In the Garden of Life

My yard is a garden of Life. At various times, rattlesnakes, our resident garter snake, a King snake, the Rock Wren, the thistles, grasses, a plant that I don’t know the name of that next year will have a spear covered with seeds they sell at the Farmer’s Market as medicinal herbs, the lizards, a rabbit, a rock squirrel, lots of moths and butterflies, ants, bees, hornets, me, my dog, my solar oven and my solar electricity panels, and the climate. And more and more. Most of these things would be very healthy without human interference in their cycles of Life. Looks like our snake is in process of shedding. She has been basking all day, which is not her usual pattern, and her eye is glazed over.

140715-snake-ASC_0206RLSssThis morning the climate is based on a thin veil of filmy clouds between us and the source of energy to drive all of this Life. My camera and my nose are buried in the purple thistle blossoms, which in the early morning is one of the sweetest perfumes made by man or nature (and not chemically harmful).

My question for this morning is: “How many Life cycles depend upon and/or benefit by this wonderful thistle?” Or maybe it’s not such a good question, as clearly I will never be able to learn the answer. And of course the thistle is only a small part of my garden of Life.

140712-plants-asc_9911SssFirst the thistle benefits itself by making seeds that can float out over the earth, plant themselves, and bring their legacy into the future of Life. It also benefits from all these various insects that feed on its nectar and pollinate its eggs so they can grow into those seeds on a time frame that cycles according to the genetic programming of the plant interacting with the climate and weather of the ecosystem.

140714-bugs-ASC_0171RLSssBut then – looking closer – there is a garden growing on the stem of the thistle, nurtured by a tribe of ants. A garden of aphids that live on the “climate” of the thistle stems, drawing food energy from the plant and producing a sweet substance savored by the ants and also a great many other insects, including the fly shown here holding a glob of the sweet stuff. Check it out, the ants nurture the aphids, rather like we nurture cows for their milk. And the aphids feed a multitude.

So my thistle is growing in the garden, and on the thistle is another garden of aphids that is nurtured by the ants. And inside the aphids?

140714-bugs-ASC_0152RLSssYes indeed, gardens of micro-organisms are nurtured by the climate that the aphid body provides for their needs, providing the biochemical cycles that produce the sweets. It’s rather like we are growing inside the Biosystem. And the whole shebang is only a tiny part of the biological system that is supported by the climate. And all this together produces the sweet substance of Life. Without which there is no us.

That’s how nature stays alive, with gardens of life within other gardens of life, and that is how we must learn to think if we want to survive as part of Life on earth.

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Bare Bones Biology 204 – Gary’s Question #3, Evolution and Emergent Properties

Our goal is to build a human system (society) that is sustainable and reasonably comfortable within a healthy Biosystem. (Bare Bones Biology 195, http://FactFictionFancy.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/). That is reason enough to learn everything we can about the Law of Life (that is, the Law of Evolution and the many interacting processes involved with Evolution) Bare Bones Biology 197, http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/03/26/6601

140513-canyon-ASC_9026RLSs copyThis series of podcasts, beginning with Bare Bones Biology 194 http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/03/05/6548/ is meant to provide the most basic overview of the Law of Life, one of the laws of nature, along with the laws of thermodynamics, gravity, etc., that operate to maintain Life on Earth. That means Life itself. It does not mean human Life. Humans could not survive without the other parts of the system of Life on Earth. The earth will still be alive 50 years from now, but it is not clear that humans will continue to be a part of the Biosphere. It is the Law of Evolution that supports the positive biological systems and disposes of those that have negative impact upon the viability of the Biosystem (Bare Bones Biology 194, http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/03/21/)

Both the Biosystem and the human corposystem are systems. Systems are self-perpetuating, so long as they maintain their positive interactions with their environments, and each system grows around a set of core properties that together have a unique survival value within the Biosystem.

