Wednesday, July 4, 2012



I have decided to suspend postings on this blog.  There seem to be more pressing issues in my life at this time.  I don't really know how to turn off a blog, and perhaps the need for this outlet will change again.  But thanks to my faithful reader, although I'm not sure I had that many. 

God bless all who may come across this page.

Friday, June 8, 2012


The health of the ocean depends on the health of the rivers.  The health of the rivers depends on the health of small streams.  The health of small streams depends on the health of the watersheds.  The health of the watersheds depends on the health of the land.  The health of the land depends on the health of the plants and animals in that place, which in turn depend on the soil for good health. 

          Humans become greatly exercised concerning large problems like the environment, ocean pollution, global warming, global economy, national debt, and other issues that have large and massive effects.  In fact, we seldom even recognize these issues until they reach the level of impending doom.  Then governments step in and want to study and solve the issue through massive, comprehensive actions.

          We never seem to understand that global issues are local issues that have not been addressed locally.  Massive global issues are almost always accumulated problems from small local situations.  The mismanaged farm pollutes the stream, which pollutes the river and so forth.  The city governed by corrupt local leaders pollutes the lives of citizens, government, and environments through unwise choices and policies.

          When cities adopt policies that create suburban spread, it destroys farms.  Food production takes place farther and farther from the city requiring shipping and storage problems.  Shipping and storing foods cause pollution, expense and endangers the food supply.  These kinds of domino effects cannot be corrected by federal government policies. 

          There are those today who say that nation states are dead.  We now live in a global village.  Children must learn more about the world.  Nations must make decisions that benefit the world instead of themselves.  National governments must take over and dictate to the states, and states must restrict counties and counties must regulate communities.  The United Nations claims a global body is necessary to solve the huge problems facing the world.

          Global issues are unaddressed local issues.  Decentralization will solve those problems because the local leaders can make sure the watershed is kept clean, and if they don’t local citizenry can replace them. 

          The health of the ocean depends on the health of the rivers.  The health of the rivers depends on the health of small streams.  The health of small streams depends on the health of the watersheds.  The health of the watersheds depends on the health of the land.   

          Think globally, but act locally.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I am not a senior citizen. 
I am not Caucasian.
I am not less fortunate.
I am not the 1%.
I am not the 99%.
I am not homosexual
I am not far left.
I am not far right.
I am not Catholic.
I am not an atheist.
I am not I am not middle class.
I am not a businessman.
I am not a teacher.
I am not a professor.
I am not a republican. 
I am not a scientist.
I am not a musician.
I am not a farmer.

I AM AN INDIVIDUAL.  I am a person.  I do some of the things above and not others.  None of them define me.  They might be what I do, but they are not who I am.  I am sick of being defined.  And I am sick of having others defined for me. 

Grouping things can be a powerful mental tool.  It can be a convenient aid to memory, a method of sorting our patterns and seeing relationships, a method of storing numerous unrelated items, and is often an aid to thinking. 

Grouping also leads to the creations of favored status for some groups, and prejudice and exclusion of others.  The politicians are all concerned about one group or another, but none of them are concerned about the individual. 

The public face of government is that laws are to bring order and protect the public, another vague group which may or may not be interested in being protected.  In truth, most laws are to govern the behavior of groups of people, attempting take away unfair advantages, but more often to imbue an advantage on some group that is deemed disadvantaged. 

There is no advantage for a politician to worry about the individual.  One vote does not elect one to office.  Consequently the natural drift of government is towards greater regulation and control as they try to appease various groups.  It’s the job of the individual to either impede or circumvent government.

I am not a member of the body.  I am the body.  I am a man. 

Monday, May 14, 2012


I oppose civil unions between same-sex couples on the following grounds:

First, there is no need for new legislation if civil unions are truly the goal. All Americans, have the right to enter into a civil contract with whomever they want. They can name power of attorney, living wills, beneficiaries and other civil matters in such a contract. They can have an approximation of the benefits of marriage in such a contract. (Dirty little secret: Civil unions are not about civil protections, they are about social engineering.)

Second, you cannot make unreality real. Marriage by definition is the union of one man and one woman as the central unit of society, designed for the bearing and rearing of children and for the stabilizing force that it has on society as a whole. A union between same-sex couples is not marriage.  No children can be born from such a union, and it is far from clear that raising children in a home united by civil union is good for the child or community.

          You cannot make a dog into a cat. You cannot make a tree into a frog. You cannot make something that is not marriage into marriage. The convolution of the language does not change reality. Same-sex couples can live together in loving, long-term relationships, but they cannot, and never can be, married. Those who talk about an evolving society and concept do not understand that, for homosexuals, evolution is a mixed metaphor as it cannot happen in society, only through biological reproduction in which they cannot participate.

Third, the cost to the government will be massive. Every statute and law which addresses marriage or legal relationships of married and related people in anyway, will have to be altered to fit the language of the Civil Unions bill. In essence, marriage will have lost its meaning, and this vital institution will be open to any and all comers, and any whim, fad, or cry for equal rights that may come down the cultural path in the future.  This will put the stamp of acceptability on bigamy, polygamy, and even bestiality. 

Fourth, why on earth would same-sex couples want to bring divorce upon their community? With a legally licensed union, and a contractual agreement between one another and the state, and across state lines, divorce is inevitable. Divorce is a terrible thing to have to endure and is the leading cause of poverty and children neglect.  Even among heterosexuals it nearly ranks as child abuse.  Out of compassion I ask, why in the world would any group want to add divorce to the equation of already complicated lives?

          Civil unions and homosexual marriage are not about civil rights.  They are about social engineering. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012


          Don’t think I don’t see the irony of this post about farming, work, being close to the land etc. 

          I’m leaving on vacation in a couple of days so there will be no new posts for at least two weeks.  Lest you think I am indulgent, this will be the first two week vacation I have ever taken in 67 years.  See ya in a couple of weeks.  

          How many of these things do Americans believe anymore?

You reap what you sow
Everything has its season.
Time is cyclical: spring, summer, fall, winter. 
When we try to do what we do matters.
You get another chance next year, if you can wait that long. 
Behavior must be appropriate to the time.
You cannot harvest (eat) unless you plant (work).
People are not in control. 
Sunshine and rain fall upon all men.
There is always more to do.
You have to work every day.
You cannot manage the land or animals.  You can only nurture.
If you cannot feed yourself, you cannot be free.
Work is the process by which dreams become realities.
Good fences make good neighbors.
Fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Dirt is not a four letter word.
Nature is interdependent. You can’t change one thing without changing everything. 
Flowers have to have bees.  Bees have to have flowers. 
Everything has its place and there is a place for everything.
You can’t plow a straight furrow if you look back.
In the morning sow thy seed and in the evening withhold not thine hand.
If you worry about the wind you will never plant. 
If you worry about the clouds you will never reap.
Big things come in small packages, called seeds.
You have to wait for things to grow.  Patience.
You don’t have to understand what happens in a seed to plant it. 
Where you plant makes a lot of difference.
Planting is not the beginning.  Planting begins with preparation.
Plant a diversity of crops.  You cannot know what misfortune may occur.

Monday, April 30, 2012


          There is a great irony in the world.  Science has nearly convinced mankind that we are all just animals.  Our anatomy and physiology is alike, and we appear to have the same needs for survival.  The conclusion many modern thinkers draw from this analogy is that should not, cannot be any moral laws such as taught by the religions of man.  Many people have accepted these conclusions and live their life without moral restrictions.  Of course there are many who believe this but who also practice moral principles and hold themselves to a set of standards based upon their own reasoning. 

          The irony, of course, is that those who believe we are just another species of animal often want to be free of any of nature’s natural restrictions.  They may want to eat without killing. Others may want to kill without eating.  Some wish to have sex without responsibility and others wish to have responsibility but limit reproduction.  Many wish to be left free to believe and preach whatever they want, but do not want to hear any opposition and would restrict the freedom of others to oppose. 

