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Revolutions that made the Earth$
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Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587049

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587049.001.0001

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Playing Gaia

Playing Gaia

(p.104) 7 Playing Gaia
Revolutions that made the Earth

Tim Lenton

Andrew Watson

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the central premise of Jim Lovelock's Gaia theory, according to which the Earth self-regulates in a habitable state, and your task is to create such a planetary scale self-regulating system. This concept has been presented here as a game so that it can be explored how likely or unlikely it is that once life is introduced to a planet, regulation will emerge. To make a convincing case either way, we need to find a way around the problem that we have a sample size of only one Earth. Hence we have introduced planet Ocean as an additional, ‘virtual world’. Recent research has increased the sample size further by simulating many virtual worlds, seeding them with ‘artificial life’ forms, and seeing how things turn out.

Keywords:   self-regulating system, Jim Lovelock, Gaia theory, planet Ocean, virtual world

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