, "What can your government do for you - or not?," Pellissippi State, 10:30 a.m. (come early for coffee and fellowship) - Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex.


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Posted by pking
Dec. 22, 2008

Winter Solstice Party - December 20
Winter Solstice Party - Kings' Home - Bring a potluck dish - Saturday evening, December 20, 2008, 6:30 - 11:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Dec. 15, 2008

Dec 14, Book Club, "1491"
December 14, 2008 - Skeptic Book Club - "1491: New Revelations of the America's Before Columbus," by Charles C. Mann - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - (Discussion Leader: Chuck Janack)


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Posted by pking
Dec. 08, 2008

Dec 7 - UT's Hackett & Children's Program
December 7th, Roundtable, Dr. Rosalind Hackett, "Current Debates over Freedom of Religion and Belief," Pellissippi State, 10:30 a.m. (come early for coffee and fellowship) - Children's Program, Dave Buck, "Stella and the Berry Thief."


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Posted by pking
Dec. 03, 2008

Ralph Seeking Roundtable Speakers
Volunteers needed to lead Roundtable discussions on the 1st Sundays. Contact Ralph Isler, risler1@comcast.net (Memorandum from Ralph, below)


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Posted by pking
Dec. 02, 2008

Nov 16 - Dr. John Neff - Blood Transfusion
Philosophy Sunday, Dr. John Neff, "History of Blood Transfusion," Pellissippi State, 10:30 a.m. (come early for coffee and fellowship) - Children's Program, Beth Cooper, "Self Esteem."


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Posted by pking
Nov. 11, 2008

Nov 9 - Book - Anti Intellectualism
November 9, 2008 - Skeptic Book Club - Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by Richard Hofstadter - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Nov. 04, 2008

Nov 2 - Presidential Straw Poll
November 2, 2008, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Roundtable, Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria Annex, "RET Presidential Straw Poll," led by Michael Lance. - Children's Program led by Dave Buck: "Hey, little ant." by Phillip and Hannah Hoose (Come early for coffee and fellowship.)


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Posted by pking
Oct. 27, 2008

Oct 19 - Dr. Ralph Isler on Fusion Energy
October 19, 2008, Pellissippi State, Cafeteria Annex, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.(come early for coffee and fellowship) - Our own Ralph Isler will lead a discussion on, "The prospects for Fusion Energy: Will the ITER project lead to power producing fusion reactors?" - Children's Program: "Celebrating Autumn" - led by Mleeka Learn Houston and Dave Buck


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Posted by pking
Oct. 14, 2008

Oct 12 - Book Club - Good Business
October 12, 2008 - Skeptic Book Club - Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Oct. 09, 2008

October 5 - Richter, Voting/Democracy
Roundtable, October 5, 10:30 a.m., “Will your vote count on November 4th?” Led by Eric Richter. - Children's Program ("Celebrating Autumn" - led by Mleeka Learn Houston)


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Posted by pking
Sept. 28, 2008

Sep 21 - Dave Buck - Children's Program
RET Philosophy Sunday - September 21 - 10:30 a.m. - Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria - Dave Buck will speak on, "Choice Making and Brain Behavior" - Beth Cooper will lead Children's Program


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Posted by pking
Sept. 16, 2008

Friend, Buckner, New AA President!
Ed Buckner, friend and speaker on several RET occasions, has just been named President of American Atheists!


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Posted by pking
Sept. 13, 2008

Joan needs Book Suggestions
Remember that we will not have our regular Book Club meeting on September 14th (details, below). Instead, many of our members are attending the Regional Atheists Picnic in Asheville, NC, on that day (See announcement in "Recent News and Events," this page, for more details). - Joan Omarzu needs more suggestions for future Skeptic Book Club meetings. Please send your suggestions to Joan (cjomarzu@charter.net).


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Posted by pking
Sept. 08, 2008

Sep 7, Kincaid Roundtable
Sunday, September 7th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Pellissippi State Technical Community College - RET ROUNDTABLE, "What is Justice?: Rawls versus Rand," Led by Jeff Kincaid - CHILDREN’S PROGRAM, Led by Dave Buck, "The Crow and the Pitcher: Necessity is the Mother of Invention" C


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Posted by pking
Aug. 26, 2008

Aug 10 Book Club - End of America/Wolf
Skeptic Book Club - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike - The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, by Naomi Wolf - Aug. 10, 2008 ; 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Aug. 05, 2008

TVUUC Services
For those interested, the TVUUC will have a re-dedication ceremony for their sanctuary on Sunday morning, August 3, at 10:00 AM. The service will be followed by a potluck open to guests. As of Wednesday, services at West Side Unitarian Universalist Church were scheduled for their normal time - 11:00 a.m, Sunday, August 3. Reminder: the RET Roundtable meeting is cancelled this Sunday.

Posted by jpmccaffrey
Aug. 01, 2008

RET Meeting Cancelled 03 August
Due to the tragic event at TVUUC yesterday, RET is cancelling our Roundtable discussion for this coming Sunday, August 3rd. There will be no meeting. Instead, we strongly encourage RET members and friends to attend UU services to show support for the East TN UU community. RET has many friends at TVUUC and indeed several of our members and families attend TVUUC and Westside UUC. On behalf of RET the Board of Directors is extending our condolensces to the families of the victims and the UU community. We are deeply saddened by yesterday's shooting, and sadly, Mr. Joe Barnhart, RET member, and several of his immediate family members and relatives, are among the injured and deceased. Our thoughts go out to them and all the families. We do not have details at this time regarding status of services for next week at TVUUC but encourage everyone to watch the news, and RET will post more information as it becomes available. Sincerely, John McCaffrey RET President 865-414-6998

Posted by jpmccaffrey
July 28, 2008

We are deeply saddened ...
We are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic shooting incident at Knoxville’s Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC). Our thoughts and condolences go out to members of this church and to the families who are suffering. You may find contact information for TVUUC at: http://www.tvuuc.org/

Posted by pking
July 28, 2008

Regional Atheists Picnic - Post if you're going!
I've heard from several people who are making the trip in September so far. Lee, for example, is taking a van and is hoping to do some car-pooling. I'm very excited to take my family and learn about other groups like ours in this region. I'm needing ALL of you who will attend to post on the forum that was built to help coordinate this event. RET is going to spring for some supplies and I want to be accurate in how much stuff I should buy. Please post, introduce yourself, state what dish you can bring, and maybe you can arrange travel too. Plus, lets get excited! http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23 Additionally, Darrell, of the West North Carolina Atheists has built a webpage with a map and link to the forum. http://www.wncatheists.com/RegionalPicnic.html Please visit it and print for directions. Sincerely, Dave Buck

Related Link: Map and details
Posted by dbuck
July 22, 2008

Book Club Suggestions
Message from Joan McCaffrey & Joan Omarzu: From McCaffrey: As you may know, I have run the Skeptic Book Club program for almost 5 years now, but will be stepping out of this role effective this fall, when the current roster expires. Joan has agreed to take over Book Club activities.


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Posted by jpmccaffrey
July 17, 2008

The Future of Freethinkers and Humanists
Thank you for visiting our web page, and we hope you will continue to do so frequently. People who seek us out are from varying walks in life and have varying degrees of commitment to formal organizations. Any contributions to RET that you make (either of your time or your financial resources) are much appreciated.


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Posted by pking
July 15, 2008

July 20 - Lance discusses Dennett
RET Philosophy Sunday - July 20, 2008, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. (Arrive early for coffee and fellowship) - Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex - CHILDREN'S PROGRAM - We will talk about "air," utilizing the book, "Air is All Around You." A short demonstration, followed by jumping on an air mattress, outside. Basic, but fun!


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Posted by pking
July 14, 2008

July 13 - Deer Hunting with Jesus
July 13, 2008; 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike - Skeptic Book Club


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Posted by pking
July 08, 2008

July 4-6, Lake Hypatia
Trip to Lake Hypatia Advance in Alabama July 4-6,2008 For years, some members of RET have traveled to Lake Hypatia, in Alabama, during the July 4th weekend, to attend the annual freethought conference. You, too, may be interested in attending. More information is available at: http://www.ffrf.org/lakehypatia/

Posted by pking
June 30, 2008

Regional Atheists Picnic - September 14
RET, Greenville Atheists, West North Carolina Atheists, and some other regional groups are gathering for a Regional Atheists Picnic in a few months. Sunday September 14th 2008 at Lake Julian in Asheville, North Carolina Picnic shelter #2 The plan is to meet at 12:00 noon and make a nice lunch. We've got the place until 7:30 PM. We’d like those attending to bring a covered dish or some food items to share. Darrell Lunsford, of the WNCAtheists, created an on-line sign-up list for food and supplies. The list is started in a sub-forum of the WNCAtheists Forum at their website. The list can be also accessed directly here: http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23 This list is only accessible through the direct link above, unless you are logged-in as a registered user, so use the link above if you are not registered and do not wish to be. If you plan to bring food, drink or other supplies, please state what you will bring on the list. (alcohol not permitted). Let’s show our support and get a good size group down there that day! Start by posting on the list and introducing yourself. Those interested in organizing car pooling can contact me at buck.dave@gmail.com. Finally, a good excuse for an RET roadtrip!!! Dave Buck

Related Link: Sign up list
Posted by dbuck
June 13, 2008

Events Week of June 15th
PHILOSOPHY SUNDAY: Sunday, June 15th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (come early for coffee and fellowship) - SOLSTICE PARTY: Saturday, June 21st, 4:00 p.m. until whenever (Details, below)


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Posted by pking
June 10, 2008

Book Club - Solstice Party
SKEPTIC BOOK CLUB: Sunday, June 8, 2008 ; 4:00-6:00 p.m. - SOLSTICE PARTY: Saturday, June 21st, 4:00 p.m. until whenever (Details, below)


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Posted by pking
June 03, 2008

June 1 - Tremont
June 1 - Late morning - Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont - Beginning of Camp Quest


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Posted by pking
May 26, 2008

May 18 'Limits to Growth' - Children's Program
RET Philosophy Sunday - MAY 18, 2008 - 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (Arrive at 10:00 for coffee and fellowship) - Pellissippi State Technical Community College - "Limits to Growth - Revisited," Chuck Omarzu - Children's Program with Dave Buck


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Posted by pking
May 13, 2008

Erickson leads Book Club on May 11
Skeptic Book Club - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, Knoxville - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m., Sunday, May 11 - Science, Evolution, and Creationism (Paperback) - by the National Academy of Sciences Steering Committee on Science & Creation - Lee Erickson will lead the discussion.


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Posted by pking
May 05, 2008

Ed Flockhart, RET Lifetime Member Dies
We are saddened to learn of the death of longtime (and Lifetime) RET member, Ed Flockhart. Visitation is Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at McCammon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home in Maryville, Tennessee (Details below). You may express your thoughts at the online registry (link, below).


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Posted by pking
May 02, 2008

May 4th - Buck discusses "Fair Tax"
"A Skeptical Look at the FairTax," Dave Buck --- Children's Program: "Perseverance," Mleeka Learn Houston -- May 4, 2008 10:30 am - 12:30 pm -- Pellissippi State Technical Community College


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Posted by pking
Apr. 24, 2008

April 20, "Transhumanism," Children's Program
April 20, 10:30 a.m., Pellissippi State, RET Philosophy Sunday, Arrive early for coffee and fellowship - plus children's program (details below)


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Posted by pking
Apr. 16, 2008

Sunday, April 13 - Book Club
"The Age of American Unreason," by Susan Jacoby (2008) - Sunday, Apr. 13, 2008 4:00 p.m. - At Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Kingston Pike - NOTE: Susan was the speaker at our annual public meeting, in February.


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Posted by pking
Apr. 12, 2008

April 6 - Should We Use the Label, "Atheist?"
"Discussion and Analysis of the Ideas Presented by Sam Harris at the September 2007 "Crystal Clear Atheism' Convention" (with accompanying video) - Phil King will be the Discussion Leader. - Sunday, April 6th, 10:30 a.m. (arrive at 10:00 for coffee and fellowship) - Pellissippi State Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex - Also, Children's Program (see below)


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Posted by pking
Apr. 03, 2008

Party with Marty - Saturday
Saturday, March 29, 7:30 p.m. - Party at Phil King's home - Guest is Marty Carcieri


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Posted by pking
Mar. 25, 2008

March 30 - Dr. Carcieri + Children's Program
March 30th, 10:00 (coffee and fellowship), 10:30 Program: "Rawls, the Constitution, and the Drug War," Dr. Marty Carcieri - Children's Program - Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex


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Posted by pking
Mar. 17, 2008

Children Welcome on Sundays
March 2nd, 10:30 a.m., Pellissippi State Technical Community College - Becky Ashe, Science Education Supervisor for Knox County Public Schools - "New Science Education Standards in Public Schools" - Children Welcome (See Below)


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Posted by pking
Feb. 28, 2008

Susan Jacoby DVD
Susan Jacoby's lecture "The Ages of American Unreason: Past and Present" that was presented to us on February 3, 2008 is now available for sale and may be purchased for $10. By purchasing this DVD, you will help RET to continue providing guest speakers for our Roundtable and Philosophy Sunday events. Thank you, Eric Richter ericr@frontiernet.net

Posted by erichter
Feb. 21, 2008

March 2: Becky Ashe - March 9: Book Club
Hear Becky Ashe, Science Supervisor, Knox County Public Schools, at RET Roundtable on March 2nd and attend Skeptic Book Club on March 9th. (Details for both events, below)


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Posted by pking
Feb. 21, 2008

Feb 17 - Sumrall on Dinosaur Extinction
"Extinction of the Dinosaurs" - Sunday, February 17, 2008; 10:30 am - 12:30 pm - Pellissippi State Technical Community College - Speaker: Dr. Colin D. Sumrall, University of Tennessee-Knoxville


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Posted by pking
Feb. 12, 2008

February 10th - Skeptic Book Club w/ Omarzu
On February 10th at 4:00 p.m., The Skeptic Book Club will discuss, "Economics as Religion," by Robert H. Nelson. Chuck Omarzu will be our discussion leader. The book club meets every 2nd Sunday of the month at Barnes and Noble Bookseller at 8029 Kingston Pike in Knoxville.


