Survival and Evolution

The function of a system is to perpetuate itself. Biologically, this is done by regulation of the information systems by the environment. That is another way of saying that evolution is a process of change over time mediated by natural selection.

In terms of the genome, of course the information system is the genes; in the social context, the information system is the brain (nervous system). The genes generate a system (in humans an organ system, the organ system then becomes part of the environmental influence on further evolution, we get a brain). Our brain is one of a social creature. For this reason, even though the emotional part of the brain can’t really explain itself, it CAN respond to the environment by growing a culture; that means it can communicate with other human creatures in space. More importantly it means that the culure then becomes part of the environment that evolves the brain to become more intricate. The system (in this case the brain, for a giraffe it’s the neck that gives the whole organism system a selective advantage) perpetuates itself and selects, usually for a more and more specialized version of itself within its successful niche. Whatever is our selective advantage (or think of a giraffe neck) becomes selected FOR ever more strongly as all the organisms within the whole Biosystem evolve together, finding ever more narrow niches, meaning that their functions become more and more specialized within the entire ecosystem. The brain, again, or ours, then learned to communicate over time, as well as space some point the brain learns to communicate over time (story telling, then writing, then the technologies) as well as space, and then it becomes the strongest element in its own environment as it specializes in using and growing an intellectual brain on top of the emotional brain.

There is a dance between the environment system and the brain system that generates the flow of information (gene pool) that defines the species system. This concept is the same as levels of organization except the idea of levels of organization tries to linearize the process so that our brain can conceptualize it, but the reality is that every system interfaces at one level AND another with all the other systems, which is what I read also in Tibetan Buddhism. The only way I can visualize this is to mentally draw a bunch of bubbles, each of which represents a system (I guess beginning with cells if we work up from the bottom levels of life, but of course one could go biochemical, chemical, etc.) all the bubbles are inside other bubbles and interact with other bubbles, and all of them represent actions, not things. Processes. What they really respresent is systems that have evolved because they work to maintain the life of our biggest bubble short of God’s universe – the Biosystem. Each system evolved in an environment and in that environment each system evolved because the whole Biosystem is more efficient with that system than without it (Let’s refer to that as the first law of evolution and defines “fitness” – all the systems and subsystems in a biosystem are successful insofar as they contribute to the more efficient survival of the whole Biosystem.) Because these bubbles must ALL be functioning well if the whole is to be sustainable. The second basic law of evolution is that the primary function of any system is to maintain itself. An efficiently functioning Biosystem evolves to be more and more like itself (as I described above relative to organ systems, the human brain or the giraffe’s neck).

130822-LittleCreel-ASC_5599RSsChanges happen when system break down. Or systems break down when changes happen. Evolution cannot be understood at an individual level. The entire Biosystem crawls through time as a unitary Life Form that responds to internal and external change according to the efficiency (or lack of efficiency) of the interacting processes.

In all cases, the system evolves over time in response to its environment, and all the systems evolve together. The way I picture this is to imagine how all the organs in an organ system must evolve together within the skin, which is within the ecosystem — or the organism doesn’t survive. At the same time, every change in the organ system bubble must conform to the needs of the cellular (biochemical) system of bubbles of which it is composed. And also at the same time it must fit itself into its relationship with the species system (biological community) of which it is a part. In doing this, it will tend either to maintain its efficiently,

sustainably functioning self, or, if some part of the “physiology” of the Biosystem breaks the bounds of the checks and balances that maintain it sustainably – then it will begin to change it’s own environment (which is the sum of all the species at any given time – or rather it is the sum of the billions of processes implemented by all the species together, plus the internal and external environment that they all together mediate).

In the case of the human brain, of course, once it evolved the ability to communicate both laterally and linearly (and then systematically) it became a uniquely conscious vehicle for evolution, and at that point it took upon itself (like it or not) the RESPONSIBILITY to care for the welfare not only of its neighbor in the cave but also of the sum of the species (all the sentient beings) of which it is a participating member. Responsibility is not a choice – at the level of a brain, responsibility is part of maintaining the subsystem of which it is a part. The brain is responsible for the welfare of the body, and for the welfare of the human community and for the welfare of the environment that we are sacrificing to our personal wants and wishes.

All this is what I also hear in the Tibetan Buddhist texts that I have read – those that I could understand, and whether I contributed the understanding to the text or the text contributed an understanding to me – I think it is as real when written by a monk as it is when written by an evolutionary biologist.

There are two bottom lines here that seem important right now:
1. We are responsible as individuals to our own organism (ourselves) and (because we can’t survive in a failed system) to our environment in which other organisms must participate. We could say this is self-preservation on two levels (this is why “survival of the fittest” does NOT describe the process of evolution unless you define fitness to exclude simplistic competition.) This responsibility can be thought of as: sustainability and resilience. Resilience basically is a way the system maintains itself by all the parts interacting. Sustainability is a more linear idea that seems mostly to encompass the ongoing balance among the resources and the needs, probably old-fashioned supply/demand economics reflects an idea of sustainability, whereas resilience is more akin to the benefits provided by the fail-safe functions of a space-ship environment.

