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Asa Gray Quotes

But it was soon ascertained that this quaternary matter of the animal body was chemically the same in the plant, was elaborated there, and only appropriated by the animal.

I accept extinction as best explaining disjoined species. I see that the same cause must have reduced many species of great range to small, and that it may have reduced large genera to so small, and of families.

I am sufficiently convinced already that the members of a profession know their own calling better than anyone else can know it.

I know some people who never have any difficulties to speak of. The moment I understood your premisses, I felt sure you had a real foundation to hold on.

I proceed with the proper subject of this discourse; namely, the further changes in scientific belief, which have occurred within my own recollection, even since the time when I first aspired to authorship, now forty- five years ago.

I take it for granted that you do not wish to hear an echo from the pulpit nor from the theological class-room.

In short, the animal and vegetable lines, diverging widely above, join below in a loop.

Indeed upon much that may have to say, I expect rather the charitable judgment than the full assent of those whose approbation I could most wish to win.

Is it philosophical, is it quite allowable, to assume without evidence from fossil plants that the family or any of the genera was once larger and wide spread? and occupied a continuous area?

It remains to consider what attitude thoughtful men and Christian believers should take respecting them, and how they stand related to beliefs of another order.

It was always understood that plants and animals, though completely contrasted in their higher representatives, approached each other very closely in their lower and simpler forms. But they were believed not to blend.

It was implicitly supposed that every living thing was distinctively plant or animal; that there were real and profound differences between the two, if only they could be seized.

Many years ago it was taught that plants and animals were composed of different materials: plants, of a chemical substance of three elements,- carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; animals of one of four elements, nitrogen being added to the other three.

Next it was found that it was physiologically and structurally the same in the plant, that it was the living part of the plant, that which manifested the life and did the work in vegetable as well as in animal organisms.

The best opinion now is, that there are multitudinous forms which are not sufficiently differentiated to be distinctively either plant or animal, while, as respects ordinary plants and animals, the difficulty of laying down a definition has become far greater than ever before.

The former conviction that these two kingdoms were wholly different in structure, in function, and in kind of life, was not seriously disturbed by the difficulties which the naturalist encountered when he undertook to define them.

There is a class, moreover, by whom all these scientific theories, and more are held as ascertained facts, and as the basis of philosophical inferences which strike at the root of theistic beliefs.

This substance, which is manifold in its forms and protean in its transformations, has, in its state of living matter, one physiological name which has become familiar, that of protoplasm.

We have spoken of beings so low in the scale that the individuals throughout their whole existence are not sufficiently specialized to be distinctively plant or animal: yet these are definite life in simpler shape.

We may take it to be the accepted idea that the Mosaic books were not handed down to us for our instruction in scientific knowledge, and that it is our duty to ground our scientific beliefs upon observation and inference, unmixed with considerations of a different order.