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 280 - Alike in the external and the internal worlds, he 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...
Page 3 - On the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation...
Page 312 - The properties of matter and the course of cosmic evolution are now seen to be intimately related to the structure of the living being and to its activities; they become, therefore, far more important in biology than has been previously suspected.
Page 275 - But as my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position — namely, at the close of the Introduction — the following words : " I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification.
Page 3 - Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation; illustrating such work by all reasonable arguments, as for instance the variety and formation of God's creatures in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms; the effect of digestion, and thereby of conversion; the construction of the hand of man, and an infinite variety of other arguments; as also by discoveries ancient and modern, in arts, sciences, and the whole extent of literature.
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 of the fitness which arises in the process of organic evolution; and in fundamental characteristics the actual environment is the fittest possible abode for life.
Page 294 - This impetus, sustained right along the lines of evolution among which it gets divided, is the fundamental cause of variations, at least of those that are regularly passed on, that accumulate and create new species.
Page 18 - Monism itself is postulated chiefly upon the two greatest discoveries of the nineteenth century — the law of the conservation of energy, and the law of the evolution of species.
Page 276 - There is, in truth, not one chance in countless millions of millions that the many unique properties of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and especially of their stable compounds water and carbonic acid, which chiefly make up the atmosphere of a new planet, should simultaneously occur in the three elements otherwise than through the operation of a natural law which somehow connects them together.
Page 272 - No other environment consisting of primary constituents made up of other known elements, or lacking water and carbonic acid, could possess a like number of fit characteristics or such highly fit characteristics, or in any manner such great fitness to promote complexity, durability, and active metabolism in the organic mechanism which we call life. It must not be forgotten that the possibility of such conclusions depends upon the universal character of physics and chemistry. Out of the properties...

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