20 thoughts on “The Gaia Hypothesis”

  1. “One way to look at space development and settlement is as Gaia reproducing, spreading life into and throughout the solar system, and eventually the galaxy.”

    Except that lately some on the Left have actually stated that it would be best for the planet and the inchworms if all humanity would just die.

    Doesn’t sound like there’s much enthusiasm for humans to spread to other planets among that crowd.

    1. Well, sure. We’d only destroy the pristine lunar landscape with corporations doing their corporationy things. It’s just awful.

      1. One of the stumbling blocks to lunar development is the absence of lunar neon, without which it all the glowing signage will have to be shipped from Earth.

      2. The solar system is a big place but we only have the one Moon. The Moon is uniquely important to humanity.

        People always talk about the boundless resources of the solar system and how great they will be for humanity, perhaps we should keep that in mind when it comes to how we treat the Moon.

    2. You could also argue that the meme of ‘Agriculture’ is seeking to colonize off planet habitats…

    3. If “life” is so wonderful, then isn’t our duty to Gaia to spread it beyond this one planet? Especially since it appears more and more likely that it’s only to be found on this one planet. (Sure is well hidden elsewhere, or we’d have found it by now. And if it is found on a place like Europa, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn we are cousins with a common ancestor.)

      Why does the American Progressive Left hate Gaia?* Humans are Gaia’s reproductive organs, and we all know that the APLs worships abortion, which is a process of making sure there’s little to no reproduction. Progressives seem to believe that reproduction organs should only be used for entertainment purposes, and definitely not for their intended purpose.

      * Kinda a stupid question. Hate is what they do, they’re good at it.

    4. “Except that lately some on the Left have actually stated that it would be best for the planet and the inchworms if all humanity would just die.”

      No, they’ve been saying that for decades. It’s just that Twitter lets them shout it louder than they used to.

  2. Gonna say “no” without even reading it.

    Because it’s always been try-hard nonsense metaphor.

  3. The Earth can be considered “alive” in a metaphorical sense, but beyond that it takes the definition of “living” to another realm. If we are going to consider the Earth to be a living organism, why not consider the entire solar system to be a living organism? We know that the Sun is the energy driver and it holds the system together; the larger outer planets protect Earth from life-threatening bombardments by asteroids and comets; the comets (may have) brought the water in the first place that a “living” Earth required. We believe that our large Moon stabilizes the axis of the Earth and prevents it from dramatically tipping. We think that the Moon itself was created after a monstrous collision of Earth by a Mars-sized planet way-back-when, and that collision may have resulted in the basins that later filled with water to become the oceans. It has been suggested that Earth would otherwise be a water world with no exposed land. And isn’t it an interesting that the apparent size of the Moon and Sun are the same in Earths sky? This would eventually allow the living Earth to observe solar eclipses which advances the understanding of the universe; for example, Einstein’s theory that space-time is curved by gravity was therefore testable. A large Moon also became an attraction (tidally) that lured life first out of the oceans and then (as a tantalizing destination) into space. But why stop with the solar system being a living organism? What about all of the elements that are embodied in the Periodic Table of the Elements that make it all possible? After all, everything comes down to the exquisite interactions of those elements as observed in chemistry and physics. And given that, it means the entire Universe can be seen as a living organism; all those elements were created in it an unfolding process of ever increasing complexity that lead from hydrogen and helium to stars to heavier elements to solar systems to a planet that could become “alive.”

    1. Life has modified Earth, it hasn’t modified the Sun or the rest of the non-living solar system.

  4. Well, humans are crawling with a ton of life other than human.

    Studying Earth’s global biosphere together, Margulis and Lovelock realized that it has some of the properties of a life form. It seems to display “homeostasis,” or self‐regulation. Many of Earth’s life‐sustaining qualities exhibit remarkable stability. The temperature range of the climate; the oxygen content of the atmosphere; the pH, chemistry, and salinity of the ocean—all these are biologically mediated. All have, for hundreds of millions of years, stayed within a range where life can thrive.

