Free download of : MAN,THE UNKNOWN by ALEXIS CARREL – NOBEL PRIZE WINNER
An interesting book about Man that shows us : as much as we learn about Man , we will find out that we don,t know too much
THERE is a strange disparity between the sciences of inert matter and those of life.
Astronomy, mechanics, and physics are based on concepts which can be expressed, tersely and elegantly, in mathematical language. They have built up a universe as harmonious as the monuments of ancient Greece. They weave about it a magnificent texture of calculations and hypotheses. They search for reality beyond the realm of common thought up to unutterable abstractions consisting only of equations of symbols.
Such is not the position of biological sciences. Those who investigate the phenomena of life are as if lost in an inextricable jungle, in the midst of a magic forest, whose countless trees unceasingly change their place and their shape. They are crushed under a mass of facts, which they can describe but are incapable of defining in algebraic equations. From the things encountered in the material world, whether atoms or stars, rocks or clouds, steel or water, certain qualities, such as weight and spatial dimensions, have been abstracted. These abstractions, and not the concrete facts, are the matter of scientific reasoning. The observation of objects constitutes only a lower form of science, the descriptive form. Descriptive science classifies phenomena. But the unchanging relations between variable quantities–that is, the natural laws, only appear when science becomes more abstract. It is because physics and chemistry are abstract and quantitative that they had such great and rapid success. Although they do not pretend to unveil the ultimate nature of things, they give us the power to predict future events, and often to determine at will their occurrence. In learning the secret of the constitution and of the properties of matter, we have gained the mastery of almost everything which exists on the surface of the earth, excepting ourselves.