Bare Bones Biology 348 – Hope for the New Year

In the beginning of another year, I am frustrated. Frustrated, and also angry with the mostly American culture that persists in irrational, knee-jerk denial of the reality of our biological crisis, as though denial or personal opinions, or somehow our level of dedication to anything, will somehow change the fact that nothing can grow forever witho161225-christmas_dsc0874_1rlssut causing terrible harm to something (or everything) else — and the benign but impenetrable wall of tolerance that our corposystem culture uses to eliminate the wisdom of factual, biological reality (my lifetime study) from its own contrary and implausible wishes, wants, beliefs and hopes. The infinite capacity of human denial is as awesome as it is devastating to those who can see its inevitable biological consequences to human kind.

 

I quote Corrie Ten Boom, the Christian WWII heroine and resident of a Nazi concentration camp: “It is wrong to give people hope when there is no hope.” Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place. She should know.

 

I am frustrated with the ongoing necessity of tolerating this kind of abuse from my own culture, which persists in brushing aside the wisdom of a lifetime of study as though it were an ignorant, emotional response to the normal vicissitudes of Life; or, now that I am old, the culture’s “compassionate” tolerance of my hard-earned knowledge about factual reality, as though it were the babbling of an addled old lady.

 

That is not hope, faith or compassion. It’s classic MCP. A pretense that human values trump the Laws of God and Nature. A denial without consideration of our current biological crisis, even as we are “going down for the third time,” smack-dab in the middle of the crisis denied.

That’s not hope; in my opinion, it’s stupid.

 

“Everyone has a right to his own opinions, but not to his own facts.”                                            Daniel Patrick Moynihan (March 16, 1927 – March 26, 2003) was a four-term U.S. Senator, ambassador, administration official, and academic.

 

So, today’s podcast/blog will consist mostly of quotations from other adult, highly educated well-respected human thinkers who also recognize that facts are universal, by definition; it’s what the word means; and that most opinions are not factual.  It’s why we have two different words for the two different sorts of reality. Quotes from others who understand the enormous danger that humans face today because we are using false human hopes and wishes to avoid facing facts. Listen to Dr. Lynn Margulis, professor of evolutionary bioliology.

 

“Life is an incredibly complex, interdependence of matter and energy among millions of species beyond (and within) our own skin. These Earth aliens (the other species) are our relatives, our ancesters, and part of us. They cycle our matter and bring us water and food. Without ‘The Other’ (species) we do not survive.”

 

“Our toughness is a delusion. Have we the intelligence and discipline to resist our tendency to grow without limit? This planet will not permit our populations to continue to expand. Runaway populations of bacteria, locusts, roaches, mice, and grass always collapse https://youtu.be/NZtJ2ZGyvBI?list=PL811CD932F936221B.  Their own wastes disgust – as crowding and severe shortages ensue. Diseases as opportunistically expanding populations of the “other,” follow. They take their cue from destructive behavior and social disintegration. Even herbivores, if desperate, become vicious predators and cannibals. Cows will hunt rabbits or eat their calves. Many hungry young mammals will vie to eat the meat of their runted littermates. Population overgrowth leads to stress, and stress depresses population overgrowth – an example of a Gaian regulated cycle.

 

“We people are just like our planet mates. We cannot put an end to nature, we can only pose a threat to ourselves.”   Dr. Lynn Margulis, Symbiotic Planet. 1998. Sciencewriters, Amherst, MA.

“The benign indifference of the Universe provides not human rights or human values, but the ultimate justice of in exorable cause and effect, or karma, that we ignore at our peril.” Camus, The Plague

 

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

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_348F_-_Hope.mp3

© 2017, Dr. M Lynn Lamoreux

MLLamoreux@Hotmail.com

Photos by Lynn

 

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive incapacity, on the part of those with low ability, to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their competence accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: high-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.[1]

Dunning and Kruger have postulated that the effect is the result of internal illusion in those of low ability, and external misperception in those of high ability: “The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

 

Bare Bones Biology 161 – Activism as War

Our deepest human obligation to the future of humans at this time is to understand the physical danger that threatens our human home on this the living earth. We have raised up a corposystem that is based on the use of power to dominate. In various parts of the corposystem we use the power of money, the power of fun, the power of sex, the power of bulldozers and atom bombs, the power of winning, the power of men over women and of people over everything that people don’t like.

