Bare Bones Biology 124 – Education

Last week I said: “We begin by taking the responsibility to educate ourselves about all the many sides of the population issue.”

I said this because one of the favorite corposystem power ploys is to distract us from our goal and occupy us with fake debates that do not interfere with corposystem desire to do whatever it wants to do. This is just another version of the old “divide and conquer” ploy. People who are fighting with each other cannot solve problems, for at least two reasons. One reason is that the solution to any problem is many sided.

Debates are two-sided sound bites and fun games, if we think life is nothing more than a game of winners and losers (that is not, by the way, how evolution functions (Bare Bones Biology 088 to 091) but debates do not resolve problems. Instead they prevent people from even evaluating and discussing problems — even problems that threaten their own futures — which is the second reason that debates don’t solve problems.

So what are the many sides of this overpopulation problem? I could begin by making a huge list of human opinions about overpopulation, but, human opinions cannot change the natural laws that permit our biosystem to survive. God the creator made the biosystem to function the way it does function, and that IS how nature works. Life feeds death and death feeds life.

God’s very breath is the breath of life and lifein the biosystem, whether we like it or not, and I think that’s why we don’t like it. We want what we want for ourselves – we want to use the earth for our own selves, and we don’t really care how many other species we kill off, and we don’t want to hear about it.

The trouble is, those species ARE the biosystem. They are what God breathed into the biosystem to make our air, water, fire (energy) and earth. That is how life on earth, the biosystem, functions to stay alive. God is Life – or God created Life.

That’s why I mention levels of organizationlevels of function of the biosystem) every chance I get. Individual level, population level, and all of life, the biosystem. If we are to make wise decisions, we must consider how the other levels affect us. If we could once realize that ONLY solving human problems is NOT the solution to human problems we would be far better off. Because humans cannot HAVE everything they want without causing irreparable damage to the biosystem. And anything that damages the biosystem is harmful to human individuals and human populations and even to the corposystem.

Every person on earth, except the most isolated, the sociopathic, or the super-spoiled, knows that we must have a balance between the wants and needs of individual humans and the requirements for community welfare. Individual humans cannot have everything they want if whatever they want causes harm to the community. Society is a constant readjustment between individuals, families and populations, in which nobody ever gets everything they want. We could paraphrase Mitt Romney’s recent “joke.” Obama wants to help the biosystem; I want to help you.

This is ignorance generating ignorance, because right now the biosystem is (check the facts, please) maxed out of earth, air, energy and water that we need to stay alive. Therefore, nobody can help anyone unless we all help the biosystem. The best way to learn how the biosystem stays alive and healthy is to read widely, and discuss the issues, and then check the facts. I’m talking about everyone – especially those who believe they already understand the biosystem. Most of us don’t. And then come back to the political arena and help to change our own behavior.

Debates do not solve problems; they only result in everyone trying to prove they are better than everyone else.

They aren’t.

And while we are playing ego games, the bottom line is we cannot continue to live in the biosystem unless we also reduce the numbers of people who are draining away the breath of life from the biosystem.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded later this week at

Recommended References

Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook Download

(First blog in this series)
(Second blog in this series)

Bare Bones Biology 020,
Bare Bones Biology 021,
Bare Bones Biology 022,

Power Ploys 066, corposystem-power/

Bare Bones Biology 009 to 019 and 088 to 091


Levels of Organization…d-population-i…-population-ii/

Bare Bones Biology 109 – Communication

In the past two Bare Bones Biologies, that’s 107 and 108, we tackled one of the most complex of human topics, communication. There are people who specialize in this area, and I probably should consult such an expert, because I confuses me. We so seldom use communication to communicate our reality, and then we have to translate, or guess, what people mean by what they say, and I’m not a good guesser. I finally did figure out the reason people don’t listen to what I say – that’s one of my biggest complaints – is because they’re listening instead to what they would have meant if they had said it.

This is not necessary by the way. If we did understand each other it would eliminate a lot of confusion, and it would only require asking a few questions. But now I find a generation or two of people who are offended by questions, because they equate questioning their meaning with – “dissing” them. (To diss = to disrespect.)

I can understand this, because so many people in our culture are addicted to – or afraid of – power. So we often use words as we would money, or expertise, or machismo or whatever we have at hand to reinforce our own sense of dominance or of defence. The result is not very useful.

