Monday, August 12, 2013

A Paradigm Shift (revolutionary science) or More of the Same ?

Personal Memo: This post is a collection of my own personal observations as I have witnessed them in my almost close to 60 years of living. This is not a slam against anyone's religion or ideological worldview take on life, but a reality check of some things I have observed and researched over some decades and taken personal flack over for most of my life. People everywhere are going to have to start questioning their cherished traditional beliefs, because the Earth simply cannot handle any more of the ongoing degradation which is plunging our globe into eventual ruin. Clearly, when it comes to science, these influences has had a major damaging effect, but you'd never know that from listening to all the Ideologues from differing sides.
“Ideas that require people to reorganize their picture of the world provoke hostility.”  ― James Gleick
“We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human.”  ― Charles Eisenstein
The crises of our time, it becomes increasingly clear, are the necessary impetus for the revolution now under way. And once we understand Nature's transformative powers, we see that it is our powerful ally, not a force to be feared or subdued."  Thomas Kuhn  
(Please Note: any paradigm shift should imply that the former paradigm has become invalid or obsolete.) The words/term, "Paradigm Shift" is the terminology used by Thomas Kuhn in his influential book,  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)  to describe a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science. What made me think of this is the public relations promo we are fed daily about how different Science is today compared to the times of the Dark Ages. Although there is no doubt or argument that Science has come a long way in various forms of development and understanding, I personally find no difference in Science in the  leadership sense. In fact, it was actually something very unscientific that I found and read from Live Science some time ago which stood the hair up on the back of my neck, but more on that later on down the page. Yes of course there are amazing modern day innovations provided by today's scientific discovery that make modern life more comfortable for most people in Industrial countries, but incredibly there still exists much of the same identical religious meta-physical philosophies that drive and influence modern science which has NOT changed much from when Christendom's Ecclesiastical Hierarchical structure ran those Institutions of Higher Learning in Europe back in the historical past. In many ways we have the same Clerical "Guild" of Academic Philosophers influencing & running things, but with a different set of wardrobe. And sadly, like the bad science of yester-year, the present bad science hasn't done much better when it comes to responsible custodianship of our planet Earth. This post has zero to do with some of the benefits normally promoted in defense of science. Even conscientious science defenders are disgusted with the lack of ecological direction being taken by mainstream Industrial Science. Now before the ideologues of both sides get hot with me here, this is NOT gonna be some stupid evolutionist verses creationism debate normally fought on some time wasting worthless Public Combat Forum. Funny thing is, when I use to question Clergy years ago on say, subjects like Trinity, I was called Anti-Religious. When I question some of the irresponsible technologies like GMOs, I get labeled Anti-Science. See what I mean ? I can never win. But follow along and see if you can't agree with some of the leadership flaws that still exist and rather than help Science, they have actually hurt and hindered science as opposed to liberating it. In some cases, there are some ideological arguments used against the conventional Religious Fundies that have backfired terribly. The reality is, they have backfired on Nature which has taken the brunt of the consequences associated with these newer worldview arguments. So pay close attention and see if perhaps you don't walk away with a different perspective on where things are headed in this world.

Wikipedia - Isaac Newton
I'm reminded of the early days of Science when Clerics had an iron fist control over Academics in Europe for Centuries. Examples of institutions like the well known Cambridge University and two well known famous men, both friends and colleagues, Sir Isaac Newton and William Whiston. Of course with Isaac Newton everyone knows his scientific research work on gravity and such like. But what most people don't know is that Newton actually wrote more about religious matters than science. For example: "An analysis of all that Newton wrote reveals that out of some 3,600,000 words only 1,000,000 were devoted to the sciences, whereas some 1,400,000 were on religious topics." (The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, edited by H. W. Turnbull, F.R.S., Cambridge 1961, Vol. 1, p. XVII.) Don't be shocked or alarmed here, most people don't know this, the majority of whom surprisingly are the conventional religious folks. One of the most controversial academic works on religion he was noted for was discovery through scholarly research and translation of the Greek text in older manuscripts, were specifically two verses in the New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible which were deliberately changed from what were found originally in the oldest known manuscripts to prove of all things, Christendom's "Holy Trinity" (belief that Jesus was God on Earth) which was something Newton never believed in. But actually, he proved this  fraud from the Church's own Holy Book the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. The texts at 1 John 5:7 & 1 Timothy 3:16 were actually proved to be spurious. The oldest then known manuscripts and texts did not have such a rendering as found in the King James bible. Interesting!

William Whiston
But there is more. His colleague William Whiston, also a scholar is most known for his work in translating the writings of Jewish Historian Josephus. But Whiston also refuted the Church's "Holy Trinity", something that went against the Religious Orthodoxy at Cambridge University.  He also had the same EXACT identical conclusions as Newton. Unfortunately, Newton’s friend William Whiston lost his professorship at Cambridge for this reason in 1711, for publishing his findings. You see, Whiston actually published his work in his lifetime and tried to change the status quo. The consequences for telling or exposing a truth are not only unique to those times back then, but also happens even today if one is viewed as a rogue heretic by not going along with the modern scientific orthodoxy. So why did Newton not publish these findings during his lifetime? A glance at the historical background of the times and the way the Clergy controlled Universities of higher learning can shed light on the why. Those who wrote against the doctrine of the Trinity were still subject to persecution in England. Some even lost their lives. As late as 1698 the Act for the Suppression of Blasphemy and Profaneness made it an offense to deny one of the persons of the Trinity to be God, punishable with loss of office, employment and profit on the first occasion, and imprisonment for a repetition. Some were even beheaded like Thomas Aikenhead. Unlike William Whiston, Sir Isaac Newton was more concerned about keeping his Academic position and career intact. Fear of man or Peer Pressure is even common today. Nothing has changed in that regard. Even when Whiston pleaded for his friend Newton to come to his defense, Newton refused, which is sad really. However,  Newton DID eventually make arrangements for his findings to be published, but ONLY after his death and in French. BTW, as a side point, the work of both of these men helps in proving the Book of Mormon as a religious hoax. Joseph Smith was basically illiterate and ignorant of some pertinent facts about the Bible. When he formulated and invented his Book of Mormon, he knew nothing of the Scholarly work of Newton and Whiston. He had no idea these verses were spurious fraudulent errors manipulated to promote a doctrine which was always mysterious to the average church goer. What he did in a number of texts within the Book of Mormon was to copy the exact same, word for word, spurious texts of both those two verses mentioned in the King James in a number of places in the Book of Mormon. Even modern day Christendom acknowledges the spurious nature of these texts, but allows them anyway. Just an interesting side point.

