Monday, January 19, 2015

The Scientific Rejection of Vitalism (continued):

[to return to the main document, click here, http://naturocrit.blogspot.com/]
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Mader, S.S. (PhD ?) states:
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[in "Biology: Critical Thinking Activities - Chapter 4 - 6e" (2015)]
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"question 1. When living tissues are viewed through the microscope, the cells reveal complex internal movements that amazed the early microscopists. 'Vitalism' is the belief that some additional vital force is necessary to explain life and this movement of chemical inside cells. Why are modern biologists, who see these complex cells every day, not vitalists?";
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Maienschein, J. (? ?), Ruse, M. (? ?) state:
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[in "Biology and the Foundations of Ethics" (1999)]
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"unlike Bergson, Huxley realized that naked vitalism could never pass as genuine science [...stating] 'Bergson's elan vital can serve as a symbolic description of the trust of life during its evolution, but not as a scientific explanation [...seeing Bergson as] a good poet but a bad scientist' [p.202]";
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(ISBN 0521559235)
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Manheim, F.T. (? ?) states:
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[in "The Conflict Over Environmental Regulation in the United States: Origins, Outcomes, and Comparisons With the EU and Other Regions" (2009)]
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"in 1828 [...] Wohler [...] demolished the 'vitalism' theory [p.186]";
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(ISBN 0387758763)
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Mantle, F. (? ?) states:
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[in "Complementary and Alternative Medicine For Child and Adolescent Care" (2004)]
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"vitalism.  Ancient medical systems such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine and, more recently, homeopathy all aim to augment the natural healing process, restoring and maintaining health by ensuring the balance and flow of the body's vital energyVitalism is a key concept behind the healing power of CAM. This idea of a vital force [p.005...] that there was more to human beings than a collection of biological system and that some sort of life force was responsible for differentiating humans from inorganic matter [...] by the end of the 19th century [...] the concept of a 'vital force' was [scientifically!] discredited.  The idea left mainstream medicine, but it has always been and remains an integral part of alternative forms of healing [...] the balance and flow of this energy is seen as vital for restoring and maintaining health  [p.006]";
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(ISBN 075065175X)
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Margulis, L. (? ?), Sagan, D. (? ?) states:
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[in “What is Life?” (2000)]
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“indeed, the 'aperiodic crystal' that Schrodinger had predicted was uncannily similar to the double helix first described by the English chemist Francis Crick and American whiz kid James D. Watson. Replication was no longer beholden to a mysterious 'vital principle'; it was the straightforward result of interacting molecules [p.007...] life is less mechanistic than we have been taught to believe; yet, since it disobeys no chemical or physical law, it is not vitalistic [p.217]”;
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(ISBN 0520220218)
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Marshall, I. (? ?), Zohar, D. (? ?) state:
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[in "Whose Afraid of Schrödinger's Cat?..." (1998)]
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"scientific belief in atoms and mechanical forces, which replaced the earlier vitalism [p.016...] vitalism was a rearguard action proposing that such capacities [...as] growth and repair, reproduction and instinct [...] resided not in the mechanical body but in some special vital force. But the mechanical view of the body won the day, and scientists sought models that could accurately describe it [p.018...a directing thus teleological] underlying life force or vitalism [...versus] improvements in the plant and animal kingdoms [which] occur by chance [p.213...] teleology was soon discounted [...yet] for a time it lingered on in vitalism, which held that living systems contain an inner life force and a directedness [...per a] teleology [that] suggested that life moves toward predetermined goals [...aspects] that can never be reduced to purely mechanistic explanations [...versus] Darwin's theory [which ]argued that evolution is a chance matter [p.350...] vitalism. Is life the result of molecular processes, or is a hidden 'life force' at work? Vitalism [...] argued that a rive to life lies behind all biological systems [...per] Hegel [...and] world soul [...] Bergson [...p.379 and] elan vital [...with Bergson arguing that] evolution [...] is creative rather than mechanistic [...] in biology these ideas become the basis of vitalism, which held that the essence of biological systems cannot be reduced to a collection of molecules and their reactions [...per] the life force, or elan vital [...] according to vitalism, the life force acts on inanimate matter to create life [...] vitalism was an account of evolution alternative to that of Darwin [...per] vitalism and Lamark's notions of evolutionary advance [...] vitalism held that since life is governed by nonmechanistic [p.380] principles, its essential processes cannot be reduced to laboratory measurements [...] Helmholtz demonstrated that, on the contrary, a wide variety of processes [...] could all be measured and studied in the laboratory [...] today, vitalism has been largely discredited in the biological sciences [...per] Occam's razor dictates that scientific theories should not contain unnecessary assumptions, no matter how seductive [...] biological functions all seem to be explainable in terms of molecular reactions [...therefore] there is no need to invoke the assumption of a life force [...yet] echoes of vitalism occur in many branches of yoga, acupuncture, and alternative medicine in general [p.381]";
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(ISBN 0688161073)
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Mauseth, J.D. (? ?) states:
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[in "Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology" (2011, 4th ed.)]
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 "Louis Pasteur proved definitevely that spontaneious generation does not occur and that there is no such thing as 'vital force' [p.015...] a problem that impeded study of plants and animals was the belief that living creatures contain a vital force [...] it was believed that when an organism died and decayed, its vital force passed into the soil [...] the concept of the existence of vital force [p.306...] it was believed that the vital force of dead plants and animals [...] the vital force of a dead animal was believed [...] in the late 1800s, Louis Pasteur proved that no vital force exists [...] at approximately the same time, the first artificial synthesis of a biological compound, urea, proved that vital force was unnecessary in the construction of the material of protoplasm [...] the 1800s were exciting times [...] the study of metabolism became a science based completely on chemistry, physics and mathematics; metaphysics and mysticism were eliminated [p.307]";
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(ISBN 1449647200 9781449647209)
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Maxwell, M. (? ?) states:
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[in "Human Evolution: A Philosophical Anthropology" (1984)]
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"vitalism [...is] usually associated with the idea that there is some extra spiritual force injected into each organism, one which presumably goes back into the ether when the organism dies. To support this theory, some philosophers have had to resort to the notion of panpsychism [...i.e.] de Chardin postulated a vital quality of all living things [...that] there is a force, somewhat like love and somewhat like intellect [...] which guides evolution along toward its 'omega point' [...] this ancient idea held that mind is manifest in all life [...] neither vitalism nor panpsychism finds any positive scientific support in our time [p.043]";
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(ISBN 0231059469)
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Mayr, E. (PhD{evolutionary biology} U. of Berlin) states:
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[for a short Academy of Achievement clip of Mayr speaking about "fundamental differences between biology and the physical sciences [...] that have nothing to do with vitalism,"
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[in "The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr"{Scientific American; 2004-06-06}]
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“I show that biology is as serious, honest, legitimate a science as the physical sciences. All the occult stuff that used to be mixed in with philosophy of biology, like vitalism and teleology [...] all this sort of funny business I show is out. Biology has exactly the same hard-nosed basis as the physical sciences, consisting of the natural laws. The natural laws apply to biology just as much as they do to the physical sciences”;
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(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
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[in "Towards New Philosophy of Biology" (1988)]
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"at the same time that an exclusively physicalist approach to organisms was being questioned, the influence of the vitalists was also diminishing, as more and more biologists recognized that all processes in living organisms are consistent with the laws of physics and chemistry, and that the differences which do exist between inanimate matter and living organisms are due not to a difference in substrate but rather to a different organization of matter in living systems. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the label vitalist was attached to anyone who did not accept the mechanist dogma that matter in motion is an adequate explanatory basis for all aspects of life, and that organisms are simply machines. All those who rejected this characterization were united in their belief that a living organism has some sort of constituent by which it can clearly be distinguished from inert matter. Where a controversy arose, however, was in the interpretation of this constituent. The classical vitalist ascribed life to the organisms' possession of a tangible thing, a real object, whether called a vital fluid, life force, or entelechie. He believed that this vital force was outside the realm of physico-chemical laws: in fact, it had a rather metaphysical flavor in the writings of some vitalists. All attempts to substantiate the existence of this force failed, and the need for it became obsolete when the phenomena it had tried to explain were eventually accounted for by other means, for example, the genetic program [...] metaphysical factors as vitalism or teleology [...] natural selection is not a teleological but a strictly a posteriori process [...] the preceding list of biology's unique characteristics as a science explains why attempts to reduce biology and its theories to physics have been a failure. Does this mean that a unification of science is impossible? Not in the least. All it means is that such a unification cannot be achieved by reducing biology to physics. Rather, we have to search for a new foundation for such a unification. What should it be? G. G. Simpson (1964) has proposed a somewhat extreme interpretation: insistence that the study of organisms requires principles additional to those of the physical sciences does not imply a dualistic or vitalistic view of nature. Life is not thereby necessarily considered as nonphysical or nonmaterial";
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(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
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[in “Toward A New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist” (1988) {quoted here}]
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“such a rational thinker as Bernard (1885) has stated the paradox in these words: ‘there is, so to speak, a pre-established design of each being and of each organ of such a kind that each phenomenon by itself depends upon the general forces of nature, but when taken in connection with the others it [...] seems directed by some invisible guide on the road it follows and led to the place it occupies. We admit that the life phenomena are attached to physicochemical manifestations, but it is true that the essential is not explained thereby; for no fortuitous coming together of physicochemical phenomena constructs each organism after a plan and a fixed design (which are foreseen in advance) and arouses the admirable subordination and harmonious agreement of the acts of life . . . Determinism can never be [anything] but physicochemical determinism. The vital force and life belong to the metaphysical world.’ What is the X, this seemingly purposive agent, this ‘vital force,’ in organic phenomena? It is only in our lifetime that explanations have been advanced which deal adequately with this paradox. The many dualistic, finalistic, and vitalistic philosophies of the past merely replaced the unknown X by a different unknown Y or Z, for calling an unknown factor entelechia or élan vital is not an explanation. I shall not waste time showing how wrong most of these past attempts were. Even though some of the underlying observations of these conceptual schemes are quite correct, the supernaturalistic conclusions drawn from these observations are altogether misleading”;
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(click here,
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[in "Biology in the Twenty-First Century" (2002)]
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“the basic philosophy of biology, as it developed in the last 50 years, has become quite different from the classical philosophy of science as it prevailed from the Vienna school of Carnap and Neurath to Popper and Kuhn. In the rejection on one hand of all vitalistic theories and of such concepts as cosmic teleology”;
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(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
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[in "Interview: Ernst Mayr, Evolutionary Biologist" (2007)]
