Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

    September 2019



    We need someone to be in charge of the coffee service for both the first and third Sunday meetings in October.  We also need volunteers to lead the October meetings (one will be "Bring your own topic" and the other a video).  Contact Aleta, aledendecker@me.com.


    First Sunday Meeting

    September 1      Sunday        10:30 - 12:30

    Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building, Cafeteria Annex

    Lee Erickson and James Cantu will give a presentation based on "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain."

    The RET Skeptic Book Club

    September 8        Sunday         2:00 – 4:00 pm                         

    Location:    Books-A-Million at 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville.

    Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are by Robert Plomin

    In Blueprint, behavioral geneticist Robert Plomin describes how the DNA revolution has made DNA personal by giving us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. A century of genetic research shows that DNA differences inherited from our parents are the consistent life-long sources of our psychological individuality―the blueprint that makes us who we are. This, says Plomin, is a game changer.

    Plomin has been working on these issues for almost fifty years, conducting longitudinal studies of twins and adoptees. He reports that genetics explains more of the psychological differences among people than all other factors combined. Genetics accounts for fifty percent of psychological differences―not just mental health and school achievement but all psychological traits, from personality to intellectual abilities. Nature, not nurture is what makes us who we are.

    Plomin explores the implications of this, drawing some provocative conclusions―among them that parenting styles don't really affect children's outcomes once genetics is taken into effect. Neither tiger mothers nor attachment parenting affects children's ability to get into Harvard. After describing why DNA matters, Plomin explains what DNA does, offering readers a unique insider's view of the exciting synergies that came from combining genetics and psychology


    RET Third Sunday Meeting

    September 15     Sunday            10:30 - 12:30

    Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Building Cafeteria Annex

    RET member Joel Shor will speak on "The Causes of War."


    RET Reflections Meeting

    September 22    Sunday     1:00 -3:30 p.m.        

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

    Topic to be decided.  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.

    RET/ASK Freethought Forum TV

    August 28, September 4, 11, 18, 25        Wednesdays          6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    FFTV, presented by the Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Atheist Society of Knoxville, is broadcast each Wednesday, 6:30–7:30 p.m. on Knoxville's Community TV. Calls during the broadcast make it much more lively and interesting. Call in (865-215-2288) with comments or questions.

    The program can be seen live on the internet at ctvknox.org. In the Knoxville area it can be viewed on the following TV channels - Xfinity (Comcast), Channel 12; WOW! (Knology), Channel 6; Charter (Spectrum), Channel 193; AT&T U-verse, Channel 99.

    Archived episodes of Freethought Forum can be accessed on the Internet Archive at archive.org.  In the search box, enter "ctvknox free thought."  If you then sort the results by date archived, you'll see the most recent shows first.


    August  28       Wednesday         11:30 am

    Michael Valentine, former active member of RET, died in California on July 22. He was 76 years old.  There will be a simple graveside service for Michael at the Knoxville National Cemetery (939 Tyson Street, Knoxville, 37917) on August 28 at 11:30am.  Note that this cemetery is adjacent to Broadway, between 5th Avenue and North Central.  This service is being coordinated by Theotis Robinson (Michael's boyhood friend) and his Aunt Eunice through Jarnigan Mortuary.


    Kentucky Freethought Convention

    September 21    Saturday           

    Location:    The Lexington Center, 430 West Vine Street, Lexington, Kentucky

    Cost is only $10 if paid online or $15 at the door.  If interested in carpooling, contact Aleta (aledendecker@me.com).

    Panels, workshops, and speakers.  


    • Sex Education
    • Building Atheist and Humanist Communities (including Nick Fish, president of American Atheists)
    • Podcasters and Bloggers (including Hemant Mehta and Tyrone Wells)
    • Legal Panel (including Andrew Seidel)


    On August 12 and 13, several RET members were in Nashville to demonstrate that there are many Tennesseans who support Planned Parenthood.  The State Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from pre-selected speakers on both sides of the legal abortion issue.  The aim of the committee appears to be to pass a law so restrictive that it would be heard by the Supreme Court.  Even some of the anti-abortion speakers urged against this sure-to-fail measure.  

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