Bare Bones Biology attends the March for Science

At Texas A&M University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we already know that Science is the study of natural phenomena using the scientific method.

 

 

 

 

 

Many natural and unnatural phenomena were present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And available for study.

 

 

 

If you decide to use any of these pictures for anything, please credit:  Photos by Lynn

 

 

 

 

 

And remember it is not all fun and games.  The basic truths are important to the survival of the above species and the climate that provides their basic needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Science tells us about a lot of things that we can do.

But there are many more that we can NOT do safely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So faking science to win elections or for any other reasons conceivably could be genocidal.

 

And to all you wonderful Texas marchers, there are already people in London, California, and various places between who are quite impressed by the way in which you have brought the subject to its relevant point.

 

 

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Bare Bones Biology 315 – Canaries and Snake Oil

This is the end of the Bare Bones Biology mini-series on canaries. For now, that is. We will come back as events arise. Only it reminds me this time of year, as the seasons turn and the tourists and snake oil salesmen pour into our clean little villages and turn the sky from azure to an off-white skim milk hue. Canaries, of course, refers to “canaries in the coal mines” of earlier days (you can look it up on the web; I only have 600 words here).

 

And so as we canaries are forced to flee the villages into the ever-diminishing safe places of our land, the snake oil salesmen converge, with silver-tongue fairy tales such as “My asphalt is environmentally friendly,” and if challenged are likely as not to fall back on Jesus. I have read the Bible (old and new) and am quite sure that Jesus said nothing at all about asphalt, but He did have some things to say about money. I recommend you read it.
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But that’s not what I want to say today. I want to say, for the canaries of our world who are more sensitive to health hazards, or more aware of the causes of them, if you are a true canary, then your problems are not your body. They are your sensitive awareness of your body that in better times, olden times, some of which I can actually remember, would have made you a leader.

In a culture where money is reverenced over health, and dominance over leadership, you and I will just naturally be inclined to believe the snake oil, because our culture doesn’t tell us the real story. We can (and some do) spend all our lives trying to find our answers in “fixing” this or that about ourselves, our homes, our towns, when the cause of the problem is, literally, the “fixes.”

AND YET THE FACTS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET from organizations that have actually tested these ingredients. That’s why producers do not want to label their products. They don’t want us to know.

 

Please, canaries, never believe a sales pitch until you go to an authoritative web site (not another sales pitch) and get the real facts.

 

Your doctor cannot “cure” a problem that is not a part of your body; your psychological counselor cannot cure a problem that is not in your mind. Make sure, of course, that’s the first thing you should check. And if that’s not it, look for the cause elsewhere.   Buying stuff cannot cure a problem if the stuff you buy makes you sicker than you were before you bought it. And while we blame our own bodies and minds, we are only shoveling money, into the pockets of the snake oil salesmen. And so we experiment over and over, in the belief that something is wrong with Us, when the cause is in fact the growth and pollution of the places in which we live.

 

We could be using it to clean up the environment that really is sick. We could, for example:

 

1 – Remove the perfume and candles from public places; they are as bad as cigarettes or worse;
160428-BrazosCliffs-ASC_4068RLSs copy2 – Lose the cleaning products that you don’t need that simply turn your clothing and your home into environmental hazards for you and your children;

3 – And as for the asphalt and any other thing that sounds too good to be true – ask for a genuine government-approved fact sheet, listing all ingredients, and look up each ingredient on a reputable web site. It happens I did this for a report last year and I have a few words left here so I’ll quote one sentence from that report.

“Asphalt processing and asphalt roofing manufacturing facilities are major sources of hazardous air pollutants such as formaldehyde, hexane, phenol, polycyclic organic matter, and toluene. Exposure to these air toxics may cause cancer, central nervous system problems, liver damage, respiratory problems and skin irritation.” [EPA, The United States of American Environmental Protection Agency].

The air you breathe and the water you drink are at least as important to your health as the food you eat, and the ingredients that we put into the air and water deserve at least as much responsible reporting.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of Https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com.