130822-LittleCreel-ASC_5602RLSs2. The function of any system is to maintain itself. When this FAILS for any reason the failing system throws up variables. Actually the system is always throwing up variables, that is a Third law of evolution that we already knew from Darwin. When a system starts to fail, these variables are not as readily absorbed into the system bubble; they splinter into a thousand bits (genetic recombination, social breakdown, species breaking up into subspecies) and the bits try to specialize into niches and/or generate niches they can survive in. Whether or not they succeed depends on the internal and external environments.

That’s where we are at; in our case it has become a process of social evolution that maintains itself primarily using false information to create fraudulent social environments, that could have been real environments if we didn’t have too many people for the resources. When people do realize that the social niches (social systems) are no longer able to maintain themselves because the environment in which they evolved no longer exists or is dying – or there simply isn’t enough food for everyone — that is the source of war and revolutions.

a. we would rather resolve the issues without violence
b. but we can’t because the breakdown of the system is throwing up multiple new social systems that do compete with each other. This is the part of evolution that has to do with competition, and that mostly happens when systems are failing because (usually because the environment has changed so much the system can’t cope) – all the rest of evolution is about communication, integration, connection and cooperation. Even in non-social species, but of course not using words, rather actions and functions.
c. We are humans. We have at our disposal, in addition – words, concepts and ideas.
d. Therefore, if we want to survive we need to take a step in regulating our own evolution. There are three requirements for that: (1) stop changing the environment into which we evolved. That requires a sustainable culture, and developing a sustainable culture requires DISCUSSION RATHER THAN COMPETITION. At all levels of organization. (2) the goal is to do this without the war stage of confrontation among the groups.

I think this would require that we understand how evolution really works. I know that there are several groups out there trying to evolve humans, but none of them are functioning to fulfill the requirements outlined above because none of them understands how evolution really works. Our culture is based in competition and war. That concept grew out of a very primitive understanding of how evolution really functions – “survival of the fitness – a concept that cannot succeed unless one defines fitness as I have above.

Unfortunately, ALL the major competing groups in our corposystem culture believe in the corposystem ethic, even while they also believe we must evolve.

Yes indeed we will evolve, but we CANNOT evolve in a “humane” direction by using the failed corposystem ethic because the corposystem ethic is based in WAR and always has been. Even the compassion groups do not see themselves as they use a corposystem war ethic to change the corposystem war ethic.

If we want to succeed in evolving a better social system, we MUST NOT war against the systems that keep us alive (the corposystem war against the biosystem). Rather we must change ourselves in a direction that conforms with the welfare of the whole. Those “evolution” groups do know this. What they don’t understand is that you can’t use stories to change facts, and you can’t work for the welfare of the whole if you don’t know what it needs that is different from what humans need, and you can’t know this while at the same time excluding facts of nature from the conversation. And you can’t do it AT ALL if your mode is debate based in human opinions.

Humans have a brain that responds to stories. However, the ability to respond to stories is not enough. If we want a humane environment we must honor the process of evolution as it really is, not as “survival of the fittest (undefined).” We must use our analytical brain to debunk the corposystem, to understand evolution, and to SKIP the step that requires competition and violence. If we insist upon using the corposystem ideology to change the corposystem ideology, without recognizing that the corposystem is a failed system throwing up competing variants, because THAT IS HOW EVOLUTON FUNCTIONS, then we are lost, because we are promoting a failed system. Even the compassion movements are doing this. That is not changing a system; it is part of how the system – how it maintains itself. If we are going to use ONLY stories in this effort (no matter that the above is true) rather than evolve ourselves into a species that can USE OUR WHOLE BRAIN, NOT ONLY THE PRIMITIVE BRAIN to regulate ourselves in our environment, then there is a chance we might break out of our own failed system.

Either we use our thinking brain – on top of and including the emotional brain and the survival brain — to do that or we don’t. If we cannot grow a sufficient number of people who consciously promote discussion of the cause of the failure of our corposystem culture, then evolution will take hold, we will split up into factions and the factions will become more and more violent.

We cannot CHANGE the corposystem by conforming to what it does not want us to do. And right now what it does not want us to do is to use the analytical part of our brains, along with the emotional (storytelling) part to understand the real issues sufficiently to change the system or grow a new system that is both sustainable and resilient in relation to the efficiency of the Life processes of the entire Biosystem.

Every person on earth can contribute to this effort of understanding the real issues if we are willing to figure out what the real issues are and discuss them on a daily basis at least use the words IN ADDITION TO WHATEVER ELSE WE MUST DO TO MAINTAIN OUR BUBBLES. And if we who actually are educated do not make the effort every day to at least USE THE WORD “overpopulation,” and support and encourage those who are trying to save us from it – then the human world will end in fire (war).

Either we take charge of our own information systems or we fail.

