Is the Gaia theory true?

A viewer asked this question on 8/21/2000:

What do you know about the Gaia theory? What are the proofs (be interesting)? Is it true? What is your prospectus or opinions? Any artworks or poems or anything from religions that foretold the occurrence of this concept?

JesseGordon gave this response on 8/21/2000:

The Gaia hypothesis was popularized in a 1987 book by James Lovelock, entitled "Gaia : A New Look at Life on Earth." You can see details and reviews on at: org/

Yes, there are some spiritual/religious bases for the Gaia theory; you can find links on the Amazon page. I only know about its relevance to environmental issues.

The Gaia hypothesis says that the earth is a living creature (i.e., that the planet as a whole is literally alive). The relevance is that the earth has self-maintenance power, which in particular means that there are numerous self-regulating mechanisms to keep things where they should be. The key elements that the earth self-regulates are things like ocean salinity, atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, surface temperature, etc.

Some of those things are relevant to global warming policy. If the earth is self-regulating on temperature, why should it matter what we do, since the earth will compensate for too much atmospheric CO2 by creating more clouds, which cool the earth down to its stable level? The answer is that the earth may cool itself back down, but it won't necessarily do so in a way that's amenable to people. So both sides of the global warming debate can use this book.

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