Bare Bones Biology 099 – What Can Conscientious Scientists Do?

My fellow basic scientists and I have known from the very beginning of this Climate Change debacle that I have been discussing — from Bare Bones Biology 092, forward in time, every week until Bare Bones Biology 100, which will be next week — that the so-called Climate Change Debate is a Corposystem Con Job.

There are quite a few references in this BBB and I’ll put links in this blog and below. I have talked before about fake debates (for example and and) and other corposystem con games, for example in BBB 072.

So, how did we know it was a con? First let me say that scientists – mostly – I’m talking about basic scientists now, not technologists – mostly became scientists because we have some idealism about helping the world. Just as you do. We do not publicly lie about facts, partly because facts have a way of proving themselves and we can’t change them. Airplanes wouldn’t fly if we got the facts wrong; we couldn’t have a space program or iThings or any kind of modern technology, because all modern technologies are based in facts that were first understood by research scientists; and global warming would keep getting worse and worse. As it has. And the other scientists would know we were lying.

Second – well maybe I should give you an example. I’ve been out of the field for twelve years, but last week I was asked to review a paper. I realized the author was a young person just entering the field and I would probably have to recommend the paper not be published. Why not published? Because my career is intertwined with my reputation among my fellow scientists. Even though I know exactly how the young scientist feels, because I have been rejected myself by other conscientious scientists. Many of them then offered to help me improve. That kind of practical compassion grows a group of experienced scientists sharing and at the same time openly demonstrating their own expertise, or lack of expertise.

Basic scientists SHARE a body of knowledge. We know the difference between a fact, an opinion and a hypothesis, and we don’t claim that our opinions are facts unless we can open the drawer or pull out someone’s publication and demonstrate the measurable and measured data, and then we are willing discuss interpretations of the data. We do not go on television or any place else and publish lies. If we are biological scientists, we also know that life changes, and we know that the ecosystem is the source of life. If you believe I just described an ideal that isn’t real, well, yes, nobody is perfect. But we do try, and we wouldn’t trade our mutual respect for a seat behind Rush Limbaugh’s microphone.

That’s why we knew the so-called global warming “debate” (climate change “debate”) was a con job. Because there is no debate about the basic fact that climate changes, and changes that happen more rapidly than evolution will have a negative effect on both the sustainability (for a description see BBB 088, or and the resilience of life on earth. That’s why I make these BBBs. So you too will have more information to evaluate the corposystem con games.

The so-called debate is political propaganda, and the purpose is obvious. Powerful political entities in our country are making a lot of money by CAUSING global warming, and they know it, and science knows it. So their purpose is to smear science and scientists.

So now, I am happy to tell you of two proofs of corposystem gamesmanship that appeared just last week. In the first, an investigative journalist “outed” internal documents that describe Heartland Institute’s plan to find people they can bribe to be climate deniers.

The second is the upcoming publication of a book by Michael E. Mann “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines,” a prominent climatologist, describing the professional threats and death threats that he received because he wouldn’t stop informing the public about his concerns.

Climate change is a man-made crisis, only man can stop the behaviors that cause it, and that’s your responsibility. You could start by rereading this series on my blog, beginning with BBB 092, and continue by discussing the issue with knowledgeable people who understand it. Discuss I said. Debate is worse than useless, because it implies that there are only two sides to every issue and only one “winner.”

If we choose to work together on this problem, we are all winners; if not, we are all losers.

Bare Bones Biology 099 – What Can Conscientious Scientists Do?
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://BareBonesBiology.com

Links:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/01/28 BBB092, beginning of climate change
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/06/10 and
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/ Fakc Debates
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/ Corposystem Con Games, BBB 072
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/ BBB 088, Sustainability
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/ Sustainaiblity and Resilience
http://www.amazon.com/Hockey-Stick-Climate-Wars-Field/dp/023115254X

Bare Bones Biology 060-Fracking I

I have lived in a Tokyo suburb, and in the shade of a mountain in Montana, but it’s in rural loneliness where I learned the most about community. I learned to sit under a tree in the forest until the little creatures gathered around to investigate this stranger in their midst. Almost like a Bambi forest glade with the little birds and flowers, but I learned this before I ever saw a motion picture. And I always knew it was no fairy tale, but the deepest source of life itself.

So I already knew this when I went to college, and there I found the wonder of basic science and I dedicated my life to learning how we humans can use our knowledge of basic science to bring to ourselves a life of ordinary happiness, in a perpetual way, like a forest glade that blooms for us and for our children unto the seventh generation yet to be born, and beyond. I mean learning how the whole system works so that we can help us to continue nurturing us on into the future. And now we know; we are choosing not to do it, and that is our human tragedy.

For a long time, I have been wondering how anyone could make that choice.

This morning I woke up remembering how exciting it was in college, that three year period when I understood how forest glade ecosystems function – using all the species at once, and all the cycles, and the flow of energy at all the levels (see the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook) – to maintain the well being of us all, the rabbits and birds and flowers and all of us who are a part of the ecosystem.

This morning after the fracking ]presentation, I woke up remembering how that felt and wondering how anyone, as we heard yesterday and have been hearing for the past 15 years or so – how anyone could dedicate his life to tearing down this wonderful dream of a forever fine future.