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Posted by pking
Feb. 06, 2008

Saturday and Sunday - Public Meeting Events
Remember our Potluck Dinner on Saturday night, Susan Jacoby's presentation on Sunday afternoon, and a book-signing session with Susan after her presentation (Bring your checkbook if you anticipate purchasing this much anticipated book). -----More details below. Also, scroll down to a previously posted announcement for more details about the potluck dinner on Saturday and about Susan and her presentation on Sunday.


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Posted by pking
Jan. 30, 2008

Potluck Dinner Party - Feb 2
Potluck Dinner in Honor of Guest, Susan Jacoby - Saturday, February 2nd, 7:30 p.m. - Phil and Sharron King's home


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Posted by pking
Jan. 21, 2008

Feb 3rd - Susan Jacoby - RET Public Mtng
Award-winning author, Susan Jacoby, will address one of the most thought-provoking issues of our time in an appearance at Pellissippi State Technical Community College on Sunday, February 3 at 1:30 p.m. in Goins Auditorium. Jacoby will discuss “The Ages of American Unreason, Past and Present.” Arrive early for coffee, refreshments and socializing. Stay late for Susan's book signing session. Driving directions, below.


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Posted by pking
Jan. 21, 2008

January 20 - Annual Business Meeting
Annual RET Business Meeting - January 20th, 2008; 10:30 am - 12:30 pm; Coffee and refreshments at 10:00 a.m. - Pellissippi State


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Posted by pking
Jan. 15, 2008

Discuss "Happiness" - Jan 13 Book Club
RET Skeptic Book Club - "Stumbling on Happiness" - by Daniel Gilbert - Jan. 13, 2008 4:00 p.m. - Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Suburban - 8029 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN - Discussion led by Carl Westman


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Posted by pking
Jan. 07, 2008

January 6 -
January 6th, 2008; 10:30 a.m. (Come early for fellowship and coffee.) - Roundtable Sunday: "Freethought Communities and Resources" - Carl Westman, Discussion Leader - Pellissippi State Technical Community College


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Posted by pking
Dec. 23, 2007

Solstice Party - Friday Evening
- Winter Solstice Party - Kings' Home - Bring a potluck dish - Friday evening, December 21, 2007, 6:00 - 11:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Dec. 17, 2007

Dec 16 - Wilkins on Lakoff
"George Lakoff's Theory of Framing and His Models of the American Family" - Homer Wilkins - December 16th, 2007, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Pellissippi State Technical Community College


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Posted by pking
Dec. 11, 2007

RET Membership Dues
(See table, below, for different types of membership) Members: If you are not a lifetime member or have not already paid your annual dues, December and January are the months when RET membership dues should be paid. Please send check to RET; P.O. Box 51634; Knoxville, TN 37950. Non-members: If you are not a member, you may want to consider supporting our efforts by becoming a member.


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Posted by pking
Dec. 05, 2007

Discuss "God is not Great" with Omarzu
"God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything," - Author: Christopher Hitchens - Discussion led by: Joan Omarzu


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Posted by pking
Dec. 04, 2007

Sunday - Kincaid on "Rationalism"
Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 - Dr. Geoffrey Kincaid, M.D. - “What is a Rationalist?” - Pellissippi State Technical Community College - 10:30 a.m. (Come early for socializing.)


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Posted by pking
Nov. 30, 2007

Winter Solstice Party - Kings' Home
Solstice Party! - Bring a potluck dish and enjoy fellowship and good times as we celebrate the 'return of the sun.' Friday evening, December 21, 2007, 6:00 - 11:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Nov. 18, 2007

Nov. 18 - Dr. Isler - Origin/Evolution of Universe
"The Greatest Story Ever Told - The Origin and Evolution of the Universe" - Dr. Ralph Isler - Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Fusion Energy Division (retired ... but still collaborating on research) - Sunday, November 18th, 2007; 10:30 a.m. - Pellissippi State


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Posted by pking
Nov. 12, 2007

Hear Barnhart - Sunday, Nov. 11
"Belief as a Psychological Phenomenon" --- November 11, 2007 10:30 a.m.


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Posted by pking
Nov. 10, 2007

Nov. 4 - Maya on "U.S.Cuba Policy"
"U.S. Foreign Policy - Cuba"; Nov. 4, 2007 10:30 a.m.; Speaker and Discussion Leader: RET member, Vera Maya


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Posted by pking
Oct. 27, 2007

Witches/Witchhunts - Dr. Elaine Breslaw - Sunday
The month of October brings witches and goblins to our doorstep on Halloween night, and Dr. Elaine Breslaw, Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and author of the acclaimed, "Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies," will be our speaker on Sunday, October 21st, 10:30 a.m., at Pellissippi State Technical Community College. Join us to learn more about "real," (perceived) witches!


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Posted by pking
Oct. 15, 2007

Book Club Sunday but Trash Pickup Cancelled
Sunday event: Carl Westman leads discussion of the book, "The Wisdom of Crowds." However, the Trash Pickup, originally scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed until a later date.


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Posted by pking
Oct. 09, 2007

Erickson on Science, Brenneman's Trash Pickup
Upcoming RET events: Erickson on Science and Brenneman leads Adopt-a-Highway trash pickup. (more below)


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Posted by pking
Oct. 05, 2007

Potluck Party at Kings' Home on Friday (Sep 28)
You are invited to a potluck party at Phil and Sharron King's Home on Friday Evening (September 28th). Please drop us a memo (philip.king@comcast.net) if you can come so that we will have an idea regarding the number to expect. We will plan to watch the, "Crystal Clear Atheism" convention in Washington via streaming web. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. (Program, featuring Herb Silverman, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, is 7:00-9:30 p.m. (Details below)


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Posted by pking
Sept. 25, 2007

September 23rd - Dr. Peter van den Dungen
September 23rd - Dr. Peter van den Dungen, "Historical Memory: Why Does Our Culture Celebrate War and neglect Peace?" (Details Below)


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Posted by pking
Sept. 06, 2007

Volunteer to Lead Book Discussion
If you recommended one of the books (below) for our Skeptic Book Club, please contact John McCaffrey (865-414-6998 or jkmccaffreytn@yahoo.com) and inform him of the dates you would be available to lead the discussion of your book.


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Posted by pking
Aug. 23, 2007

"Paths to Rationalism" - Sept. 2
RET Roundtable - Sunday, September 2, 4:00 p.m. - Pellissippi State Technical Community College


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Posted by pking
Aug. 22, 2007

Dr. John Neff (UT) Speaks on Sunday
"The Beginning and End of It All: The Acute Inflammatory Response - or, Why Jane Lived, But Dick Didn't" - Aug. 19, 2007 4:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Aug. 13, 2007

Vote for Books - by August 19th
RET Skeptic Book Club - (Members only) Please vote (BY AUGUST 19th) for the books you would like to see discussed during the next several months (refer to list and instructions for voting, below).

Related Link: List of Books

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Posted by pking
Aug. 07, 2007

Omnivore's Dilemma, Book Club on Sunday
Our book for the month of August is, "The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals," by Michael Pollan. Discussion to be led by Beth Cooper


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Posted by pking
Aug. 06, 2007

Homework for Aug 19
Background reading material for Dr. Neff's August 19th presentation: "The Beginning and End of It All: The Acute Inflammatory Response - Or, Why Jane Lived, but Dick Didn't"


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Posted by pking
Aug. 01, 2007

August Events - Healthcare II on Sunday
Roundtable - "Managing the Cost of our Health," Aug. 5, 2007 4:00 p.m. ----- Skeptic Book Club - "The Omnivore's Dilemma," Aug. 12, 2007 4:00 p.m. ----- Philosophy Sunday - "The Beginning and End of It All: The Acute Inflammatory Response, or, Why Jane Lived, But Dick Didn't," Aug. 19, 2007 4:00


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Posted by pking
July 30, 2007

Bowling Party - July 28th !
Saturday - July 28th, 4:00 p.m. - Strike & Spare Family Fun Center - 211 Hayfield Road


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Posted by pking
July 17, 2007

Sunday: Westman on Investment Theory
SUNDAY - JULY 15TH, 4:00 p.m., Pellissippi State Technical Community College "Rationalism in Investment Theory," by Carl Westman


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Posted by pking
July 14, 2007

TVUUC Sunday Morning Forums
An invitation from RET member Ted Lollis - Sunday, July 15: Forum at 11:15 AM, Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (Room B), 2931 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, phone 865-523-4176.


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Posted by pking
July 14, 2007

Atheist Meetup Tonight
The Knoxville "Atheist Meetup" group will convene tonight (July 10th) at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be at Panera's on Cumberland Ave. in the area of the University of Tennnessee. Larry Rhodes and Eric Richter are leaders in this group.

Posted by pking
July 10, 2007

Book Club, Sunday - Our Inner Ape
SUNDAY - JULY 8TH, 4:00 p.m., Barnes and Noble Bookseller, Kingston Pike, a little west of the West Town shopping mall. Skeptic Book Club: "Our Inner Ape," by Frans de Waal.


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Posted by pking
July 03, 2007

Bowling Party - Other July Events
No RET meeting on July 1st (but remember Hypatia on this date). RET events on July 8th, 15th and 28th (a bowling party!!! - details below).


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Posted by pking
June 25, 2007

Weinstein on Climate - Sunday
Sunday, June 17th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Philosophy Sunday "An Inconvenient Truth (continued)," by Dr. Rick Weinstein (come early for coffee and socializing)


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Posted by pking
June 13, 2007

Upcoming June Events - Solstice Party
- Sunday, June 10th, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. - Skeptic Book Club (The Ethical Brain) - Saturday, June 16th, 5:00 p.m. until ? - RET's Summer Solstice Party - Sunday, June 17th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Philosophy Sunday (Weinstein - Global Warming.


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Posted by pking
June 04, 2007

Howard Box speaks on Sunday
On June 3rd, 2007, at 10:30 a.m., Howard Box will address the topic, "What Rationalists Need to Know: How to Oppose the Biblicalists." Come early for coffee and fellowship. We meet at Pellissippi State Technical Community College in the Cafeteria Annex of the Goins Administration Building.


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Posted by pking
May 30, 2007

CHANGE - Summer Meeting Times
All of RET's Sunday meetings will be changed to 4:00 - 6:00 p.m., beginning on July 1st. Remember, that there is no Roundtable on July 1st.


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Posted by pking
May 24, 2007

Specht discusses Black Holes - May 20th
NOTE: CHANGE IN MEETING ROOM FOR MAY 20th. - For this event, we will meet in ROOM 206, LAMAR ALEXANDER BUILDING instead of our normal place. "Why is yesterday different than tomorrow? footprints, black holes, and the direction of time," - May 20, 2007 10:30 AM (come early for coffee and socializing)


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Posted by pking
May 14, 2007

Book Club - 5:00 p.m. Sunday
The book for the May 13th Skeptic Book Club meeting is: What's Your Life Worth? Health Care Rationing... Who Lives? Who Dies? And Who Decides?, by David Dranove.


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Posted by pking
May 08, 2007

May 6th - What is Humanism?
Sunday, May 6th, 10:30 a.m. (arrive early for coffee and socializing) ---------- Carl Ledendecker will lead a roundtable discussion to help us look at what we mean by Humanism and to explore its various aspects. ---------- The meeting is at Pellissippi State Technical Community College: 10915 Hardin Valley Road (Driving directions, below)


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Posted by pking
May 01, 2007

Give Blood on May 3rd
Thursday, May 3rd (1st Thursday in May), is the 'National Day of Reason' - the same day as the 'National Day of Prayer.'


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Posted by pking
Apr. 29, 2007

Monday at UT - Religion/Science/Journalism
Cathy Grossman, Religion, Spirituality, and Ethics Writer for USA Today, will be on campus Monday morning, April 23


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Posted by pking
Apr. 20, 2007

Science/Religion - A Journalist's View
Sunday, April 22 7:00 p.m.; First Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge; Oak Ridge Turnpike and Lafayette Drive "Dialogues on Science and Religion: A Journalist’s View" Cathy Lynn Grossman


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Posted by pking
Apr. 17, 2007

R.B. Stewart Dies
RET member, R.B. Stewart, passed away on Saturday, April 14, 2007, at the age of 86. We will miss his presence among us very much. (funeral arrangements below)


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Posted by pking
Apr. 16, 2007

Reminder - Survey - RET Meetings
If you have not yet returned your survey form (below) to Carl Westman, please take a few minutes to do so. Survey - RET Meetings RATIONALISTS OF EAST TENNESSEE SURVEY Improving the Quality and Convenience of our Meetings (Rationalists of East Tennessee - RET - needs your opinion on two important matters that could improve the quality and convenience of our meetings. Please respond to survey.)