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_315_-_Canaries_and_Snake_Oil.mp3

 

Bare Bones Biology 296 – Suicide by Corposystem

160215-mapletreebud-asc_2612_1RSsThe universe we live in is composed of interacting, naturally evolved systems. We did not create this miracle, but we are part of it; and there are rules, laws of nature that we are slowly learning to understand. And the worst part — it seems we must ever and again, both as individuals with thinking minds, and as social systems, relearn all the same old painful lessons that have been learned the hard way so many times before by others of our kind. We have guides to the “laws” of human behaviors encoded in the structures of our wisdom traditions.

 

The Law of Life itself on this earth is basically simple and is framed by the balance of energy and entropy; of work and information; and the systems that naturally arise within that frame. This universe is what it is; we add our own complications. In fact it is part of our nature as living things to add complications. Complications are a part of evolution. But we have this nice brain and all those wisdom traditions to help us, not to mention modern science, all studying the same universe. You’d think we would learn the rules.

 

As individuals, we humans are naturally evolved systems. We are composed of naturally evolved systems and we are parts of the whole naturally evolved system that maintains itself by balancing the relationships among energy and entropy using the natural laws that regulate work and information. This fact has implications.

One of these implications is that we embody functions within and among the systems. Whether or not we want to. And the better we can manage these functions the less suffering we will cause to others. Or actually, I should say the more suffering we will prevent, because if we were to use our beautiful brain to manage our behaviors within the wisdom traditions and the wisdom of science (I am not talking about technology here, but our knowledge of cause and effect) we could be preventing suffering rather than causing it.

 

You already know my personal prime directive to do more good than harm in my time on this earth. This kind of aspiration is not possible to accomplish if we refuse to see the downside as well as the up side of our behaviors. For me, figuring out the meaning of good and harm is enough of a challenge to keep me going until someone else takes over, but I do have one important guide in the effort. I know that I cannot change the natural laws, and therefore I must align my plans and behaviors with what is, and not with what I wish it were.

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I am tempted to say the four noble laws of nature, but some out there may not have a sufficient sense of humor, or is it irony, to enjoy that line. Oh, let’s leave it. It is not likely to do more harm than good. How many people will read this anyhow??

 

One of the primary functions of a system is to maintain itself. You and I are naturally evolved systems composed of other systems that all function together to maintain the whole. Our respective liver, heart, digestive system, excretory system, and above all, in humans, our most highly evolved subsystem, our brain. And our mind. Part of our job of life is to take very good care of all the systems of which we are composed. For the benefit of the whole. That is, for ourselves individually, for the social systems of which we are a part: family, tribe, and now a new system that, like it or not, we are creating together, the global corposystem.

Another primary function of each naturally evolved system is to do no harm to the larger systems of which it is a part. To do good if possible. Because these are our environment, and our environment is the other half of who we are.

 

Now here’s the downside of that magnificent brain of ours and the corposystem that it is creating. The corposystem, that is us, rather than to helping to form a collaborative whole, is determined to establish domination over the Biosystem. The corposystem – in its war against the Biosystem, is making us choose.

 

In this kind of triangle, we cannot do more good than harm unless we think very deeply about the “unexpected” but not unexpectable consequences of our actions.

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This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

 

The podcast of this blog is available at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_296_-_Suicide_by_Corposystem.mp3

 

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Picture Day – After the Storm

By the time the sun came back out there was four feet of snow on the roof. Not good for it.

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And it is beautiful on our street

 

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But Cold

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Bare Bones Biology 268 – Systems

I capitalize Life to represent the emergent property of the Biosystem. And life is used represent individual living things.

 The green bits were edited out of the podcast because of time restraints.

 

How to say it, that’s the problem, and in five minutes or less, it’s difficult. So today I will need to strain my brain and yours, because I want to talk about systems – real natural systems. I will reference a “A Systems View of Life,” co-written by one of the speakers at a previous Bioneers, that I have not yet read, and a book entitled “Linked” that I have listened to about 5 times and benefited every time.

 

A naturally evolving/evolved system is a set of objects /nodes/things linked together in all or nearly all dimensions by processes or other manifestations of energy. The nodes and links of an  evolved system work together to generate a unitary emergent property (properties/characteristics/phenotypes) that is/are useful to the environment within which the  system evolved/evolves by natural selection.
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Implications of this definition follow:

 

  1. 1. Every kind of system has unique characteristics (emergent properties) that were of value to the environment within which the system evolved. For example, you are a system that consists of subsystems, your emergent properties are Homo sapien. You are a subsystem of our current social system, the corposystem, that is a subsystem of the Biosystem. The defining emergent properties of the corposystem are growth by domination for profit. The corposystem is a subset of the Biosystem, whose defining emergent property is Life.