If we refuse to address the causative issues (those discussions that are not permitted by the corposystem, and figure out the methods the corposystem uses to repress the info), or if we believe that humans are more powerful than the causative issues, then we will fail. If we can develop a culture in which ALL HUMANS take some responsibility for discussing the real issue that we face in addition to whatever else they are doing to maintain the environment that we need for survival – then there is still time.

That’s why God gave us a uniquely conscious brain.

Excellent Short Video

Check it Out

Bare Bones Biology 166 – Personal Power

Two weeks ago (
bare-bones-bio…what-can-we-do?) I claimed that human life-or-death issues must be discussed, or our solutions won’t work. Then I wrote a long explanation of this that I will post on 8/29/13 at

Last week (
bare-bones-biology-165-power/) I talked about some differences between “powers of the strong” and “powers of the weak.” Usually the strong try to “win” their way using the full range of aggression methods from passive-aggressive through debates and physical battle (war). Powers of the weak are not overtly aggressive and are described in the classic book of that name by Elizabeth Janeway

130822-LittleCreel-ASC_5613RLS*s copySo what can we do who are losing the battle to grow a viable and ethical human future on this earth? We should stop thinking about aggressive fights that we can’t win, and focus on: 1) pursuing our personal mission in life, using our personal expertise or skills; and 2) working collaboratively to grow the welfare our human and biological communities. Both. Daily.

Because we do need to feel individually competent and maintain our own human values, and we cannot do this without a reasonably healthy communal environment (including welfare of the Biosystem) to live in bare-bones-biology 102 – Religion-and-science/)

As it happens, the “Greatest Generation” gave us a reasonably comfortable communal way of life. The problem is that most of us then went on to pursue our own personal values without ALSO taking responsibility for the difficult tasks that would have maintained those communities. For example, we knew then that overpopulation must be dealt with if our species is to survive; but we didn’t do enough to ensure that happened. Sooooooo complicated, I can’t cover that in 600 words, but the bottom line is that we need to work at both tasks – everyone – every day if we want to sustain human life on earth ( and the second task is more important in today’s culture because it is not on the agenda of our current corposystem – so then you say – again — but what can we DO?

130822-LittleCreel-ASC_5598RLSs copyIn terms of our current human problem, what we can do and must do on a daily basis, in addition to promoting our own value system, is to RESIST participating in the toxic beliefs and practices of our failed and failing corposystem, and PERSIST in demanding rational planning for the future generations. I can think of three examples. The first, per Oren Lyons, is discussed in bare-bones-biology 102 – Religion-and-science/

The second example is from the Hitler era, when “powerless” children responded by pouring sugar into gas tanks of the very powerful invaders. Their parents let them do this – not because they wanted to be heroes — but because it was the right thing to do for the community.

If enough people do it – it can happen. I would rather we do it BEFORE instead of AFTER we are conquered by the powerful special interests that now control our Corposystem. So how do we resist? The goal is to destroy the destructive power of the Corposystem, and to do it without using or promoting the Corposystem ethic.

The corposystem methods of controlling us include: ( Bare Bones Biology 072 – More Corposystem Games)(
a) defining what we may or may not discuss among ourselves (can’t discuss any core issue — growth or overpopulation or climate change); b) illegally causing harm to the land, the sea, the river systems, and the air, and even the gene pool of the whole Biosystem; c) withholding facts of various kinds; d) constantly tightening its hold over the education of the young through television, story telling, the internet, the school system (think Texas textbooks) and the legal system; e) the war ethic, promoting and rewarding and teaching competition of all kinds, rather than competence and cooperation, as the criteria for success.

What can we do? We can (figuratively) pour sugar onto the power of that system.

For example: a) most important, discuss or at least mention the core issues that are destroying our place in the Biosystem. Daily; (b) teach, learn and practice critical thinking skills, BOTH scientific thinking AND philosophical thinking; b) don’t compete; rather collaborate in fact-based discussion of solutions; c) honor and protect our rule of law, an example of an activity where you CAN be aggressive but don’t follow the corposystem rules; d) do not promote or participate in opinion-based propaganda or malicious gossip.

That’s what we can do; anyone can do it; and that’s enough if we would do it.

We cannot fight and win over a superior power, but the superior-power aggression methods don’t work anyhow. They never have. All they do is recycle the toxic sorts of human power trips. And there is no human power trip that can defeat the superior power of the Biosystem. The Biosystem response will be to quietly and passively CHANGE until it reaches a new kind of balance that does not include humans. That’s what WE can do that will work to change the future rather than to just repeat the victim/perp cycle over and over again. The time has come that we can grow a new kind of human social system that is based in achieving a human-friendly balance of power among ourselves and between ourselves and the Bosystem.
But we cannot do this without reducing the human population because there is no longer enough food to just wait around until we get it right; it would be better if we reduce the population in human-friendly ways, rather than wait for Armageddon. The only way to do THAT is to discuss the issue among ourselves. Frankly, I think that is the lesson that God is waiting for us to learn.

