RET's DVD Library

Philosophy Sunday / RoundtableDiscussion / Other

Email info@rationalists.org to request aDVD.  The cost is $15 each,including shipping.

 

Race in Public Schools: Two Current Supreme Court Cases (2)

Apr. 1, 2007

Martin Carcieri, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Western Kentucky University, discussed, "Race in Public Schools: Two Current Supreme Court Cases." Dr. Carcieri received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California-Santa Barbara and his J.D. from the University of California-Hastings. At Western Kentucky, his specialty is Public Law and Political Theory, and he serves as Mock Trial Supervisor.

 

An Honest Look at Separation of Church and State in the U.S.: Its History, Consequences and Benefits (2)

Feb. 4, 2007

Professor Joe Barnhart, University of North Texas, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, was the guest speaker for our annual Public Meeting on February 4th. Professor Barnhart addressed the topic, "An Honest Look at Separation of Church and State in the U.S.: Its History, Consequences and Benefits."

 

Morality and Moral Philosophy (2)

Jan. 21, 2007

Morality and Moral Philosophy by Dr. David Reidy

In this talk, the speaker defined moral philosophy, and explained why all people need it regardless of the resources and authorities to which they are accustomed to turning when pressed with challenging moral questions.

 

Behavior Analysis: Science and Application (2)

Dec. 17, 2006

Dave Buck and Karen Weigle presented a talk titled: Behavior Analysis: Science and application."

 

The Philosophy of the Constructivist Math Approach (2)

Nov. 5, 2006

This presentation by Tsewei Wang included an overview of general teaching on specific arithmetic handlings and examples. Expect to get angry over the new fuzzy math!

 

History of East Tennessee (3)

July 16, 2006

Dr. Bruce Wheeler talked about the history of East Tennessee.

 

Civil Liberties in the Aftermath of 9-11 (2)

May 7, 2006

This discussion kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Otis Stephens, a distinguished member of the University's political science faculty since 1967, who became the College of Law's Resident Scholar of Constitutional Law in 2000. Professor Stephens has authored or co-authored five books on the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court and published numerous articles, book reviews, and professional papers. He held a post doctoral fellowship at Harvard Law School and, in addition to UT, has taught at Johns Hopkins University and Georgia Southern College.

 

What's Wrong with Consumerism? (1)

Apr. 16, 2006

by Dr. John Hardwig
UT Philosophy Department

The American Dream consists of having more. However, happiness researchers are finding that people whose incomes increase are not happier than those whose incomes remain constant. Research also shows that wealthy countries are not happier than poorer countries. These findings raise basic questions about how we live our lives, about our hopes for our futures, our dreams for our children, and also about our government's domestic and foreign policies. The speaker explains how these findings beg the question: Are we all barking up the wrong tree?

 

Freedom, Tolerance and Multiculturalism (2)

Apr. 2, 2006

Roundtable: What ideas are compatible with freedom? Consider the recent controversy over the Danish cartoons. Or secret wire-tapping.

 

The Media's Role in Public Opinion (2)

Mar. 19, 2006

Speaker: Mark Harmon, host of the local radio show, Left Turn, gave this presentation.

 

Whose Womb is It? (3)

Mar. 5, 2006

Roundtable: The abortion discussion continues.

 

Debate on the Entry into the Iraq War (3)

Feb. 19, 2006

Roundtable: Was America's entry into the Iraq War was justified at the time - moderated by Lorrie Powdrill.

Only information publicly available on or before March 20, 2003, the first day of the war, was allowed in the debate. Opinions were also allowed as along as you or your source held them before the stated date.

 

An Atheist in Wonderland (2)

Feb. 5, 2006

Speaker: Secular Humanists of the Low Country president Herb Silverman spoke about the trials and tribulations he faced during his 1990 bid to run as an atheist for South Carolina governor and the ensuing 7-year legal battle.

 

Global Warming: Is the Jury Still Out? (2)

Dec. 4, 2005

Speaker: Several (but not too many) years ago, a very prominent politician argued that "the jury is still out" on the topic of global warming. However, it is now clear that the "jury is in," and the verdict has been read: Global warming is a reality, and humans have contributed to the problem. Or, is it really a problem? This presentation investigates the evidence that the climate has changed, and delves into the role of human beings in this change. The speaker discusses the most recent predictions of how global and regional climates are likely to change over the next century, and considers the various factors that contribute to changes in the atmosphere, which controls temperature and precipitation regimes. This background information is used to assess how human and natural ecological systems might respond to ongoing and impending changes in the climate. The speaker also considers several outstanding examples of global-change research being conducted in East Tennessee - UT Professor Jake Weltzin.

 

 

The Ivory Door-A Modern Fairy Tale (1)

Nov. 20, 2005

Speaker: Homer Wilkins presented the story of the Ivory Door, a play written by A. A. Milne. This modern fairy tale raises several ethical questions that RET members should have a good time discussing.