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Posted by pking
Apr. 12, 2007

Sunday Debate - Confront Religion?
Debate: Religious Believers: Confront or Ignore? Sunday, April 15, 2007, 10:30, Pellissippi State Technical Community College. (Come a bit early for coffee and socializing.) Driving directions on this web site.


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Posted by pking
Apr. 10, 2007

Book Club - 5:00 p.m., Sunday
The book for the April 8th meeting is: The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler.


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Posted by pking
Apr. 06, 2007

It's a Boy!!!
Congratulations to Daryl and Mleeka Learn Houston, who are proud parents of a new, little (only 11 lbs!!!) boy ...


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Posted by pking
Mar. 21, 2007

Dr. Martin Carcieri - April 1st
Former RET member, Dr. Martin Carcieri, will discuss, "Race in Public Schools: Two Current Supreme Court Cases," at our next Roundtable Meeting on Sunday, April 1st, 10:00 a.m., at Pellissippi State Technical Community College (directions elsewhere on our web page).


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Posted by pking
Mar. 19, 2007

Memphis Lecture - March 25
“I Sold My Soul On eBay” Guest speaker: Hemant Mehta Sunday, March 25, Main Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. meeting room C, 1:15 -3:00 p.m.


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Posted by pking
Mar. 19, 2007

Survey - RET Meetings
RATIONALISTS OF EAST TENNESSEE SURVEY Improving the Quality and Convenience of our Meetings (Rationalists of East Tennessee (RET) needs your opinion on two important matters that could improve the quality and convenience of our meetings. Please respond to survey.) More below:


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Posted by pking
Mar. 16, 2007

March 18 - The Idea of Progress
Michael Lance will lead a discussion on, "The Idea of Progress." Michael will cover the philosophical origins and current implications of this idea and will focus on its history and influence on various modern movements such as Communism, Fascism, Science & Technology, Darwinism and Atheism. He will also explain how Progress relates to the philosophy of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. at Pellissippi State Technical Community College. Arrive early for coffee and fellowship.


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Posted by pking
Mar. 13, 2007

Book Club -
RET's Skeptic Book Club will be discussing, "Sprawl," by Robert Breugmann. The meeting takes place March 11th, at 5:00 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Booksellers on Kingston Pike, a couple of blocks west of West Town. (more below)


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Posted by pking
Mar. 07, 2007

Vote - Teach Creationism?
The Mountain Press news is holding an online poll on the question below. If you'd like to vote, look for the box on the lower left hand corner of the page. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?brd=1211 "State Sen. Finney thinks creationism should be taught in schools if evolution is taught as fact, not theory. Do you agree?" (more below)


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Posted by pking
Mar. 06, 2007

Healthcare in the U.S.
The RET Roundtable will convene Sunday, March 4, 10:30 a.m., at Pellissippi State Technical Community College to discuss, “Modern Healthcare Policies and Challenges,” led by Patty McCaffrey. Come early for coffee and fellowship. Patty’s presentation and discussion will address a number of issues related to the healthcare industry in the United States and will specifically focus on the cost of healthcare and on the uninsured. She will also discuss current proposals for national healthcare. (more below)


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Posted by pking
Feb. 27, 2007

Oak Ridge Forum: "The New Atheists"
The Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is sponsoring a panel discussion of interest to RET members on Thursday, February 22, 12:00 noon - "The New Atheists." (more below)


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Posted by pking
Feb. 19, 2007

Dr. Linda Horton to Speak to RET
On Sunday, February 18th, 10:30 a.m., Dr. Linda Horton, Director of the Center for Nanophase Materials Science at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will discuss, "What is Nanotechnology?" (more below)


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Posted by pking
Feb. 13, 2007

Skeptic Book Club, Feb. 11th, 5:00 p.m.
The Skeptic Book Club will be meeting Sunday, February 11th, at 5:00 p.m., at Barnes and Noble book store on Kingston Pike, near West Town. The book this week is, "The Caged Virgin," by Ayaan Hersi Ali. Well-known feminist Ali was named as the next target of outraged Muslims in a letter pinned with a knife to the chest of slain Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, murdered in 2004. (more, below ...)


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Posted by pking
Feb. 07, 2007

Barnhart Speaks on Sunday
Professor Joe Barnhart, University of North Texas, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, will be the speaker at our annual public meeting on Sunday, February 4th. His topic will be, "An Honest Look at Separation of Church and State in the U.S.: Its History, Consequences and Benefits." Refreshments are available, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and Professor Barnhart's presentation begins at 10:30 a.m., at Pellissippi State Technical Community College in the Goins Administration Bldg. (cafeteria annex in the back). A synopsis of Professor Barnhart's views on "Religion and the Proper Role of the State" appears below ...


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Posted by pking
Feb. 02, 2007

Annual Business Meeting on January 28
Remember our Annual Business Meeting on Sunday, when we will review the past year, discuss programs for the coming year, and elect officers. You must be a member to vote (you may bring your checkbook and pay your annual dues at the meeting). - Sunday, January 28th, 2007; 10:30 a.m. (coffee and refreshments at 10:00 a.m.) - Pellissippi State Technical Community College; Cafeteria Annex in the back of the Goins Administration Bldg. (Agenda below)


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Posted by pking
Jan. 25, 2007

Film - "Theologians Under Hitler" - Jan 23
Film - "Theologians Under Hitler" 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 23rd Church of the Savior, Weisgarber Road (More below)


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Posted by pking
Jan. 22, 2007

Reidy is Speaker on Jan 21
Dr. David Reidy will discuss, "Morality and Moral Philosophy," at 10:30 a.m., January 21, 2007, at Pellissippi State Community College. ...


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Posted by pking
Jan. 19, 2007

Upcoming books, Skeptic Book Club
John McCaffrey has announced the list of books for discussion in our Skeptic Book Club in the coming months: (2nd Sunday of each month, at Barnes and Noble Booksellers on Kingston Pike in west Knoxville) Books listed below:


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Posted by pking
Jan. 07, 2007

Professor Joe Barnhart on "Individual's Rights"
Professor Joe Barnhart, University of North Texas, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, will be our speaker for the annual Public Meeting on February 4th. At our meeting, he will address the topic, "An Honest Look at Separation of Church and State in the U.S.: Its History, Consequences and Benefits." His views on "Individuals' Rights" below ...


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Posted by pking
Jan. 04, 2007

January Events and Dr. Joe Barnhart on February 4t
Plan to join us for 4 important dates in January and for our annual Public Meeting on February 4th: Roundtable (January 7th), Skeptic Book Club (January 14th), Philosophy Sunday (January 21st); Annual Business Meeting (January 28th) and Annual Public Meeting, featuring Professor Joe Barnhart, University of North Texas (February 4th) Details below ...


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Posted by pking
Jan. 03, 2007

Remember Solstice Party!
Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 6:00 p.m. Bring a potluck dish and enjoy fellowship and good times.


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Posted by pking
Dec. 22, 2006

December 17 - Behavior Analysis - Buck/Weigle
Behavior Analysis: Science and Application RET members Dave Buck and Karen Weigle will present this topic.


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Posted by pking
Dec. 11, 2006

Oak Ridge Forum addresses Terrorism
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science will feature Dr. Mark H. Waugh who will be presenting: "Taking Measure of Terrorism: The Calming of America"


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Posted by pking
Dec. 07, 2006

December 10 Book Club - Change in Meeting Place/Ti
The December RET Book Club will take place on Sunday, December 10th at Pellissippi State in the Alexander Bldg, Rm. 223 from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. We will be discussing "Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of our Ancestors" by Nicholas Wade.

Posted by pking
Dec. 05, 2006

Members Only - Vote for Upcoming Books
The selection of books to be considered for the next few months for our Skeptic Book Club may be accessed at: http://rationalists.org/downloads/book_club_nov2006.pdf Please send your vote to John McCaffrey (e-mail and telephone at the above link). (Only members may vote)

Posted by pking
Nov. 15, 2006

Meeting Location Change
This week's meeting location is moving from the Goins Administration building at Pellissippi to the Lamar Alexander building, just south-west of the usual building. The usual driving directions apply. For a map that depicts the usual and the new location, see http://www.rationalists.org/activities/directions.php . The Lamar Alexander building is labeld "AL" on the parking map. This should be a one-time change and is the result of some electrical work being performed on the usual room.

Related Link: Directions
Posted by houston
Oct. 13, 2006

Iraq: Where do we go from here?
This Sunday we will discuss what options we have in Iraq. The discussion will not focus on past mistakes but only on the future possibilities. Michael Lance will lead the discussion.

Posted by houston
Oct. 11, 2006

RET October Events
***** October 1, 2006, "The Illogic of Billy Graham;" Carl Ledendecker ***** October 8, 2006, "The Cheating Culture: Why more Americans are doing Wrong to get Ahead," by David Callahan *****October 15, 2006, “The Iraq War - Where do We Go from Here?”; Michael Lance


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Posted by pking
Sept. 30, 2006

Don't Forget Dr. Hood's Talk on Sunday!
September 17th, 2006, 10:30 p.m., Dr. Thomas Hood, University of Tennessee Dept. of Sociology, "Car Talk: How the Automobile Has Ruined American Society," Location: Pellissippi State Technical Community College 10915 Hardin Valley Road Knoxville, TN (Driving directions, below) ... In this provocative presentation, Dr. Hood takes the stance that the automobile has encouraged the development of many selfish patterns of living that are unsustainable and damaging to the environment. He draws upon research on the destruction of mass transportation systems and the encouragement of patterns of housing that have created an emerging crisis in society. Directions: Driving east on I-40, take Exit 376, State Hwy. 162 / Pellissippi Parkway / Oak Ridge. Driving west on I-40, take Exit 376A, State Hwy. 162 / Pellissippi Parkway / Oak Ridge. Take Pellissippi Parkway 3.5 miles to the Hardin Valley Road exit. Turn left on Hardin Valley Road. Turn right at the first road after the underpass (Solway Road). Turn left into the Pellissippi State entrance. The cafeteria annex is at the very back of the Goins Administration building. If you enter the building from the door in front of parking lot V1 (marked in green), you go straight back, through a little atrium, through the cafeteria toward the back left of the atrium, and all the way through to the room in the back left of the cafeteria. Parking in lots V1 or O1 on the weekends seems acceptable, and both are convenient to the building.

Posted by pking
Sept. 16, 2006

September Events
September 10th, 2006, 5:00 p.m., Barnes and Noble Bookstore, Kingston Pike, Knoxville: Skeptic Book Club, Devil's Game: How the U.S. Helped Unleash Fundamental Islam, by Robert Dreyfuss. September 17th, 2006, 10:30 p.m., Dr. Thomas Hood, University of Tennessee Dept. of Sociology, "Car Talk: How the Automobile Has Ruined American Society," Location: Pellissippi State Technical Community College 10915 Hardin Valley Road Knoxville, TN (Driving directions, below) ...


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Posted by pking
Sept. 09, 2006

5th Annual Virginia Creeper Bike Trip
Bike the Virginia Creeper, a rails-to-trails trip 19 miles from Whitetop to Damascus, Virginia, downhill all the way. First or second Saturday in November, and camping nearby is an option. Bikes for rent in Damascus. RSVP to padlrdie at gmail dottie commie.


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Posted by mjb
Sept. 01, 2006

RET Events in August 2006
Plan to attend one or more of the following RET events in August 2006: - August 6: Roundtable discussion addressing all aspects of immigration in the U.S. Bring your knowledge and opinions and join in the discussion. (10:30 a.m., Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., cafeteria annex) - August 13: Skeptic Book Club, "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason," by Sam Harris. A provocative analysis that provides hope for those with a rationalist world perspective. (5:00 p.m., Barnes and Noble Bookstore on Kingston Pike, Knoxville) - August 20: Philosophy Sunday, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences," presented by member, Andy Shor. (10:30 a.m., Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., cafeteria annex)

Posted by pking
July 30, 2006

Dr. Bruce Wheeler to speak on Sunday, July 16th
On July 16, at Pellissippi State (see driving instructions elsewhere on this site), Dr. Bruce Wheeler will speak on: KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE: A RATIONAL LOOK AT A CITY'S IRRATIONAL PAST At the turn of the century, all evidence pointed to the conclusion that Knoxville, Tennessee would become (as one publication claimed): "the new jewel in the crown of the New South." Factual evidence was everywhere. And yet, for whatever reasons, Knoxville never fulfilled that boasted prophesy. Where did the so-called "rational thinkers" go wrong...if they did? Come and enjoy fellowship at 10:00 a.m., with Dr. Wheeler's presentation beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Posted by pking
July 13, 2006

July Events
July 2 - We take a summer break. No Roundtable on this Sunday, so folks can attend the secular symposium and gathering at Lake Hypatia in Alabama that runs July 1-4. More information at http://www.ffrf.org/lakehypatia/ July 9, Skeptic Book Club "Democracy in America," by Alexis de Tocqueville July 16, Philosophy Sunday Dr. Bruce Wheeler Noted, retired University of Tennessee professor. Noted for his insightful and accurate presentations about the history of the South and of East Tennessee. Come and learn why the culture of Knoxville and its surroundings is as it is. You will be WELL rewarded!

