Rationalistsof East Tennessee Newsletter

July 2008


July 6, 2008 Until early afternoon

Lake Hypatia Advance

Trip to Lake Hypatia Advance in Alabama
July 4-6,2008

For years, some members of RET have traveled to Lake Hypatia, in Alabama,during the July 4th weekend, to attend the annual freethought conference.

You, too, may be interested in attending.

More information is available at:



July 13, 2008 ; 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Book Club; Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike

"Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War "

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War by Joe Bageant isan analysis of "The Heartland" mentality by one who grew up there. He provides important insights into the religous rightwing working class.

He presents a clear picture of why liberals are not liked by this group. Healso relates their strengths and their weaknesses. He is a liberal who pointsout the ignorance of liberals in relation to this group, a group that thinksthat it is the middle class but isn't. He provides answers as to why they voteagainst their own best interest and how the right manipulates them.

It is an entertaining and sometimes emotional journey.


July 20, 2008 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

"Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps"

Michael Lance will give a talk on the philosophy of Daniel Dennett and how heuses metaphors to explain philosophical concepts or to 'pump' our intuition.

Dennett is a well-know author and philosopher.
Center for Cognitive Studies
University Professor
Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy
Tufts University


From Pique, Newsletter of the Secular Humanist Society of New York, July 2008

The folowing quoted excerpts are from "The lesson of Gilgamesh" byGeorge Rowell.

The author notes that the story of "Gilgamesh" "distinguishes itfrom later Middle Eastern myths." Noting that "Gilgamesh finds theplant of  immortality, but a serpent steals it form him, and he learnsthat death is the ultimate reality for all men an women.

'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life thatyou seek. When the gods created mankind they also created death, and they heldback eternal life for themselves alone. Humans are born, they live, then theydie, this is the order that the gods have decreed. But until the end comes,enjoy life, spend it in happiness, not despair.'" (Translation by StephenMitchell)

Often the reasons for religion include a need for an afterlife but this has notbeen (and is still not in some places) necessarily the way humans think. So, weshouldn't feel that this is an insurmountable barrier to a naturalistic liveculture.

As the author, Rowell states, "... the Enlightenment, humanism, and themodern scientific worldview will never go away now: they are too powerful inour modern world. Many people are probably more humanist than they realize, andscience continues to advance our knowledge of the previously unknown, both onthe microscopic and macroscopic levels, from prions to multiverses."