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January 16, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXIV(3):249. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570290061017

In the protest against the current tendency to seek the explanation of all physiologic processes in purely mechanical factors and to attempt the solution of the problems of living organisms on a physicochemical basis solely, the distinguished Oxford physiologist J. S. Haldane has cited some striking illustrations of the delicacy of organic regulation in the body.1 We do not refer to these for the purpose of joining the author in his revolt against the hypothesis that life, as a whole, is a mechanical process, or to emphasize the difficulties into which the mechanistic conception falls when it deals with an organism such as that of man. The human body is a vast assemblage of the most intricate and delicately adjusted cell mechanisms, each being so constituted as to keep itself, as Haldane remarks, in working order year after year, and in exact coordination with the working of the millions

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