Posted by pking
June 25, 2006

Camp Quest Counselor needs Home for Recuperation
One of our counselors at Camp Quest is in the hospital. His name is Bill Messer and he came to us from Cincinnati. Bill became ill on Wednesday and was scheduled to have his gall bladder out this afternoon (Friday). Aleta Ledendecker writes (see below) that Bill will need a local place to recuperate for about a week after he is released from the hospital (probably around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week). Please contact Phil King (690-7687 or philip.king@comcast.net) if you could share your home with Bill. (please refer to Aleta's memo below ... )


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Posted by pking
June 09, 2006

Summer Solstice Party
Saturday, June 17th 2:00 p.m. until ??? Continuing what is fast becoming a welcome tradition, Greg and Colleen Landaiche will once again host the RET Summer Solstice party ...


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Posted by pking
June 07, 2006

Farewell Party for Marty and Laura
Tom O'Connor is hosting a party at his home, Sunday, June 18, 6:00 - 10:00 p.m., as we send off Marty Carcieri and Laura Marty with our best wishes. Please RSVP to Tom (tcoc@oconthom.com; 865.963.7625), by June 15th, if you are planning to come. Details below ...


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Posted by pking
June 06, 2006

Skeptic Book Club on Sunday, June 11, 5:00 p.m.
American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips, is three books in one. Author, Kevin Phillips, argues that a "reckless dependency on shrinking oil supplies, a milieu of radicalized (and much too influential) religion, and a reliance on borrowed money . . . now constitute the three major perils to the United States of the twenty-first century." Join us at Barnes and Noble Bookstore on Kingston Pike in west Knoxville.

Posted by pking
June 06, 2006

RET Meets in Smokies, June 4
RET will convene its roundtable meeting, June 4th, 10:00, at Treemont, in the Smokies. ...


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Posted by pking
May 31, 2006

Oak Ridge Forum, May 25th
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, May 25th, 2006, 11:00 a.m., in the Undercroft of St. Stephens Episcopal Church at 212 North Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge. (more) ...


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Posted by pking
May 18, 2006

Wheeler speaks on May 25th in Oak Ridge
Bruce Wheeler, RET speaker on July 16th, will be speaking in Oak Ridge on Thursday, May 25, 7:30 p.m., at the American Museum of Science and Energy. Details follow ...


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Posted by pking
May 16, 2006

RET Summer Solstice Party
Mark your calendar for June 17th - afternoon and evening: - Summer Solstice party at Greg's and Colleen's home - Details to follow later

Posted by pking
May 16, 2006

Vote for Book Club Candidates
RET Members: You may vote for your book club preferences on on our web site (by April 30): http://rationalists.org/book_club.php Looks as though this is the week for voting. In addition to participating in the Tuesday elections, I want to encourage you to vote for the books you would like to see discussed in our Skeptic Book Club. John McCaffrey is trying to meet one of Barnes and Nobels' deadlines, the 1st week in May, for promotions of book clubs that use their facilities). So please vote now!


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Posted by pking
Apr. 29, 2006

Dinner Out and UT Presentation - April 27th
A group is getting together for dinner on Thursday evening, April 27th, 6:00 p.m. at Kashmir India Restaurant near the corner of 17th St. and Cumberland (711 S. 17th St.) and then attending the talk by Kevin Phillips, author of American Theocracy. The presentation will be in the UT Alumni Memorial Bldg., Cox Auditorium, at 7:30 p.m. Come and join us! Sharron King

Posted by pking
Apr. 26, 2006

Donations to Secular Coalition of America
Remember that RET is matching up to $500 in member contributions to the Secular Coalition of America (SCA) - an umbrella group of freethinker and humanist organizations that sponsor a lobbyist in Washington. So make a generous contribution. Send checks earmarked for SCA to: Rationalists of East Tennessee P.O. Box 51634 Knoxville TN 37950 Your contribution will help us have an impact in Washington in matters important to freethinkers and humanists! Phil King, President RET

Posted by pking
Apr. 13, 2006

Celebrate National Day of Reason
On Thursday, May 4, celebrate National Day of Reason at Tyson Park, 2351 Kingston Pike, with the Rationalists of East Tennessee (RET). Please contact Dave Buck (865-671-4222 or dave.buck@charter.net) if you are interested in coming - so that he will be able to assess how much food is needed. ...


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Posted by pking
Apr. 12, 2006

Lucas to Speak on Stars
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, April 20th, 2006, in the A&B room of the Civic Center, Oak Ridge ...


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Posted by pking
Apr. 04, 2006

Greetings to RET Members
As President of RET, I hope to grow our membership this year and would encourage you to help me in this endeavor. RET offers an alternative to our community: exercising responsible citizenship with a non-theistic worldview. You are, in a very real sense, the "face" of RET to your family, friends and colleagues. I hope you will do 2 things: - Renew your membership in RET for the current year if you haven't already done so. - Bring a friend "to church" with you :-) Best Regards, Phil King, President Rationalists of East Tennessee

Posted by pking
Apr. 01, 2006

Roundtable - April 2, 10:30
You are invited to a roundtable discussion of, "Freedom, Tolerance and Multiculturalism," at 10:30 a.m., Sunday morning, April 2, at our usual meeting place: Pellissippi State Technical Community College (off Pellissippi Parkway) Goins Administration Building, in the cafeteria annex. Out topic for discussion is, "Freedom, Tolerance and Multiculturalism." The discussion will, of course, take several turns such as the recent controversy over the Danish cartoons, secret wiretapping, etc. Come a few minutes early for socializing and fellowship!

Posted by pking
Apr. 01, 2006

April AAI Convention
Atheist Alliance International and Secular Student Alliance convention April 14-16; Kansas City, Missouri.


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Posted by pking
Mar. 04, 2006

March 16 meeting of Oak Ridge Forum on Religion an
Professor Soren Sorensen, UT, Head, Physics Dept., to speak at next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science - Thursday, March 16th, 2006, in the Undercroft of St. Stephens Episcopal Church at 212 North Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge. (contd.)


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Posted by pking
Feb. 28, 2006

Debate - Iraq War (Addendum)
Date/Place of this debate is February 19, 10:00; Pellissippi State Community College.

Posted by pking
Feb. 19, 2006

Debate - Iraq War
Resolved, America’s entry into the Iraq War was justified at the time. The moderator will be Lorrie Powdrill. Time: 10:00 a.m., February 19, 2006 Place: Pellissippi State Community College ...


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Posted by pking
Feb. 19, 2006

February 16 meeting of Oak Ridge Forum on Religion
Dr. Thomas L Ferrell will speak on "Physics, the Universe, and a Strange View of God" at the next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science - scheduled for Thursday, February 16th, 2006, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.


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Posted by pking
Feb. 10, 2006

Darwin Day - 2006
Hi all, Next week will hold the annual Darwin Day events and I hope people will be able to attend. A schedule of events can be found at http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/. Alternatively, feel free to contact me with any questions (mcadotte@utk.edu). Of special interest will be our keynote address:

Related Link: Darwin Day Schedule

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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 01, 2006

Last Chance Demonstration to Save the Candy Factor
This demonstration is an attempt to stop the City Council from approving Tax Increment Financing, an essential part of the Candy Factory development deal.


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Posted by mjb
Jan. 11, 2006

Election Meeting and New Venue
RET will hold its annual election meeting on Jan. 15 in a new venue. The negotiations pertaining to the sale of the Candy Factory have prompted us to secure new space in the short term so that we can guarantee we're not homeless. Until further notice, we'll be holding our roundtables and philosophy roundtables (or any first- and third-Sunday meetings) at the main campus of Pellissippi State Technical Community College. Directions and maps can be found at http://www.rationalists.org/activities/directions.php. The book club will remain for the time being at Barne's and Noble in Knoxville.

Related Link: Directions and Maps

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Posted by houston
Jan. 07, 2006

News Release, Candy Factory public hearing
WHAT: KCDC Public Hearing / World's Fair Park Redevelopment Plan WHERE: KCDC, 901 N. Broadway, Knoxville TN 37917 WHEN: Wednesday, December 28 at 5 pm


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Posted by mjb
Dec. 27, 2005

World's Fair Park Public Hearing
Can the development be derailed?


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Posted by mjb
Dec. 21, 2005

Solstice reminder
Greetings all! Just a reminder that Phil and Sharron King will be hosting our annual Winter Solstice Party - Saturday, December 17, at 6:00 p.m., at their home. Bring potluck and get ready for a good time!


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Posted by dbuck
Dec. 15, 2005

2005 Winter Solstice Party
Phil and Sharron King will be hosting our annual Winter Solstice Party - Saturday, December 17, at 6:00 p.m., at their home.


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Posted by pking
Nov. 30, 2005

Come to public rally to save the Candy Factory:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 12NOON TO 1PM WORLD'S FAIR PARK DRIVE (OLD 10TH STREET) IN FRONT OF THE CANDY FACTORY AND ACROSS THE STREET IN FRONT OF FORT KID

Related Link: Save the Candy Factory page

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Posted by mjb
Nov. 29, 2005

Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science
Global Warming is the topic for the next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, November 17th, 2005, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center at 11:00 a.m. ...


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Posted by pking
Nov. 11, 2005

Emil Investigates Halloween
The Rationalists of East Tennessee are pleased to invite paranormal investigator Emil Klott to Knoxville to speak on Oct. 30 at 10:30 a.m. in the Candy Factory on some of his findings pertaining to Halloween. The talk is entitled "Emil Investigates Halloween." Klott spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of skeptics in Knoxville two years ago, describing his uncanny abilities to dowse for water by the waterfront and showcasing his frightening experiences as a ghost-hunter at a haunted house. Klott uses the best techniques in the paranormal sciences to reach his conclusions.

Related Link: Stranger Than Truth

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Posted by houston
Oct. 21, 2005

Vote on Book Club Selections
Once again, it's time to vote for book club selections for the next six months. Please visit http://rationalists.org/book_club.php to vote on the books that most interest you. Rank those that interest you in the order that they interest you. This is an honor-system sort of thing; please vote only once.

Related Link: Rank the books
Posted by houston
Oct. 18, 2005

Oak Ridge Religion/Science Forum on October 20th
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, October 20th, 2005, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.


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Posted by pking
Oct. 13, 2005

Please submit book club selections
Folks, it is time to submit recommendations for book club for the next 6 months. The 'rules' are as follows:


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Posted by houston
Sept. 24, 2005

Oak Ridge Forum on Religion/Science
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.


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Posted by pking
Sept. 19, 2005

One More Hurricane Update
In an effort to stop bombarding our list with mail, I've put up a little Web site to collect information about hurricane relief efforts in Knoxville. Please keep your eye on http://rationalists.org/wiki/index.php for updates, of if you're in a position to provide information about relief opportunities and are comfortable making updates to a wiki, by all means do so. Also feel free to email info@rationalists.org to suggest updates.

Related Link: RET Wiki

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Posted by houston
Sept. 05, 2005

Volunteer to Help Incoming Hurricane Refugees
I learned today from an RET member of an informational meeting about local efforts to help provide relief for those displaced by the Hurricane Katrina. Some people have already migrated to the Knoxville area, and 750 are being bused in on Tuesday. About 1,500 total are expected. The meeting, organized by a local group called the Compassion Coalition (http://compassioncoalition.org) in conjunction with the Knoxville chapter of the American Red Cross, centered on organizing volunteers.


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Posted by houston
Sept. 04, 2005

Please help provide hurricane relief
This week, as we all know, hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf. I grew up on the outskirts of hurricane country and, while I was always nervous when bad weather approached, hurricanes were fairly commonplace and seldom seemed to do much damage as far inland as I lived. We'd gather up some candles, bundle my beachfront grandmother up to come stay further inland, and weather the storms from a pretty safe distance (though a few years ago, a hurricane obliterated the comfortable little town I grew up in). But Katrina's a different story. Even as far inland as Knoxville, I was affected by the hurricane, losing power for four hours on Tuesday night when (I assume) heavyish winds blew down power lines that feed my neighborhood. You should have heard me griping about hating rain and having no air conditioning and having to reset the stinking clocks and -- horror of horrors -- missing one of my favorite prime-time TV shows. This hurricane was such a raging pain in the neck for me.


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Posted by houston
Sept. 02, 2005

Oak Ridge Forum on Science and Religion, August 25
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, August 25th, 2005, 11:00 a.m., in the Undercroft of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church at 212 North Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge ...


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Posted by pking
Aug. 18, 2005

SEPT 10! - with directions
Here are the directions to the party and an even more accurate date (I'm going to get teased for this aren't I) Directions to Phil's and Sharron's home: - On Interstate 40 about 8 miles west of Knoxville, Cedar Bluff exit (Exit 378) - NORTH on Cedar Bluff Road, to Gulf Park Drive (about a mile, big Catholic church is on your right, Lutheran Church on your left) - LEFT onto Gulf Park Drive, to Venice Road (about three-quarters of a mile) - RIGHT onto Venice Road. Proceed to stop sign at Sanders Road. -Continue on Venice Road about 1/4 mile to our home: 1109 Venice Road, (865) 690-7687 (basketball goal down the hill at back of driveway). Where: Phil and Sharron’s home (Directions to be posted later) Date: Saturday, September 10th Time: 6:30 p.m. Bring: Side dish or salad; musical instruments if you play any

Related Link: Sharron's e-mail

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Posted by dbuck
Aug. 16, 2005

RET Dinner Club
Hey All, The RET Dinner Club is being resurrected! This isn't necessarily a miracle, but it is fun.

Related Link: mailto:brinksda@msn.com

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Posted by dbuck
Aug. 15, 2005

AUG 16 City Council vote on the Candy Factory
For 25 years, the Candy Factory has been home to hundreds of community groups seeking neutral, centrally-located meeting space. That home is now in danger of being sold to a developer who intends to convert it into luxury condominiums.


