Bare Bones Biology 364 – Population

While Bitsy ate this morning I converted a mess of watts into hot coffee, which seems important on a cold day on the mountaintop, and I’m now watching a young rabbit hop tentatively down the hill toward our cabin.


The massive numbers of young of other species that share our canyon ecosystem are spreading out to occupy the land; to find their place in the story of Life before the night-time expands and the daytime contracts to a white, shivering shadow of its summer self; and the living is hard.


Now, just going into September, the canyon is a study in cute. Cute baby lizards, frogs and toads; moving threads that metamorphose, when you almost step on them, into tiny garter snakes with big heads; bunnies; rock squirrels; stilt-walking turkeys. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of deer or elk this fall, but now this young bear has come to the canyon and walks right on through the yard as though he owns the place. Maybe he does. Is he looking for his winter cave? Not in my shed I hope. Probably I should make a door for it.

Most of the birds have flocked up and are leaving which, in a nature-evolved landscape, makes good sense, but in a world where man believes that he knows better than nature, migration has more than the normal dangers, and yet greater because they are invisible. Pesticides, detergents, and all that stuff that owes its existence to oil wells. It seems like every year fewer return, for this is a Biosystem in decline.


Bitsy and I came back yesterday from a difficult trip to Santa Fe where we listened (through a lovely audio device provided by the venue, missing not a word, it’s much better than my hearing aids) to Dr. Geoffrey West (2017) describe his recent work that centers around the mathematics of growth.


This may be the first time I’ve come away from a math story wishing that I could, in addition to understanding the story, also carry the mathematics further into the areas where it overlaps my own recent work. Mathematics – in spite of being cold and abstract and generally aloof from the Life that I study — has some important advantages, and the first is you don’t need to haul around a wet-lab in your backpack. The second is that it apparently puts us in touch with our universal realities at the most basic level that is possible. But of course one must understand the language, and mathematics, like any other language, can cause catastrophic problems if we mis-use it. For example if our assumptions and conclusions are based on some dogma rather than on factual reality. So another advantage of math is that the results can be tested against factual reality using physical experiments. The scientific method. Or straight statistics.

Now that I’m motivated, I don’t quite know how to go about learning the language. Start in the middle and work toward both ends? I already did the timeses.


It was a good trip, in spite of the summer smog of Santa Fe; probably all the worse for the hurricane gathering in the Gulf; and the toxic perfume, pesticide, detergent auras that city people carry around with them wherever they go.


The lecture was fine, and better yet Dr. West is one of Time’s one-hundred most influential people of last year, and best of all his most important mathematical points perfectly coincide with a couple of my most important assumptions (!) for which I have (had) essentially no statistical support, not having a wet lab or the math.


I can do that, now I am retired. I can tell you my conclusions from a lifetime of thinking and asking questions. That’s what retirement is for, to describe the wisdom that hides within the facts that “they” won’t publish without data (and rightly so, the scientific method is important). I can tell what I have learned — if I know the difference between a conclusion and a fact, and I know why it is important.



I have always been deeply frustrated by reductionist science: “Reducing downward is vastly easier than explaining upward.” (Johnson. 1999, page 9). Reductionist documentation of data is very much easier than drawing valid holistic conclusions from the data.


Of course it is – emergent properties (Part One, Chapter 06) are usual and normal and by definition unpredictable. But the holistic conclusions are so much more beautiful.


Easy or not, my scientific questions and insights have always leaned toward holistic observations that bring their intrinsic beauty to the data. Perhaps because such insights tell me to beware of our corposystem worldview when it tells us that human technological power is more important than biological wisdom – or even biological facts — now that we are hooked on the fact-based technology rather than the survival message that they carry.


For a couple of hours in that auditorium in Santa Fe, I felt like myself again, opening up my brain to input from a good and competent speaker who shares my interest in subjects that most people don’t want to talk about.


And then Bitsy and I drove back in the dark to the new trailer, slept a few hours and got up to finish the shopping and drive on home in the smog that hovered over the whole length of the Chama River Valley, from it’s mouth in Española at least to Chama, and who knows, maybe all the way to the Chama Basin wilderness area in Colorado. The air in Cebola was nearly as yellow as that in Santa Fe, but we were forging ahead OK until a road block stopped us within a swirling cloud of hot asphalt smoke and kept us there for 30 or 40 minutes.


I don’t know of any ordinary thing that is more damaging to the old brain cells than asphalt fumes, and by the time we gratefully left the evil cloud behind, I thought we might not make it all the way back without me passing out, and there are not very many places to safely stop and sleep it off for a day or two between Cebola and anywhere else. At least not with food and electricity, which I do prefer.


So ASAP we turned left, over the Continental Divide and down the other side to our own little canyon, where we pulled to the side of the road, turned off the engine, leaned back the drooping head and let the heavy eyelids relax. Safe now, no hurry, and before dark we carried on into the clean air of the canyon.


Breathing, breathing, breathing. Should not be a privilege for those who can afford it, but that is politics and my job as a Chaplain to the Biosystem and as a one little naturally evolved system is to perpetuate myself so that I can do the work, without contributing more bad than good to the welfare of the Biosystem. To find a way to perpetuate myself via a win-win relationship with the Biosystem, rather than a win-lose relationship required for success within the corposystem. I’ve done both. Now I look to the future of humankind within the Biosystem.


Just a bit more time to share what has been gifted to me. Not more human bodies, babies, victims of our egoistic selfishness, into a world of ever more human suffering, but the information that has created Life itself, and is the greatest form of human power (Everett, 2017, Prologue; Part One, Chapter 03).


That contribution will focus on Book 25, Evolution for Citizens of the Biosystem.



Part One of Book 25 is probably finished. Finished !!     In part one, I describe the essence of how systems hang together. How that reality is different from the corpo-technology world view whose motto was the inaccurate meme: “Survival of the Fittest.” A blatant and unsustainable win-lose philosophy. Fun when you are the winner, at least in in the moment, but catastrophic for everyone else.  Part One is dedicated in honor of Father John Dear and Roshi Joan Halifax.


Part One brings together some background information that most of us have heard before in bits and pieces, but few have heard as interconnected and essential to understanding of Life as a naturally evolved complex adaptive system.


Very few of us actually seem to think like naturally evolved citizens of the Biosystem. We once did, of course. The old cultures understood Life systems. Life is the culmination of naturally evolved systems, the great work of creation science. Greater than the stars, even, and the early humans understood how this works, relative to their own lives, though they didn’t know the technical details. Now we have reversed that paradigm.


Nowadays, to the detriment of our understanding, more than half of us are raised in cities, where we learn to believe that humans are at the top of the systemic pecking order and that systems are not natural, nor evolved, but created in the mighty mind of the man-god, who can “fix” anything so that it functions in the way that he believes it should.


Such nonsense.   But most of us believe it without thinking at all. It’s part of our world view. Knee-jerk. City folk, anyhow.


Dr. West seems to believe that the human city is the epitome of systemic human development. He didn’t exactly say so, and could very well have been hinting at “devil’s advocate.” Either way, I expect that idea is wrong, based on his own summarized data that clearly shows how cities do NOT function sustainably, but rather more like mini-overpopulation events.


