The tradition of science – to look at obstacles as problems to be solved – and the religious concept of moral law as the basis of life together could make a peaceful world.
About the Author(s)
James Vail was a scientist by trade but his success in that field left him with the time and resources to serve the Religious Society of Friends in his native Philadelphia and around the world. He worked tirelessly with Philadelphia’s representative meeting, which carried out business for the Yearly Meeting while it was out of session. He also worked with the Friends World Committee for Consultation, traveling to Trinidad, South Africa, and Jamaica with that organization. This all followed the beginnings of his work with the AFSC, with whom he worked in Germany in 1920 and whose executive board he sat upon until his death in 1952. He chaired the Foreign Service Section of that organization for some time.
His success as a scientist was something that he strove to balance with Friends’ testimonies. He rejected the presidency of the American Society of Chemical Engineers during the Second World War because of that organization’s support for the war effort. At the same time, he held such esteem within that organization that the society disrupted their usual pattern of succession and elected him president until after the war. This fit nicely with his own efforts at encouraging his scientific peers to avoid taking a crusading approach to the discipline and instead trying to create a more collegial atmosphere among scientists interested in discovery. This attitude, combined with an awareness of the problems facing a scientist in the twentieth century United States led him to write the essay, which Pendle Hill published as Science and the Business of Living. This publication occurred during the year after James Vail’s death, in 1952.
Pendle Hill Pamphlet #70