And then I realized there isn’t very much difference between a young person who dedicates her life to understanding the factual truth of a functioning world ecosystem (that would be me). There isn’t that much difference between me and, say, a young man who grows to that age of enlightenment and observes the amazing power of the workings of the corposystem. A young man raised on Star Wars make-believe instead of the beauty of factual reality can believe in the corposystem very much in the same way I believe in the ecosystem. Very much as Bernie Madoff’s clients and even his sons believed in his Ponzi scheme, even though anyone can do the math and know there is no future in it. Star Wars economics is of course impossible to sustain for the same reason that any Ponzi scheme is impossible to sustain within a universe that operates according to the laws of energy and the law of cause and effect. Anyone can do the math. But when we are dreaming big dreams and deciding where to devote our lives, if we don’t know about schemes and scams and the first and second law of thermodynamics we get big ideas and are willing to make big sacrifices for them. That’s the tragedy of human kind.

Of course there are no tragedies at levels three and four (corposystem and ecosystem), so far as I know. It’s all about cause and effect. But level one, the individual person and level two, the communities – the tragedy is all around us now, in the air and the water and the soil and every forest glade. Not only the sacrifice of our best human values – honor, honesty, compassion — but also the promotion of suffering – and the effort it takes for idealistic people to believe that what they are doing is for the best.

Even though anyone can do the math.

Bare Bones Biology 060 – Fracking
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Audio download later this week at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Education

For what it’s worth on a slightly peripheral issue (science teaching), my interest in school, as a student, was the way in which knowledge empowered my understanding and therefore my ability to function using my own resources instead of as a tool of the system. I have seen this happen to a small percentage of my students every year when I was teaching (college level).

We have replaced science in the curriculum from the bottom up we have replaced it with nature study and “fuzzy bunny” (feel-good) compassion lessons. In fact realistic compassion often doesn’t feel good, and nature study is not science. Neither the appreciation of nature nor that nice fuzzy feeling leads to empowerment. I doubt if most teachers want their students to be empowered to know how to function and learn without the help of a teacher.

It is not appropriate to teach students critical empowerment tools for thinking until they are about 12 or 14 years of age, because that’s when they begin to “get it.” However, in our school system now (and we in Texas are working on continuing this into college) we do not teach students how to learn for themselves. We the teachers are “God,” the student must memorize and believe what we say. Only last week I had a friend (college graduate) rant on for about half an hour about how he was taught the names of all the humanoids in his anthropology class, and then they changed them all. Therefore you can’t believe anything in science. He never let me answer, but it is obvious that he was never taught any science. Science has nothing to do with memorizing the names of anything (except you have to have words to talk about things). Science is about learning how things work so we can be empowered not to throw a spanner in the works (spanner is british for wrench). The way to win an argument in that world where only words are real is to believe whatever you believe and don’t let anyone else have a chance to change your belief. The way to grow one’s understanding through science is to discuss/evaluate the issues based on the differences between measurable facts and opinions. To avoid talking about anything because it doesn’t feel good to be wrong — that is the outcome of teaching feel-good “science.” (I’ve had other people tell me “the facts keep changing” and I know very few people who actually know what a fact is, as differentiated from an opinion.)

There is no better tool in our arsenal than real science, starting with the basics, to teach students how to answer questions for themselves and in their communities — and come up with answers that correlate with reality. If we base our behaviors on opinions (as this generation has been taught to do) then we will have continuing massive disasters, because human opinions CAN NOT CHANGE physical facts. However, our teachers are trained in the liberal arts and do not know how to do this for themselves — much less teach students how. The liberal arts (out of curiosity I spent a whole year going to seminars in the department) have an almost entirely different set of critical thinking skills, and that is where our best students tend to go now, because they do get answers that relate to self-empowerment. So whenever they tell us they are teaching critical thinking skills — they are — but those skills involve HUMAN behaviors — not the primal laws of the universe.

And then there is technology, which is not science. Science is the quest to understand how things work in the real world — not our ticket to sell those things to the highest bidder.

So we are in a mess, but it will not help to train more and more students about human behaviors in the absence of aligning those behaviors with reality via the basic sciences. Nor will it help to train more and more students about the power of reductionist science in the hands of humans — without also teaching them both about basic science and about our human responsibilities to each other and to the way the world really does function — that we can’t change. How many of our teachers have even been exposed to these ideas? Why not? So then what do we expect of them or of their students?

How many people at Lawrence Livermore really understand what I just said above? If not, how do they expect to train more scientists who have the compassion to care about the implications of what they are studying and learn biology to go with their physics and their obligation to humanity and the ecosystem?

You have a wonderful project. I feel quite sure you can get funding from the “system” to set this up and it will train people how to make more food. But, really, why do we need more food? The bottom line is that only the ecosystem can make food for us to eat — and the more of the ecosystem resources we use for ourselves to eat, the less likely the ecosystem is to survive with us in it? And the more human suffering will result.

OK? That’s your question for today. Most people answer that this is an interim action for the emergency. I heard that 50 years ago and ever since. What I want to see is someone making some kind of effort to deal with the real problem that causes the emergencies — and teaching all these fine students that there is no such thing as winning unless we address reality itself.