chapter  3
28 Pages

Experimental Considerations Common to Living Things and Inorganic Bodies

ByClaude Bernard, Stewart Wolf, Henry Copley Greene

The spontaneity enjoyed by beings endowed with life has been one of the principal objections urged against the use of experimentation in biological studies. Every living being indeed appears to people provided with a kind of inner force, which presides over manifestations of life more and more independent of general cosmic influence in proportion as the being rises higher in the scale of organization. The manifestation of properties of inorganic bodies is connected with surrounding conditions of temperature and moisture by means of which the experimenter can directly govern mineral phenomena. In experimentation on inorganic bodies, the author describes only one environment, the external cosmic environment; while in the higher living animals, at least two environments must be considered, the external or extra-organic environment and the internal or intraorganic environment. Chemists and physiologists, in their experiments, can make new beings appear only by obeying the laws of nature which they cannot alter in any way.