At the same time, we know that human spiritual energy is not enough to save the starving. Compassion is not enough to save our place in the biosystem. Competition merely widens the destruction, and dominion over the laws of God and nature is not possible.

130728-canyon-ASC_4963RLSPsWe started by defeating ancient sources of human wisdom. We tossed them out because we didn’t understand them. And our power grew. We proceeded to generate measurable facts about the biosystem, and again our power grew.

And so now what we have is a huge pile of powerful facts that we don’t know how to use wisely – playthings of the gods we believe ourselves to be. And what’s worse we have come to believe that we can overcome our biological problems by piling up more facts and more power. More spiritual power, more compassion power, more domination power.

Maybe, instead of all our competition over various kinds of power – maybe we should try to remember that we already have (or had) the wisdom that we need to use all that power – to use it in a way that will cause more benefit than harm to our living home on earth.

Bare Bones Biology is a production of http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS FM radio, 89.1, Bryan, Texas. The podcast of this episode is much better than the blog version because it has actual background music provided by Kooper, the Navaho rap artist whose work can be found at http://www.Soundcloud.com/indigenize. Download the podcast here:

Bare Bones Biology 160 – Words Evolve

Words evolve, especially English words, until one person can be talking about facts, or energy, or evolution, while she is thinking something entirely different from the person who is listening to exactly the same words that mean something different in her mind. So, if you want to talk about facts or energy or evolution, and you don’t like my definitions, you should tell me yours and perhaps we can both talk about the same things. That is the first step in any discussion, and discussion is the first step to deciding if we care enough about each other to face the facts of our survival on this living earth.

130721-sunrise-ASC_4801sFACTS. Facts are realities that are true whether or not there were humans and whether or not we believe them. Facts are things like gravity, weight, thermodynamics, measurable energy, and death. The whole of human history and human power grew in the questioning human mind that wanted to understand the facts of Life IN ORDER TO SURVIVE into a comfortable future. That is, until the last few generations. Now, it seems, we no longer believe that our survival depends upon the facts of Life. Instead, we have come to believe that we can change the facts to suit ourselves. We even write books about it that I will not reference, but we actually believe them.

But the unfortunate thing about facts is that it doesn’t matter what we believe, the facts keep on going just the way they always have done, because a fact is not something humans decided to believe in. A fact is something that would be here even if there were no humans, and the bottom line fact is this — humans cannot survive without the living earth that gives us life – it is the forever facts that created the living earth Biosystem — and competing with that which gives us life does not make us big and wonderful and powerful; it makes us dead.

But of course we would be dead anyway, sooner or later, so the more important reason to understand the facts of Life is to avoid causing misery and suffering by fighting wars against realities that we cannot change, and to know the difference between what we humans can control and what we cannot control.

130721-deer-ASC_4812SsENERGY. In order to understand the basic facts of Life, we must understand that physical energy and human energy are not the same thing and we DO NOT KNOW what human energy is or how it relates to physical energy. Therefore we do not know how to control it.

Most of us can agree that there is such a thing as what I am referring to as human energy. I know that physical energy is a measurable fact; I know that I have experienced human energy in various ways; and I know that human energy is not the same kind of thermodynamic, measurable fact that is described by the Laws of Thermodynamics. But that is about all we do understand about human energy, and we know a lot about thermodynamic energy. The most important thing we know about it is that many people think human energy is more important than thermodynamic energy, and therefore humans can ignore the thermodynamic facts of Life described by the science of Physics.
The fact is, there would be no Life and no living earth without the flow of energy through the biological system that is the whole living earth, and this flow of energy must “obey” the measurable energy Laws of Thermodynamics.

Or to put it another way, the entire universe is how it is because (in part) of the Laws of Thermodynamics. If there were no humans, this would still be true. Whatever we can do with human energy, we cannot change the Law of Gravity, the Law of Evolution, or the Laws of Thermodynamics because these facts that we call laws were used in the Creation of Life. Without them, we would not exist, and there would be no human energy. So, if you know a lot about human energy, good for you. We need to know more; but that is not an excuse to ignore the facts about thermodynamic energy.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas, and FactFictionFancy. A podcast of this program can be downloaded at Bare Bones Biology as soon as we can sort out the problem that was caused when someone not myself tried to access my credit card information. In the meantime, if you want a podcast, please send your email address to LynnLamoreux@Yahoo.com and I will send you the mp3 version. It might take a couple of days as I find my way to a place where the trackless wilderness intersects an email access point. Most likely at the Mystery Store in downtown Chama, where good email access and good books are available.

Problems solved, here you can download the podcast: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_160_-_Words_Evolve.mp3

Bare Bones Biology 145b – Power

Y’all remember the Peach Clubhouse (which is still functioning by appointment, and you might be surprised what we are up to).  We learned quite a number of important things from the Peach Clubhouse.  One is that we aren’t going to change anyone’s mind, which is really, really sad because if we collectively continue our current world view, then this generation will be responsible for the unnecessary suffering of the children of man on into the foreseeable future.

Pipelines mapPeople look at me askance when I say this.  “Dotty old ladies have a right to their opinions,” they seem to think. In any case, they don’t bother themselves to find out whether or not I know what I’m talking about (http://www.radioproject.org/2013/02/putting-the-eco-back-into-economics-with-david-suzuki/).  Apparently they don’t understand that the biological laws of God and nature are what they are, and do not change according to our opinions.  That’s why we call them facts. (Romans 1:20.  “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made  . . .”)

The generation that is currently in control of our society is so ignorant of reality and so arrogantly confident in the power of its toys that they actually believe they invented systems that can compete successfully against the systems that God created. Compete with the earth

Nonsense.  Not to mention blasphemy and astronomical ignorance.  The laws of nature are natural laws – facts of life — with or without God, no matter what anyone believes or how powerful Chevron may be.

Personally, my goal is to do less harm than good on this earth, and to grow a vision of a social structure that might succeed after this one crashes.  (Yes, I know you are happy with this one, but any social structure that can’t tell the difference between a law of God and nature — and a Managing Director — will not survive on this earth.)

And because it is the responsibility of elders to share what they have learned in their long lives, therefore my goal is to figure out and share the skill-set necessary to grow a sustainable, reasonably comfortable and rewarding human lifestyle within our earth ecosystem for our future generations.

For the do-gooders who are working hard to do whatever you are working to do – all of you out there who believe that a one-track vision is enough (compassion, saving every fertilized egg, growing bigger web-based pyramid schemes, good grief, happiness) – you are wrong, and it is your responsibility to fact-check what you are doing against the needs of the ecosystem rather than the applause of the corposystem.  The requirements for contributing to a positive human social structure are that each of us take the responsibility for our fact-based education – minimally – about:

1. The basic physical requirements for the ecosystem to be healthy. Because the healthy functions of earth ecosystem give us everything we need to stay alive — soil, food energy, air, water, shelter.

2. Practical, applied compassion. Because humans require compassion 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 on earth — individual, population, ecosystem — and strives for the overall viable balance.

Photo from 350.orgsmallIn other words, the minimum responsibility of one human to her fellow humans is her sincere effort to learn, understand and discuss together the facts of life around the Laws of Nature, Practical Compassion, Rule of Law.   An arrogant, one-pointed meditation on whatever you already know will not resolve our current problems.  It will require study of what you do not know for us to succeed.

As for me, I’m glad that the revolutionary American Dream is not totally dead, though it has been mortified and driven underground by the corposystem and the biologically ignorant solutions proposed by the TEA party and its hangers on who fail to respect the works of God and nature that permit Life to exist on earth

This last weekend, Americans expressed themselves FOR the ecosystem 40,000 or more strong in Washington DC.  You might not hear about this on the corposystem media, so check it out on the web. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/17/climate-rally-washington-organizers_n_2707886.html.

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

 

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at:

Recommended References

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/17/climate-rally-washington-organizers_n_2707886.html

The New Testament, Romans 1:20 (“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made  . . .”)

http://www.radioproject.org/2013/02/putting-the-eco-back-into-economics-with-david-suzuki/

http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

http://www.BareBonesBiology

http://350.org

Facts and Opinions

I’m not talking about technology. Basic science is (or at least it was – I have been told this is no longer true, but then I wouldn’t know what to call the real thing) the study of measurable facts using the scientific method. If you want a bit more on that definition, download from my web site the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook (click under book chapter on the right side of the blog).