As far as I can tell, we are now believing in the mathematics of overpopulation, without regard to the biology of overpopulation.   I did read Murray Gell-Mann’s book, and I remember him, as a mathematician and physicist, repeating, over and over, that the mathematics (the speculative model) must represent nature.

And in addition “they” are now trying to tell me that overpopulation is “not a problem” because it is leveling out (apparently as described by demographers; as far as I know demographers study humans, not biological systems). To me, idea that we should use any human concept, mathematical or otherwise, without first testing it against reality, or that we should use the entire human species as our experimental model, is appalling. The corposystem quit funding population studies after about two of them gave results the contradict the corposystem’s most prominent emergent characteristic – growth for gain. What the corposystem won’t fund should make its micro-components stop and think, given that the prime function of any naturally evolved complex adaptive system is to perpetuate itself.


To this observer, it is clear, evident and obvious that overpopulation is a problem, and the “wait and see” excuise carries with it some extremely naïve false assumptions. False assumptions are built into world views. It’s our job to tease them out. For example: 1) that conditions twenty years from now will be essentially the same as they are now; 2) that reality is homo-centric, driven by human behavior rather than the Biosysem response to such behavior; 3) that the Biosystem is merely a background for our activities, rather than the other way around; and 4) that the big one, that humans can control nature.


The changes predicted by demographers (or anyone else) will NOT arise somehow from the mind of man and its ability to understand complex adaptive systems.   They will not. They cannot. They will arise from the “mind” of the far more complex complex adaptive system known as the Biosystem. The “mind” that is created by the functional interactions of billions of links and nodes, analogously to the interactions of neurons in the human brain.



What I know is that we cannot predict the changes that will arise in the “mind” of the Biosystem, using mathematics or any other measure, because we are ignorant of most of the functions of naturally evolved systemic interactions, and we have no way to predict their emergent properties.


I don’t need to know the math to understand that, and neither do you. Though I would still like to learn the math. Maybe I could point out some of the false assumptions enshrined within, given that my mind is no longer corposystem compliant.


Humans are not the center of Life, no more than the Earth is the center of the solar system, and we can’t make it be so with mathematics or religion or technologies. It is what it is, and we have at least three choices remaining: 1) fight with it, that is fight to control natural law as we are doing now; 2) sit on our duff and do nothing, which, I agree, is less likely to cause terminal damage if we could make everyone do it: 3) collaborate with the Life of Earth by removing the cause of its dis-ease. The cause well known beyond doubt. There are more people living on earth now than the earth can feed without destroying the links and nodes of itself.


We forget to our peril that the corposystem motto is: “Play now, pay later.” We forget that, when any overpopulation curve levels out, that means now is “later,” that is the beginning of the crash, and it will get a lot worse and very likely never get better if we break so many of the living links that hold together the Biosystem that she is forced to start over again from the beginning, as has happened more than once before (Sutherland, 2013).


We can not change how cause and effect works by ignoring the fact that WE DON’T KNOW HOW IT WORKS, and mathematics can’t tell us how it works at the level of emergent holistic properties of the systems functioning together to generate Life.   See Lewin (1992, page 125, a short discussion of the “Humpty Dumpty Effect.”)   It is the species that we are extincting, mostly unawares, that do the recycling that makes possible the emergent property of Life. In fact, that make Life (and our life) possible. We don’t know how they do it.


In short, the corposystem, including all its technologies, is a Ponzi scheme. Life is not. That seems to be what West (2017) has shown by giving us graph after graph of the properties of Life and then showing the extreme difference between that reality and the graph of exponential (Ponzi) growth, both of the human population and of cities. The latter will crash; the former are sustainable.


It is also what ecologists have been saying for as long as there have been ecologists.


The difference between the overpopulation graph (curve) that is generated by human technologies (including cities as technologies) – between human technologies and naturally evolved systems is apparently about efficiency – it surely must involve the ways in which nature selects FOR systemic interactions (exchanges of information) that are sufficiently efficient to be sustainable. Whereas the corposystem only cares about what works NOW to make money (growth now: crash later)

The solution to our overpopulation problem is nowhere near as simplistic as any of the excuses I have heard for not reducing our populations, as compassionately as possible, and thus massively reducing the suffering now and especially the suffering to come — of humans and other sentient beings.


The solution cannot be simply what we think of as recycling, because we are part of a system composed of systems, and the recycling is not done by the person(s) or the individual system that uses the resources, but by ALL THOSE OTHER SPECIES that we are destroying by – essentially by eating them up – by using their ecosystems to feed our growth. It’s apparently about trophic levels and niches and the relationships AMONG SYSTEMS that we barely understand, more than about the study of A SYSTEM, such as we envision homo-centrically. As we overgraze our resources, that is destroy them, we are the oroborus that eats itself until nothing is left.


The “wait and see what happens” play now pay later solution is appalling.


But that’s only my own educated opinion. You should read the book, Scale, by Geoffrey West. Great title, sounds like a murder mystery. Good book.

Part Two of my book 25 (Evolution for Citizens of the Biosystem) describes some of the major components of the system of Life in an effort to imagine how they work together so that no one thing is in charge — no one link or node or process or natural law, but the entire reality functions to protect the sustainability of the whole of Life.


Part Three will be dedicated in honor of impacts on my own life, to Margie Carter, Tibby Russell, and Yoko Kawa. Because this is a very personal book, part three is about humans, personally, and it is interesting to me that I awoke this morning realizing that these three people, at critical times in the flow of my life, shaped the stream – upstream actually – to the top of this mountain, and here I am, me and Bitsy and this cutest of little brown bears that is obviously b/b in genotype, and the stream of Life of which we are a part, and its genotype is a part, that have been flowing through time from the beginning of Life (or almost the beginning in the case of the brown genotype), composed of energy/mass and information for four or five billion years of the Life of Earth.


Dr. West did not talk about information. Someone asked the question. Too difficult to measure. He is right, it very likely explains everything else that we dldn’t already know, but what we do know is enough to resolve the root cause of our plethora of problems.


Part three of book 25 will be entitled “What can we Do?” Meaning what can we as individuals do to help sustain this entire, overpowering community of communities, given that we are only one micro-component of the whole. I was asked that question hundreds of times after I became an activist (in those days, that was our excuse for not doing the obvious, as recommended by The Dalai Lama for one, “find the cause and fix it.”


I respond to the excuses as they come along, maybe I’ll share my list in Part Three, but at that time I was trying to explain that naturally evolved systems will fall apart, actually “adapt” themselves beyond repair, if the balance among the myriad parts exceeds the capacity of the interacting links and nodes of the system to hang together. “What can we do?” the question, whether it is meant as a put-down or an intellectual query, it’s just another excuse to avoid taking responsibility for our responsibilities to the whole. Just one more among the many, many facts, fictions and fairy-tales that we humans use to avoid challenging our own toxic world views. Or I should rather say the toxic links of our naturally evolved complex adaptive world views. The power struggle between what we want and the reality of how Life functions to stay alive.


