Bare Bones Biology 188 – What Should We Do?

“We don’t know what to do.” I have claimed that this, along with a goodly number of other complaints, is an excuse. We do know what to do. We must change our culture so that it can provide a sustainable, reasonably comfortable life, for humans unto the seventh generation, or whatever generation suits your imagery. And this goal is impossible unless we recognize and defer to the survival needs of the Biosystem, even when they conflict with our human values. That’s what we must do if we really, honestly want to do something to resolve our problems.

My belief is that most of us really, deep down, do NOT want to do something to resolve our problems, because we like things the way they are. We like our own value systems that have been imprinted on our brains from birth; the corposystem tells us we “have a right” to our opinions and behaviors. We like that we can believe and do whatever we think is right, without questions. We like to believe we are more important than any other power on earth. We are not willing to challenge the corposystem programming, so we have grown up a passel of excuses to get off the hook. We don’t really want to do anything to change all that.

So my question is – which do you want. The pleasures of the corposystem life or the welfare of humans unto the seventh generation? We can not have both. If we truly care about that future generation, then in this age, our responsibility is to change our culture in such a way that humans can survive. In this age, the great obstacle to that goal is the direct conflict between the corposystem value system and Biosystem survival needs.

131121-Redwoods-ASC_7274RLThe corposystem does not want to change; it throws up obstacle after obstacle to change. And the corposystem gives us excuse after excuse, but no excuse can wipe away our obligation to the future of all sentient beings. Our human obligation remains to change our culture into one that can provide a sustainable, reasonably comfortable life, for humans on this earth unto the seventh generation.

To do that, we must defy the corposystem, and to defy the corposystem we must 1) question the human values and world views it has taught us to revere; and 2) educate ourselves through sources other than corposystem propaganda, regarding the problem(s) we face, which at root are biological; and 3) discuss these issues with other citizens of the world.

That’s mentally and emotionally very difficult; it is not what we want to do; we would much rather do something truly heroic. For some people, it’s as simple as that. We don’t want to, so we don’t. If we have a conscious, then we have an excuse.

Certainly it’s difficult. It’s probably the most difficult problem human kind has ever faced; it is a direct confrontation between human values and the survival needs of the Biosystem, and the only way we can possibly survive the conflict of interests is to examine and, if necessary, modify the way we express our human values. However, that difficulty does not change our obligation to the human future. Nothing changes our obligation to the human future. To study and learn the real facts of Life, and to discuss these facts, in view of our human values, with the other members of our human society.

131130-Bitsy-ASC_7397RLSI’m somewhat encouraged that this discussion may be under way. On my blog, below the transcript of this podcast, I will post an example — a slightly modified discussion that appeared in a Facebook group. Here we have four different opinions about the same issue, largely without the gossip, hostility or disinformation that we so often encounter. This is not a solution, but it is a real discussion. None of the comments is incorrect, and I think that is the most important point. When everyone is focused on the same goal, and each brings a different good accurate information to the mix, that’s when solutions become possible.

Lynn said – This (the BBC program that is linked above) is very good and it is true. HOWEVER, it completely ignores the requirements of the planet to stay alive so we can actually DO IT. Congratulations for presenting true facts. But we still can’t survive if we so dramatically reduce the diversity of other species on earth that the Biosystem can no longer function in the way that we need it to do — so that we can have viable soil, air and water. But in fact these data are true, and I think it’s time for ignorance to stop arguing with reality and put some effort into future viability rather than futile efforts at self-aggrandizement.

Chris said – I agree Lynn, one has to wonder what Africa will look like, ecologically speaking, with 4 billion humans living there.

I think this presentation ignores massive problems already in play, for instance the oceans are already on the verge of collapse from over fishing and its acidification will severely reduce the food we can take for human consumption. I see escalating problems with soil degradation and loss of productivity of the land from the unsustainable practice of chemiculture farming, urban sprawl and spreading dead zones in coastal waters from pollution. We can expect more desertification from climate change as growing populations burn more hydrocarbons and chop the last forests down. I predict catastrophic fresh water issues all coming to a head years before we level off the population at the predicted 11 billion that this scientist predicts.

Franco said – I humbly, but vociferously disagree with the spirit, the one sided manipulation of true facts, and the suave conclusions of the presentation or lecture !!!

The old silence about overpopulation seems to have been replaced by a crusade of latent disinformation, funded by the only people who can afford it !!! i.e. big business:— the people who need a perpetually growing population, who in turn will need all the necessities of life which they happen to be selling.

Unlike the clear message in the lecture, the world needs to:———– P A N I C !!! IT IS THE ONLY HOPE WE HAVE OF REVERSING THE CURRENT UNSTOPPABLE GROWTH OF POPULATION THAT WILL KILL US ALL !!! Things will not change if we continue to relax and do what we have been doing up to now !!!

Lynn said – Franco – I think you should realize you are talking about a presentation made by a person who very likely knows nothing at all about biology as it really does function (in common with almost everyone) and who is trying to walk the line of some psychologists’ opinions that we must maintain “hope” or we will not be able to deal with the problems. I disagree with the idea that uneducated hope will get us through this bottleneck. But my point is that the presenter is doing his best to provide real facts (as opposed to so many who are simply flailing out at fate and at each other). I try to support people who manifest the better human values even if they don’t see the big picture, because I don’t see anyone looking at the big picture. It’s always one side or another, all of them looking at the world through the miasma of human needs and wants, and ignoring the reality that it is the ecosystem that fulfills human needs and wants, and will not continue to do so if we ignore HER needs for survival. So what is the solution? There might not be a solution for individuals, but every individual dies anyhow, so for me the solution is not to panic, even though panic is called for, but to educate as best we can without causing harm to others.

