View Article PDF

Excerpt from an Editorial published in NZMJ 1913;12(46):434-436.The consideration of this sublime theme was in the minds of many people last year mainly as the result of an address delivered before the British Association by Professor Schafer, who is probably the greatest physiologist of the present day. Many of his views have been put forward by Huxley, Tyndall and Ray Lankester, but it is evident that less heed is paid now to the confident opinions of materialists than formerly, and the denial of scientific dogmas is now the work of scientists. Science was supposed to rest at one time on a foundation of experimental proof, but it is now a compound of fact and fancies.The Atomic Theory was once part of the scientific gospel, but has become largely discredited, and it seems unsafe to pay too much heed to the speculations of science because what is proved to-day is often disproved to-morrow. The scientists are doing now what they used to attribute to the theologians, and the value of scientific fact has undoubtedly depreciated.Professor Schafer believes that there is no hard and fast line to be drawn between living and lifeless matter. He sees little difference in the movements of an amoeba, an oil globule and a crystal. It would indeed be strange to find no similarity in the actions of organic and inorganic matter, seeing that we believe that the Universe is governed by Law. We are compelled to believe, he said, that life is a product of evolution from non-living matter. Further, he added, we are compelled to accept the conclusion that its evolution from lifeless matter is possible in the present and the future. All experiments have shown that life cannot arise from non-living matter, and the conclusion based on these experiments seemed to stand as firm as a rock. A plain man cannot understand from Professor Schafers address whether abiogenesis is to be considered true or false. It appears to be quite evident, however, that the artificial production of living matter in our laboratories, if it were in fact instead of a scientific aspiration, would not necessarily carry with it the acceptance of a materialistic view the Universe.It is amazing to read the professors view that the melancholy that hovers bat-like over the termination of our lives may be dispelled when men have learned to regard the change as a simple physiological culmination of life. Even people whose faith is well grounded in a happy future existence do entirely the fear of death, and this being so, they are not likely to be influenced by Professor Schafers paraphrase of it is appointed unto men to reach the simple physiological culmination of life! Professor Schafer things highly of the potentiality of life that may reside in a colloidal substance. He seems still to have in his mind visions of the gelatinous mud called by Huxley Bathybius Haecklii, and hailed him as the promise and potency of all organic existence. The putative father of mankind, on further investigation, was found to be nothing but mud. How are the mighty fallen! Haeckel was wrong with Bathybius. May he not be equally astray in his Monistic theories, to which apparently Schaefer lends the weight of his support.Some of the professed scientific doctrines to the present day require a very large amount of faith for their acceptance, and are not very unlike Hamlets suggestion that the sun breeds maggots from a dead dog.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

Excerpt from an Editorial published in NZMJ 1913;12(46):434-436.The consideration of this sublime theme was in the minds of many people last year mainly as the result of an address delivered before the British Association by Professor Schafer, who is probably the greatest physiologist of the present day. Many of his views have been put forward by Huxley, Tyndall and Ray Lankester, but it is evident that less heed is paid now to the confident opinions of materialists than formerly, and the denial of scientific dogmas is now the work of scientists. Science was supposed to rest at one time on a foundation of experimental proof, but it is now a compound of fact and fancies.The Atomic Theory was once part of the scientific gospel, but has become largely discredited, and it seems unsafe to pay too much heed to the speculations of science because what is proved to-day is often disproved to-morrow. The scientists are doing now what they used to attribute to the theologians, and the value of scientific fact has undoubtedly depreciated.Professor Schafer believes that there is no hard and fast line to be drawn between living and lifeless matter. He sees little difference in the movements of an amoeba, an oil globule and a crystal. It would indeed be strange to find no similarity in the actions of organic and inorganic matter, seeing that we believe that the Universe is governed by Law. We are compelled to believe, he said, that life is a product of evolution from non-living matter. Further, he added, we are compelled to accept the conclusion that its evolution from lifeless matter is possible in the present and the future. All experiments have shown that life cannot arise from non-living matter, and the conclusion based on these experiments seemed to stand as firm as a rock. A plain man cannot understand from Professor Schafers address whether abiogenesis is to be considered true or false. It appears to be quite evident, however, that the artificial production of living matter in our laboratories, if it were in fact instead of a scientific aspiration, would not necessarily carry with it the acceptance of a materialistic view the Universe.It is amazing to read the professors view that the melancholy that hovers bat-like over the termination of our lives may be dispelled when men have learned to regard the change as a simple physiological culmination of life. Even people whose faith is well grounded in a happy future existence do entirely the fear of death, and this being so, they are not likely to be influenced by Professor Schafers paraphrase of it is appointed unto men to reach the simple physiological culmination of life! Professor Schafer things highly of the potentiality of life that may reside in a colloidal substance. He seems still to have in his mind visions of the gelatinous mud called by Huxley Bathybius Haecklii, and hailed him as the promise and potency of all organic existence. The putative father of mankind, on further investigation, was found to be nothing but mud. How are the mighty fallen! Haeckel was wrong with Bathybius. May he not be equally astray in his Monistic theories, to which apparently Schaefer lends the weight of his support.Some of the professed scientific doctrines to the present day require a very large amount of faith for their acceptance, and are not very unlike Hamlets suggestion that the sun breeds maggots from a dead dog.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