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Posted by ashor
Aug. 12, 2005

RET Trash Pickup on August 13
To: RET Members and Friends It's about time to tidy up Pellissippi Parkway again! Weather permitting, I am scheduling an RET trash pickup on Saturday morning - August 13, 9:00a.m. - Noon, on Pellissippi Parkway. Please let me know by Thursday night if you will be able to help. ...


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Posted by pking
Aug. 07, 2005

10:00 PBS to show Guns, Germs, & Steel series
Turns out, the show aired at 10:00. At least it will be shown again Friday. PBS will begin airing a 3-part series called "Guns, Germs, and Steel". It's based on Jared Diamond's book with the same title (one that the Skeptic's bookclub read a few years back). It comes on Monday's at 10:00 pm EST after Antique Roadshow and is rerun again on Fridays at 10:00. The 2nd and 3rd parts of the series are aired the following weeks. See http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/ The book was an excellent read and a great resource. Hopefully the PBS series will be as good.

Related Link: http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/
Posted by dbuck
July 11, 2005

Philosophy Sunday - July 17
This week, the RET Philosophy Sunday Roundtable discussion will be led by Michael Lance. He'll be presenting some of the ideas and philosophies found in the neo-conservative writings of Leo Strauss. We'll meet at the Candy Factory Boardroom (downstairs, 2nd floor) at 10:00 for coffee and snacks. Discussion starts at 10:30.


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Posted by dbuck
July 11, 2005

Fred Venditti Memorial on Sunday
Please remember the memorial service on Sunday (July 3) for Fred Venditti (details below).


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Posted by pking
July 01, 2005

Massimo's Talk on DVD
The DVD of Massimo’s talk, “The meaning of life
no really!” has proved to be highly sought after. We've received orders for 24 copies so far!

Related Link: order your copy

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Posted by dbuck
July 01, 2005

Memorial Web Site for Fred Venditti
Phil Venditti has set up a memorial web site in honor of his Dad, and our dear friend, Fred.


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Posted by pking
June 24, 2005

Oak Ridge Forum on Religion/Science
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, June 23rd, 2005, in the Undercroft of St. Stephens Episcopal Church at 212 North Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge.


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Posted by pking
June 18, 2005

A Twenty-First Century Intervention in the Trial o
Be sure to join us this Sunday (June 19) for a philosophy roundtable entitled "A Twenty-First Century Intervention in the Trial of Socrates." UT Political Science Professor Martin Carcieri, JD/PhD, will facilitate the discussion, which is based on an article he published several years ago in a Classics journal. This discussion sounds like it'll be great fun, and I hope to see a lot of the usual faces (and hopefully a few new or seldom seen ones) there.

Related Link: Solstice Party Details

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Posted by houston
June 17, 2005

Speak up for intellectual privacy
Please call your Representatives as soon as possible between now and through Tuesday, June 14, to ask them to support the provisions of the Freedom to Read Act (HR 1157) protecting library users and bookstore customers from intrusions into their personal reading and purchasing information by the FBI.

Related Link: Background

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Posted by mjb
June 13, 2005

Centennial of Einstein's Miracle Year
This year is the 100th anniversary of some of the most important scientific publications of all time, papers that Albert Einstein wrote and published in the journal Annalen der Physik in 1905. Einstein's papers covered three areas: the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, and Special Relativity. During this anniversary year AccessScience presents a series of three special essays by prominent contemporary scientists, the first two of which are now available (the third essay will be published later this month). The essays focus on how these theories were developed, the impact they created within the scientific community one hundred years ago, and their influence on the subsequent development of physics and science in general. Each essay is complemented by AccessScience articles providing in-depth background information, historical images, links to original papers, and more. Login instructions:

Related Link: To Library databases

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Posted by mjb
June 13, 2005

RET Extends Sympathy
Phil King's sister Jo died early Friday. Phil and Sharron took Phil's parents to Oklahoma this weekend for the funeral. They'll be back in Knoxville on Wednesday. We extend our deepest sympathy to Phil and the entire King family.

Posted by mjb
June 11, 2005

Don Williams: On Moonwalkers, Fireflies and the Se
Don Williams will be the speaker this Sunday morning, 11 a.m. at Westside Unitarian Church in Farragut (not to be confused with the Tennessee Valley Unitarians on Kingston Pike). Westside describes itself as "a spiritual community of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Humanists, and many others who have come together to explore and expand our religious and spiritual beliefs. Don Williams, author and News-Sentinel columnist, will discuss his ideas relating to cosmology and nature and how those are intertwined with his personal spiritual journey. He will be reading from his recent book "Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes--Best Writings About People" by Don Williams. We will also have special music for this service. Mark Hulsether and a group of musicians and drummers from Westside will perform Let us Pray by Black Uhuru, a reggae group from Jamaica. I'll also have books on hand to autograph.

Posted by dbuck
June 11, 2005

RET Summer Solstice Party
RET's Summer Solstice Party will be at 3 PM on Saturday June 18. Once again, Colleen and Greg Landaiche are opening their lovely home to us. There'll be swimming, jetskiing, games, music, and, as always, great fellowship. RSVP info and directions can be found at the attached link.

Related Link: Solstice Party Website

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Posted by dhaste
June 06, 2005

Understanding the Present: An Alternative History
This Sunday, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, Michael Lance will lead a disccussion of the book by Bryan Appleyard. We will meet at Barnes and Noble on Kingston Pike where they provide coffee for bookclub participants and a very nice area to meet.

Related Link: Amazon.com
Posted by dbuck
June 06, 2005

Frederick Phillip Venditti Memorial Celebration
Memorial celebration set for July 3rd, 2005 On behalf of Anne Venditti and her family, ...


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Posted by pking
June 02, 2005

Memphis Freethought Lecture Series
The Memphis Freethought Alliance is a small group that is just starting out and trying to build membership and awareness. If plan to be in Memphis you should check them out. Or, if you know of like-minded people in the area, consider forwarding them this announcement. At some point I'd like to gather willing RET members and roadtrip to Nashville and meet them halfway to discuss how to grow an organization like ours. Memphis Freethought Alliance his proud to announce guest speaker Dr. Barbara Forrest who will discuss: Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse: A Closer Look at Intelligent Design, Saturday July 16th, Central Library, meeting room C, Poplar Ave. 1 – 3 pm.

Related Link: E-mail Chris Stahl for more information

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Posted by dbuck
June 01, 2005

The Meaning of Life...Really!
RET welcomes Massimo Pigliucci this Sunday as he debutes his latest lecture titled "The meaning of Life...Really". IMPORTANT CHANGE!!! We'll be meeting at PELLISSIPPI STATE COLLEGE off of 140 this weekend, not our normal venue. Coffee and snacks start at 10:00 and the discussion is at 10:30. People are invited to head to Bullfeathers in Farrugat for lunch afterwards.

Related Link: Pellissippi Campus Map

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Posted by dbuck
May 26, 2005

Next Oak Ridge Forum on Religion & Science
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, May 26th, 2005, ...


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Posted by pking
May 21, 2005

2005 Survey of Non-believers
Below is a request for non-believers to participate in an online survey. It's being conducted by Darrell Lunsford of the West North Carolina Atheists. He's visited our group before and has done some previous research on atheist groups. He's consulting with a researcher to help him with his present study. -Dave

Related Link: Click here for Survey

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Posted by dbuck
May 16, 2005

Atheist Meet-up tonight at PANERA BREAD
Folks, The Knoxville Atheist Meet-up meeting group has changed locations. When: Monday, July 11 at 7:00PM Where: Panera Bread 205 N. Peters Road Knoxville TN 37901 (865) 769-4292

Related Link: RSVP

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Posted by dbuck
May 09, 2005

RET focus of columinst's concern
Wow. I've pasted the article Greg Johnson wrote in today's Knox News-Sentinel below. If you care to respond to the editor or Greg, their e-mails are: letters@knews.com and jgregjohnson@hotmail.com. Instead of trying to bridge a gap, he's trying to widen it by promoting the stereotype that atheists or secular humanists are angry, spiteful people.

Related Link: Rational Thinking about Day of Prayer

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Posted by dbuck
May 05, 2005

Oak Ridge Religion/Science Forum meets on Thursday
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, April 28th, 2005, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center A social session is planned for 11:00 am, ...


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Posted by pking
Apr. 26, 2005

Tyson Park – Thursday, May 5th
Just another reminder for This Thursday. We've got approximately 30 people who have RSVPd but we'll be planning on having a few more than that in case some folks are able to come at the last minute. When: Thursday, May 5th Time: 5:00 to 9:00 pm Where: Tyson Park, Knoxville (near campus), Shelter #1 Food: Hamburger/hotdogs/salads/soda/water will be provided

Related Link: Raising Awareness

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Posted by dbuck
Apr. 19, 2005

Life on Mars, Meteorites, and Extraterrestrial Mus
On Thursday, April 21, at Rothchild’s (8807 Kingston Pike), the Oak Ridge Chapter of ASM International will proudly present speaker Dr. Ed Vicenzi, from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, discussing the topic "Life on Mars, Meteorite Studies, and Extraterrestrial Musings"


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Posted by houston
Apr. 19, 2005

RET Trash Pickup on April 16
Warm spring days have returned to the hills and valleys of East Tennessee and it's time to tidy up Pellissippi Parkway! ...


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Posted by pking
Apr. 11, 2005

WUOT Underwriting Fund
This week, WUOT will start its spring membership drive. For those of you who regularly donate to WUOT, I'd like for you to consider donating to them through RET.


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Posted by dbuck
Apr. 04, 2005

Vote on Upcoming Book Club Selections
It's time once again to vote on the upcoming book club selections. Please view the Word document at http://www.rationalists.org/resources/downloads/books_may05.doc and respond to this email with your choices or contact John McCaffrey.

Related Link: Book Club Options
Posted by houston
Mar. 22, 2005

Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science, March Mee
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, March 24th, 2005, in the Sanctuary of the Grace Covenant Church at 100C Adams Lane, Oak Ridge. Dr. Neil Greenberg will discuss "Who the Hell Do You Think You Are!?: The Natural History of the Self"


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Posted by pking
Mar. 15, 2005

Reminder: New Book Club Venue
Just a quick reminder that the venue and time for our book club event has changed. We now meet at Barne's and Noble at 5:00 p.m., starting with this Sunday's discussion of Susan Jacoby's *Freethinkers.*


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Posted by houston
Mar. 12, 2005

E.O. Wilson speaks at UT March 15!
Lecture at 3:00pm in Alumni Memorial Building, Cox Auditorium followed by a reception/book signing. Hosts: Division of Biology, Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries.

Related Link: Map - click on Alumni building to search

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Posted by dbuck
Mar. 10, 2005

Letter to Editor
Knoxville News-Sentinel - February 28th. Scientific explanations detail cause of tsunami. The Feb. 4 letter writer who thinks the tsunami tragedy was an act of God reminded me of people in Benjamin Franklin's day. Preachers in Boston used to warn people that lightning rods were thwarting God's will. Luckily, no people threw their rods away.


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Posted by dbuck
Mar. 09, 2005

Letter to Editor
Knoxville News-Sentinel - March 6th We'll look back sadly on today's antigay rhetoric. I very much appreciate Sam Venable's forward thinking in his column, "Visionaries rarely are popular." Americans 20 or so years from now will be looking back in sad amazement at our antigay rhetoric of today.


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Posted by dbuck
Mar. 09, 2005

Letter to Editor
Knoxville News-Sentinel - March 6th Theocrats trying to impose their will on everyone else. This is in response to Sam Venable's Feb. 22 column and the quote, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."


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Posted by dbuck
Mar. 09, 2005

Philosphy Sunday - Parking problem
Come join us for a Philosophy Roundtable led by Jason Cassella, a student in the UT philsophy department. Jason is going to faciliate a talk about the ethics of embryonic stem cell research and the idea of autonomy. The ethical discussion will cover: the religious right, the right to life argument, when life begins, personhood, ownership, and autonomy. We'll meet downstairs in the Candy Factory Boardroom at 10:00 for Coffee and snacks. Discussion starts at 10:30. HOWEVER!!! The Knoxville Marathon is being run this day. Runners will be going past the Candy Factory between 8:00 and 10:00. It's likely there will be NO spots to park in the lots. So, try to arrive early and look for parking in Fort Sander's streets. Or, think about car-pooling if you know someone in your area. Click the link for google maps and type in Candy Factory, Knoxville. Some streets that have spots would be: Highland, laural, Bridge Ave; plus the cross streets: 12th, 13th, and 14th, I think.

Related Link: google maps
Posted by dbuck
Mar. 07, 2005

RET social event - March 26th
“If I had a thousand sons, the first humane principle I would teach them should be, to forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack.” Sir John Falstaff, Henry IV, Part II, Act IV, Scene 3


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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 22, 2005

Fourth Annual Marco Symposium
For those interested, the symposium runs February 24-25 "I grew up in Kentucky," Stewart said. "When I studied the Crusades, the Christians always won. But when you really study the history, that's not always the case. History looks very different once you know who won." UT symposium focuses on knowledge that stemmed from early cooperation between Christians, Muslims and Jews

Related Link: Link to Symposium

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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 22, 2005

Voice need for community space!
Folks, The city of Knoxville is accepting proposals for the sale and development of the Candy Factory. So far, NO PLANS have been discussed for the relocation of all the nonprofit organizations that use this space. Please email Mayor Haslam at mayor@cityofknoxville.org to let him know what the Candy Factory space means to RET and other nonprofit organiztions. If you want to continue to have a space for our meetings, your support is vital!

