Bare Bones Biology Cover Letter

Bare Bones Biology is a completely nonprofit project. We use the .com because we also refuse to become or behave as an integral part of the corposystem that is destroying both our lifestyles and our place in the communal life of earth.

On the other hand, the corposystem has done a magnificent job, of necessity, of squeezing on to our planet three or four billions more than the number of people the planet can feed sustainably, and temporarily avoiding the dire consequences of doing so. The corposystem has been forced to do this in response to the will of the people, so let’s not waste our time in blame placing or aintitawful when there are positive actions we could be doing, beginning with positive discussion of the collective choice we are making to destroy the planet rather than to face up to the root problem of overpopulation, and deal with it as compassionately as we possibly can.

I have today received two new examples of corposystem squeezing that I referred to above. Here are the references. One is a letter that I received from Robert Redford. I admire Robert Redford, so I don’t trash his letters. I suggest you read up on the Pebble Mine problem at:|utmccn=%28direct%29|utmcmd=%28none%29&__utmv=-&__utmk=93481629

And then I recommend the current Tomgram: Michael Klare, “Extreme Energy Means an Extreme Planet”

And then I recommend you think about the past five Bare Bones Biology blogs, particularly the first in the series at

Because the point is – if you personally have not done anything about overpopulation in the past month, then you personally have chosen, during that time, human overpopulation in preference to the welfare of our living earth ecosystem. “Doing something” means minimally, engaging in a positive discussion of the problem. “Positive” means a conversation that does NOT consist of “aint it awful” or of “aint they awful.”

It is not possible to blame the corposystem for trying to feed several billions of people more than the earth can sustainably feed, if we the people refuse to deal with OUR population problem while pretending it is someone else’s responsibility. This is our responsibility to each other and to our grandchildren, who will be directly impacted by the result of our effort or lack of effort.

This week (beginning Sunday) will kick off a new Bare Bones Biology series, on the subject of community, beginning with some perspectives about biological reality, followed by some examples of projects that I encountered during my travels that have promise of genuine community building.

Peach Clubhouse Newsletter – December

Activities of Interest

Peach Clubhouse Movie Night – Second Tuesday of December. After that — next year — movies only by request. These movies are free at the Peach Clubhouse, 1110 Justine, just northeast of downtown Bryan.

December 13, Tuesday, will be the beautiful BBC “Jungles.”

The next requested presentation will be Bill Moyers’ interview of Oren Lyons, Chief of the Onandaga, a member of the Iroquois Alliance. We will discuss this and the story of the Great Law of the Peacemaker, as told by John Mohawk. The time for this is to be arranged. Let me know if you want to participate.

No other programs are yet scheduled for December. Enjoy your holidays.

Radio Spots – Bare Bones Biology Radio spots may be heard on KEOS FM, 89.1, three times a week. Sunday morning at 6:55 AM, Sunday afternoon at 3 PM, Tuesday evening at 8:55 PM. These may be downloaded at or at The new series, beginning this month, examines the Peach Clubhouse Imagining cited in the masthead.

Other Activities around the Brazos Valley

The Insight Meditation Group holds a half-hour sit, followed by a short reading and discussion of a general nature, every Wednesday at noontime at the Unitarian Church in College Station, Friday at 3 pm at the Peach Clubhouse.

Dec. 8, Friends of Peace
– Thursday, Poppa Rollo’s Pizza, 703 N.Valley Mills Drive, Waco
6 p.m.- business and pizza buffet.
6:30 p.m.-film and discussion.
Admission: one non-perishable food item for a local food bank.
Or if you can’t make that, you can view or download a one-hour excerpt of a panel discussion, different program, at the website of Democracy Now. The program aired November 4. For more about creative political solutions, go to political section of this newsletter and some other interesting activities of Friends of Peace in Waco.

Remapping our Rule of Law

Occupy College Station
has held at least two public actions. I have a nice video with chanting but haven‘t figured out how to put that in a newsletter.

A quote from Arundhati Roy:
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.” Our stories, according to Jack Kornfield, are who we are. I think it’s best to not let some corporation tell us who we are.

