By Friðjónsson, Jón
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Hence we cannot be said to possess in Selection a 'mechanical explanation of organic purposefulness' (Plate). This brings us to the empirical critique of selectionism, and we shall chose only one decisive point. It is impossible to base the construction of a mechanism which is more complicated and more purposeful than all our machines on the play of accidental variations. Even if selection explained the origin of morphological characters it would surely not suffice for the physiological ones. Consider, for example, the liver-cells, in which, according to our present-day knowledge, some ten, probably many more, chemical processes-all absolutely necessary for life-take place, in a space no greater than about one hundred-thousandth part of a pin's head.
E. objectively and scientifically, actually sets out from an uncertain subjectivity. , a small deviation possessed selective value or not in the evolution of a given organ or character; the decision depends on personal opinions. A review of the Darwinian and antiDarwinian literature shows clearly how dialectic everywhere takes the place of exact decision. Weismann himself has ad.! mitted that a direct control of natural breeding is never possible, and that no one can prove that a given particular change possesses survival value (1912, i, pp.
Pfeifer, 1897, i, p. ) The same holds for the vital processes. We have already seen that the single processes in the living organism exhibit no fundamental peculiarities as opposed to those in 'dead' material. ithin an organism or within a relatively independent partial system of one. We then find that these processes do not proceed arbitrarily and independently, but are organized and harmonized in a definite way. This organization of the processes is the clearest, and indeed the only decisive distinguishing feature between the vital happenings and the ordinary physico-chemical processes.
A Course in Modern Icelandic by Friðjónsson, Jón