Bare Bones Biology is a production of and KEOS FM radio, 89.1, Bryan, Texas. A podcast of this episode can be downloaded here:

or at

“Much of what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount,” Gandhi said in a famous lecture to the YMCA in Ceylon in 1927. Though that still rings true, he helped Christians around the world reclaim the nonviolence of Jesus, and reminded us of the central importance of the Sermon on the Mount.

Good One



To add to the below copy of Poppulation Media Center blog from Joe Bish, I would like to refer y’all to the best book I know about on the subject of water and the Southwest, by William deBuys, A Great Aridness. It’s not only excellent information but also has a chapter or two that expand on the history and political realities outlined below. Also check out his recent essay at TomDispatch (you can get the book through TomDispatch) (
and listen to an excellent talk at (dp642_debuys_great-aridness-perspectives-on-environment_may-2012_dt.mp3) and of course I have said this before in Bare Bones Biology. Check out one of these for good reading/listening, to round out the good info below, and to gain a broader perspective on one of the many ways in which the population issue affects whatever you are good at, and therefore how you can affect the welfare of us all.



I simply could not resist running the following two stories back-to-back; the first is not exactly breaking news, but instead delves deeper into the drying up of the American southwest. For example, people are now soberly coming to terms with the fact that Lake Powell is running so low it may not be able to produce electricity at the Glen Canyon Dam as early as winter 2015. The author notes that the Colorado supplies “drinking water for 36 million Americans, irrigation water for 15% of our nation’s crops and a $26-billion recreation economy that employs a quarter of a million Americans.” But, also that “Demand on the Colorado River’s water exceeds supply”, and that “average river flow could decrease by nearly 10% by mid-century.”

Which is a perfect segue into the next story, which reports out on the expectations that the state of Nevada will grow its human population by 49% (1.3 million) in the next 15 years. Of course, the connection here is that Nevada (with its rapidly growing populace) is heavily dependent on the Colorado River (with its dwindling flows already over-subscribed) for drinking water… what could go wrong here?

As a side note, in researching this situation, I was interested to see how much other states reliant on the Colorado would be growing in the next 15 years — and was bewildered to learn that the US Census Bureau does not have a current set of state population projections and currently has no plans to produce them. However, if you are interested, the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service does have such projections.

A slow-motion Colorado River disaster
It may take federal disaster relief to offset the consequences of water scarcity in the Southwest.
On Aug. 7, the head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority called for federal disaster relief to address the consequences of water scarcity in the Colorado River system. On Friday, the Bureau of Reclamation announced it would be forced to cut the flow of water into Lake Mead in 2014 to a historic low. Dominoes may now fall from California to Washington, D.C.

A nearly century-old body of agreements and legal decisions known as the Law of the River regulates water distribution from the Colorado River among seven states and Mexico. Two major reservoirs help collect and distribute that water. Lake Mead disburses water to Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico. Mead gets its water from Lake Powell, which collects its water from Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. For the first time, Lake Powell releases will fall below 8.23 million acre-feet of water, to 7.48 million acre-feet, potentially reducing allotments down the line and setting off a cascade of significant consequences.

First, if recent dry weather in the Colorado River basin continues, declining water levels in Lake Powell could cut off power production at Glen Canyon Dam as early as winter 2015, affecting power supply and pricing in six states.

Second, less water coming into Lake Mead from Lake Powell may bring the level in Mead below an intake pipe that delivers water to Las Vegas by spring 2015. The Southern Nevada Water Authority has been racing to construct a deeper intake pipe by the end of 2014.

By winter 2015, Lake Mead also may dip to a level that would result in a major decline in power generation at Hoover Dam. That would affect the supply and cost of power for consumers in Nevada, Arizona and California. Southern California uses below-market-rate power from Hoover Dam to pump water to its cities and farms; if the region was forced to buy market-rate electricity from elsewhere, the price of water for Southern California consumers would surely rise.

These Bureau of Reclamation projections prompted Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to call for federal disaster relief to mitigate the situation. She wasn’t specific about how much money would be needed or how it would be used, but disaster relief could go toward completing Las Vegas’ new intake pipe project, or for things like paying farmers to temporarily fallow their fields as a means to get more water in the reservoirs, or to finance a controversial new groundwater project in the region. Mulroy referenced Superstorm Sandy and said: “Does a drought not rise to the same level of a storm? The potential damage is just as bad.”

If anything, Mulroy is understating the situation. What’s at stake on the Colorado River, in addition to increased power and water costs, is drinking water for 36 million Americans, irrigation water for 15% of our nation’s crops and a $26-billion recreation economy that employs a quarter of a million Americans.

“Disaster relief” implies temporary measures, but the drought in the Southwest is not an isolated incident; it is a long-term reality. We need strong measures to head off further disaster, not just aid to help address the aftermath.

Demand on the Colorado River’s water exceeds supply. According to a 2012 Bureau of Reclamation study, average river flow could decrease by nearly 10% by mid-century. Carrying on with business as usual by continuing to build new diversions from the river and failing to significantly improve the efficiency with which we use the river’s water is akin to rebuilding wiped-out beach homes after a hurricane and then beckoning another storm to come in and destroy those homes again (requiring, of course, another government bailout).

