Recently, I had an opportunity to learn about the fragility of our country’s current health care system and its social safety net. At the same time, I renewed my appreciation for my community and my Friends meeting.
Gila Friends Meeting reactivated our Peace and Social Concerns Committee a couple of years ago, after several years of inaction. Many “social concerns” had begun attracting our attention, and we wanted to act on them. Then during one of our committee meetings, someone asked about the “peace” part of our mission. What would we do about “peace”? And thus, it began.
Last October, with the help of Friends, friends, and the community college where I teach, Tim Reed and I took the “Compassionate Listening Journey to Alabama.” This is a fantastic trip conducted by the Compassionate Listening Project, a legacy of Quaker peacemaker Gene Knudsen Hoffman, designed to cultivating compassion for ourselves and others.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) is a major military base on the island where I live. One of the noisiest planes in the world is stationed here, the EA-18G Growler. When deployed during bombing missions, the Growler works from an aircraft carrier deck and provides electronic jamming of enemy radar.
Cautious confidence in the scientific process is, I believe, the best perspective. Science is akin to continuing revelation and undermined by groupthink. However, modern science is fundamentally materialistic, and we do not live by bread alone.
I am a Quaker and a scientist. To be more precise, I am a Quaker and a computer scientist. Some would dispute whether my field is a true science, but what I do is pretty scientific, with gathering of empirical data and testing of hypotheses.
[The original version of this article, with footnotes and more detail, is published online at: westernfriend.org/media/toward-science-nonviolent-action-unabridged]