That’s basically it, and so well put, but of course to do that — to refuse to believe the brainwashing — we need to have something better in our brains. Something true and based in factual reality that we can live now and grow for our future, and that of course we are doing.

And speaking of the future, I’m attaching a short clip from Democracy Now that reports a neat and effective political response to the effort of our drug companies to overcharge the world for essential medicines on the basis of American patents. The speaker is Harriet Washington, author of the book, Deadly Monopolies. (

Another commentary on Occupy is of special interest because it is a discussion among three American Buddhist thinkers, Michael Stone, David Loy and Ethan Nichtern. “When you go deeper” you get beyond superficial nitpicking and find there,what truth? (ttp://

That comment reminds me of the new approaches of Democracy School ( and others who are preventing the corposystem from co-opting control over land, water, food, air and other resources that belong to the commons (i.e., everyone) by changing our own assumptions about the law itself. “Does our activism mean so little that we want no more than a few beeps from cars that are passing by?”

Compassion Corner

“It seems to me that no matter which spiritual path one is on, and no matter what the calling or vocation, this question of purpose must arise, if there is to be any real meaning in “commitment” and “practice.” To what are we committed, we must ask, again and again. Each day presents the challenge to contemplate the question and find a way of acting differently that becomes a transformative “way” that honors Life and Nature’s limits and wonders. What are we doing to stop “the machine?” Shouldn’t all practices now be anchored in the awareness of the peril we face?” Or do we just sit there and enjoy it?” Question raised by one of our tentacles.

Bottom Line Biology (Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Inst.)
Also check out the website of I have been to this facility in New Mexico, and it is outstanding. Not your ordinary dot org.

“On the face of it, it wasn’t anything to shout about — just more stats in a world drowning in numbers. These happen to have been put out by the U.S. Department of Energy and they reflected, as an Associated Press headline put it, the “biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases.” In other words, in 2010, humanity (with a special bow to China, the United States, and onrushing India) managed to pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than at any time since the industrial revolution began — 564 million more tons than in 2009, which represents an increase of 6%. According to AP’s Seth Borenstein, that’s “higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.” He’s talking about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which is, if anything, considered “conservative” in its projections of future catastrophe by many climate scientists. Put another way, we’re talking more greenhouse gases than have entered the Earth’s atmosphere in tens of millions of years.” From Tomgram

And if you really want to know why we should care about these facts (I know you already know) a new Declaration that describes very beautifully the relationship that we must have with our ecosystem if we want to survive into the future in our home on this living earth. (Blue River Declaration, Spring Creek Project

Fracking News, water, air, soil, damaging sound waves, earthquakes. What next?

Well, next the Government Environmental Protection Agency has definitely established contamination of an aquifer with fracking fluids (**http%3A//, another earthquake, this time in Georgia, and several cities have established new constitutions that prevent outside powers from dictating matters that influence the commons, that is properties that rightfully belong to all the people, such as air, water, soil and our climate that permits us to survive and grow our food.

Here are a few web sites that will be of interest to people who want to keep up with the news about Fracking, courtesy of our Austin tentacle.

Fracdallas is a Public Information site by a local Dallas interest group. Since you mentioned possibly creating a web site or blog site to raise public awareness in your area, I thought this might help you with ideas:

The Argyle-Bartonville Communities Alliance (Near Dallas in the Barnett Shale Area) is another action group focused on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing:

This is a public publication group that talks about many subjects. They had some interesting information on hydraulic fracturing:

The NOSEBLEEDS that are so common near the gas compressor plants are caused by highly volitile compounds. You may not be able to smell them, but the nose knows. My nosebleeds have stopped since I moved.

