Communities and Evolution

Happy Days Folks,

This week I will refer you to a blog post from last year at about this time. It is even more relevant today.

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/

Bare Bones Biology 088 – Evolution and Creation
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download is available at the below link.

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Bare Bones Biology 090-Evolution

In the last two programs, I said that evolution is real and we affect it, so the best thing we can do is to learn how the biological system really functions to stay alive so that our efforts to be of help will do more good than harm.

Based on what I know about evolutionary ecology, our global and local human travails will become worse no matter what we do politically and economically. This is not a personal belief based in social science. It’s in the numbers, and my professional pronouncement is based in a lifetime of training and experience in genetics built on a base of training in ecological evolution. The human species is entering a biological bottleneck, and we might as well face the fact and deal with it.

Our troubles will become worse, because we can’t change what we humans have already done. We will experience the result of what we have done. What will happen after that depends on what we do now. What we humans can do right now in this moment of historic evolutionary change, is to decide the future of the human species and the whole earth ecosystem by our response to the bottleneck we are entering.

We have so much power on this earth that we can choose to help the ecosystem return to health and grow a good life for our descendants – or we can carry on as we have for centuries trying to eat the apple of the tree of life, like spoiled little children, by trying to force the ecosystem to obey our wishes. Or one could say, trying to create God in our image. I personally think that is blasphemous, and factually as a scientist, I know that approach will not succeed. But most of the people don’t seem to care, as long as they can be among the winners now, and at the same time believe they are the good guys. And so we carry on like the previous generations, destroying our own future. The irony is, so far as we know, we are the only species in history that knows we are destroying ourselves, and we are doing it anyhow.

Even more disturbing, most of the people who believe themselves to be scientists, even biological scientists, are training now within the corposystem value system to continue the very mind-set that caused our problem. In part, that mind set originated from and is still justified by a conveniently flawed and simplistic interpretation of evolution, often quoted as: “Survival of the fittest.” Folks, I keep saying, that’s not how evolution works.
(for example Evolution – BareBonesBiology-010 through -019 and several subsequent to the series. https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/bare-bones-biology-046-evolution/ Bare Bones Biology 052 emergent properties)
But I’ll talk about that next time.

Further, the modern corporate mind-set is all about control that we do not have. For example, when I began my career, we all were studying a biological organism (the mouse) to try to understand the processes of life. Now, for the most part, my peers are not interested in the mouse and how it functions as a life form. They are interested in the molecules the mouse is composed of, and how we humans can control those molecules. This is mostly because that is the kind of work the corposystem funds – to make money by controlling things.

But we humans cannot make a mouse. We cannot blow the spark of life into those molecules outside of a test tube, and we need to remember that we also cannot blow the spark of life into the whole earth ecosystem. We will fail if we try to redesign the whole earth ecosystem to suit ourselves – either as biologists or as agro-business empires the likes of Monsanto, or as energy corporations that refuse to recognize that we are running out of oil and gas – or as the modern ecologist whose science has become so reductionist that he cannot see the life form that he is studying because he is more interested in how he can control some little part of it. Maybe we can control that part, but all the parts are connected, and as we don’t know how the parts function to make the whole of life, we need to let it function as it does. However that is.

Bare Bones Biology 090 – Evolution
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available next week
here and at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Bare Bones Biology 088 – Evolution and Creation

Until the corposystem started making up fake debates, almost everyone knew that evolution is real, whether or not they knew the word. Everyone still knows it, really, it’s common sense. I mean, we have been using the process of evolution for several hundred years to make domestic animals. What is the difference between a wolf and a pug dog? The pug dog was not created 6000 years ago, it is a product of evolution. Controlled evolution. Monsanto is actively evolving our food supplies. If evolution were not a real thing, life on earth would not keep changing.

The evolution argument is about human political power. It’s a fake debate generated by people who think that evolution is about survival of whoever has the most power. These people think survival of the fittest means working out in the gym until you can kick sand in your neighbors’ faces. Evolution is no such thing.

Ask a dinosaur.

For BBB blogs about evolution, see or listen to Bare Bones Biology 010 through 019. Also BBB 046.

So what I want to talk about today is, what is fitness really? Because what we can do to help the earth today is to give a gift of fitness to our future human generations. And nothing we do could be more important. But as long as we continue to believe that fitness is defined by some kind of competition, we will fail. Biologically, fitness is the ability to survive, as a species, not as individuals.

Fitness really is pretty much the same as sustainability. Fitness is something about how the universe evolved from whatever it was, when everything was subatomic, to what it is now, with step by step levels of increasing complexity in all its parts. Fitness is a component of the process of increasing complexity that is and was the evolution that created the levels of organization of our universe and life and our living world.

There is a wonderful book (Linked, by Baribashi) entitled Linked that describes networks in terms of mathematics. I don’t understand it mathematically, but it must be talking about evolution. The changes of evolution are the increasingly complex networks. Every “advance” in evolution involves the formation of a more complex set of interacting networks. For example, you are a network of interacting organs (kidney, heart, etc), and each organ is a network of interacting cells and the cells are each networks of interacting molecules. That IS how the universe is organized, by networks interacting with other networks, and this book talks about the mathematics of the way networks form. For example:

“Each node is different. Each has some intrinsic quality compelling it to the head of the pack . . . Each node has a different fitness . . .”

I know this insight is very important, because when he says nodes, and I say species, and Buddhists say “emptiness,” we are all talking about the networks of which all of reality is composed. And when he says “fitness” he is not talking about competition. He’s talking about competence. It’s not the same thing at all.