Six of the most basic requirements for Evolution to function positively are described in Bare Bones Biology 198 (http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/03/30/) and Bare Bones Biology 199 (http://Fact/FictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/04/08). They are:
1-Reproduction; 2-Death; 3-Inheritance of traits; 4-variability of traits; 5-transmission of traits to the following generation; 6-Interconnectedness of processes and “things,” or
objects. (Objects are organisms, cells, tissues — all the objects that are generated at all the levels of organization of Life and are maintained by the processes of the Life system). (Bare Bones Biology 199, http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/)(Bare Bones Biology 200, https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2014/04/17

140513-canyon-ASC_9028RLSs copyThere could be no Life without interconnectedness because there would be no way for the living objects to change in response to their environment. There could be no systems without interconnectedness because the function of a system is to maintain itself in the face of its changing environment. If the system cannot maintain itself as the environment changes, then it fails (dies), as our corposystem is now failing. It is the Law of Evolution that imposes the necessary balance between the need of a system to respond to its environment and the system’s necessary tendency to avoid change. (Bare Bones Biology 196m http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/03/21/ )

Response to environment in lower systems (individual cells or individual organisms) happens using physiology. This is the first function of the information encoded in the genes, or DNA (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2014/04/22 ,Bare Bones Biology 201). Many or most genes that are doing this first function, regulate processes that generate a living thing thing or object, such as yourself, or a tree, or a cell, or a kidney, by responding to the environment
embryologically or physiologically.

Response to environment in the higher life forms (species; ecosystems; the Biosystem) happens using Evolution. The nature of Life (the living objects at all the levels of organization (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/) results from balancing the needs of all the interacting systems as they respond to their internal and external environments (Bare Bones Biology 200, http://Fact/FictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/04/08). The function of Evolution is to maintain this balance.

Depending upon all the above factors, and more, the evolution of life forms responds to the environment in multiple ways, from very slow, step by step evolution to remarkably rapid jumps known as biological saltation or punctuated equilibrium (ref Wikipedia). This part of evolution is possible because of inheritance of traits that can be passed on to the next generation, and it is the second function of DNA — to make exact copies of itself (all the genes) to be passed on to the next generation in the sex cells and by fertillization (ref Wikipedia). The genes then use their first function in the new gamete by activating the processes that create new living “things” (cells, organisms, tissues, etc.). Evolution does not act directly upon the genes; Evolution acts upon the variable characteristics (phenotypes) of the things (organisms, tissues, cells, etc) that are created by the genes.

A small amount of genetic and phenotypic variation results from individual gene changes, or mutations. More results from many, many genetically controlled processes that work together. For example to make a jaw bone, or a tooth, tissues that interact with each other, requires many genes interacting with each other and with the embryonic environment in which the jaw is made. Variability of inheritable traits is necessary for Evolution, and the genes encode the traits. Therefore genetic variability is an important pre-requisite for phenotypic variability, and there are many processes that generate genetic variability, from meiosis of the sex cells in individuals to the maintenance of subtle genetic errors in the gene pools of species. We discussed these in (Bare Bones Biology 201 – https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/)(Bare Bones Biology 202 https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/)(Bare Bones Biology 203 – http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/2014/05/09).

In all the millions and millions and billions of recombination and mutation events of genes, very rarely, some call it a singularity event, a unique COMBINATION OF genes—that encodes a unique combination of processes—comes together to generate, suddenly (on a geological time scale), an emergent property – a new functional sustem that sustains a new emergent property that provides a new and different way to survive: eating, flying, swimming, growing, a new way that can populate a whole new niche in the environment. This is a big jump in evolution; certainly it happens, probably it is what we refer to as punctuated equilibrium or saltation — and then it is followed by adaptive radiation.

However, unless you intend to live to be a million years old or so I would not wait around for a singularity event to save us from our own hubris (Bare Bones Biology 195, http://FactFictionFancy.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/). So I would suggest – instead of playing human mind games — that you join in the reality-based effort to sustain a Biosystem humans can live in — by using your talents to dig as deeply as you can into understanding and teaching the real Facts of Life and helping to discover how we can learn to submit to them by living sustainably. Rather than try to negate the Facts of Life based on your personal opinions. If you were to succeed – then what? No life.

On the other hand, if we could learn to conform ourselves to reality, we could conceivably build a new human social system with a different set of core properties – combined to form a new emergent understanding of Life — that are sustainable and provide reasonably comfortable life style for humans on a viable, living earth.