Related Link: E-mail the mayor!

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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 21, 2005

Scopes II: The Legacy of the Tennessee Monkey Tria
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Feb. 17, 2005. The Rationalists of East Tennessee (RET), a Knoxville-area organization committed to free inquiry and critical thinking, welcomes Alvin Harris to Knoxville. Harris, who served as lead counsel in and won a Dayton, TN, case enjoining Bryan college students from teaching a Bible class in public elementary schools, will be delivering a talk entitled 'Scopes II: The Legacy of the Tennessee Monkey Trial.'


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Posted by houston
Feb. 17, 2005

Darwin Day - Correction
my earlier message indicated the wrong venue for Dr. Shermer's talk. It's actually in Alumni Memorial Bldg. Sorry. Darwin Day is nearly upon us. Michael Shermer, the founding publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, and the author of several books on science and culture, will deliver the keynote address Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 in Room 210 of Alumni memorial Building. Afterward, RET members are welcome to join Dr. Shermer and others at the Cumberland Grill, for casual socializing.

Related Link: Darwin Day Homepage

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Posted by dhaste
Feb. 08, 2005

Reminder: BABY SHOWER BRUNCH - April 9th
Come join us in celebrating the upcoming birth of John and Patty's first baby! Place: Dave and Karen's home Time: 11:00 to 2:00 Bring: covered dish - something brunchy John and Patty are due May 13th. They've registered at Babies-R-Us but they don't know the sex. So... unless any of you are psychic or you called their doctor, the baby's sex is going to be a surprise. If you haven't already, RSVP by clicking the link or e-mailing me at dave.buck@charter.net

Related Link: RSVP!!!

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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 03, 2005

Coalition fighting faith-based initiatives
Does anyone want to get involved in grassroots opposition to faith-based initiatives? The Nashville chapter of Americans United for the Separation of State and Church is asking for help. See excerpt of e-mail from Charles Sumner:


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Posted by mjb
Feb. 02, 2005

Darwin call-in radio program
DIALOGUE, WUOT's Monthly Call-In Program, first Wednesday of each month On Dialogue, Wednesday, February 2: A discussion of Charles Darwin with Marc Cadotte, President of the Tennessee Darwin Coalition and Dr. Thomas Near, professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. Call in and participate in Dialogue: 865-974-5050 or email at dialogue@wuot.org

Posted by mjb
Feb. 01, 2005

Internet: Don't Panic -- Public Lecture
Internet freedom advocate Mike Godwin, J.D., will urge communication technology alarmists to ‘cool it’ a bit in his public lecture at the University of Tennessee on Feb. 10.


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Posted by mjb
Feb. 01, 2005

Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains Around the Corne
The Rationalists of East Tennessee (RET), a Knoxville-area organization committed to free inquiry and critical thinking, is pleased to announce that Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains is accepting camper applications for the summer of 2005. The camp, which will be held from June 5 - 12, is open to children ages 8 to 13 with junior counselor positions available for 14 to 17-year-olds.

Related Link: Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains

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Posted by houston
Jan. 29, 2005

RET shirts are in
Folks, Our shirts are done. I'll begin bringing them to RET events so if you ordered some, come to the meeting this week or next and bring your checkbook! For those who requested I mail your shirts, I'll contact you next week about shipping costs and such. Oh, and I ordered a few extras but they won't last long.

Related Link: send me your mailing address

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Posted by dbuck
Jan. 26, 2005

Jan 20 Mtng of Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Sci
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, January 20th, 2005, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.


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Posted by pking
Jan. 13, 2005

Reminder - Russell Roundtable Sunday
This Sunday, January 16, Carl Westman will be presenting an appreciation of Bertrand Russell entitled "Russell, Religion, and Rationalism." For those unfamiliar with Bertrand Russell, it will be an introduction to the life, work, and values of one of the 20th century's best-known philosophers. For those already familiar with Russell, bring your favorite stories and quotes, your questions, and your criticisms.

Related Link: Bertrand Russell Society

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Posted by cwestman
Jan. 12, 2005

RET Survey -- LAST CHANCE
We recently sent out the following notice. Please be advised that we will be tallying the survey results on Thursday, January 13. We have had some response but would like to see better member participation. If you haven't filled out the survey yet, please take five minutes now and do so. Thanks! =============== In the interest of guiding RET's activities and energies in the direction the group at large would go rather than in the direction a few board members would go, the board has put together a survey that allows you to lodge an opinion on how RET's doing and what activities we should emphasize.

Related Link: Online Survey

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Posted by houston
Dec. 29, 2004

PostModernism 101
RETers, Just a reminder that Florence and Andy are presenting a roundtable discussion on PostModernism this Sunday at 10:00 in the Candy Factory boardroom.

Related Link: Sarrasine, by Balzac

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Posted by dbuck
Dec. 15, 2004

Darwin Day - new schedule!
Darwin Day schedule has been changed! Michael Shermer had to come a day early. So, now Darwin Day activities will be on Wednesday, February 9th AND Thursday, February 10th. Shermer will arrive Tuesday night and if he gets in early enough, there may be a chance that RET members could get together with him (i.e., dinner, snacks, drinks, etc.) on Tuesday (Feb. 8) evening, or else breakfast Wed (Feb. 9) morning? I'll keep everyone posted when we find out his schedule.

Related Link: Darwin Day website

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Posted by dhaste
Dec. 08, 2004

Winter Solstice Party Dec. 18
Colleen and Greg Landaiche are again graciously hosting the RET Winter Solstice party. It will be Saturday, December 18, at 3 PM. Food will be provided, and it's BYOB. Also, if you have any special seasonal goodies that you'd like to share, please feel free to bring them! There will be a bonfire after dark, so remember to dress warmly so that you can join us for that.

Related Link: Info and Directions

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Posted by dhaste
Dec. 08, 2004

Reading for Sunday, Dec. 5
Here is a good site to whet your whistle for Sunday's roundtable on Holidays, Family and Coworkers: Communication in a Superstitious World: http://www.humaniststudies.org/enews/index.html?id=168&lid=1264#n6 Enjoy, Aleta

Related Link: IHS newsletter
Posted by aledendecker
Nov. 30, 2004

Election and Membership Meeting Jan. 23
REMINDER: RET will be holding a membership meeting Sunday Jan. 23, 2005, at 10:30 AM at the Candy Factory. All dues-paying members are eligible to participate and vote. If you haven't paid 2005 dues yet, DON'T FORGET YOUR CHECKBOOK! Plus, you might want to buy some of the new merchandice that just came in.


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Posted by dhaste
Nov. 29, 2004

Support IHS
The following is a call for support from IHS. IHS is a true not for profit organization that helps support humanist efforts in the world (including giving Camp Quest in the Smokies a big grant this year!!). They send out a great weekly online newsletter- and I mean great. They charge no membership dues and do all their work based on donations. If you want this group to continue, give them your support.


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Posted by dbuck
Nov. 19, 2004

Are We Explaining Consciousness Yet?
[From Michael Lance] The topic for this philosophy Sunday is "Are We Explaining Consciousness Yet?" My approach will be to first review the latest scientific model of consciousness and only then use it to show how many age-old heretofore-irresolvable philosophical questions can be straight-forwardly answered. Some topics I will explain:


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Posted by houston
Nov. 18, 2004

Community Space Meeting Place Changed
The meeting on Nov. 17 at 7:00 has changed location.


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Posted by mjb
Nov. 15, 2004

New community space for Knoxville?
With the future of the Candy Factory in question, some community activists and organizations are looking for ideas for a community space for Knoxville. They're issuing an open invitation to join the discussion. Since we depend on free space for our meetings, this should be of interest.


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Posted by mjb
Nov. 09, 2004

Board Members Needed
A few weeks ago, I sent out a plea for volunteers to serve on the board. Nobody's stepped up yet, and it's time to form the slate. The commitment involved in being a board member can be fairly small -- typically requiring an hour or two a month for a board meeting and any time, usually minimal, to follow up on action items generated at meetings. Of course, the more motivated the board, the better an organization RET can be. Currently, the slate is composed almost entirely of a subset of the 2004 board. As a member of that board, I believe we've brought some great programs to RET. But there's always room for change, and there's always room for improvement. If you can think of things you might do differently or ways in which you think RET could be improved, I hope you'll consider taking on the small commitment of serving on the board. Feel free to contact me (or any board member) to discuss the nature and extent of the commitment.

Posted by houston
Oct. 25, 2004

Camp Quest Update
We had a successful kick-off meeting and thought I’d share some of the notes with those who are interested.

Related Link: Camp Quest

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Posted by dbuck
Oct. 11, 2004

Your chance to serve RET
As we all anticipate the upcoming presidential election, let's keep in mind that RET also has an elected body whose purpose is to serve the organization's interests. Our elections tend to be somewhat less contentious than those on the national scene. In fact, it can sometimes be downright hard to find people willing to dedicate a few hours a month to administering RET's business. If you'd like to serve RET's greater good, please send a request for more information or an offer of your assistance to info@rationalists.org. Although names can be added to the ballot even as late as election day (the third Sunday in January), we would like to establish a baseline slate by mid-November. If you're not inclined to serve on the board, you may have talents or ideas that could benefit RET in other ways. We welcome your suggestions and ideas (particularly if they're paired with offers to implement them). Specifically and immediately, individuals interested in serving on our elections committee should send their offers of service to info@rationalists.org.

Posted by houston
Oct. 05, 2004

Dan Barker Events
We hope you'll join us for two social events taking place during Dan Barker's visit to East Tennessee.


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Posted by houston
Oct. 05, 2004

Life of Brian
RETers, I've gotten responses from several folks who will make the Wednesday afternoon (5:20 PM) showing of Monty Python's Life of Brian. It's playing at the Carmike Wynsong 16 at 200 N. Peters Rd (by Lowes, phone 691-0903 for directions). Joy and William McMurray indicated they'd be milling around in the theater lobby between 5:00 and 5:20. Dale Haste and Anne Venditti are attending too. Others said they may attend but didn't know for sure. Chuck Janack said the 5:20 time wasn't possible for him due to work. If others would want to set up a alternative later viewing, perhaps drop Chuck a line. Note: Showtimes for Oct. 1 thru 7 are 12:50, 3:05, 5:20, 7:40, 9:55 -Dave Buck

Posted by dbuck
Oct. 04, 2004

Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, September 30th, 2004, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.


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Posted by pking
Sept. 23, 2004

Dan Barker Concert, Oct. 9
Rationalists of East Tennessee are proud to announce a visit and concert by Dan Barker, Public Relations Director at the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Dan is a former evangelical minister, now turned freethought activist. He is also a singer/songwriter, and he will share his musical talents with the Knoxville community Saturday, October 9, from 7:00 - 8:30 PM at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, 2931 Kingston Pike. The concert will feature Dan speaking, playing, and singing, and will include songs from his latest CD, "Beware of Dogma", as well as other works.

Related Link: More about Dan Barker, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation

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Posted by dhaste
Sept. 21, 2004

RET Trash Pickup on Saturday (September 25)
To: RET Members and Friends Weather permitting, we are scheduling an RET trash pickup on Saturday morning - September 25, 9:00a.m. - Noon, on Pellissippi Parkway.


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Posted by pking
Sept. 20, 2004

Greenwald's " Unconstitutional" in Knoxville on
The following is a distribution from Hedy Weinberg of the ACLU-TN: Dear Friends, The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) will host the Tennessee premiere of "Unconstitutional," the latest groundbreaking documentary produced by acclaimed filmmaker Robert Greenwald, in Knoxville on Tuesday, September 14, 2004.


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Posted by dbuck
Sept. 08, 2004

The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, August 26th, 2004, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center ...


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Posted by pking
Aug. 19, 2004

Lunch with Massimo!
Please join us for lunch at Barley's after Massimo's talk this Sunday.


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Posted by dhaste
Aug. 12, 2004

Philosophy Sunday
Folks, I'm announcing that the to-be-announced topic for Sunday is "the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson you might not know about." I'll lead and Carl will help out. We'll likely be in the 2nd floor boardroom (our usual spot) because the Veronica Simpson Ministries has not been showing up. Looks like we'll be getting our old room back! We'll see folks at 10:00 for coffee and snacks. (Everyone Thank Wayne Conner for donating a new coffee pot!) -Dave Buck

Posted by dbuck
July 12, 2004

Lecture by Internet innovators Vint Cerf and Rober
The free community lecture "What Happens After You Invent the Internet" is scheduled for Tuesday, June 29th at 7:30 p.m. at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.


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Posted by mjb
June 10, 2004

Condolences to Massimo
Massimo Pigliucci's father died last Friday. Massimo is a charter member and lifetime member of RET, now living in New York.


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Posted by mjb
June 10, 2004

Reminder -- Meeting June 6 -- A New Kind of Scienc
Two years ago Stephen Wolfram (PhD in theoretical physics from Cal Tech at 20; professor there and at the Center for Advanced Study at Princeton; MacArthur fellow; founder of the company that sells Mathematica) published his magnum opus. _A New Kind of Science_ has received a lot of poor reviews for its lack of credits to anyone else (or even a bibliography) and grandiose claims. (And a few raves.) Viewed as a popularization of a theory of the philosophy of mathematics, this is more excusable. Philosophers tend to avoid dealing with the question of just exactly what is mathematics, and what is its relation to the universe. We'll view a lecture Wolfram gave at UCSD that covers much of the same material as the book, without the technical details. See the movie, find out what kind of machine he says the universe is (hint -- it's not a cellular automaton: they are too complicated!), and you can join (or not) in the chorus of criticism. Some say he has the 5 characteristics of a crackpot (but then we all know that argumentum ad hominem is a sign of weakness, right?).