I believe compassion has genetic roots in people, and that it is a component of our fitness on this earth, but compassion is not enough. If we only rely on our compassion, or only our spirituality, or only our technology or our power, we will be the node that fails to survive. Because the entire gigantic ticking clock of the creation is built of networks of networks of networks (that biologists refer to as levels of organization that I have discussed many times). (for example, BBB-051, 052, 056, 057, and more recently 070.

Any newly arising network — that would be us. If it does not FIT into the systems and the processes that have been the source of our creation – it will not survive, no matter how much power and glory it believes itself to have.

Bare Bones Biology 088 – Evolution and Creation
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Bare Bones Biology 085 – What Can we Do?

“But what can we do?” It’s the most commonly asked question in any serious discussion about our cultural and biological problems as humans on this earth. I say serious discussion because all the “aint it awful” talk is mostly about finding reasons to not do anything. And the debates are usually about some kind of power game and, again, they’re usually an excuse not to talk about the real problem. Let me give you an example that I heard yesterday.

The debate is: “Which method can feed 7 billion humans – organic gardening or modern assembly-line methods exemplified by Monsanto?” You will find my answer in the December Peach Clubhouse newsletter that is available at www.factfictionfancy.wordpress.com. But the bottom line is, it’s a fake debate. One of the corposystem efforts to control us. It’s a fake debate about something that does not answer the important question that the corposystem does not want us to think about. I mean we could debate forever, but if we ever found the answer, it would be too late to matter. There are ALREADY MORE than 7 billion humans on this earth. The real question is why don’t we do something to stabilize our populations before it is too late? Our numbers are growing exponentially while we are debating a useless question.

To understand exponential growth you can think about how long it took the number of people to double from 3.5 billion to approximately what they are now, which is 7 billion. Then, so long as the population is growing exponentially, it will take HALF as long to double the next time, because there are twice as many people. And then half again the time after. That’s hardly enough time for humans to adjust themselves to learning how to garden, and the earth, big, and slow, also needs time to adapt to every change.

So the question is a ruse. It doesn’t matter. We already have more than 7 billion people on earth, and these people are already consuming more of food energy than the earth can give us on a continuing basis. That’s because all the food energy to feed all the people, and the ecosystem, comes from plants. And there is only so much land and water and air on earth for growing plants.

So, bad questions keep the television networks buzzing but they don’t give us useful answers. As for the question of how many people the earth can support, that question is very important, but it’s still a historical question. You can figure that out as well as I can, and when you get the vetted answer please let me know. I don’t care very much because I know the earth can not support exponential growth for very long. I mean it’s obvious. Just put four cows in a pasture with a bull. Cattle also get their food energy from plants, just as we do. Give them all the water they want, and see if they can continue in that pasture forever, year after year with no re-supply. First year five cattle, next year 9 cattle, two years later its – well you can do the math better than I can. It won’t last forever. So then let’s ask the real question. Can any form of agriculture on this earth grow enough food for an infinite number of hungry humans?

Of course not. And we don’t have all the water we want.

You don’t need math, you only need your own common sense and your love for your grandchildren to know that we should stop with the fake debates and the hand-wringing and the foolish questions and begin right now to do something useful that will help to make a better future.

Oh, yes, the question was – what can we do? Hmmmm, I’ll think about it and let you know next time.

Bare Bones Biology 085 – What Can We Do?
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week at
http://barebonesbiology.

Bare Bones Biology 045 – Palm Oil

(Audio Oren Lyons) Chief Oren Lyons, in an interview with Bill Moyers.

Dr. Martha Crouch understands our responsibility to the future. As long ago as 1990, Dr. Crouch, a well respected plant molecular biologist, published a paper in The Plant Cell (April, pages 275-277) discussing basic problems associated with monoculture and plant genetic engineering that were and are being funded by Monsanto and other multinational agricultural corporations. Dr. Crouch’s concerns are easy to understand (let me know if you want a copy, I have one here) but apparently nobody was listening. What she predicted is happening – and worse. In her paper, she used the example of palm oil.

Fourteen years later, in 2004, I had the pleasure of meeting a Maori elder, Pauline Tangiori. Maori is an indigenous group of people in New Zealand. Pauline described to me how a group of Monsanto salesmen had misled her people into giving over their property for a Monsanto palm oil plantation.

I asked Pauline why they had sold the rights for their precious land, and she said, approximately: “These salesmen were scientists. We thought they knew better than we did.” I tried to hide my astonishment. It turns out I was the naïve one, but at the time I really thought everyone knows to never trust a salesman. I said: “These people are salesmen, not scientists. The function of a scientist is to learn how nature works; the function of a salesman, or a corporation, is to make money. These are not compatable.” Pauline looked me square in the face and said: “How are we supposed to know that? If you are a scientist, and you know something that important, then you should tell the people who don’t know.”

And so that’s what I have been trying to do ever since. It turns out to be harder than it sounds. It takes at least two to communicate. At least one of them has to listen and the other one has to learn how to say it. Even then, it turns out that pretty much nobody wants to hear about the real realities of biology. Most people here in the USA would rather believe the lies, and in the 22 years since Dr. Crouch withdrew from her research career, and the seven years since I got my assignment from Pauline, the technologies, economics and legal tactics of Monsanto and other similar organizations are turning out probably to be more massively and permanently harmful to the ecosystem than any other single human activity except excessive growth. Maybe it’s time we all started to do some critical listening.

Because technology in the absence of compassion is shameful,
But technology or religion in the absence of good basic science is suicidal.

And the only thing powerful enough to stop the corposystem is the will of the people. Pauline says it like it is.

(Audio Pauline Tangiore at the Quest for Global Healing, 2004)

Bare Bones Biology 045
KEOS Radio, 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Transcript is available at www.barebonesbiology.com