Yet another scientist out there who came to the same conclusions as Whiston & Newton, was a Joseph Priestley, born 1733, in Leeds England. Priestley was a Chemist and a Theologian. He was also a good friend of Benjamin Franklin and although he'll always be remembered for his important scientific discoveries, very few will remember the work he did in scholastic research which proved the Holy Trinity, Immortality of the Soul and the use of religious images as all lies manipulated by both Catholic and Protestant Churches of his day. He eventually had to flee to America for these literary discoveries and revelations because clergy inspired mob violence burned his house down and threatened him with death. I do appreciate neither ideologically opposed groups of conventional religious and Secularist will like what this means, but there are more like these men out there who arose to the same conclusions as I did and for the same literary reasons. Lying by the powerful who are in charge, will always be rationalized as necessary for the greater good if it furthers a believed true cause, no matter who's pimping the latest religious worldview. In her book "Chemistry", by Biologist Katherine Cullen, she had this to say about Priestly:
“If science is the pursuit of truth, then Priestley was a true scientist.”
Credit: Huffington Post 

Anyone really see a difference ?
I suppose the point of all of this is to point out that today we have this same modern orthodoxy which runs and controls science which is the mirror image of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchical structure like when  Christendom ran Academia and it's the modern Secular Version today that controls academia. Like the Christendom of old, the modern Secularist Authorized Version doesn't like anyone questioning it's core beliefs or authority. Go against any long held cherished beliefs or doctrines of science and one runs the risk of ridicule and/or loss of employment. From that point on, character assassination and reputation smearing and being blackballed from any further employment in any field of Science are often commonplace. For example, it's often uncanny how many of the arguments given for evidence of evolution by it's well known ideologically driven promoters[not necessarily Scientists] will often use religious arguments for there supposed proofs. (not condemning TOE belief, just the flawed arguments used, remember ?) Again, an example. Evolutionist, PZ Meyers, was once quoted in an L.A. Times as stating this argument: 
(Source - LA Times 2009)
"We go right to the central issue of whether there is a god or not. We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does." 
PZ Meyers, L.A. Times, 2009

First off let me just say this, I have to be honest here and state correctly that this is actually a very valid argument and a great question or rather observation. It makes sense in the light of the way the world around us exists in it's present sad state of affairs and given the historical Church's horrible conduct which seems to prove otherwise. You know as a side point here, incredibly, just before I left in 2006 to come to Sweden, Billy Graham was asked this very similar question on this very same subject in his very last Crusade (anywhere) there in San Diego by a TV News Reporter. His response was lame (no offense believers, but it was) in the light of what his own Holy book says on the matter. His response when asked why God allows so much badness in the world, was that he didn't know, but that was the first question he was going to ask God when he got to heaven. Again, very lame. However, it should be noted that PZ Meyers question was not a scientific argument, it's actually rather more of a religious one than a scientific one. I mean seriously, there is absolutely no way, PZ Meyers nor anyone else with like beliefs can set up a Scientific Method experiment about an intelligent entity for which he says does not exist and tell us all what this entity would or would not do. You couldn't even peer-review such a thing. I myself cannot write a research paper utilizing scientific Rules of only Naturalistic & Physical explanations to explain the why or the how a Supernatural Intelligence would or wouldn't do something.  For that matter, I couldn't even explain to you how blind and undirected natural forces of physics and chemicals accomplished a single complex organism without injecting some sort of faith statements into the paper. I can't possibly explain because I was NOT there way back when. Even if I was, I still would be ill-equipped to explain anything. I recognize my own limitations in this. Okay, but now let me get back to that article I alluded to at the top of this post from a few days ago. One of the biggest and I have to be honest, lousiest arguments they use against Christendom Creationists or Intelligent Design Gang (whom I do not support) is the argument of "Bad Design" which is once again a mere religious argument and not a scientific one. [Now pay close attention here Ecology promoters] This is the claim is that Nature is imperfect and that all manner of flaws are to be found everywhere we observe it. Clearly in their view, as the flawed argument goes, any Designer wouldn't do such and such that way. Numerous examples of flaws of imperfect Nature are presented as proof against a designer. Once again, here is that article that I referenced to above. Now, for both sides of this issue, put aside the "If you're not for us, you're against us" attitude [otherwise known as the False Dichotomy Fallacy ] and just read on further.

Credit: Live Science

Designing Life: Should Babies Be Genetically Engineered?

I'm not going to elaborate on this flawed unscientific debate point which can't even be proven through any experience except within the minds of those secular folks whom I also find religiously inclined, but it's illustrative of where things go wrong and can infect real science the way it was intended to be. Like the irresponsible GMO Bio-technologies for profit, which has terrible science written all over it and is a direct consequence of this flawed religious view. As the article clearly admitted, in common genetic engineering studies and research, there are a horrendous amount of mistakes and experiments with helpless creatures that have gone terribly wrong which must in the end be thrown away and discarded. There are clearly ethical reasons for not doing this on human beings, but hey, as we all know, never say never. This world's leadership keeps surprising us in many terrible ways and quite often it's all done anyways in the name of Scientific Progress. But it's the articles that came out just days before this one above that actually motivate & later justify such research in areas they shouldn't going into. Notice how some of these same tactics are being used in the Bad Designer Arguments which in reality are nothing scientific, but are truly mere religious assumptions.

