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

 

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Bare Bones Biology 242 – Fracking III repost

So here’s my answer to the question asked by the young man at the airing of the documentary Gasland in College Station in 2011 (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/). Yes indeed, young man, every industry is having problems. That’s because the question is not fundamentally about industries. It’s about the universal law of cause and effect. About the common root cause of the effects that you don’t like, and the bigger question is whether you will decide to take actions that will make things better — or carry on doing the same behaviors that caused the problem in the first place.

No living thing on this earth has ever had the power, in the long term, to get whatever it wants without doing the behaviors (that is the causes) that will bring the effects that we want. I150118-Sette-ASC_3695RLSsf we sincerely want to solve the problems of industry and their root cause, then problem solving requires, first, knowing what we want; second, knowing what stands between us and getting what we want; and third, understanding that many actions are possible and useful for now, but most of them will cause more harm than good for future generations if we don’t know how the system functions.

So it’s your choice:
You can do nothing, or you can do something.
If you decide to do something, you can decide to:
Do something that will make you feel better;
or you can
Do something that will probably be a little more frustrating but will actually help improve the conditions.

The living earth ecosystem, not industry but the living Earth ecosystem – that’s what produces our air, water, earth and energy.

 

The living Earth ecosystem does not function by human values or aspirations. The living earth ecosystem functions very elegantly, incredibly, but definitely on the basis of cause and effect and according to the natural laws of physics and biology. So if we want to influence the living earth ecosystem we must do the actions, the causes, that will cause the effect we want. And not do the actions that cause adverse effects.

 

That’s all there is to it; and we know enough to do it; and there is no other way to get what we say we want.

For the past 100 years at least we have clearly understood our problem. We are unbalancing our ecosystem by taking away too much of the resources it needs to maintain its own balance of life, and using those resources for activities that poison the cycles required for its health and ours.

 

We know how to fix that. We fix it by reducing our growth of all kinds, because it is our growth that consumes the resources that the ecosystem needs to maintain its own healthy balance. There is no other way to get what we say we want, but we refuse to do it.

That’s why the oorporations don’t want us to understand our human problem. They would be required to help grow healthy communities rather than simply use the productivity of the existing communities to feather their own pocketbooks.

So your choice, young man, now, is to decide whether you want to make the earth more healthy, or if you would prefer to spend your time:

 

Doing nothing;
Trying to believe the corposystem fairy tales;
Resorting to powers like prayer or spirituality, that we cannot control, while ignoring or mis-using our own personal and social power;
Having fun;
Being miserable;
Blaming someone else;
Fighting over issues that will not change the outcomes;
Debating issues that will not change the outcomes;
Complaining;
Crying;
Pretending the glass is half full;
Pretending the glass is half empty;
Trying to win something;
Or trying yet harder to believe in the human value system that caused the problem in the first place.

Well, here’s my helpful hint. Your first next step should be to learn the difference between measurable facts, propaganda and opinions, including your own opinions.

 

At the same time you should:

 

(1) begin studying the laws of biology. The most basic laws, not all the details people try to befuddle you with. You will not learn about ecosystem health by studying physics or even physiology. It’s the ecosystem that’s sick, not a human or a proton.  A completely free download of the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook is available on my website; I don’t even keep track of who downloads these.

 

(2) Stop arguing or fighting over anything, and begin problem solving discussions. Preferably with someone who read the same handbook. https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(3) Stop doing or supporting those actions that cause harm to the life of the ecosystem.

You’re right. Fracking is a symptom and not the cause of our problems. Stopping or limiting or confining fracking will not solve all the problems. Neither would anything else solve all the problems, instantly. Doing nothing will definitely not solve all the problems, and stopping or limiting or confining  fracking could prevent terminal destruction of the earth’s remaining fresh water, though it won’t improve the dirty air that now pollutes our beautiful Brazos Valley.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan Texas. A download of this radiocast available at:


traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_242_-_Fracking_iii_repost.mp3
 

Links, References and Trackbacks:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1558250/
https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Key Words: fresh water, fracking, propaganda, difference between measurable facts and opinions, industry, root cause, living earth ecosystem, human values, law of cause and effect, resources, poison, balance of life, growth, healthy balance, corporation, biology, physics, physiology.

Economy

Shrinking economy. Will we choose to fight over the available resources or grow a new social structure that is sustainable?

Quality is not great, but a good discussion.

Bare Bones Biology 106 – Richard Heinberg

Bare Bones Biology for this coming week is entirely taken up with an interview with Richard Heinberg, who also gave the keynote introductory lecture at the conference of The Economics of Happiness. I’m pretty sure that talk will be posted on the web site of The Economics of Happiness. If not, I can give you my personal copy, just let me know. Later that day, Richard took five minutes out of his busy schedule to give an interview for us in Texans and former Texans. Because he introduced himself so well, I have given the entire program to his words.

