RET News August 2017 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

August  2017


RET Board Meeting

July 30            Sunday             11:30 a.m.

Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville

[RET members are always welcome to attend Board Meetings.]


First Sunday Meeting

August 6         Sunday              10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.                       

Cafeteria Annex, Goins Administrative Building, Pellissippi State Community College

Vikram Singh, graduate research assistant in Astro-Physics at UT, will discuss Black Holes.


RET Skeptic Book Club

August 13         Sunday              2:004:00 p.m.                         

Books-A-Million at 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate  by Peter Wohlleben (288 pages)

Are trees social beings? In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.

After learning about the complex life of trees, a walk in the woods will never be the same again.


Third Sunday Meeting

August 20           Sunday              10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

RET member Ralph Isler will present a talk on “The Desperate Need To Believe”. Christian apologists make use of several evidentiary and non-evidentiary arguments for the existence of god. None of these is compelling.  The reasons for their failures will be discussed.

Get Directions

Total Solar Eclipse -- One of Nature's Grandest Spectacles

August 21 Monday  ~1:00 p.m. - ~4:00 p.m.

Lee Erickson, member of RET and of The Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society, is encouraging us to gather at the Charles Hall Museum, 229 Cherohola Skyway, Tellico Plains, TN 37385.  There will be a $5 per car charge for parking.  The partial eclipse begins at about 1pm, the total eclipse begins at 2:34pm and lasts about 2.5 minutes, then the sun re-emerges.  Bring chairs, drinks, sun screen, and ECLIPSE VIEWING GLASSES (available for purchase as long as supplies last).  For further details see the web site, Total Solar Eclipse -- Tellico Plains, TN.


Important Note from RET 1st and 3rd Sunday Program Organizers

Ralph Isler and Aleta and Carl Ledendecker are hoping to retire from being the program organizers of our 1st and 3rd Sunday RET meetings.  We need to get some "new blood" in helping to find appropriate programs. If someone volunteers to help arrange programs now, we could get that person (or persons) nicely prepared by the time Ralph and the Ledendeckers step down.  If you have ideas about interesting programs, speakers, or presentations, please contact Aleta or Ralph.


Submit Questions about "Emergency Preparedness" for October 1 Meeting

Angela Allred of the Knox County Health Department will be presenting a talk on Emergency Preparedness at our October 1 meeting.  If you have specific questions on this topic, please send them to Aleta Ledencker, who will forward them to Angela.  This will give Angela a chance to do research on our particular interests. 


RET Skeptics Book Club—Future 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

News of Members

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


Ongoing Activities                              

Atheist Society of Knoxville, Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m.

Flats and Taps, 7403 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919. Conversation, food, and drink.  Atheist Society of Knoxville (ASK) aims to raise $5000, putting 20000 meals into Knoxville area food pantries.  To learn more and donate, go to and click the "donate" button.  Be sure to mention Event #113 in the special instruction to ensure the money goes to this event.

East Tennessee Freedom from Religion Foundation Chapter, August 16, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

Third Wednesday of each month, Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville.  The FFRF National Convention is in Madison, Wisconsin, September 15-17, 2017.

RET/ASK Freethought Forum TV, Tuesdays, 5:00–6:00 p.m. on Community TV

Knoxville: Comcast Channel 12, Charter Channel 193, WOW! (Knology) Channel 6, AT&T U-verse Channel 99, and free streaming on of 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 (865-805-2437) if you are interested.  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________


"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.  But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion" --- Stephen Weinberg

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in.  Some of us just go one god further." -- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

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Edited by Donna Watson and Sharron King:
Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.