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First formulated by Lovelock during the 1960s as a result of work for NASA concerned with detecting life on Mars, the Gaia hypothesis proposes that living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism. Named after the Greek goddess Gaia at the suggestion of novelist William Golding, the hypothesis postulates that the biosphere has a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that acts to sustain life.
While the Gaia hypothesis was readily accepted by many in the environmentalist community, it has not been widely accepted within the scientific community. Among its more famous critics are the evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins, Ford Doolittle, and Stephen Jay Gould – notable, given the diversity of this trio's views on other scientific matters. These (and other) critics have questioned how natural selection operating on individual organisms can lead to the evolution of planetary-scale homeostasis. Lovelock has responded to these criticisms with models such as Daisyworld, that illustrate how individual-level effects can translate to planetary homeostasis, under the right circumstances.
In Lovelock's 2006 book, The Revenge of Gaia, he argues that the lack of respect humans have had for Gaia, through the damage done to rainforests and the reduction in planetary biodiversity, is testing Gaia's capacity to minimize the effects of the addition of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This eliminates the planet's negative feedbacks and increases the likelihood of homeostatic positive feedback potential associated with runaway global warming. Similarly the warming of the oceans is extending the oceanic thermocline layer of tropical oceans into the Arctic and Antarctic waters, preventing the rise of oceanic nutrients into the surface waters and eliminating the algal blooms of phytoplankton on which oceanic food chains depend. As phytoplankton and forests are the main ways in which Gaia draws down greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, taking it out of the atmosphere, the elimination of this environmental buffering will see, according to Lovelock, most of the earth becoming uninhabitable for humans and other life-forms by the middle of this century, with a massive extension of tropical deserts.
Aside from clarifying his language and understanding of what is meant by a life form, Lovelock himself ascribes most of the criticism to a lack of understanding of non-linear mathematics by his critics, and a linearizing form of greedy reductionism in which all events have to be immediately ascribed to specific causes before the fact. He notes also that his theory suggests experiments in many different fields, but few of them in biology, which most of his critics are trained in. "I'm a general practitioner in a world where there's nothing but specialists... science in the last two centuries has tended to be ever-dividing" and often rivalrous, especially for funding, which Lovelock describes as overly abundant and overly focused on institutions rather than original thought. He points out that Richard Feynman not only shared this opinion (coining the term cargo cult science) but also accepted a lack of general cause and effect explanation as an inevitable phase in a theory's development, and believed that some self-regulating phenomena may not be explainable at all mathematically
Gaia is a new way of organizing the facts about life on Earth, not just a hypothes is
waiting to be tested. To illustrate the use of the theory in this way, let us go back to
the origins of life some 3.5 to 4 billion years ago. At that time and before life ap-
peared, the Earth was evolving as terrestrial planets do, toward a state that ultimately
would be like that of Mars and Venus—an arid planet with an atmosphere mainly of
carbon dioxide. Early in its history the Earth was well watered, and somewhere on it
there was an equable climate, so that life, once begun, could flourish. When it did
begin, the first organisms must have used the raw materials of the Earth’s crust,
oceans, and air to make their cells. They also returned to their environment their
wastes and dead bodies. As they grew abundant, this action would have changed the
composition of the air, oceans, and crust into an oxygen-free world dominated chem-
ically by methane. This means that soon after its origin, life was adapting not to the
geological world of its birth but to an environment of its own making. There was no
purpose in this, but those organisms which made their environment more comfort-
able for life left a better world for their progeny, and those which worsened their
environment spoiled the survival chances of theirs. Natural selection then tended to favor
the improvers. If this view of evolution is correct, it is an extension of Darwin’s
great vision and makes neoDarwinism a part of Gaia theory and Earth system
Oliver L. Reiser had also developed a strong version of the Gaia hypothesis as he proposed the earth was a global organism and that human beings act as cells involved with the "embryogenesis" of the earth. Another form of the strong Gaia hypothesis is proposed by Guy Murchie who extends the quality of a holistic lifeform to galaxies. "After all, we are made of star dust. Life is inherent in nature". Murchie describes geologic phenomena such as sand dunes, glaciers, fires, etc. as living organisms, as well as the life of metals and crystals. "The question is not whether there is life outside our planet, but whether it is possible to have "nonlife".
OP do you agree with the Gaia Theory..? Or did I miss that in your post... soz
DEEP AND BIOGENIC ORIGIN OF PETROLEUM
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN EARTH AND LOG OF TREE.
img856.imageshack.us... --- Core Crust
img98.imageshack.us... --- Mountain Formation
img856.imageshack.us... --- Plate Techtonics
img861.imageshack.us... --- Bark & Continents
img856.imageshack.us... --- Resin Lava