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Rationalists of East Tennessee is an organization created to benefit people by expanding understanding of the universe through the use of empirical and rational methods. Our purposes are as follows:
To foster an environment suitable to free speech and exchange of ideas.
To promote free inquiry into the nature of the universe and of human societies.
To encourage critical thinking on all aspects of human life.
To emphasize the importance of the scientific method.
To explore ethical and intellectual alternatives to supernatural beliefs.
To model humanistic ethics through service to the greater community.
To provide a fellowship for people who share these purposes.
How Do I Join RET?
We welcome you to attend our meetings to find out more about us. Find out what we're doing next by browsing the calendar at left or by sending email to info at rationalists.org.
Once you've decided we're a group you'd like to associate with, either download our brochure and fill out the blank or print the HTML application found here.
Recent News and Events
RET Third Sunday Meeting Please join the us in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on April 20. Professor Andrew Kramer of the University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology will present a talk titled “Neanderthals 'R Us: What paleo-genetics and fossils tell us about how we got here and who we came from.” One of the most fundamental questions of our existence will be addressed in Dr. Kramer’s presentation discussing the origins of modern humans and the fate of the Neanderthals. Were these ice age humans simply an extinct side-branch that had nothing to do with our own evolution, or did they contribute directly to our origins? Using ancient DNA and fossil data, Dr. Kramer will present the evidence and provide some provocative, perhaps even surprising, conclusions.
Posted by risler Apr. 18, 2014
Skeptic Book Club for April Please join the Rationalists of East Tennessee Book Club meeting this Sunday, April 13. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike. The book of the month is "The Fact of Evolution" by Cameron M. Smith.
Evolution is often described as a "theory." While this is certainly technically true, it is misleading to dismiss evolution as "just a theory" (an unfounded idea), as opponents of evolution like to do. In this illuminating work of popular science, anthropologist Cameron M. Smith amply demonstrates that there are few more well-established facts in the scientific canon than that life evolved on earth.
Walking the reader through the steps in the evolutionary process, Cameron uses plenty of real-world examples to show that not only does evolution happen, it must happen. Cameron analyzes evolution as the unintended consequence of three independent facts of the natural world that we can observe every day: (1) the fact of the replication of life forms (producing offspring); (2) the fact that offspring are not identical (variation); and (3) the fact that not all offspring survive (selection). Viewed in terms of this analysis, evolution is no longer debatable; in fact it has to occur. It is simply the inevitable consequence of three obvious, observable, factual natural phenomena.
The Fact of Evolution also covers new discoveries in evolution, many of which have occurred in the last twenty years of the "genomic revolution" and have strengthened Darwin's basic idea. In addition, the author discusses complex theoretical issues such as speciation, phyletic gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium, the "Evo-Devo" paradigm, and the concept of bauplane, as well as the facts of primate and hominid evolution. Well-organized, clearly written, and accessible, The Fact of Evolution is ideal for students or any interested lay readers. (Amazon Review).
Posted by risler Apr. 11, 2014
Reminder of RET Special Meeting-April 6 This note is a reminder to current members of Rationalists Of East Tennessee of the special meeting for the purpose of amending our bylaws. The meeting will be as brief as discussion will allow and will be held just prior to the regular program tomorrow, April 6th. The proposed changes are for the following purposes:
1. Allowing the treasurer greater flexibility in the timing of billing membership dues
2. Clarifying that requirements for our operation are always in compliance with documents we have filed with the state of Tennessee and Federal Government.
This meeting is to begin promptly at 10:00 am in the cafeteria annex of the Goins building at the PSTCC, our regular Sunday morning meeting room. The regular program will begin at 10:30 am.
Posted by risler Apr. 05, 2014
RET First Sunday Meeting Please join us in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday meeting on April 6. By popular request we will continue the DVD lecture series on "Biology and Human Behavior: the Neurobiological Origins of Human Behavior." by Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University.
Posted by risler Apr. 04, 2014
RET Reflections Meeting for March Please join us this Sunday for the Rationalists of East Tennessee March 23 Reflections Meeting, which will be held at the home of of Schera Chadwick & Ted Lollis. We will begin with our traditional pot-luck lunch starting at 1:00 pm. Bring a bag, box, or dish and meet with us us for a late lunch followed by discussion beginning around 1:30pm. The discussion will center on Robert Lee Fulgham's "Conversation Lifeboat" questions. Call 865-690-8742 for further information and driving directions.
Posted by risler Mar. 22, 2014
RET Third Sunday Meeting Please join us in the Goins Cafeteria Annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on March 16. By popular request we will continue the DVD lecture series on "Biology and Human Behavior: the Neurobiological Origins of Human Behavior." by Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University.