Fortunately, that 2012 Colorado River study determined that urban and agricultural water conservation and recycling, along with market-based measures like water banking, are cost-effective measures that can lead the way to a secure water future for the Southwest. The Department of the Interior has convened a process with the seven Colorado River states and other interests to determine the next steps on water conservation and improving river flows. A report from the group should arrive next year. A robust plan is needed from this process to ensure a successful economic future for the Southwest, or else the dominoes will fall.

Nevada population to grow by 1.3 million by 2028

Nevada’s population is projected to grow by more than 1.3 million people – or 49 percent – over the next 20 years, according to The Nevada State Demographer’s Office.

The projections, released Tuesday by the demographer’s office, put the total state population at about 4 million by 2028. The demographer’s office is located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

“Nevada will likely continue to outpace the national growth rate,” state demographer Jeff Hardcastle said. “The Census Bureau’s National Projections show the United States growing by 22 percent between 2007 and 2028 and Nevada’s growth rate is projected at 49 percent for the same period.”

Overall, Hardcastle noted change will be uneven around Nevada. Northwestern Nevada (Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey and Washoe Counties) is projected to grow by more than 226,000 people.

The demographer’s report does not give a breakdown by city. According to the city of Sparks Web site, the city’s population as of July 2007 was 89,449. In 1990, the city had 54,347 residents; by 2000 it had grown to 67,151; and by 2010 it is expected to grow to 90,888.

For its long-term planning purposes, the city uses a projected population in the year 2030 of 133,600. Sparks city planner Armando Ornelas said that number was arrived at four years ago but is still the working number. He said the city adopts a population projection for its own master plan and that projection is reviewed by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency.

“It’s all very tied in to the regional process because the regional plan looks at the growth of Reno, Sparks and southern Washoe County area and there’s an allocation of where growth will occur between the three jurisdictions.”

Under the state demographer’s projection, southern Nevada (Clark and Nye Counties) is projected to grow by more than 1.1 million people. According to Hardcastle, of particular concern is the impact of new hotel projects opening on the Las Vegas Strip between now and 2012. He said that the hotel projects have led to many high-end construction jobs, but after the 2012 date there are no other major projects on the horizon to keep those workers in Nevada.

“What happens when they’re done?” he said.

The projections are used in preparing the state’s budget and for other planning purposes. They were prepared using a model that relates a county’s population and economy to other counties and the nation as a whole. A draft of the projections has been provided to local governments and other interested parties.
Thank you,


Joseph J. Bish

Population Outreach Manager
Population Media Center
145 Pine Haven Shores Road, Suite 2011
P.O. Box 547
Shelburne, Vermont 05482-0547
PMC Tel. 1-802-985-8156
PMC Fax 1-802-985-8119

A Week at Little Creel Before Descending Again into the Canyon

Now equipped with electricity and four wheel drive.






Bare Bones Biology 165 – Power

OK, I have to talk fast today, and even so there is more on the blog page. In the last blog I got cranky, because nice speak doesn’t work in the face of factual problems, and people do need to understand what choices we are making as we each in our own way try to do what is best for ourselves, our communities, our countries and for Life itself.

The choices are difficult, but they are becoming more simple over time as the generations of humans have made bad decisions that leave us very few — in fact — one choice in this generation . Either we are committed to the survival of humans on this earth, or – we would rather do something else.

Life or death for humans depends upon the services provided by the Biosystem; therefore, if we want to work for the welfare of humans within the Biosystem, then we must ALSO work for the welfare of the Biosystem itself — as we know it. All of us. That’s not our choice. Just a basic fact. We can’t change the basic biological systems that function to maintain a balanced environment. If we want to support human life unto the seventh generation and beyond, then we must study these life support systems. And behave accordingly. If we were raised in the past 30 years or so, or if we assume without studying that we DO understand what the Biosystem needs, then our first obligation is to study, for example the old Curtis Biology textbook or an older Basic Biology text or minimally Bare Bones Ecology.

Either we learn what the Biosystem needs, and provide it, or we will fail to accomplish our chosen goal (aka mission) to support human life into the future. Either we study outside our personal and social world view — or we will be, unawares, working for the entrained goals of our culture of birth that is destroying our human participation within the Biosystem.

I suggest we also learn how to tell the difference between real facts and Corposystem propaganda or we will waste a lot of time being confused (

If we study wisely, t hen we can make wise choices that involve our own human behaviors. That’s a full-time job that can occupy anyone for a lifetime, and that too, as I see it, is oddly simple. It seems that most people in our culture understand one of two general life styles: 1) how to be a “winner” — or 2) how to get along without being a “winner.” One or the other, but not both. They are different skill sets. Winner power or loser power; war or peace; debate or discussion; male power or female power; powers of the strong or Powers of the Weak ( Whatever you want to call them. There seem to be two general approaches to obtaining our goals or pursuing our mission in life.