When this blog was posted on Facebook, the following further response and discussion was energized:

  • Dot Bennett Good piece, but it seems as if you are saying that the key thing everyone should do is learn ecology “the needs of the Biosystem”.
    Do you think that all the other things we need to do (have less children, phase out fossil fuels, save the forests and seas etc etc), that all of those would follow from that?

Lynn Lamoreux What I actually think is that most of the people who WANT very much to help resolve the problem can’t tell what to do because they don’t know what to believe. They are already doing all those things you list above, and they still keep saying “We don’t know what to do.” I believe the reason they don’t know what to do is that they don’t understand the problem well enough. Of course these people cannot phase out fossil fuels or save the forests and seas etc. They are at home, making a living for their families and listening to the lies on TV and on the web, and so they don’t know what to do. Or in many cases they are out working as hard as they can doing something that will in fact make matters worse, but they can’t see that their own work is making the issue worse. The solution to both these problems is to a) discuss the issues with knowledgeable people and b) learn enough about biology to be able to envision the downside to everything they may be trying to do. All activities have a down side. And then decide what they can do that is better than any of the other things they can do. Political activity is essential of course, but the USA has been taken over by a toxic belief system and there is nothing short of revolution that can bring about positive change in that quarter — except of course locally, and in many parts of the country there is no way to do anything constructive, even locally, unless one has a lot of money. Too bad I didn’t know that during my working career, I could have been making money instead of trying to grow wisdom.  But wisdom is what must be added to the mix if we are to succeed, and no person, without discussion, has enough wisdom to evaluate the challenge of the current disinformation campaign.

Lynn Lamoreux PS. I would no longer equate learning the “needs of the ecosystem” with ecology, but that is another discussion. Ecology is a science, and at its best it is a source of information about how the ecosystem functions. It’s up to the people how that knowledge is applied — either to save ourselves or to (as we have been doing) destroy the balance of the Biosystem that we need for our survival. This is true of all applied knowledge, and therefore it is not a question of ecology. It is a question of what our culture chooses to do with knowledge.

Bare Bones Biology 076 – You Have No Right

This short series of recent programs has been on the theme of what can we do to build a better future. I will conclude this series with an excerpt from Alternative Radio that plays on KEOS on Monday evenings. This is a speech given by Dr. Helen Caldicott. I recommend you check out her biography in Wikipedia. Dr. Caldicott was an Australian physician, but she quit her career as a physician to spend full time as an anti-nuclear advocate. She has met and interacted with many of the high-ranking politicians of the nuclear age, and I tend to agree with her strong opinions. You can download the entire podcast for a small fee at Alternative Radio, the title is CALH009-Hiroshima.

“Accidents occur not infrequently. The weapons are all computerized in each missile silo. In the Dakotas you look down when you fly over them, and in Colorado you can see them. Aged 18 to 21, yes-sir, press the button sir, each armed with a pistol, one to shoot the other if one shows signs of deviant behavior. What if he deviant one shoots the other one? The locks to turn the keys are 12 feet apart, but as they worked out, if you tie a string to one key one man can turn both locks and start the anhiliation.

“I’ve talked to some of their girlfriends. Some of them take drugs before they go on duty. We are fallable. What if President Obama develops a cerebral tumor and does some crazy things before the diagnosis is made? I’ve had patients, normal businessmen who overnight have developed acute psychoses. I won’t go into it, but it’s very scary.

“The Chinese are hacking as I speak, sometimes into the early warning system of the Pentagon. They can hack into anything these young kids. They’re very smart. And it’s all computerized. I don’t know how long we’re going to go on.

“So, is it a whimper or a bang? Do we have epidemic leukemia, cancer and genetic disease for the rest of time from radioactive waste infiltrating into the water and the food? Or we do it with a bang? And that’s these bloody labs up there, and am I angry. It’s appropriate to be angry with people who are going to kill us all. They’re killers.

“From 1973 I’ve devoted myself to this, and we nearly got rid of nuclear weapons, and then we got Clinton. How dare he? And I’m going to die knowing I didn’t succeed, and I think in medicine our stuff is we like to cure our patients, and we’ve got these stupid politicians in congress, they know nothing. They know no science. They’re scientifically illiterate. They’re retards. Some of them are sociopaths, with no conscience, you know? Like Dominici. And Obama, I’m sorry, I’ve totally lost respect for him. I was hoping and hoping and hoping, he’s so intelligent. Now going ahead with nuclear power.

“OK, so what are we going to do? Do you know what a revolution is? Do you know what Egypt just did? Do you know what putting your bodies on the line means? Martin Luther King said: ‘If you haven’t got something worth dying for, you’re not really living.’ What did Jesus do? Did he die for the principles he espoused and did those principles live on 2000 years? I’ve had eight death threats. I’ve run off the stage when people threatened. I’ve had eight death threats. What’s my life, compared to evolution?
I once said to Carl Sagan, are we the only life in the universe? And he said yeah I think we are. What a responsibility we’ve got!

Bare Bones Biology 076 – You Have No Right
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM
Audio can be downloaded later this week at