Gaia theory, named after the Greek Earth goddess, is a combination of hypothesis about the planet as a self-regulating living system. James Lovelock is credited with the publication of the first modern scientific article on the Gaia hypothesis in the New Scientist, he also recently published an article in The Independent where he speaks of his latest book The Revenge of Gaiaand warns of the danger of global warming. The philosophical predecessors to Gaia theory include Lewis Thomas, Teilhard de Chardin, Buckminster Fuller. The most common criticism of Gaia theory is the charge that it is teleological.
Although Gaia theories may seem controversial, the study of the inter-relationships between various life forms and their environment (ecology), homeostasis, and emergent properties are established and accepted.
The attempt to grasp the inter-relationships that exist among all of the components of the biosphere, oceans, geosphere and the atmosphere as an Earth ecosystem is a challenge for the human mind, but the need for scientific hypotheses is evident in an age when we attempt to take responsibility for our effect on the planet.
[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Mar 30, 2006 ]