Book Review Landmarks and Surface Markings of the Human Body . By L. Bathe Rawling, M.B., B.C. (Cant.), F.R.C.S. (Eng.). With 31 illustrations. Fifth edition. New York: Paul B. Hoeber. 1912
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
The small nut (1), screwed upon a short threaded section at the other end of the axis binds the toothed disc firmly against the large cylindrical part, where it forms a shoulder next to its middle flattened section. This shoulder of the bolt helps to push the two discs apart when the large adjusting nut with its flange pulls upon the other half of the joint. It is apparent that when the two halves are brought together and the adjusting nut is screwed upon the thread of the bolt, that the two
... cs become firmly locked, and that they are pushed and pulled apart and held separated in a positive way when the nut is unscrewed. 1912. This volume, consisting of ten addresses and papers written for various occasions, represents a popular presentation of the results of the author's investigations in physiology, biogenesis, parthenogenesis and biochemistry, and constitutes "an attempt to analyze life from a purely physico-chemical viewpoint." Denying teleology, he aims by experimental observation to establish the thesis that the processes of animal and of vegetable life are essentially the same and that their phenomena are in reality all due to chemical reactions, chiefly in the nature of oxidation. On this basis he seeks to explain not only the process of fertilization, the signification of plant and animal tropisms, the pattern adaptation of fishes and the mechanism of vision, but also the psychologic processes of the central nerve system, which he considers due to the activity of the associative memory, or, as he terms it elsewhere, associative hysteresis. As an exponent of the modern experimental method in science, Lr. Loeb is skillful and convincing. Every one of the facts which he demonstrates with such nice exactitude is indisputably true. The error lies in the interpretation. In his enthusiasm over the seemingly miraculous revelations of science he forgets that there are some doors to which it finds no key. Chemical process undoubtedly accounts for intellectual phenomena, but it does not explain the content of thought. Dr. Loeb justly disparages most metaphysical speculations. It should be remembered, however, that the physician may fall into an error conversely analogous with that of the metaphysician. There is being poured out today a mass of so-called scientific research which after a few centuries will be recognized to be as profitless as the philosophic disputations of medieval scholiasts. This is not saying that all such research does not serve a purpose. It is the nature of the human mind to win truth chiefly by winnowing it from an intolerable deal of chaff. The difficulty lies in the discrimination between that which is important, if true, and that which, though true, is unimportant. Dr. Loeb's concept of life is entirely justifiable from its own point of view, but that point of view is limited. It is not to be criticized because it leads to scientific determinism, since determinism is the conclusion reached by many other philosophies. Moreover, it affords an entirely adequate ethics; indeed the ethics of science seems in many respects superior to other forms, because it is rational. The failure of scientific, physico-chemical determinism is its inability to account for the significance of the lifeprocesses whose phenomena it explains. The mechanistic conception of life, though correct, is inevitably incomplete.