Letter: A feverish world
A couple of British scientists years ago proposed what they called “the Gaia Hypothesis,” named after Gaia the Greek goddess of the Earth.
Its claims can be simplified to the proposition that the physical earth and its living creatures interact in order to promote a healthy, self-sustaining biosphere. In a way, Earth is said to function as a single organism, acting to maintain balance. The Gaia hypothesis was criticized by many scientists for a lack of rigor, by many Christians as pagan and blasphemous, and by people in general as being way too crunchy new-agey.
Reflecting on Gaia led me to ask, as scientists, philosophers and children always have: “What if?” What if there is the germ of truth to the hypothesis? What if the entire planet has been raising its temperature – just as any mammal or bird does – as a fever reaction to combat a disease-causing organism? And what if the cause of disease is . . . us?