RET News May 2017 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

May 2017


   Pot-luck Dinner with Hemant Mehta

   April 29         Saturday          7:00–10:00 p.m.

   Marsha Doyle's home, 7908 Queenborough Lane, Knoxville 37931

   Come and enjoy time with our April 30 speaker, Hemant Mehta, and your RET friends. Bring a dish or something to drink.                 

Annual Public Speaker Event

April 30       Sunday        2:00 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Auditorium

"Why Young People Are Leaving Religion"

We are thrilled to welcome Hemant Mehta, also known as the friendly atheist, as our public speaker this year. Mehtaan author, blogger, and atheist activist who gained fame for "selling his soul" on eBaywill discuss young people and religion. Religious demographics in the U.S. are changing faster than ever before, even though atheists have a long way to go and still face considerable obstacles. He will discuss why these changes are happening and what it means for the future.

Get Directions

Day of Reason Picnic

May 4      Thursday        6 p.m.

Tyson Park Shelter #1

As in previous years, this year's National Day of Reason coincides with the Congressionally-mandated and federally-supported National Day of Prayer.

RET First Sunday Meeting

May 7       Sunday        10:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

The Women’s March of January 21st 2017 turned out to be a historic moment for the U.S., and the world. Millions of women and men and children took part, from tiny towns in Alabama—and even Antarctica. Join Elizabeth Corbett, member at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, as she recounts why she marched.   Elizabeth is an ESL teacher at Lenoir City High School, and her discussion this morning will focus on the Hispanic students she works with and teaches.


RET Board Meeting

May 14 Sunday 11:30 a.m

Location:    Earth Fare, Turkey Creek

RET Members are always welcome to attend the Board Meetings.

RET Skeptic Book Club

May 14        Sunday         2:004:00 p.m.                         

Location:    Books-A-Million at 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville

The Serengeti Rules   by Sean B. Carroll

The book for May is “The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters” by Sean B. Carroll.  One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated--there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar--there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. (280 pages).


RET Third Sunday Meeting

May 21      Sunday        10:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

Professor Stephen Collins-Elliott of the University of Tennessee will present a talk on applications of Bayesian analysis for estimating probabilities.     

RET Reflections Meeting                    

May 28     Sunday          2:00 p.m.

At Steve and Carol Tokay's        8905 Garrison Drive, Knoxville 37931-2416   (865-691-6816)

Discussion and potluck. Bring a dish or something to drink.  Carol is looking for a volunteer to take over the Reflections meetings.     
RET Skeptics Book Club  - Books List
(If you use these links to buy from Amazon, RET receives a rebate.)

Rationalists of East Tennessee Website
Information about the workings of RET is available online to members.  Minutes of Board of Directors meetings are at  There is also a forum for member postings at


Conferences and Rallies

American Humanist Association 76th Annual Conference        Charleston, S.C.      June 8-11, 2017     
Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Airport in Charleston, South Carolina

Knoxville Pride Festival       Mary Costa Plaza and Coliseum Lawn June 17, 2017
Knoxville Pride Parade (11 a.m.) and Pride Festival (12-8 p.m.)
Knox Pride Festival 2017 is an open celebration of music, entertainment and speakers focused on promoting equality and  inclusion of all people.
Call for volunteers:  RET is collaborating with other local organizations (Freedom from Religion Foundation, Atheist Society of Knoxville, and Sunday Assembly) to support the Pride Festival on June 17.  We need volunteers and donations of cases of water.


Ongoing Activities                              

Atheist Society of Knoxville                                            Meets Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.                               

ASK meet-up location: Flats and Taps, 7403 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN 37919
Conversation, food, and drink.


East Tennessee Freedom from Religion Foundation Chapter

May 17, Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

Meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month                       Earth Fare, Turkey Creek


RET/ASK Freethought Forum TV

Tuesdays      5:00–6:00 p.m. 

Knoxville: Comcast Channel 12     Charter Channel 6    Free streaming on

Note change: Due to Knoxville Beer Board meeting changes, there will be no FFTV on varying Tuesdays once a month.

Freethought Forum TV is looking for people to be on the show. Contact Larry Rhodes or Lee Erickson if you are interested. Right after the show, a co-host of the program holds The Atheist Society of Knoxville Meet-upFlats and Taps, 7403 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN 37919. Volunteer hosts and suggestions for topics would be welcome for all of these programs. 


Sunday Assembly Knoxville                Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

May 28                 

Location: The International, 940 Blackstock Ave., Knoxville, TN                       Time: 10:30 a.m.

For other activities go to Sunday Assembly's website and click on “Calendar.”Other Sunday Assembly sites:  Facebook, Meetup, Email


 (Please contact us if you have any relevant news about RET members that they agree to share.)


Notable Quote

"To those who are critical of science, I love to point out to them, particularly when they describe to me one scientific misdemeanor or another -- somebody who's faked some data and been caught, for instance -- I say right, and who discovered that?  Who proved that this was  fraudulent? The self-policing of science is what's done it, and religion has nothing like it." 

[excerpt from Daniel C. Dennett's speech at FFRF's 39th annual convention in October 2016, published in Freethought Today, April 2017]

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Edited by Donna Watson and Sharron King:
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