New Age Science and the Gaia Hypothesis

QUESTION: New Age Science – The Gaia Hypothesis


Another aspect of New Age science is called the Gaia Hypothesis. The public was introduced to the Gaia Hypothesis in 1979 with the publication of James E. Lovelock’s Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. His thesis was that “taken as a whole, the planet behaves not as an inanimate sphere of rock and soil...but more as a biological superorganism—a planetary body—that adjusts and regulates itself.”1

The idea that all living things and planetary systems comprise a symbiotic global network is a radical departure from orthodox evolutionary thought since it undermines the central Darwinian tenet of survival of the fittest. Instead of competition and struggle for survival, the Gaia Hypothesis emphasizes the cooperative spirit of the entire biosphere. Lovelock suggests that the earth is not a “dead” habitat that happens to support life, but is itself a living, integrated system of soil, oceans, wind, and living things working together in harmony for the good of the whole.

New Age Science – The Living Planet
The Gaia Hypothesis visualizes the planet as a self-regulating system, implying a purpose behind it all. This, too, runs counter to Darwinian evolution’s insistence that life is a result of chance rather than purpose.

Loveland drew the name “Gaia” from the ancient Greek goddess of the earth. Although he considers himself a “positive agnostic” and has tried to distance his theory from any religious connotations, Cosmic Humanists immediately promoted the theory as the scientific basis for their worldview. The idea that the planet is a living system fits hand-in-glove with New Age theological pantheism and philosophical non-naturalism.

Gaia is also the foundation for the modern ecological movement, as well as the more radical offshoots of deep ecology and ecofeminism. Many ecologists point out that since we are seeing signs of ecological imbalance, we should listen to our Mother (Earth) and change our ways. Saving the planet is more than a moral imperative—it is our destiny.


Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Cited in John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998), 287.

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