Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Vanishing Face, 6-7
1. What was the possibly-not unreasonable speculation of Lovelock's original Gaia paper on "planetary atmospheres"? Why does he think it was widely derided as New Age nonsense? Why didn't he call it the "Earth system hypothesis" instead?
2. What state of disequilibrium on Earth does Lovelock call "infinitely improbable"?
3. What did Lynn Margulis add to Gaia? What was Holland's objection? What was Lovelock's and Andrew Watson's "real life, real-world" reply to the claim that "a lifeless Earth could regulate its temperature at levels habitable for organisms"?
4. How was the original Gaia hypothesis misstated? What criticism did Lovelock accept? What does he now say regulates climate?
5. What was "the most important step in the history of Gaia theory"? What kind of world is Daisyworld? What had biologists failed to realize about evolution?
6. What is Gaia's predictive track record? What prediction is the "jury still out" on?
7. Why don't scientists like to talk about "goals"? What do engineers and physiologists know about them? How does Gaia exhibit "fight or flight"? How does Gaia keep the planet habitable? How does this confound conventional biologists?
8. What is geophysiology? What are its implications for scientific reductionism?
9. How do we arrive at our conceptions of reality? What does Lovelock say about our definitions of life?
10. What's wrong with rational Cartesian thinking? Why does Lovelock still insist on calling the Earth Gaia?