Posted by houston
June 03, 2004

RET Looking for a Projector
RET is considering acquiring a digital projector. Many of the presentations before our group involve computer graphics of one sort or another, such as Powerpoint presentations, making a projector a virtual necessity. I am asking for a volunteer to spearhead the research involved with this acquisition. I know that Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. carry projectors for $1,000 and less. The RET Board of Directors will consider buying such an item, if nobody has one to donate or sell.


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Posted by dhaste
June 03, 2004

By the Rivers of Babylon Festival
Last June, Knoxville citizens came together at the First Annual By the Rivers of Babylon festival, a celebration of Middle Eastern cultures in the form of music, art, and delectable food. The festival had two primary aims: to increase the general awareness of rich cultural traditions from this region of the world, and to foster dialogue on the present historical situation in the Middle East among people in Knoxville. The festival was a big success. The Second Annual Rivers of Babylon Festival will take place on Saturday, June 19, 2004, at the Sacred Heart Complex, 721 Northshore Drive, Knoxville, from 1:30 to 9:30 pm. Music, speakers, workshops, food, exhibits from Middle East. Free admission. Send e-mail to padlrdie@korrnet.org for flyer with schedule of events.

Posted by mjb
May 25, 2004

Summer Solstice Party - correction!
Mark your calendars! Saturday, June 19 starting at 2:00 p.m. A celebration of the changing seasons. RET will provide the food, salads, soft drinks, ice, and fun! Enjoy swimming, jetskiing, and pontoon boat rides, then move inside for dinner and games.

Related Link: Summer Solstice website

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Posted by dbuck
May 17, 2004

Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, May 13th, 2004, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center. Social session - 11:00 am, followed by a buffet lunch - 11:30 am. Details below.


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Posted by pking
May 10, 2004

Learn Houston Baby Shower!
Don't forget to RSVP! We're having a Baby Shower Brunch for Mleeka and Daryl Learn Houston next month! Where: Dave and Karen's home Date: Saturday, May 8th When: 10:30 - 2:00 (food served promptly at 11:00!) Who: Everyone and their uncle (this isn't just for the ladies!)

Related Link: RSVP - click here

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Posted by dbuck
Apr. 20, 2004

Study Notes for Sunday Book Club
We are looking at Bedford McCoin's (local author's) trilogy of books on Sunday, April 18, at the Candy Factory (10:30 a.m.; Refreshments and Fellowship at 10:00 a.m.) Attached here is a summary by Massimo Pigliucci, by subject matter, of the three books: Traditional Values Revisited, by Bedford McCoin


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Posted by pking
Apr. 12, 2004

Paul Ehrlich, Environment and Faith
Don't miss this opportunity to engage in interfaith dialog with Paul Ehrlich and local faith leaders. We've discussed one of Ehrlich's books, The Betrayal of Science and Reason, in RET book club. Unfortunately, unbelievers are once again excluded from the organization of the interfaith panel, but we should be very present during the audience participation part of the evening. We may care more than anyone for the environment, because we don't count on being rescued from bumbling into self-annihilation. Complete details:


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Posted by mjb
Apr. 11, 2004

Upcoming Event Dates
Please note that the book club this month will be held not as usual on the second Sunday, but on the third Sunday of the month. We have made this switch in order to accommodate the schedules of April 11 speaker Zachary Miner (with the Center for Inquiry) and of local author Bedford McCoin, whose "Traditional Values Revisited" will be the subject of the April 18 book club. Both events will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the second-floor board room of the Candy Factory. We hope to see you there.

Posted by houston
Apr. 08, 2004

Massimo Pigliucci Speaks in Oak Ridge on Thursday
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, April 8, 2004, in the A&B room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center. Massimo Pigliucci will discuss "Science and Religion: Friends, Foes or Apples and Oranges?" A social session is planned for 11:00 am, followed by a buffet lunch at 11:30 am catered by the Soup Kitchen, and then by the following event.


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Posted by pking
Apr. 02, 2004

Party on Saturday Night
Directions to Phil's and Sharron's home - for Massimo's going-away party Saturday night (April 3, starting at 7:00 p.m., bring a dish and say "ciao" to Massimo): ------------------


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Posted by pking
Mar. 31, 2004

Sunday, April 4, RET Roundtable
What: Rationalists of East Tennessee Roundtable Discussion When: Sunday, April 4, 10:30 a.m. (Socializing begins around 10:00 a.m.) Where: Boardroom at the Candy Factory Science Fashions and Scientific Fact Michael Riordan Physics Today; August 2003


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Posted by pking
Mar. 30, 2004

PARTY!
Come party like it's 1999.


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Posted by brinks
Mar. 28, 2004

No Refreshments This Sunday
As a reminder to everyone, we won't be meeting in our usual location this Sunday, but rather will be in the Shiloh Room at the University Center. I know that many of the generous RET regulars often bring snacks to share, but, since the U. Center doesn't allow outside refreshments, I wanted to give everyone a heads-up not to do so for this event.

Related Link: Map of UT Campus

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Posted by dhaste
Mar. 18, 2004

Task Force on LGTBQ Issues
INVITATION Who: The Knoxville Region of The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) What: A meeting of the Task Force on LGTBQ Issues When: Thursday, March 18th, 2004, at 7pm Where: Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (2931 Kingston Pike), in the Library (Call TVUUC at 523-4176 for directions.) Etc.: Refreshments will be provided

Related Link: Civil liberties Alliance Web group

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Posted by dbuck
Mar. 17, 2004

RET Welcomes American Atheists President to Knoxvi
The Rationalists of East Tennessee (RET) will host American Atheists president Ellen Johnson at the Shiloh Room in the University Center on Sunday, March 21. Johnson will deliver a talk entitled "Political Lessons From Dear Abby. Where We Are And Where We Want To Be" and will answer questions afterward. The talk begins at 10:30 and is free to the public.


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Posted by houston
Mar. 14, 2004

Barry Lynn in Nashville
Is anyone interested in carpooling for this event in Nashville? --Melissa (e-mail padlrdie@korrnet.org)


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Posted by mjb
Mar. 06, 2004

Anti-abortion bill in TN
The anti-abortion constitutional amendment bill has been approved in committee this week. Now it goes to the Calendar committee to be put on the agenda of the legislature.

Related Link: The relevant text of this bill

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Posted by mjb
Feb. 28, 2004

Trash Pickup - Correction
Please ignore the "March 29" date in the original posting, yesterday. The trash pickup is scheduled for Saturday, February 21. - Phil King

Posted by pking
Feb. 18, 2004

Sign up for the Next RET Trash Pickup
I know it's a late notice, but let's try to do an RET trash pickup on Saturday morning, February 21. Pellissippi Parkway is needing a bit of sprucing up!


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Posted by houston
Feb. 18, 2004

Welcome to Ella Piper Weigle Buck!
A beautiful new future member of RET is born! Ella Piper Weigle Buck sped into her proud parents' arms at about 9:40 this evening (make that last evening, February 17), weighing in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces. To offer Dave and Karen your congratulations, call them at the hospital at 545-6023 during reasonable hours over the next two days.

Posted by houston
Feb. 17, 2004

Genetics film & discussion
University of Tennessee Libraries to host second session, “Genetics,” of its Research Revolution Video Discussion Series

Related Link: http://www.lib.utk.edu/mediacenter/revolution/3.html

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Posted by mjb
Feb. 17, 2004

Activities in Nashville
Posted from Nashville Chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Barry Lynn coming to Tennessee.


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Posted by mjb
Feb. 16, 2004

Privacy under attack in TN
The anti-abortion resolution to amend the TN constitution did not go forward today in the Senate committee, but it is still in consideration.

Related Link: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/senate/members/smembers.htm

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Posted by mjb
Feb. 16, 2004

Darwin Day
The keynote address for Darwin Day 2004 at UT will be given by Dr. Stephen Palumbi, Evolutionary Biologist, Stanford University Hopkins Marine Station. The title of his address is "Expecting Evolution in medicine, agriculture and daily life." It happens Thursday, February 12, at 7:30 PM at the UT University Center Auditorium.

Related Link: UT Darwin Day Site
Posted by houston
Feb. 10, 2004

Program of interest
University of Tennessee Libraries to host second session, "Robotics," of its Research Revolution Video Discussion Series

Related Link: Series Information

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Posted by mjb
Feb. 06, 2004

February Bookclub Reminder
Don't forget that we're discussing Fundementals of Extremism this Sunday at 10:30 at the Candy Factory.

Related Link: link to buy a copy

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Posted by dbuck
Feb. 05, 2004

Book Club Selections
Apologies to all for duplication -- A bad copy and paste garbled the previous message. For interested parties, please vote for 6 books, or if you like more than six, please rank your preferences. We'll issue results and schedule in the coming week.


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Posted by houston
Feb. 02, 2004

Fred Venditti's Obituary
Fred Venditti passed away Monday afternoon. As many RET members who visited the Vendittis know, his family has been in town, and he died among his family without prolonged suffering. Fred's passing is a huge loss for all his friends and family who loved him dearly. He was dedicated to rational thinking and humane actions and was an accomplished writer. His newly published novel and a forthcoming memoir can be purchased at www.1stbooks.com (search for "Venditti"). Fred's presence among us will be sorely missed.


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Posted by houston
Jan. 28, 2004

Ed Buckner to Address RET
Ed Buckner, the Southern Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, will deliver a presentation entitled "The Ten Commandments and the Big Lies" this Sunday, Feb.1, at the Candy Factory.

Related Link: Directions to the Candy Factory

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Posted by dhaste
Jan. 27, 2004

UPDATE-God resolution petition
Well, the resolution was surprisingly added to the Jan agenda by its opposition and then promptly postponed for one year. Read on for more...

Related Link: Knox News.com article

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Posted by dbuck
Jan. 20, 2004

Call for Book Club Suggestions
[From Book Club Coordinator John McCaffrey] Members, please submit your suggestions for upcoming Skeptic Book Club discussions (Currently held at the Candy Factory, 10:30-12:30, 2nd Sunday of the Month). You can submit as many suggestions as you want, but please revisit the RET Website to review the 'rules', i.e. avoid books that are too lengthly, etc. I would also recommend that we avoid books that are too costly (over $30 perhaps). If you are really set on a book, see if there is a 'reader' or condensed version of costly hardcovers that we can substitute, like we did this past summer with the industrial ag book.


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Posted by houston
Jan. 15, 2004

Link updated: Documentary film series
The University of Tennessee Libraries is hosting a new viewing, reading and discussion series titled “Research Revolution: Science and the Shaping of Modern Life." Participants will view outstanding documentary films and discuss the impact of research-based science and technological “progress” on everyday life.

Related Link: More information

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Posted by mjb
Jan. 12, 2004

Lecture rescheduled
This lecture was scheduled for last semester but it got cancelled: What Do You Do After You Invent the Internet? Drs. Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, inventors of TCP/IP and generally considered the fathers of the Internet, discuss life after inventing the internet. The free community lecture is being held at the American Museum of Science and Energy at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 27, 2004.


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Posted by mjb
Jan. 12, 2004

Reminder: book club Sunday
All, Just a reminder that the book club will meet Sunday (new time: 10am, new place: Candy Factory) to discuss "Emergence," on the science of complexity. Melissa will lead the discussion. Cheers, Massimo

Posted by mpigliucci
Jan. 08, 2004

God resolution on air this Sunday
"We the People" will host NCCJ director Arnold Cohen to discuss the God Resolution Sunday, Jan 11 from 2-3pm. Here are the stations that carry the program (AM radio) Powell and larger area 850 far west Knox 670 Oak Ridge 1290 Maryville 1400 Loudon WLOD


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Posted by dbuck
Jan. 08, 2004

Massimo on radio this Saturday
All, For those who may be interested, I have been invited as a guest of Mark Harmon's 850 AM WKVL radio show, this Saturday from 12 to 1. We'll be talking about skepticism, rationalism, evolution and what not. Cheers, Massimo

Posted by mpigliucci
Dec. 04, 2003

Donation Drive Update
The great news is that we’ve received over $1,600 dollars in donations from our recent fundraiser letter campaign.

Related Link: Join RET

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Posted by dbuck
Dec. 04, 2003

URGENT! Darwin Day 2004 organizational meeting
All, Sorry for the last-minute alert, but tomorrow (Thursday) evening, the Darwin Day group will meet on campus (6pm in 437 Hesler Biology Bldg., on the Hill) to discuss next year's events. We need volunteers, and there will be free pizza... Hope to see you there, Massimo

Posted by mpigliucci
Dec. 03, 2003

Help RET and the community
The RET board wishes to develop a working relationship with the chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), but we need help. We’re looking for member(s) who wish to attend NCCJ forums/meetings and serve as RET liaison(s).

Related Link: NCCJ Knoxville

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Posted by houston
Dec. 02, 2003

Emil Klott – Stranger than Truth!
How does dowsing work? What’s it like to speak with the dead? Did the Boy Scouts plot to assassinate Kennedy? Are there coded messages in the works of George Peppard?

