Bare Bones Biology 184 – Power to Ponzi?

“Can you think of
any problem in any area of
human endeavor on any scale,
from microscopic to global,
whose long-term solution
is in any demonstrable way
aided, assisted, or advanced by
further increases in population,
locally, nationally, or globally?”

Those are the words of Prof. Al Bartlett. Today I want to share with you some information Rudy sent. I’ll use Rudy’s words and my words and Dr. Bartlett’s words and our combined reference links. If you work through these references, you will have the fact-based information to understand why we worry about population now – TODAY– not for some future time when it will be too late. Additional, and much shorter descriptions of why the exponential function is so important to our welfare have been posted on YouTube by Chris Martensen and by Professor Suzuki and are linked on the blog ( and the web page (

Crash Course, regarding Exponential Growth:
Power of Compounding (this is the good one)
Growth versus Prosperity
Prof. Suzuki’s description of exponential growth (another good one)

The below picture illustrates Dr. Bartlett’s description of our dilemma:
“There’s a very profound lesson in that cartoon. The lesson is that zero population growth is going to happen. Now, we can debate whether we like zero population growth or don’t like it, it’s going to happen. Whether we debate it or not, whether we like it or not, it’s absolutely certain. People could never live at that density on the dry land surface of the earth. Therefore, today’s high birth rates will drop; today’s low death rates will rise till they have exactly the same numerical value. That will certainly be in a time short compared to 780 years. So maybe you’re wondering then, what options are available if we wanted to address the problem.

“In the left hand column (of the accompanying picture), I’ve listed some of those things that we should encourage if we want to raise the rate of growth of population and in so doing, make the problem worse. Just look at the list. “Everything in the list is as sacred as motherhood. There’s immigration, medicine, public health, sanitation. These are all devoted to the humane goals of lowering the death rate and that’s very important to me, if it’s my death they’re lowering. But then I’ve got to realize that anything that just lowers the death rate makes the population problem worse.

Rudy Sovinee“There’s peace, law and order; scientific agriculture has lowered the death rate due to famine—that just makes the population problem worse. It’s widely reported that the 55 mph speed limit saved thousands of lives—that just makes the population problem worse. Clean air makes it worse.

“Now, in this column are some of the things we should encourage if we want to lower the rate of growth of population and in so doing, help solve the population problem. Well, there’s abstention, contraception, abortion, small families, stop immigration, disease, war, murder, famine, accidents. Now, smoking clearly raises the death rate; well, that helps solve the problem.

“Remember our conclusion from the cartoon of one person per square meter; we concluded that zero population growth is going to happen. Let’s state that conclusion in other terms and say it’s obvious nature is going to choose from the right hand list and we don’t have to do anything—except be prepared to live with whatever nature chooses from that right hand list. Or we can exercise the one option that’s open to us, and that option is to choose first from the right hand list. We gotta find something here we can go out and campaign for. Anyone here for promoting disease? (audience laughter)

“We now have the capability of incredible war; would you like more murder, more famine, more accidents? Well, here we can see the human dilemma—everything we regard as good makes the population problem worse, everything we regard as bad helps solve the problem. There is a dilemma if ever there was one.

“The one remaining question is education: does it go in the left hand column or the right hand column? I’d have to say thus far in this country it’s been in the left hand column—it’s done very little to reduce ignorance of the problem.”

These are the choices we do have as a human community in response to overpopulation. The odd thing, if you look on the web, is that these are not the choices we humans have chosen to discuss. We are, instead, leaning toward magic. We aren’t even talking very much about available technologies that could limit births, but much more about technologies that increase the certainty of death and suffering of humans after they are born. These discussions are framed as being about human rights, but in fact, it is very clear that overpopulation DECREASES human rights in many ways that are very profitable for the short-term interests of the corposystem. , ,

So what do we-the-people do when our leaders withhold information that is critically important to human values and to the welfare of our children? We investigate it for ourselves – and educate ourselves, and our neighbors — for survival with a reasonably comfortable, sustainable way of living.

The podcast of this blog can be accessed at:

“The Meaning of Sustainability” is a newly published article that Professor Al Bartlett has made available for on-line viewing. He clearly and compellingly states the folly of much of societal behavior. we encourage everyone to read it –

Dr. Bartlett’s entire talk is freely available at: for streaming video, audio download, or transcript. An updated version at

Additional, and much shorter descriptions of why the exponential function is so important to our welfare have been posted on YouTube by Chris Martensen and by Professor Suzuki and are linked on the blog ( and the web page (

Crash Course, regarding Exponential Growth:
Power of Compounding (this is the good one) Growth versus Prosperity
Prof. Suzuki’s description of exponential growth (another good one)

“The greatest shortcoming
of the human race is our
inability to understand
the exponential
function.” – Prof.
Al Bartlett


Bare Bones Biology 183 – Hail Ponzi

Yes I do use Facebook, as little as possible because it is one of the more enormous of the corposystem’s methods of keeping us occupied with trivia, rather than helping our communities to grow a sustainable, reasonably pleasant life-style for the next generation. But, then, even Facebook can be used to do something worthwhile.