Real science has become fairly rare lately, but the point is it’s all about facts and learning to understand facts. Now the interesting thing about this is that real facts never change. For example, the weight per unit of pure water at sea level at a certain temperature would be a fact of nature that doesn’t change.

The interesting thing about basic science is that it is very much more reliable than people. Science is not about people. Science is about facts. People are a great muddle, because they more or less must rely on their brains to tell them what’s real and what to do about it. The result is not very factual, because the brain operates on sensory receptors that input data. The data could be considered factual, maybe, but then the data are filtered through all the unknown instincts, and the memories of a lifetime and evaluated to make a world view. World views are not facts. They are opinions, and they are always wrong in one way or another.

So, a good scientist is in constant conflict between the world view he has built and any good data that come to hand. That’s why peer review and publication is important to the scientific community, because discussion is important.

A really good scientist is ready to change his world view in the face of good facts. The Dalai Lama is a wonderful model for this kind of growth and development. So are good scientists. There is not a person born who hasn’t made a mistake, including all scientists, and one of the most admirable qualities of both the Dalai Lama and a good scientist is that they bring their mistakes to the community and share them for the benefit of the community. So we all can learn and grow our world views clearer and closer toward reality.

That’s why rejoicing over someone else’s mistake is not useful. The point is to use the facts to benefit human-kind, which requires benefiting the whole earth ecosystem, because anything that harms the ecosystem (this is discussed by a Rabi in upcoming Bare Bones Biology 119) harms human-kind. And certainly, continuing to try desperately to prove that human opinion is more powerful than good factual data – that not only looks foolish, it is foolish. If the house is burning down, the best thing is to know and react wisely. The person I admire is the one who uses good information to benefit the whole of life – and that requires sharing and listening on both sides.

And the thing about facts is – they don’t change. So it doesn’t matter what anyone believes, the measurable facts are what they are. If you think they are different – sooner or later they will come around and prove you are wrong.

The best way to handle this is to evaluate the facts, get more facts about the same question, evaluate them some more, do some agonizing over your own world view. That is necessary, and it takes time. And then adjust your world view to fit the facts.

But first make sure they really are facts and not just someone else’s opinion.

Recommended References

Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/

Richard Muller: ‘Humans Are Almost Entirely The Cause’ Of Climate Change http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/29/richard-muller-climate-change-humans-koch_n_1715887.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

Bare Bones Biology 115 – More Story Telling

You may be surprised to hear, given that I have made about $58.62 gross over the past year from pursuing the altruistic goals described in my blog, radiocasts and books (not counting the mouse genetics book), that I signed up for an internet course that is basically about self-promotion. I’m pretty much surprised myself, especially as it cost quite a lot more than $58.62. On the good side, a lot of other people signed up, too, and so we got to electronically meet each other, which is very interesting.

Eth-noh-tec (www.Ethnohtec.org) is one of these nonprofit organizations, based in San Francisco. Eth-noh-tec’s mission also happens to fit perfectly in my current Bare Bones Biology series that is about human communication. Or, just in case you didn’t notice the trend, here is a rundown:

Bare Bones Biology 107 – Right, Left or Wrong (about the brain)
Bare Bones Biology 108 – Scientific Communication – across disciplines
Bare Bones Biology 109 – Communication
Bare Bones Biology 110 – Rituals
Bare Bones Biology 111 – Rituals again
Bare Bones Biology 112 – Thinking
Bare Bones Biology 113 – Thinking Compassion (and poetry)
Bare Bones Biology 114 – Great Aridness (about books)
Bare Bones Biology 115 – Story Telling (performance art)

Eth-noh-tec does not need introduction; because of what they do, they introduce themselves. Next week another sort of communication, the workshop, will be represented, and then we will pay attention to some people who attempt to report the true facts in a world that is now awash with commercial and political propaganda. As David Barsamian says: “It is the job of a good citizen to inform him/herself well enough to understand the difference between propaganda and reality.” That is also the aim of FactFictionFancy.

For today, this is a nice little bit of performance art created just for BareBonesBiology, and so it’s important to hear it. It’s not meant to be a dry list of facts, but an experience that will help us to appreciate the realities expressed. So wait a couple of ticks after this is posted and then click on the link, or go to Bare Bones Biology and listen to the presentation.

