Bare Bones Biology 223 – Why?

Sorry to be so late this week.  As you know, I got involved with quite a lot of photography related to the climate change march.  And today’s blog will talk (again) about the root cause of climate change.  If we ignore the root cause (of anything) it will just circle around and come back to bite us in a different form, so all you climate change marchers, you need to ALSO deal with the root cause or you cannot succeed in your projects unto the seventh generation (or even the third, that would be your grandchildren) and beyond.  Here is this week podcast transcription140920-ClimateMarc-ASC_1731RLRLSs

God did not design a world in which we can have everything we want. And what a good thing that is! We would have messed it up in short order. We are not God and we do not have the wisdom or the capacity, even with computers, to understand and keep track of and balance all the millions of interacting parts of a sustainable life form such as our Earth. And of course all of our food, water and air, that is our survival, comes from our living earth.

Instead, the miracle of this living earth is precisely that it is designed to sustain itself. If we don’t completely mess it up, we can be quite certain that there will be a future for us to live and strive for because the Life of Earth is sustainable. However, it does not operate solely to serve human desires, and as Chief Oren Lyons said to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now (DN130809). “The Laws of Nature are such that we will suffer in direct ratio to our transgressions. It’s as simple as that. People should understand this, there is no mercy in nature. None whatsoever. Only the Law. Only the rules. If you follow those laws and rules, you’ll have regeneration, again and again, and if you want to challenge those laws, then you suffer the consequence, and that’s where we are right now.”

That is a reason to be alive. For the future. That we should not create more suffering, now or in the future, because of us being a part of all Life.

I guarantee the reason for human existence is not profit — or fame. Probably, the purpose for our lives is that very sustainability — that very intricately balanced sustainability. Or maybe it is the search for deeper meaning, in fact to reach out for God, within the task of sustaining and growing His creation.

In any case, we all do have an obligation to the future, and one of the best expressions of this fact that I’ve heard are again in the words of native American Chief Oren Lyons, this time speaking to Bill Moyers   “We are now. Now is us. We’re the seventh generation. I’m sitting here as the seventh generation because seven generations ago there were people looking out for me. Seven generations from now someone will be there, I know. And so each generation makes sure that seven generations is coming, all the time. . . And that’s accountability. We’re accountable. We and you and I, we’re accountable, yes we are, and they are going to call us. They’re the ones who are going to say Why did you do this, or Why did you not do this?”

Indeed we could grow a sustainable future, with much resources for everyone, so long as we limit our numbers to what the earth has available to give, both to ourselves and to the other Earth species that are responsible for maintaining the viable conditions of air water and food energy, and at the same time every child could have at least the chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in other words, a rewarding life.

But not, as we are doing today, not if we continue to produce more children than we have resources to support. Sooner or later, regardless of our technological genius, a population that grows greater than the available resources, like any Ponzi scheme, falls down into a terrible morass of suffering.   And we will have nobody to blame but ourselves. Not the Bible, not God, not nature – because we know what we are doing to cause the suffering and we refuse to stop doing it.

Of course we do understand that overpopulation will end in disaster. Our problem is that, at the same time, we must all honor our humanity, and part of that human imperative is our built-in sense of compassion.

As an American Buddhist friend has said:

“About babies – totally agree there are too many. Governments need to stop subsidizing them. No tax deductions after the first birth. No fertility clinics – adopt, borrow, or put up with it. But I’m less hard-hearted about letting people die, though the logic hasn’t changed. Only because I was on a scary small plane ride with a young woman with a tiny baby, coming back from hospital birth. It would have been her second, but the first time the weather had stopped planes from flying so she couldn’t get to the hospital. Before that I would have said, this is normal and how it should be. Just like if it were my children and grandchildren getting ebola, I wouldn’t be able to say it’s normal, it cuts the population problem.“So if we’re going to protect individual lives, we really, really have to change our norms about having babies. Every child deserves full attention of at least five adults, that’s what I say.  I’d like to see a movement.”

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

A copy of the podcast is available at:

Democracy Now DN130809

Bill Moyers,







Bill Moyers – What can you do about Citizens United?

So I ended up with two tickets to the Progressive Forum to see and hear Bill Moyers, and I couldn’t give away the second one so I left it at the ticket office and they gave it to someone who arrived just a bit late. He said a very nice thank you and hope nothing is wrong (with the missing person) and other than that seemed to be a bit afraid that I was trying to pull something, and he ran as fast as he could at the end. But hey, I had an extra seat almost in the front — would you want to tear it up? Anyhow, that’s not the point. The point is that when he arrived he told me why the helicopters were flying about overhead for the last couple hours. DRAT, it was Occupy Houston, apparently about 4 blocks away and here I am with my camera and the closest I got was the picture above.

Bill Moyers says he is not cut out for retirement and will begin a new series in January on PBS. Call your local station, this is one of the few honorable purveyors of good information that we have left in our country. Check his website for more info. And don’t forget the Progressive Forum is one of our local treasures.

Bare Bones Biology 079-The Vision

Photo © Photos by Lynn From the upcoming book Ouside the Circle.

Many people agree that our human cultures have gone off track in a number of ways, and that we need a new vision of the future if we are to grow a better future for our grandchildren. And beyond. Many people disagree about the new vision. No need to argue, I’ve been studying this for about a decade and I’ll tell you. Then, if your ideas are better, please get in touch and we can try together to make a vision. For now, as we step out in our new direction, this is my belief.