 

  1. Every kind of system is unique because its unique emergent properties permit the system to fill or define a new and useful niche within the environment of its origin. If there were no unique niche available that contributes to the welfare of the parent system, then there would not be that subsystem. For example, your kidneys evolved as a subsystem of you because they are necessary for your survival. Your brain also.
  1. In this modern world we need to use that brain – all of it — both the logical, critical faculties and the emotional, instinctual understandings — if we are to survive. That’s what it’s for.

For example, if we reject basic science in favor of humanities – or if we reject humanities in favor of basic science (which is NOT engineering), then we are not using all of our brain power in the effort to survive within the Biosystem.

  1. Each system interacts with its environment through its emergent characteristics.   The emergent characteristics of our corposystem as it has evolved, no longer align with or enhance the welfare of the Biosystem. This means the corposystem is in competition with the Biosystem. Competition is not the natural order of success. Competition leads to extinction of one or other of the partners. Success in the Biosystem requires balance among the parts (think again of your kidney).

Because the corposystem and the Biosystem are not aligned, and in fact are in competition, therefore they cannot both survive unless we decide to use our brain to force a change in the emergent properties (the behaviors) of the corposystem.

5 – The function of a system is to perpetuate itself. If it can’t do this, it will die. One implication of this reality is — if you have been raised within the corposystem — then you have been trained to behave in ways that benefit the corposystem, and our evolved human social system will induce or force you, in many and subtle ways, to behave in ways that promote growth by domination for money.

 For example, one of the ways the corposystem exerts this pressure is to start an argument over some issue of great importance, and then refuse to pemit us to discuss it because it is “controversial.” Especially if it is NOT controversial but factual, the corposystem is afraid of it. If we don’t discuss it, then we cannot align it with the needs of the Biosystem, and our behaviors will support the corposystem world view rather than sustain the Biosystem. It would be like the kidney competing with the rest of your body.

 Ocamora-ASC_8563RLSsTake climate change for example. There is no doubt about climate change. It’s a fact. The only doubt is what we will do about it. To defend itself from this fact (that would require the corposystem to shrink rather than grow), the corposystem first created a fake controversy. But facts always trump propaganda in the long run, and now the corposystem has been forced to take that issue seriously. So the new corposystem propaganda seems to be revolving around schemes intended to make money by promoting climate-change-related growth of businesses and charitable organizations.   The corposystem is based in growth. The growth of the corposystem destroys the Biosystem as we know it.

The Biosystem is changing in effort to maintain its viable balance, and as a result the productivity of the Biosystem is falling and will continue to fall, no matter what we do. Unless we can stop corposystem growth. That is how the Biosystem stays balanced. It is now out of balance and changing to a different climatic form. That’s how the Biosystem gets rid of problem subsystems.

My goal is to help grow a NEW human social SYSTEM to replace the corposystem. The emergent properties of the new system must be sustainability and resilience (at least). This can only be accomplished if we align our behaviors (not our emotions or our beliefs, but our behaviors) with the needs of the Biosystem.

And that is what basic science (not technology) is for. As for systems, our understanding of systems will not save us any more than our understanding of gravity or thermodynamics can save us, nor can technology within the corposystem, because technology serves the emergent characteristics of whatever system is using it.

Systems is just another fact of Life. It can help us align our behaviors – that’s what basic science (not technology) is for.

The corposystem will die in any case, because it is dedicated to overcome the Biosystem using domination and growth. The questions now are: 1) Will the corposystem damage our Biosystem to the extent humans cannot survive in it? And 2) Will we be able to step outside the corposystem world view and grow a new human social system that is sustainable?

 

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

 

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_267_-_Systems.mp3

 

References

The Systems View of Life, by Fritjof Capra and Peter Luigi Luisi, Cambridge University Press. 2014.

Linked by Albert-László Barabási. Perseus, Cambridge, MA, 2002