Bare Bones Biology 050 – We Have a Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello Group-110201

Meeting Details

Next Week is the second Thursday of February. We will view a video by Joseph Campbell, and follow up on the theme of compassion for the month. This Thursday we continue the Montsanto project with a video on the precautionary principle, the two warnings issued by Dr. Martha Crouch, and a paper that Donna found (see below). The video in March will be Economics of Happiness produced by Helena Norberg-Hodge of ISEC, and will probably be at our new location in the clubhouse near downtown Bryan. More details on that later.

I will be at the studio every Thursday, working on our group projects, at least by 10 AM. The studio is open on Thursdays to helpers and participates to view videos and discuss. The project this month is based on the movie “David versus Montsanto,” that we aired on January second Thursday, and has been a rich source of material, and addresses all the levels of organization, as well as the precautionary principle, and the legal project in PA that challenged the “personhood” of corporate factory farming in rural neighborhoods. All this lends itself very well to a study plan we will distribute to other groups and educational organizations.

The kind of study plan that I envision follows a problem-solving model that I’ll discuss in Bare Bones Biology 044, to be aired on KEOS during the third week of February and the posted at The audio pre-cast is attached. (Will send later, the email seems to be in a terrible muddle today.)

Our program will discuss the biology, at each level of organization, of whatever we are studying. This is important, because we humans are a biological organism living inside a biological entity, and that fact places strict predictable limits to our problem-solving options. Within these limits, whatever we do not want to violate the needs either of humans or of the ecosystem, as many current actions do, because, if we ignore the limits, our work will not be sustainable into the future. As we consider each level, we discuss the dilemmas that arise because of conflicts among human needs and desires, the health of the ecosystem, the power of the corposystem, and our goal to arrive at a solution that stresses the best of human values.

January with Montsanto:

Independently, we chose the movie David versus Montsanto for our January study, and Marilyn, of our western adjunct is privileged to participate in the UU showing of “The Economics of Happiness,” and Donna found a story in the Winter 2009 issue of UU World (Dinner with Montsanto, Unitarian Universalist World, Page 37, by Michelle Bates Deakin), about a project undertaken by The Rev. Nate Walker of the Philadelphia UU. Rev. Walker’s goal is to inspire Montsanto to adopt a pledge vowing to “do no harm.” Rev. Walker’s sermon on the subject (available on UTube and also on the web site of the church) was sent to the CEO of Montsanto, and they responded.

The short UU World article, with quotes from members of the UU and from some of the top brass from Montsanto, raises a number of questions that fit perfectly into our project. One is that Rev. Walker’s project is directly driven by both the precautionary principle and our need to use methods of compassion whenever possible to resolve our human dilemmas. The other (well, this is personal from a person who has worked in corporations) is that it sounds to me fairly naïve. And as I was thinking along those lines, driving home and listening to I don’t really know what radio program, I heard an interview of an author, a former corporate executive (the title maybe corporate spin??? I couldn’t find it on google.). This man described the modern approach to propaganda in his corporation, and it did remind me of the statements of Montsanto that are quoted in the UU article.

So the question is: How might one address our situation in a way that is more likely to work? And I’m thinking our other video – a report of the attorney, Linzley, from PA, might give us a clue.

Also on the subject of food is the newest report from Lester Brown, who has been gathering data about the condition of the earth for more than 40 years.

See you on Thursday at the studio! ☺