The Gaia hypothesis' central theme is that biological processes homeostatically maintain, on a planetary scale, geochemical and climatic conditions favorable for life. A number of distinct hypotheses have been proposed, spanning a range from the self-evident to the highly speculative. The self-evident forms of Gaia reiterate the well-documented fact that biological processes are critical to biogeochemical cycles, adding the straightforward (though important) point that the coupling between biotic and physical processes should create feedback loops. The speculative forms of Gaia assert that biological processes regulate the physical environment, keeping Earth's climate and surface geochemistry stable and favorable for life. As metaphors, these versions of Gaia are intriguing, untestable, and, if taken literally as a basis for research, potentially misleading. As hypotheses, they are ill-defined, unparsimonious, and unfalsifiable.