Here are the earlier articles which employed the commonly used  "Bad Designer" argument. Please bare with me as the use of this argument has actually hurt Science more than it has helped it. There were two articles which came out on February 15th, 2013, 3 days prior to the one referenced above. One from Phys-Org:  'The Scars of Human Evolution' briefing explores physical fallout from 2-footed walking  and the other from Live Science:  Aches and Pains: You Can Thank Evolution for Them  Both articles offer the same unscientific faith statement assertions by a couple of researchers who insist there is no intelligent designer because the human body is so poorly designed and that in itself is proof of this intelligent entity's nonexistence. Bruce Latimer who is an Anthropologist from Case Western Reserve University, along with Alan Mann of Princeton, attended a recent conference on Human Evolution. They claimed that the human body is poorly designed, despite the fact that it is the dominant primate form in the world today. Here's a quote from Physorg:
"If an engineer were given the task to design the human body, he or she would never have done it the way humans have evolved," Latimer said. "Unfortunately, we can't go back to walking on four feet. We've undergone too much evolutionary change for that - and it is not the answer to our problems."
Seriously ? A modern day human engineer's intelligence knows something more than a God or Nature in designing a human body ? Wow then, that must explain all the cures we have today for what historically has ailed mankind. Isn't it wonderful that cancer  [sorry, sarcasm alert here] and all other diseases and medical problems that have plagued mankind for centuries have been solved by this collective genius today ? Right ?  Maybe this is where Hollywood's entertainment myths of Cyborgs come from. In any event, these are actually mere faith statements from personal bias and worldview promotion, not a neutral scientific stance. Keep in mind the earlier article by Paleoanthropolgist Mike White in writing about his own field of Anthropology's inability to self regulate itself and the "taxonomic exuberance" story propagates itself by mere assumptions and assertions.  UC Berkeley: Tim White  Then there is this gem of a quote in Live Science:
"If you want to look for examples of how we're not the result of intelligent design, you don't have to go far, just look at the complicated, uncomfortable way we have babies," anthropologist Karen Rosenberg at the University of Delaware told Live Science.

*Sigh* Here's the bottom line kicker. This line of reasoning they have unwittingly utilized is also a religious argument. It's hardly a neutral scientific argument devoid of any bias or prejudice. I get the strong dislike of many things religious and/or fundamentalist in our world today and of their own membership doing horrific things in the name of it's god or gods. I get all that and so do most other modern day folks. But dismissing what they think is bad religion and installing another bad modern religious concept under the guise of modern day intellectual enlightenment isn't the answer either. First off, in the above statements, there is no scientific experiment to prove those biased prejudicial statements true. They insist that you take it on faith that they as the University enlightened experts in their respective fields know exactly what they are talking about. Geeez, this is exactly what centuries ago the conventional old time religious Clerics used to do. Like clerics of the Dark Ages, try and question these modern Secular Clerics and you'll most likely be personally attacked with all manner of insults. Suddenly, filthy foul language & personal attacks have become the new vocabulary of choice with modern intellectuals proving their point in educating the masses. Over the decades, I've gotten the same flack from Christendom's Clergymen when I've pointed out Newton's and Whiston's scholarly research. I was told that I couldn't possibly tell them (clergy) anything because I never went to a reputable Seminary School of Higher Learning. Seriously, is this not the very same mirror tactics employed by today's modern Secular Clerics ?  

photo: Simon Reeve

Spitting Contests between Intellectuals
 goes absolutely nowhere and furthermore
accomplishes nothing!
Once again, this is NOT a post written to take sides in any spitting or poop throwing contest between Creationists versus Evolutionists. If that is what you think, then you've missed the import of this post's message. This post is meant to reveal how the badly flawed arguments like the Bad Designer argument by those now in charge of today's Science has gone way too far in the opposite direction and mutated to a point of where NOW, NATURE itself is now viewed and included as a Bad Designer and how today's Scientists know far better how to rearrange the natural world in their own biased imperfect imagination which in reality is the result of an often times used ignorant and uneducated view of Nature. For me personally, Nature has always been perfect in it's complexity of sophistication, harmony, and balance. I have always without fail, based most of my own personal methods for habitat restoration, landscape installation and maintenance along with gardening programs on personal observation and replication of the perfect model found in our Natural world. Today's science with a view to flawed design and nature as a bundle of compromises has invented artificial means of maintaining the natural world by imagining they are improving upon it. But the damaging effects of their disastrous "Green Revolution" and now modern genetic manipulation of organisms are proving Nature had it right all along, irrespective of how anyone thinks it all originally came about.