For example, to understand opinions of people different from ourselves. I accidentally stubbed my toe on one world-view that is so far from mine I didn’t believe it could exist in a human mind:

The statement: “No I don’t want to know more.” (about the function of the Biosystem) represents the ultimate baby-bird philosophy (feed me, I’m happy to believe whatever makes me feel good).

“Baby bird” is only one in a panel of the unproductive games ( the corposystem uses to maintain its control over a formerly more or less democratic society.

As we already know (, the function of a system is to perpetuate itself. As one way to protect itself from changing, the corposystem (defined in the same ref) encourages us to spend as much of our time as possible playing unproductive human games. When we are playing these games, we are not contributing to the most important work we could be doing for the future of humans on earth, and that is to dismantle or change the corposystem and replace it with a sustainable, nurturing environment for the generations ahead.

130629-TerritorialDays-ASC_4011RLs copyAnd what a pleasure it is to chat with like-minded folks about the evils of the corposystem that has taken over our culture. But so long as we waste time talking about how bad the corposystem is, or why other people aren’t doing what they should be doing, or how impotent (or how important) we are as individuals – so long as we are engrossed in this “aintitawful” game, we aren’t doing what WE should be doing. We are not contributing to any kind of change. The corposystem games eat up our time, our lives, without producing anything worthwhile.

But then you ask: “what can we do?” Oh yes. That’s another corposystem game. “What Can We Do?” It cycles around endlessly, because we don’t like the answer and so we ask some other person – and another, and another — rather than evaluate the answers we are given. And the answer is – ta dah — We could instead be spending this very moment talking, thinking and/or discussing how to stop wasting our time playing corposystem games.

The history of human success/progress/survival is based in the effort to understand the FACTS of life. A fact is something humans cannot change – both historical facts and functional facts, such as the laws of nature — so we don’t waste our time trying to change the unchangeable, or redoing what has already failed, in our never-ending efforts to survive. The corposystem, to save itself from changing, teaches us that there is no difference between a fact and an opinion; and the baby-birds believe it. So, again, what’s a person to do?

130629-TerritorialDays-asc_4479RLSs copyIndeed it is true that one person is very unlikely to single-handedly make a big change in a big social system. Does that mean we should give up and go with the flow? Or might it be better for those of us who believe the corposystem is an unethical, illegal, immoral Ponzi scheme, to REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CORPOSYSTEM GAMES, as the few did in Hitler’s Germany. That’s one of the things I find so impossible to believe; I remember Hitler’s generation. That we are no different boggles my mind. But — No, says the corposystem game. What’s the point of trying if you can’t win?

To which I answer, what’s the point of living by supporting an unethical illegal, immoral Ponzi scheme.

What we CAN do is stop playing the corposystem games. We can spend our time doing the fact-based research, and the behaviors, that are required to grow a sustainable, reasonably comfortable environment as our nurturing goal for the generations yet to come, rather than participate in the games that are set for us by an unethical, illegal, immoral Ponzi system.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS FM radio, 89.1, Bryan Texas. A podcast can be obtained at:


Tom Dispatch

Yes indeed, if you want a little reading that is true and light-but-not-simple, and doesn’t claim much of anything except reality.

“Twain was careful to mind his manners when speaking from lecture platforms . . . He bottled his ferocious ridicule in the writing (much of it in newspapers) that he likened to “painted fire,” bent to the task of burning down with a torch of words the pestilent hospitality tents of self-glorifying cant. He had in mind the health of the society on which in 1873 he bestowed the honorific “The Gilded Age” in recognition of its great contributions to the technologies of selfishness and greed, a society making itself sick with the consumption of too many sugarcoated lies and one that he understood not to be a society at all but a state of war.”

Definition – Can You Improve It?

131208-ice-ASC_7643RLSsI think of wisdom as fundamentally the ability to understand the relationship between one’s cultural knowledge and one’s cultural and physical environment. I started using the term “wisdom cloud” to refer to the accumulated wisdom of our human cultural environment, and I am assuming the function of our cultural environment is to provide an environment in which people mature knowing how to behave in ways that will benefit the welfare of the community. I use the term “wisdom systems” to refer to subsets of belief that have been formalized. It’s not the best term one could use because it implies that all wisdom systems are wise. This is not so. The wise system is that which results in the greatest overall benefit to Life, if well used, because it most accurately reflects fundamental biological reality, or now that we also must deal with scientific information, does not deny the reality of measurable facts.

