OOOOps

I wrote a very good one for today. Spent several hours yesterday and last night and this morning. Computer wiped it out. Have to start over.

But in the meantime I wrote an email, to another scientist in another part of the world, that is more straightforward than anything I would say in a book that is written for people who have been deprived of the real biological background facts about our living world. It was that email that wiped out the lovely bit of explanatory writing. Maybe that’s a clue that I should share the nitty gritty with my readers, so here it is:

“1. If all scientists thought alike we would be in deep doodoo. They nearly do and we are.

2. If the “scientists” were paying attention to the whole living reality, rather than focusing almost exclusively on the details, it wouldn’t be necessary for me and a couple of other minority scientists to spend all our time trying to draw their attention to the fact that different levels of living things are characterized by different emergent properties and different requirements for their survival. Therefore it is not possible instead to understand the whole emergent needs of the ecosystem by a few details that are peculiar to us in the organismal level.

Taken together, Diamond’s COLLAPSE and Barabashi’s LINKED (these are referenced in recent posts) should be read by every scientist who believes the details are more important than the whole picture — or believes we can understand the whole picture by adding up all the details. The whole point of internets (and of course we and our lives are part of a biological internet) is that the details can change without loss of the emergent properties — up to a point. That is, an internet such as the ecosystem can afford to lose some of its parts, so long as the whole internet is able to use other parts to get what it needs to stay alive. Therefore, it is more important to study what the internet needs to stay alive, rather than to focus on individual details to the exclusion of our understanding of the whole system. Because, when an internet runs out of resources, the collapse is awesome, it is very quick and it is unavoidable. And — because we are living in the emergent property of the ecosystem of which we are details, or rather life itself is the emergent property of which we are only details — therefore we have no way to recognize the point of collapse of the ecosystem by studying only the details.

And of course we can not avoid the collapse by reducing global warming or any one of the component symptoms of the problem; we only delay it, and the delay predicts a more awesome calamity when the time comes. The only viable solution is to address the CAUSE of the problem, which in this instance is overpopulation. The only good that I see coming from our fixation on global warming is that we might make the connection between GW and overpopulation, but in fact the politicians and other people who make their living out of rampant growth have decided to use GW as an excuse to not deal with overpopulation. As they always do, every time we hit a new limiting factor.

Nobody needs me to help treat the symptoms of overpopulation — starvation, war, genocide, disease, global warming — the world abounds with people trying to make their reputations by claiming to do something that will help solve these problems — details that will not in fact help to fulfill the needs of the ecosystem unless we also give the ecosystem what it needs to stay alive — so that we all can survive.