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"[he is asked] why do you think it took so long for people to appreciate the differences between a biological approach to scientific explanation and a physical sciences approach? [Mayr answers] I think it was a professional thing. All the people that went into philosophy of science came from logic, from mathematics, and from the physical sciences. In earlier periods, all the people that did philosophy of biology in the whole 19th Century and the early part of the 20th Century were affected by the bug of vitalism. In other words, they believed that physics was a pure science but that biology required that extra thing which nobody understood: the vis viva, or lebenskraft or elan vital. That had to be refuted first, and the complete refutation of vitalism didn't happen until about the 1920s or '30s. Only then could you develop a complete philosophy of biology that was based on biology, that was based on living organisms but explained everything at the cellular, molecular level, all in terms of physics and chemistry, not invoking any 'vital forces' or something like that";
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(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
[defunct](for a youtube slideshow of this, click here,
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[in "What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline" (2004)]
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"I did not want to fall into a trap like vitalism or become a teleologist [...] the biology for which I wanted to find a philosophy had to qualify as a genuine, bona fide science [p.002...] occult forces (vitalism and teleology) [...] vitalism was an invalid approach [p.017...] the refutation of certain erroneous basic assumptions [...] certain basic ontological principles that later were shown to be erroneous [...] certain basic explanatory principles not supported by the laws of physical sciences and eventually found to be invalid. The two major principles here involved are vitalism and a belief in cosmic teleology [...] an invisible force, lebenskraft or vis vitalis. Those who believed in such a force were called vitalists. Vitalism was popular from the early seventeenth century to the early twentieth century [p.022...] generations of vitalists labored in vain to find a scientific explanation for the lebenskraft until it finally became quite clear that such a force simply does not exist. That was the end of vitalism [p.023...] biologists [...by 1866] now rejected vitalism and cosmic teleology [p.025...] after vitalism had become obsolete [p.069...] genetic programs occur only in living organisms [...] naturalists [...] have been aware of this fundamental difference for thousands of years, but their explanation for it was invalid. They tried to attribute life to the occult force of vitalism, as vis vitalis, but eventually is was determined that such a force does not exist [...] this was finally made possible in the twentieth century by the discoveries in cytology, genetics, and molecular biology. The sciences finally provided us with a naturalistic explanation of life [p.090...] glossary [...] vitalism: the now thoroughly refuted belief in the existence of an occult invisible force in living organisms responsible for the manifestations of life in any living organism [p.225]";
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(ISBN 0521841143)
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[defunct](for a youtube.com slideshow of this, click here,
(for an amazon.com short review of this book, click here,
(for a digg.com social bookmark of this review, click here,
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[in "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance" (1985)]
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“[quoting Simpson] 'insistence that the study of organisms requires principles additional to those of the physical sciences does not imply a dualistic or vitalistic view of nature. Life ... is not thereby necessarily considered as nonphysical or nonmaterial [...] all known material processes and explanatory principles apply to organisms' [p.035...] claims for the autonomy of biology have begun to be taken seriously only within the last generation or so, that is, after the final extinction of any genuine vitalism [p.036...] and equally invisible force (vis viva) to explain living processes [...] vitalism had representatives well into the twentieth century [...e.g.] Driesch [...but] by the 1920s or 1930s biologists had almost universally rejected vitalism, primarily for two reasons. First, because it virtually leaves the realm of science by falling back on an unknown and presumably unknowable factor, and second, because if become eventually possible to explain in physico-chemical terms all the phenomena which according the the vitalists 'demanded' a vitalistic explanation. It is fair to say that for biologists vitalism has been a dead issue for more than fifty years [...] this rejection of vitalism was made possible by the simultaneous rejection of a crude 'animals are nothing but machines' conceptualization [...but] there is nothing in the processes, functions, and activities of living organisms that in in conflict with or outside of any of the laws of physics or chemistry. All biologists are thorough-going 'materialists' in the sense that they recognize no supernatural or immaterial forces, but only such that are physico-chemical. But they do not accept the naive mechanistic explanations of the seventeenth century and disagree with the statement that animals are 'nothing but' machines [...since] organisms have many characteristics that are without parallel in the world of inanimate objects [...e.g.] the interplay between historically acquired information and the responses of these genetic programs to the physical world [p.052...] the claim that reductionism is the only justifiable approach if often reinforced by the additional claim that its [only] alternative is vitalism. This is not true [...] virtually all recent antireductionists have emphatically rejected vitalism [p.059...] two false claims against emergentism must be rejected. The first is that emergentists are vitalists [...] it is not valid for modern emergentists, who accept constitutive reduction without reservation and are therefore, by definition, nonvitalists [...] all they claim is that explanatory reduction is incomplete [...] purified [...] through the elimination of vitalistic and finalistic connotations [p.064...] others sidestepped scientific explanations by invoking metaphysical forces. Vitalism was the favorite explanation right into the twentieth century [...e.g.] Smuts [...used the term] 'holism' [...and] combined it with vitalistic ideas which unfortunately tainted the otherwise suitable term 'holism' from its very beginning [...] in contrast to [...such] earlier holistic proposals which usually were more or less vitalistic, the newer ones are strictly materialistic [...while] they stress that the units at higher hierarchical levels are more than the sums of their parts [...] that explanatory reductionism is unsuccessful [...yet] the philosophy of science can no longer afford to ignore the organismic concept of biology as being vitalistic and hence belonging to metaphysics [p.066...] the authors of philosophies of biology [...] differ widely [...yet] one very encouraging development [...is that] not a single one of them accepts vitalism in any form whatsoever [...they] reject [...such] extreme views of the past [p.074...] the obsolete biological theories of vitalism, orthogenesis, macrogenesis, and dualism [...] a full understanding of organisms cannot be secured through the theories of physics and chemistry alone [p.075...] an insistence on the autonomy of biology does not mean an endorsement of vitalism, orthogenesis, or any other theory that is in conflict with the laws of chemistry and physics [p.076...] an equally futile escape into vitalism or supernatural explanations. It is embarrassingly recent that biologists have had the intellectual strength to develop an explanatory paradigm that fully takes into consideration the unique properties of the world of life and yet is consistent with the laws of chemistry and physics [p.097...] vitalism and mechanism continued to battle each other [...until] this controversy was not totally eliminated until it was recognized that all manifestations of development and life are controlled by genetic programs [p.106...] extreme vitalism, considering organisms as being completely controlled by a sensitive if not thinking soul [p.114...] Driesch [...] embrace[d] a rather extreme form of vitalism and to postulate a nonmechanical 'entelechy' [p.118...] biology today [...] virtually all the great controversies of former centuries have been resolved. Vitalism in all of its forms has been totally refuted and has had no serious adherency for several generations [p.131...] by eliminating all interpretations that signaled an implicit conflict with physico-chemical explanations (namely, those theories that were vitalistic or teleological), evolutionary biology become far more respectable [p.576]";
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(ISBN 0674364465)
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[in "What Evolution Is" (2002)]
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"transformation owing to a strive for perfection (orthogenesis). This theory (or set of theories) is based on a belief in cosmic teleology (finalism) [...per] the living world has a propensity to move toward ever greater perfection [...aka] orthogenetic or autogenetic theories [...] that types (essences) were steadily improved by an intrinsic drive, and that evolution was believed to take place not by the origin of new types, but by the transformation of existing types.. These theories were abandoned when no mechanism could be found to drive such trends [...] there is no evidence whatsoever to support any belief in cosmic teleology [...] the refutation of the existence of final causes [p.082...] selection is not teleological (goal-directed) [...] selection does not have a long-term goal [...] the mistaken claim that selection is a teleological process [...] orthogenesis and other proposed teleological processes have been thoroughly refuted [p.121...] adaptation is not a teleological process, but the a posteriori result of an elimination [p.149...posing] adaptation [...as] an active process with a teleological basis [...] this is not defensible [...] adaptation is a completely a posteriori phenomena for a Darwinian [...] elimination does not have the 'purpose' or the 'teleological goal' for producing adaptation [...] individuals that do not have as good an adaptation as others are eliminated, but the survivors do not contribute to the process of becoming better adapted by any special activities, as proposed in teleological theories of evolution [p.150...] preadaptation is a purely descriptive term and does not imply any teleological forces [p.207...] those who adopt teleological thinking [...] Darwin rejected such a causation and so do modern Darwinians, and indeed no genetic mechanism was ever found that would control such a drive [p.214...] Darwinian progress is never teleological [p.215...] does any process in evolution require a teleological explanation? The answer is an emphatic 'no' [...] orthogenesis and other teleological explanations of evolution have now been thoroughly refuted, and it has been shown that indeed natural selection is capable of producing all the adaptations that were formerly attributed to orthogenesis [p.275...] glossary [...] finalism:belief in an inherent trend in the natural world toward some preordained final goal or purpose, such as the attainment of perfection. See teleology [p.286...] teleology: the study of final causes; the belief in the existence of direction-giving forces [p.291]";
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(ISBN 0465044263)
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[in "This is Biology: The Science of the Living World" (1998)]
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"guide to topics covered [...] the vitalists, the decline of vitalism p.013 [p.007...] vitalism, from its emergence in the seventeenth century, was decidedly and antimovement [...] a special vital force [...] lebenskraft, entelechie, or elan [p.009] vital [...] the vital fluid was also invisible [...] replaced by that of a vital force [p.010...] the branch of German philosophy called naturphilosophie [per Schelling...] a decidedly metaphysical vitalism [...and Muller's] antiphysicalistic [views...per a] lebenskraft (vital force) [p.011...] the arguments put forth by the vitalists [...] to explain specific characteristics of organisms [...] are [now] explained by the genetic program [...] vitalism was strongly supported by several other then-dominant ideologies, including the belief in cosmic purpose (teleology or finalism) [...] a close connection with finalism is evidence in the writings of most vitalists [...] vitalists strongly opposed Darwin's selectionism [...] in part because of their teleological leanings [...Darwinism] denied the existence of any cosmic teleology and substituted in its place a 'mechanism' for evolutionary change – natural selection [p.012] Driesch [...a] rabid anti-Darwinist [...had] arguments against selection [that] were consistently ridiculous and showed that he did not in the least understand this theory [...] by supplying a mechanism for evolution while at the same time denying any finalistic or vitalistic view of life, [Darwinism] became the foundation of a new paradigm to explain 'life' [...] the decline of vitalism [...] considering how dominant vitalism was in biology and for how long a period it prevailed, it is surprising how rapidly and completely it collapsed. The last support of vitalism as a viable concept in biology disappeared about 1930 [...] vitalism was more and more often viewed as a metaphysical rather than a scientific concept. It was considered unscientific because the vitalists had no method to test it. By dogmatically asserting the existence of a vital force, the vitalists often impeded the pursuit of a constitutive reductionism that would elucidate the basic functions of living organisms [...] the belief that organisms were constructed of a special substance quite different from inanimate matter gradually lost support [p.013...] all evidence for a separate category of living substance disappeared [...] all of the vitalists' attempts to demonstrate the existence of a nonmaterial vital force ended in failure. Once physiological and developmental processes began to be explained in terms of physico-chemical processes at the cellular and molecular level, these explanations left no unexplained residue that would require a vitalistic interpretation. Vitalism simply became superfluous [...] [...] new biological concepts to explain the phenomena that used to be cited as proof of vitalism were developed [...] one was the rise of genetics [...per] all goal-directed living phenomena [...] as teleonomic [...] two major ideological underpinnings of vitalism – teleology and antiselectionism – were destroyed [...] genetics and Darwinism succeeded in providing valid interpretations of the phenomena claimed by the vitalists not to be explicable except by invoking a vital substance or force [p.014...] vitalism took the phenomena of life, so it was claimed, out of the realm of science and transferred them to the realm of metaphysics [...] vitalism was a necessary movement to demonstrate the vacuity of a shallow physicalism in the explanation of life [...therein] vitalists were largely responsible for the recognition of biology as an autonomous scientific discipline [p.015...] so far as I know, there are no vitalists among the group of philosophers of biology who started publishing after 1965. Nor do I know of a single reputable living biologist who still supports straightforward vitalism [...] by about 1920 vitalism seemed to be discredited [...] 'biologists have almost unanimously abandoned vitalism as an acknowledged belief' [p.016...] the replacement of ideologies ('deep paradigms') meets far more resistance than the replacement of erroneous theories. Such viewpoints as vitalism, essentialism, creationism, teleology, and natural theology [p.103...] glossary [...] vitalism: the belief that living organisms have a special vital force or vital substance that cannot be found in inert matter [p.311]";
