A few days ago this article was published: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3766831.stm
Perhaps a little explanation about the GAIA hypothesis: Lovelock presented this theory back in 1972. He believes that the dynamic forces of life on this planet are so dominant that they have a regulating influence on the oceans and the atmosphere. So life hasn’t adapted itself to the changing environment, but instead life itself has regulated the environment in such a way that it remains within the comfortable range which is necessary to produce life. Life controls the environment to make life possible, because the chemical and physical circumstances which are necessary to harbour life are very tight. One example is the average temperature on Earth. This parameter has always remained within the same range as the one during which life originated about 3.5 billion years ago, despite the fact that the sun has produced 30% more heat and light since the origin of life.
Lovelock illustrated the self-regulating system with the famous model of Daisyworld, a hypothetical planet which is only inhabited by white and black daisies. If the temperature should rise in Daisyworld, the black daisies will absorb too much light so their amount decreases dramatically. On the other hand, an increase in temperature will cause more white daisies to grow. Because of this increase in white daises, more light will be reflected back into space. This in return will cause a decrease of the average temperature of Daisyworld, again causing an increase in black daisies, and so on… So temperature on Daisyworld gets regulated by a feedback mechanism. Later simulations also introduced some animals, and they found out that the more animals lived on Daisyworld, the more temperature was regulated. Thus one might suggest that Earth with its enormous biodiversity works as a véry stable temperature regulator.
What do you all think about this theory and the prophecy of Lovelock? Is it possible? If not, where did he go wrong?
Post your thoughts