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PDF 1.38 MB
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/978-0-262-33027-5-ch023
Pages 90–97
First published 20 July 2015

The Circular Logic of Gaia: Fragility and Fallacies, Regulation and Proofs

Inman Harvey

Abstract

Gaia Theory makes controversial systems-level claims about how environmental factors on a planet tend to be regulated towards conditions favourable to biota. Daisyworld models show how such phenomena may arise, but their subtleties are often misunderstood. Here the core concept of Gaian regulation is shown in an ultra-minimalist model, and defined in terms of fragile hysteresis loops. Insights thus gained explain many fallacies and misunderstandings held by critics and advocates alike. Gaia Theory and Darwinian evolution are shown to be complementary not antagonistic. General results are proved for the inevitability of Gaian regulation at steady state in systems of arbitrary size and complexity under very broad conditions.