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(ISBN 0674884698)
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[in “What Evolution Is” (2002)]
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“the publication on the 24th of November 1859 [...of] Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species [...] this even represents perhaps the greatest intellectual revolution experienced by mankind. It challenged not only the belief in the constancy (and recency) of the world, but also the cause of the remarkable adaptation or organisms and, most shockingly, the uniqueness of man in the living world [...] he proposed an explanation for evolution that did not rely on any supernatural powers or forces. He explained evolution naturally, that is, by using phenomena and processes that everybody could daily observe in nature [...] it almost single-handedly effected the secularization of science [p.009...] it came as a considerable relief for the thinking naturalists of the nineteenth century when they were able to replace the supernatural explanation of natural theology by a naturalistic explanation [p.148]”;
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(ISBN 0465044263)
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[in "Evolution and the Diversity of Life: Selected Essays" (1976)]
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"[per] adaptation [...] many philosophers and even some biologists adopted a defeatist attitude at this point and abandoned all endeavor to find a causal explanation. Instead they introduced vitalistic or finalistic principles into their considerations, such as Bergson's elan vital, Driesch's entelechie [...] such capitulations to the unknown have had a paralyzing effect on the spirit of scientific inquiry. They have proven themselves utterly sterile pseudo-solutions and are unanimously rejected by those who have a grasp of modern evolutionary theory and of modern genetics [p.033...] the vitalists, rather openly, operated with metaphysical forces which I rejected [...] because I was firmly convinced that all living processes and phenomena have to be consistent with the established laws of chemistry and physics and that there are no unexplained vital forces [...] it is really up to the biologist to develop a philosophy of biology [...] such a philosophy rejects vitalism, by firmly endorsing the conclusion that all biological processes obey the laws of the physical sciences, but it also rejects reductionism by showing that complex biological systems have numerous properties that one simple does not find in inanimate nature [...e.g] the very special properties of enormously complex and unique biological systems or the teleonomic capacities of historically acquired programs of information [that is, the genetic code...p.357...] vitalistic theories [...such as] Driesch (entelechy), Bergson (elan vital) [p.359...] the many dualistic, finalistic, and vitalistic philosophies of the past merely replaced the unknown x by a different unknown, y or z, for calling an unknown factor entelechia or elan vital is not an explanation [p.364...] the complexities of biological causality do not justify embracing nonscientific ideologies, such as vitalism or finalism [p.370...] vitalism as a possible theory of biology has now been dead from some 40 or 50 years, as has been the entire argument of mechanism versus vitalism [p.374...] in our day we see clearly that there is no vital force and that it is possible to interpret even teleonomic phenomena in terms of physics and chemistry as the product of genetic information programed in the DNA of the germ cells. As a consequence, we are a priori biased against any author admitting vital forces [p.375...] now that vitalism has been dead for some 30 years and every biologist admits that 'processes in living systems' are not 'any less material or less physical in nature' than processes in nonliving systems [...and again quoting Simpson] 'insistence that the study of organisms requires principles additional to those of the physical sciences does not imply a dualistic or vitalistic view of nature' [p.380...] after vitalism had been completely routed by the beginning of the twentieth century [etc. p.384...] physiological processes, adaptations to the environment, and all forms of seemingly purposive behavior tended to be interpreted as being due to nonmaterial vital forces [...e.g.] Bergson's (1910) elan vital and Driesch's (1909) entelechie are relatively recent examples of such metaphysical teleology [p.385]";
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(ISBN 067427105X)
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McEvoy, P. (? ?) states:
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[in "Niels Bohr: Reflections of Subject and Object" (2001)]
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"Bohr, along with Haldane, rejected vitalism, the doctrine that some nonphysical 'force' directs the operation of biological systems. Bohr did not expect that in the analysis of living organisms by physical means one would find any features foreign to inorganic matter [...] Bohr's ideas on biology changed somewhat over the years as biology itself changed [...] the discovery of the structure of DNA in particular, had rendered some of his earlier ideas obsolete [p.301...] during the 1930s and 1940s, mechanical explanations in biology continued their rapid successes in one area after another. The concept of vitalism faded quickly. As biological science continued development during the second half of the twentieth century, and in particular after the double helix molecular structure of DNA was discovered in 1953, the perspectives expressed by Haldane and Driesch on the foundations of biology disappeared completely [p.304]";
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(ISBN 1930832001)
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McFadden, J. (? ?) states:
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[in "Quantum Evolution: The New Science of Life" (2001)]
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"to the vitalists, life possessed a mysterious property, the elan vital, or living spirit, whose nature was beyond the realm of science [...] the vitalist tradition survived until the twentieth century in many biological writings [...] the concept has been in retreat science the dawn of the Age of Reason in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and no serious scientist subscribes to it today [p.009...] I will not be invoking any mysterious forces to account for our will, only the known laws of physics and chemistry. I am not suggesting any return to vitalism [...] all biological phenomena -- mobility, metabolism, respiration, photosynthesis, replication and evolution -- involves the motion of fundamental particles [...and supposedly, per the author's thesis] life is a quantum phenomena [p.016]";
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(ISBN 0393050416)
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McKnight, P. (? ?) states:
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[in "Naturopathy's Main Article of Faith Cannot be Validated: Reliance on Vital Forces Leaves Its Practices Based on Beliefs Without Scientific Backing" (Vancouver Sun, 2009-03-08)]
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"'we believe in the vital force which has inherent organization, is intelligent and intelligible [...] our way is to research the mystery and beauty of the life force, in which we have faith' [...quoting] American Association of Naturopathic Physicians Convention [via] Townsend Letter for Doctors [...] if you really want to upset people, there's nothing like attacking their faith. And the faith of naturopaths and their patients is certainly the subject of attack [...] critics charge that naturopathy is simply so much pseudoscientific quackery [...naturopathic] philosophy effectively destroys naturopathy's pretensions of being scientific [...] the anti-scientific philosophy of naturopathy. As William Jarvis, former professor of public health and preventive medicine at Loma Linda University says, naturopathy's suspicion of immunizations arises from doubts about the germ theory of disease: 'they believe that vitalistic forces are ultimately responsible.'  Naturopaths like to trace their history to Hippocrates and the doctrine of 'vis medicatrix naturae' [...the] 'healing powers of nature' [...] these healing powers took on a life of their own, and came to form the basis of a philosophy known as vitalism, which posits the existence of 'vital forces,' mysterious and mystical forces possessed by all living organisms [...] these vital forces [...] an imbalance of these forces was believed to be the cause of illness [..e.g.] Eastern practices such as acupuncture [...] supposedly rebalances the flow of chi. Vitalist theories were also popular in biology and chemistry, but scientific developments -- in particular the germ theory of disease and the development of the microscope, which allowed for cellular analysis -- soon spelled the end of vitalism [...] vitalism [...] never explained anything [...] vitalistic forces stood as a kind of marker for our ignorance -- in our inability to explain life scientifically, we simply posited the existence of a mysterious life force, something scientifically unexplainable [...] weird metaphysical forces [...] naturopathy [...] seems stuck there [...] one look at naturopathic literature reveals that long after science consigned vitalism to the dustbin, belief in the life force lives on [...] the website of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors speaks of homeopathic remedies, stating 'when carefully matched to the patient they are able to affect the body's vital force and to stimulate the body's innate healing forces on both the physical and emotional levels, with few side-effects.'  Given this reliance on vital forces, it's not surprising that naturopaths are big believers in traditional Chinese medicine and its emphasis on the chi [...] CAND website therefore states the following 'the chi of all organs must be in balance, neither too active nor too dormant, for a person to be healthy. The chi of the body's organs and systems are all connected in meridians or channels that lie just under the skin. A naturopathic doctor will use eastern herbs and acupuncture to assist the body in regulating the chi and achieving balance' [...simultaneous to] these unscientific and anti-scientific statements, the CAND website nevertheless states that 'the naturopathic profession recognizes the value of research and seeks to make appropriate uses of science' [...] naturopathy is not science [...] the life force is not a scientific concept. It's an article of faith [...] and that means that naturopathy can never become scientific, unless it abandons the very belief that makes it so popular";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
)
.
(click here,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturopathy)[the Wikipedia link is indirect]
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[in "Craig Venter and the Nature of Life" (2010-06-05)]
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"early theorists suggested that living things possess an immaterial something that non-livings things don't. In ancient Greece, that thing was called a soul - psyche, or anima in Latin -- and we see this influence in our language today as we often speak of 'animating' something as a metaphor for bringing it to life. The rise of vitalism in the early modern period is another instance of this approach, as scientists suggested that organic matter possesses a 'vital force' which is absent in inorganic matter. Various scientific discoveries led to the demise of this theory, though it still informs pseudo-sciences like naturopathy and homeopathy. After the demise of the magical theory of vitalism, scientists searched for a scientific definition of life based on its observable properties";
.
[embedded video]

"[McKnight says] in ancient Greece [...] they said that living things possess a soul [...] something that animates them [...] the Greek word is psyche [...] that was a common belief [...] as we moved on to the early modern period there was this theory of vitalism which was common in biology and in chemistry and this was similar.  What the scientists were saying was that the difference between inorganic and organic matter was that organic matter contains a life force or vital force.  That's really not an explanation [...] nobody was able to identify what this vital force was [...] there was this understanding that those things that are living are those things that are possessed of a vital force [...] that fell apart [...] this led to people to look for a more scientific definition [...] vitalism and as well the Greek theory of the soul is more of a magical idea, it's not really scientific.  It's suggesting that there is some sort of mysterious power there that allows things to be alive";
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(click here,
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McMenamin, M.A. (? ?) states:
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[in “The Garden of Ediacara: Discovering the First Complex Life” (1998){some kind of neo-neo-vitalist?}]
.
“Vernadsky wrong, 'new vitalistic notions have their foundation not in scientific data, which are used rather as illustrations, but in philosophical concepts such as Driesch's entelechy [...] a peculiar vital energy [...] facts do not confirm its real existence' [...] Vernadsky's attack was devastating, and Driesch's advocacy of vitalism proved to be nearly indefensible within a decade [...] far worse for vitalism was the abject failure of Driesch's 'empirical proofs' [...] 'proofs' 1 and 2 are easily dismissed today with an understanding of the genetic code, which explains both the genetic regulation of regeneration in adults and embryos [...] the discovery of DNA surprised many scientists who were expecting the secret code of the genome to reveal unknown laws of physics and chemistry [...] it was [instead] a simple chemical trick with no special forces [which] was a terrible blow to vitalism [...] the anticipated 'vital force' turned out to be the molecular biology of DNA [...] 'proof 3' [...] has been addressed by neo-Darwinians in their promotion of the doctrine of sociobiology [...] Driesch's vitalistic views have become, in the eyes of most scientists, less and less tenable with each passing decade [...] Driesch's vitalism was founded on 'entelechy,' a term he borrowed from Aristotle [p.268...] the intellectual demise of Driesch's vitalism was largely due to the weakness of his 'empirical proofs,' which proved to be particularly vulnerable to the onslaught of modern molecular biology in the wake of the discovery of DNA [...] the hoped-for new vital forces of chemistry never materialized [p.270]”;
.
(ISBN 0231105584)
.
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Meacher, M. (? ?) states:
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[in "Destination of the Species: The Riddle of Human Existence" (2010)]
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"[regarding] living systems [...] what is agreed however is that traditional notions such as vitalism and the life force have long science been discredited [p.049]";
.
(ISBN 1846942632)
.