Food and Farming

Next issue I will give more attention to the agribusiness control over farmers in the United States and abroad, including the genetics part of the problem that usually is not explained, but is the biggest reason we do not want to turn our entire food-making enterprise over to Montsanto. And the other reason we don’t want to do that has to do with the same issues that are discussed above relative to fracking — our commons. We really do NOT want the things we require for our survival to be manipulated by the corposystem. The ecosystem already knows how to do a far better job. In the meantime, the world is belatedly beginning to take notice. If you want one example, check out the new trend in the Phillipines:

“This is indeed what is happening in the Philippines: The agriculture ministry, long a position for agribusiness allies, is currently headed by Proceso Alcala, a strong proponent of organic agriculture. Within a year of his appointment in mid-2010 – and just months after we had walked through Atilano’s fields – we learned that the Philippine agriculture department had stopped subsidizing chemical fertilizers and was steering public funds into community-based seed banks for traditional rice varieties. Alcala, we heard, was hiring community-based farmer-scientists and gearing up for an “eat healthy” campaign that will champion brown rice and other healthy foods.”

That’s nice and we had better go ahead in that direction if we want to survive. However, there is only one action that can truly ensure human survival on this earth, and that is control of our population pressure on the sensitive interactions that keep the earth alive and well,. Thus I get extremely crabby whenever any of our positive or negative sound bites suggests that ANY ONE THING will save us because it simply is not true and it pulls people’s energy away from what we truly MUST do if we are to survive. The answer to the misleading headline is of the above article is No. Organic farming cannot feed 7 billion people. Neither can any other kind of farming for very long. Picture the earth, population mounting, more and more mouths to feed, each doubling of numbers taking half as long as the previous doubling. Mouths crying for food, the earth increasingly paved over. The climate and destruction of soil reducing productivity in spite of the best efforts of the organic farmers. And killing more and more and more species that the earth requires for its resilience, until finally we kill ourselves.

Now someone will tell me I’m against organic farming. NO. Organic farming is A GOOD THING. HOWEVER, if there are no humans around to appreciate it, then all the effort will have been wasted. There is only one essential requirement for our survival. We have all the necessary resources and technologies to provide birth control for every person on earth who wants it. If we don’t do that, we will never be able to feed all the people.

It is rather astounding that we make up debates over which kind of agriculture can feed us all — when it is so clear that neither can — and it would be so relatively easy to solve the problem. No of course not easy — but simple. If we don’t deal with population control we will not survive on this earth no matter what kind of magic we invoke. Organic farming is better than Monsanto farming for very many reasons, but I don’t understand why we can’t get it through our heads that all of our work won’t make any difference to anyone if all the people die. Of course the earth will likely return to lovely glowing health, but what is lovely if no people remain to enjoy it?

OK, so I have scientifically literate friends who think we might get by without becoming entirely extinct, but I don’t think you will like what they envision, either. So why don’t we start to do something THAT WILL WORK FOR THE FUTURE! And then farm for our own welfare in our spare time. Not the other way around.

And as we are trying to promote gardening, folks in the Brazos Valley can participate in a student project at TAMU (, and open to public participation. Howdy! Farm. You will find their produce available at the Farmers’ Market in Bryan ( And of course organically grown foods at Brazos Natural Foods in College Station ( And a heads up from the Peach Clubhouse, we have a small open space available if the right person wants to take on the challenge of creating an organic community garden closer to downtown Bryan. See? I’m not against it. I just hope someone will be around to eat it 50 years from now.

The Peach Clubhouse Newsletter
imagines the minimum requirements for a sustainable, reasonably comfortable and rewarding human lifestyle within our earth ecosystem for our future generations. We would grow a communication and educational system that teaches everyone these minimum skills:
1. The basic physical requirements for our living earth to be healthy. Because the healthy functions of earth ecosystem provide us with everything we need to stay alive — earth, food energy, air, water.
2. Practical, applied compassion. Because humans require compassion in order to lead reasonably comfortable and rewarding lives (www://Bare BonesBiology 080-The Golden Rule).
3. A rule of law that recognizes the different and sometimes conflicting needs of different levels of life — individual, population, ecosystem — and strives for the overall most useful solutions..
Factual Biology-Education-Practical Compassion-Rule of Law -|-

Bare Bones Biology 040-Reductionism

Bitsy and I marched in the parade yesterday, and on the car radio I heard Martin Luther King Jr. saying: “There is more to compassion than flinging a coin at a beggar. Compassion must come to see that a culture that produces beggars must be restructured.”