The minimum requirement for a viable human social structure is that its citizens must be educated in the skills of practical compassion applied to problem solving, the nature and needs of a healthy ecosystem, and a rule of law that recognizes the conflicting human rights at the individual level and the level of the whole. That’s a big order, and the next question is how? How can we do this? But first let’s talk about why we should make the effort. Listen to a statement made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in he film Dalai Lama Rennaisance:

“As a result, nobody is taking care of the long term, I think for strategy or interest, and in the meantime many problems we are facing today are not just from superficial causes, but there are deeper causes. I think the crisis in the late 20th century, that we are facing, is due to negligence of the previous century. Of our previous generations.”

So our crisis is not due to superficial causes that we are addressing as symptoms, but is primarily due to negligence of the previous generations. I agree completely, and we were both here to see it happening. Well, we were both here for part of that, on opposite sides of the globe, and we both agree that doing more of what caused our problems in the first place will not cure our problems. So let’s forget about going backward, trying to grow a better culture, because what we did, it didn’t work. In fact, it caused our current challenges, and it’s easy to predict that if we continue as we are in this moment, the results will be even worse for our grandchildren than they have been for us. And for the fifth generation. Or the seventh generation.

“We are now. We are now. Now is us. We’re the seventh generation. I’m sitting here as the seventh generation because seven generations ago those people were looking out for me. Seven generations from now someone will be here, I know, and so each generation makes sure that seventh generation is coming all the time. And that’s accountability. We’re accountable, and they’re going to call us. They’re going to say Why did you do this? Or Why did you not do this?”

That was Oren Lyons, Chief of the Native American Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, talking with Bill Moyers But you don’t need to be on the other side of the world. And you don’t need to sit in the council of a tribal chief. Just look at your own children, and their children, and you know we have an obligation to the future.

So then, the next question is How? How do we accomplish this enormous task. The answer must be for each of us to carry our own load of responsibility, regardless of whatever other people are doing. We can’t wait till we win something or convince someone. We have one moment in time to grow a better future, and that moment is now. We can’t change anything that happened yesterday, and we can’t do anything tomorrow because by the time we get to tomorrow it will be now, and we will have lost a whole day when we could have been living our ideals. And that’s our responsibility, to live what we believe, beginning with the Golden Rule, and I’ll talk more about that next time.

Bare Bones Biology 079 – The Vision
KEOS Radio 89.1 FM
Audio download available later this week at

Bare Bones Biology 050 – We Have a Problem

Last week I put my foot in my mouth by saying that we all agree (that should have been the clue). I said we all agree that we: “have serious human problems on this earth, and we can not resolve those problems in a positive way unless the ecosystem is healthy, because everything we need is provided by the ecosystem.” That’s what I said.

It turns out we don’t all agree to that. Some of us believe The Creation is perfect just the way it is. I don’t really argue about that, and I wish we could have a good discussion about it, because I don’t think we are disagreeing. I think it’s a matter of definitions. If we could sit down and define our terms, I think we would both be saying more or less the same thing, and then we could get together and spend our energy trying to fix whatever we see that needs fixing.

For example, surely we must agree that our human opinions will not change how God made The Creation. We can’t, for example, change the law of gravity that holds the thing together. The best we can do is try to understand it, so we can use it to make things for our convenience. Pyramids, airplanes and the like. We can’t change how the Creation functions – how it is set up, how molecules and atoms interact with each other, how animals get their energy from food, and all the other basic things of that sort. In that sense The Creation is indeed perfect just the way it was meant to function. Perfect and beautiful and miraculous. But I still think we have problems. I think we are disagreeing because we use different words for the same things, and again – your words or my words won’t change how God made things to function. The best we can do is try to understand.

Joseph Campbell devoted his whole career to studying our different ways of trying to understand God. In a PBS interview with Bill Moyers, he used the word “myth” when he talked about our religions:

“. . . the only myth that’s going to be worth thinking about in the immediate future is the one that’s talking about the planet . . . how to relate to this society, and how to relate this society to the world of nature and of the cosmos.”

Naomi Klein used the term ideology when she said in a recent speech in Totnes, England
Naomi Klein – The Paradox of Crisis:

“ . . . this issue, the climate crisis in particular, affects everybody. We are all in this together, and this is beyond left/right. This is beyond ideology.”

Naomi Klein is willing to see that there are important ideological issues involved, and I certainly know how that feels. I’ve had my dreams shattered, and my world view. This happens in small doses when we live for a time in other cultures. It’s known as culture shock and it’s painful. It happens in bigger doses when one’s own culture abandons the beliefs that it taught us to believe. And the worst kind of culture shock is known as PTSD, when everything you tried to do for good turns out bad. It’s hard. It takes a long time to adjust, and I hope I have been moving my own world view, or you can call it my ideology, cultural myth, religion) a little bit closer to factual reality, at least for solving physical problems, because when we acknowledge factual, measurable reality – that’s when we have the power to fix physical problems.

When man, who was made in the image of God, can not talk with other man, who also was made in the image of God. Then we do have a problem, and the first step to solving it is as simple as listening to other points of view, and the second step is to cut through the propaganda and blame-placing and discussing our world views with compassion and dispassionate common sense. Because only God is perfect, and we are not God.

Bare Bones Biology 050 – We Have a Problem
KEOS, 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas