Bare Bones Biology 247 – The Law of Life

“When no one listens, no one tells, and when no one tells, no one learns.”
Tibetan Proverb


140907-moon-asc_1192sThe Law of Life is how the living Earth stays balanced by balancing all of its parts.  How the Law of Life functions is deeper than any of the simple answers that are argued on the internet, but it is not a mystery and has been understood for most of my lifetime at least. If anything changes the interactions that Life of the Biosystem uses to stay alive (that’s all the processes) — then the Biosystem will change — in order to stay alive. Right now we refer to this as climate change, or some people call it evolution.


The balance of Life requires both the upside and the downside, we must honor them both in the sense of recognizing they are what maintains life, and try to help keep them in a viable balance by not unbalancing the system at either end.


Populations are not the only factors in this balance, but over-population is an excellent example of how it works.


Suffering, in today’s over-populated system is caused by producing more humans than there is enough food to feed them. This unbalances all the Earth subsystems that are related to food, and food is the energy source for Life. The deniers will tell you there is plenty. That hoary old claim was outdated nearly 40 years ago, and we exceeded the carrying capacity before the turn of the century. The carrying capacity is the amount of food we can take from the Biosystem without unbalancing the system.


We humans will do everything we can to save other living humans (this is a human instinct and, in humanity, we do need to honor our instincts that make us human). World Health Organization, for our population example, has made an immense contribution in this direction, probably saving more humans than any other organization in human history. This is the up side of our current human culture.

150322-snowstorm-ASC_3983RLSsBut everything on earth has a down side as well as an up side, and there is a down side to over-population that we refuse to see. The problem is that if we can’t see it, then we can’t help the suffering. So now we have too many people for the amount of food; actually well past that — scrabbling around to take food energy sources away from other species to use for ourselves makes more unbalance. And so, the upside of WHO is the wonderful, conscientious, caring contribution it has made to human wellness. The downside is the awful calamity of starvation and disease and war that will be, and already are, the result of trying to save every human.


The LIVING EARTH SYSTEM is designed to stay balanced. And if God made it that way at the Creation, whenever that was, then God will not (and cannot) change it. Because if it changed from what it is, Earth System – and we are part of the Earth System – then the whole system would die or change into something else that we are not part of.


The only solution for overpopulation is to stop making so many babies. We have known this for at least a couple of hundred years, and about 50 years ago we rejoiced when the technology became available – but who is there to accept the responsibility?


While we older folk demand that every unborn human zygote must survive, even the unwanted ones, we have handed off to the youth of today our responsibility to deal with reality by helping compassionately to reduce the world population of humans so that those born in the future can come into a better world with less suffering. I don’t mean a better world than we are living now in Texas or Canada or England. I mean a better world for most of the rest of the humans now and in the future.


The end of our time is most likely to come through disease. Or it could be war, or it could even be starvation. Those are the likely scenarios. All of them are unavoidable during overpopulation — and unnecessary in normal balance.


The living Earth (of which we are a part) was created so that it could balance itself, and we humans can not stop it from doing so. Certainly not by working harder and harder to further unbalance it.


So — you young folk will get to try, and likely you will fail because we aren’t much help to you. But now is your time to STOP looking for solutions OUTSIDE the reality of the Law of Life.


Because we live inside — and so does the solution.


A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:

Bare Bones Biology 246 – Back in the Canyon

We are back, and we have made it down into the canyon for the first time this year, carrying a bucket of smelly stuff that I have been porting around for a whole month to bring to our compost heap. The heap itself has finally collapsed to about half its size when we left. Probably that means it’s finally getting some decay organisms feeding away. The weeds that were there were stiff and dry, but the juicy table scraps I carried in from outside, and then covered over w150213-WinterP-ASC_3868LSsith local dirt, probably brought it to life, even cold as it has been.


