RET News July 2018 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

July 2018


First Sunday Meeting

No first Sunday meeting this month          


Special Activity

Adopt-a-Highway Event

July 7         Saturday           5:007:30 p.m.                         

Trash pick-up on Pellissippi Parkway, Knoxville

Come help us clean up our adopted stretch of highway. We meet at Burger King on Lovell Road at Pellissippi Parkway (1605 Schaeffer Drive). Wear sturdy walking shoes, long sleeves, and long pants. A picker-upper is useful if you have one. We provide gloves, but bringing your own is a good idea. The following TDOT Adopt-a-Highway training video is required viewing for volunteers: In case of rain, the event will move to the following Saturday, July 14, 2018.


Skeptic Book Club

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

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

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)by Tom Vanderbilt.

In this brilliant, lively, and eye-opening investigation, Tom Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers make in parking lots. Traffic is about more than driving: it’s about human nature. It will change the way we see ourselves and the world around us, and it may even make us better drivers. (416 pages)


Third Sunday Meeting

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

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

Roundtable Discussion

There will be a brief presentation followed by open discussion. The topic is being determined. 

Get Directions



No Reflections this month



Volunteer/Volunteers Needed for Coffee Service

We need a volunteer or volunteers to set up the coffee service and name tags for July 15 and August 5 meetings. Aleta Ledendecker will have enough supplies ready and will deliver them to whoever volunteers before July 15.

Upcoming in August

There will be no meeting on August 19 because the room is not available.

Freethought Forum TV, Wednesdays, 6:307:30 p.m.

FFTV, a community access television program in conjunction with the Atheist Society of Knoxville, can be seen in the Knoxville area on Comcast channel 12, WOW channel 6, Charter channel 193, and AT&T U-verse channel 99 and wherever the internet reaches at Our program may be seen by viewers of all ages and engages those who might otherwise never know about alternatives to religious world views. FFTV invites you to host or co-host a program or suggest a topic you wish to be presented. Contact “Faithless” Forrest with your ideas.


Opinion Column. Would you like to share an opinion? Send it to us (, and it will be considered for publication.


RET Skeptic Book ClubBooks List

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:

RET Meetup 
Rationalists of East Tennessee is now on Meetup.coman online social networking site that allows people to find others who share common interests. Join in: 

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


Other Area Secular Activities                              

Atheist Society of Knoxville, Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Black Horse Pub and Brewery, Western Plaza Shopping Center, 4429 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 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 donate to the ASK initiative, go to

East Tennessee Chapter, Freedom from Religion Foundation, June 20, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. Third Wednesday of each month, Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville.

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.


What Are You Reading/Viewing?

We invite you to share articles, books, films, etc., you’ve experienced recently. Just send a brief summary to This month’s recommendations are from Ralph Isler.

A Manual for Creating Atheists, by Peter Boghossian. (This book was mentioned by Tyrone Wells in his June 3 RET presentation about street epistemology.) Philosopher Peter Boghossian presents a nonconfrontational approach for inducing theists to question their religious beliefs, which he calls Street Epistemology. In principle, he simply tries to start up conversations, often with complete strangers, and gets them to reflect on the processes that led them to their beliefs without directly questioning the beliefs themselves or impugning the individual. It is a subtle attempt to induce a bit of critical thinking without projecting a strident, off-putting posture. Boghossian liberally sprinkles examples of “interventions” throughout this step-by-step guidebook; it should be read by anyone who, even infrequently, engages in discussions of religion and the supernatural with true believers.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann. (The book won the 2006 National Academies Communication Award for best creative work that helps public understanding of science, engineering, or medicine.) In American history courses, scant attention is paid to the societies that existed in the western hemisphere before Columbus’s landing. It is often implied that the population was sparse and the urban areas that did exist were small, isolated regions in the midst of natural wilderness. Mann contradicts this view with a wide-ranging discussion of currently accepted facts, among them: in 1491 the Inka [his transcription] ruled the greatest empire on earth, that the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was larger than any European city of that time, and that Indian cultures exerted a strong ecological influence on the land. It is a compelling exposition that illuminates a neglected part of history. The book is both entertaining and informing and is invaluable for anyone interested in gaining a global perspective of human civilizations.


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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.