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Milburn, M.P. (? ?) states {admittedly!; a VFS proponent}:
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[in "The Future of Healing: Exploring the Parallels of Eastern and Western Medicine" (2001)]
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"in the early part of the twentieth century the spark of vitalism burned brightly. Champions of vitalism [...] for Driesch this was 'entelechy,' for Bergson the 'elan vital' [p.127...] qi represents the active organization of matter into its various forms and patterns [...] in the [alternative!] medical sphere qi is life itself. As a seventeenth-century text claims: 'when qi gathers, so the physical body is formed; when it disperses, so the body dies' [p.047...] in the [alternative!] biological realm, qi is often translated as vital energy, suggesting a connection with the mysterious 'vital force' of the vitalists. In the West, the idea of a vital force was used to differentiate living systems from non-living matter. The Chinese world view, in contrast, does not draw a demarcation line between the living and non-living [p.291...] for modern students of biology vitalism is but a historical curiosity [p.128...] vitalism could not offer a concrete and useful alternative to mechanism [p.127";
.
(ISBN 1580910653)
.
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Miller, F.D. (? ?), Paul, E.F. (? ?), Paul, J. (? ?) state:
.
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[in "Human Flourishing" (1999)]
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"'metaphysical biology' [...] vitalism holds that present in any living thing is an immaterial substance, an elan vital, that imparts to that thing powers that are neither possessed by nor result from the inanimate parts that compose it. Vitalism should, then, be distinguished from the view that present in any living thing are emergent properties, which are contingent on the organization of its inanimate parts, but not reducible to them [p.033]";
.
(ISBN 0521644712)
.
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Mitchell, S.D. (? ?) states:
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[in “Biological Complexity and Integrative Pluralism” (2003)]
.
“Wheeler […] later departed from vitalistic views, remarking that ‘the resort to such metaphysical agencies (as elan vital and others) has been shown to be worse than useless in our dealings with the inorganic world and it is difficult to see how they can be of any greater service in understanding the organic’ [per 1926…] in 1928, he referred to elan vital and entelechy as ‘little more than fetishes’ […] perhaps his [p.022] most colorful rejection of vitalism appeared in 1911 in reference to Driesch’s entelechy: ’his angel child […] comes, to be sure, of most distinguished antecedents, having been mothered by the Platonic idea [idealism], fathered by the Kantian Ding-an-sich [Gr., ‘thing-in-itself’ – more idealism, ideal reality behind observed reality], suckled at the breast of the scholastic forma substantialis [vital principlesoul…] but nevertheless, I believe that we ought not to let it play in our laboratories, not because it would occupy any space or interfere with our apparatus, but because it might distract us from the serious work at hand. I am quite will to see it spanked and sent back to the metaphysical household’ [p.023…] Wheeler vehemently opposed vitalism, while at the same time rejecting the complete reduction of biology to a form of physics [p.024…] these vitalistic interpretations long have been rejected by the biological community and replaced by mechanistic forces operating on living organisms [p.033]”;
.
(ISBN 0521520797)
.
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Mittal, A. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Chemistry" (2007)]
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"vital force theory [...] Berzelius, a leading Swedish chemist in 1815, propounded vital force theory [...per] some mysterious force existing in the living organisms.  This mysterious force was called the vital force [...but] in 1828, Wohler [...] accidentally obtained urea [p.316...] this synthesis gave a death blow to vital force theory [...and] the elegant synthesis of acetic acid by Kolbe in 1845 [...] drove the last nail in the coffin of vital force theory [...per] the downfall of vital force theory [p.317]";
.
(ISBN 8176488038)
.
.
Moffett, S. (? ?) states:
.
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[in "The Three-Pound Enigma: The Human Brain and the Quest to Unlock Its Mysteries" (2006)]
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"the same sort of bad question [...as posed by] the long-ago scholars hunting for elan vital. 'It's what the vitalists thought: yeah, you got metabolism, you got reproduction, you got growth, you got self-repair, but there there's the hard problem: what is life?' But of course, he [Dennett] said, 'when you've got metabolism, reproduction, self-repair, growth, you've got --- that's what life is. There's not this extra thing that's life'";
.
(ISBN 1565124235)
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Montagnon, T. (? ?), Nicolaou, K.C. (? ?) state:
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[in "Molecules That Changed the World" (2008)]
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"vital force, vitalism [...] the first synthesis of urea was a profound moment in the history of science, marking both the death of the all-pervasive theory of vitalism, and the birth of synthetic organic chemistry [...] the demise of vitalism, a theory that had been championed for generations and by many luminaries, was destined to be a painfully slow process. It would take many further decades to refute these mystical ideas completely [...] this archaic belief system [...] Wohler's synthesis of urea must be credited as [...] the single most important blow to this vestigial theory [...] 'vital force of life' [p.010...] vital force [p.011...] Kolbe [...] a student of Friedrich Wohler [...] keenly rejected vitalism [...as] 'fanciful nonsense' [p.023]";
.
(ISBN 3527309837)
.
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Moody, T. (MA? ?) [assoc. professor of philosophy at St. Joseph's University] states :
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[in a letter published 01-04-2001 on The Chronicle of Higher Education's website (2002)]
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"it is not uncommon in science for unfalsified theories to be discarded by being rendered superfluous. An example would be vitalism, which was rendered superfluous by molecular biology";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
.
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Morrell, P. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Integrated Medicine is Not New" {BMJ. 2001 January 20; 322(7279): 168}]
.
"by the end of the 17th century beliefs and superstitions began to be replaced by more practical methods. This entailed the systematic removal of metaphysical elements such as the life force. Mesmer's magnetism is akin to Hahnemann's vital force, the qi energy of Chinese medicine, and the vis medicatrix naturae of Paracelsus—an élan vital. Observation based and explanatory, the concept of a life force is dismissed by modern physicians. Most integrated medical systems see disease as an imbalance of natural energies, and cure as a retuning of the whole organism—concepts long ignored by modern clinicians [...] Stahl (1660-1734), Mesmer (1734-1815), and Hahnemann (1755-1843) were the last great vitalists. Sundered from theology, so medicine has become secularized. Imbued with materialism, the modern view of the world has wholly displaced the ancient view. As diseases have become defined strictly in chemical or physical terms, so the spiritual side of medicine has been lost. Koch and Pasteur caused germs and vaccines to eclipse vitalism. Molecules and infectious agents are all that interest modern physicians; other possible causes of disease have been ignored or sidelined. Much of the metaphysical element that was ejected from medicine centuries ago now queues at modern medicine's back door. A path of disintegration has separated medicine from its spiritual roots. The holistic therapies might lead medicine back towards the holism of the ancient systems. In some senses the disintegrative force of reductionism has run its course. Integration seems likely to entail retrieving some theology";
.
(click here,
.
.
Morris, B. (PhD{social anthropology} UL) states:
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[for a bio. click here:
.
.
[in "Anthropology and the Human Subject" (2014)]
.
"the advocates of vitalism, whether metaphysical or scientific, postulated the existence of some non-material entity or 'vital force' to explain the phenomenon of life [...e.g.] Driesch [...and his] entelechy [...and] Bergson [...and his] elan vital [...] the notion of a nonmaterial vital force is essentially metaphysical and [...] advances in genetics have made such notions redundant and an explanation of life processes";
.
(ISBN 1490731040, 9781490731049)
.
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Murphy, N.C. (? ?), Stoeger, W.R. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Evolution and Emergence" (2007)]
.
"[per] a 'vital force' [...] vitalism had few supporters in the twentieth century and has now entirely disappeared [p.021...] there is no Bergsonian 'life force' or elan vital that exists independent of the atoms comprising a living organism [p.117]";
.
(ISBN 0199204713)
.
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Murray, C.J. (? ?) {ed.} states:
.
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[in "Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850" (2004)]
.
"[per Burns, W. (? ?)] the vitalism of early nineteenth-century German biologists, with its refusal to reduce beings to a series of mechanical interactions at the expense of a spiritual component, was deeply Romantic. [But,] after about 1830, a reaction against Romantic science set in [...per] Liebig [...and] Helmholtz [...who] assured the primacy and of mechanical and reductionistic science over Romantic vitalism [p.1026]";
.
(ISBN 1579584225)
.
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Nanda, M. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Postmodernism, Hindu Nationalism and 'Vedic Science'" (2007)]
.
"Hindutva literature still holds on to the defunct theories of vitalism as valid science. (Vitalism in biology holds that living beings require a special vital force, variously termed prana or shakti in the Indian literature, over and above ‘mere’ atoms and molecules. In India, Jagdish Chandra Bose first claimed to find evidence of consciousness in plants. Bose's work was falsified and rejected by mainstream biology in his own life-time. It is still touted as India's contribution to world science in Hindutva literature)";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
.
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Neirynck, J. (? ?) states:
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[for his Wikipedia entry, click here, http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Neirynck]
.
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[in "Your Brain and Your Self: What You Need to Know"(2008)]
.
"the end of vitalism [...] for a long time it was believed that living matter was essentially different from inanimate matter in that is [sp., 'it'] was inhabited by a vital principle [...] but with discoveries about DNA [...] and the more recent elucidation of the human genome, the idea was eclipsed [...] we have abandoned the vitalist theory in the scientific world [...] life [...] has a physical reality [p.105...] the organization of a molecule of DNA alone explains the mysteries of living matter [...] life is an emergent property of matter [p.106]";
.
(ISBN 3540875220)
.
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Nesse, R.M. (? ?), Williams, G.C. (? ?) state:
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[in "Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine" (1996)]
.
"medicine, like other branches of science, is especially wary of ideas that in any way resemble recently overcome mistakes [...e.g.] vitalism, the idea that organisms were imbued with a mysterious 'life force' [...and] teleology [...both, likewise keep] reappearing and must be expelled [...with teleology] the mistake of trying to explain something on the basis of its purpose or goal [...but] future conditions cannot influence the present [p.243]";
.
(ISBN 0679746749)
.
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Noble, D. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "The Music of Life [...]" (2006)]
.
"systems biology is not 'vitalism' in disguise [...] biological science had to struggle to emerge from the days of vitalism, when people thought that something non-physical had to be added to matter for there to be life [p.065...] who does not believe that the laws of physics and chemistry govern the molecular events in a living system? Where are the vitalists that we need to convince? I see none amongst my modern biological science colleagues [...] the last remnants of any form of vitalism were in the generation of neuroscientists like Sherrington and Eccles, in the early and mid-twentieth century, who favored a dualistic understanding of the brain [...] but the debates between systems biology and reductionist biology has got nothing to do with the debates on vitalism or dualism [p.077...] a superstition of the order of vitalism [...] vitalism no longer finds favor amongst biologists [...] life is wonderful enough. We don't need to endow it with mystery to appreciate that [p.078]";
.
(ISBN 019929573)
.
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Novella, R. (? ?) states:
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[of the New England Skeptical Society and and the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe]
.
