Stability of Earth: Scientists propose solution to 'Gaia puzzle'

It doesn’t look like it is fine tuning by an intelligent designers but instead two simpler mechanisms work together to give our planet with life self-stabilising properties.

So, Patrick, it helps if you can include key quotes from the article. If there is a journal article associated, include a link to that too. That extra help makes it more likely people will engage.

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Doolittle has recently proposed that Gaia could have arisen through ‘selection by survival alone’ in which persistence of the biosphere increased its likelihood of acquiring further persistence-enhancing traits.

Several recent models demonstrate ‘sequential selection’ for global environmental regulation, in which systems that destabilize their environment are short-lived and result in extinctions and reorganizations until a stable state is found.

Evidence of microbial community coalescence provides a mechanism for heritability of ecosystems and their properties, making models of ecosystem-level selection for environmental regulation empirically plausible.

The Black Queen hypothesis – that production of ‘leaky’ ecological public goods is lost until there is negative frequency-dependent selection on the remaining producers – can help to explain regulation, for example, of the marine nitrogen cycle.

Recently postulated mechanisms and models can help explain the enduring ‘Gaia’ puzzle of environmental regulation mediated by life. Natural selection can produce nutrient recycling at local scales and regulation of heterogeneous environmental variables at ecosystem scales. However, global-scale environmental regulation involves a temporal and spatial decoupling of effects from actors that makes conventional evolutionary explanations problematic. Instead, global regulation can emerge by a process of ‘sequential selection’ in which systems that destabilize their environment are short-lived and result in extinctions and reorganizations until a stable attractor is found. Such persistence-enhancing properties can in turn increase the likelihood of acquiring further persistence-enhancing properties through ‘selection by survival alone’. Thus, Earth system feedbacks provide a filter for persistent combinations of macroevolutionary innovations.

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This makes me think about climate change. I know some people are doubters, but just go with me for a moment.

It seems fairly clear that climate change, however severe, will still leave the Earth (the planet) intact. It will still be here. Maybe we’ll all die, but the planet will remain. The basic premise though, is that eventually things will settle down, because unstable states are short lived, and stable states last a long time. Let us say that happens.

Then this term “Anthropocene” will be a misnomer. Instead of the “age of humans”, we will be more like the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. Human civilization will not be a new age, but the destabilizing transition between two ages.

I wonder what will happen…

But if we can use our superior science, reasoning, and technology to find solutions to climate change, our descendants can live in a better world as an evolved species - Homo Deus - Man who became God.

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Until we are too selfish to be a good God. We would very likely be evil.

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