The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry Into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter

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Macmillan, 1913 - Biochemistry - 317 pages
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Page 282 - Alike in the external and the internal worlds, the man of science sees himself in the midst of perpetual changes of which he can discover neither the beginning nor the end. If, tracing back the evolution of things, he allows himself to entertain the hypothesis that the universe once existed in a
Page 23 - La vie est donc un tourbillon plus ou moins rapide, plus ou moins compliqué, dont la direction est constante, et qui entraîne toujours des molécules de mêmes sortes, mais où les molécules individuelles entrent et d'où elles sortent continuellement, de manière que la forme du corps vivant lui est plus essentielle que la matière." ("Règne animal,
Page 273 - Therefore the fitness of the environment is both real and unique. In drawing this final conclusion I mean to assert the following propositions: — I. The fitness of the environment is one part of a reciprocal relationship of which the fitness of the organism is the other. This relationship is completely and perfectly reciprocal
Page 283 - form, he finds it utterly impossible to conceive how this came to be so; and equally, if he speculates on the future, he can assign no limit to the grand succession of phenomena ever unfolding themselves before
Page 280 - more unanswerable. There is but one immediate compensation for this complexity ; a proof that somehow, beneath adaptations, peculiar and unsuspected relationships exist between the properties of matter and the phenomena of life ; that the process of cosmic evolution is indissolubly linked with the fundamental characteristics of the organism; that logically, in some obscure
Page v - DARWINIAN fitness is compounded of a mutual relationship between the organism and the environment. Of this, fitness of environment is quite as essential a component as the fitness which arises in the process of organic evolution ; and in fundamental characteristics the actual environment is the fittest possible abode of life. Such is the thesis which the present volume seeks to establish.
Page 296 - tergo: it is given at the start as an impulsion, not placed at the end as an attraction. In communicating itself, the impetus splits up more and more. Life, in proportion to its progress, is scattered in manifestations which
Page 7 - The Law and Rate of the Passage of Aqueous Vapor through Air. 17. The Laws of Electricity; its relations to Air and Moisture. 18. The Fluidity, Density, and Elasticity of the Air, by means of which its vibrations produce Sound. ' 19. The Fluidity, Density, and Elasticity of the Ether, by means of which its vibrations produce Light.
Page 313 - containing in its full description the necessity of passing over into the next. Nowhere will there be, for descriptive science, any genuine novelty or any discontinuity admissible. But look at the whole appreciatively, historically, synthetically, as a musician listens to a symphony, as a spectator watches a drama. Now you shall seem to have seen, in phenomenal form, a
Page 295 - So we come back, by a somewhat roundabout way, to the idea we started from, that of an original impetus of life, passing from one generation of germs to the following generation of germs through the developed organisms which bridge the interval between the generations. This impetus, sustained right along the lines of evolution among which it gets divided, is the fundamental cause of variations, at least

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