Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

June 2024

First Sunday Meeting

In Person and on Zoom

June 2, 2024 Sunday     10:30-12:30

Pellissippi State Community College, Hardin Valley Road

Member Norm Barrett will give a presentation on the James Webb Telescope. As Norm says, "This will be a Webb Event."

We meet in the Cafeteria Annex. which is at the rear of the Goins Administrative Building. There is a direct entrance from the back. 

Coffee and other hot beverages will be served. Bring a snack to share, if you wish. 

For those living at a distance, a Zoom link is provided below. 

Topic: RET First Sunday In-Person Meeting

Time: Jun 2, 2024 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 820 4428 4713

Passcode: 201768

Blount County First Wednesday Social

June 5, 2024  Wednesday     6:00-7:30 PM 

The Bird and The Book, 1509 E. Broadway, Maryville

Come join us at the Bird and the Book, 1509 E Broadway Ave, Maryville, for socializing and dinner. 

To see the menu click on the link below:


All are invited! This will be a monthly event on the First Wednesday of each month. 

RET Skeptic Book Club

June 9, 2024  Sunday     4:00-6:00 PM

Zoom Meeting

The Exceptions

Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science

 By Kate Zernike

In 1963, a female student was attending a lecture given by Nobel Prize winner James Watson, then tenured at Harvard. At nineteen, she was struggling to define her future. She had given herself just ten years to fulfill her professional ambitions before starting the family she was expected to have. For women at that time, a future on the usual path of academic science was unimaginable—but during that lecture, young Nancy Hopkins fell in love with the promise of genetics. Confidently believing science to be a pure meritocracy, she embarked on a career.

In 1999, Hopkins, now a noted molecular geneticist and cancer researcher at MIT, divorced and childless, found herself underpaid and denied the credit and resources given to men of lesser rank. Galvanized by the flagrant favoritism, Hopkins led a group of sixteen women on the faculty in a campaign that prompted MIT to make the historic admission that it had long discriminated against its female scientists. And their work to highlight what they called “21st-century discrimination”—a subtle, stubborn, often unconscious bias—set off a national reckoning with the pervasive sexism in science. The Exceptions chronicles groundbreaking science and a history-making fight for equal opportunity. And it offers an intimate look at the passion that drives discovery, and a rare glimpse into the competitive, hierarchical world of elite science—and the women who dared to challenge it. 432 pages.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 881 2678 9402

Passcode: 432264

One tap mobile

+13092053325,,88126789402#,,,,*432264# US

+13126266799,,88126789402#,,,,*432264# US (Chicago)

June Third Sunday Zoom Meeting

June 16, 2024   10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

This will be a continuation of the video course "How Jesus Became God" by Bart Ehrmann. 

Bring your own snacks and coffee (or breakfast if that is your thing). 

Topic: RET Third Sunday Zoom Meeting

Time: Jun 16, 2024 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 843 7005 8849

Passcode: 865027

Summer Solstice Party

June 22, 2024 Saturday      5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Location:  Ledendecker's Home

2123 Stonybrook Road

Louisville, TN

Come join fellow RET members for the annual Summer Solstice Party at Carl and Aleta's home. 

This is a potluck event and BYOB. 

The pool will be warm and inviting, but children MUST be supervised by their parent(s) while in the pool. 

Bring yard games to share! There is lots of room. 

There is plenty of parking on the property at the right of the driveway in the grass. Please leave the spots on the driveway in front of the RV for handicapped parking. 

Please note: enter by the gate behind the garage and RV, but please keep it closed so the little doggie doesn't escape. 

June Reflections 

June 23, 2024  Sunday  4:30-6:00 PM 

Zoom Meeting

Can You Force Harm Reduction?

Recently, Oregon has changed its drug policy to be much less progressive and more forceful when dealing with drug offenders.  New York is considering forcing homeless people into shelters.   Do you think actions like this are warranted?  Should the public tolerate the confiscation of public spaces by the homeless and destructive behavior by addicts?  

What is the intersection of personal responsibility, public acceptance of the disenfranchised, civic responsibility of the poor and weak, liberty?

Some homeless people won’t go to shelters. Should they be left outside? - Vox

Is Forcing People With Substance Use Disorder Into Drug Treatment a Good Idea? (usnews.com)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 862 3412 2358

Passcode: 998601

One tap mobile

+16469313860,,86234122358#,,,,*998601# US

+19292056099,,86234122358#,,,,*998601# US (New York)

 Sunday, July 7, 2024

Guest speaker at our July First Sunday Meeting will be professor of philosophy at the City College of New York,       Massimo Pigliucci.

Massimo Pigliucci

   Skepticism as a way of life

Summary: The word skeptic literally means inquirer. And to inquire into things is good, right? But skepticism has a complex and much misunderstood history, from the Pyrrhonists who abstained from holding any opinion to modern scientific skeptics focused on criticizing pseudoscience. In this talk I will argue that skepticism can and should be a way of life. And there is a lot more to life than just debunking nonsense.


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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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