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[in "Energy Crisis: The Abuse of the Concept of Energy by Pseudoscientists"]
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"of all the scientific terms that have been usurped by pseudoscientists, the word 'energy' would have to be the most abused. [...] this is especially true when the term is applied to organic matter such as the human body. This erroneous belief exists, in part, as a remnant of ancient beliefs in vitalism and chi in which a mysterious animating life energy pervades the human body, distinguishing it from non-living matter. Modern concepts of biology and energy [...] diametrically opposed to this belief, exposing it for what it is, an ancient superstition with no place in modern scientific society [...] vitalism dates back to the 1600’s. It is part of the philosophy of idealism that contends that abstract immaterial aspects of the universe give rise to the material world. Proponents of the vitalism theory believe that the primary distinguishing factor between animate matter and inanimate matter is a 'vital force' or 'energy' that suffuses organic matter, rendering it 'alive' [...] the concept of a 'life energy' [...] many ancient cultures have had similar beliefs since recorded time. China’s version, chi or qi, is probably the most well known [...] traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) [...is] based on mystical thinking in which chi is one of the central concepts. Practitioners contend that 'life-energy' courses through our bodies in pathways or channels called meridians [...] an inextricable part of the belief in chi is the concept of harmony or balance. All problems with life and health are directly related to an imbalance or interruption of these life-giving energies. Once harmony and balance is achieved, good health inevitably returns [...] one of the modalities of TCM [...] acupuncture [...claims that it] rebalances and stimulates the body’s pattern of life energy, restoring health and equilibrium in the patient [...] the concept exists in many countries and goes by many names such as prana in India and ki in Japan. Franz Anton Mesmer called it animal magnetism, and to philosopher Henri Bergson it was the élan vital (vital force). Many alternative health practices employ the concept of a vital life-energy (or in modern parlance, bio-energetic fields) as the cornerstone of their belief systems. Chiropractic [...] is entirely based on the vitalistic, chi-like belief that an energy or spiritual life-force pervades the human body. This energy, referred to as 'innate-intelligence' [...] it is only when this energy is intact and its flow is unimpeded that we can attain a healthy state [...] the fast and loose usage of the word 'energy' in all these alternative health care systems might sound compelling and authoritative but what relationship does it have with the concept of energy as employed by modern physics? Physics defines energy as the capacity for doing work [...] it is the unifying concept of physics. As such it has been deeply studied and the knowledge we have gained after centuries of investigation of the subject would fill many libraries. Much of what we call energy is subsumed under the umbrella term 'mechanical energy' [...] are there any other types of bio-energy that could assume the role of chi or the HEF? Adherents rarely mention specific details about this ephemeral energy but when they do they often talk about electromagnetism [...] the common theme running through all the alternative health care systems I’ve discussed is a belief in a pervasive and mysterious energy that supports and maintains the processes associated with life. For prescientific cultures living systems were a complete mystery and it is understandable that in their attempts to comprehend it they built a belief system around a magical form of energy to distinguish living from non-living. But now in the twenty-first century the energy of life is no longer a mystery and has not been for many decades [...] 'the bioenergetic field plays no role in the theory or practice of biology or scientific medicine. Vitalism and bioenergetic fields remain hypotheses not required by the data, to be rejected by Occam's razor until the data demand otherwise' (Stenger, 1999)";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
[defunct](for a youtube.com slideshow of this {in part}, click here {00.03.44-00.04.46},
.
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Novella, S. (MD GUSM 1991) states:
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.
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[in "The Touch of Life" (New England Journal of Skepticism; 1998 Fall, vol. 1 issue 4)] 
.
"the concept of an invisible, undetectable, spiritual life force which animates living creatures is an ancient superstition which has found a new home in modern alternative medical ideology [...i.e.] therapeutic touch [amongst others!...] practitioners believe that the human body possesses a ‘human energy field’ [...and that they] can smooth out the fields of energy [...] thereby promoting self-healing [...] it is really just a new packaging of very old concepts, combined with standard new age anti-scientific and mystical ideology [...per that old ghost] vitalism [...] most ancient cultures believed that there was some vital force, an animus which made living things alive, and distinguished them from non-living things. In ancient China this mysterious force was called chi, in India it was chakra [though prana is more specific, actually], in Greece animus, and in Rome spiritus [...] many modern alternative medicine disciplines have also adopted a vitalistic philosophy, such as the innate intelligence of chiropractic [...] practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, therefore, attempt to restore the balance of the yin and yang and improve the flow of chi [...] straight chiropractors attempt to restore the flow of innate intelligence with spinal manipulation. Connected to the concept of restoring balance and flow to the vital force is that of self-healing [...] the HEF [human energy field] is just a modern name for the old superstition of a vital life force. Some TT practitioners even liken the HEF to the ‘animal magnetism’ of the 18th century quack, Anton Mesmer [...] the concept of a vital life force was developed because ancient cultures lacked a scientific model of how living organisms work [...] today the depth of knowledge of physiology and biochemistry is vast. At no point in any biology laboratory has anyone detected a mysterious force which is responsible for any aspect of life [!!!!!]. Nor is there any deep and pervasive mystery about how living organisms function that requires the hypothesis of a life force to keep things going [parsimony!!!]. The concept of a life force is completely without empirical evidence or theoretical need for its existence [per parsimony], and is therefore best viewed as an ancient pre-scientific superstition [...] vitalism as a philosophy [...helped] the ancients [...explain] the mystery of life [...] today [...it helps] so-called holistic healers to claim that they can cure any illness or disease simply by supporting this force [...these are] philosophy-based approaches to medicine, as opposed to a science-based [...] the scientific approach where specific causes are sought to explain specific diseases [...] the modern era of scientific medicine, which is only about 150 years old [...which uses] scientific analysis [...] vitalistic approaches to healing adopt similar philosophies to those of medieval humoral practitioners [...in sum] therapeutic touch is a modern incarnation of the vitalistic philosophy, an ancient and mystical concept that does not comfortably coexist with modern scientific medicine [...per] its anti-scientific roots, lack of credible evidence, and rejection by mainstream medicine [...] like all pseudosciences, TT will likely not disappear completely, but it is a reasonable limited goal to remove the imprimatur of a professional organization from this superstition and the stain of pseudoscience from a noble profession [nursing]";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
.
.
[in "Podcast #114" (2007-09-27)]
.
"[00.05.49] the first news item is an acupuncture study. Now, we had a ton of email on this [...] acupuncture, that's one of these alternative modalities, so-called alternative modalities [...] needles are being stuck into the body [...this new] German study where they looked at three groups, people with chronic lower back pain who had never received acupuncture before and did not have surgery [...] they treated one group with standard medical treatment [...] and then two acupuncture groups: one with so-called real acupuncture, what they called verum acupuncture or true acupuncture where they actually put them in the places where they're supposed to go and they had sort of an acupuncturist use the traditional Chinese diagnostic methods to figure out where the needles were supposed to go. And then they had sham acupuncture where they had the acupuncturist put the needles into nonacupuncture locations and not put them in deep enough so that they get stuck into the qi. You know you have to go down to a certain depth before the needle hits the flowing qi which is the life energy that is allegedly manipulated by acupuncture. And they weren't manipulated, they weren't twisted or anything, or palpated once they were inserted. So that was the sham acupuncture [...] what they found was that after 6 months 47% of the true acupuncture group noted a certain amount of improvement, 44% of the sham acupuncture, 27% of the standard therapy group [00.07.38...] they [the press] missed a lot of the real implications of the study [00.08.15...] first of all, there was no difference between the real acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups. And this is very consistent with the vast majority of the literature on acupuncture [...] when you look at all the evidence, it doesn't matter where you stick the needles. So, that supports the scientific idea that there is no qi. There is no life -- mysterious unmeasurable, you know -- spiritual life energy that's flowing through these lines in the body. That's all prescientific superstitious nonsense and all the empirical evidence, all the research, basically bears that out. This study bears that out as well. It doesn't matter where you stick the needles [00.08.54...] the press could have just as well said that study shows that acupuncture doesn't work, or that the entire theoretical basis for acupuncture is wrong [09.03.00...] what I would conclude from the acupuncture literature is -- first of all -- we can dispense with the whole notion of qi and acupuncture points, I think that has been empirically really destroyed [00.11.27...] unlike homeopathy where we could say its 100% nonsense. It's water. There's nothing to it literally. You have to be a little bit more qualified with acupuncture because there is something physical going on [00.14.05...like chiropractic] the real physiological scientific questions are buried in an avalanche of this superstitious nonsense and all kinds of pseudoscientific claims for the medical applications of these [00.15.30]";
.
(click here,
.
.
.
[which I own and highly HIGHLY RECOMMEND!]
.
a.
.
[in the 'Course Guidebook']
.
"vitalism is an ancient belief [...] that living things are animated by a life energy [...for] Chinese culture the vitalistic force is referred to as chi (or qi), in India it is called prana [...] in the West it was referred to as spiritus [...] it has been called 'innate' by chiropractors and the 'human energy field' by practitioners of therapeutic touch [...this] vitalistic force was used to explain aspects of biology that were not yet understood scientifically [...] by the middle of the 19th century the notion of a vital force was abandoned by science, essentially because there was nothing left for it to do [...it became] superfluous [...] there is [p.107] no scientific evidence for a special life energy or any claims based on its manipulation ([see] lectures 15 and 17) [p.108]."
.
.
[in "Reiki" (2011-10-19)]
.
"from reiki.org, we get this description: 'reiki [...] is based on the idea that an unseen 'life force energy' flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s 'life force energy' is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy' [...] reiki is therefore a form of vitalism – the pre-scientific belief that some spiritual energy animates the living, and is what separates living things from non-living things. The notion of vitalism was always an intellectual place-holder, responsible for whatever aspects of biology were not currently understood. But as science progressed, eventually we figured out all of the basic functions of life and there was simply nothing left for the vital force to do. It therefore faded from scientific thinking. We can add to that the fact that no one has been able to provide positive evidence for the existence of a vital force – it remains entirely unknown to science. But the discarded science and superstition of the past is the 'alternative medicine' of today. There are many so-called 'CAM' modalities that are based on vitalism, including reiki [...] the placebo ritual that is reiki (or acupuncture, or whatever) is wasteful, distracting, and arguably unethical. It unnecessarily complicates efforts to improve patient caring by promoting demonstrable pseudoscience";
.
(click here,
.
.
Nuland, S.B. (MD ?) states:
.
.
[in "An interview with Sherwin B. Nuland, author of 'The Mysteries Within: A Surgeon Reflects on Medical Myths'" (2004)]
.
"[interviewer] what did you call it in the book, vitalism? [Nuland] Yes. The old belief that there's a life impulse in there beyond the physics and chemistry. Vitalism has been dying a very slow death. In fact, it's quite dead because everything that we ascribe to some special vital phenomenon can now be understood in terms of ordinary physics and chemistry";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
.
.
[in "How We Live" (1998)]
.
"as late as the middle of the nineteenth century, many authorities, and virtually all plain people too, believed that living things were possessed of an unknowable form of energy that made them vastly different from structures not endowed with life. Because this hypothetical energy was commonly called 'the vital force,' the scientists and other learned people who trusted in its existence were known as 'vitalists' [...] the belief in vitalism, at least among scientists, had lost favor [p.066...] and yet the general notion of vitalism, attenuated though it may be, lives on in the minds of any and all who refuse to believe that there is not some form of still-unexplained energy that brings more to the phenomena of life than can be accounted for by a series of chemical reactions [...] the general proposition of vitalism, no matter the by-now-huge mass of experimental evidence against it [...] as ultimately irrefutable as is the existence of god [...] ranged against the principle of vitalism, however, is a quantity of evidence so overwhelming that only a rare twentieth-century scientist has ever questioned it. To contemporary science, the physicochemical, or mechanistic, view of life has become axiomatic [...] the mechanistic bases of life become even more evident with each passing decade [p.067";
.
(ISBN 0679781404)
.
.
Oelschlaeger, M. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology" (1993)]
.
"vitalism was an early response to mechanistic materialism (Darwin had shown [later] that physiology alone could not account for evolution), but it gave way to new explanations based on stochastic processes. Mayr argues [...] 'at the same time an exclusively physicalistic approach to organisms was being questions, the influence of the vitalists was also diminishing, as more and more biologists recognized that all processes in living organisms are consistent with the laws of physics and chemistry, and that differences which do exist between inanimate and living organisms are due not to a difference in substrate but rather to a different organization of matter in living systems' [...] Leopold [...] did not claim that there was any mysterious, vital force that enlivened matter [p.425]";
.
(ISBN 0300053703)
.
.
O'Hear, A. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in “Karl Popper: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers” (2004]
.
"Von Bertalanffy [...] has stated that the history of biology is identical to the rebuttal of vitalism [p.470]";
.
(ISBN 0415180414)
.
.
Olsen, B.D. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Understanding Biology Through Evolution" (2007, 3rd. ed.)]
.
"the death of vitalism. The theory of vitalism was the idea that all living organisms contained a 'vital force' that was the very essence of life. This idea can be traced back to Aristotle who called this force psyche, which has usually been translated as 'soul' [...] vitalism held that no substance produced by plants or animals could be synthesized by combining inanimate chemicals in a lifeless container in the laboratory [...] in 1828, the German scientist Friedrich Wohler discovered urea could be made by heating ammonium cyanate [...] it removed the requirement for any mysterious vital force that separated life and the test tube [...] the demise of vitalism was accelerated by Darwin's theory of evolution, which implied that humans could no longer be considered unique since humans and animals are part of the same continuum. Similarly, Darwinists claimed that there was no difference between a living and a dead organism that could not be explained in terms of chemistry [p.042]";
.
(ISBN 0615152163)
.
(for an amazon.com short review of this, click here,
.
.
Orton, J. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Comparative Zoology [...]" (1886)]
.
"life. All forces are known by the phenomena which they cause. So long as the animal and plant were supposed to exist in opposition to ordinary physical forces or independently of them, a vital force or principle was postulated by which the work of the body was performed. It is now known that most, if not all, of the phenomena manifested by a living body are due to one or more of the ordinary physical forces – heat, chemical affinity, electricity, etc. There is no work done which demands a vital force [p.028]";
.
(ISBN 1406782408)
.
.
Ourbre, A. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Instinct and Revelation: Reflections on the Origins of Numinous Perception" (1997)]
.
"quaint notions reminiscent of 'pseudoscientific' vitalism from ages past have been supplanted by the idea [...of] order -- including phylogenetic order evidenced in the evolution of biological forms [p.034...] vitalism: a quasi-scientific doctrine in which phenomena are explained [...] in terms of a vital principle (e.g. life force) that falls outside the bounds of rational scientific discourse [p.216]";
.
(ISBN 9056995278)
.
.
Oyas'in, Mitakuye' (? ?) states:
.
.
[as quoted from "Biology" (Campbell, N.E. - 3rd ed.)]
.
"the theme of emerging properties may seem, at first, to support doctrine known as vitalism, which views life as a natural phenomena beyond the boundaries of physical and chemical laws. However, the concept of emergent property merely accents the importance of structural arrangement and applies to inanimate material as well as to life. [...] unique properties of organized matter arise from how parts are arranged and interact, not from supernatural powers. And life is driven not by it vital forces that defy explanation, but by principles of physics and chemistry extended into the new territory [p.004]";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
.
.
Paarlberg, R.L. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Starved For Science" (2008)]
.
"Steiner [...] founded a vitalist school of spiritualism called anthroposophy. Vitalism was the once-dominant view that living things had a chemical composition different from nonliving things. This belief was exposed as erroneous by modern chemical science after 1780 [p.072]";
.
(ISBN 0674029739)
.
.
Park, R.L. (PhD{physics} Brown) states:
.
[fellow of the American Physical Society and AAAS]
.
.
[in "What's New - Voodoo Medicine: Treating Acupuncture Addiction" (2008-04-04)]
.
"[#2] this morning I was sent a notice from the University of Maryland Health Center about its acupuncture services [...per] 'originating in China about 5,000 years ago [...] acupuncture is the oldest continuously practiced medical system in the world.' You might prefer something a little more up-to-date. If my health is involved I want to know what was learned yesterday. It goes on to explain that acupuncture is based on the circulation of qi [per vitalism, animism, animatism & kind], 'the life-giving energy that circulates along channels to all organs and enables them to function.' My own university put this out? There is no qi. It's superstitious nonsense [...] the American health system has completely sold out to this crap";
.
(click here,
.
[defunct](for a youtube.com slideshow of this, click here {entire},
.
.
[in "Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science" (2008)]
.
"I was thinking how strange the phrase 'spark of life' sounds to a scientist in the twenty-first century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the existence of a 'vital life force' or 'divine spark' still seemed necessary to some scientists [...] this is the ancient concept of vitalism, which long ago lost any meaning in science. The chemistry and physics that animates matter has ceased to be a mystery. Certainly since Watson and Crick resolved the mystery of DNA, there is no longer a need for a 'divine spark' [p.081...] the concept of a divine spark or vital life force now seems meaningless. Life is just chemistry [p.103...] Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection in particular gave rise to naturalism, which a century later would be the world's dominant scientific philosophy. Naturalism left no room for vitalism or other spiritual explanations. The germ theory of disease, emerging from the work of Pasteur and Koch after the death of Darwin, would prove to be the death of such superstitious nonsense as vitalism [p.151...] Hahnemann attributes healing to a spiritual 'medicinal energy' [...] this is 'vitalism,' the belief that life involves some spiritual essence beyond chemistry or physics. It was the prevailing medical superstition of the time [p.149...] Hahnemann [...] when he wrote the original 1810 edition of Organon, vitalism was an accepted medical reality [p.157]";
.
(ISBN 9780691133553)
.
(for an amazon.com short review of this, click here,
.
.
Parsons, K.M. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "The Great Dinosaur Controversy: A Guide to the Debates" (2003)]
.
"consider the case of vitalism, the once very popular biological theory that proposed that life could not be explained in purely chemicophysical terms but only by the postulation of a nonphysical 'vital principle' (vis viva). Ernst Mayr [1982] describes the fate of such theories: 'the vitalistic school opposed the mechanists, believing that there are processes in living organisms which do not obey the laws of physics and chemistry [...] however, by the 1920s or 1930s biologists had almost universally rejected vitalism, primarily for two reasons [...1] because it virtually leaves the realm of science by falling back on an unknown and presumably unknowable factor [...2] because it became eventually possible to explain in physico-chemical terms all the phenomena which according to the vitalists 'demanded' a vitalistic explanation' [...] vitalism was rejected because it lost out to physical theories in the process of empirical testing and because it conflicted with philosophical convitions about how science should explain things [...per] science should postulate knowable processes or entities and not take refuge in occult principles [...] Mayr notes, biologists eventually refused to consider vitalistic hypotheses as candidates for serious testing. Vitalism became a dead issue in biology";
.
(ISBN 1576079228)
.
.
Patterson, J.W. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Chapter #5: Science: An Atheistic Perspective" (2000)]
.
"the door is never completely shut on the possibility of falsifying or overthrowing a seemingly unquestionable description or explanation. (Too many 'paradigm shifts' and outright falsifications have been documented in the past.) Nor is the door ever completely shut on the possibility of reviving a previously discarded description or explanation. However, such revivals rarely occur because new evidence of a most extraordinary and compelling kind must be presented before such cases can be re-opened. Revisiting previously refuted concepts, arguments and so-called evidence, no matter how carefully it may be repackaged or disguised, will not be considered unless something truly new and compelling is presented first. Examples of long [scientifically] discarded ideas include supernaturalism, special creation, phlogiston, vitalism, and many more";
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
.
.
Peacocke, A. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in “Creation and the World of Science: The Re-Shaping of Belief” (2004)]
.
“for 'vitalism,' the view that some entities or forces, other than physico-chemical ones, are present and operate in biological organisms and constitute their distinctiveness as 'living' organisms, it totally rejected by biological scientists, having been found to be a dead-end hypothesis in research and interpretation. But to be anti-vitalist does not necessitate being reductionistic [p.118...] the same error as the vitalists when they wished to add some vital essence (elan vital, entelechy, or life force) to physico-chemical structures to endow them with 'life,' which we now see as a special kind of organized activity [p.121...] we have already given reasons for rejecting such 'vitalism' [p.167]”;
.
(ISBN 0199271690)
.
.
[in “Theology for A Scientific Age...” (1993)]
.
“the scientific disciplines have entirely exorcised any ghostly remnants of the 'vitalism' that was mooted in the earlier half of the twentieth century to account for the distinctive characteristics of living organisms and so of 'living matter.' There is now no need to add some unknown entity ('elan vitale,' 'entelechy,' 'life force') to matter to understand why it has self-replicative and self-organizing abilities, remarkable though these are”;
.
(ISBN 0800627598)
.
.
Pearcey, N.R. (? ?), Thaxton, C.B. (? ?) state:
.
.
[in "Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy" (1994) {obviously, rather apologetic}]
.
"neo-Platonism stressed immanent semi-spiritual ‘active principles’ as formative forces in nature […] the great revival of neo-Platonism through the romantic movement, especially in Germany where it developed into naturphilosophie […] the romantic biologists embraced a forms of pantheistic vitalism [p.098…] vitalism represents a revival of the neo-Platonist ‘active principles’ [p.107…] Lamarck’s […] ‘vitalism,’ which explained evolution in terms of a ‘vital power’ progressing toward and end [p.110…] if romanticism was a reaction against mechanistic philosophy, by the mid-nineteenth century mechanism had reappeared as a reaction against romanticism. Romantic biology, with its vast vistas of evolution of everything, with its immaterial life force, struck a later generation was overly speculative and metaphysical […i.e.] la Mettrie’s reductionistic, materialistic attitude, rejecting idealistic or spiritual categories and discarding any notion of vitalism or ‘soul’ to explain living things [p.112…] the neo-Platonist tradition likewise continues as a minority view within biology […i.e.] organicism […but even that] has dispensed with vitalism, rejecting vital forces as distinct metaphysical entities […and even there] it identifies the uniqueness of life with a certain level or organization […since] the chemicals found in living things are not different from chemicals found in nonliving things; the only difference is the far greater complexity in the way the former are organized [p.120…] in the nineteenth century, the neo-Platonist tradition was represented by the romantic biologists, many of whom accepted vitalism or animism […] vitalism assumes the existence of some sort of agent – a life force – that actively selects and arranges matter into living things […] animism […] proposes the existence of special forces in inert matter […] vitalism and animism are no longer viable theories in scientific circles today […per no] special metaphysical substances or force permeating living matter […] the uniqueness of life [is due to] its complex organization [p.232…] what, then, does the DNA revolution mean for biology? […] it confirms the mechanistic conviction that all the cell’s functions are rooted firmly in material substance […] to explain living structures we do not need to appeal to any metaphysical entities, mysterious substances, or psychic sensitivities within living matter. Vitalism and animism are utterly dead [p.244]";
.
(ISBN 0891077669)
.
.
Pennock, R.T. (PhD{Hx. & Phil. of Science} UP) states:
.
.
[in "Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism" (1999)]
.
"science rejects all special ontological substances that are supernatural, and it does so without prejudice, be they mental or vital or divine [p.324]";
.
(ISBN 026216180X)
.
.
Plotkin, M. (? ?), Sumner, J. (? ?) state:
.
.
[in “The Natural History of Medicinal Plants” (2000)]
.
“organic chemistry, was on the scientific horizon at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scientific believed that complex chemicals occurring in organisms […] could only be made in living tissue. The idea was that there was a ‘vital force’ behind the synthesis of these so-called organic compounds, which made them impossible to produce in the laboratory. Eventually this notion was disproven by the German chemist […] Wohler […] over the next two decades, more organic compounds were synthesized by chemists, and the ‘vital force’ concept was laid to rest along with phlogiston theory and other disproven scientific notions [p.036]”;
.
(ISBN 0881924830)
.
.
Pommerville, J.C. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Alcamo's Fundamentals of Microbiology: Body Systems" (2009)]
.
"in the early 1600s, most naturalists were 'vitalists,' individuals who thought that life depended on a mysterious 'vital force' that pervaded all organisms.  This force provided the basis for the doctrine of spontaneous generation [p.010...an idea experimentally destroyed by] Pasteur [p.012]";
.