It's irrelevant for the sake of argument here how it all came to be perfectly so, the Natural world nevertheless has always been organized with checks and balances. It only becomes disorganized and out of balance when contaminated by the Human stain. I'm not going to list all the the bad Nature design arguments here, as they are too numerous to recount and would be a waste of time to label here anyway. The fatal flaw in the bad designer arguments in this obsession with worldview promotion is that they have unwittingly infected the thinking of Corporate Industrial Science which has resulted in the justification of certain technological innovations or horribly flawed Earth management policies for which we all now pay an ecologically ruined price tag And this has happened for no other reason than, Nature is considered imperfect, flawed and a mere bundle of compromises. The main arguments above are enough to illustrate my point. But seriously, dump your unjustified anger here for a moment and meditate on this. This grossly flawed argument itself has mutated now and turned into "Nature is the Bad Designer" and WE (human Scientists shackled by Corporate Interests) can do a much better job is the main justification message behind several of the presently bad scientific schemes, innovations, plans, programs and other flawed technologies which are now ruining this planet. While there is all manner of bad technology mankind has invented for which the natural world is paying the price for, for me one of the worst innovations are the GMO technologies brought to us by the Corporate run Biotech  Industry. There is no way to turn back and correct genetic pollution they have unleashed on our world. Seriously, how would anybody do this even if they wanted to try ? This technology might be more believable had Corporate Science attempted to actually first replicate the way Nature accomplishes things with Mycorrhizae, beneficial bacterial and other Natural checks and balances for controlling disease, pests and other general productivity strategies. But that never happened because of this view of Nature as having major flaws. Plus, there is no money in it.  When you consider many of the excuses given for these GMOs talking points for being necessary for mankind's benefit, the underlying feel you get is that most of those flawed technologies are patterned and influenced after many of these stupid Origins debates and the condemnation here is against both sides. First and foremost of these flawed doctrines is JUNK DNA. This religious assumption basically assigns worth only to genes that code for a protein and ultimately ignores genes which may have function in guiding, directing, controlling and regulating how the manufacture of a protein is utilized. When Monsanto took the gene which codes for BT Toxin from a specific bacteria which produces it, they assumed that all that would harmlessly be accomplished is a crop that would be toxic for the bad insects to taste. So they identified and extracted that specific gene which has the blueprint for the manufacture of a specific toxin and in a very sloppy way, inserted it into the DNA of another completely unrelated organism like Corn or Soy.  But in so doing, they broke the barrier or genetic constraints of that bacteria which are present in all living things which allows for the normal order we see in all life and they left behind the other genes which control, direct and guide the manufacture of this toxin. Hence in the corn or Soybean plants, every single cell of those organisms produces this toxin in an uncontrolled potentially hazardous manner. I generally illustrate what has taken place in using plants in the nightshade family which do produce chemical compounds which are toxic to us. Take as an example Potatoes and Tomatoes. Now the foliage of both plants is highly toxic, but the fruit and tubers that we eat are fine. Why is that ? Because clearly there are other non-coding protein manufacturing genes which have other information which instructs, guides and directs where, how and why this toxic chemical is produced and where it ends up. There are no such instructions available in your basic Patented GMO plant. That's right, those assumed junk genes were left behind and they were left behind because it is blindly believed that those other genes are nothing more than Junk DNA. In research done by Doctors, Bélin Poletto Mezzomo, Ana Luisa Miranda-Vilela, Ingrid de Souza Freire, Lilian Carla Pereira Barbosa, Flávia Arruda Portilho, Zulmira  Guerrero Marques Lacava and Cesar Koppe Grisolia, they discovered the following below.
Dr. Mezzomo and his team of Scientists from the Department of Genetics and Morphology and the Institute of Biological Sciences, at University of Brasilia recently published a study that involved Bacillus thuringensis (Bt toxin) and its effects on mammalian blood. According to the study, the “Cry” toxins that are found in Monsanto’s GMO crops like corn and soy, are much more toxic to mammals than previously thought. The study was published in the Journal of Hematology and Thromboembolic Diseases
(Source: Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases) 
So why is the toxicity levels of the "Cry" gene in the genetically engineered crops much more potent and toxic than is found in the bacteria from which it came ? Because nobody bothered to take their time and find out the function of mythical Junk DNA and it's purpose in the grand scheme of things. These schemes are not mere child's play like just some Tinker or Lego Toys. And yet that is exactly how these irresponsible researchers moved forward and justified their mutated creation. One of the flawed arguments for using BT Toxin is that it has been used already as a spray in the organics practice. Sure, but that washes off or degrades on the outer skin of the crop through various environmental forces. Now with these gmo plants, have every single cell manufactures this toxic junk with absolutely zero instructions from noncoding DNA  for responsible control for it's manufacture throughout the plant including the edible parts of the crop which humans and animals eat. This toxin is a time bomb waiting to explode. Now there are some people who are chemically more sensitive than others and will show immediate allergic food allergy response, but most people won't. Most effects will show up years later in the form of toxic build up in the organs. Like cigarettes, nobody dies in the beginning, but over time there is toxic buildup in the body's organs and that is what effects health later in life, usually cutting life short prematurely. Although, like cigarettes, there may be some folks who are more sensitive and develop allergies to this junk they have invented. Others may even have a cast iron tolerance. In my work of interviewing doctors and researchers with regards specific pharmaceutical drugs and adverse events, this is what they have noticed with many patients experiencing an increase of food allergies in our modern times, but as yet been unable to determine the source. Yes, no one has died, but that is yet to reveal itself and it can and will happen, especially when they are also engineered to be drenched in other toxic pesticides. 
Updated News March 17, 2014
After years of predicting it would happen — and after years of having their suggestions largely ignored by companies, farmers and regulators — scientists have documented the rapid evolution of corn rootworms that are resistant to Bt corn.
“Once we had legal access, resistance was documented in a year,” Shields said. “We were seeing failures earlier but were not allowed to test for resistance.” 
The other health issue with GMOs besides creating plants which manufacture their own toxins, are the genetically modified traits engineered into plants which allows farmer to actually drench plants with more dangerous chemicals like the weed killer Glyphosate. I used to use RoundUp quite often and effectively in much of my former profession as Landscape Supervisor and habitat restoration and felt comfortable in doing so because it was labeled right on the informational material that once it came into contact with soil, the chemical became inert and biodegradable. But you'll notice some labeling changes in recent times. Those claims are gone. Why ? Because clearly such claims were false and misleading (in other words they lied). Here is a thought, if Glysophate isn't biodegradable after all when coming into contact with the soil, how inert do you think it is after crops & other produce receive multiple drenchings as required by Monsanto for it's seed to have success ? In view of the recent research  findings on the horrible side effects of glysophate on human and other animal health, how confident are you with the Science behind the Biotech Industries & their Public Relations boys and girls ?

The Biotech advocates-defenders insist that opponents of GMOs are somehow anti-science and ignorant. They argue that if they would just educate themselves about GM technologies that any objections would simply fall away. The fact is for me personally I have educated myself and have been able to see past the Corporate Profiteering which is really behind the scientific innovation smokescreen. This has never been about Science. If anything it is religiously motivated and dogmatically defended in the face of real evidence, not only by the usual celebrity ideologues, but the layman followers who dogmatically defend science, for no other reason than it's science, even WHEN it's bad science. Some of the celebrity people who claim to speak for Science that I have mentioned above like PZ Meyers have actually said that those opposed to GMOs are anti-science. But so has Richard Dawkins, Larry Moran, Penn Jillette, Neil degrasse Tyson, etc and others within the Science Defenders movement who dogmatically claim that anybody against GMOs are anti-science. But being opposed to GMOs has zero to do with with being anti-science or for that matter being a kool-aid sucking Rightwing Fundie which is who these Chaps are usually fond of targeting. People from all walks of life and beliefs are suspicious of the GMO Industry which gets free passes and "Get Out of Jail Free" cards from many political allies. The Biotech Industry has often times not been held to the same jumping through hoops and red tape requirements that other business entities are made to adhere to. That's because their industry provides a tool for politicians which creates wealth and holds onto power. It's not about just wanting to feed the people. The major problem with modern Science is that it does not strictly adhere to the definition we have all been force fed in School. It is not neutral, unbiased or without greedy self-interest. Modern Science is run by people with the same identical imperfections and flaws as any other human being on the planet is subject to. Scientists are not above any of that anymore than any clergyman is. Modern Science and Academia in general,  carries with it all the same ideologically driven politics and philosophical religious baggage that has plagued mankind from the very beginning.
This is why I am more interested in the discipline of "observable science" as science originally started out. And I follow this by utilizing another discipline called biomimetics or biomimicry. This is where you adhere to following  observed Nature and replicating what Nature accomplishes successfully. This is where Biotech gmos and the chemical giants who own them have gone wrong. They have never once attempted to biomimic nature when it comes to industrial agriculture. Everything is about taking short cuts and acquiring patents for profits. It never truthfully was about wanting to feed mankind. Over a decade now with GMOs and the failure is glaring.

