How Life Began: A Speculative Study in Modern Biology by David Forsyth

By David Forsyth

CONTENTS: Preface; concerning the Biology of guy; Heredity and the surroundings -- Can They Be Distinguished?; How Did organic existence Begin?; What Underlies the Evolutionary Process?; the fight for lifestyles; mountain climbing the Genealogical Tree; thesaurus; Bibliography. PARTIAL record of key words; parasitic adaption; behaviour as physico-chemical response; biosphere; destiny loss of life of Biosphere; Sunrays as catalyst; chemotaxis; coal-heaver's elbow; colloids; diatoms; department of work; strength kept in ovum; eugenics; Eugenics Society; fox-glove; ontongeny; phototaxis; sleep and sunlight radiation; protoplasmic slime; testis and sunrays; Vesalius; vitalism; and so forth.

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If this is so, not a little of those practical aspects of the medical and biological sciences which have been and are being built up on the contrary belief, will need to be reconstructed. VI Support of the foregoing would seem to be at hand in the special field of human psychology. Here, too, contention is still lively about the relative values of heredity and environment as factors in mental health and ill-health. Formerly, inheritance was held to be all-important ; but in recent years environmental conditions have come to be more generally recognised as affecting psychological development even deeply.

Together they are uninterrupted over the world's surface. From this we get the idea of a continuum of life, in which all organised structures are connected by means of their environments, which are themselves joined together everywhere. Living cells we know, living organisms also. Life in its most comprehensive form we now see as a property of the medium of water and air which is spread over the globe. V Here I should like to make the suggestion that the phenomenon of inheritance and transmission, which has hitherto been reckoned as distinctive of living things themselves, cannot be denied to their environments also.

We have seen, then, that what is environment at one period of life, becomes later an integral part of organised matter ; and that this cannot accord with any existing theory that a living being contains only what is constitutional. On the contrary, every organism is part nature but mainly nurture, and this applies to all the stages of its growth. Not even in the case of a gene can we point to one of these factors apart from the other. Is it ever possible to distinguish what has been transmitted by inheritance from what has been derived from the surroundings?

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