I remember a time when expertise was envisioned as useful, not because it gave us an individual edge in a world of fearful competition, but because our individual expertise, whatever it is, can be used to contribute to the welfare of the community. There still exist communities, and some new ones growing, in which each person within the community supports the efforts of the other (even if by support we mean pointing out the flaws so together we can grow a better effort).

Every effort has value, and the values among the many can be discussed. They have worth. None is perfect and none is expected to be perfect. But all together, if the information is made available for solving problems, the community is in a position to deal with the real problems as a group, and so the community has more power than the individual to build a better future for the whole.

Generally, in our culture, we tend to view these communities a primitive, but let’s face it, primitive peoples lived sustainably for thousands of years until we came along with the so-called advanced cultures that are not sustainable within the factual reality of the earth ecosystem. Loving the ecosystem will not change this fact. Neither will technology. Until the spiritualists and the technologists are willing to learn about limiting factors, our advanced human cultures are on a fast track to destruction. Because we do have responsibilities to the earth itself, and unless we know what they are, and fulfill them, well, then our spiritual and technological good intentions are, and I quote St Bernard of Clairveux: “the road to hell, paved with good intentions.”

In a society of competition, where everyone is afraid of everyone else, we cannot use our expertise compassionately to benefit the whole, because the whole is composed of other people, most of whom are more concerned with their own physical or emotional survival.

The result is useless and fruitless power struggles rather than a compassionate intention to address real problems. And in a society where people are hooked on feeling good, or aspiring to feel good, there can be very little compassion, because in a crisis situation, compassion most often does not feel good. Doing what’s best to benefit the whole, often does not feel good. But that is what compassion is – doing what is best for the long-term interests of the other and the whole.

When a solution to a problem is well documented in fact, then it is the responsibility of compassion to study these facts and use them to promote the overall welfare, that is the least suffering, of the whole. For that, we must learn to listen and to discuss. Without listening and discussion of the impact of the facts on all the levels of life, from the individual through the ecosystem, there can be no deep, sustainable, compassion.

Bare Bones Biology 108 – Communication
KEOS 89.1 FM
This program can be downloaded here
Or at

Owl photo taken in New Mexico at
Discussion photo taken in California at the conference of:

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

Recommended References: Levels of Organization 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 057 – Levels and Population II

Last week I told you about my little informal research project that involved talking to protestors and supporters of our local Planned Parenthood organization. What I learned from that was that the basic goals of both groups are right, at levels of organization one (that’s individual people) and two (that’s our communities) respectively. Today I’ll talk about level four, which is the ecosystem, and level three, the corposystem.

First I’ll remind us that the ecosystem is a living entitity, of which we all are a part. We cannot survive without the ecosystem. The ecosystem provides the food energy that we eat to stay alive. There is no other source for our food. Second, I affirm that humans need compassion for their welfare, but the ecosystem does not require compassion. It requires balance. When it becomes unbalanced, the ecosystem responds by trying to reset its balance points, so the carbon cycle and the water cycle and all the cycles that make food try to re-stabilize in a new balance. We’re adapted to the old balance. Any new balance will end up producing less food for one reason or another. When there is not enough food, there is always more violence, war and genocide, and we are also growing epidemics of new diseases that cannot be controlled by the corposystem. The question is, then, which life is more important? My life or the life of the ecosystem? It’s time for us to begin discussing that question, because the productivity of the earth is already maxed out.

So, what is stopping us from getting together and resolving this problem? Primarily, the corposystem is stopping us from getting together and stopping the growth, because the corposystem, to continue without changing itself, requires growth. The corposystem, in a free country, controls our thinking and our behavior mostly in two ways. First is by taking control of the media and our school systems. Dumbing down the people so they don’t have the knowledge to recognize the lies. Second, it spreads the lies and uses them to organize groups of us to fight with each other over relatively unimportant problems that the corposystem doesn’t care about. The old divide and conquer we’ve all heard about. Here’s the modern version.

This example first came to my attention when one of the protestors in my study referred me to a movie about population growth. The movie was pretty disgusting, with lies and false hate talk and fake statistics. It was made for conservatives and tried to convince us that dreadful things will happen if we don’t grow more. Actually, dreadful things are already happening that are caused by growth over the past couple hundred years. The movie claims these are caused by lack of growth.

Now, we can not change what happened before, and the you-know-what is hitting the fan. So it is all the more critical that we have good information. So I turned to another movie that was made for PBS, and presumably for political progressives, and that’s when the light dawned. The only difference between the movie made for conservatives and the movie made for progressives is the style of presentation. Conservatives got a movie based in hate and fear, and progressives got a movie designed to appeal to those who believe technology will save us. As an aside, technology could help to save us if we were to use it to reduce growth, but of course that was not the message and also that’s not what we’re doing.

So if you look at both movies, one right after the other, you end up pretty discouraged. The primary goal of both these movies is to get their respective audiences to continue fighting with each other so that nobody is talking or doing anything about the overwhelming need to stop both population growth and economic growth within this living earth ecosystem. Instead of fighting with each other over something else. And the later we get started, the worse it will be for everyone.

Bare Bones Biology 057 – Levels and Population II
KEOS 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Download audio at (after Thursday)

I recommend the movie Mother, all conservatives and progressives and anyone else who is concerned about the future welfare of our selves. I also recommend the January issue of National Geographic on the same subject. It’s time we take charge of our own welfare and get together and begin the real discussion of a difficult challenge that may be very important to your grandchildren.

Bare Bones Biology 055-Susan Crane

Susan Crane created “Ploughshares” as part of her lifetime commitment to ending nuclear proliferation by nonviolent means. Of course she’s only one of so many people who act upon their convictions, even including many people we do not admire. But we do admire when someone gets it right in the compassion department, and then does her homework so that she understands both the facts and the implications of her actions – and then she acts upon her convictions — that’s what I call wisdom compassion. Wisdom compassion looks upon suffering and then tries to understand the causes of that suffering. Wisdom compassion looks at all the levels of human involvement, from the individual level to the community (in this case the communal rule of law), to the level of the corposystem and the ecosystem. All the living levels. Wisdom compassion says: “Let’s look at the root causes of (whatever is the problem) and see what we can do about it that will not cause more suffering from the cure than from the cause.

Susan Crane was interviewed on Sprouts a few weeks ago (Pacifica Radio, not to be confused with Jane Goodall’s Sprouts clubs). Sprouts is hard to find on the web, so I will help you by linking it to my blog. On KEOS radio, 89.1, Sprouts is aired on Sunday mornings at about 6:30. I started listening because I don’t want to miss Bare Bones Biology on Sunday mornings at 6:55. And neither should you. But Sprouts, and sometimes Sierra Club Radio that precedes it, are equally as good as the Monday evening programs you hear on KEOS. So the full story is available on the Sprouts podcast, and I have a copy of that if you want to hear it.

The short version is that Susan Crane broke into a nuclear facility to smear her blood on a nuclear submarine, and has been sentenced to quite a long jail term for this action.

For me the bottom line of this story is the way it demonstrates the difference between heart compassion and wisdom compassion. Your basic heart compassion imagines what it would feel like to be under a nuclear bomb exploding. Your wisdom compassion studies the effects of nuclear technology through the levels.

So to really simplify this, in terms of suffering the nuclear sub gets negative marks at the individual level, and the ecosystem level, while it contributes positively to the economic level. At the level of communal rule of law – it is against American law to smear blood on a nuclear submarine, but it is against international law even to have submarines ready to drop nuclear weapons on anyone.

Clearly, Susan Crane has spent a lot of effort evaluating the complexity of the problem, before dedicating her life to nonviolence. In my perspective, this means she is acting from heart compassion that has been informed by her wisdom compassion to dedicate her life to others in a way that causes the least overall suffering in the world.

Do I believe that Susan Crane went through such an analytical step by step approach to evaluating her actions? Of course not. The stepwise evaluation is only a study aid to help us remember that more is involved, and often more of importance. The point is that Susan Crane evaluated all the parameters, in her own way, to make sure she is not causing more harm than good by her actions.

But wait. There is another, higher level for Susan Crane. Listen to her own words.

“I was at the Methodist church one night preparing for a little gathering we were having, a pot luck, and I was talking about nonviolence, so I had this piece of paper, and I was writing the attributes of nonviolence on it, and on the opposite, violent responses to things. The way the culture often teaches us to respond. And I realized at that moment that all the attributes I had for nonviolence – compassion, love, forgiveness – are the attributes that many of us call God.“

Photograph – volunteers at Brazos Valley Food Bank
Volunteers from the Institute of Interfaith Dialogue
Gause Full Gospel Church
and others

Bare Bones Biology 055 – Susan Crane
KEOS radio 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Transcript at
Audio at