Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

September 2022 

Live, in Person: Dan Barker

Annual Guest Speaker

Sunday, September 18, 2022, 2 pm

Pellissippi State on Hardin Valley Road

Goins Building Auditorium

RET welcomes Dan Barker, co-president of FFRF (Freedom from Religion Foundation), for a lively presentation. His topic will be "Losing Faith in Faith" followed by Q&A. 

Please note that since this is an inside event, masks will be required.  (No refreshments because of COVID.)

A book signing will follow the presentation. 

First Sunday Zoom Meeting

September 4    Sunday   10:30 -12:30 EST


Topic: Being Woke and Rational

Bring your own coffee and snacks. 

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 894 0143 0550

Passcode: 523680

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Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/kewARhffho

RET Skeptic Book Club

September 11  Sunday         4:00 – 6:00 PM 

The Scout Mindset

Why Some People See Things Clearly 

and Others Don't

When it comes to what we believe, humans see what they want to see. In other words, we have what Julia Galef calls a "soldier" mindset. From tribalism and wishful thinking, to rationalizing in our personal lives and everything in between, we are driven to defend the ideas we most want to believe—and shoot down those we don't. But if we want to get things right more often, argues Galef, we should train ourselves to have a "scout" mindset. Unlike the soldier, a scout's goal isn't to defend one side over the other. It's to go out, survey the territory, and come back with as accurate a map as possible. Regardless of what they hope to be the case, above all, the scout wants to know what's actually true. In The Scout Mindset, Galef shows that what makes scouts better at getting things right isn't that they're smarter or more knowledgeable than everyone else. It's a handful of emotional skills, habits, and ways of looking at the world—which anyone can learn. With fascinating examples ranging from how to survive being stranded in the middle of the ocean, to how Jeff Bezos avoids overconfidence, to how superforecasters outperform CIA operatives, to Reddit threads and modern partisan politics, Galef explores why our brains deceive us and what we can do to change the way we think. 288 pages.


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 885 7544 0569

Passcode: 555873

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Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/kvDEkBZMw

Third Sunday Meeting

September 18 Sunday 2pm

In Person:  Dan Barker, co-president of FFRF

Topic:  Losing Faith in Faith

Meeting in the auditorium of the Goins Administration Building of Pellissippi State on Hardin Valley Road.  (Masks required.)

Reflections Sunday Zoom Meeting

September 25 Sunday 4:30-6 pm

Did your garden work?

A lot of us enjoy gardening and making dinner with fresh vegetables we have carefully grown.  Did your garden work out as expected?  Did you keep the bugs and Peter Rabbit at bay?  Did the organic plan work out or did you have to resort to chemical warfare?  Share your experiences and what you will do differently next year.


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 831 7297 7228

Passcode: 720669

One tap mobile

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+16469313860,,83172977228#,,,,*720669# US

Dial by your location

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/khskCHNiq

RET Secular Scholarships

RET has awarded five $2000 scholarships to future secular leaders attending college in fall 2022 – we expect to award more in coming years.

Dustin Daniels from Crossville plans to study Political Science at Tennessee Tech and pursue a career in  law, public policy, human relations, victim’s advocacy, or power-based violence awareness and prevention. He has been vocal in opposing state-church violations in the community, at high school, and at college.

Niki Hall from Johnson City is in a masters program in Sociology at ETSU and plans to continue to a PhD in research on nontheism. She will use her scholarship to cover the costs of a study she will conduct on the social perceptions of discrimination of nontheists.

Heather Osborne from Johnson City  is in a masters program in Sociology at ETSU and plans to teach and do research in aspects of technological innovation and social change. She is a vocal opponent of bills based on religious dogma, that take away rights of others, and are not based on scientific research and reason.

Jamie Brownlee from Gallatin plans to study English and Creative Writing at the University of South Wales (Pontrypidd). Jamie plans to return to Tennessee to teach or practice law for a non-profit or as a state attorney. Jamie has written bills for Tennessee’s Youth in Government program concerning the separation of religion from sex-ed and defending LGBT rights against religious attacks.

William Devin Takezo White from Crossville plans to study Forensic Chemistry at Tennessee Tech, leading to an academic teaching position. He hopes to restart the (currently inactive) Secular Student Alliance at Tennessee Tech.


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Contact email: info@rationalists.org
Edited by Sharron King: newsletter@rationalists.org.
Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.

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