Gaia Hypothesis as a Gaian Methodology:
It is an ironic fact that a theory about life on Earth should begin from an exploration of outer space.
"The Gaia Hypothesis -- the Earth as a great ..
The view from space sheds light on the multitude of rapid changes inscribed on our planet by our industrial society. The orbital technology enabling this observation is itself one of the strange and striking aspects of the transition now gripping Earth. If up to now the defining characteristic of Earth has been planetary‐scale life, then what about these planetary‐scale lights? Might this spreading, luminous net be part of a new defining characteristic?
The Gaia Hypothesis is a collaborative brainchild of chemist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis and depicts the Earth system as a living, self-regulating, meta-organism continuing optimal life conditions through complex planetary controls. A novel-to-me point of the Gaia Hypothesis is that if a scientist were to imagine what conditions on the Earth would be expected simply due to its planetary size, composition, and distance from the Sun (etc.), the scientist would expect to find a dead, lifeless planet without the temperature, moisture, and other conditions (including those optimum for complex life) found on Gaia Earth.
Dr James Lovelock - Gaia - A New Look at Life on Earth.
Margulis on the Gaia Hypothesis: "The Gaia hypothesis is science. The surface of the planet, Gaia theory posits, behaves as a physiological system in certain limited ways. The aspects that are physiologically controlled include surface temperature and atmospheric composition of reactive gases, including oxygen, and pH, and acidity-alkalinity.... Gaia, meaning a body with a controlled physiology in the celestial-planetary and biological sense, is the only name that can both unite a disparate group of scientists and make their whole work accessible to the international public. Just as the human body is sharply bounded by skin, temperature differences, blood chemistry, and a calcium-phosphate skeleton, so is Earth distinguished from its surroundings by its persistently anomalous atmosphere, its steady temperature, and its unusual limestone and granitic rocks....The planet's surface is not just physical, geological, and chemical, or even just geochemical. Rather, it is geophyisiological: it displays the attributes of a living body composed of the aggregate of Earth's incessantly interactive life." (Symbiotic Planet, p. 123)
Margulis and Lovelock showed that the Darwinian picture of biological evolution is incomplete. Darwin identified the mechanism by which life adapts due to changes in the environment, and thus allowed us to see that all life on Earth is a continuum, a proliferation, a genetic diaspora from a common root. In the Darwinian view, Earth was essentially a stage with a series of changing backdrops to which life had to adjust. Yet, what or who was changing the sets? Margulis and Lovelock proposed that the drama of life does not unfold on the stage of a dead Earth, but that, rather, the stage itself is animated, part of a larger living entity, Gaia, composed of the biosphere together with the “nonliving” components that shape, respond to, and cycle through the biota of Earth. Yes, life adapts to environmental change, shaping itself through natural selection. Yet life also pushes back and changes the environment, alters the planet. This is now as obvious as the air you are breathing, which has been oxygenated by life. So evolution is not a series of adaptations to inanimate events, but a system of feedbacks, an exchange. Life has not simply molded itself to the shifting contours of a dynamic Earth. Rather, life and Earth have shaped each other as they’ve co-evolved. When you start looking at the planet in this way, then you see coral reefs, limestone cliffs, deltas, bogs, and islands of bat guano as parts of this larger animated entity. You realize that the entire skin of Earth, and its depths as well, are indeed alive.
Gaia Hypothesis | Gaia Hypothesis | Life - Scribd
We propose that Gaian processes are not blindly found and peculiar to Earth, but are pre-existent and universal — life from space brings Gaian processes with it.
One of the enduring questions about our planet is how it has remained continuously habitable over vast stretches of geological time despite the fact that its atmosphere and climate are potentially unstable. James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis posits that life itself has intervened in the regulation of the planetary environment in order to keep it stable and favorable for life. First proposed in the 1970s, Lovelock's hypothesis remains highly controversial and continues to provoke fierce debate. undertakes the first in-depth investigation of the arguments put forward by Lovelock and others--and concludes that the evidence doesn't stack up in support of Gaia.
Gaia Hypothesis | Gaia Hypothesis | Earth & Life Sciences
Goddess of the Earth: The Gaia Hypothesis - PBS
But mainstream science has not accepted the hard core of modern panspermia, that whole cells seeded life on Earth.
BBC - Earth - How long will life survive on planet Earth?
"The panspermia hypothesis was dormant until 1743 when it appeared posthumously in the writings of Benoît de Maillet."
"The Gaia Hypothesis -- the Earth as a great living system
Gaia hypothesis - Wikipedia
The Living Earth: The Gaia Hypothesis Essay Sample
'What is life?' is a linguistic trap. To answer according to the rules of grammar, we must supply a noun, a thing. But life on Earth is more like a verb. It is a material process, surfing over matter like a slow wave. It is a controlled artistic chaos, a set of chemical reactions so staggeringly complex that more than four billion years ago it began a sojourn that now, in human form, composes love letters and uses silicon computers to calculate the temperature of matter at the birth of the universe.” (Margulis 2002)
James Lovelock: Gaïa: A New Look at Life on Earth | …
As far as we can tell, around the time when life was starting on Earth, both Venus and Mars shared the same characteristics that enabled life to get going here: They were wet, they were rocky, they had thick atmospheres and vigorous geologic activity. Comparative planetology seems to be telling us that the conditions needed for the origin of life might be the norm for rocky worlds. One real possibility is that Mars or Venus also had an origin of life, but that life did not stick, couldn’t persist, on either of these worlds. It was not able to take root and become embedded as a permanent planetary feature, as it did on Earth. This may be a common outcome: planets that have an origin of life, perhaps even several, but that never develop a robust and self‐sustaining global biosphere. What is really rare and unusual about Earth is that beneficial conditions for life have persisted over billions of years. This may have been more than luck.
Gaia Hypothesis - David Darling
Daisyworld modeling offers another aspect of extending the Gaia Hypothesis into Inquiry. To demonstrate global supereffects of dynamics of shade and sun in a simple plant system could effect global self regulation, Lovelock developed models and eventually computer simulations for what is termed Daisyworld. This four-part youtube video of James Lovelock makes the connections:
Gaia Hypothesis - James Lovelock - YouTube
In my 2003 book Lonely Planets, I described what I call the “Living Worlds hypothesis,” which is Gaian thinking applied to astrobiology. Perhaps life everywhere is intrinsically a planetary‐scale phenomenon with a cosmological life span—that is, a life expectancy measured in billions of years, the timescale that defines the lives of planets, stars, and the universe.
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