I think I said earlier, I’m trying to make sure the things that I grow this year are healthy and sturdy and, much more importantly, that they are good for me to eat. My goal is to be healthy until I die. Good means that they do not contain the kinds of toxins that are likely to be in foods that we buy. Things like pesticide residue, plastics residue, antibiotics residues, hormones, human or dog feces that contain any of the above, nor toxins that the plants breath in from the air, for example if there is fracking nearby.


I try to think about everything these plants take into their bodies, as they grow: from the soil, from the compost that I add, from the air we all breath. So I only use waste materials from organic150308-WinterP-ASC_3775RLSs copyally grown foods, weeds, whatever, that have not been blessed by the plastics or any other industry. Should I, for example, be so foolish as to eat a commercially made hamburger – I do not add the remains to my compost. Only the good stuff goes in the compost.


It’s not easy. For example, my trash can is made of plastic, but as soon as I can find a healthier trash can, I’ll send this one to the final rest of all plastics which I hope will be recycled into something we really need.
I piled on another bucket of refuse this trip, along with a couple more shovels of local dirt, and took a lot of pictures to show you, and posted them or will post them on the blog today. The weather is fine and if it holds I’ll go back again next week and see if I can turn under some of the beans that we seeded last Autumn. Green manure it’s called. I don’t want to mix those beans up with the Heirloom beans that I bought.


When we opened our mailbox containing five weeks’ of mail that was not forwarded because of some obscure rule of the USPO – there were the organically grown seeds that we ordered from Baker Creek – organically grown, non-GMO, heirloom seeds with a short growing cycle. Beans of the original Spanish explorers in New Mexico; tomatoes; kale; and carrots.150213-WinterP-ASC_3880LSs


A neighbor will give us some seedlings of wonderful, sweet little plums that we will plant out by the barn so as not to invite bears into our front yard, and we have seeds from last year. These are Early Wonder Beets, Little Finger carrots, Blue Lake climbing green Beans, Heirloom cucumbers, nine sunflower seeds that are supposed to be fertile, and a bunch of “Drop Dead Red” sunflowers that I realized, after I got them, make sterile seeds. And acorn squash, broccoli, Papaya Dew Melon, Heirloom sweet corn, yellow summer squash, climber beans, bush beans and kale. From Plants of the Southwest we got pinto beans and Apaloosa beans that have been grown in this area for generations.


The seeds were in the cabin, in glass jars to avoid both plastic and the appetites of mice and rats. We brought them back out because there is no heat in the canyon. We will start a few plants indoors, maybe kale first, then tomatoes. Because as you have noticed, all the seed packets say: “after danger of frost has passed” which is likely to be about June.

If ever.


That is more than enough seeds for anyone, and now we will think about which ones to plant where.


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

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:


Meantime, check out the National Geographic, May 2014. If you don’t subscribe, surely it must be in your library.


In the morning I get up early, just because I do, and let the dog out for a run and feed us and then sit down to read or watch something interesting and meaningful. Now I am reading three books.



I am reading Wm Gass because I learned so much from Professor Brooks Landon, of The Great Courses, “Building Great Sentences.” Prof Landon recommended and seems to greatly admire Wm. Gass. Or maybe he just wanted us to read an extreme manifestation of complex sentences in the hands of a master writer. I have not learned nearly as much from Gass as from Landon.


Why did I learn so much from Prof. Landon? Because he showed me the difference between a great sentence and the modern craze of “writing for your audience,” at the other literary extreme. Writing what and how the corposystem says we should write, in fact must write if we want to become famous and popular, which seems to be the main thing we should want, according to the corposystem.


You can even buy How to Write Books computer programs that set up your book for you, organize the paragraphs, and remind you, if your sentences become too long, that your audience is or should be people of some predefined level of reading skills, somewhere around 7th grade, that can be measured according to the numbers of clauses in your sentences and/or the numbers of syllables in your words. Subject, verb, object; one or two syllables. That is what a sentence must be.