130810-Rodeo-ASC_5533RLSs copyThe powerful, dominant, macho people seem to believe that war (in it’s many manifestations, from passive-aggressive through competition, debate and physical combat) defines power. More usefully, I have observed that the powerful (dominant, macho) people usually do not understand any other form of power than the power of winning. That’s why they keep on losing, year after year, generation after generation, century after century, warriors ultimately lose their wars because they only understand one kind of power, and that is “winning.” So they can be relatively easily toppled by any number of other kinds of power.

Those people who actually achieve sustainable success of their goal (aka mission) are most often those who: a) study the facts, because basic facts don’t change; and b) who fit the solution to the challenge in such a way that the challengers don’t understand they are being manipulated (that’s easy, the only thing warriors seem to understand is winning) and don’t understand the goal/mission of the people who are manipulating them (also easy, because strong people generally only understand domination).

130811-Lumberton-ASC_5550RLSs copyAnd indeed right now we humans are losing our place in the body of Life on Earth because ALL the major players, good guys and bad guys, conform so resolutely to the macho Corposystem ethic that very few have time to research the problem factually and face the reality of our situation with an unshakeable commitment to our goal (aka mission) that is greater than our commitment to winning whatever we individually want to win. But anyone can work for the welfare of the Biosystem, any time, all the time. And make Life better, rather than worse for the privilege of being alive – if we are willing to really study what the Biosystem needs rather than what we think it should need.

Witness the T party that propounded so many really silly opinions that had nothing to do with real solutions — they could only make themselves foolish in the long run. They would have done better to analyze the problem than to expound their opinions without benefit of input. Because in the end they did more harm than good.

On the other side, many “progressive” activists today are in the very odd position of admiring the efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi, whose efforts were NOT based in war but in resistance, while at the same time PROMOTING the methods of the Corposystem – which is all about war and winning at all levels from passive-aggressive, to competition to debate to active conflict. We don’t need “sides.” What we do need is well-informed communities that can discuss problems and reach rational conclusions.

How many scores or hundreds of times have I been told that I am “doing it wrong,” because I choose not to promote or collaborate with the modern Corposystem society whenever my participation would undermine the Biosystem. And yet, the only possible way that we can nurture the Biosystem is to NOT collude with the Corposystem methods of domination (war), but instead to resort to some combination of powers of the weak, beginning with a discussion of the problem and the parts of it that humans cannot change — because neither we nor the Corposystem can possibly dominate the Biosystem. The more we try, the more it will evolve to accommodate its own needs – not ours.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A podcast of this program is available at:

FactFictionFancy – 130820

I am developing an interest in the ways in which the rather few reliable, well-thought-out “reporters” on my in-mail tend to overlap each other in different (reductionist) versions of our global crisis that somehow obscures the overall causal reality and suggests we do not have the kind of problem that we do have.

For example: Population Media Center (Joe Bish) has announced that today is resource overshoot DAY for this year. Pulling from my memory, I seem to recall that resource overshoot YEAR was 1997 or thereabouts. I think I got that from World Wildlife Fund Annual Report ( or from Lester Brown ( – two other good sources of relatively reliable information.

And on the same today TomDispatch published an article by Barbara Garson that suggests or seems to assume that we are in a normal economic mess ( Even though she refers to this as a “weird economic downturn,” she speculates about recovery.

130808-ChildrenParade-ASC_5318RLSsWhat recovery? I will be very surprised if we recover at all. What ever happened to supply and demand – cause and effect? Is WalMart responsible for the fact that there are now twice as many mouths to feed (more or less) than there were when we overshot the carrying capacity of the whole earth? Or perhaps the beneficence of WalMart prices has saved some of those mouths and made the population problem worse for themselves (and everyone else) in that way. There are two sides to every action we take, and it’s time we stopped the old fable that the glass is half full. In fact, it is nearly empty, and if we don’t think about the negative sides of our behaviors, how can we recover?

Why don’t we try to publish all sides of the story in one long simplistic article so the people can understand there is one root cause to ALL our major current problems, and stop being “confused” by the apparently (but not really) “conflicting data,” and we can get together and start to build some solutions to that very simple, fatal fact of life.

If there are too many people for the amount of food – you die, and the economy along with you.

Bare Bones Biology 164 – What Can We Do?

Today I am looking at a list of excuses that people often give for not fulfilling our/their obligation to the welfare of the Biosystem. And then I noticed that the Compassionate Earth Walk (
is hearing some very similar responses in their discussions with local residents as they walk the pipeline route. And what could be a more glaring example than the Tar Sands Pipeline of what TomDispatch has termed Terracide (

How very odd, this, in a country/continent that is powerful and well educated enough to commit “Terracide.” and the most common excuse for not fulfilling our responsibility to the welfare of our living earth is that we “Can’t do anything” or that someone else should first tell us what to do.

