Reasonable Doubt

The title segment of the most recent Standing Stone and Garden Gate podcast concerns reasonable doubt. Brendan Myers does an excellent job of explaining the role of doubt in examining and interpreting our beliefs and experiences. The philosophical tools he presents are invaluable in the attempt to live a life of integrity, but I believe their ultimate usefulness is more limited than Brendan apparently does.Brendan talks about the concept of “reasonable doubt,” best known in the criminal legal s … [Read more...]

Pagan Unity

If you aren’t listening to the Standing Stone and Garden Gate podcast, you should be. It’s done by Brendan Myers – a Druid and philosopher, and his partner Juniper – a hedgewitch. It is the most intellectually-oriented Pagan podcast I’ve come across. Brendan and Juniper approach Paganism very differently, and the interplay between them is excellent. The most recent Episode 28 is titled “Reasonable Doubt.” I’ll have more to say about doubt in a future blog post, but today I want to talk about … [Read more...]

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Cat Chapin-Bishop, best known (to me, anyway) for her Quaker Pagan blog, also keeps an environmental blog. Her most recent post concerns her efforts to stop generating plastic waste… efforts that have been less than perfect. I feel the same way at times. I do some very good, very responsible things. I also do some things that aren’t particularly helpful. Does that make me a hypocrite? Cat says “Purity is a pretty trivial obsession, in the context of all the competing demands to do good in t … [Read more...]

Faith vs. Fantasy

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1, KJVI’ve always thought that was a pretty good definition of faith. Perhaps that’s because my father liked to quote that verse and I remember hearing it often… but my father quoted a lot of other scripture I disagreed with both then and now. In any case, it explains that faith is something of substance and is based on evidence. That evidence is not “proof” and it is likely to be subjective and intuit … [Read more...]

Tree Poisoning

Toomer’s Corner Oaksphoto from Jimmy Emerson, used under Creative Commons license One of the reasons I’m a Druid is my love of trees. I grew up with woods literally right outside my back door and I spent countless hours exploring them. Over the years I’ve come to understand that trees are more than just big majestic plants – they’re living, breathing, spiritual beings. If you can sit still and listen you can learn a lot from a tree.And that makes this story all the more disgusting. Someone ha … [Read more...]


The most viewed post in the life of this blog – by an almost 2 to 1 ratio over the second most viewed – is So Mote It Be, a short entry from November 2009. Why, out of all the things I’ve written, is this so popular? The answer, of course, is Google. If you google “so mote it be meaning” this entry comes up on the front page (or at least it does for me). As I recall, when I wrote it there weren’t a lot of good definitions on the internet – apparently enough people like my explanation to drive … [Read more...]

Zen Wisdom

The quote for today on my Zen desk calendar comes from Huang-Po, a Chinese Buddhist master who died in 850 CE.“The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see.”This quote is particularly timely given the last blog entry on presuppositionalism. When we are confronted with evidence that our beliefs are wrong, our first instinct is to deny the evidence. If you repeat something often enough people begin to assume it’s true (as politicians kn … [Read more...]


I am what the English majors in college called a “barbarian engineer” (we called them “unemployed”). I took two philosophy classes: Introduction to Philosophy and Basic Logic – and that was thirty years ago. I’ve done a considerable amount of reading in the social sciences as part of my religious and spiritual quest over the past ten years, but virtually none of it has been in philosophy.So I’m very much out of my element when it comes to this topic I recently discovered. But it’s the answer … [Read more...]