Fermi’s Paradox: Gaia, life begets life

In my continuing pursuit of Fermi’s Paradox, we have yet another theory: The Gaia Hypothesis.

As simply as I can… The early formation and saturation of microbial life on Earth allowed for the stabilization of the conditions that supported life. Life begat life. Without life assisting in the stabilization of the carbon cycle, the atmospheric conditions would have swung to extremes. Extremes which, like Mars and Venus, too cold or too hot, would have extinguished life.

If microbial life doesn’t form quickly enough, stick around long enough, and permeate the ecosphere then any planet (in the Goldilocks zone) will drift into uninhabitable conditions. Biological life has had 3.8 billion years to transform the planet’s surface. And it has. Without early life, the theory goes, Earth would have succumbed to runaway greenhouse conditions like Venus, boiling off its water, rendering it inhospitable. Or, would have froze up—permanently, like Mars.

Now, I have trouble with this theory as it ignores the impact of the other features that, among many others, are unique to Earth, namely, a massive Moon, active tectonic plates and just enough radiation to retain the perfect balance of volcanism and carbon weathering and biotic sequestration. But, it cannot be denied that early life DID have an impact and DID assist in the creation of conditions ripe for multicellular life’s burgeoning explosion in the last 600 million years or so.

(Besides, if it weren’t for the Carboniferous period and the surrounding ±50 millions years, the gigatons of carbon (coal and crude oil) would never have been deposited and made available to humans for exploitation. This is yet another future series topic that we’ll explore regarding Fermi’s Paradox.)

The Gaian Bottleneck, as it’s called, undoubtedly had an impact. Is it the sole reason for the dearth of aliens we expect to see in the night sky? No. But it can be added to the coin-flip probability equation we’ve been building. 2^70 Unique.

ET, where for art thou?


24 thoughts on “Fermi’s Paradox: Gaia, life begets life

  1. Love this whole topic. I’ve also concluded that PH IS Alan Watts! The universe IS vibration and music and dance! During my withdrawal phase, which I’m in now…I’m believe (although I could be wrong) that I am growing a thicker skin and opening my mind to his incessant blathering…uh, criticism. Telsa has proved the EV concept to be a profitable one, so if you want to hook a ride on “the next Tesla” send me an email. You deserve to be free of pounding your head against RUST and NOT have another heart attack. Imagine if you were free to write as you will…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s all vibration, resonance, harmony, dissonance. Plug a 6 in the bass and Gmaj7 becomes Em9. One note from its own scale turns happy into pensive. Why does the body respond differently to various musical keys? Why is Eb major considered “The key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God”? Why is the key of C (no sharps or flats “all the white keys are go”) considered “Completely pure. Innocence, simplicity, naivete, children’s talk”?
      Because of the way they resonate, not some manmade rule. Music makes us “feel” based on the old hippie concept of vibe. Our words are the same. Simple, pure, childish – anxiety, despair, dense, insurmountable… Which is why it’s important not to simply flail away, blindly banging on the keys, the strings, the page, tossing junk into the cosmic stream.
      Carry on. Or is that carrion? Are we dead yet?

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Some people watch porn. Some play music. Some commune with vacuum cleaners. Some memorize sports statistics. Others seek things waaaaaaay down the rabbit hole. Is it not possible in all this that orbits shift, things collide, catastrophic changes occur that obviate the generalizations? What if we’re the aliens? Martians? What about the Krell? What if Martians seeded this place with what they knew would work as their planet got colder? Like a very long time ago?
    Personally the dinosaurs and swamp grass could have turned into something non combustible so we could skipped the whole petrochemical era.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. … And if we’d not had fossil fuels to launch the industrial revolution, would it have ever materialized? I think not. Critical mass of humanity is the key there.
      But of course, I have lots of rabbit holes. This one only takes a few brain cycles every now and then.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Necessity being the Mother of Invention, we’d a thunk a something, wouldn’t we? Political power and money is why cars 120 years went gas instead of electric, and why the electric range hasn’t improved much in the meantime. Steam without coal? Maybe. Hydroelectric, pushing hard for real batteries or a better storage device? Cow fart methane capture? Some dude lights a fart around the campfire, designs a methane combustion engine? Maybe everybody would’ve gotten out of Tesla’s way?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. We are definitely the aliens. Everything else on this planet lives within and as part of the ecosystem. We destroy it to survive. Meanwhile, we’re suddenly discovering thousands of planets capable of sustaining life. Yea think big money is planning to escape this planet to do it all over again? The evidence is mounting…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pope Francis will be shedding tears over the fact that you have shot down James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis (which is the basis of his incredibly bad theology and philosophy).

    All I can say is it couldn’t happen to a bigger jackass.

    So thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There’s also the Silicate/carbonate cycle of weathering/sequestration/emergence. This was already in place and is still in place and although I believe early life filtered the oceans of toxic metals (including none-toxic ones like gold, silver, platinum and paladium, etc.) I’d have to say that the Gaia Theory had a reduced but important place in our history.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The Pope merely reiterated what Native Americans and “indigenous” peoples around the world have held as truth for thousands of years. To be in touch with the natural world. The Navajo refer to it as walking in beauty. He also said that Nature does not forgive. It might be added nature does not apologize. Seems far more reasonable to me than for a religious leader to blame it on God punishing the fornicators, shifting or missing pronouns, western materialism, etc. granted, Popes shouldn’t be opining on science any more than actors or preachers on politics. But it beats hell out of a diety infused dose of manmade dogmatic guilt.

      Liked by 1 person

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