I recently stumbled upon the Gaia hypothesis, which briefly states that the Earth itself is a living organism.

I am wondering: Would this hypothesis have any practical use? Does it make any predictions? Or alternatively: How could it be falsified?

While the Wikipedia article lists a few detailed examples for homeostatic mechanisms, these do not seem to have been predicted, but interpreted a posteriori (I may be wrong about this though). Criticisms of the hypothesis being a metaphor are referenced, but the word falsify does not appear in the article.

  • $\begingroup$ When the Earth gets too hot, dark green plants overheat and die, so there are more light green plants, which increases the Earth's albedo, reducing the heat. The practical implication is that we don't need to worry about things like global warming, because the Earth's own natural changes will take care of it for us. $\endgroup$ – Barry Carter Aug 5 '18 at 16:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @BarryCarter isn't that a very anthropocentric view? The changes will not take care of it for "us". They are natural variations, and may result in conditions that a are favourable for us, or not. Most species that ever existed in Earth's history are extinct, so clearly the natural changes did not "take care" of them. $\endgroup$ – Gimelist Aug 6 '18 at 10:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Gimelist Fair enough. How about "take care of it" in the sense that the Gaia hypothesis theorizes that the Earth's temperature changes will balance out. Because current and previous temperatures are suitable for human beings, this will incidentally help us as well. Better? $\endgroup$ – Barry Carter Aug 6 '18 at 17:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.