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Gaia Theory

In 1979 James Lovelock published Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, which put forward the theory (then known as the Gaia hypothesis) that life is a self-regulating community of organisms – basically that all life within an ecosystem comes to some kind of harmonious equilibrium, and subtly shifts the conditions of that ecosystem over time in order to improve the environment for continued life.

At the time the book was published, the theory was controversial, and seen by some as hopelessly New Agey. Biologists at the time wanted to emphasise that evolution blind and directionless, and it’s natural selection that causes favourable mutations to become widespread (not that species somehow get favourable mutations “on purpose” to deal with changing conditions). Those biologists saw this theory as a threat to their narrative, but in the decades since then the Gaia Theory has become an accepted part of science.

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