Just in case you can’t hear it for some reason, here is the transcript of Eth-noh-tec:

“Welcome. My name is Nancy Wang.
“My name is Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo. Together we’re known as
“Eth-noh-tec
“An Asian-American, kinetic storytelling nonprofit arts organization.
“We are in the business of telling stories. We dedicate ourselves to building cultural bridges that celebrate diversity and create compassionate communities, through stories that reveal our universal truths.
“Storytelling is an excellent mode of communication, and one in which we accomplish our mission. As we all know, communication is not always easy. We all have a lens through which we see, hear and feel the world around us. So any one of us might say one thing that is clear to ourselves, but the person we’re talking to, it’s not clear, and that’s because we all have a lens through which we exist in this world.
“Then there is storytelling. Stories and folk tales, myths and legends, you know a story can cut right through some of that jumble by offering us understanding through metaphor, and a good plot, or a fascinating character.

“Storytelling creates empathic listening. If it’s a good story, it will impart information on a level that our brains can get, despite our minds’ lens and our minds’ biases to reach and open our hearts.
“And so recently I wrote and performed the story of my Chinese ancestors, who, looking for a better life, traveled from China on a jumk boat, a Chinese sailboat, in 1850, to reach the shores of California. Well, they crashed into Carmel bay. Now compassion started immediately when they were rescued by a group of Rumsen Indians. And then later, when the Chinese looked around this pristine Monterey peninsula, they saw that there were no fishing boats in the Pacific Ocean, or in the bays. And so, they started the fishing industry in Monterey, which soon grew, and carved out California.
“However, if you were to visit Monterey today, you wouldn’t even know that this history existed, because there’s no evidence at all that 800 plus Chinese fishermen and their four fishing villages were ever there.

“Yet, the fishing industry continued to thrive there. There’s just no Chinese doing it or profiting from it, because from the 1850s through the early 1940s, there was blatant anti-Chinese legislation and illegal acts of violence against the Chinese, by European settlers, most of whom arrived there after the Chinese. Villages were burned, purges took place, whole Chinese communities were marched out. Beatings and hangings took place.

“In short, ethnic cleansing. But, there were also those who helped the Chinese, though very few, but it made a huge difference in allowing for some peaceful, compassionate exchanges between the European and Chinese settlers.

“And without those exchanges, I might not be here today. The Chinese must have taken to heart those who saw them as people, not things, and who were kind, even friends, and this allowed them to live their lives. They were able to contribute their skills and ingenuity to America. So my story is an important story, and it provides a missing piece of the American historical landscape. And it also shows how not knowing one’s story leaves too much room for stereotyping and prejudice, leading to misunderstandings and to violence.

“People of color have been an integral part of building this nation.
“People of color have been a part of and have built this nation just as much as the white population.
“Imagine this. A world without compassion; a world without empathy. Without this, the rise of racism, bigotry, genocide, and war could spell the total annihilation of humankind.
Hope for a compassionate world lies in waking up the heart. Waking up compassion and showing examples of compassion. Living a life of compassion. We do this through our art. The art of storytelling.
“Remember, one cannot hate another whose story we know.
“A story is the shortest distance between the brain and the heart.
“Without compassion, we’re left with prejudices, intolerance, and distrust. So today, learn about someone you know nothing about.

“And tell a moving story to someone.

“Practice stepping into another situation.

“And if you want to know more about us, we’re at http://www.Ethnohtec.org.

Bless you.”

Bare Bones Biology 115 – More Story Telling
KEOS FM, 89.1, Bryan TX
A podcast of this post may be downloaded here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References and Trackbacks:
http://www.Ethnohtec.org

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

Bare Bones Biology 098-Climate Change-What Can We Do?

The ecosystem is not a democracy. Neither is it a matter of opinion, nor can we match its power. Not in our wildest dreams. The ecosystem – whatever it is – it is a factual reality. Just look at the veins in your hand. Then look out the window. Then remember where your food, water and air are created – no, not in the supermarket – the ecosystem. It’s a fact that the ecosystem is constantly changing in response to its interactions among all the factors that make up its existence. My critics and their grandchildren will not be at all happy about our choice to continue destroying the climate that the ecosystem created, that has been our cornucopia of life.

