Thisdogmaofavital forcepervadedartand science

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Unformatted text preview: ts In the 19th century believed that processes within living organisms were unique and could not be duplicated in the laboratory. Consequently, the in vitro synthesis of ‘organic’ compounds was believed to be impossible. It was postulated that living organisms contained a ‘vital force’ that was the very essence of life. This dogma of a ‘vital force’ pervaded art and science. A ‘vital force’ (in this case ‘galvanic’) was required, to bring Frankenstein’s monster to life, in Mary Shelley’s (1797­1851) proto­ science fiction novel written in 1816 Vitalism held that no substance produced by living organisms could be synthesized by combining inanimate chemicals in a lifeless container in the laboratory. To attempt such a synthesis was considered a futile task because of the absence of a ‘vital force’, an enabling factor present in all living things but absent from inanimate objects. Sir Arthur Eddington (1882­1944), was a leading proponent of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Despite his...
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