RET News January 2018 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

January 2018


First Sunday Meeting

January 7          Sunday            10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

“Sexual MisconductGender and Changing Attitudes”

This will be a round table discussion among attendees. Talking points and examples will be provided, but feel free to bring your own, too. This round table is one in which everyone can contribute.

Get Directions


Special Event!

Trash Pickup

January 13         Saturday           1:00 p.m.                         

Pellissippi Parkway, Lovell Road Exit

Come help us clean up our adopted stretch of highway! We meet at Burger King on Lovell Road at Pellissippi Parkway (1605 Schaeffer Drive), and we wrap up by 4:00 p.m. 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/snow, the event will be postponed until the following Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Board Meeting

January 14          Sunday           11:30 a.m.                         

Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville

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


Skeptic Book Club

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

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

Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, by Daniel J. Siegel

Author Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., uses his characteristic sensitivity and interdisciplinary background to offer a definition of the mind that illuminates the how, what, when, where, and even why of who we are, of what the mind is, and what the mind’s self has the potential to become. Mind takes the reader on a deep personal and scientific journey into consciousness, subjective experience, and information processing, uncovering the mind’s self-organizational properties that emerge from both the body and the relationships we have with one another, and with the world around us. While making a wide range of sciences accessible and exciting―from neurobiology to quantum physics, anthropology to psychology―this book offers an experience that addresses some of our most pressing personal and global questions about identity, connection, and the cultivation of well-being in our lives. (378 pages)


Third Sunday Meeting

January 21           Sunday           10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction

This DVD presentation from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series features Charles Adler, a professor of physics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. From teleportation and space elevators to alien contact and interstellar travel, science fiction and fantasy writers have come up with some brilliant and innovative ideas. Yet how plausible are these ideas? Which concepts might actually happen, and which ones wouldn’t work at all? Dr. Adler delves into the most extraordinary details in science fiction and fantasy—time warps, shape changing, rocket launches, and illumination by floating candle—and shows readers the physics and math behind the phenomena. From the works of Ursula K. Le Guin to “Star Trek” and “Avatar,” Adler considers what might become reality. He examines space travel and wonders why it isn’t cheaper and more common today, and discusses exoplanets and how the search for alien life has shifted from radio communications to space-based telescopes. He concludes by investigating the future survival of humanity and other intelligent races.


Reflections Meeting

January 28           Sunday           1:00–3:30 p.m. 

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

“The Cultural Value of Belief” 

Most of us think of belief as connected to religion, but if you accept religious belief as fine, then what about other beliefs? If you don’t have to justify your beliefs, then what is wrong with white nationalism or any of a host of mean-spirited ideologies or conspiracy theories? What happens to a society when evidence is no longer required for a world view or a national policy? If you want to peek ahead, read this article:

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.


Important Messages

Freethought Forum TV Moves to Wednesdays

FFTV Forum TV is moving to a new time slot. Beginning January 3, 2018, the program will air on Wednesdays, 6:30–7:30 p.m. We hope the change will allow greater variety of on-show hosts. FFTV, a community access television program in conjunction with the Atheist Society of Knoxville, is beginning its eighth year and 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.

Candidates for Board of Directors and Officers Needed by January 14, 2018!

According to the bylaws of the Rationalists of East Tennessee, we hold an annual meeting to elect our Board of Directors and officers. The election this year on Sunday, February 4, 2018, will take place in the Faculty/Staff Dining Room, which is on the opposite side of the Goins cafeteria from our regular cafeteria annex room at Pellissippi State. We hope to have signs posted to help you find it.

If you are able and willing to help RET meet the purposes of our organization, please contact a member of the Nominations Committee by January 14, 2018 (21 days before the election) so that the committee can prepare pre-printed ballots. In addition, if you would like, please include a short biography or paragraph explaining how and why you can help the management of RET.  Nominations Committee for 2018: Lee Erickson (NEW! 865-518-1040 or and Alistair Elliott (865-441-7247 or

Any individual or life member can be elected to the board. Further, our bylaws provide for four officers: president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. Officers must meet the following additional qualifications: be at least 18 years old and have been a member for at least one year.

A few excerpts from our bylaws will help understand the roles of the board and officers: 

  • The board shall consist of no less than five directors, including the officers. Directors shall hold office for a term of one year or until their successors are elected.
  • Meetings of the board may be called by the president and shall be called upon written request of three members of the board. The board shall hold its annual meeting before the organization’s annual meeting.
  • Board members shall serve without compensation.
  • The officers shall perform the duties prescribed by these bylaws and by the parliamentary authority adopted by the organization.

In part, the duties are as follows:

  • The president shall be the chief executive officer, coordinating the work of officers and committees, and signing contracts.
  • The vice-president becomes president if the president’s office becomes vacant and assumes the office temporarily if the vacancy is temporary. The vice-president shall assist the president as requested.
  • The secretary shall (1) record the minutes of the organization and board meetings, (2) handle the organization and board correspondence, (3) maintain a permanent file of the organization and board bylaws and other documents, including officers and committee chairpersons’ reports, publications, and correspondence, (4) send out to the membership a notice of each meeting, and (5) compile the order of business for meetings.
  • The treasurer shall (1) receive and disburse funds as authorized by the board, (2) keep records of money received and spent, (3) safeguard the organization’s funds, (4) compile and submit an annual financial statement as required, (5) keep the official membership role, (6) provide record of dues payments to the secretary as requested, and (7) invest funds if so directed by the board and following the board’s guidelines.

This information is partial. The full information can be found in our bylaws

Leaders Needed

You can help RET continue in its mission of presenting a non-supernatural world view. RET is the only area secular group with a significant emphasis on presenting programs that relate to science and scientific methodology. If you want to influence the direction of RET, consider helping organize our Sunday programs. Contact any current board member if you want to help.


RET Skeptic 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

    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. Check it out and 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.
    Flats and Taps, 7403 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 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 Chapter, Freedom from Religion Foundation, January 17, 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.


    Copyright © 2017 {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.