[From a colleague in the UK:] The current issue of the British Ecological Society Bulletin has a special feature on Gaia. It appears that James Lovelock was made an Honorary Member of the B.E.S. in 2005, and the Gaia hypothesis is his “most significant contribution to ecology”.
Apparently, the Gaia hypothesis posits that the earth’s ecosystem has improbable stability, and this is increasingly being accepted as a fact by ecologists.
In particular it points to processes like these:
- animals secrete nitrogenous waste as urea rather than nitrogen to help other species use the waste product;
- phytoplankton in the oceans secrete dimethysulphide, a costly gas which is important for cloud formation;
- the balance of photosynthesis releasing oxygen and taking in carbon dioxide, and respiration taking in oxygen and relaesing carbon dioxide;
- density-dependent regulation of populations.
Such processes, however,Ã‚Â might make a better case for ID than for the Gaia hypothesis. One reason the Gaia hypothesis was rejected intially by the scientific community is that it appeared inconsistent with Darwinian evolution.
Has anyone here interacted with the proponents of Gaia?Ã‚Â Is thereÃ‚Â any mileage in an “irreducible ecosystems” argument for ID?