          Animals and plants are not free.  Each has its own nature and limitations.  Many can only reproduce at certain times of the year or at discreet intervals.  None can engage in sexual relations without some cost and responsibility.  Even the consumers must be responsible when they overgraze and area and their offspring suffer.  Something must die if others are to live. 

          Only humans think they are free of these requirements.  Mostly however, it is humans in industrial nations who behave this way.  Americans are especially subject to this irony.  I believe this is because we are now two or more generations removed from the land and nature.  MY grandfathers were all involved with the land in some way.  The law of the harvest, “Reap what you sow”, was engrained in them.  But my parents were only slightly involved in agriculture and that more than most of their generation.  I was raised and lived even more marginalized, except that I chose to study biology for a career. 

          I do not want to live like a caveman.  I don’t even want to live the demanding life of my grandparents.  However, I believe it is essential that Americans somehow get back in touch with nature.  If we intend to be “just an animal” we need to obey nature’s laws.  If we are something different than an animal we need to be living by a higher law. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012


          I have been thinking about science and suffering. 

          I became a scientist in part because I wanted to help people and alleviate suffering.  (The other part was avoiding the draft.)  Science is supposed to alleviate suffering, you know.  Instead I now find myself administering exams and writing columns, both of which may be excruciating to some people. 

          A lot of scientists seem to worry about suffering, although the people who seem to worry most about suffering are people who have never seemed to suffer very much.  Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hutchins, and other atheists are, or were, greatly exercised about suffering, although they themselves have University educations and live rather extravagant and indulgent life styles.  While atheism thrives in industrial nations, the suffering poor of the world seem to embrace religion. 

          Actually I’m not even sure what suffering is.  Presumably death qualifies, although I am not sure why since everyone gets to do that.  We often call surviving death suffering when the one who didn’t survive was a loved one.  Can a team actually suffer a loss?  I suppose pain is suffering, although pain exists on a kind of a continuum.  To what degree do we suffer?  If I skip meals in an effort to lose weight because I suffer from being overweight, am I still suffering? 

          I meet many people who are deathly afraid of being stung by a bee.  Yeah, it hurts, but I’m not sure I would call it suffering.  What about only having one shirt?  Is that suffering?  I guess that depends on how often you are able to do the laundry under those conditions.  What if you don’t own a car and have to live in a one room house?  Interestingly, many people who have to live under those conditions don’t act as if they are suffering at all.  I mean they laugh, love, play, get married, have children, and just have a good old time anyway.  In fact, they don’t seem to worry too much about suffering.  They often seem happier than me.         

          I’m not sure why scientists seem to worry about suffering so much.  Suffering isn’t a science, although my wife thinks I have turned it into such.  She just doesn’t understand how hard it is to be a professional windbag.  Sometimes my back just kills me from standing for all those lectures.  I wonder if being boring counts as a disability. 

          Science is supposed to deal with the real physical world.  I guess suffering feels real enough, but where is it?  Is there a tiny, fundamental particle of suffering out there of which all suffering is composed; like atoms or cells?   We could call it a sufferon.  Then we could classify suffering as to the number, kinds and arrangements of sufferons.  “Oh man!  I have seventeen sufferons today from talking so much!”  Or not.  This could really backfire on us when other people started counting and comparing their sufferons to ours.  Maybe it should remain a little vague.

          Many people seem to be concerned about who is responsible for suffering.  Interestingly, some seem to think it is God’s fault for not stopping it.  Shouldn’t they blame Satan for causing it?  Presumably God can interfere with Satan.  Can Satan interfere with God?  Apparently he can, when he causes suffering.  If God is a benevolent God then He would never cause suffering, even if He occasionally failed to prevent it.  So, who is guilty, the one who caused the suffering, or the one who failed to prevent it?  

          If a scientist fails to prevent suffering is the suffering his fault?  Is it enough to have tried to stop suffering or does it have to be actually stopped before God can take credit?  Well, thankfully, I don’t have to assign blame for suffering; I just have to alleviate it.  Unless suffering is my fault for not alleviating it like a good scientist should.  In that case, I can always blame God.