Related Link: Link to driving directions

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Posted by dbuck
Dec. 02, 2003

Pot Luck for Emil - 6pm Sat, Dec 6
Emil Klott performs for RET this Sunday at the Candy factory. That means potluck Saturday night!

Related Link: Stranger than Truth website

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Posted by dbuck
Dec. 01, 2003

IMPORTANT! New location for the book club
All, We are changing the location of the book club to the Candy Factory. The day will be the same (second Sunday, which means next meeting on 12/14), but the time shifts to the usual for RET meetings (social at 10, meeting at 10:30).


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Posted by mpigliucci
Nov. 26, 2003

Winter Solstice Party - Dec 20th
RETers, Let's celebrate the end of 2003 and the withdrawal of the god resolution at our annual Winter Solstice Party!

Related Link: Solstice Party Website

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Posted by dbuck
Nov. 19, 2003

Philosophy Sunday: what's philo-science good for?
All, As the last of my three "performances" for this month (and before I leave K-town), I will present a lecture/discussion on the subject of "what is philosophy of science good for?" If interested, come to the Candy Factory at 10am this Sunday! Cheers, Massimo

Posted by mpigliucci
Nov. 12, 2003

God Clause in Knox County!
The Knox County Commissioners are considering a resolution proclaiming `God as the Foundation of Our National Heritage'. We must act quickly! See additional text for phone #s

Related Link: e-mail Commission

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Posted by dbuck
Nov. 10, 2003

New location/time for book club?
All, Barnes & Noble has cancelled their "outreach" program, including all their book clubs. While they haven't told us to get out of the store, they are not providing any support.

Related Link: Reply

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Posted by mpigliucci
Nov. 10, 2003

Reminder: Book Club (with author!) this Sunday
All, This Sunday (5pm at Barnes & Noble) Melissa will lead the discussion on my book, "Denying Evolution." The author, obviously, will be there for a rare chance at interaction with the readers... ;-) Hope to see you there! -Massimo

Posted by mpigliucci
Nov. 07, 2003

This Sunday's events!
Folks, Sunday, October 19 could be a full day. There's the RET business before the roundtable, the roundtable itself, and the Hemlock society panel discussion later that afternoon.

Related Link: Metropulse article on Knoxville Hemlock Society

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Posted by dbuck
Oct. 15, 2003

Radio/Internet show on Intelligent Design
All, if you are interested, "tune" n to http://seti.org/epo/seti_radio/ this Sunday evening at 10pm. I will be the guest of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence SETI) radio show and will be debating Bill Dembski live about his arguments concerning Intelligent Design, the same topic we will discuss at the November roundtable/lecture. Don't miss it! Dembski is the author of "The Design Inference" and many other silly books. Also, my web site has an in-depth criticism of Dembski's "explanatory filter" idea. You can find it at: http://botany1.bio.utk.edu/skeptic/essays/explanatory-filter.html

Related Link: Criticism of Dembski's Explanatory Filter
Posted by mpigliucci
Oct. 09, 2003

Book club!
Hi all, Just a reminder that this Sunday we'll meet at B&N at 5pm to discuss "Fatal Harvest," with Melissa chairing the discussion. Also, next month (November 9), Melissa will lead a discussion of "Denying Evolution," by yours truly. Massimo

Posted by mpigliucci
Oct. 07, 2003

radio show on Denying Evolution
All, I have been invited to participate to a radio show on WBAI in New York (via phone), the local Pacifica station. The show will focus on "Denying Evolution," my book which we will discuss at the book club in November, so people may be interested. If so, visit WBAI's website at www.wbai.org around 4:30pm on Sunday, 9/28. Massimo

Related Link: Listen on Sunday
Posted by mpigliucci
Sept. 22, 2003

Philosphy Sunday
Fred Venditti will be leading a discussion on Alfred North Whitehead and his philosophy of education. Talk starts at 10:30 at the candy factory but come early for coffee and treats. Below is some pre-reading that Fred asked to pass on to you.

Related Link: More info here

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Posted by dbuck
Sept. 19, 2003

RET Membership meeting - Oct 19
RETers, Please mark your calendars. The October 19th roundtable will also be a membership meeting. A motion has been made for RET to affiliate with Atheist Aliance and American Atheist. This requires a vote by the full membership. We'll conduct the RET business starting at 10:30 and then get on with the roundtable. Our by-laws state that members must receive notice 30 days prior to membership meetings by mail. The September newsletter serves as one notice but this e-mail is another good reminder. See you all there.

Posted by dbuck
Sept. 06, 2003

Book Club: Manufacturing Consent
All, just a reminder that we will meet on Sunday, 9/14, to discuss the very provocative book on the role of US media, co-authored by Noam Chomsky. This promises to be a good one!

Posted by mpigliucci
Sept. 04, 2003

Book change!
Before you buy Fatal Harvest for October's book club, STOP!

Related Link: Suggested book purchase

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Posted by mjb
Aug. 27, 2003

RET Party Reminder
[From Aleta Ledendecker] Hello everybody, Don't forget the party Saturday evening, August 23, at the Ledendecker's (in Blount County not far from the airport). Come ready to swim, play badminton or bocce and chow down.


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Posted by houston
Aug. 21, 2003

Philosophy Roundtable and Garage Sale Items
We'll be discussing "Morals and Marriage" this Sunday at RET's Philosophy Roundtable. This should generate some interesting discussion. Please be sure to download and print out your copy of the handout provided at the link below. Remember also that next weekend, RET will be participating in the Sertoma Center's garage sale. If you have some suitable non-clothing items you'd like to unload, please bring them to the meeting. If you can't make the meeting, reply to this email and we'll see about scheduling a pick-up. And of course, come on down to the sale and see what kind of deals you can find; ours is one of many booths.

Related Link: Morals and Marriage Handout
Posted by houston
Aug. 16, 2003

Affirmative Action Discussion
The leader of our Sept. 7 roundtable has compiled notes and links relevant to the discussion of affirmative action. You may download these Word documents in preparation for the discussion:

Posted by houston
Aug. 09, 2003

RET LOGO CONTEST
Calling all creative artists! RET will be creating some new t-shirts as well as some other merchandise to sell on our Website. First, we need graphics!

Related Link: submit your entry!

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Posted by dbuck
Aug. 05, 2003

new philosophy forum: back to the basics
We've set up a new section of the Philosophy forum, entitled "Back to the Basics." It's a good place to have intro discussions on all philosophical topics, and to shape up for our philosophy Sundays.

Related Link: Back to Basics Philosophy Forum

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Posted by mpigliucci
Aug. 02, 2003

Sunday: discussion on anti-Americanism
All, Just a reminder that Sunday I will chair the discussion on anti-Americanism. If you navigate to August 3rd on the calendar, and click the date, you'll have access to two columns I wrote on the topic. You can also download the document at the link below. I hope you'll join a European who is critical of the US and yet is about to apply for citizenship. How's that for a twist?

Related Link: Download Reading Material
Posted by mpigliucci
July 30, 2003

book club: Amazing Conversions
All, A couple of notes on the upcoming book club discussion (scheduled for Sunday, 10 August, at 5pm at Barnes & Noble).

Related Link: Discuss in Forums

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Posted by mpigliucci
July 25, 2003

Support Nonreligious military counselors
RETers, Joe Beck, Director of Humanist Counseling and Celebrations of the Council for Secular Humanism wrote is asking for our help.

Related Link: E-mail Joe Beck

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Posted by dbuck
July 23, 2003

Donations for RET garage sale needed!
Please help us raise money for RET by donating items for the RET garage sale in August!

Related Link: donate!

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Posted by dbuck
July 22, 2003

David Tandy to Address RET
The Rationalists of East Tennessee (RET) are pleased to announce that Distinguished Professor of Humanities Dr. David Tandy will present a talk on Sunday, July 20, at 10:30 at the Candy Factory Board Room (second floor). In a program entitled "Nothing Comes from Nothing," Tandy will speak on the similarities and the overlap of mythologies throughout history. Time for discussion of the topic has been scheduled for after the program.

Related Link: Request More Info

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Posted by houston
July 16, 2003

REALITY CHECK DISTRIBUTER NEEDED
Folks, as most of you know, Reality Check is an RET publication of which we are very proud. The last issue with articles from RET members Daryl Houston and Carl Ledendecker was extremely thought provoking.

Related Link: Volunteer

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Posted by dbuck
July 10, 2003

IMPORTANT! Vote for next book club selections
Hi all, below are the summaries of the books that have been proposed for the next Skeptic Book Club selections. We got a total of 16 intriguing suggestions. Please, read the short summaries and vote (by email, directly to: pigliucci@yahoo.com) as soon as possible. Oh, please pay attention to the size of some books before jumping at voting for them... ;-) Finally, for the record, I did not suggest my own book... ;-) Cheers, Massimo

Related Link: Vote Now!

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Posted by mpigliucci
June 27, 2003

International Skeptic Day
All, heard this morning on local NPR that today (June 13) is International Skeptic Day. It may be worth finding out something more about it, and perhaps thinking about organizing a community event for next year (I assume it's too late for later tonight... ;-)

Posted by mpigliucci
June 13, 2003

RET pot luck for Norm Allen and banquet reminder
Marsha Doyle will be hosting a potluck at her house Friday, March 20th for Norm Allen.

Related Link: News-Sentinel article

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Posted by dbuck
June 12, 2003

RSVP for Solstice Party
RETers, This is a reminder to PLEASE RSVP Colleen if you are coming to the Solstice party June 14th. Click the website link for info, directions and to e-mail your RSVP.

Related Link: Solstice Party Website

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Posted by dbuck
June 01, 2003

Knoxville civil liberties strategy meeting
I know there are plenty of RETers interested in defending civil liberties. see below for an invitation to Civil liberties strategy meeting in good ol Knoxville.


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Posted by dbuck
May 31, 2003

Knox Social Forum, changed
The location of the Knox Social Forum on May 31 has been changed. It will be held in the Parish room of St. James Episcopal Church, 1101 North Broadway, Knoxville, TN. * IT IS NO LONGER AT THE CANAAN BAPTIST CHURCH !

Related Link: Knox Social Forum Web page

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Posted by mjb
May 17, 2003

KNOX SOCIAL FORUM
RET has been invited to participate in an upcoming meeting. The meeting is for local individuals and groups around Knoxville, working and organizing on peace, race relations, environment, and other progressive issues, to come together, share ideas, table, network, learn from and inspire each other. It'd be nice if some of us attend so our issues are represented. Read on if you're interested.


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Posted by dbuck
May 08, 2003

RET Bookclub, May 11
At 5:00 pm, Sunday, May 11, at Barnes and Noble we will be discussing the book "Battling the Inner Dummy, The Craziness of Apparently Normal People" by David Weiner. Very basically the book discusses the author's research based contention that each of us has two brains -- our conscious, rational brain, and our primitive brain, the latter having come first, and stayed. He theorizes that we all do weird, dumb, unusual and occasionally self-destructive things because of the constant, raging battle between our two "brains." Join us on Sunday, regardless of where you are in your reading of this book, to share your thoughts with us. See you then.

Posted by tknapp
May 06, 2003

National Day of Reason Update
Herb Silverman and his group got the mayor of Charleston SC to proclaim May 1st as 'a Day of Reason'! Click READ MORE... to hear about the huge success.

Related Link: NDR homepage

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Posted by dbuck
May 05, 2003

Announcing Camp Quest
RET is pleased to announce that Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains is accepting camper applications for the summer of 2003. The camp, which will be held from June 1-8, is open to children ages 8 to 13 with junior counsellor positions available for 14 to 16-year-olds.

Related Link: Camp Quest Web Site

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Posted by houston
May 04, 2003

Summer Solstice Party - June 14th
RETers, Once again, Colleen Landiache and her family are hosting the RET summer solstice party at their beach on Watts Dam. The party starts at their new beach from 12:00 to 6:00. Jet skis, pontoon boat rides, and swimming galore! Then, at 6:00 p.m. it's off to a cookout at their house for the rest of the night. To read more about the solstice party, see a map, and to RSVP, click on the following link.

Related Link: Solstice Party
Posted by dbuck
May 04, 2003

Welcome to the new mailing list!
The Rationalists of East Tennessee have a new and improved mailing list program for informing interested parties about events and news relevant to the group.

Related Link: Rationalists of East Tennessee Web Site

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Posted by houston
May 04, 2003

India Tracy Update
The forum for India Tracy was a great success. Earthward (the India Tracy Campaign) reported that 120 people showed up to hear the Tracy family speak and offer support. India's family still needs financial support to further their cause. If you're able, you can send donations to: India Tracy Educational and Legal Trust Fund, Held Law Firm, 1522 Highland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37916.

Related Link: India Tracy Campaign
Posted by dbuck
May 02, 2003

RET Banquet
RET welcomes Norm Allen to a small semi-formal banquet to be held on June 21 at 6:30 at the Raddison in Knoxville. Allen, who serves as director of African Americans for Humanism and is the editor of several reputable publications including African American Humanism: An Anthology and Free Inquiry, will speak on the topic "Humanism and the Civil Rights Movement."

Related Link: Inquire About Tickets

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Posted by mlh
Apr. 29, 2003

Lake Hypatia
Just a reminder, Lake Hypatia is having it's annual celebration July 4th - 6th. Traditionally, RET folks have gone and had great times. Folks who want to coordinate rides or traveling as a group can use the contact us feature on this website.

Related Link: Lake Hypatia Info
Posted by dbuck
Apr. 24, 2003

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