This essay is part of a larger work in progress entitled: Toward a Biology Worthy of Life. Original publication: June 21, 2012. Date of last revision: October 6, 2012. Copyright 2012 The Nature Institute. All rights reserved.
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For more than two centuries biologists have struggled to find an elusive pathway between the lifelessness of inanimate nature and what they feared as the supernatural, mystical, or vitalistic excess easily induced in weak, sentimental observers by an overly close, personal attention to actual livin