And Life itself is the most magnificent of the creations of our universe, so why are we struggling against its nature? Why don’t we go with the flow of our destiny within the miracle of the Creation? It seems to me, both in the poetic sense and from the technical perspective, that we as individuals and as a species, what we are truly struggling for, is our birthright, and I doubt very much if we will find it in our power struggles, unless we have a clearly defined world view that aligns with the factual reality of how Life functions, and then we can find a way to wrap our individual and collective behaviors around that world view.

Power struggles, that is dominational power struggles; generally do not solve problems. Rather, they create conflict that is perpetuated by the world views that they initiate, re-generate and pass down through the generations (Eagleman, 2015; Everett, 2017).

Dominational power struggles, as espoused by the corposystem “ethic” ( growth by domination for gain), function to energize and re-affirm the win/lose relationships of our dominational culture. The corposystem perpetuates itself in large part by generating power struggles among its own micro-components that energize the system. The system they energize is not sustainable because it is based in a flawed Ponzi ethic, and the result is that the never-ending power struggles create the entropy that ultimately will destroy the system from the inside out,


Prof. Seth Lloyd might use an exploding supernova star as an example of a naturally evolved system that can no longer maintain itself, in a markedly analogous fashion, when the balance among its parts cannot be maintained. (


The function of a naturally evolved system is to maintain itself. Power struggles maintain the dominational corposystem ethic. It is the over-all corposystem system maintaining itself. That’s what nataurally evolved systems do, and that is only one reason that we do not want to empower our dominational system. Another reason is that nobody wins in the end, when a Ponzi system crashes.


Win-lose is not abnormal in nature (see Chapter 03 and part 02, where I explain that nature responds to its environment by changing the structure of the systems of which it is composed), but “survival of the fittest” is simplistic to the point of inaccuracy and is contrary to natural sustainability – to the real nature of how all of nature evolved, as best we can know right now. By “we” I mean everything from the big-bang onward; I mean really and basically how nature itself functions.


Win-lose relationships between a system and its environment, and within its self, are normal in times of change, if the behavior of the system becomes misaligned with the survival needs of its environment. Successful systems realign themselves toward a win-win relationship with their environment – or they are eliminated. Evolution functions by retaining systems that contribute to the welfare of the whole. That is, creation in nature favors win-win.


What we need to remember, is that the environment “knows” what it needs and we do not “know better.” It “knows,” in fact, in a way that is analogous to how a brain “knows” (Eagleman, 2015) The knowing is built into the structures and behaviors of the naturally evolved system itself. If we genuinely want to survive, as a species within the Biosystem, the first question we must ask in NOT: “What can we do?” The first and most important question is: “What does the Biosystem require of us?” because that is how Life stays alive, and we are a part of that Life. We cannot enable the welfare of the Biosystem if we won’t even ask that question before we apply our corposystem win-lose power. “What do you need? What can we do to help you?”


Perhaps we need to reduce carbon dioxide output; perhaps we need to be more efficient; but that will not be enough. Perhaps we need to leave some ecosystems alone so that the Earth can heal herself. One of the most horrifying visions I have heard on the web was of an Earth completely blanketed by small permaculture farms. Completely dominated by the will of man who doesn’t even understand how it functions to stay alive. For a more rational vision see Wilson, 2016. Those of us who were raised in the corposystem, especially in the cities, will see this vision homocentrically, but the Life of Earth that is our own life probably will not concur.


Perhaps it would be best to just simply support the Biosystem in its own task of maintaining the intricately interactive naturally evolved, incredibly complex (beyond the capacity of any computer to emulate) relationships that balance the billions of functions of Life so that all the interacting partners benefit from the relationships.


To support the Biosystem’s efforts to recover by reducing our own populations as quickly and as compassionately as possible, rather than waiting until the Biosystem does it for us. Without the compassion.


We cannot successfully tell our environment what it must do to align itself with our wants. Or, of course we can tell it, using our behaviors to communicate our attitudes, but it will do what naturally evolved systems have done from the beginning of our universe. It will do whatever it can to perpetuate itself.


It might be possible, if we put our naturally evolved minds to the task, to understand what is required of US – NOT what we want to force the Biosystem to do, but what we must do if we ever decide to survive within the Biosystem as it has given us the life to do.


Because all behaviors have consequences within the Biosystem. Waiting around to see what happens is a behavior. It is an experiment, using people as our laboratory animals. (Other people, we hope.) It would never pass our guidelines for treatment of laboratory animals, let alone the children we are creating as part of the experiment. It is not an experiment that a sane person would espouse, given that we know the cause of the problem without doing the experiment or the math. The root physical cause of our plethora of modern problems is that there are more people on Earth than the Earth can feed without destroying itself.



This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of

The podcast can be opened, after tomorrow, at:


Eagleman, David. 2015. The Brain; The Story of You. Vintage


Everett, Caleb. 2017. Numbers and the Making of Us. Harvard University Press.

Johnson, 1999. Strange Beauty; Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in Twentieth-Century    Physics.  Vintage.


Gell-Mann, Murray, Nobel Prizewinner, The Quark and the Jaguar, 1994. A.W.H.Freeman/Holt Paperback. This fine, authoritative, and challenging book, written by a Nobel Prize winner, is available at the Chama Library.


Sutherland, Stuart. 2013. A New History of Life. The Teaching Company, Course Number 1520.


West, Geoffrey. 2017. Scale. Penguin Books.


Wilson, Edward O. 2016. Half-Earth: Our planet’s fight for Life . W. W. Norton

Bare Bones Bology 363 – Community Revisited I

“Community” is a term that we fling around, along with “educating women” and “compassion,” and “overpopulation” — growth or degrowth — and “patriotism,” “rule of law,” as though any one of these social “solutions” might save us from our own excess.


Community is not so simple as that. Neither are any of those other world views, but I want to talk about community, because each world view gives rise to communities, each of which rallies around the flag of a common world view.


A community is a system. A naturally evolved system (each community, of course, being uniquely individual in some ways, and similar to all such systems in other ways). Community is probably our best answer to most of our biggest problems, but it is not a simple answer to anything.


Please read that sentence again and do not accuse me of “dumping on” anything. I do not adhere to the corposystem ethic that tells us that it is necessary to “win” anything (thus creating losers) in order to accomplish our goals. What I want is that we should consider ALL the parameters, especially the down side of everything we choose to do, so that we have a likelihood of long-term success.


This is why I spend so much of my activism energy in pointing out downsides. I hope to help save the communities that I think have the most power to carry us    successfully over this final threshold of human survival on the Living Earth. That is a definition of wise compassion. Wise, nonviolent compassion toward all of humanity. Mostly, humanity is merely offended by my compassionate efforts. However, that is not my problem. I do as I say, which is to give at least as much attention to the downsides of our actions as to the up sides. I do not lie about factual reality.


So, in my opinion, community is the most important special quality of humankind, after our super brain and our ability to share information. Humankind is characterized by its need for community, and I think it is instinctive, that is inherited in the DNA, a physical need, and so it is well worth discussing the upsides and the downsides of community itself, as a universal factual reality.


