Daisyworld

Lovelock and his collaborators' greatest effort to counter the teleological criticism and show that undirected negative feedback can result in homeostatic regulation came in the form of a computer model, Daisyworld (Figure 2). In the first and simplest version of the model, the imaginary planet Daisyworld has only one species of plant, white daisies. It has soil that is darker than the daisies. The star of this planet grows more and more luminous as we believe our sun to have done during the early history of the Earth. The relative abundance of daisies versus soil controls the

Daisy physiological optimum

Daisy physiological optimum

Figure 2 The Daisyworld computer model.

Figure 2 The Daisyworld computer model.

temperature environment of the planet. The daisies have a physiological temperature window within which they are viable and reproductive. Using very simple rules, the differential albedos of soil and daisies combine to enable Daisyworld to remain habitable even as its sun is growing brighter. Of course, later versions of the model have added more biological variables and more complex physics of the environment, but the essence of the demonstration remains the same.

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