True enough, if you pick a modern paperback nonfiction book off the rack or the library shelf, any one, they pretty much all sound the same; not like Wm. Gass. Reading Gass can be hard going, especially if you haven’t read the authors he reviews. But interesting, admirable.


I do not write great sentences, but I am thankful to Prof. Landon for pointing out that I am not required to write either great sentences or corposystem rote.


I knew that, but somehow it’s nice to have permission; often things do not happen without “permission,” even things we already knew.


Of course, I won’t get published by the corposystem press, but then who wants to march lock-step into the unknowable future, having left behind the essence of her (Gass would have some amazingly creative sentence here, but then, I am also not required to write like Gass, and after reading one of his essays I was already getting bored trying to untangle his admittedly magnificent metaphors among the commas).


Self? Do I mean her Self? Probably everyone will understand that. It may be a metaphor, but is only one syllable, and it seems to me expressing one’s self is more important than expressing either corposystem rote or great sentences.


How about this one from my other reading of this morning:


“The goal of life

is to make your heartbeat

match the beat of the universe,

to match your nature with nature.”

Joseph Campbell, or maybe Diane Osbon,

From A Joseph Campbell Companion.


How different this kind of goal, compared with measuring one’s self against some human goal of full, lock-step equality among all selfs and Heil to the corposystem.   Or on the contrary comparing and competing metaphors among persons of amazingly intellectual selfhood.


Human intellect is a good thing, only if put to good purpose.


And then Campbell (remember his expertise was in the study of religion and mythology, and I’m pretty sure he also read Gass) he went on to say:


“In terms of historical action, Christianity and Islam have the same character. They’re going to remake the world for their God. I find this repulsive, but it’s what makes history, so you have to say ‘yes’ to it. If you say ‘no’ to one little detail of your life, you’ve unraveled the whole thing. You have to say ‘yes’ to the whole thing, including its extinction.” Page 149.









Bare Bones Biology 245 – Dancing Inside of Life

As stated in my blog last week, I’m beginning a series of opinion pieces (my opinions) in response to the opinion pieces of others. This week I respond to Paul Kingsworth, writing at I had so much to say that it was impossible to put in the KEOS podcast version. Below is the full version, with the parts in green indicating what was omitted from the podcast.

Much of our confusion about climate change is caused by our current cultural rejection of science in favor of human emotional solutions to nonhuman non-emotional realities. However, the realities are not so complicated, and if we are truly looking for answers, reality-based answers are not hard to understand.

Our current generations seem often to image science as a destructive demon, rather than as a tool that we are using to understand the reality of natural law. This demonic image does not relate to the reality that basic science (defined as the effort to understand reality using the scientific method) is not technology (defined as the use of natural laws to serve the needs and desires of humans), and basic science is neither destructive nor constructive. It is the human hand that makes good or bad use of our knowledge; and the Biosystem simply accommodates itself to whatever happens.

We humans don’t like this. And so we throw our little tantrums trying, in effect, to blame Life for being what it is, and use our tools to force it to our will, rather than using science and technology to flourish within the limitations imposed by the nature of the Biosystem.

Many of us, including the author of the Tricycle article to which this post is a response (, by Paul Kingsnorth), have learned that our human desire to dominate does not work, when applied to the Life System known as Earth. Therefore, many of us are trying to explain this in our different ways. Below is my response upon reading the above article. This is not a criticism; it is a conversational response from my perspective.

1) We cannot solve prob140825-sunrise-ASC_0993slems outside of or beyond ourselves by trying to control them. God and Nature are well beyond the levels of human control.

2) It is a misrepresentation to say that the nature of Nature changes. The nature of Nature does not change, and that is a good thing: first it means that Life is possible; second it means that we can understand what to expect from nature. The more we know about the unchangeable Laws of Life, the better we can plan our human cultures, actions, and other behaviors so that they nurture rather than damage the current manifestation of the Life of Earth.