Speaking up-side and down-side, both together, what do we know about communities as naturally evolved systems? Naturally evolved, complex adaptive systems.


A system is a group of things (nodes), connected by processes/actions/energy/information that I will refer to as links. The links connect the nodes, and all work together to generate and sustain some special quality that has value to their environment. The basic function of a naturally evolved system is to sustain itself.


Importantly, we find that there is generally no center to a system. Often or usually there is a core of dense interactions, surrounded by a “halo” of peripheral interactions (Seth Lloyd –, but not one specific central node (thing). This means there usually is nobody to blame when the system goes off balance or when it cannot sustain its balance among the other systems. This is frustrating, because there is no individual entity that can “fix” it for us. We must take care of ourselves, together, collaboratively, and in my opinion that is the function of our communities, and one way our communities do this for us is to conform themselves to the reality of Life as it is on Earth at any given time and place.


If we humans have a problem (indeed we do) then it is very important that we analyze the underlying flow of information that informs and sustains the system. If the “problem” has a center or if it does not have a center, that makes a difference in how we respond to the problem. A systemic problem, for example might be a failure of communication within the system or between systems.


Instead of a center, or a neat hierarchy, systems, at least naturally evolved systems – we can think of the internet as an example — they have millions of links and nodes, all joined in intricate self-sustaining patterns by information that flows between and among them in the form of behaviors (including rules of operation), processes and sustaining interactions between themselves and their environments.


We who are focused on the common welfare, we who have a deep desire to bring healing to others, we often jump on one or other bandwagon/worldview, system of perceiving the world, such as those mentioned above (compassion, war, community, population, etc.) each of which consists of a system – a world view that is supported by its catchy memes. We believe in the systems because they represent our worldviews and we express them using appropriate memes, because the memes also make good sense. They do. The memes are logical within, and reinforce, the world view of the systems they represent, in the same way that a flag, or a protest sign, represents its accompanying world view.


The logic within the world views of activists working around each of these focused systems (compassion, Christianity, Islamic or Christian fundamentalism, technology), the logic does make good common sense within the system, and that logic expresses itself, in part, in memes. Thus each meme carries with it the world view from which it grew, and the logic is clear to the people who were raised in that system. When we share the memes among ourselves, we don’t have to think. Not about what the words actually say or imply in our time and place. What we do think about is the reality of the things we care about. And we can feel good about ourselves among our companions, all of whom understand the things we care about.

For all these reasons, memes are very useful for building community around conditions as they were, and they are more or less biologically designed to do just that. However, conditions are not always as they were. The difficulty arises when the conditions of our environment change. Then we must call upon our special human brain – the analytical part of it – for some deep thinking about the things we care about. Otherwise, the memes, flags and worldviews of the past may not lead us toward a positive future. Positive in this context refers to behaviors that are beneficial to us.


For example, the concept of growth, and in fact our entire political system, were built in a time of plenty when there were plenty of resources to accomplish the growth. This is no longer true. The Earth can no long supply resources for human growth without damaging its resource base, with the result that now, when we try to grow, the only way to do it is by “eating the seed corn.” Perhaps we can think of our current problems as though the Earth were trying to rid itself of the communities of belief that are no longer positively contributing to the whole and replace them with other human or nonhuman communities that can contribute to the welfare of the Life of Earth.

All human communities have their bases in historic and biological facts. Facts are, by definition, realities that humans cannot change.


We cannot just decide one day that we don’t like the community we are in and change the facts around to make it different. We might move to a different community, or do something that changes ourselves, but we can’t change facts, neither facts of history nor the laws of physics, mathematics and biology. Our effort to eliminate what was and “start over again” to make it better, can’t possibly work effectively in the short term, because all those thousands and millions of links and nodes that have already evolved – they all work together to sustain the system as it is now, or was yesterday.


Communities evolve, like any naturally evolved system, from the causes and effects of whatever happened before, and the natural laws that generate and maintain all naturally evolving systems. Systems can be modified, but they only “start over” after the crash, and even then, the crash itself becomes a factual part of the history of that community that cannot be changed.   A negative fact.


And yet, nearly every human community is trying to grow a future for the children and grandchildren “unto the seventh (or seven hundredth) generation to come.” (Oren Lyons


That task requires more than a bandwagon and a catchy meme. It requires deep consideration of the facts that we cannot change, and a broad understanding of what we can change, and especially it requires a mature analysis of the potential down side as well as the up side of whatever we do to bring about the change.


In a system, because it is a system:

  1. Everything is connected to everything else (more or less strongly). Every “thing” is a node, or a connecting-place in the system. Your computer, for example, can be thought of as a node in the internet.


A community is also a system. You are a node, a connecting place, within your community(s). You are linked to the other parts of your community by information transfer. Information is transferred by words, images, stories, body language, and also by all of our behaviors including the tools we use, processes, smells and all the things that we do.


  1. Every communication (transfer of information) is a link between your computer and (more or less) every other node in the internet.


All of your behaviors (etc.) are links between you and the other systems and nodes in your enviroment. Your environment consists of other systems and nodes.


  1. Every communication that impacts the system has both good and bad results. Every good communication from your computer is bad for some node(s) out in cyberspace.


To quote Joseph Campbell, “everything we do is bad for somebody.” (Campbell, Joseph and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, PBS, DVD)


Every good deed that we do also has also a downside. Every glass is BOTH half full AND half empty, and if we ignore the empty half, either half, we are asking for trouble, because the more we understand the consequences of our behaviors, the better able we are to survive.


Survival must be one of the major functions of community, or we humans would not always find a way to band together in naturally evolved communities that help us to survive. Culture. Common values for the common welfare. Cultures of fear, cultures of hatred, cultures of compassion. These arise from the facts of life: 1 -The facts that are studied by physicists, mathematicians and biologists that determine how energy and the transfer of information drive community; and 2 – the facts of history. Facts that we cannot change. Facts to which we must adapt or die.

For humans, our cultures, our communities, our religions, our stories, are the memory-base of our facts of Life. We are designed to physically implant these cultural memories into the nodes and links (neurons and synapses and neurotransmitters) of our brains (Eagleman, 2015), and they stay there, or not, depending on our lifetime experiences, until we raise up our babies whose blank little brains (blank except for their genetic legacy of instincts) incorporate the same information and carry it on to the following generation.


When our environments change dramatically, we experience culture shock, and whether this is a good or a bad experience, it takes about a year to begin successfully to adjust our worldview and our behaviors (rearrange the links) to the new environmental realities. A year to inscribe a new logic into our brains so that we can operate with a degree of comfort in the new or changed environment. Physically inscribe it into the links and nodes of our brains.


Our environment molds us metaphorically like the proverbial lump of clay, or the blank slate. We start out with essentially only instincts, implanted by our common human physical evolution. We end up with opinions, woven inseparably among the instincts and directing our behaviors, which are our links with our environments. Our environments are physically, literally the other half of what we are. Both our birthright world view and its continuing change throughout our lives.


And our culture of fear, or hate, or compassion – or a wisdom that recognizes the reality of all these things – that fact-based history is passed on to the next generation, automatically, by the system that is us, it grows and is maintained within our communities, within the whole of Life.