131214-Clubhouse-ASC_7673YLSs copy 2If I were to state this from the viewpoint of an omnipotent creator I would say that Creator set in motion the laws of nature (which are super-human and which humans can neither fully understand nor change) to select for or grow a system that functions according to the greatest good for all sentient beings, which ultimately is the greatest good for the one Life of Earth.

The Creation is a miracle that we should celebrate and protect. This year I plan to celebrate that miracle at a midnight musical service, and I wish you the same or similar experience.

Bare Bones Biology 182 – What to Do?

This is great. I’m getting actual questions from readers. So the question today is: How can I learn to be a success so that I can use my human values to benefit all sentient beings?”

121310-Rt 83-ASC_7650RLSs copy 2And the answer is, I’m Sorry – I can’t tell you how to do impossible things. It’s very unlikely that you can be a “success” as defined by this culture – the corposystem (defined at – and still honor your human values to benefit the future of humankind. This is because the corposystem is not human and it is not working to benefit all sentient beings. The purpose/function of the corposystem is to make money by harvesting the products of growth: growing food to sell: corn, cattle; growing merchandise to sell: computers, cars. And even growing humans for corposystem profit.

131213-LayeredSky-ASC_7658RLSs copy copyThe corposystem is selling resources. Everything the corposystem sells, including money, ultimately comes from resources that are created by or harvested from the Biosystem. The Biosystem, that is the whole Earth system of Life, can make more resources, but it takes time. The resources are now being depleted faster than the Biosystem can make them. Therefore, growth of anything, in this “anthropogenic” age, cannot benefit the future of humankind as it has done in the past.

There is a conflict of interest between the needs of the corposystem and of the Biosystem. If we don’t promote growth, it is not likely that the corposystem will reward us with “success.” On the other hand, growing the corposystem is harmful to our own future, because a healthy Biosystem is necessary for the survival of humans. Therefore, it is very likely that the most important contribution we can make to the future of human kind is to work for the welfare of the Biosystem rather than the corposystem, even if we don’t succeed.

The function of human cultures (and the corposystem is a human culture) is to provide an environment in which people mature knowing what we should do to grow a sustainable and reasonably comfortable lifestyle. That is the purpose of human cultures. To raise up the children knowing how to behave in a way that will nourish the common welfare. We cannot do that within the corposystem because the corposystem is neither sustainable nor comfortable. Nor even human regardless of the Supreme Court.

Our toxic corposystem raises us up to believe that it is our human responsibility to accomplish profitable miracles. Isn’t that what TV is all about? Teaching us that we are Gods of the impossible? But the bottom line is that trying to do impossible things is more likely to be a waste of your one life. And mine. Our real choice is whether to benefit the corposystem and be a “success” while causing harm to the future generations of sentient beings – or to do what is right for the future generations, regardless of whether or not we become a “success.”

Our responsibility to the future of human kind is to learn to understand the difference between facts and opinions – and to find a valid way to study the FACTS about how the Biosystem functions and what it needs to be healthy – and to discuss opinions about why, how and what we can do to benefit the future welfare of human kind — and then do the very best we can to benefit the Biosystem, and of course at the same time to help those of our neighbors who may be early victims of the corposystem battle for dominance. Fighting among ourselves, or arguing over facts that we cannot change, will only prevent us from using our talents to benefit anyone.

131024-canyon-ASC_6807RLSsThere are only two ways I know of to change the corposystem. One is with violence and the other is without violence. BOTH WILL FAIL if we forge ahead in the belief that we can do miracles within our own personal belief systems — without knowing what we want to change and why and how it will benefit the future generations.

We must choose whether to benefit the corposystem and be a “success,” while causing harm to the future generations of sentient beings — or to do what is right for the future generations of the Biosystem.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan, TX. A copy of the podcast can be obtained at:

Huston Smith

One of our most important elders said, in The Roots of Fundamentalism:

131208-ice-ASC_7616s“OK, Literalism . . . Science has shown empirically that there are three great divisions of size. Qantum mechanics, where distance is measured in pico-meters, that’s the micro-world. And then there is our world that we are in now, where distances are measured in feet and and yard and mile. And then there is the mega-world of relativity theory and the astronomers with distances measured in light years. What the scientists tell us is that neither the micro-world nor the mega-world that flank our world can be described literally (using ordinary language) . . . because if you try to do it you get into the paradoxes that cartographers (mapmakers) have when they try to visualize the sphere of our planet in two dimensional geography books. You can’t do it. Greenland always balloons absurdly. Here we come to the clincher. If we cannot describe the micro-world or the mega-world in ordinary language, what chance is there to describe God, or truly spiritual things, because God is at least as different from us as are those other two flanking worlds, for the sufficient reason that God includes those flanking worlds . . . But science can access those two worlds with their own technical language. That’s mathematics. They can tell us accurately, but it needs a technical language. So, in religion, you need a technical language to access the truth, and that is metaphor. Symbolism. Art. Parable . . . Because you can’t say it literally.”