Excerpt from an Editorial published in NZMJ 1913;12(46):434-436.The consideration of this sublime theme was in the minds of many people last year mainly as the result of an address delivered before the British Association by Professor Schafer, who is probably the greatest physiologist of the present day. Many of his views have been put forward by Huxley, Tyndall and Ray Lankester, but it is evident that less heed is paid now to the confident opinions of materialists than formerly, and the denial of scientific dogmas is now the work of scientists. Science was supposed to rest at one time on a foundation of experimental proof, but it is now a compound of fact and fancies.The Atomic Theory was once part of the scientific gospel, but has become largely discredited, and it seems unsafe to pay too much heed to the speculations of science because what is proved to-day is often disproved to-morrow. The scientists are doing now what they used to attribute to the theologians, and the value of scientific fact has undoubtedly depreciated.Professor Schafer believes that there is no hard and fast line to be drawn between living and lifeless matter. He sees little difference in the movements of an amoeba, an oil globule and a crystal. It would indeed be strange to find no similarity in the actions of organic and inorganic matter, seeing that we believe that the Universe is governed by Law. We are compelled to believe, he said, that life is a product of evolution from non-living matter. Further, he added, we are compelled to accept the conclusion that its evolution from lifeless matter is possible in the present and the future. All experiments have shown that life cannot arise from non-living matter, and the conclusion based on these experiments seemed to stand as firm as a rock. A plain man cannot understand from Professor Schafers address whether abiogenesis is to be considered true or false. It appears to be quite evident, however, that the artificial production of living matter in our laboratories, if it were in fact instead of a scientific aspiration, would not necessarily carry with it the acceptance of a materialistic view the Universe.It is amazing to read the professors view that the melancholy that hovers bat-like over the termination of our lives may be dispelled when men have learned to regard the change as a simple physiological culmination of life. Even people whose faith is well grounded in a happy future existence do entirely the fear of death, and this being so, they are not likely to be influenced by Professor Schafers paraphrase of it is appointed unto men to reach the simple physiological culmination of life! Professor Schafer things highly of the potentiality of life that may reside in a colloidal substance. He seems still to have in his mind visions of the gelatinous mud called by Huxley Bathybius Haecklii, and hailed him as the promise and potency of all organic existence. The putative father of mankind, on further investigation, was found to be nothing but mud. How are the mighty fallen! Haeckel was wrong with Bathybius. May he not be equally astray in his Monistic theories, to which apparently Schaefer lends the weight of his support.Some of the professed scientific doctrines to the present day require a very large amount of faith for their acceptance, and are not very unlike Hamlets suggestion that the sun breeds maggots from a dead dog.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

Subscriber Content

The full contents of this pages only available to subscribers.

LOGINSUBSCRIBE