Great problem of natural philosophy

Great problem of natural philosophy
A visual depiction of the "great problem of natural philosophy", as French naturalist Etienne Saint-Hilaire described it in circa 1836, namely how "animate matter" (as the defunct theory of life views things) or "life" (as Saint-Hilaire viewed things), such as a gecko, arose from the collection of 92 naturally-occurring elements of the periodic table in the context of the nebular hypothesis? Serbian-born American electrical engineer Nikola Tesla claimed to have solved the problem in 1915, although his solution was riddled with panbioism. The complete solution was arrived at in 2009 by American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims, via the defunct theory of life.
In modern queries, the great problem of natural philosophy is question of how life arose from non-life.

Solution | Overview
The question of the wherewith-hows of life from non-life, in short, is a vicarious trick question, of sorts, it presupposes or assumes that "life" is something that exists in the universe, and particularly something within or characterizing the person ruminating on the question, previously thought to find resolution in the thermodynamics of some said-to-be hypothetical chemical mechanism occurring 3.85 billion years ago. The so-called "great problem" was solved or rather unraveled in 2009 by American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims (see: below).

History | Saint-Hilaire's statement
The problem was first stated explicitly by French naturalist Etienne Saint-Hilaire who in circa 1836 stated the following: [1]

“It is quite certain that there was a moment when life did not exist on our planet, and another moment when it appeared. It is the passage between these two states that forms the great problem of natural philosophy today.”

In modern terms, this is sometimes equivalent to asking how the inorganic, inorganic matter, dead matter, or non-organic matter, transitioned or passed, at one specific moment in time, into the organic, organic life, living matter, or carbon-based life, among other synonyms, state two?

Saint-Hilaire's solution
In later 13 Jul 1838 letter to French writer Georg Sand (IQ=160), Saint-Hilaire explained his reasoned position on this problem as follows: “God created materials predisposed for organization, by endowing them with all the virtual conditions to pass through all possible transformations according to the prescriptions of unceasingly variable ambient media. Animal forms are thus unceasingly variable.” In short, Saint-Hilaire left the solution to the deism standpoint. The modern physical science perspective, initiated with the famous circa 1802 Napoleon Laplace anecdote, which declared God and "unneeded hypothesis", however, has no use for religious explanation; hence a modern physical science based solution is needed.

Tesla's attempted solution
In 1915, Serbian-born American electrical engineer Nikola Tesla (IQ=195), in his 1915 article “How Cosmic Forces Shape Our Destines”, which extols a mixture of the defunct theory of life and, to some extent, the panbioism perspective, stated that he claims to have solved the great problem of natural philosophy, although he attributes the querying the problem to English natural philosopher Herbert Spencer, attributing him as saying: [2]

"What is it that causes inorganic matter to run into organic forms!"

This seems to be a paraphrasing of the following statement made by Spencer in his 1887 The Factors of Organic Evolution: [3]

“Biologists in general agree that in the present state of the world, no such thing happens as the rise of a living creature out of non-living matter. They do not deny, however, that at a remote period in the past, when the temperature of the earth's surface was much higher than at present, and other physical conditions were unlike those we know, inorganic matter, through successive complications, gave origin to organic matter. So many substances once supposed to belong exclusively to living bodies, have now been formed artificially, that men of science scarcely question the conclusion that there are conditions under which, by yet another step of composition, quaternary compounds of lower types pass into those of highest types. That there once took place gradual divergence of the organic from the inorganic, is, indeed, a necessary implication of the hypothesis of evolution, taken as a whole; and if we accept it as a whole, we must put to ourselves the question—What were the early stages of progress which followed, after the most complex form of matter had arisen out of forms of matter a degree less complex?”

Tesla's so-called solution to the problem is as follows, the last paragraph in particular: [2]

“Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance. There is no constellation or nebula, no sun or planet, in all the depths of limitless space, no passing wanderer of the starry heavens, that does not exercise some control over its destiny—not in the vague and delusive sense of astrology, but in the rigid and positive meaning of physical science.

More than this can be said. There is no thing endowed with life—from man, who is enslaving the elements, to the humblest creature—in all this world that does not sway it in turn. Whenever action is born from force, though it be infinitesimal, the cosmic balance is upset and universal motion result.

Herbert Spencer has interpreted life as a continuous adjustment to the environment, a definition of this inconceivably complex manifestation quite in accord with advanced scientific thought, but, perhaps, not broad enough to express our present views. With each step forward in the investigation of its laws and mysteries our conceptions of nature and its phases have been gaining in depth and breadth.