Win or lose, that is the most important effort that any human person could make.

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

The podcast of this episode is available at:

Bare Bones Biology 189 – OK, Then, Here’s a Formula

When I was trying to grow my career, I foolishly assumed that the good biological knowledge of the 50s and 60s had been successfully incorporated into the working goals of the future for which we were all working together.  When I retired and looked around at the reality of our biological problem. I felt horrified, betrayed and helpless.

 

KarinaMayCroppedWe humans on earth today have three distinct and different levels of challenge.

1)   Our individual survival problems.

2)   Our human social problems, i.e., war, politics,etc.

3)   The biological problem that in our age is the root cause of the major social problems; specifically we are overgrazing the resources of Earth.

 

Nearly everyone has experienced the tragedy of this situation. When I realized what is happening, I didn’t know what to do.

 

So, when I saw Noam Chomsky on TV telling us that we should all be doing something, I blew my stack. I sent him an email: “GIVE US SOMETHING TO DO THAT SOMEONE WILL LISTEN TO:  That is your job.”

 

He answered. He didn’t say anything unique: “Each of us has to find our own answers.  There aren’t any formulas.” but he answered me personally. That was the big thing.  And so I set out to find something I could do, and here is a formula that works.

 

1. Describe in writing your best assets and skills.  Something you enjoy doing; your best talent.

 

2. Describe in writing your greatest tragedy.  For many older people. our greatest tragedy is the realization that our worldview was wrong; that the corposystem lied to us.  For many in the military our tragedy is the realization that war has nothing to do with the ideals by which we were raised.   For others, the tragedy is loss of their community of origin, or their family ideals.  Whatever you feel, you can use the wisdom you gained through that tragic experience to prevent or ease similar suffering for others.

 

3. Considering your best asset and your worst tragedy, devise a plan with a goal. The goal is not to win anything, including recognition or money, or to be as good as someone else.  An ideal goal is to benefit levels two and three (yes, both levels) without causing harm to others.

 

4. Before you begin a defined effort — just as you would before starting a business, or a war, or a construction project — do your research.   First, imagine in what way your work might cause future harm.  Every activity in life has potential for harm or for good.  Do not ignore the unintended harm that you could cause.  Then DISCUSS your plan with diverse, knowledgeable others.

 

Tar Sands Aerial copy 25. You do not want to compound your own tragedy by unknowingly creating more suffering than you are trying to prevent.  Therefore, do not assume that you already understand the biology of the Biosystem, and do not consult the corposystem for advice about what to do. That is really why we are confused in the first place – we still believe in the failed worldview of the corposystem culture. Study facts before opinions. Look for people with expertise, rather than people who are financially successful in our existing culture.  Clearly, our goal must be to change the culture, not to reinforce it.

 

6. Decide an amount of time and a schedule that you will devote to “Our Problem.” Using your own best skills, give half of your allotted time to a level two human social problem of your choice, and the other half of the allotted time to benefit the Biosystem.  Because we can’t solve our human problem unless we also have a healthy Biosystem, do not short-change the Biosystem.  Write letters of support, especially to people who have more experience in your field of expertise.  Your time, whether it’s half an hour or two hours a day, is not for level one personal activities such as meditation or spiritual pursuits or sports. This is a regular formal commitment of time that you give to benefit the higher levels of life. I assume that you are already making life changes in level one activities such as recycling, energy usage and family planning.

 

7. Continue to study but do not doubt.  Do not worry if it’s enough.  Do not stop.

 

Below my blog today is just one example of a person who is using his own life plan to benefit the higher levels of Life.  http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com.

 

Joel Sartore is a photographer and a contributor to National Geographic Magazine.  I say this as an introduction, not because I think you need to be a photographer or a speaker, or a highly successful anything, to contribute from your own expertise to the welfare of our society and to the welfare of the Biosystem.  You can do what you can do, and what you can do is enough, so long as you educate yourself well enough that you do not do more harm than good.  Watch Mr. Sartore’s pitch here:

 

http://www.joelsartore.com/videos/joel-sartore-tedxmidwest/

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, TX.   Download the podcast of this blog here:

Bare Bones Biology 128 ¬ Community

Life, the living earth, has been created within the universe.

