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Gaia preys on Michael Crichton

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  • Mike Doran
    From Michael Crichton in his introduction to PREY: The notion that the world around us is continuously evolving is a platitude; we rarely grasp its full
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2003
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      From Michael Crichton in his introduction to PREY:

      The notion that the world around us is continuously evolving is a
      platitude; we rarely grasp its full implications. We do not
      ordinariliy think, for example, of an epidemic disease changing its
      character as the empidemic spreads. Nor do we think of evolution in
      the plants and animals as occurring ina matter of days or weeks,
      though it does. And we do not ordinarily imagine the green world
      around us as a scene of constant, sophisticated chemical warfare,
      with plaints producing pesticides in response to attack and insects
      developing resistance. But that is what happens, too.

      If we were to grasp the true nature of nature--if we could comprehend
      the real meaning of evolution--then we would envision a world in
      which every living plant, insect, an animal species is changing at
      every instant, in response to every other living plant, insect, and
      animal. Whole populations of organisms are rising and falling,
      shifting and changing. The restless and perpetual changes, as
      inexorbable and unstoppable as the waves and tides, implies a world
      in which all human actions necessarily have uncertain effects. The
      total system that we call the biosphere is so complicated that we
      cannot know in advance the consequences of anything that we do.

      That is why even our most enlighted past efforts have had undesriable
      outcomes--either because we did not understand enough, or because the
      ever-changing world responded to our actions in unexpected ways. From
      this standpoint, the history of environmental protection is as
      discouraging as the history of environmental pollution. Anyone who is
      willing argue, for example, that the industrial policy of clear-
      cutting forrests is more damaing than the ecological policy of fire
      suppression ignores the fact that both policies have been carried out
      with utter convection, and both hav altered the virgin forest
      irrevocably. Both provide ample evidence of the obstinate egotims
      that is the hallmark of human interaction with the environment.


      Enter Gaia

      Crichton early claim to success was a book called THE ANDRAMADA
      STRAIN, a story of a virus that caused the complete die off of
      humans. Little did he understand then the ongoing selective pressure
      of chaotic inputs to climate and early pre-cellular Gaia's meaning--
      what a virus actually IS. That is, a virus has a specific cirrus
      cloud heat trapping meaning, by its wieght and electrical charge, and
      the multi-cellular life below, had a specific electrical/conductivity
      meaning to the oceans, by which the virus could not modulate, and
      between these two gaia survives as an ENTITY. Therefore, an Andramada
      Strain is an impossibility. Crichtons grasp, from the start, was
      wrong and his fears and nightmares--misplaced.

      His latest work examines the ecological consequences of nucleotide
      manipulations, but fails to grasp what is the the ultimate source of
      what the context of early nucleotides was--a planet without any
      living chemicals except the self replicating nucleotides in cirrus
      clouds-and all of that in the context of a less lumenous sun. As the
      biosphere has evolved as a global entity with much greater complexity
      than simple nucleotides, the fear of a man made nucleotide ecological
      disaster is flat wrong. The problem is bigger--it is global.
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