So to round out this series on climate change, I want to play some quotes. Here is a short one from an activist at the climate talks that recently took place in Durban, South Africa. Amy Goodman is interviewing Kumi Naidoo on Democracy Now (the only good coverage of the talks that I know about, see dates 12/05/2011 and 12/06/2011 as part of the series).

“the problem is that the level of ambition and the level of urgency in these talks do not match what the science is telling us to do.” He means the science tells us the problem is urgent.

Climate change is just as real as overpopulation, and if you know a few facts (facts are realities that aren’t about people and people can’t change them, like gravity for example) if you know a few facts, then climate change will be as common-sense as my story about overpopulation. The one about putting a cow and a bull in a pasture with plenty of water, and never feeding them any hay and see if they eventually have a population problem. Or a resource problem, which is nearly the same thing. Common sense.

“The greatest challenge for Burma and the countries of the Arab Spring, as well as all peoples who hope to enjoy the flowers and fruits of their endeavors in 2012, will be to bring wisdom to bear on passion and power, and to create a blend of the two that is both effective and wholesome.” Aung San Suu Kyi

This is Harvard Professor E. O. Wilson on Earth/Sky

“Biology is going to be crucial also in feeding the world. We’re about to run out of water, and we’re running low on arable land. And we’re just now reaching 7 billion people on earth, and we’re not going to slow down or peak until somewhere in the vicinity of 10 billion, the most recent projections indicate. We don’t have enough water in enough countries to feed all those people and to restore soil to arable condition. And then there comes the matter of saving the rest of life, which is a major concern of mine. We’ll have to do a better job of exploring the natural world and figuring out how to carry it through what I like to call the bottleneck of the 21st century, when we go through the population crunch and use every bit of information – science based — that we can get, to make that journey through with the least amount of damage to the world.”

So what can we do to help? Number one, find a way to provide birth control for every person who wants it on earth. Number two, work to provide a reasonable standard of living for those who are living. This will require dethroning the corposystem and the growth ethic in favor of a sustainable economic system. Number three, join together with other countries of the world and let them help us do these things. How do we do those things? In any way we can, so long as what we do does not cause more long-term harm than help. That’s practical, self-serving compassion.

Bare Bones Biology 098 – Climate Change-What Can We Do?
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Trackbacks and Recommended References:
Bare Bones Biology Ecology Handbook downloadable on lower right of this blog.
http://www.DemocracyNow.org
http://www.earthsky.org

Why People Don’t Understand (whatever it is that they don’t understand) – Part Two

5. I have been told several times that “the facts keep changing.” The facts do not keep changing. That is the definition of a fact. The stories keep changing. Facts are facts; stories are metaphors. To be useful, stories must represent fact. Therefore, as cultures change, stories change, but the facts do not. The moon and the earth keep going around. Will they forever? I don’t know, and that is not the point. The point is that we need facts about our environment in order to stay alive, and unless the stories help us to understand reality they are not helping us to stay alive and healthy and to raise our children in harmony with reality. That’s why facts are more powerful than the stories for growing a sustainable lifestyle. Originally, biologically, that’s what human stories are for – to grow behavioral guidelines that keep people out of trouble by emphasizing that bad behaviors will have bad results. Like – don’t jump off a cliff; don’t eat up the seeds for next years planting. And many behaviors that are much more subtle but amazingly wise. That’s what stories are for in human societies. That’s why the corposystem wants to keep the real facts for itself, and control the stories to project the image they want you to believe in, to entertain, divide and emasculate the people with a belief system that aligns them with the desires of the corposystem excess, rather than the reality of biological limits to our behaviors.

6. The indiscriminate use of metaphors. Words are also metaphors. I think this nonsense phrase – “The facts keep changing” – came out of a popular book about science that was written by a nonscientist who thought it was a cute phrase. It certainly is a radically unscientific phrase. I think everyone involved with the media, and also everyone else, has an obligation to not say things that aren’t true, whether or not they are cute. Even if they are Bill Moyers talking about the “DNA of culture.” The whole point of DNA is that it is NOT changed by culture. Geneticists took about 100 years figuring that out. It’s important to know what can and cannot be changed by culture. It’s part of our job to figure out whether our heroes know what they are talking about before we believe what they say. We can’t have a culture together if the words we use have wildly different meanings for different people.

