Elisabet Sahtouris

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Elisabet Sahtouris is a Greek-American evolutionary biologist and author known for promoting a radical version of the Gaia hypothesis.


Sahtouris is the author of a book titled Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution[1] which argues that the earth should be viewed as a living system. She was influenced by the Gaia hypothesis of James LovelockWikipedia and is critical of what she terms "mechanical science." She also rejects reductionism which she believes should be replaced with "holistic" science.[2][3]

According to Sahtouris life has always existed and that life can not come from "non-life". She has written that the entire cosmos is alive and a self-organizing living system. She has also proposed a more radical version of the Gaia hypothesis by claiming Gaia itself has consciousness and intelligence. Sahtouris also proposes a version of panpsychism where everything including all matter has consciousness. She also writes that cells have consciousness and can direct evolution.[4] According to Sahtouris:

What I see happening... is recognition of consciousness/intelligence at the molecular level creeping into microbiology just as the notion of Earth as alive (conscious and intelligent in its own right) is sneaking up on systems theorists in macrobiology. In my own opinion, the universe, like any living system, operates on conscious micro and macro levels at once. This is, of course, still pretty heretical, but I venture to say it will not be for long.[5]

In her book Biology Revisioned and more recent articles Sahtouris has advocated the concept of Autopoiesis (continuous self-creation) which she believes is the best way to define life as everything from "galaxies, stars, planets, organisms, cells and molecules" all fit this definition and that this implies that life is the fundamental process of the cosmos which is a "self-creating living whole with self-creating living components in co-creative interaction." She has also written that consciousness has existed before matter and that it is fundamental in the cosmos.[6]


Even though Sahtouris is a well qualified scientist, in some of her books she has attempted to mix spirituality and religious themes with biology, which opens her to claims of promoting pseudoscience.[7] She is often supported by New agers and advocates of "PaGaian Cosmology".[8][9] Advocates of "Green spirituality" and radical environmentalism also support her books.[10]

Sahtouris is also a feminist who believes that the Gaia earth is an "earth Goddess" and that many humans have become disconnected from it. She is a holist and believes all science should be based on a holistic outlook without any form of reductionism and blames recent western science for ignoring the holistic outlook of the ancients.[11][12]

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