The Gaia hypothesis was proposed by the British scientist, author and environmentalist James Lovelock (1919-). It suggests that the Earth, itself, is a self-regulating entity geared toward sustaining life.
In his own words, Gaia is
a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.¹
This view is alternately accepted and rejected by various scientists. And it’s often mistaken for Lewis Thomas‘ speculation that the Earth, if viewed from space, looks like a single cell.
The Gaia hypothesis is also used out of context by some New Age enthusiasts who uphold it as support for the pantheistic idea that God and the natural, observable world are identical.
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