The fact is that we do have a problem and we can do something about it and and The solution is simplicity itself. Simple I said — whether or not it’s easy requires a different excuse. Our problem is simply foundational to both the well-studied economic base of the corposystem (supply and demand) and the well studied biology base of the Biosystem (producer/consumer). The problem is: “If you don’t have it you can’t eat it.” The problem is that we humans are eating up more than our share of the Life resources of this living planet. We are draining away the blood of Life itself ( and burning it up faster than the ecosystem can make it.

130812-sunrise-ASC_5542RLSs copyThe consequences are as obvious. If the earth Biosystem runs out of what we need to stay alive, then we will not stay alive – individually or as a species. Your choice is as simple as the sunrise and sunset, and the choice is not to “win” anything, nor to find some way to be a hero. The choice is whether or not to fulfill your responsibility to Life. Either you fulfill your responsibility or you don’t. Whatever you want or whatever you say or whatever you believe will not change that producer/consumer supply/demand relationship. You can’t have whatever you want, but if you work it right, you might be able to help save Life as we know it.

Yes it is too bad we have let it get this far, but that is not a reason to let it get farther. Fifteen years ago I was writing about the choices we had then. Now we have only one. Do what is required to permit Life to rebalance itself. Or, not. There is no technology other than human birth control that can rebalance the Life of earth, because humans don’t understand enough about the “physiology” of the ecosystem to know how to “fix” the physiology of how life functions We do know how to fix our human problem, but rather than DO what is necessary to solve the problem, we are making excuses. Here’s an example.

Water and food:

Problem: There is not enough water on the whole earth for all the people on earth. There is not enough food for all the people. (You may say you don’t believe this; I say that what you believe does not change how the earth functions to stay healthy.)

Solution: Make more food and water — or make fewer people.

Difficulty: We can’t make food or water. THAT is why we need the resources of the earth.

The fact is that the food and water systems were working fine before we tried to feed too many people. Now some folks are rejoicing that they are “fixing” the food or the water system. That is not a triumph – it is another excuse for not fixing the problem, which is us. Too many people for the available amount of food and water. Trying to “fix” the ecosystem does not address the problem or its cure. The way to fix the problem is to stop causing it and until we do that, the problem will continue to get worse.

Either we use our intellect and/or our emotions, as communities, to STOP CAUSING THE PROBLEM. Or we don’t. If you have another goal in life; if your goal does not address the cause of our problem (no matter how glorious your goal), then that’s your choice, you don’t need an excuse to make a choice, but the resulting terracide is your legacy – not mine.

I choose Life.

Here are a few more examples:


Problem: The climate is changing in such a way that the species of organisms which evolved in our human-friendly climate, most of them are dead or dying — no longer able to survive in the new climate. This is because there are too many toxic compounds in the system. Just for one example, carbon dioxide. There is too much carbon dioxide in the air.

Solution: We need to either make less carbon dioxide (and other toxins) in the air, that is, stop burning so much carbohydrates in our bodies and our machines) – or make fewer people.

Difficulty: The fact is that the climate was working fine before we messed up the carbon cycle, and “fixing” the carbon cycle without reducing the numbers of people is not a success. It’s an excuse to not deal with the problem.

Medicine and Health:

Problem: We generate pesticides and herbicides and antibiotics and hormones, perfumes, cleaning compounds and radioactive chemicals that cure some diseases and cause more other diseases (when they begin to cycle in the ecosystem and affect plants and animals that aren’t sick to begin with) than the ones they cure.

Solution: Face facts and stop trying to make every individual fertilized human egg live forever; stop running all those toxic compounds down the drain, releasing them into the air, and dropping them into the ocean or out of airplanes. Or reduce the number of people who are using these products.

Problem: We want what we want when we want it. We don’t care about any of those other fertilized eggs as long as we can pretend that we all can live infinitely just the way we are today.

Human Rights, War, Hatred and Compassion

Problem: The situation keeps getting worse with every generation because it is not possible to have human rights for everyone when there are not enough resources for everyone to even stay alive. Thus we cannot have human rights now because now we have more humans than there is food. Our people would rather pretend to be compassionate than to actually BE compassionate and do what is necessary to maintain the balance of welfare for all sentient beings – for the welfare of all of Life. So our government (which knows all the above) has to go offshore whenever it chooses to kill off some excess humans (yes they have their excuses to not face the problem at hone), while at the same time preparing to conquer and control us citizens whenever we finally figure out that we CAN’T HAVE whatever we want when we want it because there aren’t enough resources available on earth because there are TOO MANY PEOPLE.

Solution: The fact is that we are biological organisms, and our brain evolved – both the thinking part and the emotional part – as all things evolve, to aid in our survival as a part of the whole earth organism. So the solution is to stop using our intellect and emotions for playing games and start using them to solve the problem we already know how to solve.