And our worldview determines our behaviors, and our behaviors are the links between ourselves and the other naturally evolved systems of Life.


Our ideal communities consist of people who have the same cultural stories as each other.

These are the stories that explain the logic of our environment(s). Stories of fear, stories of hatred, stories of compassion. If I had such a community, it would understand me, help to generate my belief systems, empower my view of good and evil and my self-image, and support me to the grave.


The fact that you and I do not have those things is nobody’s fault, and we can be immensely grateful to the people who can see these gaps in our lives and try to fill them. The fact that they cannot fully succeed, that nearly all of us will lack the ideal community, is nobody’s fault. It is a function of our style and time in Life, that we live in a time of rapid change that is the physical and biological result primarily of five or six (more or less) millennia of human overpopulation that has unbalanced us and the millions, probably billions of other systems that make up the Life of Earth, and the fact that we chose to respond to the warnings given to us by the various biological Limiting Factors that stood in the way of our further overgrowth by trying to dominate our own other half, our environment, rather than align our communities with it.


And so we have been at war with ourselves for all these millennia, and that cannot go on forever, because once we choose war we have rejected the other possibility, which is collaborative, win-win relationships.


Now is the time that we must choose again, and our choices now are neither romantic nor desirable.


We can not change our instincts, but we can change our opinions, and our opinions direct our behaviors, with which we communicate with our environments. We are capable of saving ourselves by changing ourselves, because our behaviors arise from our opinions and we are all capable of wisdom if that is the path we choose.


Change always generates crises, and in a time of crisis wise choices are even more important. We live in a very complex and rapidly changing environment. In times of rapid change, the environment (our other half) throws up multiple and variable new systems. This response to change is automatic; it always happens in times of overpopulation because it is part of the interacting natural laws that we cannot change.


You probably will not find this reality discussed in our media, but it is primarily for this reason, that overpopulation is a deep threat to the Life of the whole complex of systems that make up the Life of Earth.


That is how evolution works, automatically. It is one of the Laws of Life that we cannot change, and (for those who doubt) it is easy to see it happening in the human communities around us, composed as they are now of peoples whose stories (facts of history) are so different from each other.

How we choose to use these differences will determine the future of humans as components of the Life of Earth. Because the Life of Earth now is very different from even our parents’ time, our communities will have to change. What, then are our options?


  1. We cannot change the facts of Life. We can use the facts of Life to make tools and technologies that function in the real world, but we cannot use our tools and technologies to change the facts of Life because that is not what tools are able to do.


  1. We cannot change history. No matter how hard our would-be political conquerors try to manipulate the information that is available in the media – in our textbooks and our television – they cannot change the “story” of fear or hatred or compassion that is written in the synapses and neurons of humankind, in the form of our natal worldviews, by our personal biological history(s).
  2. We can no longer change our environments without destroying our environments by cutting the links that evolved, were created over billions of years, among and between our ancestors and their environments. Communications, remember, include all of our behaviors, and our technologies are our behaviors, amplified. We can no longer make positive changes in our environments in this way because we have surpassed all but the final Limiting Factor that could have prevented the ultimate systemic catastrophe.


To any naturally evolved system, the ultimate catastrophe is — the system crashes and starts again, the complex interactions among the nodes and links that held it together as a functioning whole are bent and broken and dissolved, and despite the lengths that a system will go to save itself, when it no longer can do so, the result is predictably a resounding crash and the naturally evolved system falls apart and starts over again from wherever it began the first time. The Life of Earth began with living cells.


The Life of Earth grew over the space of four or five billion years, more or less, from cells, by creating flexible links of energy and information within their abiotic environments. These links gave rise to new kinds of cells, communities of cells within their environments, and yet more intricate links of energy and information between and among biological communities (organisms, ecosystems and the like) within the environments which, by that time, consisted of both abiotic and biotic other systems. All are held together by a miracle of collaborative links and nodes that direct the flow of energy and information throughout the whole.


Now, today, the balance between us and the nodes and links of the living Earth (that is the balance between our needs and available resources that are provided by our environments) – now that balance is so near to the edge of crashing that anything we do – any behavior or communication of information between us and our environments – is likely to “tip the boat.” This    means our technologies can no longer save us. They certainly could tip us over the edge of system collapse, and this is already happening. That’s what climate change is about.   We try to save ourselves using our science and our technologies, but cannot save ourselves using tools unless we use the tools to conform ourselves to the science.   Tools cannot change facts of Life.


We can use the facts of Life to make tools and technologies that function in the real world, but we cannot use our tools and technologies to change the facts of Life.


There are no more Limiting Factors. We are on the threshold now of collapse.

What, then, what can we do to save our future unto the seventh generation?


What we can do is to stop trying to control the systems and facts of Life over which we do NOT have any real control, and begin to control ourselves in ways that are Life affirming. Generate win-win collaborations between ourselves and the reality of the Creation as it is now. That is, listen to, share, discuss, control and integrate our own world views so that our effort is not to get someone else to save us, nor to blame something for not saving us, nor to attack the systems that are our other half and are actually here to warn us of problems that are arising within and among the systems of Life — but our effort – our entire effort – is to use our knowledge of the facts of Life elucidated by our basic science and mathematics (not technology, which we now are using in an effort to dominate the indomitable), joined with our wisdom traditions that have grown up around the facts of History and humanity, to collaborate with the other systems of life in our communal desire to empower the future of humanity WITHIN the whole of Life of Earth.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of

The podcast of this blog can be downloaded at:

© 2017, Lynn Lamoreux and Photos by Lynn

Bare Bones Biology 362 – Exciting

Science is the study of the laws of nature using the scientific method.

Technology is making tools. Whether or not using the scientific method, technology is not asking how nature functions, it is making tools to serve the God of Technology.


I happen to know this because I worked very hard throughout my scientific career to sidestep the technologies that have funded most of our research within the corposystem. It was not easy.


Now, I am back in the canyon again because I pushed the safe boundaries of my health for about the past week and a half, by emerging into the world of people, pollution, modern computers, and my annual trip to Los Alamos for Fr. John Dear’s Sackcloth and Ashes vigil. I took some pictures for me and for the cause, stayed overnight in a parking lot in Los Alamos (because I can no longer physically tolerate the toxic chemicals that our public buildings are required to slather about), came home to the village and got sicker than I have been since leaving Texas in May, and scarpered down to the canyon ASAP with prayers of thanks that I have a safe place to go to in this modern world that we proudly refer to as the Epoch of Man.


Chris Martenson (Crash Course) says this is an exceedingly exciting time to be alive. I posted that video on my Facebook, because he is a smart man who understands the biology of earth, but I’ve heard that many times before. Well, I reckon it’s true, because just being alive is exciting, and I am astonished that I’ve been privileged to understand as much as I do about the miracle of Life, and to share as much of it as anyone will listen to. I’m excited to be witnessing the creepingly slow education of the uninformed members of our corposystem as they come to realize their denial will not make it go away – will not change the appalling mess we have made of our humanity, and the natural consequences of our own behaviors that we now face. And thankful that I know what to expect and am grateful for my safe place.


This morning the New York Times reported – as though it were a big surprise — that a huge majority of climate scientists have confirmed the fact that we are experiencing climate change. I have the document, but it’s about 500 pages and I had to change computers, so have not yet read it. Let me know if you want a copy of the PDF. I’ll try to post it also to my FB page.

I do not doubt the integrity of this document because a large group of top level basic scientists conducted the study. They understand how it works, the climate, but it doesn’t take a real basic scientist to understand the basic problem. It’s all about the balance between resources and consumers. If we have not enough resources, then we have not enough. Period. What happens after that, I think our president said today, “We don’t know very much about it.” He said this at about the same time that he eliminated programs intended to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.

Indeed we don’t. Not even the real climate scientists know very much about it. Nobody in their right mind, knowing how it works, would do the experiment, and of course nobody in recent years would pay for the smaller kinds of experiments that could tell us more about what happens beyond climate change in an overpopulation event.


The New York Times makes like this is big news, but climate scientists have tried to tell us about this progressing danger every five years or so, often in spite of threats to their own jobs, and before them basic biologists for about 200 years. But I think the vast majority of the public believes these reports to be promoting some technology (not science), so they don’t listen anyhow and the clock winds down and the world dies by feet and yards instead of only inches, because climate change is not technology and our understanding of it is good basic science. Climate change cannot be prevented or cured by any technology unless that technology is focused on the cause of the problem.


But on the same day, that is today, PostCarbon Institute has reported the same truth — that the vast majority of the public probably believes our technology will save us. I have reposted their good little post to my FaceBook page.


They are wrong, those who put their faith in technology – any technology now that we have waited so late — any technology that is not directed at the root cause of the problem will be unable to “save” us. And the root cause is, of course, that the whole earth has no longer enough resources to feed the populations.


We have overgrazed the earth to the extent that we are killing the species that generate our viable climate and our food, and yet we propose to resolve this problem by killing off more species. Killing the species that create our biosystems, so that we can plant foodcrops that destroy the biosystems. This does not require a scientific explanation.


We are like a bag-a-bones horse I once saw standing in a pasture of weeds that he could not eat, while the people drove by in their new cars and sputtering about how could anyone do that to such a pitiful victim.


Also this week, technologies for helping the millions of people who have not enough to eat, who crave access to birth control to save their families, these American dollars have been taken away from the need and dedicated to we know not what (as reported by There is no way to make the earth produce more food than it can produce, and now we are eating up the “seed corn.” And making babies to come into a world that has no way to nurture them. Sacrifices to the false God of Technology.


We are dying on our feet and praying to the god of technologies to save us – the same technologies that destroyed our resources in the first place. There is no god of technologies. Technologies are not God power or science power, they are human power — the same human power that we could have used to grow a reasonably comfortable human presence on a vibrantly healthy planet Earth, but chose instead to use it to grow money.



And I spent last night in my little travel trailer, an island of warm and dry between the crack, crash and rumble of lightning and thunder above and the splash and ripple of growing rivulets in the stream bed below – wondering how big of a flash flood might come rushing down our canyon. Or not. And awoke this morning healthy. Watching a wispy little cloud explore the nooks and crannies of our canyon wall. One night away from the toxic chemicals that now permeate our earth – overnight healthy with no pills — only clean air to breath.


Clean, healthy and alone, for the sake of two more children who will not suffer what we know is coming, because they have never existed.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of


© 2017, Photos by Lynn


Book 25 – Evolution for Citzens of the Biosystem – New Preface II

I hope to be back in touch with my fine readers on a biweekly schedule from now on, as (applause) I have some help.  This book is what I have been doing in my absence (you noticed, I know).  Writing that and moving from Texas, where the atmosphere was taking a severe toll on my health, to New Mexico, where I am now getting better faster than I am getting older.

When Bitsy and I returned from watching the sun set on the mountain peaks that looked tiny alongside the supermontane cumulus clouds, we startled a deer from the front yard.  And getting healthy, so things are settling down here except for the tourists.

This book began as a description of the basic Facts of Life that seemed to me to be fairly straightforward, (yes there are facts, defined as realities that humans cannot change), organized in a comprehensible way, as my contribution to the future of human kind. The question I posed was: “Given that we know about these Facts of Life, why are we not taking action to protect our children and grandchildren from our parents’ and grandparents’ mistaken relationships with them?


That question turned out to be surprisingly complicated, wandering in and out of my area of expertise (which is basic biology), and involving energy, entropy, naturally evolved systems, and differing world views that are unable to listen to each other. As a result, the book now is a record of the high points in the convoluted path of my extended inquiry that has been helped along the way by innumerable mentors, and by the many obstacles provided by the corposystem, our modern human naturally evolved corpo-political-economic-military-educational social system.


At the Farmers’ Market

The information in this book does not flow gently downstream from its origin in ignorance to its conclusion in a brilliant new synthesis. So far as I know, only one bit of information is original here (see if you can spot it). If the goal is to save ourselves, we don’t need new information. We already know enough, using the history of our mistakes and our existing level of science and technology. So why don’t we go ahead and save ourselves? Because we aren’t, you know. We are making and increasing the same mistakes that caused our Problem in the first place.


Trying to answer that question, this book does not flow. It struggles up, alongside the stream of reality, crossing at the easy places, circling around the waterfalls and rapids, trying to figure out what information is essential and what we can skip over, finally coming to three conclusions that we already knew.

We humans are part of a universe that is composed of naturally evolved systems.

We humans are facing a common biological Problem.

The problem is us.


But Life is not so simple, because the problem is also systemic, and systems can’t be described in any logical linear order, because there is no linear order to a system, nor to outline format. In a system, everything is more or less connected to everything else. Trying to imagine a biologically evolved set of systems, even with computers, is exponentially multi-dimensionally impossible. And if we try too hard to impose our own simple, logical (or illogical) order, we destroy the system.a)


So I will try to describe the most important high-points of my path of discovery, and some of the questions I asked, using a word-map at the beginning of each section, in hopes that the readers can factor the information into their own parallel world views.


Section One – Introduction

Section Two – The Facts of Life

Section Three – Implications


My conclusion is that Homo sapiens will not make it through our upcoming biological bottleneck unless we can learn to discuss with each other our common, inclusive Life of Earth, accommodate our population and economic growth to its pace, and build for ourselves a new social system that envisions our own accomplishments within the needs of the whole rather than the other way around. I do have some suggestions for how it might be possible to do that. We each are experts at our micro-specialties. This book is an attempt to describe the fact-based macro-system within which we must cooperate if we are to help grow a reasonably comfortable human presence within the vibrant and nourishing Life of Earth.



a) Hello all you physicists, is that Heisenberg’s principle? Is that my reward for all this effort that I finally understand Heisenberg? Or realize that I already understood it all along? That’s not what I was trying to do. I had in mind, like any good activist, to save the world with my own two hands and become a hero! Preferably posthumously.