    This isn’t exactly true. Earth does self regulate but sometimes that leads to being covered in ice with mass extinctions. Life persists despite Earth’s best efforts to wipe it out.

    the truth is, despite its widespread moniker, Gaia is not really a hypothesis. It’s a perspective, an approach from within which to pursue the science of life on a planet, a living planet, which is not the same as a planet with life on it—that’s really the point, simple but profound.

    Yes, its a religion. There is nothing mutually exclusive about science and religion but let’s be honest.

    I do like Rand’s Space Druid concept. Would Gaia fit into it? Maybe many millions of years in the future.

    1. There is this idea that the oxygen in the atmosphere is the result of a homeostatic system balancing the oxygen generated by plant photosynthesis with the oxygen consumed by non-plant organisms (as well as plant) respiration.

      Nick Lane’s “Oxygen” changed my view of this (https://www.amazon.com/Oxygen-molecule-Oxford-Landmark-Science/dp/0198784937), that the oxygen in the atmosphere is a “fossil gas” in the way that the geologic reservoirs of oil, gas and coal are “fossil fuels.” The oxygen in the atmosphere accumulated there over geologic time and has fluctuated up and down over geologic time

      I also think the homeostasis argument was the fault behind Biosphere 2 or other attempts to create a human-breathable atmosphere through a “closed ecological system.” Biosphere 1 is not a closed ecological system in that sense inasmuch as its vastness does not require a homeostatic balance over short time scales. It very well could be that we are using up oxygen that was generated over geological time scales, and that the atmospheric oxygen content changes is not an unnatural occurrence.

      Understanding Earth’s biosphere and the timescale over which balance is maintained will be important in building space colonies or generation starships. The misconception regarding Earth may impeded progress towards the artificial regulation systems that may be necessary to sustain human habitation in those settings. Those artificial systems will never be on the scale of the Earth’s biosphere, or at least no until planetary-scale colonies are contemplated.

      1. Biosphere 1 has enough oxygen for about 6 feet of liquid oxygen covering the entire planet. If Biosphere two had been built on top of a six foot pool of LOX, they would have had about 350 times as much oxygen as a buffer (assuming the installation had a uniform height of 85 feet).

        To use up that much oxygen would require a four foot deep pool of kerosene or a two foot seam of coal burning on top of the LOX pool.

      2. The fault with Biosphere 2 was the concrete. It absorbs oxygen as it cures. The experiment was wildly successful, in that it taught us potential failure modes that had not been previously considered.

  5. Tried to read it. Seems like mostly nonsense. Life affects the planet, but that doesn’t require metaphysical metaphor.

  6. Life changes the planet? The mass of the Earth is roughly 5.972 E+24 kg. The estimated mass of the biosphere (the living matter on Earth) is 2.25 E+14 kg. That a very weak mass 10 orders of magnitude smaller than a very powerful mass could be in control even as a regulating feature makes the idea that a 48% increase in the amount of a gas that makes up 0.04 % of the atmosphere look like a credible scenario (and it isn’t). The mass of the biosphere is 4 orders of magnitude less than the mass of the atmosphere, and 7 orders of magnitude less than the mass of water on earth. Weak living matter doesn’t stand a chance of significantly influencing, let alone being in control of, the energies associated with far, far greater masses of non-living matter.

  7. Even if Gaia did exist as a personality of some kind, she is a stone-cold bitch whose favorite pastime is killing huge quantities of living things. We’ve seen her do it.

