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Two Crows I’d stopped in the back parking lot to adjust a bike clip and noticed two crows noticing the guy in the apron coming out the back door to dump the garbage. “Lookit that,” the one crow says to his mate, “Opposable thumbs! That is so cool.” His partner picked up a cigarette butt, looked at it, dropped it. “Dude,” she said, “I’ve got opposable thumbs; you’ve got opposable thumbs; what’s the frickin’ big deal?” The other crow looked at her. “Yeh, I got opposable thumbs . . . on my feet!” A half a hamburger slid off the pile, and they both eyed it coolly. Another piece fell.  The first crow went on, [pullquote]“I’ll tell ya what I saw them do this morning that really knocked me out, right there in that intersection.”[/pullquote] They continued their conversation while strolling over to the hamburger.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Dancing with History (review) The title of this book beautifully describes George Lakey’s preferred way to engage with the world: Dancing with History. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir about Lakey’s roots and his path over eighty-four years.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Mountain Time Edifice of rock and ice born of molten silicates       thrust from below the earth’s rocky skin, built of clouds of rock ash and rivers of liquid stone, patiently etched by streams of ice fed by winter storms.

On Science (November 2022)

On Science The allegory of the cave, attributed to Socrates by Plato in The Republic (375 BCE), depicts human knowledge as emerging from a struggle between our senses and our reason. In this story, prisoners are chained inside a cave so that they are only able to see one wall. A fire behind them projects shadows onto the wall, and all the prisoners’ knowledge derives from those shadows, known through their senses.

On Science (November 2022)

Revolutionary Nonviolence Dear Editor: I was delighted to see an article about Lawrence and Viola Scott and their Quaker activities in the “Pages for All Ages” section of the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend.

On Science (November 2022)

Sociocracy Dear Compassionate Listening Community: Our facilitators have been gathering for brave, courageous meetings, to practice what we preach: listening and speaking from the heart. During a recent meeting, one of our facilitators said, “You can’t dialogue with someone that you can’t hear!” Our practices are not easy. . . We all know how hard it can be to listen to someone when we are feeling deeply triggered. It takes skill and courage!

On Science (November 2022)

Scientific and Moral Reasoning 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.

On Science (November 2022)

Dielectric Here is a strange simile: God is like the parallel plates of a capacitor, and we are the molecules of dielectric between them.

On Science (November 2022)

Please Do Not “Believe in” Science 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.

On Science (November 2022)