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The Story of the Living Machine A Review of the Conclusions of Modern Biology in Regard to the Mechanism Which Controls the Phenomena of Living Activity   By: (1859-)

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THE STORY OF THE LIVING MACHINE

A REVIEW OF THE CONCLUSIONS OF MODERN BIOLOGY IN REGARD TO THE MECHANISM WHICH CONTROLS THE PHENOMENA OF LIVING ACTIVITY

BY

H.W. CONN

PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY IN WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

AUTHOR OF THE STORY OF GERM LIFE, EVOLUTION OF TO DAY, THE LIVING WORLD, ETC.

WITH FIFTY ILLUSTRATIONS

NEW YORK D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 1903

COPYRIGHT, 1899, By D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.

PREFACE.

That the living body is a machine is a statement that is frequently made without any very accurate idea as to what it means. On the one hand it is made with a belief that a strict comparison can be made between the body and an ordinary, artificial machine, and that living beings are thus reduced to simple mechanisms; on the other hand it is made loosely, without any special thought as to its significance, and certainly with no conception that it reduces life to a mechanism. The conclusion that the living body is a machine, involving as it does a mechanical conception of life, is one of most extreme philosophical importance, and no one interested in the philosophical conception of nature can fail to have an interest in this problem of the strict accuracy of the statement that the body is a machine. Doubtless the complete story of the living machine can not yet be told; but the studies of the last fifty years have brought us so far along the road toward its completion that a review of the progress made and a glance at the yet unexplored realms and unanswered questions will be profitable. For this purpose this work is designed, with the hope that it may give a clear idea of the trend of recent biological science and of the advances made toward the solution of the problem of life.

MIDDLETOWN, CONN., U.S.A.

October 1, 1898 .

CONTENTS.

PAGE

INTRODUCTION Biology a new science Historical biology Conservation of energy Evolution Cytology New aspects of biology The mechanical nature of living organisms Significance of the new biological problems Outline of the subject 1

PART I.

THE RUNNING OF THE LIVING MACHINE.

CHAPTER I.

IS THE BODY A MACHINE?

What is a machine? A general comparison of a body and a machine Details of the action of the machine Physical explanation of the chief vital functions The living body is a machine The living machine constructive as well as destructive The vital factor 19

CHAPTER II.

THE CELL AND PROTOPLASM.

Vital properties The discovery of cells The cell doctrine The cell The cellular structure of organisms The cell wall Protoplasm The reign of protoplasm The decline of the reign of protoplasm The structure of protoplasm The nucleus Centrosome Function of the nucleus Cell division or karyokinesis Fertilization of the egg The significance of fertilization What is protoplasm? Reaction against the cell doctrine Fundamental vital activities as located in cells Summary 54

PART II.

THE BUILDING OF THE LIVING MACHINE .

CHAPTER III.

THE FACTORS CONCERNED IN THE BUILDING OF THE LIVING MACHINE.

History of the living machine Evidence for this history Historical Embryological Anatomical Significance of these sources of history Forces at work in the building of the living machine Reproduction Heredity Variation Inheritance of variations Method of machine building Migration and isolation Direct influence of environment Consciousness Summary of Nature's power of building machines The origin of the cell machine General summary 131

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

FIGURE PAGE

Amoeba Polypodia in six successive stages of division Frontispiece

1. Figure illustrating osmosis 30

2... Continue reading book >>




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