  8. The problem with the Gaia Hypothesis is it is not science.
    Or it doesn’t predict anything, it’s a story, explanation, or a religion.
    And story is misleading/incorrect.
    There no reason to assume Venus or Mars went wrong or failed.
    Or that Gaia [of Earth] will send life in the universe.
    Humans could do this, and good chance they will but it’s dependent on what humans decide to do.
    Is God or Gaia driving us to this path?
    It seems to me that what is driving this possibility is advent of the industry revolution. God might have something to do with industrial revolution, but don’t see how Gaia god had much to do with it.
    It seems to me if Gaia had anything to do with it, thousands of years ago India would have started industrial revolution, and we would have people living in other solar system by now.
    So without industrial revolution and free people and the markets, we don’t get trains, planes and automobiles and etc.
    More likely we get a Soviet Union without the industrial revolution- no tank or nukes, but still get the crazy and murderous sociopaths trying to take over the world. And probably doing a more hideous job of “improvement of the world” as compared to the Soviet Union did with it’s tanks and nukes.

    One of things about Mars or Venus is we don’t know how much atmosphere either had in the past. Nor how much water they had in the past.
    It seems a 100 km rock impacting either of them, it could change either of the planets by quite a bit. Even if shown a 10 to 100 km diameter impact, we will probably learn quite a bit that we don’t know.
    Venus surface is thought to be about 1/2 billion year old or younger.
    “The crust of Venus is thought to be about 50 km thick, and composed of silicious rocks. Beneath that is the mantle, which is thought to be about 3,000 km thick. The composition of the mantle is unknown”
    Earth crust is:
    “The crust can be thicker than 80 kilometers in some spots and less than one kilometer thick in others. Underneath it lies the mantle, a layer of silicate rock approximately 2700 kilometers thick.
    “Oceanic crust covers about 60 percent of the Earth’s surface. Oceanic crust is thin and young — no more than about 20 km thick and no older than about 180 million years.”

    So compared about 50 Km thick to Earth. Continent crust might be thicker than Venus of “about 50 km thick” But most of Earth crust is oceanic and much thinner than “about 50 km thick”.
    Can we say Earth crust is thinner or much thinner than Venus crust?
    Is there any part of Venus crust which is 5 km or less thick? Is there any part of Venus which thicker than 80 km or 100 km?
    Or do have stick with the “about 50 km thick”
    So what about Mars: “The crust is between 6 and 30 miles (10 and 50 kilometers) thick, according to NASA”
    Can we say Venus is thicker and Mars is vaguely like thickness of Earth’s crust?
    “Mars was a fully formed planet — crust and all — within just 20 million years of the solar system’s birth. That rapid formation means the Red Planet probably got a 100-million-year jump on Earth in terms of habitability, new research suggests.”
    Or Earth was probably delayed by 100 million years due a planet hitting it, and forming our Moon.
    But then again I heard some say Mars had plate tectonic a few billion years ago. But anyhow Mars is suppose to have very old crust compared to Earth or Venus.
    Luna, wiki:
    “The thickness of the crust ranges between about 20 and 120 km. Crust on the far side of the Moon averages about 12 km thicker than that on the near side. Estimates of average thickness fall in the range from about 50 to 60 km. ”
    Moon might be as thick or bit thicker than Venus.

    What would it mean if Venus had a more uniform thickness of it’s crust?
    I don’t think anyone knows, and so what if it had uniform thickness of 10 km or say uniform thickness of more than 50 km. Not average, but was measured somehow and the thickness was fairly uniform?
    Earth’s groundwater:
    “Nov 19, 2015 – According to the research team, the upper 1.2 miles of the Earth’s crust currently holds six quintillion gallons of groundwater, shared the article. Above ground, the amount would form a layer of water 600 feet high across the globe.”
    And this:
    “An estimated 1.5 to 11 times the amount of water in the oceans may be found hundreds of miles deep within the Earth’s interior, although not in liquid form. ”

    So if Earth has this much water in it’s crust and below it’s crust, why can’t Venus and Mars [and Moon] be similar. And is possible that either Venus or Mars have more water in their crust as compared to Earth? Particularly because Mars crust which is old and particularly because Venus could have a thick crust,

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