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Agassiz, Louis – Essay on Classification – Creation and destruction are different from maintenance

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024942

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ESSAY ON CLASSIFICATION  By LOUIS AGASSIZ  

I would further remark, that, when speaking of creation in contradistinction with reproduction, I mean only to allude to the difference there is between the regular course of phenomena in nature and the establishment of that order of things, without attempting to explain either; for in whatever manner any state of things which has prevailed for a time upon earth may have been introduced, it is self-evident that its establishment and its maintenance for a determined period are two very different things, however frequently they may be mistaken as identical.

 It is further of itself plain that the laws which may explain the phenomena of the material world, in contradistinction from the organic, cannot be considered as accounting for the existence of living beings, even though these have a material body, unless it be actually shown that the action of these laws implies by their very nature the production of such beings. Life in appropriating the physical world to itself with all its peculiar phenomena exhibits, however, some of its own and of a higher order, which cannot be explained by physical agencies. The circumstance that life is so deeply rooted in the inorganic nature, affords, nevertheless, a strong temptation to explain one by the other; but we shall see  how fallacious these attempts have been.

The source of the experience

Agassiz, Louis

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