Rationalist of EastTennessee Newsletter

September 2008



Sunday, September7th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Pellissippi State Technical Community College

"What is Justice?:Rawls versus RandÓ

Geoffrey Kincaidwill present, then lead the discussion.

A brief presentationof two diametrically opposite 20th century answers to the question asked bySocrates of Cephalus, with discussion to follow.


Led by Dave Buck

"The Crow andthe Pitcher: Necessity is the Mother of Invention"

We'll talk about howsome people, given a situation, will use their creativity and reasoning toinvent spectacular things or design unique solutions to problems.


Sept No Book Club(Picnic instead)


Regional AtheistsPicnic - Post if you're going!

I've heard fromseveral 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 takemy family and learn about other groups like ours in this region. I'm needingALL of you who will attend to post on the forum that was built to helpcoordinate this event. RET is going to spring for some supplies and I want tobe 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, letsget excited! http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23<http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23

Additionally,Darrell, of the West North Carolina Atheists has built a webpage with a map andlink to the forum.

http://www.wncatheists.com/RegionalPicnic.html Please visit it and print fordirections.     Dave Buck


Third SundayMeeting  Pellissippi State Technical Community College

Sept. 21, 200810:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Choice Making andBrain Behavior

Buck willpresent a talk on research on brain functioning, choice making, and the timingof brain behavior and how it supports a deterministic position.


October Book Club

Skeptic Book Club;Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike

October 12, 2008 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Good Business:Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning / Mihaly Csikszenthmihalyi


Gospel Magicians

The September-Octoberissue of Mother Jones magazine has an article on gospel magicians. The meetingwas in July at the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University this July. As thearticle states, it was "awash in displays of irreverent reverence."Included were Christian cheerleaders, Scripture quoting puppets, "AmazingGrace" played on a turkey baster, fire-spouting Bibles, a nearly lifesized balloon Jesus on the cross and more.

The Fellowship ofChristian Magicians consists of about two thousand members and is dedicated to"the winning of souls to Christ" via "sleight of hand, opticalillusion, ventriloquism, puppets, balloons, clowning, juggling, storytelling,and other visual arts." Except for the balloons, much like Christ did it.

A problem for theseperformers is being careful not to one up Jesus or derive too much pleasure intheir performances since that can divert from the glory of God. There was alsoconcern about accepting applause and wearing make-up.

On the critics side,in 2005 two Scottish secular magicians created a TV show where they did all ofthe Biblical "miracles" on the show. A Pentecostal bishop got a bitnasty about this and suggested that they "attempt a new trick: crucifyingthemselves." I find it odd that the bishop felt that being crucified on across required some miracle rather than just basic brutality.

One member, AndreKole, thinks that since he has to use "tons" of equipment to do histricks, Jesus must have really used supernatural powers. (The Bible doesn'tmention any props or equipment, of course.)

Another interestingstatement related to the relationship of miracles and magic. Kole felt thatboth relate to a desire for the mysterious, a desire for something special, thesupernatural. (Why knowledge and better understanding of reality isn'tsomething special seems not to have occurred to them.) Any way, he states thatadults, not kids tend to respond better. "They want to believe something,but they don't know which way to go. You put the right thing in front of themand give them half a reason to go for it, and they will."

Well, I guess thatthat explains the lack of interest in expanded knowledge. Half a reason is goodenough.


Feel free to submit news of interest.Submissions are welcomed but may be limited by space and topic relevance. Theformat may vary depending on the amount of information submitted. Shortsubmissions are preferred but longer ones may be accepted if they can bepublished as a series over two or more issues. Text or Word format are best forsubmission. Text may also be included in an E-mail. Carl Ledendecker at:   (ledendecker@earthlink.net <mailto:ledendecker@earthlink.net>)       2123 Stonybrook Rd., Louisville, TN 3777   982-8687evenings
The Newsletter can also be found online at our Web site: www.rationalists.org<http://www.rationalists.org>. Scheduling: Philosophy (Michael Lance) lancem@ornl.gov<mailto:lancem@ornl.gov>;  Round tables (Carl Westman) cawestman@bellsouth.net<mailto:cawestman@bellsouth.net>; Book Club Joan Omarzu cjomarzu@charter.net,Newsletter: (Carl Ledendecker) ledendecker@earthlink.net<mailto:ledendecker@earthlink.net>, 982-8687        Material published in TheRET Newsletter represents the views of the individual authors.  Publicationdoes not constitute an endorsement by the Rationalists of East Tennessee or itsmembers.