RET News September 2018 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

September 2018


First Sunday Meeting

September 2         Sunday          10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

"Open Topic Day" -- Roundtable Discussion

Bring a news event, idea or question to be discussed.  The moderator will have several topics if needed.  Here is your chance to invite discussion on something that particularly interests you!

Get Directions       


Skeptic Book Club

September 9        Sunday        2:004:00 p.m.                         

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

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott

Review from Books-A-Million: 

This masterpiece of science (and mathematical) fiction is a delightfully unique and highly entertaining satire that has charmed readers for more than 100 years. The work of English clergyman, educator and Shakespearean scholar Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926), it describes the journeys of A. Square, a mathematician and resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, where women-thin, straight lines-are the lowliest of shapes, and where men may have any number of sides, depending on their social status.  Through strange occurrences that bring him into contact with a host of geometric forms, Square has adventures in Spaceland (three dimensions), Lineland (one dimension) and Pointland (no dimensions) and ultimately entertains thoughts of visiting a land of four dimensions--a revolutionary idea for which he is returned to his two-dimensional world. Charmingly illustrated by the author, Flatland is not only fascinating reading, it is still a first-rate fictional introduction to the concept of the multiple dimensions of space. "Instructive, entertaining, and stimulating to the imagination." -- Mathematics Teacher.

This is also available as a free Ebook:


Third Sunday Meeting

September 16           Sunday           10:30 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

"Communicating in a Civil Society When Incivility Reigns" -- Maureen Taylor, Ph.D., University of Tennessee

French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville first recognized America in the 1830s as a civil society where citizens shared values, worked together and solved local problems. The term civil society regained popularity when Robert Putnam (2000) published Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Putnam warned us that American civil society was waning as we no longer shared the same information sources, knew our neighbors or joined groups. 

In 2018, civil society is threatened each day as American citizens wake up to more scandals, “fake news” and attempts to divide our society by domestic and international actors. 

This presentation will discuss civil society from a communication standpoint. Maureen Taylor, Ph.D. is Beaman Professor and Director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations at University of Tennessee. Taylor has actively participated in civil society initiatives across the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sudan, Pakistan and the nations of the Former Yugoslavia as these nations recover from conflict.

Taylor will speak about the role of communication, media, civil society groups and how we can recreate civility. She will draw upon examples from post conflict nations to show how our local communities can structure civil society processes to address local problems.



September 23          Sunday           1:00–3:30 p.m.

Discussion and Pot Luck                 Hosted by Bob Morris, 140 Greystone Drive, Oak Ridge 37830

Is the current philanthropy by billionaires really about helping people and improving their lives or just helping a bit without costing the elite very much?  All kinds of money is going into all kinds of tax exempt causes, but little seems to be improving – lack of progress on health care, wage stagnation, limited opportunity, and lack of good child care services.  We have seen everything from the prosperity gospel to educational foundations funded and claiming to solve the country’s problems.  Whether secular or religious, there is a lot of effort about helping people make do, feel better, and find a purpose, but these things only make the elite feel good at little cost – the poor are still losing ground.  Things like universal health care, good education for all, higher wages, and more secure retirement get lip serve because they would require that the elites pay more in taxes, provide better working conditions, accept a stronger government, and provide child care, all of which would result in much higher taxes for them and lower profits along with some real responsibility.  Do you feel that the current philanthropy is very helpful or just an eccentric hobby for rich people?

For the discussion, please bring the usual pot luck, and Bob will provide some drinks and paper dinnerware. The driveway has a bit of an incline, so if you have strong legs, please park at the bottom so others have less of a climb.


Freethought Forum TV

Wednesdays, 6:307:30 p.m.

"Naturalist" Nathan and "Faithless" Forrest hosting recent episode of Freethought Forum TV

FFTV, Freethought Forum, a program presented in conjunction with the Atheist Society of Knoxville, is broadcast each Wednesday, 6:30-7:30 pm. The FFTV program can be seen live on the internet at  In the Knoxville, Tennessee, area it can be viewed  on the following channels:

 Xfinity (Comcast) 
 Channel 12 
 Charter  Channel 193
 WOW! (Knology)  Channel 6
 AT&T U-verse   Channel 99

The program is always more lively and interesting if people call in (865-215-2288) with questions and comments.  FFTV also invites you to host or co-host a program or suggest a topic you wish to be presented.
 Contact “Faithless” Forrest with your ideas.

Support RET Through AmazonSmile

If you shop on, you can generate a contribution for the Rationalists of East Tennessee with every purchase, at no cost to you.  On your first visit to AmazonSmile,, you need to select a charitable organization (Rationalists of East Tennessee) to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation for RET.  To learn more about AmazonSmile, click here.


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., Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria, 200 East Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, TN, 37915. Conversation, food, and drink. 

East Tennessee Chapter, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Wednesday, September 19, 5:30 p.m. Third Wednesday of alternate months, Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville.

Sunday Assembly Knoxville (Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More), September 23, 10:30-12:30
The Concourse at the International, 940 Blackstock Avenue, Knoxville 37921.  Sunday Assembly sites: Facebook, Meetup, Email.


Copyright © 2018 {Rationalists of East Tennessee, Inc.}. All rights reserved. Please request use of any material at contact below.
Contact email:
Edited by Donna Watson and Sharron King:
Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.