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December 24, 1898


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(26):1516-1520. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.92450260020002e

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No other generalization which the human mind has reached has done so much to bind in organic unity the phenomena of the physical universe as the law of conservation and correlation of forces. It has helped very largely, too, to clear our thinking of many vague and unscientific notions. Among these is the notion of a vital principle or force. Science now substitutes the more definite and logical conception of organization, itself, accomplished through natural means, appropriating, co-ordinating and directing natural forces. In the light of this law, the phenomena of organic nature in their physical aspects become interpretable as incidents in the ceaseless redistributions of matter and motion, of which all organic changes consist. Vital changes are natural phenomena, and are linked in by physical bonds with the successions of nature. The forces through which life manifests itself are drawn from and returned to the common stock in nature.

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