Recently the Discovery Science channel dealt with a program series called "Project Earth" and the issues surrounding "Global Climate Change" and the asinine absurd innovative solutions being proposed of ridding the atmosphere of CO2s. One such crackpot invention being explained to billionaire investor and entertainment series "Dragon's Den" investor, Kevin O'Leary was creating machines which would be called Air Scrubbers. After explaining the supposed science behind how it could work, Billionaire Kevin O'Leary's shouting demand to the researcher on board this ship was, "Yeah, but can we make money off this ?" I'm sorry, make money ? This is more about doing the right thing, not some other failed profit venture which has gotten our planet into trouble in the first place. But this is where failed and flawed science is leading mankind. It's all about the corporate run science, not the science of wonder and discovery anymore.

 Let me give you some other great illustrative examples using my own absurdities, sarcasm and satire to get my point across by way of illustration. Once again, Sarcasm alert here!
"If Nature were truly a good designer, it would have equipped plants with better defense mechanisms to ward off pests and other disease"  
 "No problemo, We can fix that!"  
"If Nature were truly a good designer, then it would have built a bigger fruit, given it brighter colour, more alluring fragrance and addicting flavours" 
"Are you kidding, We've corrected that!" 
"If Nature were truly a great Designer it would never have created lower end boring & mundane plants like "Chaparral as a“dull green” or “mundane” landscape lacking in variety that continually “impedes” the public’s ability to enjoy the natural landscape", but instead would have only created Pines, Oaks, Firs, Maples, Ficus, etc, etc, etc" 
"No problem, we can fix that too with our Scientific Prescribed Burn Programs!"  
 "If Nature were truly a great Designer, it would never have created slow growing trees with so much lignin which hinder making good quality paper where harvest takes several generations of 100+ years as opposed to the harvest in 25 years we've intelligently engineered into it by  utilizing GMO technologies & Chemical dumping by helicopter over millions of acres of forests" 
"We (Abor-Gen & SweTree) have fixed that!" 
 "If Nature were a great designer, it would never have created a system of gradual progression in it's rebuilding mechanisms after a catastrophic event. It would have bypassed the use lower plant life progression and fast forwarded immediately to final end results quicker like with land stripping and plowing the ground to bare soil with tree seedling plantation establishment" 
"Never fear, we know how to fast forward and manipulate that also" 
 "If Nature were truly a good Designer, it would never have created worthless desert wastelands for which there is no purpose or value, other than one we now assign to it (solar/wind farms to reference a few)" 
"We've got a fix for that too!"
 GMO Updates which reveals the glaring failure of Biotechs to Biomimic anything regarding replicating Nature for Profit, this is not science
Everyone should understand that the following links come from my personal experiences in habitat restoration and commercial landscaping as a supervisor what productivity and plant health did not come from utilizing convention chemical science practices to achieve a balance in the systems I worked with. These same basic fundamentals and practices can be applied in commercial agriculture, but corporate interests globally are opposed to anything that dooms their business monopoly. 
INTELLIGENCE SQUARED DEBATES: "Genetically Modify Foods" - the Winners & Losers
Industrial Agriculture: Rejecting Nature's Tool-Kit
Genetic Engineering: More ruthlessly & Ideologically driven than you can possibly fathom
Diversity of Flowering Plants Imperative to Pollinator & Predator Health
Biotech's simple defense of Genetic Modification for the Lay Person: "Just Add Water"
Using Nature's Mycorrhizal Tool-Kit to compete with Weeds vrs killing them with Glyphosate
Attracting Wild Bees & Wasps to Landscapes & Farms is the best Insurance Policy
How to construct the best Insurance Policy for your Agricultural Business Venture