We humans are only one species out of a multitude that are parts of the sustainable phenomenon of Life; we are the “temporary living,” but we are not Life itself. To emphasize the difference between temporary organisms and sustainable Life, I capitalize Life. This distinction is more fully discussed in Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook, which is freely downloadable from the right side of my blog under the heading of “Chapters.”

The primary function of Life is to nourish and support the ongoing process of Life.

That’s why every part of life, whether or not it is aware, supports every other part. The output of one part of life is the input of others. Around and around, the process of Life functions sustainably, for its cycles never run down. They can be modified, according to the conditions of the internal or external environments, but Life itself never runs down because the cycles of which it is composed are all balanced. Each material is available when needed to maintain the balance, and every bit that is not needed at that time and place is mopped up and carried away to where it is needed.

Oxygen, for example, and carbon, and hydrogen are cycled and recycled, together and separately. The organisms, in their variety, serve as catalysts for all the processes that nurture Life. They capture the necessary energy and carry the information to operate the cycles of Life.

Life is a unique, integrated, interconnected process that humans, in spite of all our technologies, cannot emulate. Or maybe we could emulate it if we were trying, but we don’t try to support the processes that are necessary for Life. What we do try is to conquer, to win, to defeat, to subdue life using the power of our will and our magnificent brain.

We are an amazing species with a nervous system that ties us to each other and to all of Life through our emotions, our social interactions, our capacity for reason and manipulation and compassion, that have been created by the God-imposed process of evolution as a part of the living earth. The process of Life, moving through time carries us along as an integral, living, supportive part of Itself, but only so long as we accept what we are and enhance our position as a component of Life.

Our job on earth is to support Life.

Life and living organisms uniquely carry the code for their own replication. One might say that God bestowed upon matter and energy the code of Life, which gives Life the ability to sustain Itself by responding to the changing environment within which It exists. Life exists at the confluence of evolution, time, energy and the natural law of cause and effect. We humans are living organisms, subunits of the process of Life. That is, we are not Life itself; we are only temporary manifestations of the process of life, and we therefore cannot exist in the absence of the orderly and balanced processes that operate together to maintain Life itself. Life itself, so far as we know, is uniquely the living planet earth. We are not It.

But we are a powerfully endowed species that could easily destroy Life as it is now manifested (Life as we know it) if we continue to believe that we must fight for dominance over life in order to survive. Perhaps that was true in some distant past time, but in our present evolution our own lives and perhaps Life itself on earth depend on our ability to understand how to live in accord with the laws of the universe as they are manifested in the unitary Life, rather than trying to change the laws of nature and bring them to heel like a conquered enemy.

To do this, to understand how to live in accord with the laws of the universe, we need to grow an intimate understanding of our power as communities.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at
http://www.BareBonesBiology.com
(Thanks to Joe Smith for editing and feedback)

Recommended References

Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook – freely downloadable, no strings
https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Bare Bones Biology 125 – Adaptation

We all know that we cannot reduce pollution of our biosphere without reducing human growth on earth. Any more than a bathtub could contain an infinite number of marbles. The more we grow – the more we unbalance the healthy relationships between ourselves and the rest of the biosphere. The earth biosphere cannot change how it balances its parts (see Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook – ) in order to stay alive. It’s parts are energy and matter – just like our parts and all of life. Earth, air, energy and water. The big LIFE balances its parts very much like our parts balance, and all of life balances its parts. (See the Bare Bones Biology series on climate change that begins with Bare Bones Biology 092, on the website http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com).
We are not God. We cannot adapt the facts of life to suit ourselves. What we can change is our behaviors, and that would be enough if we would adapt our behaviors to suit ourselves to the facts of life. Instead of trying so hard to adapt the facts of life to suit ourselves.

The corposystem propaganda is once again trying to confuse us about how life works. This time they are claiming that we can adapt to the changes in the biosystem. Or – and I just found a real book authored by a famous reporter that has the title “earth” and is not at all about the earth. (If you want to hear about a book that DOES address reality, check out Eaarth by Bill McKibben.

