Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

February 2009

Round Table

February 1, 2009, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Roundtable, Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria Annex

(Come early for coffee and fellowship.)

Speaker:  Joe Barnhart, retired Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

Topic: "Nonoverlapping Magisteria" (Do science and religion address exclusive domains?)

Let each domain go about its business and then study each on its own terms. Is religion primarily the individual's emotional experiences and the religious community's self-reinforcing ritualistic behavior? So viewed, the theological claims may be taken as verbal rituals that make no cognitive claims.

Traditionally, however, religions have in fact made strong cognitive claims that produced a wide range of metaphysical theories-from the origin of the universe to the status of a human fetus. I will show how rational thinking went into the development of theology. In short, metaphysics can be rationally debated.

So, where does science enter the picture? I conjecture that science, too, seeks to create metaphysical theories. So, where does it differ from religion? Karl Popper argues for falsifiability as the line of demarcation. If theology is not falsifiable, can it have what I call "simulated falsifiability" of its own?

Children's Program led by Dave Buck:  
The Mitten by Jan Brett
In the story, a boy loses his white mitten in the snow and animal after animal squeezes inside to keep warm. Eventually the mitten can't stretch any more, and the animals are expelled and go about their business. The boy finds his stretched out glove but never knows what happened to it.


Skeptic Book Club
February 8, 2009 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Skeptic Book Club; Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike

"The Virtue of Selfishness," by Ayn Rand
Discussion Leader:  Thomas Knapp

You might be able to download a copy for free.


Third Sunday Meeting

February 15, 2009, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Roundtable, Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria Annex

Speaker: Bob Colins
Topic: My Favorite False Bible Prophecies

Bob is an ex-Christian who has made a thorough study of the errors and contradictions in the Bible, and is writing a series of books on the subject. One of the most fruitful areas of Bob's study is prophecies that are obviously and demonstrably untrue. These are a lot of fun to share with your Bible believing friends or use in letters to the editor, and prove conclusively that the Bible is just what Freethinkers say it is: a collection of myths assembled by a bunch of guys who tried to look like they were getting supernatural help but actually were pretty clueless.

(Come early for coffee and fellowship.)


Digital Cameras needed

Camp Quest in the Smoky Mountains will be providing photography seminar to the campers and could use any of your older digital cameras. If you have an old one in the drawer that doesn't get used because of your nice new one, consider bringing it to any of our meetings and donating it to Camp Quest. Jonas will be collecting them.