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?

1 comment:

Colton Durham said...

Physicists generally agree that "a long-sustained dynamic redction of internal entropy distinguishes life from it's inorganic environment." While biologist often agree that "a living thing is one that reprouces, and the errors of reproduction are corrected by natural selection."

These are two different definitions of deciding what is alive, Lovelock disagrees that either of them makes the cut. The first is too broad and the second too narrow; so, how would you define what is alive in a way that includes/excludes Gaia? Or do you already agree with one of the above? Accelerating Intelligence News