This new “earth” book is not about the earth – not at all. It’s about people. This is really odd, given that people can’t make earth alive – it is the earth that keeps us alive. People wouldn’t be here at all if it were not for the whole earth ecosystem. And the way the Biosphere stays living is to keep all its parts balanced, and the way it does that is by the functions of all the millions of species that live on the earth.

The living earth must, like all living things, keep its parts balanced in order to stay alive. Just like ourselves, the earth can change how it does some things, but it cannot change what it must do. What it must do to stay alive is balance the earth and air and water – all the elements that recycle, for example oxygen and carbon – and the energy that it gets from food.

We cannot adapt our biology, because it is genetically programmed, and so is the biology of the entire earth ecosystem. Genetically programmed. Well-adapted species, such as the grasses in the photograph (right here in the back yard in New Mexico), fit every part of their life cycle to the conditions around them. This grass grows in a circle, in the dry, easily eroded environment. The grass roots and the little dam of its growth style help to nurture the soil by preventing erosion and also by capturing water when it does rain, and by retaining the little rabbit turds that will nourish the plant, as the plant nourishes the rabbits that eat the grasses. This is very much how our relationship with the biosphere MUST be if we want to be a well-adapted species. Living sustainably healthy lives. All these behaviors are genetically programmed. Any other kind of grass could not adapt to the same functions as this species of grass, and if the climate changes too much where it lives, the grass will die. Nor can humans adapt to changes in our environment outside of our physiological limits.

If you want to hear of another situation, check out the story of some of the “keystone species” such as the sea otters, or mountain lions, how they fit into the biosphere (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024214739.htm,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_species). This describes real biological adaptation. It requires that all the species in the area nurture each other. That is the whole point of an ecosystem. And it takes hundreds or thousands of years for all the genomes of all the species to gradually evolve into a connected whole ecosystem.

With the exception of organic farmers, humans are making almost no effort to fit into the ecosphere, and I wonder if the organic farmers realize they are destroying the smaller local ecosystems that had evolved in place, in their desire to make a “better” ecosystem that serves primarily humans and not the whole of life itself. Without asking why better and for whom. (I once asked an economist turned organic farmer; he got very angry with me.) The idea seems to be that we should change the ecosphere — not fit into it so that we can be sustainably healthy. I think organic farming is probably a good thing, but I also believe we are not doing it for the welfare of the whole, but only for ourselves, and – again – we are not God who created the whole, and we may not know what is better – especially if we don’t even bother to ask the question.

Bottom line is that we cannot change the basic laws of nature. What we could do is the real meaning of adaptation; that is, change our behaviors so that we can fit helpfully inside the biosphere.

We live on earth only so long as we obey the laws of nature; we can change our behaviors, but we cannot change our physiology – we can’t change how our heart beats and what things poison our cells, or how our bodies use the breath of life to stay alive. Neither can we change how the biosphere stays alive by balancing the air, water, fire and earth within its living self. Most people know this.

Most people do want to move toward a more compassionate and sustainable relationship within the biosystem. Even so, I have been to meetings of many groups, from organic farmers to community organizers to politicians to religious or spiritual groups, all of whom know these things are true, and they care very much about the biosphere and our humanity within the biosphere, and they are trying to organize a new set of relationships that will bring a better balance between the biosphere and human needs.

What I have not recently heard talked about in this sort of meeting, whether it be organic farmers or community organizers or religious/spiritual organizations (and I have been looking hard among groups who claim to be concerned about the health of the biosphere) – what I have not heard is any effort to understand and honor what makes the biosphere sustainable. Nothing about the welfare of the biosphere itself. For its own good health. All we talk about lately is how can we force our will upon the earth ecosystem with our human technologies.

The answer to these ideas is that we are wasting a lot of time trying to do impossible things. We cannot force our will upon the ecosphere. We are not God, who created the heavens and the earth and breathed life into them.

What we can do is learn to understand what the earth ecosystem needs to be healthy, and change our behaviors to give the earth ecosystem what it needs. What does the ecosystem need to stay healthy? Minimally it needs us to re-balance our populations so that we are not consuming more of earth air fire and water than the ecosystem can provide — nor producing more toxic effluents than the ecosystem can tolerate — so that we are not unbalancing the cycles of air, water, healthy earth and food energy that make up the healthy earth ecosystem.