130810-ChamaParade-ASC_5383RLSs copyLife is what it is; it won’t change for us. We have had the information we need to survive as a part of life for over 3000 years – increasingly more specifically described in all the human wisdom traditions from the aboriginal
to the scientific

If we say we want the good life, then it’s clear we don’t think that we have it, and it should be the prime directive of the social and hard sciences at this point, rather than grubbing around trying to make the Ecosystem jump to the tune of the Corposystem (that’s us) to spend as much time and energy as we can learning how to humanly BEHAVE in such a way that we can give the ecosystem what it needs to be healthy. So we THEN can have a chance to grow a sustainable, healthy human culture.

“To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn’t that the ultimate crime? Isn’t that terracide?” (

I am feeling very sad today because I don’t really believe that anyone else cares enough to try, or only a few, and probably it doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things if we spend our lives and all our human dreams on something that doesn’t really matter because we don’t care enough to find out how to make the dream come true.

The podcast of this episode may be downloaded here:

Bare Bones Biology 162 – Aboriginal Wisdom

Last week I commented on the commentary of Kooper ( a modern Navaho rap artist. Today, I quote from Henry Crow Dog (Crow Dog, by Leonard Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes. Harper, 1995), who was a third-generation Sioux medicine man. After that, I will repeat my favorite quote fromOren Lyons, former Chief of the Onandoga. Here are some words of Henry Crow Dog:

130801-cliff-ASC_4981RLSs copy“Why did the white man come here? Why did Custer steal the sacred Black Hills from us? White men are crazy about gold. They have gold rimmed glasses, gold watches, gold teeth. They were always rooting around, tearing everything apart, digging, digging, digging. They tore up the whole Black Hills to find gold, silver and precious stones. They still work the huge gold mine, the Homestake Mine, up there. Now they’re after gas, coal, oil and uranium. You can see the big trucks with the nuclear stuff coming through here from the Black Hills.”

“The white man has eyes but he does not see. He has ears but he does not hear. The clock of the universe, the spirit clock, has already struck twelve. It’s time to set this clock right, time to stop and think.”

“We’ve got to civilize the white man because he has gone astray.”

You already know that I agree with the wisdom of these words – except of course it isn’t our whiteness that makes us crazy. It is the structure of our corposystem culture that makes us believe we can build the good life out of things, rather than with wisdom.

This, I believe, is also the basic reason for the Compassionate Earth Walk that I have talked about before, led by a white American Buddhist monk with international and intergenerational followers. They are now walking from the Tar Sands in Canada toward the home of Henry Crow Dog in South Dakota, along the route of the latest “white man’s folly” the Tar Sands Pipeline. Unfortunately they will probably have to stop somewhere

130802-Pup-ASC_5037RLSsPeople have been walking along the wisdom trail since long before Martin Luther King, and including both Leonard Crow Dog and Chief Oren Lyons, whose words I have quoted before and can be found in conversation with Bill Moyers obtainable from PBS. He said:

“We are now. Now is us. We’re the seventh generation. I’m sitting here as the seventh generation because seven generations ago there were people looking out for me. Seven generations from now, someone will be here, I know. And so each generation makes sure that seven generations is coming all the time. That’s accountability. We’re accountable. We, you and I, we’re accountable. Yes we are, and they are going to call us. They’re the ones that are going to say, why did you do this, or why did you not do this?”

Indeed, Chief Lyons was also a walker along the wisdom trail. I wonder if that is anything like the original wisdom of the Bhodisatva path? Anything like the life of Jesus? Ask Joseph Campbell (also available on PBS), and he would (did) say yes, the aboriginal wisdom of human kind is the story of how to survive as a part of the Creation. It is the story of human wisdom, the same wisdom, spoken in many voices – many stories.

And so this is a biology program. What has that to do with Biology?

Not very much, because Henry Crow Dog is right. If we continue to pursue science without wisdom “. . a time will come when the bullets won’t work, the bombs won’t work, the spaceships will fall into the ocean. The generals, the senators, the president himself, won’t know what to do.” Because global science without human wisdom cannot save us from ourselves.

But it’s also true that human wisdom that denies reality will come to the same end. Because wisdom that does not include an understanding of factual reality isn’t wise enough to deal with today. And we are today.

So I can’t understand why we have divided ourselves into those two groups, those who believe that human wisdom can conquer global science, and those who believe that global science should conquer human wisdom. Both groups have the same basic goal of the good life, but neither can achieve that goal in today’s world without the knowledge that is available from the other. And so long as we won’t listen, each to the other, we will have neither wisdom nor the good life.

What is the solution to this problem? If you are technical minded, discuss with your neighbor whatever wisdom system she or he best understands; if you are completely devoted to learning about compassion, or Christianity, or Buddhism, or even if you are already a Medicine Man or a Bhodisatva – part of your obligation to the future is to take the time to discuss (or read about) some fact-based science – not human technology (prowess) or the fanciful tales of the corposystem propaganda, but the unchangeable processes that physically function to keep our Biosystem alive and well. What most of you were not taught in school.

Bare Bones Biology is a production of and KEOS FM radio, 89.1, Bryan, Texas. The podcast of this episode can be downloaded here or at: