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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)

Beautiful Article about Minding the Earth Dear Editor: “A New Story for Earth” by Mary Ann Percy, in the November/December issue, is one of the best articles that I have ever read. I happened to read it right after our meeting held our second-hour discussion one First Day, concerning what each of us can do to be more mindful of the earth (and promised to try). I think we might discuss this article in another second hour soon. It ties a lot of big questions and big concepts together really well, and it is beautifully written.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Building a Moral Economy from the Ground Up Whether entailing the use of money or other resources, economic transactions allow us the means of subsistence just as they tempt us to excess. It would do us well to remember that the etymological origins of the word “economy” are from the Greek meaning of “managing the household.” A moral economy would be one that manages the “household” of our planet to emphasize mutual care, community health, and a society of sufficiency and sustainability.

On Money (November 2015)

Surmounting Limits in Quakerism When I asked Mary Klein if she would publish an article about the 2016 meeting of Friends World Committee on Consultation, she suggested that I write one for the issue on “Limits.” My initial response was: “Is she kidding?” I was grateful for her offer, but something in me bristles at the word “limits.”

On Limits (May 2016)

Playing Violent Games in Peace In his recent article, “ISIS’s Call of Duty,” Jay Caspian Kang describes similarities between ISIS recruitment films and first-person-shooter games – similarities that are likely intentional (The New Yorker, September 18, 2014). Kang’s article is one of many that play into a larger debate about the role of violent videogames and other violent media in our culture. This debate has continued unresolved for decades, and both sides often succumb to strong emotions and hyperbolic statements. I feel this leads to a shutdown in communication between groups, and that is the issue I would like to address in this article.

On Temptation (November 2014)

Never Too Early We’re tolerant of behavior by a two-year-old that would disturb us greatly if it were displayed by an adult. The behavior of the two-year-old is something we’d normally accept as natural to the condition of a two-year-old. The same behavior in an adult would challenge us to reconcile our ideas about what is natural in adult behavior with the disruptive behavior we see before us. It follows from this that reconciliation among adults might be easier if we learned to see a wider range of behaviors as normal to the human condition, rather than perceiving disruptive behaviors as a sign of moral deficiency or moral misconduct. (Please note that adults who’ve had little contact with very young children might not find it easy to adjust to the behavior of two-year-olds.)

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

On Debt “Honor your father and your mother” can read:  “Honor all those whose actions, since before you were born, far off and up close, have brought you life.” Honor your debts. Celebrate life.

On Debt (July 2021)