Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter  

July,  2009



What a fantastic solstice party. About 40 people including the kids came out on a hot day and enjoyed each otherÕs company and food. The pool was used immediately, then Bocce ball, then badminton got going once the sun moved closer to setting. Thanks Carl and Aleta for being such fantastic hosts!



News of interest:

Not so much news as it is interesting. IÕve been contacting billboard companies again as we look to attempt to advertise in the area. The message ÒDonÕt believe in God? YouÕre not aloneÓ was too controversial for Lamar advertising and went against the contract another company had with land owners. It was Ôagainst religionÕ.


IÕm usually very upbeat and positive about my secular life in the South. I donÕt run into problems or bigotry. But, hereÕs a clear case where our group is being discriminated against because we donÕt hold certain religious beliefs. IÕm not giving up and we may have some other options if we change our budget or if some of the other companies arenÕt as discriminatory. Just something you might want to know next time you hear a local religious person claim their group is being trampled by all the rest of the U.S.




No Roundtable July 5th


We continue our tradition of keeping this weekend open so members can travel to the annual  Lake Hypatia Independence Day Celebration. Lake Hypatia is a freethought retreat started by the Cleveland family, which deeded property to Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRD) for a southern Freethought Hall, the Atheists in Foxholes monument and many charming touches honoring freethinkers.


The area has a 66-acre campsite area outside of Birmingham, Alabama, operated year-round by the Alabama Freethought Associaion, and made available for the use of freethinkers and their families from around the country. Primitive and RV camping is accommodated. Freethought Hall boasts accessible showers. The piney grounds abut a national forest.


The event starts at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 3 and concludes on Sunday by 3 p.m. For more info, go to http://www.secularseasons.org/july/lake_hypatia.html




Skeptic Book Club

Discussion Leader: Chuck Janack
Sunday, July 12, 4:00 to 6:00pm, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike.


ÒThe Shock Doctrine: The rise of Disaster Capitalism" by Naomi Klein. If you decide to buy the book, please consider clicking on the book on the RET homepage and buying it from Amazon. RET gets money from any products purchased after going through our website first.



Philosophy Sunday
- Through a glass darkly: How 20th century physics changed our concepts of space, time, matter, and causality.


Sunday, July 19, 10:30 - 12:30, Pellissippi State, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria Annex
Discussant: Ralph Isler

In the late 19th century physics was considered by many to be almost a closed subject. Cause and effect in nature were embodied in the two forces of gravity and electromagnetism. Light had proven to be an electromagnetic wave. Most scientists (with some notable exceptions) believed in the existence of atoms; the laws of thermodynamics could be described by the statistical interaction of large numbers of small particles. The universe was eternal and consisted of the Milky Way galaxy. Only a few troubling questions remained, notably: why did calculations of blackbody spectra disagree so drastically with measurements, why couldn't the photoelectric effect be explained by straightforward absorption of energy from light., what was the medium filling space that allowed light to propagate, and what was the structure of atoms. In a few short decades the answers to these questions completely altered our "common sense" perceptions of the universe in which we live.