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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 First Sunday Meeting Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday Meeting on August 2nd in the Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. Our program will feature a discussion of the history and influence of Robert Green Ingersoll (born August 11, 1833). Ingersoll was a lawyer, civil war veteran, political leader, and the foremost orator in the United States during his lifetime. He was noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was, in fact, nicknamed "The Great Agnostic".
Posted by risler July 31, 2015
RET Third Sunday Meeting Martin D. Carcieri, professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University, will speak on "John Rawls and the Right to Die." What would rational, self-interested individuals, equally situated behind a "veil of ignorance" about the details of their own lives, agree to about the right to die?
Perhaps the moment is right for broaching the idea of what we might call prophylactic suicide: the decision of an elderly person to pre-empt the grim reaper and avoid the disabilities of extended life.
This event is at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, July 19, 2015, at Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Cafeteria Annex.
Posted by sharron July 13, 2015
RET Skeptic Book Club for July Please join us for the Sunday, July 12 meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee's Skeptic Book Club, 2:00 pm at Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. The book for our July meeting is “House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again” by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi . The Great American Recession resulted in the loss of eight million jobs between 2007 and 2009. More than four million homes were lost to foreclosures. Is it a coincidence that the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in household debt in the years before the recession—that the total amount of debt for American households doubled between 2000 and 2007 to $14 trillion? Definitely not. Armed with clear and powerful evidence, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi reveal in House of Debt how the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending.
Posted by risler July 10, 2015
RET Third Sunday Meeting Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee Third Sunday Meeting on June 21 in the Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. This meeting will feature a DVD presentation from the Skeptic Society Distinguished Lecture Series. Professor Michio Kaku will give his views on "The Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100". Dr. Kaku takes us on a journey into the future to reveal the revolutionary developments in medicine, computers, quantum physics, and space travel that will forever change our way of life and alter the course of civilization. For example: the Internet will be in your contact lens, you will control computers and appliances via tiny sensors that pick up your brain scans, sensors in your clothing, bathroom, and appliances will monitor your vitals, and nanobots will scan your DNA and cells for signs of danger, allowing life expectancy to increase dramatically. Also, radically new spaceships using laser propulsion may replace the expensive chemical rockets of today, and you may be able to take an elevator hundreds of miles into space by simply pushing the up button.
Posted by risler June 19, 2015
RET Skeptic Book Club Please join us for the Sunday, June 14 meeting of the Rationalists of East Tennessee's Skeptic Book Club, 2:00 pm at Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. The book for our June meeting is “Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World” by Mark Miodowink. Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik constantly asks himself. Miodownik studies objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. In Stuff Matters, Miodownik explores the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor to the foam in his sneakers. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.
Posted by risler June 12, 2015
RET First Sunday Meeting Please join us for the Rationalists of East Tennessee First Sunday Meeting on June 7 in the Cafeteria annex, Goins Administration Building, Pellissippi State Community College, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. RET member Ted Lollis will present a talk titled “New Harmony and the Boatload of Knowledge"
In the winter of 1825-1826, scientist William Maclure and reformer Robert Owen led a boatload of scientists and artists down the Ohio River to colonize New Harmony, Indiana. Another Scot, Frances Wright repeatedly traveled to New Harmony, and founded Nashoba, a colony for freed slaves near Memphis, Tennessee.
Neither colony survived, but Maclure’s scientists and five of Owen’s adult children
remained in New Harmony, and one of them joined Wright during a meteoric career
in New York City. Collectively, they helped bring about vast improvements in education, in labor, in race relations, and in the role which rationalism & science have come to play in our modern society, including the foundations of the US Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution.