Bare Bones Biology 265 – Genetics for Everyday

Recently, Jill Witting showed me her backyard poultry project. We talked about the difference between Hybrid corn, hybrid chickens, cloned animals and GMO (genetically modified organisms).

Cloning is the process of making offspring that are genetically the same as their parent by taking one or more cells (or one nucleus that contains the parental genes) and growing that cell/nucleus into a new plant or animal. Cloning has been done with livestock and plants. With most plants cloning is relatively easy and is referred to as taking a cutting.

Hybrid corn is made by creating inbred lines and crossing them together to generate hybrids. If the two parental lines are well chosen, the resulting hybrid is more vigorous and productive than either parent and at the same time all the offspring are uniformly productive.

150630-Wittig-ASC_7827RLSsGenetically modified organisms have been changed so that the DNA in the chromosomes includes genes that are not normally found in those species. It is not yet known for certain whether these genes are harmful to humans, but it is clear that the process of raising GMO foods is extremely harmful to the soil and to the air and to the water of the commons, and in other ways harmful to the Biosystem itself, as was predicted and clearly described by Dr. Martha Crouch in her landmark paper that you can download from my web site.

So who cares about these technologies? And how should we react to them? That’s what Jill and I were talking about.

<aLL”What’s the point? You can buy chicken in the store as cheap as almost anything.”

JW “And it’s all fed corn, and corn in this country is hard to find that is not genetically modified. And I’m trying to limit my children’s exposure to GMO.”

LL “GMO corn.

JW “The goal. This is a trial run. I started with twelve, and lost two babies. My goal is to have enough for my family and to trade.”

LL “Trade for what?”

JW “That’s the spice of Life! There’s all kinds of things to trade. I want to be a part of the community, and having something to trade is a great way to get to know people.”

LL “It sure is.”

JW “And if not, we can definitely consume all these. I can make sixteen servings, four meals, out of just one bird. So there’s a lot of meat to get from that one animal, plus it’s a way to get my children to consume vegetables in a broth, and I find it’s a very healthy protein option, plus. We have one cow a year, now the chickens, and I would love to get some locally raised pork and/or lamb. I would love to have a little bit of both in my freezer, now I just have a lot of beef.”

150630-Wittig-ASC_7823RLSs LL “I quit eating meat, for the most part, when they started injecting hormones into it, which I think is probably worse than GMO, but we don’t know yet how GMO will turn out.”

JW “Well find out, won’t we, and unfortunately my children are the generation – – -“

LL “They won’t find out on your children – good for you.”

JW “And, I feel like, as with anything in life, it’s about balance, so if you aren’t consuming all your meat, all your milk, all your water full of hormones, and you’re limiting it where you can – –

LL “You can’t limit it 100%.”

JW “The stress of trying to limit it 100% I think would kill you just as fast as – – -“

This is Bare Bones Biology a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS Radio 89.1 FM in Bryan, TX.

 

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:

Bare Bones Biology 264 – Fairy Tales

First the system of science tried to teach me to write. In the system of science, one should write a first paragraph that summarizes the points you will make in the paper. This was a good exercise for me because I tend to naturally think the most important points should go at the end, after the evidence. But it seemed somehow that what was logical to me was not logical to them.

I kept wanting to talk about the incredible beauty of the mammalian pigmentary system – that is, the beauty of the system, not only the beauty of pigmentation, though truly pigmentation is beautiful, both in itself and in its relationship to the needs of living creatures. But the system, the intellectual beauty of the physical system and how it works to produce what is needed for Life. The elegance of the emergent reality that we can then look at the factual evidence and see how beautifully logical it is, though we would not have thought of it. I kept wanting to talk about that, and that’s not what one talks about in scientific papers. Scientific papers are mostly about figuring out what the facts are.

150611-Canyon-ASC_7325RLSsBut that was my problem as an active scientist. I’m a holistic thinker. The big picture – the emergent reality – is much more beautiful to me than reductionist facts. It was hard for me to remember that science is all about figuring out what those facts are. And, without the factual reality of the bits and pieces of our lives, we wouldn’t have our big, beautiful system of LIFE.

The corposystem also tried to teach me how to write, but they have a different method. In the corposystem (if one is to be successful), the writer is supposed to put a cutesy story in the first paragraph. I guess the idea is to “hook” the reader. Then, after you have caught your fish, you must be careful to avoid polysyllabic words or thoughts that might scare him off the hook.

You check your vocabulary against, I forget what grade level, 8th maybe, use words of two or fewer syllables, and use sound bites, or I guess they now call them memes?, so that the reader is inevitably drawn into believing that everyone who uses the same word – for example, evolution is a good word – is thinking about the same thing. Which is not true of course.   I am NOT thinking about survival of the fittest when I say “evolution” but you ARE thinking about it when you hear the word. This is only one little example of how the corposystem functions to maintain it’s own world view by preventing the introduction of new ideas.

And so, for the most part, writing for the corposystem is ALSO not about the system of Life, the intellectual beauty of the physical system and how it works to produce what is needed for Life itself to survive. Not about the elegant beauty of how nature really functions, but more about what the corposystem wants, which is mostly money and success regardless the cost.

150619-Cabin-ASC_7429RLSsThe result is fairy tales. Fairy tales are not necessarily bad, but they are the long way round. Trying to solve real world problems by using our human emotions only — without regard to the uniquely elegant power of the human intellect. Or trying to solve the problems using the human intellect only – without regard to the beautiful interactions of human emotions. These are the longest possible routes to a real solution. They also diss (disregard, disdain, disrespect ) the very emergent properties that made us fit to survive during the last couple of million years, more or less, from among all the other species out there that didn’t.

If we can’t handle all that – if we can’t cope with the complexity of our gifts – well, that is just one of those tragedies that arise in the evolution of systems of LIFE. But if we won’t even try because we are having too much fun pretending we are king of the hill – then, I think that’s a crime.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 in Bryan, TX.

 

A copy of this podcast can be download at:

World Views – 150621

 

© 2015, Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux

 

His Holiness The Dalai Lama has said*:

“If you want to get rid of painful effects, you have to get rid of their causes.” and            Wisdom is: “analyzing the facts and discerning the actual situation.”

I think that covers it well enough, and will use his definition in this chapter.

 

 

 

How Do Humans Grow a World View/Paradigm and Why do they Cling so Fiercely to It?

 

This is a working proposal composed of both facts and opinions. I won’t document the various facts from the scientific literature because my purpose is not to prove anything, but to consider two questions.

 

1) In this age our environment has changed drastically. A world view by definition is our effort to explain our environment, describing how the world works, so we can function in it. I believe all world views make sense within the environment in which we grew up. However, the environment for everyone has changed dramatically. Our individual environment, our social and political environment, and our biological reality have all changed since we were born, educated and imprinted.   So the question is, if your world view was logical, and then the environment changed, is it still logical?? Does it still make good sense today, or does it need a little fine tuning?

 

2) Why are you not discussing our common problem with other persons who have different world views? If you are discussing our common problem, scratch that question and discuss the below. And then carry on to Part One – The Law of Life.

 

This that you are reading is taken from my world view (basic science), and is a synthesis derived from my training in evolution, ecology and genetics and subsequent career in genetics, plus my various culture shocks, activism and general inquisitiveness.   Here, I am talking primarily about our unique human asset, the brain, in the sense that it drives our world views – which strongly influence our behaviors. It is primarily our behaviors that interact with the environment. The evolutionary (see part one, the Law of Life) function of the world view is to give us behaviors that will help us to survive in the environment that we are in right now.#

 

Our world views are complex and are caused by a combination of inheritance and environment. Our inheritance is what comes to us from our ancesters, packaged in our chromosomes. Environment is everything else that comes to us, everything that we experience in our lives that is not packaged in our chromosomes. At some times one may be more important than the other to crafting our current world views. The relationship between the two, the inheritance and the environment, is meant to adapt us to our lives.

The existence of Life on earth (and our sustainability within it) results from the cycle of interactions between our genes, that are packaged in our chromosomes, and very seldom change — and our environment that is not so packaged and changes continually.

 

However, it is neither our genotypes (the particular genes that we have inherited) or the environment (that keeps changing over time) that primarily drives LIFE on earth. Rather, the genotype interacts with the environment to grow a world view, which is a system – a system of thinking — and it is the system itself (in this case our behaviors that result from our world view, that could be thought of as the emergent property or the phenotype of our the system of our thinking) that determines our influence upon the future of LIFE on Earth. Following is a rough overview of how our genetics and our environment work together to build a mental system that drives our behaviors.

 

A – inherited behaviors are “hard wired” and I will call them instincts. Clearly we mammals do inherit (and therefore we can evolve) “hard-wired” characteristics such as the ability to take a first breath after birth, the ability to nurse, our most basic emotions (but not necessarily how we use them), various physical capabilities that are tied in with hormones, the nervous system other body systems — and the ability to learn.

 

B – I believe the instinctual, hard-wired, inherited makeup of humans includes a compulsion to make sense of the environment using what we call “logic,” that may have originated from the ability of humans and other animals to understand relationships between causes and effects relative to events in our environment. This is how we learn. It’s also how other animals learn, and would obviously be an advantage to survival. Therefore, evolution perpetuates and selects for our ability to use “logic.”

 

Making sense of the environment depends both on the ability to figure out cause-and-effect relationships, and on the environment into which we are born and raised. So, everyone who can do cause-and-effect reasoning has an inherent advantage in learning. However, everyone is raised in a slightly different environment (or a lot different, depending on many variables).

 

What makes sense depends upon whatever the environment is, but I believe world views – the creation of a world view – is as necessary to human life as the need to nurse. We do it; we don’t need to think about doing it; if our environment doesn’t make sense to us we are very uncomfortable, and so one of the main things humans do is to learn.

 

C – The first few years of development after birth, our brains are adding dramatically to our ability to function, mentally and physically, in the world. Learning would be defined as responding to the environment by organizing and adding neurons and/or neuronal connections.   I believe this stage of early learning is so interconnected with our instinctual “hard-wired” behaviors that by the end of adolescence each person has grown a world view that is so integrated that the original inherited brain cells are so fused and intertwined with the cells that developed from early learning, that the inheritance and the learning work together as one sub-system within our brain system.

 

The ability to integrate learning with our basic instinctual system is a great evolutionary advantage for groups of people who are living in a relatively unchanging environment. It permits every generation to learn more about the environment and teach what they know to the young generation so that the culture gains wisdom in the form facts, metaphors and social customs that adapt the whole culture to its environmental realities that do not change very much over the generations. In other words, their world view gains more and more specialized expertise about their real world.

 

D – We can and do change our world views later in life by more learning, and this kind of information stored in our brain seems to be more easily recognized as secondary, and therefore more easily changed than the early world view. The later learning stillmust make sense, however, within the mental foundation that already exists. People will go to great lengths to create and maintain a logical world view, whether or not it makes sense in a different environment. Change is possible; it may require a significant adjustment of the world view; it may require some physical “rewiring” of our brains. We can change learned behavior. We cannot change our genetically determined behavior (for example the human capacity for hatred or compassion seem to be hard-wired, but we can re-organize how we use our instinctual behaviors.

 

In a time of change or crisis, the ability to change or re-organize both the basic world view and the later learned information provides the same human brain with a different evolutionary advantage.   If we were unable to change our world views at times of crisis, then we would not be able to respond appropriately to the crisis.

 

However, we would rather not change, because change is painful, sometimes very painful, and it activates our stress reactions, which are also uncomfortable. So then we are forced into choices.

 

A – We may cling to our imprinted paradigm, even though the relationship between that paradigm and the new reality is no longer logical.

 

B – On the contrary, we may endure the resulting culture shock and change our paradigm, building a new one that is logical within the new set of observable facts.

 

C – Sometimes (I’m thinking of abusive families for example) we may continue to lead our lives inside the paradigm of our birth family even if it is very painful, because we understand how to deal with it. And because it’s usually not possible for people to recognize or understand the logic that exists in the world outside of their own paradigm, and the more different it is the more scary it is to jump into something that we are not prepared to understand.   Our existing paradigm makes sense to us. We may prune it and touch it up, but total failure of an existing paradigm feels like insanity. We don’t want to go there. Maybe it is insanity.

 

I don’t know how those early connections were made in the brain between the genetic programming and the early learning, but this marvelously evolved reality – 1) the human ability to change when conditions change, or 2) increase in wisdom when conditions do not change — incorporating the two capacities in one developmental system seems to me one of the miracles of our human creation.

 

Implications –

 

We are now living within an environment that is changing very rapidly. To participate in this change wisely, and because our stress reactions are activated and our emotions in a turmoil, it is essential that we “analyze the facts and discern the actual situation.” In other words, address the problem with all the wisdom we can muster.

 

The natural biological response is indeed to generate diversity (as I said above, running off in all directions at the same time) but I think the wise approach in this case, because a great deal of diversity is already available in the human community of the whole, would be to give up fighting over which is right and what is wrong, and pretending that the “fittest” of us can win in the end (see part One), and instead benefit each other by sharing our world views in our effort to “discern the real cause of our pain so we can remove it.”

 

In other words, if we don’t start some basic discussions of the basic issues, instead of taking potshots at each other, none of our world views (and resulting behaviors) is likely to win in the end.

 

In sum, I think it’s important for us to understand that all world views are or were logical in the circumstances of their origin, and to understand that culture shock is one of those painful blessings with emphasis on blessing, and to understand that we always have choices. We can cling to the seeming security of what we already understand, or we can choose to become a part of change, for the benefit of the entire community, when that becomes necessary.

 

Simply changing our behaviors to something that seems right within your existing world view will make us each feel better about ourselves, but it probably will not solve the problems we are facing, because our existing paradigm (imprinted and trained in our earliest childhood) that caused the problems in the first place.

 

I believe paradigm change is the only hope for human kind in this age, and it is clearly happening, but extremely inefficiently. We could do more. We could consciously use our unique mental equipment to grow a world view that could save us. Whatever paradigm we each grew requires in-depth evaluation, analyzing the facts and discerning the actual situation, so that we together can respond wisely to the crisis.

Other options exist, actions that are not based in removing the cause of the problem, dreams and hopes, arguments and debates, winning and losing. But our winning or dreaming or hoping can NOT change the reality – neither factual reality nor historical reality.. Other than trial and error, there seems only one way to grow a useful paradigm change, and that is the far more sensible approanch, which is to do the work of analyzing the facts and discerning the causes of our problem.

 

­­­­­­_________________

(*Becoming Enlightened by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, translated, edited and read by Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD. 2009. Simon & Schuster.)

 

 

_________________

 

 

#Helpful Hint: Evolution is not (as it is perceived within the corposystem world view) “survival of the fittest.” Evolution is an incredibly intricate “Dance of Life (Dancing with the Sacred),” Thank God for Evolution.” An intricate balancing of interactions between and among the environment(s), the laws of nature, all the systems and subsystems and processes of our whole Biosystem, and our behaviors within the system. All is systems. Our world views are mental systems.

 

A system is a set of interacting processes and “objects” that function together sustainably. The function of a system, balanced in relation to its environment, is to sustain itself.

 

One human is a system made of systems. A marriage is a bigger system; a community is a system made of individuals; an ecosystem is all interactions that support life (ref 2 blogs re community) The above description of world views is only one example of how a system balances itself. Survival is the balance of the systems according to the Law of Life.

 

Greater Evil Hath No Man

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-05-20/hijacking-the-anthropocene

Greater evil hath no man than, by working hard to change the message of 99 percent of the scientists, thereby destroy human life on earth for his own personal gain. This is the message of the corposystem myth carried to its logical extreme. They will have won their battle against the Biosystem. They imagine themselves to be heroes.

 

Many of our time remember Hitler – some experienced Hitler. Not even Hitler could have done what these are doing. Willfully, eagerly, gleefully, joyfully, compassionately and without violence simply changing the message of scientific fact so that the people cannot see. And this explains better than I can say why it is NOT ENOUGH to promote the good – happiness, compassion, nonviolence. It is possible to destroy everything that we love WITHOUT violence, and keep the people happy all the way until the shit hits the fan, so long as they can make sure that the people only care about being happy and nonviolent and compassionate.

Bare Bones Biology 263F – The Problem Is

Right now it seems as though we (as humanity) are running panic stricken, in all directions at the same time without any sustainable paradigm to guide us, each person responding in knee-jerk fashion, mostly trying to “fix” our social collapse, each according to his own world view and without respect to getting rid of the cause of the affliction. This is why I have not enthusiastically focused my energy on any of these separating actions, though many will

 

150615-Flood-ASC_7400sI bless the culture shocks that saved me from myself. Wisdom is gained, according to the Dalai Lama (Becoming Enlightened) by “analyzing the facts and discerning the actual situation.” He should know – he’s had enough paradigm shifts in his life, and I’m quite sure we would agree that this kind of wisdom, based in factual reality and gained through deep study and empathic participation — combined with wise (altruistic) compassion — is essential to long-term, reasonably rewarding human lives.

 

Before that I actually believed that we had dealt with the problem in the 50’s and 60’s. I knew I had, and that’s another thing about one’s own paradigm. Unless we have an opportunity to experience the logic of another’s paradigm, we just naturally tend to believe that everyone else thinks like we do. They don’t. They don’t even want to. They like their own.

 

We need to begin rational fact-based discussion of issues and stop fighting irrational wars (debates).

 

I bless the culture shocks that saved me from myself. Wisdom is gained, according to the Dalai Lama (Becoming Enlightened) by “analyzing the facts and discerning the actual situation.” He should know – he’s had enough paradigm shifts in his life, and I’m quite sure we would agree that this kind of wisdom, based in factual reality and gained through deep study and empathic participation — combined with wise (altruistic) compassion — is essential to a long-term, reasonably rewarding human paradigm.

 

Is it possible, given the chaos we are now creating, that our response to our social and biological collapse is not so much about the actual cause of the problem as it is about the necessity of “getting together” in order to “analyze the facts and discern the actual situation” in an effort to grow some wisdom around the problem? Is it perhaps that our World Views are pushing us apart, preventing us from getting together even to discuss the real issues?

 

I think it’s important for us to understand that all world views are or were logical in the circumstances of their origin, and to understand that culture shock is one of those painful blessings with emphasis on blessing, and to understand that we always have choices. We can cling to the seeming security of what we already understand, or we can choose to become a part of change, for the benefit of the entire community.

 

150614-Cabin-ASC_7341RLSsThe natural biological response to stress is indeed to generate diversity, but I think the wise approach, in this case, would be to benefit all of us by sharing and evaluating the world views of all in our effort to understand why we don’t just admit to the real cause of our pain so we can remove it. And then proceed to develop a more sustainable world view of the whole. In other words, to discuss the issues among the disciplines.

 

There is always a starting point for discussion, because we all are looking at the same problem happening in the same Earth Biosystem. We are not experiencing a bunch of different problems. We are in fact, every one of us, experiencing one common experience, the death of our species.

 

I think that’s worth a little time spent in problem-solving with others of our kind.

 

I believe paradigm change is the only hope for human kind in this age, and it is clearly happening, but extremely inefficiently. We could do more. We could consciously use our unique mental equipment to grow a new world view that is aligned with our current factual reality, which is overproduction, overpopulation and overshoot.

 

My goal is to grow or create a new paradigm that will result in a sustainable, reasonably comfortable human presence on this earth. What is yours?

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS FM 89.1 in Bryan, Texas.

 

A copy of the podcast can be obtained at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_263_-_The_Problem_Is.mp3

 

References Cited:

Collapse, by Jared Diamond. Penguin Books, 2011.

Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot by Tom Butler and William N. Ryerson. Goff Books, 2015.

Becoming Enlightened, by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins,  Atria Books, 2009.

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 261 – It’s Time

It’s time right NOW as I write, time to transplant the little broccoli and cabbage, to put in the potatoes that have been waiting for the weather to dry up a little, and get everything else started in the garden at least by the beginning of June. We’ve had two sunny, warm days in a row. It must be summer. Smells like it; and it feels like it in the afternoon.

 

That was our mistake last year. By the time we got activated, it was a few weeks later and in the end we harvested one or two of everything, which will not carry a person over the winter.

 

150601-Neighborhood-ASC_7167RSsMy neighbors up the hill, Roxanna and Don Bayer, have a fine garden facing the sunrise. The whole front contains on one side a little plastic-covered greenhouse, in the middle the garden, and on the other side three solar panels that Don installed. The home and garden are integrated into the landscape.   Of course, I went visiting for some pointers. And then it rained, so please pardon the audio quality.

 

In the greenhouse are tomatoes, peppers, and flowers. And lettuce, all different kinds of lettuce they’ve already been harvesting, and they say they have a huge salad every night, fresh out of the greenhouse.   And the starter plants are growing, to be put out on or before June 1. These include, in addition to the broccoli and cabbage, potatoes and peas.

 

We left the greenhouse to check out the planting beds that overlook my Winter Palace in the distance:

 

150601-Peas-asc_7153RLSs         “Oh oh, there’s Bitsy’s footprints.”

“That’s all right. It’s been dug up but it hasn’t been planted.”

“I did plant some peas, at your recommendation. I planted three kinds of peas,but I just put them outside.   I planted one called Alaska because I thought it might be compatible with the environment.”

“Yeah, peas will take a freeze. Because it’s so cold here, cold at night all summer long, peas will just go on and on. We were still harvesting peas in November last year. They like the cold weather, and if it gets hot, then they stop.”

I like peas, and potatoes, so I planted a lot of them, in and out of the canyon. Two different kinds of potatoes that I got from the Ag Extension in Pagosa Springs (don’t tell my friend who works at the reservation) and three different kinds of peas.

