Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gaia hypothesis named after the Greek goddess of Earth

The Gaia hypothesis was named by the British scientist James Lovelock after the Greek goddess of Earth. Lovelock followed a suggestion of novelist William Golding to name his hypothesis that explains life through its initiating capacity rather than its adapting behavior [1]: “Lovelock's insight stood that notion [of simple adaption] on its head, giving to life the function, exercised over billions of years, of establishing and maintaining conditions conclusive to its own welfare.”

Synonymous terms such as Gaia theory,
Gaia principle, Gaia metaphor or Gaian paradigm of Earth are in common use [2]. Gaian thinking embraces complex systems as a whole before attending to specific domains. Self-regulating systems play a key role in gaian understanding of nature. Mutual evolution of the living and non-living world and processes of self-regulation fight tendencies toward entropy and create order out of chaos. After all, Gaia was born from Chaos, according to Greek mythology [3].

The Gaia principle includes interdisciplinary teaching and working, complementing science with philosophy, ethics and perspectives in discussing and solving global problems.


[1] David E. Moody:
Gaia Comes of Age. Natural History December 2010/ January 2011, 119(3), 40-42.
The Gaia TheoryModel and Metaphor for the 21st Century [].
[3] Ron Leadbetter: Gaia [].

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