I remember those times. And how hard all the people worked. That’s why I want to talk about problem solving. I want us to fix our problems in a sustainable way that will stay fixed. So today I’m talking about reductionism and emergent properties.

An emergent property is a characteristic or process not predicted by the natural laws at a lower level – like chemistry or physics would not predict that sulfur would be yellow. Or that life could arise based on carbon compounds. Looking down on them from above, emergent properties seem quite ordinary and necessary. However, looking up from below one cannot predict what properties might exist. Life is an emergent property that arises from a complicated organization of molecules. If you were an atom or a molecule, you would not know about life. And yet, life is made of atoms and molecules, combined with a few other things, that are organized in such a way that life becomes possible. It is the complexity and organization that makes life possible. Not the atoms and molecules. Well, them too. But life is an emergent property.

Life emerges in a universe that operates according to the laws of physics. The laws of physics are far more powerful than life; therefore life must obey the laws of physics in order to survive. However, life is far more complicated than the laws of physics; and therefore physics alone does not explain life. And neither can physicists unless they also understand biology. We can’t understand life by understanding the laws of physics, but we must understand the basic laws of physics to fully appreciate how things stay alive.

Reductionism is the belief that everything CAN be explained by understanding its parts and their properties. For example, neuroscience studies how the brain functions, cell by cell and molecule by molecule. But neuroscience would be meaningless if we didn’t also know that the brain thinks. And that’s why I say reductionism is a very dangerous game to play unless you ALSO understand the emergent functions of whatever you are trying to study or do. Looking down, we can recognize the emergent properties. But if we forget to look back up at how the whole thing must be organized in order to function properly – well it’s like looking at a watch that’s been taken apart, and it has thousands of pieces, and we don’t really know what it is supposed to do so there is no way to put it back right.

Nature solves this problem by trying everything. Nature generates millions of different combinations of things. Then it kills off everything that is not organized in a useful way. Most of the combinations are killed off. That’s what evolution really does. That’s why I called the “try everything and see if it will work” method of problem solving “evolutionary problem solving” or “reductionist problem solving.” I called it reductionist because humans, instead of working together to develop a sustainable whole system with a sustainable human society within it – we do different actions that all are very important individually, but mostly do not also consider the needs of the whole system. We feed the hungry but we do not consider what they need for a sustainable future inside a sustainable ecosystem. We don’t consider what the system needs to do its job.

Humans don’t have eons of time. We can’t fix our world problems using the evolutionary method of trying everything until some day all our individual actions will come together in a way that works to make the whole system sustainable. But we could take a lesson from the corposystem. We could define a common achievable goal; discuss what it will take to achieve the goal; and then each with our own expertise – in addition to the good works we are already doing — go for it.

My goal is to make the future better, not worse, because I was here. What’s yours?

BareBonesBiology 040
89.1 KEOS radio, Bryan, Texas

Bare Bones Biology Transcript-Life as a Poem

The Bare Bones Biology Transcript for today was posted last week. Or you can scroll down to…life-as-a-poem/

Bare Bones Biology 032 – Life as a Poem

The other day I was feeling down in the dumps, so someone suggested I should think of my life as a poem. He didn’t say what kind of poem. The first one that popped into my head was:

“White cat shedding.
Cat hair

I think the good poet writes from the deepest part of her soul, and if that’s true, I hope I’m not a good poet with a soul full of cat hair. But I don’t believe we have control over the deepest part of our soul. Maybe great poets do, but I doubt it. The greatest poet probably is the one who can see the rhythm and beauty of her soul, and the ugliness and pain, and channel them out into words. Channel them from the deepest part of her soul into her computer, print them out and hang them on the refrigerator with a magnet that has a picture of the whole living earth on it.

