Quaker physicist George Ellis on science and ethics4

The prominent Quaker scientist on differences between empirical methods and ethics: “Attempts to explain values in terms of neuroscience or evolutionary theory in fact have nothing whatever to say about what is good or bad. That is a philosophical or religious question. And they cannot for example tell you, from a scientific basis, what should be done about Israel or Syria today. That effort would be a category mistake.”

Friends Journal looking for poetry editor

In case you missed it in our social media announcements, Friends Journal is looking for a new volunteer poetry editor. We’ve only had one person in this role, the wonderful Judith Brown, who started back in 1995. I interviewed her a few years ago and she shared how the position came about:

I had submitted some poems, and [then-publisher Vint Deming] said quite informally, “You know we really don’t have anybody to handle the poetry here at Friends Journal. Would you like to do it?”

And that was that. The position has evolved quite organically over the 18 years Judith held it. Every other month we would have Skype or phone conference calls where we just rambled on about poetry! Wow. 

The work of our poetry editor shouldn’t be an overwhelming responsibility for someone who is moderately organized and loves poetry. Submissions are distributed electronically. We get about 100 submissions a year (some percentage of which are….relatively easy decisions). I’d like to keep the every-other-month Skype calls, at least as we all settle in. The biggest job will be sending out correspondence to poets. I’m estimating it might all take about 10-15 hours per month but a lot depends on the person and how much they want to put into the work. I’m very mindful that it’s a volunteer position and I don’t want to encourage burnout.

More information about the job is at http://fdsj.nl/poetryeditor

If there’s any questions, feel free to hit me up in the comments.

A Quaker looks at assisted dying4

Jill Seeger @quakerpen looks at the moral complexities around a “good death”: “The question of what constitutes a ‘good death’ and how we deal with the issues around end-of-life suffering are complex. Not least, I think, because we are still emerging from reacting to death as our Victorian forebears did to sex. We are still close enough to the sense of something taboo to have a residual uneasiness which hobbles our discourse.”

How should I work for peace?4

Secret Quaker explores the options for pacifist action: “It would seem ironic that it is so easy to campaign for peace in a very aggressive way. Shouting down someone who has a different opinion, vilifying an individual because they seem an obvious target or throwing bricks at the police, has never seemed to me as very different from eliminating your opposition in battle.”