(ISBN 0763762598)
.
.
Popa, R. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in “Between Necessity and Probability: Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life” (2004)]
.
vitalism is an ancient belief that living entities exist due to a mysterious force called the 'vital force,' 'perfecting principle,' 'entelechy,' or 'mneme' [...] modern science generally dismisses this stand [...as] a nonscientific belief in a transcendent principle [p.004]”;
.
(ISBN 3540204903)
.
.
Popovic, N. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "The Synthesis" (2008)]
.
"vitalism [...] living forms, it is claimed, have an additional, non-material, vital element - a universal life force [...] the life force [...] Driesch [...] proposed the existence of a soul-like force [...] the success of synthesizing an organic compound artificially in the first half of the same century [the 1800s] weakened dramatically the vitalist position [p.143...] Bergson argued for the existence of a unique vital impulse that is continually developing, implying that evolution was creative rather than mechanistic. He named this impulse elan vital (live force) [...] Hindus call the life force prana, Polynesians mana, Iroquois orenda, while in Islam it is called baraka. For the ancient Egyptians the world was permeated by sa, in China they use the term ch'i. The notion of a life force is discredited [p.214...] and dismissed by most scientists because it cannot be found [p.215]";
.
(ISBN 0954838777)
.
.
Porter, R. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity" (1997)]
.
"Pasteur [...] it was the properties of the living that fascinated him [...] his abiding 'vitalism': a commitment to the irreducible divide between merely chemical and truly living phenomena [p.431...comparatively] Karl Ludwig (1916-95) [...] abandoning his mentor's vitalism, he become a champion of the positivistic, materialistic science which toppled Romantic views [...] his reductionist approach to physiology [...] he was appointed in 1865 director of the Physiological Institute in Leipzig [p.328...] Lugwig's message -- physiological science must ditch vitalism and become quantitative, analytical and physico-chemical -- was expressly stated in his [...] Textbook of Human Physiology [...] 1852-6 [...] Lugwig's school and its satellites, experimental physiology aimed to understand life 'from the elementary conditions inherent in the organism itself.' The materialism implicit in such strategies [...] medical materialism, as least as modus operandi and sometimes as metaphysic, was the child of the physiological laboratory [p.329]";
.
(ISBN 0393319806)
.
.
Pringle-Pattison, A.S. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Man’s Place in the Cosmos, and Other Essays" (1897)]
.
"physiology, for the last fifty years, has been dominated by a reaction against what is called vitalism. The older investigators were in the habit of calling in ‘vital force’ as a deus ex machina [ghost in the machine; supernatural explanation] to account for any phenomena which baffled their powers of natural explanation. Vital force, conceived as extraneously interfering with otherwise mechanical processes, was evidently a hypostatized [of the ideal; as in underlying reality] entity of the worst type, and it was accordingly discarded by scientific physiology [p.108] as part of the baneful legacy of metaphysics [p.109]";
.
(ISBN none, too old; W. Blackwood)
.
.
Pruitt, N.L. (? ?), Underwood, L.S. (? ?) state:
.
.
[in "Bioinquiry [...]" (3rd ed., 2005)]
.
"scientists believe that the world is neither chaotic nor dependent upon a metaphysical or supernatural realm. Hypotheses that depend upon factors outside the material world cannot be tested and as such are not considered scientific [p.014...] for many centuries, it was believed that the energy of life was somehow different from other forms of energy in the universe. Life was defined and characterized by the existence of a special vital force. It was mistakenly believed that the vital force followed its own set of rules, different from the rules that govern the flow of energy in the inanimate world. We now realize that energy, in all its various forms, is the same in both living and nonliving worlds. The rules that govern energy apply universally [...] the energy of life is not unique. For centuries, the idea of a special life energy or vital force was so widespread that virtually every culture had a name for it. The Chinese ch'i, the ruh of the Arabs, the prana of the Indians, the pneuma of the Greeks are all roughly translated to mean 'breath of life' [p.275...] it soon became apparent that living organisms can no more create energy from nothing than mechanical devices can. The energy of life comes from the radiant heat and light of the sun. The realization that the first law applied to both inanimate matter and living things was the beginning of the end for vitalism, the ancient idea that living things contained a special kind of energy. No longer could life be exempt from the laws of the universe. That which is true of the flow of energy in the nonliving world is true in the living world as well [p.276...] each time a life process imposes order on a small part of the universe, there is an even greater increase in entropy somewhere else [p.277...] review questions [...] you a debating a person who believes in vitalism, or the existence of a special kind of energy peculiar to life. You opponent claims that the second law of thermodynamics cannot apply to living things, because when organisms grow, they become more ordered (entropy decreases), and the second law says that entropy in the universe is always increasing. What arguments can you make that that the laws of thermodynamics apply to both living and nonliving things? [p.314]";
.
(ISBN 0471473219)
.
.
Psillos, S. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Philosophy of Science A-Z" (2007)]
.
"vitalism: the doctrine that life is explained by the presence of vital forces; hence no mechanistic explanation of life is possible [...] popular in the beginning of the twentieth century as an anti-reductionist view in biology [...] Bergson [...] posited the presence of a vital force (elan vital), distinct from inert matter, to act as a principle for the organization of bit of matter into a living organism. Vitalism fell into disrepute because it was taken to be in conflict with the principle of conservation of energy [p.262]";
.
(ISBN 0748620338)
.
.
Rabinbach, A. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "The Human Motor" (1992)]
.
"vitality, or 'life force' [p.067...] by defining energy, or motion, as the essence of matter, the long-accepted dualism of matter and force was overthrown. Natural philosophy's idealist image of 'lebenskraft,' vis viva, or 'life force,' was discredited [p.066]";
.
(ISBN 0520078276)
.
.
Ragsdell, G. (? ?), Wilby, J. (? ?) state:
.
.
[in “Understanding Complexity…” (2001)]
.
“after Darwin, vitalism had its appeal briefly because it apparently salvaged the ancient principle of causation, positing a supernatural force as the creative source of life. Today, however, vitalism has been largely discredited, and time itself has become enshrined as a sufficiently creative principle in place of the divine [p.121]”;
.
(ISBN 0306465868)
.
.
Ramey, D.W. (? ?), Rollin, B.E. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine Considered" (2004)]
.
"Samuel Hahnemann's homeopathy, which prescribed infinite dilutions of substances to affect 'vital forces' [p.oo4...] the association with the traditional of the vital vapor qi as a form of energy was not made until 1939, at the same time that the term meridian was coined [p.030...] Palmer's theories were also vitalistic [...] he subscribed to the notion of a vital force or spirit [p.033...] Hahnemann followed the tradition that viewed disease as a matter of the 'vital force' or spirit. The concept of a vital force or spirit, the alleged nonmaterial force that sustains life and for which there is no objective evidence is one of the earliest speculations in recorded medical history and similar forces form the proposed basis for any number of metaphysical health practices (e.g., qi in acupuncture or the 'innate' of chiropractic) [...quoting Hahnemann] 'no disease, in a word, is caused by any material substance, but that every one is only and always a peculiar, virtual, dynamic derangement of the health' [p.036...and] 'homeopathic potentizations are processes by which the medicinal properties of drugs, which are in a latent state in the crude substance, are excited and enabled to act spiritually upon the vital forces' [p.037...] energy medicine. The notion that living organisms possess some sort of special life force that gives them the unique quality called life is common in much of alternative medicine [...] in its various permutations, prana by the Hindus, qi by the Chinese, ki by the Japanese, and 95 other names in 95 other countries [...a] force said to make up the source of life [...] frequently associated with such concepts as soul, spirit, and mind [...a] belief generally called vitalism [...per] 'all the various doctrines which, from the time of Aristotle, have described things as actuated by some power or principle additional to mechanics and chemistry' [...aka] breath [...] described by the Greeks as pneuma and psyche and the Romans as spiritus [p.048...] Mesmer's animal magnetism [...] 'psychic force' [...] 'aether waves' [...] the idea that matter alone can be responsible for life and the material body has never been popular [...] life-force manipulations underlie acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and many other alternative approaches to medicine [049...] energy medicine [...] the common belief is that living things possess some special quality that makes them alive, that is, a vital force of living energy [...] in modern permutations, the vital force may be referred to as the bioenergetic field [p.153...] beliefs in vital energies do not reflect the developments that have occurred in either the physical or biological sciences of the past several centuries [...] the fact remains that no living force has ever been conclusively demonstrated to exist in scientific experiments [p.154...] quantum fields in quantum theory described these force particles. No continuous medium, special energy, or vital force is involved [p.155...]";
.
(ISBN 0813826160)
.
.
Rauchfuss, H. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life" (2008)]
.
"Pasteur's opponents argued that by heating the stream of air, he had destroyed the vital force [p.008...] vital force: hypothetical force supposedly present in all living organisms [p.326]";
.
(ISBN 3540788220)
.
.
Reid, R.G. (? ?) states:
.
.
[in "Biological Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment" (2007)]
.
"Campbell goes on to explain that it is unnecessary to adduce vitalism to explain emergence [p.307]";
.
(ISBN 0262182572)
.
.
Rensberger, B. (? ?) states:
.
[for a biography, click here,
.
.
[in "Life Itself: Exploring the Realm of the Living Cell" (1998) {see below for NYT version}]
.
"in that age when modern science was just beginning, scientists were not at all uncomfortable mixing naturalistic explanations with supernatural ones [...per] 'vitalism' [...that 'life' was] something that inherently unknowable, beyond the realm of science. The presence of this entity in the human body was said to be the soul [...] over the ensuing centuries, however, biologists would probe deeper into the living things they studied and gradually find that most of the phenomena they attributed to mystical forces could, in fact, be explained by entirely natural processes. As scientists gradually demanded more and more evidence for their theories, the concept of vitalism slowly faded [p.006...] vitalism: the school of thought that invented the 'vital force' [p.276]";
.
(ISBN 0195125002)
.
.
[in "Instant Biology: From Single Cells to Human Beings, and Beyond" (1996)]
.
"until the 1800s nobody understood about cells [...] nine out of ten doctors agreed that a mystical [p.064] unknowable 'vital force' acted inside all living things -- a kind of magic 'breath of life' that some equated with soul. This was known as vitalism [p.065...] cell theory was the first solid blow to vitalism. Instead of a magic force that accounts for life, cell theory suggested life was a result of entirely natural processes, phenomena that could be studied objectively [p.067...and per consciousness] vitalism still serves its ancient role: an easy explanation for what we cannot yet explain [p.069]";
.
(ISBN 0449907015)
.
.
[in "Life Itself: Exploring the Realm of the Living Cell" (1997)]
.
"[per web text version] Virchow was an early proponent of the idea that life is an essentially mechanical process -- that it can he explained entirely by the workings of the laws of physics and chemistry and without any need of the vitalists' supernatural forces [...] in that age when modern science was just beginning, scientists were not at all uncomfortable mixing naturalistic explanations with supernatural ones [...] the 'vital force' [...] a theory called 'vitalism,' said that scientists could probe only so far in seeking to understand how life works. Then they would run up against something that was inherently unknowable, something beyond the realm of science. The presence of this entity in a human body was said to be that of the soul -- a phenomenon that mortals could not hope to study nor understand. In the early eighteenth century George E. Stahl, the first of a long line of German scholars to dominate early cell biology, championed an explicit version of vitalism called 'animism' [...] death in those days was thought of as the departure of the vital force, the exiting of the soul, the giving up of the ghost, or spirit. All the structural forms of the body might seem to remain intact in the corpse, but once the vital force had gone, the body was no longer animated but now inert and subject to decay and corruption [...] in place of the animating 'vital force' of 150 years ago, modern biology confirms the view that all the phenomena that together constitute life can be understood in the terms of chemistry and physics [...] the phenomenon of self-assembly, Monod wrote [...need not] invoke phenomena beyond those natural processes that can be understood by science [...] Monod's book was deeply disturbing to many because it asserted that no event in the life of a cell or, indeed, in the life of a whole human body, was the result of any supernatural guiding hand [...according to Pollard] 'what molecular biologists have believed for two generations is now generally regarded as proved beyond any doubt. Life is entirely the result of physics and chemistry inside cells and among cells' [...] the old, mystical view of life denied any opportunity for expression of the most wonderful aspect of human life, the intellect. But apply the intellect to the rational contemplation of modern cell and molecular biology and what emerges is the awareness, both chilling and inspiring, that the human body is a consummately wondrous assemblage of cells that are each machines. So are all forms of life";
.
