Phosphorus

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PictureZ
6PP1.1phosphorus15
In chemistry, phosphorus, symbol P, atomic number 15, is a nonmetallic element, the sixth most abundant element in a person, comprising 1.1 percent by mass of the structural composition of an average human molecule. [1]

Human molecular formula
The position of the element phosphorus in the average human molecular formula is as follows:

CE27HE27OE27NE26PE25SE24CaE25KE24ClE24NaE24MgE24FeE23FE23
ZnE22SiE22CuE21BE21IE20SnE20MnE20SeE20CrE20NiE20MoE19CoE19VE18

Function
Calcium plays a part in almost every chemical reaction within the body because it is present in every cell. Forms calcium phosphate with calcium in the bones and teeth in a 2-1 ratio. Is important in the utilization of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for growth, maintenance, and repair, etc. [1]

Quotes
In 1874, English physical economist Stanley Jevons gave the following view of phosphorus in relation to the human: [2]

“By degrees it is found that the chemistry of organized substances is not widely separated from, but is rather continuous with, that of earth and stones. Life itself seems to be nothing but a special form of that energy which is manifested in heat and electricity and mechanical force. The time may come, it almost seems, when the tender mechanism of the brain will be traced out, and every thought reduced to the expenditure of a determinate weight of nitrogen and phosphorus.”

This is excellent discernment for 1874, indeed.

“No apparent limit exists to the success of scientific method in weighing and measuring, and reducing beneath the sway of law, the phenomena both of matter and of mind [mind brain duality]. And if mental phenomena be thus capable of treatment by the balance and the micrometer, can we any longer hold that mind is distinct from matter? Must not the same inexorable reign of law, which is apparent in the motions of brute matter, be extended to the most subtle feelings of the human heart? Are not plants and animals and ultimately man himself, merely crystals, as it were, of a complicated form? If so, our boasted free will becomes a delusion, moral responsibility a fiction, spirit a mere name for the more curious manifestations of material energy. All that happens, whether right or wrong, pleasurable or painful, is but the outcome of the necessary relations of time and space and force, and of the laws of matter emerging from them, which are fixed in the very nature of things.

Materialism seems, then, to be the coming religion, and resignation to the nonenity of human will the only duty. Such may not generally be the reflections of men of science, but I believe that we may thus describe the secret feelings of fear which the constant advance of scientific investigation excites in the minds of many who view it from a distance. Is science, then, essentially atheistic and materialistic in its tendency? Does the uniform action of material causes, which we learn with an ever increasing approach to certainty, preclude the hypothesis of an intelligent and benevolent creator, who has not only designed the existing universe, but who still retains the power to alter its course from time to time?”

He concludes this excellent tract, being already well past the 400+ page mark of his treatise, by commenting “to enter actually upon theological discussions would be evidently beyond the scope of this work.”

Quotes
The following are other related quotes:

“The brain cannot exist without phosphorus-containing fat. The phosphorus is the origin, hence also established activity of the brain—without phosphorus no thought.”
Jacob Moleschott (c.1849), cited by Ludwig Feuerbach, 1850 [2]

“Why should a group of simple, stable compounds of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen struggle for billions of years to organize themselves into a professor of chemistry? What's the motive? If we leave a chemistry professor out on a rock in the sun long enough the forces of nature will convert him into simple compounds of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and small amounts of other minerals. It's a one-way reaction.”
Robert Pirsig (1991), Lila: An Inquiry into Morals

References
1. Thims, Libb. (2008). The Human Molecule (pg. 14) (issuu) (preview) (Google Books) (docstoc). LuLu.
2. (a) Jevons, William Stanley. (1874). The Principles of Science: a Treatise on Logic and the Scientific Method (Book VI, ch. 31: Reflections on the Limits of the Scientific Method, pgs. 427-70; quote, pgs. 427-28).
(b) Mirowski, Philip. (1989). More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics (pg. 219). Cambridge University Press.
3. Pirsig, Robert M. (1991). Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (excerpt, pg. 140; chemistry, 11+ pgs). Random House.

External links
‚óŹ Phosphorus – Wikipedia.

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