However — and I am not nit-picking here, because it is very important that we understand the difference between the nature of nature, that is natural law, and the particular manifestation of natural Law that is Life. It is true that the most basic (and unchanging) Fact of Life is that it can and does constantly change in a responsive dance with and within its environment. Thus we can count on change and we can learn (that’s what basic science is good for) what the Biosystem requires of us, if we are to avoid generating life-threatening changes such as climate change or worse.

3) Life does change, to save itself from death, whenever that is possible. That is one definition of Life. And the unavoidable implication is that death is a necessary component of the nature of Life. That does not mean that extinctions are the endings of Life. On the contrary, they are an extreme form of the ongoing rebalancing of Life.

We cannot change the nature of Life, or the fact that Life requires death in order to continue balancing itself in changing environmental conditions. But we certainly could nurture the maintenance of a balanced environment, so as to reduce the need for changes in the Life of the Biosystem, as we do for individual human lives every day. And we absolutely should consider doing so in our efforts to understand the holistic meaning of compassion. If only because we are human and that’s what humans do.

4) As humans, we also must achieve a dynamic balance among the things we choose to do and believe. If we want to survive, save our communities, our species, then we must modify our behaviors. That is what living things do to avoid death. Indeed it is the most basic nature of Life. The idea that we can change how Life functions to stay alive (that is that we can change the nature of Life) is pure human ego. We cannot. Nor can we change our basic human makeup. What we can do, because humans can learn and understand, is learn to change our behaviors so as to avoid threatening the current manifestation of the Life of the Biosystem.

5) To maintain itself as a living entity, the Earth has “started over” several times to rebalance itself from the bottom up. We refer to these events as mass extinctions. Earth is an unimaginably complex system, but obviously is capable of reaching a dynamic balance that can sustain itself — because that is what it is doing when subunits of the Life system crash in the extinctions. However, given an environment that does not threaten its existence, it’s not usually necessary to crash the whole system in order to rebalance it; rebalancing is happening all the time. It’s what Life is. (An excellent background reference for this systems function of Life is The Great Courses, A New History of Life.)

6) All that above DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT OUR PLIGHT. The previous extinction events occurred at times when the creatures did not have human brains capable of studying the nature of Life and figuring out what behaviors we are doing that cause death or unbalance.

Because we DO KNOW, through the good basic science – if we are willing to study the known facts of Life and not only contemplate our own human navel – that we can change our destiny at any time, by changing our individual and communal behaviors that are specifically threatening to the Life of Earth.

We can develop our intellectual brain. Instead of trying to be heroes, we can work humbly to learn how to better understand the factual needs of the Biosystem for its own healthy balance, sustainability and resilience.

At the same time, we can develop our compassionate brain/body. If we are to practice true compassion, we must, when there is a conflict between human life and the Life of Earth, we must find a way, or look for ways to nurture the Life of Earth, even over “human rights” and avoid knee-jerk responses that further threaten the balance of Life.

This is not a passive acceptance of reality. Not at all. It is learning as much as we possibly can about the reality of Life that contains the reality of humans. And learning how to participate positively, rather than negatively in our dance with Life.

7) We humans have been “gifted” with brains that are capable of figuring out what we could be doing to nurture ourselves, not by trying to change an unchangeable system but by fitting ourselves into the balancing act that is necessary to maintain our lives as part of the Life of Earth, because we cannot live without the Life of Earth, and it is our behaviors that are changing the environment, and the changing environment requires the Earth to change itself in order to keep itself alive. The bottom line is that the Life of Earth will not choose our welfare over its own. And it is bigger and more powerful, in a million ways, than we are.

The point here is – if we decide to educate ourselves sufficiently to understand the real problem – we can start thinking and talking together about real practical solutions rather than continue trying to dominate the unchangeable nature of nature. Which can’t be dominated.

And while sitting, we could wonder why we seem to have such a need to dominate;

2013-01-13 Cannon River2RFsand learn to recognize that “need” when we see it in ourselves and others.

