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May 12, 2009 11:35 AM Subscribe
The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?
posted by thatwhichfalls (50 comments total)
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In the view of paleontologist Peter Ward
life on Earth is intrinsically poisonous.
His Medea hypothesis (TED lecture video
) argues, "the natural world is a doomsday device careening from one cataclysm to another. Long before humans came onto the scene, primitive life forms were busily trashing the planet, and on multiple occasions, Ward argues, they came close to rendering it lifeless. Around 3.7 billion years ago, they created a planet-girdling methane smog that threatened to extinguish every living thing; a little over a billion years later they pumped the atmosphere full of poison gas. (That gas, ironically, was oxygen, which later life forms adapted to use as fuel.)" (From Peak Energy
) and as such is the anti-Gaia