(ISBN 0195108744)
.
(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
.
.
Rice, S.A. (PhD UI) states:
.
[for a bio. click here, http://www.stanleyrice.com/bio1.html]
.
.
[in "Encyclopedia of Evolution" (2007)]
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"fundamental assumptions of biology are the following: the physical and chemical components and processes of organisms are the same as those of the nonliving world [...] the alternative to this view, vitalism, claimed that organisms were made out of material that is different from the nonliving world [...] Wohler put an end to vitalism in 1815 [...regarding vital force] no evidence of such an essence has been found [p.056]";
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(ISBN 1438110057 9781438110059)
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Richards, H.M. (? ?) states:
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[in "Botany" (1908)]
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"the advance in all these fields is of necessity along the line of the mechanistic conception of vital manifestations, that is, the reference of them to chemical and physical laws. To appeal to a 'vital force,' as my predecessors in these lectures have said, is to appeal to an empty name, a mere 'question-begging epithet.' It is obvious that if we are to make any progress at all, we must admit of the possibility of some solution that our senses can perceive, even though we are perfectly willing to admit that the final answer may never be reached. The reference of vital phenomena to a vague 'vital force' would mean extinction of inquiry by robbing the investigator of any sense of responsibility for adequate explanations of the results of his researches [p.022]";
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(ISBN 1406725110{2007 digitized version})
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Riddle, O. (? ?) states:
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[in "The Unleashing of Evolutionary Thought" (2007)]
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"[citing Novikoff] 'the concept of integrative levels of organization is a general description of the evolution of matter through successive and higher orders of complexity and integration [...] the concept ... neither reduces phenomena of a higher level to those of a lower one, as in mechanism, nor describes the higher level in vague non-material terms which are but substitutes for understanding, as in vitalism. Unlike other 'holistic' theories, it never leaves the firm ground of material reality' [p.027...] a nonphysical directive principle (vital force, prevision, purpose) [...] vital force, or prevision [...] best known as vitalism in biology [...at heart] a widespread and basic theological assumption, has tried persistently for a place in biology. But it is now more thoroughly discredited in biology than at any earlier hour in the history of science [p.051]";
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(ISBN 0533155975)
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Rosenberg, A. (PhD JH) states:
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[the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy - Duke University Department of Philosophy - Center for Philosophy of Biology]
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“by the turn of the 20th century ‘vitalism’ was thoroughly repudiated by mainstream biology [...per] the teleological character of biological systems in ‘life’ or ‘vitality,’ a non-physical property or substance inaccessible to any direct experimental study”;
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(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
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Rosenberg, A. (? ?) states:
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[in "The Structure of Biological Science" (1985)]
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"the expansion of physics and chemistry into new domains further undermined the plausibility of organicism and vitalism [p.022...] for contemporary autonomatists, the proscription of physical causation, or the assertion of some kind of nonphysical causation, represents as unattractive a foundation for the autonomy of biology as out-and-out vitalism; indeed, it is nothing more than a disguised version of this repudiated thesis [...] since Aristotle, philosophy has distinguished so-called efficient-causes, prior determinants of events, from final causes, ends for the sake of which the events occur [...] to deny the writ of physical causation beyond a certain domain, to hold that future states (or even never-realized ones) can bring about prior ones, not only contravenes established physical theories but violates the fundamental physicalist assumptions of modern natural science. For biologists committed to vital forces that did not operate in accordance with physical law, this consequence was no difficulty [p.045...and speaks of] vitalism or any other metaphysical view [p.226]";
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(ISBN 052127561X)
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Rosenfeld, L. (PhD ?) states:
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[in "Four Centuries of Clinical Chemistry" (1999)]
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"most chemists of that time thought that a special 'vital force,' operating only within organized living things, was required to synthesize organic substances and convert inorganic material into organic compounds [...] the concept of vitalism developed chiefly from the theory of animism preached a century earlier by [...] Stahl [...] in his system, all the regulatory directive forces functioning in living organisms were combined into an aggregate he named anima. This intelligent agent had the power to organize and rule matter with purposeful goals, and to use the human body as the instrument for achieving these ends. The doctrine of vitalism had a profound influence on the thinking of chemists and physicians for many years after Stahl's death [...] vital force was considered an impenetrable barrier between the processes of living systems and the man-made reactions of the laboratory. According to the vitalists, there were two [p.066] distinct sets of natural law: one for living (no matter how primitive) and one for the inanimate [...] the doctrine of vitalism experienced a major challenge in 1828 [...per] Wohler [p.067...] the synthesis had no immediate effect on the vitalistic outlook [...] the transition from a doctrine of vital forces to a unified scheme of chemistry that applied to organic and inorganic compounds was not sudden and dramatic. Science does not advance in that way. It was a function of time and the steady accumulation of contradictory evidence [...] the achievement was certainly one of the events at the start of the synthesizing activities of the chemists which was finally to expel 'vital force' from organic chemistry [p.069...this new] knowledge about chemistry and physics [...] opposition to these chemical ideas came from those who still believed that the chemistry of life was governed by a vital force [...old time] physiologists were vitalists [...] who equated the vital force with gravity, magnetism, and electricity. They believed that, like these forces, the vital force would obey experimentally determinable simple physical laws [...but] nineteenth-century chemists [believed, as is true,] that advances in chemical knowledge would eventually obviate the notion of a vital force [p.106...] opposition to vitalism and philosophic speculation gradually developed, and by the 1840s physiologists and physicians in France and England and particularly in Austria and Germany acknowledged that vital phenomena in health and disease should be explained by physicochemical processes. They wanted to use the methods of natural sciences in medicine -- and practice 'scientific medicine.' The change was brought about mainly by Liebig's 'Animal Chemistry.' The book was significant significant for the development of clinical chemistry because it introduced a quantitative method of observation into physiological chemistry and thereby encouraged doctors also to apply quantitative analysis to the diagnosis of disease [p.119]";
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(ISBN 9056996452)
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Rubio, J.E. (? ?) states:
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[in "Imaginatio Creatrix: The Pivotal Force of the Genesis/Ontopoiesis of Human Life and Reality" (2004)]
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"the postulation of a vis vitalis as in immaterial substance has been strongly rejected by scientists for its lack of empirical support. Up to current times, the vis vitalis has been the epistemological enemy of those who have tried to build a scientific hypothesis over the nature and origin of life [p.684]";
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(ISBN 1402022441)
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(for an amazon.com short review of this, click here,
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Ruse, M. (?{philosopher} ?) states:
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[in "The Evolution Wars: A Guide to the Debates" (2001)]
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"[forward p.ix by Wilson, E.O. (?{biologist} ?) the] absolute physicalism of biology [...] a universally materialist worldview [...] today nowhere seriously challenged [...that] all living structures and processes, from heredity and physiology to ecosystem cycles and the working of the brain, are organically based and obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry [...] triumphed over the elan vital and other mystical forces of previous explanation [p.ix...] life force or 'vital force' [...] Bergson called it elan vital [...] Driesch, spoke of an 'entelechy.' Supporters of this position are known as 'vitalists' [...] the opposite position is often known as 'materialism,' implying that there is nothing but material substance and forces [p.021...] elan vital / vitalism: the force the vitalists believe animates living bodies [p.305]";
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(ISBN 0813530369)
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[in "Darwinism and Its Discontents" (2006)]
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"vitalism [...as if] life is some sort of substance [...per] a dead cow had it and has now lost it [p.053...per] the 'life force' [...] people wanted to escape from a purely materialistic viewpoint -- one that saw nature as driven by blind mechanisms -- and they reverted to supposing that it is life forces that animate and push life forward [...] leading this new 'vitalism' was the embryologist Hans [p.054...] Driesch [...per] 'entelechy' [...] Bergson located this creative power -- something he christened the elan vital -- in the life force or impetus possessed of all living thing [...] the impetus, the elan vital, is like consciousness, deciding the best path to take and then trying to walk along it [p.055...] Bergson's ideas were highly influential. But for all this, we must admit how greatly out of tune with modern science was such thinking. The problem was not so much that elan vital was unseen or directly unknowable. Twentieth-century science in particular is loaded with the unseen and directly unknowable [...] elan vital [...wasn't] very useful [...] it gives the impression of explanatory power, but it is not embedded in laws and cannot be used for prediction or unification or any of the other epistemic demands that one makes of the unseen entities of science. One can do just as much without the elan as one can do with it [...quoting Simpson] 'you, if you wish, call the different behavior of matter in life 'vitalistic,' but this accomplished nothing [...] it is an example of the naming fallacy' [...] the elan vital was of no help to biologists in cracking the genetic code. Molecular biologists have found no place for the elan vital as they struggle to follow the development of the organism from the macromolecules of nucleic acid to the finished adult [...] the elan seemed to commit one to some ideas deeply antithetical to modern science. There is full agreement with Francis Bacon that science should eschew forces that impose direction on the course of events -- 'teleological forces' [...] Bergson claimed that he did not want to give consciousness to all living matter, [but] that kind of teleology was precisely what he was introducing to science [...] he was attributing consciousness to organisms where such attribution does not seem justified [p.056...] life is not a substance [...] life is basically a question of organization [...] 'life is a pattern of chemical processes' [...] life is not a simple substance -- a thing. It is rather a matter of the way in which elements are put together [...] the difference between a clock that works and a clock that does not is not a question of 'clock force,' but a matter of being put together properly while the other is not [p.057...] life is a matter of functioning and organization rather than substance [p.058...] in an important way, the life force and spontaneous generation are different sides of the same coin [p.059]";
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(ISBN 052182947X)
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["Evolution and Religion: A Dialogue" (2008)]"
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[per Rudge, M.] what is life, that distinguishes it from nonlife and whose origin is such a puzzle? The traditional answer is that it is some thing. It is an entity, if not quite like a chair or a table, then perhaps like an electric current or a beam of light. This sort of thinking goes back to Aristotle [p.055...] in real life outside the movie theater, we don't ever see the life force [...] life forces [...] don't do much at all. What help is it to be told that a cow has a life force? [...] around 1900, there was a group of people called 'vitalists' [...including] Bergson [...] who thought that what made for life was indeed a force. Bergson called it the elan vital, but soon people rejected it, pretty much once and for all [...a] rejection [...] the distinctive point about life is that it is organized [...] there is no mystery [...] all living things, including humans, are living because they are organized in a certain way. There is not some special life force that makes them this way [p.056]";
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(ISBN 0742559068)
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Russell, R.J. (? ?) states:
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[in "Cosmology: From Alpha to Omega" (2008)]
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"in biology, the last evidences of vitalist hopes that had lingered after Darwin were to vanish with the triumph of a mechanistic account of variation through the discovery of the molecular structure of the gene in the mid-1950's by Watson and Crick [p.118]";
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(ISBN 0800662733)
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