Bare Bones Biology 068 – What to Do 02

Last time I outlined the basic requirements that I think are necessary if we are to build a better future for the children and grandchildren than what we’re building right now. This time I’ll give you a short list of general sort of activities that we can do or not do to head in that positive direction. Next time I have some specific suggestions for what to do at home.

Of the four points for today, the first is, as consumer citizens we need to stop fighting with each other over who is dominant. The questions of right/wrong, winners/losers, all of that dichotomous behavior, setting ourselves against each other to see who is king of the heap will not help us to address our situation with the real king of the heap, and that is the corposystem. We need to focus on our common goal, with whatever level of humility is necessary to go in that direction. And that direction is to grow a better future for the consumer citizens.

Alternatively, stop sitting back and waiting for someone else to solve the problem. Nobody can solve the problem because everyone is part of the cause. So instead of waiting for that to happen, do what you can to identify the root problem. Or just believe me when I tell you what the real root problem is that the mother earth can no longer provide enough food energy resources for all the growth that is happening on her body. And the secondary problem is that the corposystem instead of trying to cut back and reach a sustainable level that can be maintained over an indefinite period of time. Instead of doing that, is trying to promote more growth and yet more growth.

Now there is a good chance that quite a few people will disagree with me on this point. So in that case I will suggest that you do a good job of fact-checking and come back and let me know what you find out and I will give you as many of these Bare Bones Biology programs as you wish to explain it. That was number two. It was a kind of complicated number two.

Number three, refuse to participate in the corposystem’s promotion of growth, as far as that is possible. Unless of course the corposystem would actually re-define itself as having a goal of sustainability, I think we should avoid participating in its harmful activities. My suggestions for that is to pay off your debts so they don’t have control over you, cut up your credit cards, don’t vote for their candidates but do vote, even when you know you will lose. Don’t buy their stuff. You can shop at the Farmers’ Market, for example, and other local sources. Don’t let them take over the internet. Don’t watch their television.

We should learn every little bit that we can about the real true facts that relate to our goal. Our goal would be to understand more and more about, compassion, human rights, and the biological needs of the ecosystem. Everything we can learn that’s real and factual, because nobody knows everything, and the corposystem is projecting on the television and in their propaganda a fairytale life that is not sustainable.

Our job is to learn the facts and grow a sustainable culture. Live the sustainable life style now, that we need to grow a sustainable future; we who know what is happening will be the founders of our children’s future, carriers of the experience and the awareness and the wisdom and knowledge of reality that they will need. Human and economic growth on this planet can no longer be supported by the available resources. We each individually need to understand how the ecosystem functions. How it really functions, so we can prevent a few extremists from messing throwing wrenches into its functional works. But factual knowledge of our ecosystem is not enough.

Many people believe that a compassionate lifestyle will lead to a compassionate future, but compassion is not enough, because the ecosystem does not need compassion — and we can not survive without the ecosystem. What the ecosystem does require is balance, and we need to understand that WE do now know how to maintain that balance. We are not in charge of the ecosystem. As a biologist I assure you we don’t know enough about how it functions to micro-manage the ecosystem. But the ecosystem does work marvelously if we don’t mess it up. We must learn how to let it be, so that it can maintain it’s life and our lives.

I am guessing that most people believe human politics can resolve our problem, but politics is not enough, unless it is informed by an umbrella of compassion and factual knowledge of the ecosystem, and a useful rule of law. So the bottom line is that none of these three aspirations by itself can resolve our problem, but the three together, passed on from generation to generation, can grow a fine and modestly flourishing, sustainable future for human kind on this earth.

And in that light, the fourth suggestion is to learn how to tell the difference between hype and factual information. There is a lot of factual information available, thank goodness for the internet. Find the real information. Fact check. Check the logic. Check the sources. Check the qualifications of the sources. Find out if they are actually being paid by the corposystem to say whatever they are saying. Stop letting their propaganda into your head, no matter how nice it sounds. We can not grow the future on fairy tales, but we can grow a wonderful future based on honesty and real facts.

Bare Bones Biology 068 – What to Do 02
KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Transcript at FactFictionFancy.wordpress.com
Audio later this week at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com