Frankly, I am not interested in any opinions about technologies as a cure, because that route is so chancey and the real solution is so simple. (Simple to understand, not easy to do, but we DO understand it, and it is not impossible; changing what the biosphere requires to be healthy IS impossible. Difficult is easier than impossible, so why are we holding back the solution to the problem?) Simple to understand. Our technologies have unbalanced our nest until we have more people than the earth can feed sustainably. The cure (also simple to understand) is to reduce the overpopulation as quickly and as compassionately as we possibly can to a level that the earth ecosystem can support without changing its climate to the point where humans can no longer live here.

So long as we refuse to use the technologies we already have, in combination with education about how the biosphere functions to stay healthy, we will continue to decline in all parts of our societies. So long as we continue to try to change the world to suit ourselves, and we refuse to change our behaviors to suit the world — we can not take the big step to evolve (adapt) our behaviors into more compassionate, sustainable and rewarding societies. Because starving people cannot learn to be compassionate or peaceful.

LynnLamoreux@Yahoo.com

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at

    Recommended References


Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook
– freely downloadable, no strings
https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(First blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/01
(Second blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/
(Third blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/
Bare Bones Biology Climate Change Series is BBB-092 through BBB-100.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/dialogs/print/?id=175549, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024214739.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_species

Bare Bones Biology 101 – Religion and Science

Beginning this week, I’ll try to evaluate, with a very broad brush, several different belief-systems that are trying to improve human welfare for the future. Today and next week will be religion-based ideas.

I’ll try to be critical about all these efforts, for four reasons. First, that’s what I’m trained to do – to look for the flaws in any hypothesis. Second, understanding what needs to be improved is much more useful than a false belief that everything is just dandy and it always will be and we have no responsibilities beyond ourselves at level one. Sometimes I wonder if the Corposystem is the author of the glass-half-full mantra. I always imagine a glass with nothing in the bottom half, and a layer of pink lemonade magically suspended in the top half. Nobody can make wise decisions if they never even see he bottom half of life. Further, we can’t take care of responsibilities we don’t believe exist, or enjoy accomplishments we can’t see. And while God probably can perform miracles, I doubt if we can count on him to save us from our own failure to recognize our responsibilities.

So –

Third – I am not trying to bash anyone, in spite of what I just said. It’s not even about me; I’m too old to benefit by anything that is likely to result from a critical analysis. Fourth, I’m not formally affiliated with any of these positive actions, but I do care very much about the positive human values they all espouse. If we must take sides, I’m on yours.

There are many religion-based efforts to improve our world, beginning with individual self-improvement, and then a plethora of groups that may or may not be affiliated with established religions. The Dalai Lama, Karen Armstrong and others (Some references are below) outline an ethic that can be espoused by anyone, with or without a religion, who believes in the more positive human values. I’m sure there are also many, many other wonderful developments within all of the religions.

Whatever our religion, it is critically important at this time, when humans hold so much destructive power, to understand why religion is not science and science should not be a religion. For an example, I collected a series of podcasts from an organization called Evolutionary Christianity (ref). Each podcast is the message of a different speaker who describes how he or she believes very positively both in God and in evolution. These are available at the Peach Clubhouse.

Religion is not a science, because religion is based in human values; and science should not be a religion because science should not be based in human values.

Religion functions at the individual and population levels of human reality. Its purpose is to support human values and serve human welfare. Basic research science functions at all levels of physical reality, and it’s purpose is to learn how things function. I’m not talking about technology, which is about making things, and usually selling things. Basic research biology, for example, is about learning how life functions to stay alive.

For the most part, life does not operate according to human values. Certainly the whole earth ecosystem does not. The ecosystem is the functional result of all the interacting life cycles of all the organisms, including humans, that live on earth. The ecosystem functions according to natural laws, like gravity or thermodynamics, and laws do not care about our emotions. To understand laws, we need facts. Therefore, science is about measurable facts, and these facts tell us that the ecosystem has its own needs some of which are different from what humans may need or want.

