RET News March 2019 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

March 2019


First Sunday Meeting

March 3         Sunday          10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.                         

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

Preparing Your Documents

Kelly Frere from Guyton & Frere law firm in Lenoir City will be sharing information about the documents you need to have prepared for successful estate planning.

Come early for coffee and conversation.

We meet in the cafeteria annex at the back of the Goins Administration Building on the Pellissippi State Campus off Hardin Valley Road.

Get Directions       

Skeptic Book Club

March 10         Sunday        2:004:00 p.m.                         

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

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World 
by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen 

Why our brains aren't built for media multitasking, and how we can learn to live with technology in a more balanced way.

"Brilliant and practical, just what we need in these techno-human times."--Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart

Most of us will freely admit that we are obsessed with our devices. We pride ourselves on our ability to multitask--read work email, reply to a text, check Facebook, watch a video clip; talk on the phone, send a text, drive a car. We enjoy family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7.  Never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, and the unheard conversation at the table. In The Distracted Mind, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen--a neuroscientist and a psychologist--explain why our brains aren't built for multitasking, and suggest better ways to live in a high-tech world without giving up our modern technology.

The authors explain that our brains are limited in their ability to pay attention. We don't really multitask but rather switch rapidly between tasks. Distractions and interruptions, often technology-related--referred to by the authors as "interference"--collide with our goal-setting abilities. We want to finish this paper/spreadsheet/sentence, but our phone signals an incoming message and we drop everything. Even without an alert, we decide that we "must" check in on social media immediately.

Gazzaley and Rosen offer practical strategies, backed by science, to fight distraction. We can change our brains with meditation, video games, and physical exercise; we can change our behavior by planning our accessibility and recognizing our anxiety about being out of touch even briefly. They don't suggest that we give up our devices, but that we use them in a more balanced way.


Third Sunday Meeting

March 17         Sunday          10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

Roundtable Discussion: Open Topic 

Bring a topic for discussion. Topics will be placed in a bag to be selected at random. Each will be discussed 10–20 minutes before moving to the next. 

Topics for our Roundtable Discussion are widely varied: for example -

  • Is a two-state solution feasible for Israel and Palestine?
  • What evidence for evolution is observable on a scale similar to our life times?
  • "Better Sunday" - 2 days after "Good Friday"
  • New programs for RET: general culture, art, music
  • What is the value of circumcision?
  • Political correctness: is it too extreme?  ("Baby, It's Cold Outside")
  • Near death experiences
  • New pledge of allegiance:  "I pledge allegiance to the earth and all its creatures" or "I pledge allegiance to the constitution of the United States of America, which is represented by this flag. May we all work toward its further perfection."


March 24          Sunday          1:00–3:30 p.m. 

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


Is work-ism the new religion? Work-ism is the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose. It is the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.  Today the rich often work long hours whereas in the past being rich mean you worked less and had more leisure.  Young people are told to find their passion in a career, the poor are required to work to get benefits, and family life is often sacrificed for work needs.  However, few of us really make it to the top and get the money and power. Mostly we are fodder for the system and economic insecurity is increasing.  What do you think?   Do you work to live or live to work?

Please bring a dish or snacks for the usual pot luck, and Bob will provide some drinks and paper dinnerware. If you have strong legs, please park at the bottom of the driveway so others have less of a climb.



Board Members Elected

The election of board members for the Rationalists of East Tennessee was conducted at the business meeting held on February 3.  The newly elected board members are:

  • President: Carl Ledendecker
  • Vice-President: Joel Shor
  • Secretary: Aleta Ledendecker
  • Treasurer: Eliot Specht
  • Directors: Sam BledsoePat Cannon, Lee Erickson, Sharron King, Chandra Martin, Jenn Taylor


Join a Study of Nonviolent/Compassionate Communication

March 13          Wednesday          5:30 p.m.

"The Birdhouse Community Center" 800 North 4th Avenue, Knoxville TN 37917

Charter RET member Melissa Brenneman has organized a collaborative study of nonviolent communication (also called compassionate communication).  Subsequent meetings will be on the second Wednesday of each month.  This will be a learning circle of equals, not on the “discussion leader” model of many of our other events.  Interested RET members should contact Melissa at For more information about nonviolent communication, see

Support RET Through AmazonSmile

If you shop on, you can generate a contribution for RET with your 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.



Get the App

A free app is available for your smart phone to help you stay in touch with the Rationalists of East Tennessee. It is called “Wild Apricot for Members” and is available in the App Store (for Apple devices) or Google Play (for Android devices). Upon using it for the first time, you are asked to enter the userid and password that you use to log into the web page. The app provides a convenient way to look at the schedule of events and to contact other members.

How to Find FFTV

Freethought Forum TV programs are being archived online by Community TV of Knoxville ( Most of the 2018 episodes are available there for viewing.

FFTV, presented in conjunction with the Atheist Society of Knoxville, is broadcast each Wednesday,
6:30–7:30 p.m. 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. 
The program can be seen live on the internet at In the Knoxville area it can be viewed on the following channels:

                      Xfinity (Comcast), Channel 12                       WOW! (Knology), Channel 6

                      Charter, Channel 193                                       AT&T U-verse, Channel 99


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 is now on, an 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.


RET Skeptic Book ClubBooks List


OTHER AREA SECULAR ACTIVITIES                            

Atheist Society of Knoxville, Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, 200 East Jackson Avenue, Knoxville 37915. Conversation, food, and drink.

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

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


Copyright © 2019 {Rationalists of East Tennessee, Inc.}. All rights reserved. Please request use of any material at contact below.
Contact email:
Edited by Sharron King:
Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.