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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 us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday Meeting on February 15 in the Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. The presentation originally planned for this date, “The Rise of monotheism in early Israelite society” by Prof. Erin Darby has been rescheduled to March 1. Instead, this coming Sunday we will feature a DVD presentation by Dr. Dr. John Long from the Skeptics Society Distinguished Lecture Series titled “Death, Sex, and Evolution”. In this riveting story about his remarkable discoveries from the Gogo fossil site in the Kimberly district of Western Australia, the Australian paleontologist John Long, now Vice President of Research and Collections at the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, takes us beyond just reconstructing animal morphology and into the realm of restoring ancient behavior. Long drills down deep on how we know what we know about the past, what the boundaries of knowledge are with respect to studying fossils, and how exceptional fossils contribute to reshaping our perspectives on evolution. Dr. Long, the author of the classic books The Rise of the Fishes and Swimming in Stone, compares the Hollywood view of evolution versus the scientific visage of natural history. As well, Dr. Long will explore how complex ideas in science — such as global climate change — are easily dismissed by those who are skeptical of the scientific consensus that global warming is real because the basic level of scientific literacy to begin to understand the problem involves a high level of either multidisciplinary knowledge or a high level of trust in science and how it works.
Posted by risler Feb. 13, 2015
The RET Skeptic Book Club Pleas join us for the February meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee's Skeptic Book Club. NOTE: the Book Club will start meeting at a new venue, Books-A-Million, beginning this Sunday, February 8. The time of the meeting will remain the same, 2:00 p.m. The Books-A-Million store is located at 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. It is in a shopping center located at the Northeast corner of Kingston Pike and Walker Springs Road, next to the Sunrise oriental market. The book for this month is “An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth” by Chris Hadfield. This is an inspirational memoir of space exploration and hard-won wisdom, from an astronaut who has spent a lifetime making the impossible a reality. Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield’s success - and survival - is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst - and enjoy every moment of it. In “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement - and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counter intuitive lessons: don’t visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff. You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth - especially your own. (Amazon Review)
Posted by risler Feb. 06, 2015
RET meeting correction Correction: The first Sunday in February (next Sunday) is February 1, not February 4 as stated in the original reminder for our annual business meeting.
Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee annual business meeting on Sunday, February 1. At this meeting board members and officers will be elected for the coming year. There will be some reports on the past year and discussion about member suggestions for next year. This is your chance to express ideas for the direction in which the group goes in the coming year.
Please contact Aleta Ledendecker (email@example.com or 865-982-8687) if you are interested in being on the board. Officer nominees must have served on the board for at least one year (at any time in the past).
If time permits, we will have an open roundtable discussion on topics of your choice following the meeting.
Goins Building cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.
Nominations can also be made at the meeting.
Posted by risler Jan. 30, 2015
Rationalists Third Sunday Meeting The Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday meeting on January 18 will feature professor John Nolt of the University of Tennessee Philosophy Department speaking on his recent book "Environmental Ethics for the Long Term". This presentation on environmental ethics will consider both contemporary issues and the extent of humanity’s responsibility for life in the distant future. Professor Nolt, is a logician and environmental ethicist. He applies contemporary science, logical analysis, and ethical theory to considerations of ethics beyond the human species and into the far future. Informed by contemporary environmental science, he formulates concrete policy recommendations from carefully justified ethical principles and from speculations concerning the deepest problems of environmental ethics.
Please join us in the Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.
Posted by risler Jan. 15, 2015
RET Skeptic Book Club for January Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee monthly book club meeting on Sunday, January 11, 2:00 pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers on Kingston Pike. The book for discussion is “How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee” by Bart D. Ehrman. New York Times bestselling author and bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church. The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.
A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.
Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God. (Amazon Review)
Posted by risler Jan. 09, 2015
RET First Sunday Meeting Please join us for RET’s first Sunday meeting on December 7.
We will finish the Council for Secular Humanism video about the history of American Freethought. This segment includes discussions of several topics : the rise of Catholicism, challenges to Sunday laws, the Haymarket tragedy, McKinley, the barring of the Truth Seeker publication, Palmer raids, Emma Goldman, the Scopes trial, DeMille (Godless Girl), Mencken, radio evangelism (including plagiarism of Ingersoll), and the decline of freethought between the World Wars. Goins Building cafeteria annex, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.