I have three poems on my refrigerator. They’re too long to read in my five minutes here, but the titles are: “Poem” by Mary Oliver; “This Talking Rag” by Hafiz; and “Not in Our Name.” And a poem I wrote about a rainbow. A real, lovely memory. I often read my refrigerator.

I also have several pictures on the refrigerator. The green, living earth from space, a crystalline drop of water on a green blade of grass, a grandfather with his twin grandsons, and a woman about to be engulfed by the Asian tsunami of 2004. If I could pick one painting to hang on my wall, it would be the horse market by Rosa Bonheur, or Van Gogh’s flowers. But we also must recognize the truth of The Scream, by Edvard Muench.

For photographs, a favorite was taken by an independent war photographer in Iraq. His name is Zoriah, and he has a web site, but of course that particular picture is no longer there. I’ll put a copy on my blog.

Great art illuminates a snatch of real truth, in a world of fake fronts. Facades. That’s why we like it. Great art is a process of recognizing reality; not creating it. Reality is what it is, and the artist somehow captures its essence. We don’t make the poems. Life does. We only catch them.

Life flows through the ecosystem in the genetic code that tells every little cell when and where and how to do its job to keep the body alive and well. We merely pass it along, millennium upon millennium.

Do we believe we made “our” baby? If so, we’re delusional. We don’t make life. We share it. Or maybe we gift it. And we cherish it. Or we don’t. We hold this gift in our bodies, and in our deepest soul for a time. But it is the ecosystem that protects, nurtures and maintains physical life. Not us. Individually and collectively, we are nothing more than little drops of life in an interacting evolutionary flow. We depend for our lives on the other little drops and the whole of life, very much in the same way that a red blood cell is just the tiniest bit of a flow of blood that energizes our bodies, interactively with all the other body parts to give life to us.

We owe our lives to the DNA that informs every living part of the eco-system. We can cherish that fact. If we are a great artist we can sing its praises or its pain. We can participate in maintaining its health, or we can fight over the scraps of its malaise. But we cannot control it.

Thank God.

(Iraqi photo by Zoriah,
(Bryan Photo by Lynn)

Bare Bones Biology 019-Chickens and Eggs

I love looking out the window at our green and blue and brown world of sunlight and shadow, and being able to learn as much as I can about how it functions. I guess most everyone knows the bottom line is genetics. Of course, life needs all of its various parts and capabilities, but the thing that coordinates them all is the genetic system. The interacting functions of genes direct all of life functions, in response to whatever changes, and something is changing all the time. We couldn’t stay alive if we couldn’t respond to change, and the ecosystem responds to change by the process of genetic evolution.

Evolution is one of the most elegant processes of the living world, and Darwin didn’t know the half of it. Probably we don’t either, but we wouldn’t know any of it if we tried to understand without the scientific method. Science basically teaches us how to use the scientific method of evaluating facts. Religion wouldn’t be religion unless it were based in faith and science wouldn’t be science if it were based in faith. If we want to stop teaching science to our students, then we should be honest about it and stop. There is nothing honorable about teaching fake science instead of real science that is based in the scientific method.

So – we have talked about that enough. If you want to go back over the whole evolution series, you can find the transcripts at, listed under BBB transcripts.

Now we can talk about something else. How about — ummm — which came first the chicken or the egg?

Or to put it another way — where did life come from? Almost everyone has thought about this sort of question, but the fact is that no person has a definitive biological answer. What we do know is that life comes from life. Carrots come from living carrot seeds. Baby chickens come from eggs. It would be impossible to make a baby chicken from scratch — it’s far too complicated. Baby chickens come from chicken eggs. Eggs can make chickens because eggs are also complicated. It takes a very complicated egg to make a very complicated baby that grows up to make a very complicated egg.

Everyone knows that life comes from life. If you put all the atoms and molecules of a living cell into a bag and shake it up, you would not get a living cell (it’s been tried). What you get is a bag of parts sloshing around, because it’s not just the parts that make us alive. It’s also the way the parts are organized. Life is perfectly organized in such a way that all the parts work together to do the processes that are necessary to be alive.

