RET News October 2017 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

October 2017


RET First Sunday Meeting

October 1          Sunday            10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

Changes to BylawsSpecial Meeting October 1!

A special meeting will be held at the beginning of the first Sunday meeting on October 1 for members to vote on changes to the by-laws. 

Angela Allred of the Knox County Health Department will discuss Emergency Preparedness.

Get Directions


RET Trash Pickup on Pellissippi

October 7        Saturday           1:00 p.m.                         

Burger King at Lovell Road and Pellissippi

RET will have their quarterly Pellissippi Trash Pickup on October 7, 2017.  We will meet at 1 pm at the Burger King on Lovell @ Pellissippi Parkway ( 1605 Schaeffer Drive). We wrap up by 4 pm.  Wear sturdy walking shoes, sunscreen, bugspray and a hat.  A picker-upper is helpful if you have one.  We provide gloves but bringing your own is a good idea. Instructional video:

RET Board Meeting

October 8         Sunday           11:30 a.m.                         

Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville

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


RET Skeptic Book Club

October 8          Sunday           2:004:00 p.m.                         

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

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans B. M. de Waal (340 pages)

What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future―all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.


RET Third Sunday Meeting

October 15           Sunday           10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

“Who's in Charge?  Free Will and the Science of the Brain”

This DVD presentation from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series features Dr. Michael Gazzaniga.

Do we have free will or are our lives simply determined by the same physical laws that control the world around us? For the most part, science has embraced the determinist point of view. But the U.C. Santa Barbara psychologist Michael S. Gazzaniga—the man Tom Wolfe has called “one of the most brilliant experimental neuroscientists in the world”—is not convinced. Gazzaniga argues that the human mind acts to constrain the brain and monitor our behavior, much as a government, created by a society, provides constraints on those who conceived it. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, as well as ethics and law, he offers a deeply considered case for human responsibility: we are accountable for our actions.


Important Messages

Help Sponsor Freethought Forum TV

We need your help to keep FFTV on the air. Regular RET membership dues have never covered Freethought Forum TV expenses, and individual contributions so far are not enough to pay for studio costs. Each 60-minute show costs $1.00 per broadcast minute. These important shows allow nonbelievers to reach cable TV viewers in the Knoxville area and also internet viewers via Our time slot at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays may be seen by viewers of all ages and engage those who might otherwise never know about alternatives to religious world views. We cannot know how large our viewership is, but we can know that, if we go off the air, the viewership will be zero.

Please consider sponsoring a show at approximately $60, and let us know if we may acknowledge your support by displaying your initials in the show credits. For further information, contact Lee Erickson (865-805-2437). To make a contribution, contact treasurer Eliot Specht. Your sponsorship of shows will help keep annual membership dues as low as possible for others who may not be able to financially support FFTV.

Become a First/Third Sunday Program Organizer

Now is your chance to shape the Sunday program topics. Ralph Isler and Aleta Ledendecker are interested in turning over the organization of programs for our two Sunday meetings. Ralph, who usually arranges the third Sunday, says he will definitely retire from the position by next year. Aleta, who with Carl’s help arranges the first Sunday, would also like to step down by next year. We need volunteers now to help arrange programs to permit adequate time for transition. To volunteer, contact Aleta or Ralph.


RET Skeptics Book ClubBooks 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. ASK is sponsoring a major fundraiser called “Ending Hunger,” which aims to raise $5000 and put 20,000 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 your contribution goes to this event. 

    East Tennessee Freedom from Religion Foundation Chapter, October 18, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
    Third Wednesday of each month, Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville.

    RET/ASK Freethought Forum TV, Tuesdays, 5:00–6:00 p.m.
    Knoxville: Comcast-12, Charter-193,Wow-6, and AT&T U-verse 99; free streaming on ctvknox.orgNote change: Because 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. Immediately after the show, a co-host of the program holds the Atheist Society of Knoxville meet-up at Flats and Taps, 7403 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919. 

    Sunday Assembly Knoxville (Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More)
    The International, 940 Blackstock Avenue, Knoxville 37921. For activities, go to the Sunday Assembly website and click on “Events Calendar.” Other Sunday Assembly sites: Facebook, Meetup, Email.


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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.