It seems like a ludicrous thought because we have considered the earth to be an object of scientific examination. It's like using a live human to learn about how the body functions but believing it is actually inert. You have to be an idiot to not accept that our actions on this planet do have effects and many of them are quite drastic. Is it so far a stretch to think that we have been treating something as an object unwittingly? People talk about Native American graveyards and such things being haunted. Could it be that maybe the earth actually had emotions and is saddened by humanities blindness and repetition of the same atrocities?
You might argue that things like rain are just how this rock functions because that's what we've observed and can't possibly imagine it working any other way. This is about as ignorant as denouncing the concept of the telephone because at that moment it was something no one had a context for. It's understandable, but highly unimaginative - destined to only retard growth and therefor happiness.