Diary 170626

Look to the left:


I spent the morning tracking down internet problems and cleaning out the back half of pickup so as to add another battery and double my solar capacity. It does fairly well without help, the little engine that could, but this should give me at least two cups of coffee on top of running the computer and it fits neatly in the back.   It might do that and stay full, if the sun is shining. And also carried my electric weedeater around town from store to store trying to figure out how to get string for it (without winding my own, which I discovered is the standard method). I figure I’ll get cartridges until the crash and after that there won’t be weedeaters.


Winter Palace is full of junk; junk trailer half unloaded; cabin also full of junk has been partially re-inhabited by the packrats and a mouse or two. Bitsy says the garter snakes are back, but we haven’t seen any rattlesnakes. Don’t like killing rattlesnakes. The GOOD news is that the cabin contamination is down enough that I can sleep inside, instead of in the travel trailer, which is much more convenient and comfortable. A light; walls between me and our bear.


Look to the right:


My stretch of the creek has water in it. The only part of the creek that does below the first gate. I think because Mark spent his whole first year on some of the same land making little holding dams, and also because we aren’t pulling it out with a well. So the elk are coming through fairly often and one is little. I need to get the game camera up again. The rainwater holding tank is full, and Richard put up the gutters while we were gone so it stays full and out from under the house – the water.


And I spent the afternoon on the telephone. In Chama. People actually answered and were competent to do something, so two workmen will be out to the cabin on Thursday, one to fix my landline, which I really should have out there and it hasn’t worked for a couple of years, and the other to fix the internet dish, which pulls 30 W of electric and costs a lot more than that. If both of those are successful I will proceed to try to fix the resident solar. This country life is a lot of work. I can’t keep up with the mowing without electric to charge up the battery, and the baby trees are always thirsty. I expect to not get the Spring chores done before first snowfall.


Look ahead:

Then we will vacuum up the ^&*() rat turds and then carry on where we got snowed out last year using the steam cleaner on about a foot square at a time, concentrating on cleaning and blocking off the rat trails as we go. The book says to make sure there are no openings bigger than about a quarter inch. Where did that supposed expert grow up I wonder?


A – N – D —– !!   I finished the final draft of part one of book 25. Chapter Eight.


Chapters One through Eight.



Diary – 170621

Whooooosh. Three days aboveground in a heat wave is not where it’s at, but now the sun is setting and tomorrow we will be back in the canyon again. I want to stop on the way and hear the story of the Bear Dance, then finish my income tax, which I know I have enough to pay, but not in a checking account, which is a complication that did not occur to me until today. Maybe the bank will stay open on Sat morning, when I must (uuugggggh) make something to bring to a potluck. Usually I make cookies, which is fun, but doesn’t seem quite appropriate for this.

Ahhhh! The electricity just came back on. Good, maybe I can post this.


Anyway, I don’t have to come back up on Monday. My dentist just quit her job one day before my appointment that is already two months overdue because of my eye operation in Bryan that I needed to have in order to get a TX driver license because I spent the whole first part of the year trying to figure out how to get a NM license that would not restrict me to driving only within 40 miles from home, which would probably be OK, but it assumes that one actually HAS a home. Imagine what this does for homeless folk. They seem to have fallen out of the news lately. Another reality that Big Brother doesn’t want us to think about.


And, yes, it would no doubt reduce my chances of having an auto accident that is caused by the army of truck drivers and students out there on the roads and highways driving 85 mph. Not because of how I drive, but they have no interest in how I drive. Only how old I am, which they know and you don’t because the gov’t now requires us to release all significant kinds of information that we fought so hard in my youth to protect us from discrimination – not US, of course. We could never imagine discrimination against US. We were working for other people out there who evidently don’t care. Or more likely can’t afford to lose their jobs. If any.

Did you know there are now 18 American States trying to push through legislation to make peaceful protest illegal? Apparently the protests are good for something — or nobody would bother to do this, though the irritating thing about demonstrations to me is that they do not actually save anything – like the rule of law for example, which is necessary in order to get the things we are demonstrating about.

Y’all will have to think about USING the rule of law to protect the rule of law if that’s what you want. I’m too old for it, and if they really want me to stay within 40 miles of home they will probably find a way. If they can figure out where is my home and if they do, I expect they will let me know.


Report From the Road – 170530

News Flash – dead mouse removed from the heater fan!

Leaving for Chama tomorrow (Friday)

Report below –




I’ve known the man and his wife for maybe 20 minutes altogether, and we are sitting around the kitchen table writing up a receipt.

“Yes,” he said, “plastics give off smells.”


“—and glue and artificial fabrics and sprays and treatments, and that’s everything there is to the inside of a new travel trailer, except for some bits of metal, most of them painted, so that’s why I bought a cargo trailer. My idea is to get metal – – – ”


“It’s strange that we don’t have that problem with our trailer, and we have a – maybe ours is old enough to be before — .”

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“Some people are more sensitive than others, but those chemicals that make us ‘canaries’ sick are not good for anybody’s health. I’m surprised they let the companies use these materials without the proper safety testing. I remember when we had regulations that required testing materials before we live in them, and especially with children.”

“Wait,” he said: “I know how to fix it. Colloidal silver. Take colloidal silver and you won’t have any of those problems anymore. Where is that thing, I downloaded it from the internet. I used to get sick from dipping, but the colloidal silver took it all away, and my friend – – — etcetcetc.”


(Sick from chewing tobacco? You are telling me you take a harmful chemical so that you can take another harmful chemical and you are now happy because this makes it possible to take two harmful chemicals rather than none?) I didn’t say it. He would not have understood.


And that is howLadies and gentlemen, I came upon the recipe for colloidal silver, but it won’t save us from the pollution, either individually or collectively. The solution to the poisonous effects of man-made toxins is to stop making man-made toxins. Or at least stop using them. The solution to chemical sensitivity is not to apply more chemicals. It’s to take away the ones you already have used that caused the problem in the first place,


The solution to any problem is NOT to find a need and sell something with the claim that it will work and then claim that the claim is “research.”


The solution to a problem is to find the cause and fix it; research is finding the cause, not the fix and not any meme.


Change the subject away from finding the cause of the problem, because that subject makes us uncomfortable for some reason (any reason) – then find a cure for the subject that didn’t cause the problem in the first place. That is the story of pollution, of climate change, and very likely of the end of humankind.


Or take colloidal silver, give it to the children and adults who are dying of –


But wait, we were talking about pollution. What happens with pollution while we are taking the colloidal silver, or sniffing herbal essences, or whatever we decide to do to treat our symptoms.


Of course, while we are sniffing, the pollution keeps getting worse. 15%, 25%, 40%.


What happens when 50 percent of all the people are affected? Vomitting is the least of the symptoms, but my mind gave me a picture of the social event of the year, as 50 percent of the residents of a city are upchucking in the public restrooms on a particularly bad day in August.

Wouldn’t it make better sense, rather than building bigger and better restrooms, wouldn’t it make more sense to do something about reducing the level of pollution?


Anyhow, by that time it will be very hard to pretend that they will all be OK if we give them colloidal silver, but if you want the recipe, let me know. He gave me a copy.