And then today, I thought: “I wonder if peas and rice would be a complete protein, like beans and rice is a complete protein, and then I could cut down on the eggs. I already don’t eat meat with hormones in it (which means I don’t eat meat, because, how can you tell?), and I get the eggs from a neighbor, but I definitely should cut down, and peas and rice is probably something I could cook in the solar oven. Rice I can do, and peas even after they’re dried maybe I’ll try some today.”

 

150601-Neighborhood-ASC_7169RSsSo I dumped some split peas and some rice into the rice cooker (as I am not in the canyon now and can hook up to the grid) along with nearly double as much water and then.   Well, I know potatoes will cook on top of that, and I can carry them down canyon tomorrow, and oh yes I do have a piece of onion here and the yard is just absolutely full of dandelion greens.

 

Did I just accidentally make pea soup? Do you think peas and rice is a complete protein? I like peas, especially green, but I had better plant a lot more if they are to last all year.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS FM, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. Well, the peas are not in Bryan, TX, they are about 7000 feet above Bryan, but the radio station is in Bryan.

 

Mmmm. I will have to improve that recipe for pea soup. Does anyone else have a good recipe? Or, maybe pea soup with rice on the side?

 

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_261_-_Its_Time.mp3

 

References Used:

Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. 2005. Edible Forest Gardens. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River, Vermont. I very highly recommend this book for the ecological wisdom. Got it through the local library.

The Whole Seed Catalog, From Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Mansfield, MO. http://www.rareseeds.com.

 

(Next week topic will be religion, also good for Healthy Living)

Bare Bones Biology 260 – Two Conundrums

Last week blog featured Steven’s editorial, so you already know, he is seriously concerned about food, about our growing population, and about human welfare. And he is especially concerned about the balance among those three parameters. The relationships among food, population and human welfare are puzzling, confusing and mysterious, which is exactly the definition of a conundrum. Here are two conundrums for you to find the answers.

 

Here is the Steven’s question: “Most people can see that more food equals more people, like it does with all of nature.   Most people can also see the most obvious and most undeniable fact that no food equals no people. That one is a slam dunk. Is there anyone who would argue with the statement, “No food equals no people. Period. End of story. If so, let’s hear it. No.

“Now that leaves us with a remaining statement. “Less food equals less people.” Almost everyone I know says that claim cannot be admitted BECAUSE people will begin starving. Even those who see how less food equals less people dare not acknowledge such a thing because they believe to a certainty that people will starve. The question for me and for all of us is this. IF less food equal less people, will limiting INCREASE ONLY in ( NOT stopping) total food production CAUSE people to starve? Yea or Nay? THAT IS THE QUESTION. Comments from one and all are welcome.”

 

ASC_1642sThat’s the end of Steve’s conundrum. Now here is mine:

 

Consider the cow. She is a beautiful creature: peaceful, humane, friendly and she has an admirable social system. For just one example, cows usually have one baby every year. Cows in a herd will organize themselves every morning in such a way that one female stays behind in a safe place with all the babies, each belonging to a different mother, while all the mothers and fathers go out to eat. You can see this yourself in nearly any pasture as you drive through Texas. The next morning, someone else stays with all the babies. The eating cows watch for danger and will rush back to help if necessary. (I should tell you, in Texas, the word cows may refer only to females, or to males and females). The babies nurse their own mothers in the mornings and evenings and in the meantime they sleep or practice eating grass.

 

Now consider what will happen if we put a few cows of both sexes on one thousand acres of lush pastureland, fence them in, make sure there is plenty of water, kill off the predators, and go away for a few years. When we come back, there will be a lot more cows, right? Well, it depends how many years we are gone.

 

The normal cycle of overpopulation in all species including all mammals, which includes us – in rapid growth of population until the food is gone, then rapid die-off to below the carrying capacity of the environment. After which the population may or may not recover. (ref – overshoot)

 

First there are many babies, next there are very many cows and the fighting begins because crowding and competition upsets their social systems. When the population doubles that one last time, and all the grass is completely gone before the next following year, then most or all of the cows, bulls and calves die. Not only have they all starved this year, but also they have nearly destroyed the pastureland and the soil in their voracious need. It will be very slow coming back, if ever it can.

 

Now the question is: What is to blame for all this suffering?

This is Bare Bones Biology a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS FM, 89.1, in Bryan, Texas.

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

 

“If you wnt to get rid of painful effects, you need to get rid of their causes.”

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

 

References:

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