In the early stages of intellectual development man was conscious of but a small part of the macrocosm. He knew nothing of the wonders of the microscopic world, of the molecules composing it, of the atoms making up the molecules and of the dwindlingly small world of electrons within the atoms. To him life was synonymous with voluntary motion and action. A plant did not suggest to him what it does to us—that it lives and feels, fights for its existence, that it suffers and enjoys. Not only have we found this to be true, but we have ascertained that even matter called inorganic, believed to be dead, responds to irritants and gives unmistakable evidence of the presence of a living principle within.

Thus, everything that exists, organic or inorganic, animated or inert, is susceptible to stimulus from the outside. There is no gap between, no break of continuity, no special and distinguishing vital agent. The same law governs all matter, all the universe is alive. The momentous question of Spencer, "What is it that causes inorganic matter to run into organic forms!" has been answered. It is the sun's heat and light. Wherever they are there is life. Only in the boundless wastes of interstellar space, in the eternal darkness and cold, is animation suspended, and, possibly, at the temperature of absolute zero all matter may die.”

In short, Tesla gives the answer that "organic matter", his synonym for what is colloquially known as "life", arose through the cyclical action of the sun's heat and light. This is all correct, except for he decisive point that his solution clings to panbioism, i.e. the "everything is alive" point of view. In other words, in order for Tesla's solution to be correct, the hydrogen atom as to be alive. This, however, is not the case. This was first clearly stated in the 1938/39 "Man On His Nature" lectures of English physiologist Charles Sherrington, as follows: [4]

“Life is an example of the way in which an energy-system in its give and take with the energy-system around it can continue to maintain itself for a period as a self-centered, so to say, self-balanced unity. “Perhaps the most striking feature of it is that it acts as though it ‘desired’ to maintain itself. But we do not say of the spinning of a heavy top which resists being upset that it ‘desires’ to go on spinning. The very constitution of the living system may compel it to increase; thus a self-fermenting protein system, granted its conditions, must increase. The behavior of a living body is an example of this, and we call it ‘living’. The behavior of the atom is an example of this and we do not call it ‘living’. The behavior of those newly discovered so-called ‘viruses’ is an example of this and there is hesitation whether or not to call it ‘living’.”

The atom, in short, according to Sherrington (and modern science), is not alive. This fact takes a long time to soak in when working on the great problem of natural philosophy. In any event, Tesla, being an accolade of Goethean philosophy, which he read to the exclusion of all other philosophies, was only but one step away from the solution.

Thims' solution
The so-called "great problem of natural philosophy" was officially solved on 2 Jan 2009 by American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims via the defunct theory of life; although, to note, the precursory work to the solution was preceded by 14-years of thought experiment on the overlap of the elective affinities problem and human chemical reaction theory and modern chemical thermodynamics, and followed by 3-years of post mental solidification before the solution actually began to conclude as a "problem solved" point of view (2012). The construction of the 2005 molecular evolution table and writing of the 2007 chapter "Molecular Evolution" (Human Chemistry) were decisive stepping stones into the solution of the great problem of natural philosophy, as Saint-Hilaire labeled it.The following is an overview diagram of the 2009 solution to the great problem of natural philosophy, i.e. life from non-life problem:

Great problem of natural philosoph (solution)

(add discussion)

The following are related quotes:

“No intelligent person can fail to be interested in the great question, what makes physical matter living matter? This question has been the oldest, and still remains the latest topic of scientific discussion. It is well, therefore, to recognize at the outset why no agreement has been reached on the subject.”
William H. Thomson (1909), What is Physical Life? Its Origins and Nature [1]

“The problem of the origin of life is one of the oldest enigmas with which the human mind has been concerned; and yet it is a problem which is ever-recurring, seemingly as insurgent as life itself.”
Oliver Reiser (1940), “Life as a Form of Chemical Behavior” [6]

See also
Great chain of being.
Homework problems
Origin of life

1. (a) Guyader, Herve Le. (2004). Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire: a Visionary Naturalist (Note 13: to page 281). University of Chicago Press.
(b) Etienne Saint-Hilaire – Wikipedia.
2. (a) Tesla, Nikola. (1915). “How Cosmic Forces Shape Our Destinies (‘Did the War Cause the Italian Earthquake’), New York American, Feb 7.
(b) Tesla, Nikola. (2007). The Nikola Tesla Treasury (pg. 504-13). Wilder Publications.
3. Spencer, Herbert. (1887). The Factors of Organic Evolution (pgs. 70-71). D. Appleton and Company.
4. Sherrington, Charles. (1940). Man on His Nature (pg. 75). CUP Archive.
5. Thomson, William H. (1909). What is Physical Life? Its Origins and Nature. Dodd, Mead and Co.
6. Reiser, Oliver L. (1940). The Promise of Scientific Humanism: Toward a Unification of Scientific, Religious, Social, and Economic Thought (thermodynamics, 6+ pgs; origin of life, pg. 159). Oskar Piest.

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