8) We know and have known, at least during all of my long life, that what we are doing wrong is called overpopulation. Overpopulation is defined as generating more organisms of a species than there are resources available for its survival within the normal environment.

The resources are all those other species that we are destroying, and we are destroying them primarily by taking their food (and other things they need), because we are using all the earth to provide food (and other forms of energy) for ourselves, because there are not enough energy resources on earth to feed all of us humans, as well as the other species. I wrote that sentence as a cycle intentionally.

Overpopulation is normal and has been studied, and because we have the brain and the science and the technology we can do (or could be doing) what other species cannot. We ccould decide to save ourselves before the Earth saves itself by eliminating us. We could voluntarily change our normal behaviors in order to cut the cycle of overpopulation and live within our means.

Cycles can be changed, but we cannot avoid paying for our hubris, and nothing can change overnight. In other words, we can’t “win” any battle against the normal functions of the Biosystem, but we could cooperate in the rebalancing.

And while sitting we can wonder why we believe that it is our obligation to win?
And learn to recognize that compulsion when we feel it.

9) Communally we have chosen to use technologies for domination, rather than cooperation. We have many reasons/excuses for this, and they all make good sense humanly. But nature is not human and doesn’t care about our reasons, our egos, or our human emotions or aspirations or who is to blame for what — unless those traits threaten the Life of Earth. At that point, nature responds (and is now responding) by protecting its own life.

Instead of continuing this losing fight to the death, we can dedicate our genius to understand the fact-based, nonhuman needs of nature and helping to fulfill them. If you haven’t read Eaarth (Bill McKibben) you could start there, with the hard copy book so you can follow up on his references cited.

And while sitting we can wonder why we would rather fight than collaborate.

We are what we are; It is what It is.
Shed some tears.
Carry on working for the welfare of all sentient beings.
Intelligently, compassionately, and without regard for the outcome.

10) If we ever decide we care more about the community of humans within the Life of Earth, more than we care about our own egos, rationalizations, hopes, aspirations and emotions, then we can readily (though not easily) bring our behaviors under our own control, because we already know very precisely what the primary problem is. It is overpopulation, overgrowth, and a bushel-full of other sins that arise directly therefrom.

“When threatened
by fear and desire
let ego go.”
(A Joseph Campbell Companion, Diane Osbon, page 144)

To me, most of basic science (not technology used to dominate, but basic science that is used to understand) seems a recognition of natural law that has many parallels in Buddhist teachings, which are after all, in large part also based in natural law.
As is the Biosystem.
And human beings.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux

A copy of the podcast can be obtained at:

The Great Courses, A New History of Life
Eaarth by Bill McKibben
A Joseph Campbell Companion, Diane Osbon


Winter Picture courtesy of:
Mountain Picture – © Photos by Lynn

Dear Normals

Sound as a Crystal

By Joel Montez de Oca via Flickr Creative Commons By Joel Montez de Oca via Flickr Creative Commons

Dear Normals,

I used to be one of you.  So I get it, I do.  I wore perfume and l loved it when men wore cologne.  I used hairspray, perfumed lotion, heavily scented deodorant, and my clothes smelled “fresh” from the laundry detergent I used.  My car smelled like artificial cinnamon from the air freshener I hung.  I ate and drank what I wanted – mounds of pasta, fast food, desserts of all kinds, candy, sodas, espresso every day…and I loved it all.

If someone had tried to stop me then with facts about how I was harming myself, I imagine I would have resisted.  It would have been hard to imagine life without junk food and chemicals.  In fact, I didn’t even think of it in those terms.  I had no idea where fragrance came from.  I think I must have imagined somehow that it came…

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Bare Bones Biology 244 – Reality

“When no one listens, no one tells, and when no one tells, no one learns.”
Tibetan Proverb


Way late! Sorry to be so late this week, but we just drove from about 100 feet to 8000 feet (this requires some effort and some altitude headaches), stayed three nights in chemically contaminated motels (this requires nausea) and worked hard for 4 days.

