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13 October 2010 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Essay: The Strengths and Limitations of Science

3. The October Issue of The Peaceable Table is Online

4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback

Gracia Fay writes:

I tabled at two events recently, the Quaker Initiative to End Torture [to humans] conference and a local health conference. Attendance at both was light and I gave away only a handful of booklets, not worth enumerating, but one of the things taken at the health conference was a copy of your Good News book, by a person who was clearly very interested. 

Upcoming Activist Opportunities  

10/19 CA Fresno Tenth Avenue North Christian Rock Concert

10/2010/21 CO Colorado Springs Make A Difference Tour w/ Third Day

10/22 TX Lubbock Third Day Make a Difference Tour 2010

10/22-23 TX San Antonio Women Of Faith Conference

10/22-23 MN St. Paul Women Of Faith Conference

10/23 TX Wichita Falls Third Day Make a Difference Tour2010

10/23 FL Tampa TABLE Central Florida VegFest

10/24 KS Topeka Make A Difference Tour w/ Third Day

10/24 FL Avon Park Jars of Clay with Brandon Heath

10/27 IA Cedar Rapids Make A Difference Tour w/ Third Day

10/28 WI Green Bay Make a Difference Tour Third Day

10/29 OH Dayton Make a Difference Tour Third Day

10/29 IA Decorah Relient K Christian Rock Concert

10/29-30 WA Seattle Women Of Faith Conference

10/29-30 FL Ft. Lauderdale Women Of Faith Conference

10/30 NC Fayetteville Make A Difference Tour w/ Third Day

10/30-31 MA Boston TABLE Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

11/5-6 IL Rockford Extraordinary Women Conference

11/6 VA Lynchburg Tenth Avenue North Christian Rock Concert

11/6 FL Jacksonville TABLE Northeast Florida Veg Fest

11/11 AR Alma Jars of Clay with Brandon Heath

11/19-22 TN Nashville National Youth Workers Convention

11/22-23 MS Tupelo Extraordinary Women Conference

12/9-10 FL Coral Gables Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can to help. To find out about all upcoming leafleting and tabling opportunities in your area, join the CVA Calendar Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christian_vegetarian/  

2. Essay: The Strengths and Limitations of Science

This week, I will explore questions about the ways in which the sciences are true, as well as science’s limitations. That scientific investigation is a powerful tool for understanding the workings of the universe is manifest by humanity’s impressive technological accomplishments. For example, the science of aerodynamics is the basis for flight, and indeed airplanes consistently take off and land as the scientific principles of aerodynamics predict.

One of science’s major strengths rests in that, if practiced properly, it relies on observation rather than authority. In other words, scientific claims are grounded in observable phenomena that all able-bodied humans have the power to observe rather than the pronouncements of one or more persons who claim to have special knowledge to which most people don’t have access. Throughout human history, political and religious leaders have claimed to have divine knowledge and power. Historically, unbridled authority has lent itself to injustice. There have been benign leaders, but political leaders (and their allies among religious authorities) have always been tempted to abuse their power. Recent events in Iran have been only the latest in a timeless series of such events. Those who have questioned policies that have been attributed to the divine have been accused of heresy and, usually, treated brutally. In contrast, if the scientific enterprise is working properly, anyone can dispute a scientific claim with impunity, and people will accept or reject arguments on the basis of objective observation.

That being said, science is a human activity, and human passions influence its practice. Human needs and desires always influence what questions are asked, how they are pursued, and how the data are interpreted. That science in practice doesn’t always live up to science in theory is a reason to be cautious and skeptical of scientific claims, but the general success of science is testimony to how science generally gets things right. Indeed, I think the historical success of science is a major reason that those with power often employ “scientists,” who have the proper scientific credentials, to do “scientific research” to obtain the conclusions that those with power seek. We certainly saw this when the tobacco industry attempted to debunk the smoking-lung cancer connection, and, as best I can tell, we see something similar today in the fossil-fuel industry’s use of scientists to debunk the conclusion held by the vast majority of scientists that humanity is contributing heavily to climate change.

Next week, I want to explore climate change further. Paradoxically, as the scientific evidence mounts, the percentage of people who agree that humanity is contributing to climate change continues to fall. Among those who do agree that climate change is a growing crisis, many seem to think the situation is hopeless. Indeed, the dire predictions of even a few years ago now seem to be relatively optimistic projections. Yet, relatively simple changes in lifestyle – including moving toward a plant-based diet – could have a major affect. Indeed, there is strong evidence that animal agriculture contributes far more to global warming than what the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization calculated, which was 18% of man-made greenhouse gasses.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. The October Issue of The Peaceable Table is Online

Contents include:

* The Editorial, "Strength to Love," deals with the way spiritual disciplines can help us to love both friends and foes--including friends who are acting like foes.

* One of the Reviews describes and evaluates the animated film Legend of the Guardians, which includes both beauty and violence, but finally shows that the strong should not exploit the weak but protect and empower them.

* The Recipe for Crispy Rice Treats will remind you of sweets way back when, and set your mouth to watering.

* Nineteenth-century poet Edwin Arnold, this month's Pioneer who

told the story of the Buddha in his long poem The Light of Asia, was influenced by his subject to give up both hunting and flesh-eating.

To read this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue70.html

Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Daniel, God’s Man in the Field (Part XIII)
http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s24sep89.html  .

Your question and comments are welcome

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