Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter
April 2009


Potluck Brunch at the Kings

Date: Sunday, April 5th, 10:00 a.m. 

Phil and Sharron King are hosting a potluck in honor of Massimo coming to town. Bring something brunchy at 10:00. Then, we’ll head over to Pelissippi State for Massimo’s talk.

- 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).

Event: MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI – (note time and room is different than normal)
Date: April 5, 2009, 1:00 am - 3:00 pm,  come early for coffee and fellowship!

Location: Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg, AUDITORIUM

Massimo Pigliucci is a professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is known as an outspoken critic of creationism and advocate of science education

Topic: What's Science Got to Do with It? When Scientists Talk Nonsense about Science and Religion.

There is a lot of talk these days about the relationship, or war, between science and religion. In recent years, scientists have joined the fray, with some arguing not only that there is no conflict, but that in fact science can prove the existence of God. Others, on the contrary, tell us that it is science that has finally dealt the death blow to the divinity. But one can reasonably ask what, exactly, has science got to do with all of this? I will explore this theme through discussion of what four prominent scientists have to say about religion, and why all but one are wrong about it..."


This should be a pretty big event. Listen for ads on WUOT. Invite your friends!
Event: Skeptic Book Club
Time: April 12, 2009 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.  
Location: Skeptic Book Club; Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike
"The Sociopath Next Door," by Martha Stout
Discussion Leader: Lee Erickson


“The Sociopath Next Door is the first book to take a hard look at the sociopaths in everyday life. Martha Stout, a practicing psychotherapist and Harvard Medical School instructor, explains that these people learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath live only to dominate others and win. The fact is, statistically, we each know at least one sociopath, and readers will have an “a-ha!” moment of recognizing that someone they know — someone they worked for, or were involved with — is a sociopath. Unfortunately, one of the chief characteristics of a sociopath is a kind of glow or charisma that makes them more charming or interesting than other people. They are more spontaneous, more intense, complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. But The Sociopath Next Door teaches us to recognize the ruthless among us.”


Check out the reviews online at Amazon, but go there by going to rationalists.org <http://rationalists.org/> first and clicking on the book through our website!
Event: Philosophy Sunday Roundtable

Time: April  19, 2009, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, come  early for coffee and fellowship!

Location: Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria Annex
Speaker: Chuck Omarzu

Topic: Evangelicals in America

Chuck will show the HBO documentary film Friends of God, A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi. Discussion to follow. "In this slice-of-life exploration, Pelosi travels to the red states to meet a dizzying array of open and forthright evangelicals representing a broad sampling of the community. Her yup-close and personal encounters range from Jowl Osteen to pastor Ted Haggard to Jerry Falwell himself. Evangelical Christians living in America today have become a formidable force in our culture and democracy - Pelosi travels across the heartland to try to learn more about what their influence may mean for the future of the country."



National Day of Reason picnic/cookout
Date: Thursday, May 7th, 5:30-8:30pm
Location: Carl Cowan Park
RET will provide burgers/veggie burgers and hotdogs plus sides and drinks. We’ll grill out and celebrate rational thought and the resulting positive consequences.
Directions to Carl Cowan Park:
-From I-40 take exit 376 which is140 (Pelissippi Parkway) and head south towards Alcoa
-Exit 5 (Northshore Drive) and turn Right (west). Go about 1 mile and you’ll see the entrance to  Carl Cowan Park on your left. It’s just before a Weigels gas station.
-Go past the soccer fields, up the hill and park next to the splash pad. We’ll be in the big pavilion just below.
Please RSVP
buck.dave@gmail.com <mailto:buck.dave@gmail.com> or call me at 414-6669 so I know how much food to buy.
    “Many who value the separation of religion and government have sought an appropriate response to the federally-supported National Day of Prayer, an annual abuse of the constitution. Nontheistic Americans (including freethinkers, humanists, atheists, agnostics, and deists), along with many traditionally religious allies, view such government-sanctioned sectarianism as unduly exclusionary.
    A consortium of leaders from within the community of reason endorsed the idea of a National Day of Reason. This observance is held in parallel with the National Day of Prayer, on the first Thursday in May each year (May 7th in 2009). The goal of this effort is to celebrate reason—a concept all Americans can support—and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.
    The Day of Reason also exists to inspire the secular community to be visible and active on this day to set the right example for how to effect positive change. Local organizations might use "Day of Reason" to label their events, or they might choose labels such as Day of Action, Day of Service, or Rational Day of Care. The important message is to provide a positive, useful, constitutional alternative to the exclusionary National Day of Prayer.
    To facilitate the commemoration of the National Day of Reason by individuals and organizations throughout the U.S., the American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanists joined together in 2003 to launch this National Day of Reason web site. This web site is designed to serve as the focal point for an effort to recognize the National Day of Reason, and as a platform to offer a criticism of the federally-sponsored National Day of Prayer. We hope that it will be a resource to the community of reason, the press, and the general public.”