Credit: Runaway Train Movie
The absurd reasoning and asinine justification coming from Corporate Industrial Science is endless and unfortunately it's like a runaway freight train loaded with dynamite. We are at a point in time where major mechanisms which allow life to exist, move and flourish on our planet are now in jeopardy. Sometimes emotionally charged passionate arguments go way too far as does this 'Bad Designer' argument has.  In arguing that Nature is flawed, imperfect, displays bad design, it's almost like a blank Cheque has been offered to those [Corporate Science] presently in charge to do as they so please. Again, I think everyone gets the disgust with the historical bad religious record. There is no disputing that bad religion on Earth from it's very beginning is arrogant, self-righteous, dogmatic and intolerant. But if people on both sides of the argument are honest with themselves and stop pointing accusative fingers at one another, they will acknowledge that both the religious and secularist science have had leadership that is dishonest, incompetent, exploitative, and shackled to all the same human failings that are common to all mankind. Like yesterday's Religious Fundamentalists, modern day Scientific Fundamentalists do not recognize or perhaps refuse to acknowledge that many of their opinions are also based on blind faith which are also dogmatically defended. Today's pop culture of charismatic Secular Clerics claim to represent everything about science,  yet dogmatically state that only they have the truth and that the new found secular version of science has already solved those fundamental questions about life, with only time needed to work out the details. Our planet's Natural World doesn't have that kind of time. Neither does human society. Putting the same flawed historical business model with all the same old flawed components in it's place under the guise of a new religious cloak isn't going to correct anything either. Remember guys, you're supposed to be different than they are, right ?!
You know, as a kid, I use to visit my Dad's former farming State of Iowa in the summer months to stay with my family back there for School vacation. I was always at odds with that part of the family as everyone there was always about "God & Country" and/or "if you're not for or with us, you're against us". You know how it is. Well I didn't exactly have their certain Religious & Nationalistic convictions and I most likely I would have gone to prison for refusing military service. (Vietnam War was still raging). Take their justification for supporting War from the image to the right. If you do a research, this illustrative symbol has to do with taking up Arms and going out and killing another human beings with a religious justification. They once brought over and invited this Presbyterian Reverend to convince me otherwise. I was informed by this, I have to presume well educated man, that I had never been to Seminary School, so how could I possibly understand his biblical texts or teach him anything ? My response has always been this:
"It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford to look up words/terms in well respected Bible Dictionaries or Hebrew and Greek Lexicons"
He left upset and of course I was in hot water by the folks and punished by the family with the old silent treatment. Sadly, history shows us that the majority of mankind from all walks of life have never gotten that point either. I get the same response today if I perhaps disagree with this newer supposedly enlightened way of thinking which has become the New Secularistic Paradigm with the same, "if you're not for us, you're against us". Funny, for all the preaching of modern enlightenment and change, many of the old  die hard religious tactics never go away.  But the fact is I still find very little difference between the old Cleric Guard and the New Age Secular Activism. Here's the main challenge to the newer Secularist Movement. You say you love and appreciate Nature and that's what all of this (among other issues) is about ? The problem is, when you get foul mouthed, insulting, belligerence, arrogance, etc, you don't gain converts anymore than the other side did when they employed the same business model and ruled with an iron fist. You must also realize that if the planet is to actually heal (and that is looking more and more impossible as time pants on to the end), then you have to question your motives and ask yourself honestly:
"Is my LOVE of Nature more powerful than my HATRED of anything conventionally Religious ?"  
Now, if you think globally for a moment, then you must be honest and acknowledge that the modern Secular enlightenment movement is still outnumbered, well that is, as far as the numbers game. You must also acknowledge that healing the earth is NOT about advanced technological innovations, but about changing people's minds & hearts (figuratively speaking of course). It must also be acknowledged that it is imperative that every man, woman and child has to be on the same exact eco-page in showing respect for the Earth in order for your healing program of the planet to succeed. So here's another honest soul searching question that should come up and be meditated upon:
"Am I truly interested in Persuasion or do I still get this satisfaction and kick out of disrespectful Alienation ?" 
I can't answer that question for you, Only You can! But remember, you don't have that much time to prove that this world's human leadership can make a difference in correcting the Nature of things on Earth. Some of you, but certainly not the majority of you already know this. The Political Leaders and Scientific Community have actually been holding back as to how dire things truly are. I understand why. Panic and chaos in the streets is not something any leader wishes to deal with. But even this will be revealed more and more in the future as even a U.S. government intelligence website forecasts by the year 2030 [it's actually now becoming worse than what they said]
Modern Science is intrigued and in love with their computer projection simulations which are often based on data as they know it at the present time. Update: Climate Change: Should we put our trust in Computer Models ?  So they forecast events based on data as they perceive it to be at present, then the very next year these must be changed because the data was flawed in the light of newer findings. This has often happened with climate change models that often forecast doom and gloom way way into the far future, only to tweak & adjust the model each year by bumping up the disaster scenario timeline closer than was originally thought because of newer data. Recently, NASA modeled future increasing wildfire events by simulating a time of higher temps and increased drought events. Here is their model Potential Evaporation in North America Through 2100 . They went from a timeline starting from 1990 to the year 2100. That's 11 decades with two already gone and nine left. I'm going to go out on a big limb here and in my own personal opinion mind you, and I'm going to dramatically narrow things down saying one year for one decade. The present Orthodoxy has approximately a little over 9+ years to correct things before total ecological collapse.  
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
—Max Planck

Unfortunately, most of mankind has been sitting around in the Darkness for such an awfully long time waiting for this world's leadership who promise that some day, somewhere, somebody will actually shed light on the things that have historically perplexed Humankind. Can you spare a dime for the new enlightened  paradigm ? Be warned of  what took place back in the Dark Ages ? Don't get sucked into purchasing their New Age Promissory Notes of new enlightenment. Thomas Kuhn was right. The Science community*cough-cough* I meant Orthodoxy, works happily within today's paradigm. The one in which they've manufactured. This paradigm is not open to debate. In Kuhnian science, anomalies are supposed to pile up to the point where mavericks question the paradigm. Like the myth of  "Science is Self-correcting," fat chance of that ever happening when it comes to paradigm shifting any time soon.
The Reference links above are in bolded in blue, but I'll report them here for you in case you missed them:
PZ Meyers: "Why is Charlotte Allen so mad at atheists?"
Designing Life: Should Babies Be Genetically Engineered?
PHYSORG: 'The Scars of Human Evolution' briefing explores physical fallout from 2-footed walking
Live Science: Aches and Pains: You Can Thank Evolution for Them
UC Berkeley - Mike White: "Paleoanthropology: Five’s a Crowd in Our Family Tree"

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Common Sense Reasons for Modern Wildfire Intensity

Non-Native Grasses and the human connection for their rapid spread

 photo by Guy McCarthy.
This photo taken around 2:55 p.m. shows smoke rising from
 south of Banning on Aug. 7, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch
The scene to the right is Hwy 243 leaving south from downtown Banning up into the San Jacinto Mountains towards Idyllwild California. For almost two decades, I traveled past this very location going to and from work a few times a week. Notice the foothills leading up into the mountains ? They are mostly non-native grasses and other invasive weeds. Not the native wildflowers of the old days when fires went through on a not so regular basis. This week, the Media's favourite so-called Fire expert, Richard Minnich did mention the 1974 Soboba Fire [which gave birth to the Penny Pines Plantation next to Bay Tree Spring - BTW, pines planted were not natives (yet another great Science blunder)] and the (2006 Esperanza fire) which was infamous for taking the lives of five firefighters and burning well over 42,000 acres. He neglected however to mention the 1968 Poppet Flats Fire and the countless other fires which have practically turned this part of the mountain into a mosaic of chaparral and non-native invasive weeds which burn like gasoline (even Minnich admits this). 