“My name is Richard Heinberg. I’m Senior Fellow at the PostCarbon Institute and the author of a recent book called The End of Growth: Adapting to our New Economic Reality.

“The book is based on quite a lot of recent research that shows that we’re really entering into a new economic era, particularly in the US but I think around the world as well, and that new economic era is one where growth in GDP, growth in the total amount of money we’re spending in the economy on an annual basis, is going to be a lot harder to achieve. There are a number of reasons for that.

“One reason is that we are reaching a number of limits to debt. We’ve used debt to grow consumption and to grow GDP for the last several decades. And here I’m not just talking about government debt. I’m talking about consumer debt. Debt has grown faster than GDP in just about every year. People want bigger homes, and bigger cars, and we’re constantly being advertised at and talked into wanting this stuff, but real inflation-adjusted hourly wages for American workers haven’t been going up for three decades or so. So how we financed all this consumption is with more debt. You can only do that so long, because people get loaned up to their eyeballs, and they can’t afford to make payments on the debt they have, and banks don’t want to lend them even more money, so we’ve reached the end of that particular strategy for increasing the scale of our economic activity.

“Another problem that’s impinging on economic growth is energy costs, and of course here we’re talking primarily about the price of oil. That’s being driven by speculation and other things, but a lot of it is that we’ve already harvested the low-hanging fruit. I’m not suggesting that we’re running out of oil. Obviously, in this country, our real oil production has actually increased in the last few years, but where it’s increased is in the production of much lower quality resources. We’re talking about the shale deposits in North Dakota, and the Eagle Ford Play in Texas” (you can download maps of the Eagle Ford Shale and the Texas Aquifers from the lower right side of this page) “shale gas. The costs of production are higher, and with gas of course, we had very high natural gas prices a few years ago, and that drove up a glut of supply. We look at that and say: “Oh, well now we’ll have natural gas for 100 years and it’s always going to be cheap.” But actually most of the producers are losing money on production right now, because their production costs are so high and the natural gas prices are so low. The same thing will happen with the shale industry, if price of the oil goes down, if we do get gas prices down, well that’ll just mean that the industry will have to consolidate, and instead of seeing increasing rates of production in the US it will go back down again.

“So once again, the problem is not that we’re running out, the problem is that we’ve used all the low-hanging fruit, and that means we will be paying more for energy. We’ve got to get used to that. That will be a drag on economic growth.

“The third factor is increased incidence of weird weather. You can call that climate change, you can call it anything you want. You can attribute it to cow farts or volcanoes, or to CO2 emissions. If you’re an insurance company and you’re looking at the costs of what you are having to pay out for droughts, floods, fires, and other events like that, the costs are increasing. There’s no getting around it, and they’re increasing exponentially. So that is another drag on growth.

“So take the drought situation in Texas as an example of that. That kind of thing is happening around the world, and it’s getting worse. So economic growth as we’ve known it is coming to an end. Well, how do we adapt to that? What do we do instead?

“Well it turns out that actually we could make life better for people and for communities without necessarily having to have the kind of economic growth we’ve had in the past. But we will have to pay attention to different things. We’ll have to pay attention to what really makes our communities work better; we’ll have to pay attention to what makes our environment more livable.

“If we do that, I think we can have a better quality of life even as our economy changes. We live in a time of rapid change, and the intelligent path is to see where that change is going and adapt sooner than later.”

Bare Bones Biology 106 – Richard Heinberg
KEOS 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
You can download the audio here or at:
http://BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended Reference: The End of Growth: Adapting to our New Economic Reality

Bare Bones Biology 094 – Climate Change III

Oh, and yes, all these physicists who believe that they understand life because they have some convenient information about the basic laws of the universe. As far as anyone knows, life is not the center of the universe, and while life does operate according to the laws of physics, it is not studied by the science of physics. As far as anyone knows, life is the whole of the reacting, breathing, interacting earth, and physics says nothing about the higher Levels of Organization (and) beyond the properties of energy and matter. Well, not nothing. Physics is very important because it informs us about fundamental natural laws like gravity and energy that everything must obey.

Life couldn’t exist if it did not obey the fundamental laws. But of course, EVERYTHING obeys the fundamental laws, or it wouldn’t be here. That’s what fundamental means. And everything is not life. The purpose of biology is to learn to understand what is the difference between life and everything else.

Everything must obey the law of thermodynamics, so biologists study that. But all the non-life also obeys the laws of thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is not what makes life alive. It is necessary but not sufficient.

Biology is the study of life, and therefore biology is the study of the whole earth ecosystem and how the living earth and all its parts is different from non-life and – more importantly — how we can stay alive without causing harm to the whole earth ecosystem that gives us our lives.

The ecosystem stays alive because of interacting cycles of functions and properties, of energy and matter, because of the ability to transmit information by genetics so that the ecosystem can respond to change, and because of the ability to flow energy from the sun into plants and from plants into every other living thing. And the ecosystem also stays alive because of the ability of itself to recycle the key materials that it needs to stay alive – like carbon dioxide and oxygen and water. Carbon and oxygen and water recycle through the living earth just as they recycle through our own bodies. They are a part of life. They are the climate – the respiratory system – of the living entity we call the earth ecosystem. If they didn’t change – if the climate didn’t change – the earth would not be alive and we would not be here.

There is no debate among biologists about whether or not living things change. There would be no life if it couldn’t change in response to what is happening around and within it. That is the foundational necessity of being alive, and all illness, disease and death are the result of not being able to change in response to one’s environment. Climate change is real, the fake debate is about politics, not about life. And the function of the fake debate is to prevent we the people from figuring out what to do about it, because what we must do about it would diminish the preposterous wealth and power of the corposystem.

So what can we do to give a gift of fitness to our human future within our living earth? We have three options, at least. 1) We can do something useful to help humans — that is, to help the earth maintain a climate that is suitable for human life. That’s what most biologists prefer to spend their time thinking about. 2) We can do something that is harmful to the health of the living earth. That will cause devastation to the future of humans on this earth. Or 3) we can do nothing and let the climate rebalance itself without regard for our needs.

The trouble with doing nothing is that it will result in unimaginable suffering because of the vastly greater number of people, animals, plants and other living things that will be affected, and that’s why I prefer option number one, do something useful to help humans.

And the way to do that is to find a way to stop the growth that is causing the ecosystem to rebalance and readjust all its millions of cycles of life, in response to our waste products.

Bare Bones Biology 094 – Climate Change
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended Readings: Bare Bones Ecology free download on my blog.

Bare Bones Biology 069 – What to Do 03

In this third episode I want to focus on local actions. Of primary importance, right now today, is to focus on preventing the corposystem from taking ownership over or destroying our major survival requirements. That’s our soil, good farming dirt, our food, our water, and our air. Because once they have finished, either damaging or taking ownership of these basic survival needs, we will not have anywhere near as many choices for building a better future as we do have, today.

Here in the Brazos Valley the smog is almost as bad as Los Angeles on some days, and the oil companies are coming in now to do heavy-duty fracking operations that will certainly affect our water supplies, because millions of gallons of water are made unusuable with each well that they frack. It will contribute tons of diesel fumes to our air, from all the trucks and equipment, and not to mention the fumes that come out of the wells.

Certainly it is possible to regulate these activities locally. It was done in Flower Mound, and anyone can make a local impact. It’s not like trying to deal with the Federal Government. I don’t know that anyone is, at this moment, making that effort.

Also in the Brazos Valley I think it’s important to understand what is happening relative to genetically modified foods, because the amount of Roundup©, which is a plant poison that is spread on genetically modified foods, increases every year, so that the air we breath is damaged, the soil is definitely damaged. Soil is an ecosystem of its own, and really good soils may have more than 50 percent of living organisms. Spreading poisons on the living organisms that make up the soil is not good for the soil any more than it’s good for our air. We’re just beginning to understand the harmful effects that this may have, and at the Peach Clubhouse we’re trying to tabulate that information now.

Another thing you can do is try your very best not to allow anyone to threaten you out of your rights. I’m thinking now mostly of people who do fracking. Sometimes we have to give in to intimidation, but before giving in, try to get help to discuss the issues. Or, if you have expertise in that area, help someone to find alternatives to whatever situation they are in.

If you’re good at assessing cost/benefit ratios, that would be another good thing you could do to contribute to the decisions we are making in the Brazos Valley. Use whatever is your best skill to put whatever pressure you can against the root problems. And of course recycle. Of course. Recycle. And if it’s at all possible you will want to provide for yourself a source of energy that is not controlled by the corposystem.

But the bottom-line understanding, while you’re doing all this, the most important bottom line understanding is that whatever you do must take into account the cause of all these myriad problems that we are facing. We will not succeed in making a better future, if we spend all of our time and energy dealing with the symptoms, while still ignoring the cause. The bottom line cause of those symptoms is our continuing growth on a Mother Earth that is already overgrazed, maxed out, and can not provide any more food energy for us to continue to grow.

Bare Bones Biology 069 – What to Do 03
KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Transcript at FactFictionFancy.wordpress.com
Audio later this week at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

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