A theory that Earth itself is a self-regulating system.

Gaia theory - Comment on 2012 January 9

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2012 January 9

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A theory that Earth itself – its atmosphere, the geology and the organisms that inhabit it - is a self-regulating system in which living organisms help to regulate the terrestrial and atmospheric conditions that make the planet habitable. Read more:

Today I read an article that gives information about the mentality of scientists and about the Earth, which reminds me of Jakob Lorber’s work “Earth.”

Here some excerpts of what I read today:

 

Lynn Margulis

Lynn Margulis, born March 5 1938, died November 22 2011.

Lynn Margulis, who has died aged 73, was a microbiologist whose work on the origin of cells transformed the study of evolution; with James Lovelock, she also developed the "Gaia theory" of Earth as a vast self-regulating system.

Though advancing such theories exposed her to enormous hostility from within the scientific community, she came to be regarded as one of the most creative and respected researchers of her generation.

At first the idea met with scorn: her findings were rejected by 15 academic journals and grant applications were brusquely rebuffed. The response to one application was: “Your research is crap. Don’t ever bother to apply again.”

It did not help that Lynn Margulis did not conform in any way to the calm, collaborative ideal of the research scientist - or that she was a woman. Provocative, quick-tempered and prone to hyperbole, she was a self-confessed misanthrope who never bothered to disguise her contempt for her critics. She once described the great British Darwinian John Maynard Smith as “codifying an incredible ignorance”, his research “reminiscent of phrenology”.

Her view of the Neo-Darwinists in general was equally withering. They were, she said members of “a minor 20th-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology. Neo-Darwinism is ... complete funk.”

Eventually Lynn Margulis’s theory became scientific orthodoxy.

It was Lynn Margulis’s expertise in microbes that led her, in the mid-Seventies, to the British atmospheric chemist James Lovelock, who had come to suspect that living organisms had a greater effect on the atmosphere than was commonly recognised. Together they proposed a theory that Earth itself – its atmosphere, the geology and the organisms that inhabit it - is a self-regulating system in which living organisms help to regulate the terrestrial and atmospheric conditions that make the planet habitable.

In particular they suggested that plankton act as a living thermostat, helping to regulate global temperature; that bogs and peat lands affect glaciers as the organisms within them release and absorb greenhouse gases; and that colonies of bacteria and other microbes in tidal mud flats process enough salt to help keep ocean salinity fairly constant. It was Lovelock who suggested they call their hypothesis Gaia, after the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth.

While scientific opinion came round to Lynn Margulis’s theory of symbiogenesis, however, many scientists continue to regard the Gaia theory as unconvincing - closer to philosophy than to falsifiable scientific theory.

 

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