image: Mark Alburger

(click on this link to enlarge)
Take a look at the photo above. Some of the first eye witness observer comments were that when the fire first started, it was only 200 acres, but in 30 minutes time it grew to be 2,500. How did that happen ? Grasses! I've watch this mountain range's transformation for almost 25 years now. The lower foothills and steppes are becoming more and more devoid of low sage scrub and the deeper high elevation chaparral is yielding as well. Take the photo above and left here, this same location going across the wash and up the Palms to Pines Hwy 243. Look at the almost pure invasive grass ecosystem which has replaced the majority of the Chaparral. This location has burned almost every years or at length, every couple of years. Not the type of excitement News making fires, but enough to make major impacts on the local ecosystem's demise. In fact, I doubt many remember that on the northern end of Banning of this year 2013, they had a rather large fire back in May called, the "Summit fire". There were some homes lost then as well.
Photo: Stan Lim

CHP Officer Adrian Horta stand at a check point on Hwy 243
looking towards the same exact point of the top photo.
The area is actually one of the worst fires areas for no other reason than that permanently blowing wind through this Pass from the south and west. I seem to remember when every summer in the 1980s to 90s while being in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley and looking at some dirty gray-brown mushroom cloud to the north and it was always close to this location. From Vista Grande Ranger Station west to Moreno Valley along Hwy 60, these hills have traditionally burned year after year for decades. Grasslands are the predominant ecosystem now which has replaced the low growing chaparral scrub like Buckwheat, California Sagebrush etc. Notice in the third photo here how rapidly that fire has not only grown in size, but even moved west against the westward driven wind flow patterns. The fire speed difference in terms of burn time & distance of a Chaparral landscape versus grass landscape are dramatic. The situation  been made further dangerous by horrible mismanagement created by misguided [though perhaps well intended] Fire Management Policies based & structured solely on the bad science of a select few Forestry-Cult Media figures who are looked upon to as Fire Ecology Gurus. Frankly, their time and outdated thinking should be over. Unfortunately, for many areas, there is no turning back the eco-clock. The results of failed policies based on their bad science reveal that their expertise has destroyed more than they've helped in off fire season management. Scary scenario now is that globally with Climate Shifting, many fire seasons are running close to a full year any more. Something has to change, or the Natural World up in the San Jacinto Mountains and elsewhere will be ruined forever. I use to think Nature could take and handle all manner of abuse, but clearly I was wrong. 

Take the example below of a wildfire management program which is a major failure, although the people behind this Hwy 74 firebreak creation program would probably never admit this. This project I have to imagine was a strategy of creating some imaginary barrier along both sides of Hwy 74 west of Mountain Center and Idyllwild in hopes of preventing a major megafire advance towards those mountain communities. These images expose the incompetent  horrible planning and decision making which demanded the  removal of old growth Chaparral on both sides of the Highway, the result of which has allowed invasive non-native grasses to infiltrate. This terrible decision was started and in progress in 2010 and through 2011 when I last visited this area with my wife. At that time I should have taken photos as it was in progress, but I didn't. However I knew exactly what would happen. There were large massive piles of brush which were later hauled off site to an area for grinding up the chaparral. Now fast forward here to 2013, some chaparral vegetation has grown back, but in a far worse case fire scenario circumstance than previously before chaparral removal. You should know that several psychopath Arsonists have actually tried to start fires here at this east end of the canyon and only created smoldering white smoke previously and were caught as a result of the difficulty of actually getting a raging fire going. The new invasive grass habitat almost guarantees such attempt will succeed in the future.

Photo: Mine
This is the south facing view on a Turnout near the Cold Creek Creek Canyon [which comes out of Mountain Center] at the bottom before highway Route 74 takes a sharp U-Turn and switch backs westward up the mountainside. This was not a Control Burn Project, but rather a chain saw job performed by Hand Crews to remove chaparral to the ground. Then the brush piles were hauled off to disposal sites. The chaparral dander or leaf litter was also removed to bare soil. Stumps were being sprayed with something to further kill them. While the idea may have been well intended  and certainly a form of 'eye-candy' which appeases the Public who demand something be done, the conditions now have been made worse than the previous condition as the photo below reveals.

photo: Mine
These are the dry Foxtail Grasses and European Wild Oats that were never here prior to the cutting of Chaparral. I found them to be all alone the shoulder up through Mountain Center and in the case of the wild oats, I had never before seen up so high. These latest drought conditions are also not allowing the Chaparral to recover quickly. During wetter seasons in decades past, the ecosystem would have repaired itself much more quickly and efficiently. But we are now in an era of changing dry times when it comes to weather issues. The biggest danger here now is that some idiot throws his/her cigarette out the window and ignites another megafire. With the former Chaparral cover scenario, that was never an issue. Even if a fire from a distance comes up the canyon as feared, they have almost guaranteed it's further rapid progress by this horrible decision to defoliate this area of much more stable system and replacing it with a virtual powder keg.

(image from San Jacinto Ranger District off Hwy Route 243)

Here is another photo I took on the way up and in fact there are several. Most of the surrounding San Jacinto Mountain foothills from this S.J. River Canyon to Lambs Canyon (State Route 79) and beyond to Hwy 60 are almost totally solid grasses. What this means is that any future fire under similar conditions will take off far more efficiently speed-wise from a disaster scenario point of view and be so large by the time fire fighters attempt some sort of battle plan organization, that getting an initial upper hand on the situation will be near to impossible. These grasses burn like gasoline, while chaparral, which it can be explosive & spectacular to watch during intense wind extreme moments, quite often burns at a much slower pace which allows for much more efficient timeline fire fighting strategies to be implemented. These next two images are of the southern face of Indian Mountain, though most people won't recognize it, though perhaps only from the northern viewpoint turnout on Hwy 243.

photo image: Mine

This is a view of the southern face of Indian Mountain, though many never think of that landmark from this point of view. A number of Truck Trails like Indian Creek, North Fork of S.J. River and Bee Canyon Truck Trail are present on this side of the mountain. This side of the mountain has burned numerous times in the past and as you can see it being presently dominated by non-native European exotic grasses. When the Bee Canyon Fire blew over this area, there was still some low growing Chaparral scrub, and it made fast progress. However, it is almost entirely grasses, and an even faster fire growth scenario will most surely take place next time and there WILL be a NEXT TIME. When I originally moved to the San Jacinto Mountains back in 1981, this same mountain was dominated by an interior version of coastal sage scrub plant community. A photo then would be showing a darker green plant presence across the same non-native grassland at present. 