Weather was very helpful, but upon arrival, I was not surprised to get stuck in the snowy driveway. In fact I was planning on it, ready to shovel out the deposits left at the entrance by snowplow and pull off the road. I was surprised not to find the recording equipment in the truck, and spent most of the day, between naps, rounding up a backup recording device, and practicing making th’s and s’s without my biggest front tooth — only to find no little recorder batteries, and the truck stuck in the driveway so I can’t go get some. Finally used the built-in equipment on the computer. All this I do for you.

Last week I re-posted one of my blogs on the subject of limiting factors, with the statement that we must organize our opinions around the unchangeable facts of Life if we want to save our Biosystem for future generations. Of course, that IF leaves out quite a few people. Some people do not believe the Biosystem is changing. Some don’t care much about future generations and are very happy right now, thank you. And some are just overwhelmed by the task. For the rest of us, I think we are now getting down to a place where we can discuss real issues. It doesn’t take everyone to make useful change, but, we can’t solve problems if we don’t know what they are.

My pet peeve is well meaning but wrong interpretations of the Facts of Life. And I have to hold my tongue, because people who are working inside the corposystem don’t like to discuss the downsides of anything.  Now, I believe most people have begun to realize that this is not a game we are playing with the Biosystem, it is Life itself, and so now, I think, is the time to start fine-tuning our understanding of the Law of Life. Because, how can you solve a problem that you can’t see?

(I use a capital L when speaking of Life itself. For individual lives I do not capitalize the initial letter.) The most important fact of Life is, of course, that Life does change and respond to change.  Life is able to interact with its environment in order to change in a way that will permit it to stay alive. It is the miracle of the system of Life that it can and it does change by interacting with its environment

You only need look at your own life to know that life changes. For example, wounds heal. But many of us might not realize that the ability to respond to some (but not all) changes in the environment is at the root of the Law of Life.

I define the “Law of Life” as the interacting functions of those processes and capacities that are intrinsic to Life and give Life and living things the ability to change in response to internal and environmental change.

Nonliving things do not have these capacities. The capacities include: genetics, evolution, death, levels of organization, and all those together interacting with the environment. Environment is more than, but includes, other living things and the nonliving components of Life such as water, oxygen, climate, weather, temperature and all the limiting factors that we discussed in Bare Bones Biology 243, last week
bare-bones-bio…-no-more-games/ ‎

I posted a description of the Law of Life in Bare Bones Biology 197 (
bare-bones-bio…-and-evolution/) and several following blogs, in answer to Gary’s question. Gary’s question was a very good one, but was founded on a misinterpretation based based on one little bit of the Law of Life.

If we want to save ourselves, we must learn to listen to the facts and their implications about how Life responds to changing circumstances, and how changing circumstances affect Life.

My problem, during all these 244 weeks of blogging, has been that people would much rather hear what the corposystem has to say about Life than to share information about the factual truth.

The corposystem has told me many times that I must “tailor my message to the audience” –– and at the same time, the corposystem has trained the audience –just like training a dog, using reward and punishment — to not HEAR the critically important information about how the Biosystem functions, but instead to believe in the rote and ritual generated by the corposystem itself. No surprise, it is not possible to explain and discuss these Life and Death issues while at the same time writing in the ways the corposystem wants us to write.

Indeed, the function of the corposystem is not, as you have been taught to believe, to protect us. The function of the corposystem is to protect itself, and it will proclaim whatever it wants us to believe.

It’s up to us to dig into the known facts about the Reality of Life.

So I have decided, from now on, when I find well meaning but wrong interpretations of the Facts of Life, I will speak up.

I’m starting a new series today. It will be interrupted often, by the Healhy Living series and also by the Life is Beautiful series, but when I finish the How Does it REALLY Work series I will have a book that answers the REAL questions rather than the corposystem’s delusion games.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. A copy of this podcast may be downloaded at:
bare-bones-bio…-no-more-games/ ‎