"On the morning of February 9, 1998—an unusually sunny winter day in London—the Royal Society welcomed Gaia followers arrived from different countries to attend the launching of Gaia, The Society for Research and Education in Earth System Science. The new society, based at the University of East London,* is co-presided by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. Speakers at the Gaia Society launching session were the above mentioned Sir Crispin Tickell, philosopher Mary Midgley, Tyler Volk (New York University), Chris Rapley (British Antarctic Survey Director, and former Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme), and Peter Liss (University of East Anglia, UK), not to mention Lovelock himself. Harvard Sociobiology Professor Edward O. Wilson, who was not able to travel to London, sent a video in which he expressed his best wishes to the new Society. In his speech, Lovelock told the audience he had decided to keep the Gaia name for his theory because people seemed to have eventually understood that Gaia was a metaphor which had nothing to do either with religion or with any kind of New Age cult. He uses Gaia just the same way Richard Dawkins has used the term “selfish gene” as a metaphor to refer to adaptive behaviors that include the sacrifice of individuals “for the sake of the species.” The main goal of the Gaia Society is to promote the study of the Earth as an inter-connected living system, by integrating knowledge from different scientific fields such as biology, geology, chemistry, physics and computer sciences." 
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Meeting the Biospheres: on the translations of Vernadsky's work, accessed April 29, 2009.