photo: Mine

(click to enlarge view)
This view of the irrigation aqueduct which funnels water from Lake Hemet via the South Fork of the San Jacinto River is directly across from Cranston Ranger Station. Same pic as above but from different perspective. Below is a link further up the road at the S.J. North Fork crossing. Click to enlarge and zoom up that mountain in the background and take in the unnatural grasslandscape.

photo Mine(click here to enlarge the view)
I took this photo this past May 2013. It is a view of the grass infested southern foothill terrain of the northern part of the San Jacinto Valley. These hills have been burned off countless multiple times and are a rapid fire tinder box just waiting to explode again. Movement of fire of course would be in the same direction as the present Silver Fire. Soboba Indian Reservation was always notorious for starting many of these devastating fires. There was hardly a summer which went by in the 80s and 90s where smoke couldn't be seen in the mountain terrain above that Casino.
The main issue here is that the Chaparral Plant Community is almost always unfairly and UNSCIENTIFICALLY blamed for the destruction of human infrastructure over the past few decades. But as you can clearly see, there have been many homes which burned with intact trees, chaparral and exotic landscape often left untouched by flames and homes burned to the ground. Why ? Some homes in this latest Silver Fire have been burned to the ground with large bare ground defensive clearances and yet they burned down to the ground, Why ? Most of it has to your with regular maintenance. Your home and garden/Landscape need proper regular personal hygiene just like your own body. Neglect this and problems develop. Most rain gutter and roof tiles need cleaning or when embers rain down like a downpour of a Thunderstorm, these things get blown into the cracks and crevices where they smolder and eventually ignite. The flame is at first very tiny and almost un-noticeable. But gradually it can be doing some internal burning within the structure's walls.  
One morning early in 1993, I remember waking up early and listening to the News Reports going crazy about numerous major wildfires going on in Southern California all at once. It was October and the Santa Ana winds were in full force. The Laguna Hills and Beach fires seemed to have gotten most of the attention, but there were others closer to hone which were of more concern to me. The October 1993 Winchester Fire which burned 25,000 acres in almost a day, was a burn which mostly blitzed at lightning speed  through nothing more than a grassland plant community. Grass is like Petrol when it burns. There were 29 homes lost on those grassland flats where the fire burned from south end of State Street Hemet near the present Diamond Valley Reservoir Headquarters  [which had not yet existed] all the way to Lake Skinner and French Valley near Temecula. So 29 Homes in grassland were destroyed and if there was any chaparral at all in these valleys and rolling hills, it was low growing coastal sage scrub plant community being overwhelmed by grasses. To be honest, much of this area was also the former Kaiser Cattle Ranch from which most of Temecula is now built on top of. Cattle Ranchers want grasses, not what they term as invasive brush [vulgar term for chaparral] which impedes their business model. Mostly this Winchester Fire in 1993 was one massive grassland. Most of the non-native grasses, brought here by error-prone humans ignorant of their effects on the native local landscape were the real culprit, not chaparral. And yet the grasses cannot be totally blamed either, as human ignorance in land management over many decades has facilitated their wider spread. There is something else I also remember about this day. During this same Winchester Burn in 1993, something else was also happening right up in Anza in and around the Cahuilla Creek Casino and Lake Riverside Estates. After being glued to the Television News Updates, I decided to take a walk outside and see if I could see any of the smoke from the Winchester fire that was given occasional mention. The Santa Ana Wind conditions were blowing fierce at my hilltop home and there was another fire for which the News had yet to mention. A Fire started up in Anza with it's flash point of origin as an Electrical Pole near the Cahuilla Indian Reservation Cemetery. Incredibly, at the beginning, this fire burned through a wide swath of the green Sedge  meadow landscape at lightning speed burning all the way to Lake Riverside and Cowboy Country Trailer Park on Bradford Road. This was reminiscent of what was said about a green grassy meadow in the Mount Jacinto high country just a few weeks ago which they said went up in a flash. Under normal healthy conditions, Sedges generally are not a flash point, but conditions in our times have changed. These non-native exotic grasses taking over once native chaparral landscapes will continue to spark the megafires making far worse and more uncontrollable than ever before. Climate Shift will only exacerbate the problem, but will anyone really be paying any attention by NOT blaming Chaparral ? Will they now stop listening to many of those supposedly qualified Fire Ecology experts who know nothing of how the chaparral plant community actually functions and put a halt to their failed Control Burn operations in remote wilderness areas far away from any urban areas which has thrown nature off balance ? Not only that, it wastes resources and eats up money which could otherwise be used for actually fighting the fires which are going to happen whether they do anything or not. Of course, the average citizen should not depend on the authorities to actually save anything, but there are some thing that you can do as far as home construction details. While different circumstances, solutions and money will dictate what you are able to do, there are still some interesting details mentioned in the link under the photo below.
(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac) 

 Fire-Resistant Details

"The October 1993 Laguna Hills Fire  destroyed more than 350 homes  in a single day (more here). In this image: a single home sits virtually  untouched in Laguna Beach, California, on October 28, 1993, after wildfires reduced neighboring homes, and hundreds of others,  to rubble. When the Bui/Bender residence (pictured above) survived  the devastating 1993 fire in the Southern California Coastal town  of Laguna Beach, people called it a miracle. The fact that the only damage to the structure was a drainage downspout dislodged by a fire hose may have had more to do with the fact that it was designed and constructed in accordance with the principles outlined  in this very interesting article from Fine Home Building."
Some relevant links on the October 26/27 1993 Winchester Fire & 17 others: 
Endangered Species Act and Fire Controversy that followed the 1993 Winchester Fire
The Wildfires of Southern California in 1993
What more is there to say, but people need to pay attention to the way fire dynamics are changing for the worse and plan accordingly. The bad land management examples being practiced by irresponsible agencies should be improved upon by the average land owner IF they actually care about their own property. Previously I touched on this here:
Forestry's Land Mismanagement has an Influencing Effect on it's Citizens
Further Research References: 
The California Chaparral Institute
"The Banning Silver Fire Photos - Illustrations that Teach"
Wildfire Potential for Southern California August thru November 2013