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Is Gaia a Superorganism? No, she is a holobiont!

A few days ago, I was discussing with a friend and he used the term "superorganism" for Gaia as the Earth Goddess. When I said that Gaia is not a superorganism but a holobiont, he asked me, "but what is a holobiont, exactly?" I thought about that for a while, and then I said, "a holobiont is a democracy, a superorganism is a dictatorship."If you have a friend who is a biologist, try to tell her that Gaia is a superorganism. Likely, she won't be happy and, even if she won't attack you physically, she will at least ask you, venomously, "And so, tell me, good sir, how could natural selection have generated this -- ahem-- 'Gaia' of yours? You tell me that there is only one Gaia on this planet and so, in order to evolve, did perhaps different planetary ecosystems in the galaxy competed with each other?" I am not inventing this, it is the scathing criticism of the Gaia theory that Richard Dawkins produced in his book, "The Extended Phenotype" (1982).Given a certain interpretation of Darwin's idea, Dawkins' position is logical and even unavoidable. There is just one problem: the common interpretation of Darwin's theory is wrong.Don't misunderstand me: Darwin was one of the greatest scientific geniuses in history. But we need to take into account that he was working on limited data and with limited tools. He himself could never decide exactly between two concepts that he used interchangeably: "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." They are not the same thing, not [More]

Is Gaia a Superorganism? No, she is something completely different

A few days ago, I was discussing with a friend and he used the term "superorganism" for Gaia as the Earth Goddess. When I said that Gaia is not a superorganism but a holobiont, he asked me, "but what is a holobiont, exactly?" I thought about that for a while, and then I said, "a holobiont is a democracy, a superorganism is a dictatorship."If you have a friend who is a biologist, try to tell her that Gaia is a superorganism. Likely, she won't be happy and, even if she won't attack you physically, she will at least ask you, venomously, "And so, tell me, good sir, how could natural selection have generated this -- ahem-- 'Gaia' of yours? You tell me that there is only one Gaia on this planet and so, in order to evolve, did perhaps different planetary ecosystems in the galaxy competed with each other?" I am not inventing this, it is the scathing criticism of the Gaia theory that Richard Dawkins produced in his book, "The Extended Phenotype" (1982).Given a certain interpretation of Darwin's idea, Dawkins' position is logical and even unavoidable. There is just one problem: the common interpretation of Darwin's theory is wrong.Don't misunderstand me: Darwin was one of the greatest scientific geniuses in history. But we need to take into account that he was working on limited data and with limited tools. He himself could never decide exactly between two concepts that he used interchangeably: "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." They are not the same thing, not [More]

Gaia is with us. Onward, fellow holobionts!

A few days ago, I was discussing with a friend and he used the term "superorganism" for Gaia as the Earth Goddess. When I said that Gaia is not a superorganism but a holobiont, he asked me, "but what is a holobiont, exactly?" I thought about that for a while, and then I said, "a holobiont is a democracy, a superorganism is a dictatorship."If you have a friend who is a biologist, try to tell her that Gaia is a superorganism. Likely, she won't be happy and, even if she won't attack you physically, she will at least ask you, venomously, "And so, tell me, good sir, how could natural selection have generated this -- ahem-- 'Gaia' of yours? You tell me that there is only one Gaia on this planet and so, in order to evolve, did perhaps different planetary ecosystems in the galaxy competed with each other?" I am not inventing this, it is the scathing criticism of the Gaia theory that Richard Dawkins produced in his book, "The Extended Phenotype" (1982).Given a certain interpretation of Darwin's idea, Dawkins' position is logical and even unavoidable. There is just one problem: the current interpretation of Darwin's theory is wrong.Don't misunderstand me: Darwin was one of the greatest scientific geniuses in history. But we need to take into account that he was working on limited data and with limited tools. He himself could never decide exactly between two concepts that he used interchangeably: "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." They are not the same thing, not [More]

Gaia is one of us. Onward, fellow holobionts!

A few days ago, I was discussing with a friend and he used the term "superorganism" for Gaia as the Earth Goddess. When I said that Gaia is not a superorganism but a holobiont, he asked me, "but what is a holobiont, exactly?" I thought about that for a while, and then I said, "a holobiont is a democracy, a superorganism is a dictatorship."If you have a friend who is a biologist, try to tell her that Gaia is a superorganism. Likely, she won't be happy and, even if she won't attack you physically, she will at least ask you - venomously enough - something like: "And so, tell me, good sir, how could natural selection have generated this -- ahem-- 'Gaia' of yours? You tell me that there is only one Gaia on this planet and so, in order to evolve, did perhaps different planetary ecosystems in the galaxy compete with each other?" I am not inventing this, it is the scathing criticism of the Gaia theory that Richard Dawkins produced in his book, "The Extended Phenotype" (1982).Given a certain interpretation of Darwin's idea, Dawkins' position is logical and even unavoidable. There is just one problem: the current interpretation of Darwin's theory is wrong.Don't misunderstand me: Darwin was one of the greatest scientific geniuses in history, but we need to take into account that he was working on limited data and with limited tools. He himself could never decide exactly between two concepts that he used interchangeably: "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." They are not [More]

Interview with Alvin Plantinga on Where the Conflict Really Lies

This month, Dr. Plantinga has released a new book taking on the claim that religion and science are incompatible. His book, Where the Conflict Really Lies, is sure to generate a lot of discussion and be the subject of much debate. I was fortunate to spend some time with him recently and talked about his book and how he thinks about this supposed conflict. [More]

Plantinga and the Debate Between Science and Religion

This podcast is a recording that was made in August of 2007 at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church in Seattle Washington. The speaker is Dr. Alvin Plantinga and the title of the talk is
“Religion and Science: Why does the Debate Continue?” This 2007 lecture is of particular interest because this month Dr. Plantinga has released a new book taking on the claim that religion and science are incompatible. His book, Where the Conflict Really Lies, is sure to generate a lot of discussion and be the subject of much debate. [More]

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