the Gaia theory  

sparkee58 58M
606 posts
7/20/2006 2:57 am

Last Read:
7/24/2006 2:48 am

the Gaia theory

The hypothesis that the earth is a living, self-regulating superorganism. Gaia personified the earth in Greek mythology. This theory was introduced in 1972 by the British chemist James Lovelock, who proposed that, just as our bodies are self-regulating, compensating for changes in our activity and surroundings, so the body of the earth regulates itself through the living organisms that control its atmosphere, oceans and crust. The evolution of the earth's individual life forms and physical environment, therefore, is not a series of separate processes but part of the evolution of gaia as a whole.
Support for the biochemical aspect of the theory has come from American biologist Lynn Margulis's research into bacteria and other microorganisms. Microbes- in sheer numbers and aggregate mass, the major form of life- perform countless organic processes, from digestion in animals to nitrogen-fixing in plants, and thus may be the crucial regulatory agents of the overall biosphere. According to Lovelock, the environmental damage inflicted by human beings has unbalanced the system, which, like a body, has an impressive but ultimately limited capacity for self-correction.
Critics of the theory point out that in the long term the earth has not been stable. It has been subject to massive climate and geological changes. the testability of the theory is also questioned: is it an authentically scientific hypothesis, subject to falsification or a metaphor- part of a holistic approach to science- that may be figuratively true but is not literally true or false. However, even among researchers dubious of Gaia's scientific status, the conception of the earth as an interdependent system has stimulated cooperation between normally isolated disciplines, including geochemistry, evolutionary theory, atmospheric physics and microbiology.

"A World of Ideas"
by Chris Rohmann

fred45654 53M
29 posts
7/20/2006 5:11 am

Also expressed well by Isac Asimov in the Foundation series.

sparkee58 replies on 7/20/2006 2:31 pm:
the Foundation Trilogy
classic asimov
i haven't read it in years

papyrina 50F
21133 posts
7/20/2006 6:03 am

i will continue to do by bit for mother nature just in case it helps

I'm a

i'm here to stay

sparkee58 replies on 7/20/2006 2:32 pm:
i can see that

marnison 79F

7/20/2006 7:19 am

a rolling stone gathers no ..
the straw that broke the camels ...
someone said...don't look back..we've been there....

sounds from distant earth.....

sparkee58 replies on 7/20/2006 2:35 pm:
the late great distant earth

rm_1hotwahine 62F
21091 posts
7/20/2006 4:10 pm

and where do you personally land on this theory?

Yeah, I'm still [blog 1hotwahine]

sparkee58 replies on 7/21/2006 1:15 am:
i personally think earth is god

marnison 79F

7/21/2006 6:27 pm

    Quoting marnison:
    a rolling stone gathers no ..
    the straw that broke the camels ...
    someone said...don't look back..we've been there....

    sounds from distant earth.....
Tubular Bells....

sparkee58 replies on 7/23/2006 2:30 am:
i can't untie that gordian knot of phrases
and i've tried...

rm_corezon 53F
3376 posts
7/23/2006 11:15 am

Interesting post, I am familiar with the theory. I am inclined to think there is something to it though I am inclined to take it as I take most other theories as an interesting figurative concept, difficult to ascertain how far the analogy stretches to literality (not sure that is a word) is obvious from a scientific viewpoint that all life on earth is connected and interdependent. Some believe that the analogy extends to a collective consciousness of life in general on the earth and that "this" is Gaia.

At it's most basic definition, Earth's planetary ecosystem = Gaia however poorly we understand it.

One of the comments to Hawking's question postulated that Gaia has the ability to balance herself ultimately and it may be at the expense of homo sapiens as she quits supporting them and focuses on strategies for her own survival.

But the complexity and vastness of the whole of the Universe then comes to my mind, and I think of Mars.

There is apparently a limit as to how much a living planet can compensate for the stresses that are put upon it.

The significance for us as a species... all will be irrelevant to us anyhow if we do not survive even if Gaia does. If a tree falls in the forrest and there is no one to hear it, does it still make a sound? Thoughts to ponder.

sparkee58 replies on 7/24/2006 1:54 am:
mars will soon have summer houses for the rich where they can live while earth deals with the little people

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