If we want to support human values and serve human welfare, we humans have at least two sets of needs and values to consider. First is the welfare of the ecosystem, because it is the ecosystem that gives us life. At the same time of course we must find a way to compassionately sustain human kind within the ecosystem. Both these jobs are important to our well being, but they are different tasks requiring different tools.

Bare Bones Biology 101 – Religion and Science
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available
here and at http://BareBonesBiology.com

    Recommended References

Karen Armstrong, Charter for Compassion, http://www.charterforcompassion.org/

Evolutionary Christianity – http://evolutionarychristianity.com/

H.H. The Dalai Lama, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dalai+Lama+beyond+religion

Huston Smith, The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions
http://www.amazon.com/The-Worlds-Religions-Wisdom…/0062508113

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers, on DVD at PBS
http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=4365261&cp=&sr=1&kw=power+of+myth&origkw=power+of+myth&parentPage=search

Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, http://www.amazon.com/AN-Inconvenient-Truth-Crisis-Warming/

Bare Bones Biology 100 – Climate Change, The End

On a Thursday I went to two local meetings, one right after the other. The first was a seminar — a group of people who are concerned about the health of the whole ecosystem that we live in. Second, I went to a political meeting. All the people I met at both meetings are concerned for the welfare of our whole community. But their views of what is a community are so different that, if they were talking together, they probably would not recognize our common motivation.

I despaired of explaining this gap until I once again realized that we are talking about levels of organization. BBB-051 and BBB-052. By my system, individual is level one. Level two is the population level, our local community of humans or all humans as a species. Level three is the entire worldwide ecosystem, which is a super-organism that consists of all the species on earth and the environment we all create to live in.

People who work at the population level need to understand as much as they can about the social sciences, because that’s how we humans manipulate other people, for good or for ill. That’s all about hopes and dreams and kindness and cruelty and good and evil and empathy and compassion, as defined by our common human values. This is different from individual, level one welfare, and the difference is the cause of most of our political battles. That’s because, instead of trying to understand the differences in a way that will generate a living space for individual welfare within the communal welfare, in our culture of today we are choosing to fight over those conflicts of interest. For example. My neighbor’s oil well is giving me nosebleeds, shortness of breath, and I think maybe affecting my memory, which at my age is a concern. Good for him, bad for me, a simple individual level-one difference, he is bigger than I am so I will move. However, a more
difficult problem is the effect that his oil well has on the rate of asthma, alzheimers and obesity and other problems of the people of the whole community. That’s level one welfare, conflicting with the welfare at level two. At that point, we need a serious human discussion or we will likely end up with a serious human fight. That’s the kind of thing that good politics should be addressing. The welfare of the individual within the population of humans. There is always a conflict of interest. That’s what the social sciences are about.

The ecosystem is the level that includes all of life on earth. Everything alive is part of the whole earth ecosystem and requires a healthy ecosystem to stay alive, because the ecosystem literally makes the air, water and rich soil, and it makes these things by balancing extremely complex cycles of energy and climate and organic molecules. That’s not a matter of opinion. Without the ecosystem, there is no population to worry about, and that’s what the folks at the seminar mean when they are concerned about the common welfare.

We need the so-called “hard sciences” to understand what the ecosystem requires to stay healthy. Because the ecosystem does not function according to human values or emotions, the social sciences will not help us understand what the ecosystem requires. That’s why we need biology and ecology. And facts. And our unique human brain that can understand the difference between ecological facts and human emotions and desires. And our unique human language that can share knowledge and information over space and time.

There are measurable facts in this world. Our opinions are fun and they make us feel important, but they do not change facts. Science does not change facts. Nothing changes facts; that’s why we call them facts. Thermodynamic relationships are real, and all of life is based on them. The law of cause and effect is real. It is a fact that what we do today will influence the level of human suffering in the ecosystem of the future. The world keeps changing; that’s a fact, and we need to deal with it.

Bare Bones Biology 100 – Climate Change, The End
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/ Levels of Organization
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/04/24 Emergent Properties
Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook is available on my blog for free download
Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World, by H.H. The Dalai Lama