Chickens can make eggs that make more chickens, but people can not make chickens. We can use them, but we can not make them. Cells can make more cells, but people can not make cells.

Probably you knew that, and there is a reason why I brought it up — ecosystems are even more complicated than eggs. Or chickens. Ecosystems can make more ecosystems, but there is no way humans could make an ecosystem. Even though it feels like — with a good farmer, a couple of scientists and pile of technology, surely we could make or fix our ecosystem. But using the basic laws of nature is a very different thing from changing or fixing the basic laws of nature. In reality, the ecosystem was already doing what it is supposed to do before we started tinkering with it. It was keeping itself healthy by responding to changes in its environment. We can’t make it better than balanced.

Technology wants to pretend that we can control nature, but science knows that we can not. The carrot seed can make carrots, and the fertilized egg can make babies, but they can’t do these things on Mars. Chickens and carrots and ecosystems can make life from their lives, but only inside the ecosystem, and our technology can’t do it at all. We can destroy ecosystems, but we can’t make them and we can’t live without them.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
Bare Bones Biology 019
KEOS 89.1, Bryan, Texas

Bare Bones Biology Transcript 017 – Emergent Properties

It seems like the hardest scientific things to explain are those that everyone already understands. Like gravity for example. Or emergent properties. My favorite emergent property is thinking, and lately I’ve been thinking quite a lot about emergent properties.

An emergent property — let me warn you, I think some British scientist made up this definition, because it sounds very high-tone, but the reality is amazingly real. In fact it’s fun to know these things, and when I give you some examples it will make more sense. And don’t bother to write it down, you can always go to my blog for double-check.

An emergent property is a capability or function that can not be present in less complicated things because it requires the cooperative and coordinated functions of all its many different of parts. All the parts must work together to produce the property, capability or function. The property may “emerge” as a new thing. Like our brains for example, can think in languages, but to do this it must be very complicated and well organized.

Life is an emergent property. We can define life as the ability to manage itself because it has the genetic information in every cell that directs all the processes of life. Life is not present in atoms or molecules, but it is present in cells. Atoms and molecules are not as complicated as living cells. They don’t have enough bells and whistles, all working together, to do all the functions that are necessary for living things to stay alive. So, even though atoms and molecules and macromolecules are essential components of cells, and they are necessary for the life of the cell, individually they aren’t actually alive. It is the perfectly organized complexity that permits life to be alive. Life is an emergent property of the cell, and the cell is the simplest most basic unit that can do all the jobs necessary to stay alive.

It’s not only living things that have emergent properties. The emergent property of a car would be that you can drive around in it. You can’t drive around in a steering wheel or an engine or a transmission, but when you get these things all properly organized together you can drive around. An emergent property of a kidney is the ability to make urine. An emergent property of our culture is the corporation. Now I’m thinking about a watch, and I can do this because an emergent property of the brain is thinking.

All cells are alive, but cells can’t think, because thinking requires this huge organ that we have in our head that is made out of millions of interconnecting nerve endings, from cells, that all are cooperating to accomplish the task of thinking. Thinking is the emergent property of the brain.

Now the whole earth ecosystem — talk about complicated — talk about organized. The ecosystem is much more complicated than my brain, or even all the brains in the whole world. So there is no way my brain can know and understand the emergent property that is most characteristic of the ecosystem, whatever it may be, any more than a cell in my big toe — or even a cell in my brain — can understand how people think.

So what was that you said about human technology saving us from the ecosystem?

Think again. The ecosystem is already doing what it is supposed to do to stay alive, and there is no way we can make it better. We can’t change these things because they run on universal laws like gravity, the laws of thermodynamics, and the law of cause and effect.

But we sure can interfere with their function if we throw the ecosystem off balance and upset the complexity of her organization by our reverence for growth, growth, growth, when more growth will only throw her works more out of balance by reducing the diversity of all the parts and messing up the organization.

We are not gods, you know. We can not change or control the universal laws of nature.

Bare Bones Biology 017
Produced by FactFictionFancy and
KEOS Radio, 98.1, Bryan