 

Flying Bodies and Fallen Bodies (2)

Nov. 6, 2005

Speaker: Roy Crawford gave a presentation on forensic methods at accident sites (Flying Bodies) for which he acts as an expert witness. Roy routinely reconstructs traffic accidents. The second part of the presentation will be about the UT Body Farm (Fallen Bodies) to which he has donated his body. Come early for coffee and socializing.

 


Worldwide Nuclear Weapons (2)

Oct. 2, 2005

Speaker: Jerry Bone with the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance concerning the potential problem of nuclear weapons in the world.

There was a time when the United States, and other nations in the "nuclear club", supported the idea that the world could someday rid itself of nuclear weapons. All that was required agreement on a schedule for disarmament and defined mechanisms to keep weapon materials out of the hands of non-nuclear nations and "rogue" states.

Now the US has adopted a "go it alone" stance and has distanced itself from those institutions and treaties that might have moved the world toward disarmament and non-proliferation. The US is taking the lead in refusing to abide by treaties that require disarmament. It now threatens to not only to retaliate if nuclear weapons are used against it, but also to initiate the use nuclear weapons in a non-nuclear war, against nations that do not have nuclear weapons.

 

Can a Robot have a Brain? (2)

Sept. 18, 2005

Speaker: Dr. Maclennan leads the discussion. He's a professor in the Computer Science Department at UTK and is teaching a course called "Minds and Machines" this fall. Below is a paragraph from Dr. Maclennan's website that describes his upcoming course.

"In addition to its relevance to artificial intelligence, this question provides a sharp test-case for our theories of the human mind, and will foster a deeper understanding of our own humanity. Students will read selections from a number of psychologists, philosophers, and computer scientists who have addressed aspects of this issue, and we will discuss these readings in class. Assignments will include written critiques of the texts in addition to well-argued defenses of the students own positions. Informed discussion of these topics will require the students to master material in several disciplines, including artificial intelligence, cognitive science, philosophy, phenomenology, neuroscience, the theory of computing, logic, and the foundations of mathematics."

 


 

Can We Re-Create the Big Bang in the Laboratory? (1)

Aug. 21, 2005

Speaker: Around 13 billion years ago our universe underwent the cataclysmic event known as the Big Bang. In its first millionth of a second the universe primarily consisted of a soup of fundamental particles known as quarks. Today, at some of the largest accelerators in the world, physicists are trying to re-create this quark soup. The speaker describes how this might be possible and examines quarks, the smallest building blocks of nature. He also discusses the Big Bang, the earliest known time imaginable, and explains how scientists study these exotic topics.

Soren Sorensen was born on August 24, 1950 in Denmark and grew up in the suburbs of Copenhagen. He attended the University of Copenhagen and majored in Math and Physics. In 1977 he received a Masters Degree from The Niels Bohr Institute (Thesis: "Fusion of 16O + 16O") and in 1981 got the PhD from the same place (Thesis: "Quasielastic Transfer Reactions induced by 56Fe on 58Ni, 64Ni and 122Sn"). From 1981 to 1984 he was a post-doc at The Niels Bohr Institute, and spent a year from 1982-83 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In December 1984 he began his appointment at The University of Tennessee as an assistant professor in nuclear physics and is now the Head of the UT Department of Physics.

 

Plato's Time Bomb (3)

Aug. 7, 2005

Roundtable: How the ideals, ideology and isms of Plato affect our culture today. Carl Ledendecker will lead this discussion.

 

Affirmative Action and John Rawls (2)

June 18, 2006

Dr. Marty Carcieri talked on Affirmative Action from a Rawlsian perspective.

 

Leo Strauss (1)

July 17, 2005

Roundtable: Michael Lance will lead a discussion on Neo Conservatism and the writings of Leo Strauss.

 

The Meaning of Life... Really! (3)

May 29, 2005

Speaker: RET welcomes Massimo Pigliucci back to town for a brief visit and a no-doubt entertaining talk.

 


 

 

The Current Israeli / Palestinian Conflict in its Historical Context (0)

Mar. 6, 2005

Speaker: Moshe Siman-Tov will present his view of the Middle East conflict on March 6. His talk is entitled "The Current Israeli / Palestinian Conflict in its Historical Context."

Moshe worked at ORNL from 1967 until he retired in 1999. He received his PhD in Eng. Mech. from UT in 1975, MS from the University of Cincinnati in 1967, and BS from the Technion in Israel in 1961. He was born in Israel in 1935 and served in the Israeli Army from 1955 to 1957. He moved with his family to the USA in 1964. In the last few years, he was involved in helping to advance local harmony and peaceful resolution of this tragic conflict.

Also in the audience will be Jim Harb, from whom we heard on February 6 with his view of the Middle East conflict entitled, "Those crazy Arabs and Jews - is that all the Middle East conflict is really about?"

 

Public Meeting (0)

Our public meeting gives us a chance to let the community know who we are and what we do. This year, we've invited Alvin Harris -- an attorney on the Rhea County 10 Commandments case -- to provide a window into those proceedings.

 

RET BANQUET: Humanism and the Civil Rights Movement (0)

June 21, 2003

Speaker: Norm Allen, Executive Director of African Americans for Humanism, will speak in Salon C at the Radisson Summit Hill.