This is Report from the Road, a production of

Bare Bones Biology 361 – Air

I tend to sleep in the afternoon, especially if it’s hot and I’ve been working. Bitsy woke me up. Was someone here? Or was it the redbird perched in the cedar tree outside the open window? I don’t know. Sleep hard; half-deaf; Bitsy was trying to tell me something, but I don’t know. One day when that happened I didn’t wake up at all, and later found a note by the place where the door should be. I imagine Bitsy having a conversation with our visitor, but I didn’t get to.


In our safe place in the mountain canyon, it was snowing yesterday. My closest neighbor (about half a mile) phoned. She was snowed in, two inches, temperature below freezing, and called to tell me not to try the road. It’s washed out at the culvert. The sky is blue-blue; the air is clean, clear, crystal. And cold.

And here was I at the Little Thicket, in the Brazos Valley of Texas, sitting at my little table with the door open, watching the wrens flit to and fro and the Biosystem breathe.


Or try to.


It was sticky-hot the day before, and my skin said somewhere above 90 and maximally humid. Cars drove with lights on; you could see the yellow air, see into it, but not through it. Like Los Angeles used to be.


The whole Earth Biosystem is breathing, and this morning – maybe it was trying to cough out the hot, sticky Gulf air, sick air full of homo-toxins from Houston and Mexico City and the Valley of the Shadow of the Oil well that runs all the way up the left-center of Texas and the right side of NM nearly to the mountains, and from the Gulf of Mexico where the water flowing into the Gulf is so toxic that residents who can afford it buy distilled water to rinse after washing.


But the Biosystem can’t cough. So then this morning, the cool front of relatively clean air from the northwest, from the direction of our safe canyon, swept overhead, releasing the power and energy of its going as it dug under the warm air from the Gulf, pitched it up, swung it around, and pushed it back upon itself. Layers. Cool clouds rushing southeastward overhead; warm clouds higher up, rushing in the opposite direction. Everything moving, swirling, thrashing, and me out there with the new camera to my new eye, I had to regenerate my video skills, trying to catch the power, flow, excitement of the event.

Within an hour the inflow, downflow, cleansing, pushed on through and the sky is blue for a brief time. But tomorrow or the next day it will turn the color of skim milk, and then dirty cream as that yellow air filters back back northward, slowly, infiltrating the houses, hovering over the open fields, flowing around the little remaining pockets of woodlands where the trees and bushes are making oxygen faster than the bad air can filter in, until we have another day of heavy smog, and then another, filling my lungs again with homo-toxins, until the earth takes anoher breath, with the next cold front, and shoves it back down south again.


With every breath in the summer the air is warmer, and pushes farther up and north, until it pushes me and Bitsy back into our traveling rig and up to our safe place in the cold, clear, clean of the canyon.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of


A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:


Bare Bones Biology attends the March for Science

At Texas A&M University.











Of course, we already know that Science is the study of natural phenomena using the scientific method.






Many natural and unnatural phenomena were present.










And available for study.




If you decide to use any of these pictures for anything, please credit:  Photos by Lynn






And remember it is not all fun and games.  The basic truths are important to the survival of the above species and the climate that provides their basic needs.






Science tells us about a lot of things that we can do.

But there are many more that we can NOT do safely.








So faking science to win elections or for any other reasons conceivably could be genocidal.


And to all you wonderful Texas marchers, there are already people in London, California, and various places between who are quite impressed by the way in which you have brought the subject to its relevant point.



Bare Bones Biology 359 – Report from the Field

I like learning things. Always have. You learn a lot in a college towns, and there is something charming and uplifting about people of college age – setting up a table with a chalkboard and scientific diagrams that explain all about God. Or supernovas. Or poor people who live somewhere else. Or photographing themselves next to a dog who patiently perks up his tired ears for each picture while he sits in front of a loudspeaker that nearly cracked my hearing aid. While nobody notices the squirrel running to and fro in the background with mouthfuls of leaves for the nest she is building.


Across the street is the bookstore, Barnes & Noble. I like to hide in a big puffy armchair in the far back corner and watch the people, where nobody knows I’m there and I could stay all day, nobody would bother me. Or sit at the front with a computer and a cup of coffee, thinking about Book 25, watching the people go by, and occasionally being recognized and squealed at:


“L Y N N N N N!”


But today I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist, so I gathered up bags and computer and coffee and pushed out the door, to find that someone had parked so close to my pickup, on both sides, that the door would barely open.


I placed the cup of coffee on the hood of the pickup – where I could see it, not to forget and splat it on the concrete as I normally do when I put it on the roof — I opened the left side door as far as it would go without scratching the next car, about six inches, maybe six and a half, squeezed all the bags and the computer onto the floor under the dash, put my right foot on the step and grabbed the overhead handle with my right hand so I could SQUEEEEEEZE myself into a six-inch thick flexible flab, squishing backward between the door and the seat. I settled myself in the seat and moved the computer and bags onto the other seat, heaved a big sigh of accomplishment, and looked out the front window at my coffee cup on the hood of the pickup. Way out of reach.


Just at that moment, a cute young Aggie (that’s a student of A&M) march-stepped around the corner. Straight-faced, he took in the situation, and without pause he executed the solution, picked up the cup, handed it to me through the open window, said:

“Here you are ma’am,”

and marched on in to the book store.

Life in College Station is more fun.

People do nice things, as though it were perfectly normal.

People smile just because you look at them.

On the way to the ophthalmologist, I stopped at Denny’s, for lunch and to use their wifi, and the waitress asked if I do all my computer work there.


No, I said, only the emails. I do everything else at home.

“I’m writing a book.”

 “What’s it about?” And she sat down in the booth opposite me.

So I told her it’s about how systems of Life communicate among themselves. How survival depends on the systems working together, rather than competing against each other, and we have more than three systems to organize: Ourselves, our social relationships, and

“Yes,” she said: “Oops, gotta go.”

Later she came back to tell me she’d been thinking about it, and systems makes very good sense and then she told me all about her own systems. I was glad to hear systems becoming real in her life and put one of her examples in book 25.

The last chore of a busy day was the ophthalmologist. I smiled at a woman who stood at the corner where the historic Planned Parenthood building is now occupied by a “Pro-Life” organization. She wanted to explain Jesus to me, but I said we already have met and walked on past, thinking that squirrel is more likely than Jesus to be top dog at A&M in the end times if the pro-life and the pro-choice can’t figure it out — that they both want the same thing – and it would take only a little study, heads together, to get what they both want. But they are having more fun pretending to care; believing that they care about the people, and what they really care about is the game. Playing the toxic game harder and harder and harder – if we can only try hard enough we will get what we want. Sorry – maybe in the corposystem, but that’s not how Life itself actually works to keep itself going. We don’t need more of that game; what we need is Jesus’s game for real.

And so thinking, I pushed open the door to the ophthalmologist and looked over to the left where the receptionist cheerfully greeted me, and at the same time I felt something soft and squishy moving under my right hand.


I leaped away, pulled my hand back, looked the little old lady in the eye and without thinking I said:

“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were a chair!”

And went inside to get my eyes examined.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of, and it’s all true except that I moved some of the locations to slightly different neighborhoods.

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: