Originally by J. de Bonniot
Edition by D. Major
We had sent to press an article disputing monism, but we were at the time unaware of the work of Professor Antoine Béchamp, Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Medicine at Université Lille Nord de France, and for many years a Professor of chemistry the University of Montpellier.
This, our second article on this topic, addresses the question of the origin of the earliest known organized beings. It also discusses the propensity of science to embrace reason, rather than faith in divine intervention.
A firm corollary of this essential characteristic of science is the proposal and adoption of two indubitable and fundamental premises:
- That there was a period during which the Earth was composed entirely and solely of mixed mineral elements; and
- That scientific experience demonstrates the inability of such a mineral milieu to be a precondition for the development of life.1
After some study, we found that the research of Professor Béchamp sheds new light on the second of these points. It is appropriate to name here the distinguished scientists who assisted with his work. They are Professor Alfred Estor, of the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier, and Professor Béchamp’s son, Joseph, a notable chemist himself. 2
Together, the three performed valuable work; they established the foundations of the microzymian system that Professor Béchamp had initially introduced, more than two decades previously.
The observations and experiments that have performed since then have yielded fruitful results and have repeatedly confirmed the veracity of the microzymian model; yet they have remained ignored by a public preoccupied with theatrical displays and the cult of reputation.
1. On Fermentation and Microzymas
The trio of scientists from Montpellier were certainly studying a tiny world. It contains the smallest and most fundamental organized entities that we know of; they are the smallest distinguishable through the lens of a microscope at the highest possible magnification. Analysis reveals these entities to be small, shiny, crystal-clear spheres, apparently composed of a resistant envelope and a semi-fluid interior.
An analogy involving ancient Rome gives us an idea of their microscopic size. The legion was the largest unit in the Roman army, and is generally acknowledged to number appropriately 6,000 infantry and cavalry. It required about the same number of square meters of space in which to manoeuvre. However, in one square millimetre, or the area covering the head of a single pin, 30,000 legions of microzymas, these brilliant and animated spheres, could perform their own manoeuvres.
This is no arbitrary claim, as their dimensions and actions have been measured, and those humble microscopic legionnaires have been found to oscillate at between five ten-thousandths and three thousandths of a millimetre. It is by gathering together 3,000 of the largest observed that we could finally fill one cubic millimetre with them. And these are undoubtedly the giants in the legion, for a myriad of others are up to 17 times smaller, and a millimetre composed of the smaller ones would hold 50,000 of the tiny spheres.
Our microscopic legionnaires had been sighted prior to Professor Béchamp’s observations, but remained unexplored, and were mistakenly named ‘molecular granulations’.
Béchamp thus saw the merits of likening their nature, function, and innumerable numbers, to an army, one that exists within all living entities. They are not, however, distributed in a uniform manner, as they hold different positions, and their functions vary according to the organs they are in, such as the liver, the lung, the salivary glands, or the muscles.
They are also present in some mineral bodies, such as chalk.
Now, chalk, or the Cretaceous ground containing it, is widespread. The Paris basin, which extends across Saint-Quentin to Montargis and from Épernay to Louviers, contains it in large amounts. It is in Denmark, from where it suffuses to Pomerania and Sweden. It constitutes the bedding of the vast Polish plains, and is also visible in southern Russia, in the Don basin, and the Crimea. It is found in the Alps and the Apennines, and on the other side of the Mediterranean; it clad the large part of the chains and branches of the Atlas, from Egypt to the Straits of Gibraltar, and it progresses beyond Spain, from where it continues on the two sides of the Pyrenees. In Algeria, this layer reaches several thousand meters in thickness. According to Huxley, the mud at the bottom of the seas is nothing but Cretaceous terrain in preparation.
Therefore, if all this chalk contains microzymas – and there is evidence to suggest that it does – it is no longer appropriate to count them in the thousands, but instead in the countless trillions. Yet, chalk is only a sample of the rocks acting as their hosts, for Béchamp has discovered them in large quantities in various calcareous deposits.
The dust of the streets, formed from geological fragments and the detritus of organized entities, is also their territory. On account of their tenuousness, these corpuscles flit effortlessly through the atmosphere, and the respiratory tracts of animals hold vast quantities of them. Professor Béchamp has subjected those microscopic entities to chemical analysis, and found them to be not only organized, but also composed similarly to animals – of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen.3
Furthermore, even the ones found in chalk are alive; of this, Béchamp has presented decisive proof. He also found that in rocks, the functions of the microzymas are suspended, as if it is a seed that has yet to germinate. Grains of wheat that were buried with mummies in Egypt remained dormant for thirty centuries; but when sown today, have raised healthy crops. The microzymas among the chalk are in a similar state, they lapsed into immobility and hibernation when the rock formed, countless ages prior to the creation of man, thus providing further proof of the incredible persistence of life.
And so, rather than legionnaires, it is more accurate to compare these tiny creatures to masses of tireless and devoted workers. Also, their extreme exiguity does not matter at all, for they toil at a work that is much more important than that of the largest animals; it is the most fundamental and necessary condition of organic life.
Professor Béchamp has named this immense population microzymas, i.e. ‘small ferments’, since fermentation is their active function. A word of explanation will be useful. Schutzenberger says:
“Fermentation is any chemical reaction in which an organic compound (i.e. fermentable matter) is altered in a predetermined manner through the influence of an organic compound (i.e. the ferment), which supplies none of its own substance to the products of the reaction, as these are formed solely at the expense of the fermentable matter.”
One well-known example of this process is wine. The fermentable organic matter is the must or wine, composed of grape juice and water; the fermenting agent is the brewer’s yeast, a mass of microscopic fungi that multiply in the must.4 This fungus divides sugar into alcohol and carbonic acid, and then, while the alcohol stays enclosed inside a vat, the carbonic acid starts to emerge. The bubbling and increase in volume that follows are a result of what is commonly called fermentation (although the bubbling is actually a minor phenomenon, which is often absent).
This process of splitting or reorganizing an organic substance through the action of a ferment is the essence of fermentation.
Of course, fermentation is not a human invention. It is found throughout nature; it was set in place in the organic world by the Creator. It is a natural process which bestows upon our universe a profusion of different functions, not just preparing alcoholic beverages.
Any organized being straying from the path of life and health will, before long, become the seat of numerous chemical reactions. If this results in the creature’s death, the main purpose of these reactions will be to return its substance partly into the deposits of organic matter, and partly into the vast reservoirs of the mineral world.
The reactions that achieve these transformations are fermentations, with microzymas being the fermenting agent. They thus busy themselves with the return to life, as they bring what has been destroyed or disrupted to a proper state. Brewer’s yeast operates in this manner, and according to Béchamp, owes its quality as a ferment to the microzymas contained in its cells.
Fermentation of this kind explains the presence of microzymas in chalk and other geological rocks. The mineral material, when it is laid down at the bottom of the sea to create the sea floor, is composed in large part of the remains of countless creatures. During fermentation, the microzymas enclosed with these sediments return the elements derived from the creatures to the great reservoir of life, and then themselves remain inert in the mineral mass, as immobile as a grain of wheat in a Paharoah’s tomb.
Professor Béchamp managed to reproduce this phenomenon on a smaller scale when, in a well-documented experiment, he made chalk, similar to that of the quarries, by employing the body of a cat and carbonate of lime. The material that resulted was full of microzymas.
Nutrition, or the assimilation of foreign elements, allows organic life to develop and survive. No assimilation can happen without chemical reactions and fermentations, and the ingested substances must vary in form not only according to the species of living beings that receive them, but also according to the particular organs and tissues involved. A living body is therefore an apparatus comparable to a chemical laboratory, in which microzymas instigate fermentation, modifying the substances that provide the fuel for nutrition.
But there is more to be added. Professor Béchamp, conducting further experiments, revealed the role of the microzymas in the formation of life. Once the seed has initiated its mysterious organizing work that will result in a living individual and which involves a subtle elaboration of the nourishing medium, the microzymas are there, ready to lend a hand, to provoke and successfully establish the indispensable fermentations required to achieve the process of birth.
If we consider nature’s imperative to preserve, protect, and serve the first spark of life, we see evidence of a weakness and delicacy, a kind of impotence that requires external help to make the spark survive as it throws its first ray and produces its first vital act.
Professor Béchamp is correct when he attributes to certain microzymas the function of instigating the creation of life with the fermentation that they are responsible for:
“The vital role of microzymas is remarkable; they are the beginning and end of all organization.”
This conclusion belongs to Béchamp himself, but we might amend it by adding a single word:
“They are at the beginning, centre and end of all organization.”
The smallest microscopic beings that we have observed, then, seem to be part of the very foundation of the animate world. Accordingly, the discoveries of Professor Béchamp and his co-workers should take their place among the most advanced scientific works.
To summarize all this into a straightforward statement:
Any living entity is reducible to its microzymas.
This proposal accurately articulates a theory that Béchamp postulates as a result of his experiments:
Microzymas are the materials of which all cells of living beings are composed.
Béchamp’s experiments confirm microzymas to be microscopic individuals underlying every organism at the level of their cells, and through their activities, they both build and destroy life.
Therefore, not only behaving as auxiliaries of death, the microzymas are also the architects of life, working among the elements of organisms as they enter into dissolution.
We do not intend to examine this doctrine further, for we have other matters which we must attend to.
We will simply add here that philosophy, which has the right to judge science, will have difficulty confirming the unity of life when it results from the agglomeration of countless microscopic lives.
2. On Seeking the Origin of Life
The question of the origin of organic life is resolved by an answer that is both simple and clear.
Life is a quality that inorganic materials lack; consequently, it is not the result of mere physical evolution, but is initiated as an effect of a cause that is transcendent to the material world.
Such logic seems reasonable and obvious to us, but not everyone is satisfied with it. Some scientists have gone as far as submitting every theory, including metaphysics, to experimentation. So they have insisted, for example, on seeing life take form before their eyes – they want to see a living being emerge from inorganic matter.
And so they have prepared baths, solutions, and mixtures of mineral elements, and introduced them into inorganic structures, while at the same time maintaining particular conditions of light and heat. Then, armed with their microscopes, they search for the spontaneous appearance of a living being – an amoeba, a spore, a cell – anything, however humble.
Of course, this is a lost cause. They have never seen any trace of life, and never will. Their mineral concoctions remain obstinately sterile.
Atheism placed great hopes upon these attempts; but it has been disappointed. Any appearance of a living organism within a mineral environment can suggest only that life draws from a mineral environment the mineral elements of the organism; but this says nothing as regards the origin of life.
When God animated our inert world by creating life, he took the matter of living beings from elements that were already created; the first organisms were thus derived from the inorganic milieu. Would a chemist, present at the scene, be able to see, with or without a microscope, this miraculous transformation? Could he or she possibly have seen life appear in organisms, or the elevating hand of God at work?
No, for the life force and God are both invisible. None of their experiments could be described as being worthy of consideration – for what did they prove, having all failed?
Defeated on this side, atheists adopted another strategy by identifying themselves with the attempts of heterogenists, thinking that this would give them the upper hand.5
The main objective of the experiments conducted by these ‘heterogenist’ scientists is also to bring about the spontaneous birth of living beings that have no predecessors; again, they sought to instigate the creation of life.
However, the employed infusions are this time organic, the sterility of mineral solutions having now been proven; and so there is here a striking difference between the two sets of experiments, one which we must not lose touch with.
Evenso, any claims of success would still prove nothing, for the reasons we have already stated.
The Monists, however, believe that any positive result would allow them to proclaim the mineral origin of the life as a fact proven by science.
The German materialist Büchner explains why. For a long time, organic compounds have been considered by chemists as products exclusively intended for organized beings. This is what Büchner alludes to:
“The results of chemical synthesis have ruined the last efforts of the supporters of vitalism in natural history, and and of supernaturalism in the philosophy of nature.
Today, the forces of inorganic matter alone are used to form chemically from scratch the best-characterized organic compounds, such as alcohol, grape sugar, oxalic acid, formic acid, fats, and even albumin, fibrin, and chondrite. They retain nothing of their inorganic nature; they are no longer crystallizable but only coagulable.
We believed, until recently, that only the influence of ‘life’ forms them. And that which is possible in the chemist’s laboratory is surely far more easily done in the tremendous and mysterious laboratory in which nature’s most violent and fundamental forces are at work.
We cannot, therefore, deny nature the ability to organize6 physical matter without the assistance of organized beings, since we routinely perform this task artificially.”7
We shall see later what is to be thought of the German doctor’s logic. It is sufficient, for now, to summarize his main points:
- Chemists are able to produce some organic compounds chemically, so there is nothing to prevent them from producing them all.
- But the forces of nature possess as much power as the chemists; therefore nature can derive all organic compounds from the mineral kingdom.
- What remains to be demonstrated, then, is that life does not need anything else to spontaneously begin.
Now, the heterogenists have eagerly taken upon themselves the job of presenting this important demonstration to the world, and nothing could be less rash; for already many imagine that they have seen, with their own eyes, small organised beings forming in a suitably prepared organic medium. Thus, they say, minerals can produce all organic compounds, and living beings are born without parents in preparations containing the necessary compounds. These two propositions are sufficient to remove the origin of life from the Creator. This is the reasoning of scientific atheism.
Let us see now if it is rigorous, from the point of view of science, that is to say of observation – for we have already shown that it is worthless from the point of view of reason.
3. On the Creation of Organic Compounds
Firstly, it is untrue that “minerals can produce organic compounds on their own”.
Fundamentally, the monist argument is predicated on the proposition that what is done by man is also done by nature. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth if one understands nature as the world of material beings other than humanity; all the more so, by solely understanding it as the mineral kingdom.
And as well as being false, the fundamental proposition of the German atheist Büchner is worthy only of ridicule. For indeed, who but an atheist would dare argue, without outraging common sense, that nature can give birth to a book, a watch, a steam engine, a shoe? You might as well ask whether a kitchen can create your dinner if it is left to its own devices. And why not, if nature can do what man can?
Let us examine the question more closely, by examining the processes by which chemists operate on certain organic combinations. Professor Béchamp discusses this in a lecture he delivered at the Faculty of Medicine at Montpellier:
“Chemists knew that alcohol, generated by fermentation – the physiological activity of nutrition of an elementary and cellular organism called the ferment – and that formic acid – produced from a red ant with the leaves of some coniferous plants – are both destroyed, or reduced, when heated with concentrated sulphuric acid. The first into carbonaceous hydrogen and water, the second into carbon monoxide and water.
Professor Berthelot set out to unite the products of these decompositions.
However, to conclude an experiment with convincing arguments, the illustrious chemist fancied using carbon monoxide and bicarbonate hydrogen, both generated via mineral synthesis with the help of carbonic acid.
We shall see how he reached it, but it is not premature for me to state that such an undertaking is possible, and was achieved by Professor Berthelot. We can note that the process that transforms carbonic acid, a highly oxygenated compound, into carbon monoxide, which is less oxygenated, and bicarbonate hydrogen, which is no longer oxygenated, is known as reduction.
To make formic acid by total synthesis, our scientist put carbon monoxide in a flask, which contained caustic potash with very little water. Once hermetically sealed by melting the glass, the solution was heated at 100° for seventy hours. By the end of this time, the carbon monoxide disappeared, as it was uniting with the water. Formic acid was formed, which joined with the potash to produce formiate, from which formic acid was extracted, using the processes known at that time. The resulting acid was identical to that of the ants.
To make alcohol, Berthelot took the hydrogen bicarbonate resulting from carbonic acid reduction. He added it to a solution of sulphuric acid and mercury. He then shook it vigorously, so that the gas was absorbed. After absorption, he added water, and then distilled it. The distilled output is made up of the alcohol.
Professor Berthelot has also performed a large number of other syntheses of compounds far more complicated than these, so that the synthetic method is now widely applied, since he taught us how to create the conditions that make possible combinations that we never even suspected.
But the conditions must be met. Do you understand this, gentlemen? Do these conditions arise on their own? This remark reminds me of an anecdote that I want to share with you.
In 1856, I found myself at the Collège de France, in the laboratory of Professor Berthelot. What follows is the unexpected arrival of M. Mitscherlich, a renowned chemist from Berlin and illustrious author responsible for the discovery of isomorphism.
This is the conversation that took place between the two of them:
Prof. Mitscherlich: I have tried to repeat your alcohol synthesis experiment; but I failed to get the carbonated hydrogen absorbed by sulphuric acid.
Prof. Berthelot: How did you proceed?
Prof. M: I poured the sulphuric acid and the hydrocarbon gas into a bottle, and the absorption did not occur.
Prof. B: Did you give the mercury a jolt once poured in?
Prof. M: No.
Prof. B: Then you have disregarded an essential step. To absorb 30 litres of bicarbonated hydrogen in 900 grams of sulphuric acid in the presence of mercury, I used 53,000 shakes. This is what you have neglected to pursue.
And sitting down, Professor Berthelot showed Professor Mitscherlich the correct method.
Therein lies the mystery, my dear gentlemen: one needs to know how to gather the proper and necessary conditions, and assure oneself not to neglect any.”
Professor Béchamp is saying that the whole problem is the bringing together of the required conditions. It is only after much trial and error that this difficult operation succeeded for several organic products in the hands of chemists, and this process was not without its problems. However, we can do it much more efficiently, at much less expense. Throw a seed of any plant into a slightly humid soil of moderate temperature, and you will witness the instant appearance of numerous organic compounds which, for the most part, defy any attempts at imitation by our chemists.
Beneath the husk of the seed, there is a store of organic matter intended to provide the plant with its first food. They are carbohydrates (compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) and albuminoids (soluble proteins that always include nitrogen). The number and quality of these materials vary according to the species of the seed.
But the seed cannot feed on these compounds in the form they first have. Under the influence of water, they are liquefied and chemically transformed by fermentation. So, for example, gluten becomes albumin, and starch becomes glucose. This is the first chemical work that happens in a plant.
But as soon as the seedling shows the tip of its stem above the ground, into the light, a series of different operations begins. The ambient environment will now provide to the emerging plant the elements which it will use to build itself, by combining them in various albuminoids and carbohydrates.
It will operate in this manner for the rest of its life, with many chemical operations taking place. Any scientist would struggle to keep track of all the combinations and transformations that this miraculous natural laboratory will produce during its lifetime.
These compounds also change in nature when fruit is being formed. The plant produces, in the required forms, the compounds that will serve to build the fruit, and as it ripens, there are more changes as the materials needed for the future evolution of the seeds contained in the fruit are created.
Such, in brief, is a summary of the chemical life of plants. The production of complex organic compounds is not only possible; it is an essential aspect of nature, and it occurs with an abundance, a richness, and a variety which defy the imagination. It is the work par excellence of the vegetable kingdom.
“Plants make organic matter by fixing and combining, in various ways, certain mineral elements through processes of nutrition; they are the obligatory and necessary intermediaries between the mineral and animal worlds.”8
Minerals are the reservoir from which plants draw the material that they need, and animals feed on the chemical compounds produced by the plants, then return them, more or less directly, to the universal store. This is the intimate bond that unites the three kingdoms of nature, it is their order of dependence. If one were to give to the mineral kingdom the function of producing organic compounds, plants would no longer have any raison d’être, no reason to exist; or put another way, the entire world would function like one gigantic plant.
Here is a question: if the mineral world has the ability to create organic compounds, how is it that we do not find anywhere today the slightest trace of carbohydrates or albuminoids being produced from this immense source?
The monists would say that circumstances have changed; that the world is no longer what it was when life first appeared. How convenient it is for them to retreat with their flimsy hypothesis, taking refuge in the shadows cast by the distant past. However, let us give them the benefit of the doubt, and follow them into their archaic laboratory. What do we see?
If we accept the geological evidence, we can accept that a sterile sea covered the earth. The atmosphere, saturated with carbonic acid, weighed upon its surface. The four elements that form organic compounds – nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen – were present, and mixed with the surface of the water that is in contact with the atmosphere.
Would this have been sufficient for organic compounds to come into existence?
An experiment by the German chemist Eilhard Mitscherlich suggests the contrary. He mixed together the elements that make up alcohol; but we know that he could have waited until the last judgement, and never seen any drop of alcohol form in his apparatus.
It is apparent that a specific force must intervene and affect the elements, causing them to unite. So, the question is: what force could have acted on the elements of the ancient past, and put into play a power so capricious or fickle that it has not been exercised or seen since?
Büchner would probably retreat from this question pleading ignorance, but at the same time would have to admit that a theory that fails on such a fundamental point has no chance of being scientific.
However, we can give this power an existence, using the imagination, that observation cannot.
In what order will its products be born? We have stated that a single compound cannot be sufficient for life, as the phenomena of vital evolution are the result, from a chemical point of view, of actions and reactions between several substances.
Following this, if the organic compounds appeared sequentially in the sea, life could never have originated; chemists are agreed that these bodies are extremely mobile and alterable. 9 This inevitably results in their destruction by agents contained in the medium in which they were formed, before encountering other organic elements produced after them.
Well, this scenario does not work; does the alternative fare any better?
This one supposes that from the same elements, subjected to a single process and single action, carbohydrates and various albuminoids, are suddenly, and at the same time, formed in an identical milieu. To display the error of such thinking, let us present a chemist with the following problem:
A balloon contains in any proportion nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon; we ask the chemist to enlighten us as to what processes we should conduct so as to obtain, in a single instant, starch, alcohol, sugar, and fibrin.
What will be the scientist’s reaction? He will dismiss us, of course, because we all know just how ridiculous the proposal is. But it is no more than the monistic hypothesis, translated to the conditions of a chemistry laboratory.
We conclude, therefore, that the power attributed to the mineral realm in producing organic compounds is faulty in conception and even more wrongly executed; for a solution of minerals is incapable of rendering any of this work on its own.
4. On the Development of Living Organisms in Organic Material
We could end our argument here; the necessity of an intervention of a creative force in bringing about organic life would be sufficiently proven by what we have stated. Is it necessary to demonstrate that a human hand, preparing and grinding colours, is an indispensable tool for painting a picture?
But let us now stretch the monist system of thought to its limits. Organic compounds exist, brought about by some unknown process. Let us, for the sake of argument, allow them that miracle.
From these organic compounds, can life arise? In other words, is an organic milieu enough to produce a living being?
A note by Dr. Büchner (Lectures, p. 83) is relevant here:
“Schaafhausen, while first examining granulations of 1/2000 to 1/3000 line thickness under the microscope, witnessed the production of a monad, or a single-celled organism, and later saw the monad gradually transformed into an infusoria of a higher order; he observed in plants and animals the same order of events, but they were only able to transform themselves inside a larger cell.”
Our German materialist friend then added that other writers gathered similar observations, and then quoted G. Pennetier:
“We jointly declare with Schaafhausen that infusoria are seen to self-create as surely as one sees crystals formed in a solution containing the elements.’”
This passage expressed in the vernacular means the following:
“A granulation is concentrated organic matter. But, academics have observed it come to life and self-transform into animals already fully characterized with a complicated organization. Consequently, the transition taking place from organic substances to an organized life is a registered fact.”
Even more enthusiastically, Dr. Onimus believed that he witnessed cells spontaneously organizing themselves in an all-liquid organic milieu. Life burst into view under his microscope lenses. The granulations appeared to play no part in the transition. What a giant leap, for the organic milieu to attain a state of organized being! How? Atheists have yet to offer a chain of reasoning worthy of consideration in the question at hand.
Schaafhausen, Pennetier, and Onimus, had they been familiar with microzymas, would have interpreted their observations differently.
Here is what Professor Estor says about Dr. Onimus.
“This experimenter… used the serosity of the vesicatory. This serosa contains microzymas, and the passage of the liquid through one or more filters cannot rid it of them. As they profusely exist in the serosa under experimentation, M. Liouville decided recently to describe and study their evolution.” (Microzymas in Superordinate Organisms, p. 13.)
Dr. Onimus was looking at elements in the cell that he did not correctly understand, and there were actions and actors which he did not perceive; hence his claims that he had witnessed the spontaneous generation of life. His misadventure has, at least, the advantage of showing that the microscope is not an infallible authority in the question at hand.
The microzymas are the crucial point in answering all these mysteries; the granulations of Schaafhausen were microzymas. Professor Béchamp and his colleagues have studied their evolution, and demonstrated the transformation into bacteria that these tiny organisms undergo, followed by their reconstruction as microzymas when their environmental conditions allow.
Dr Estor (ibid., pp. 6-7) states:
“The microzymas retain their spherical shape in all tissues during their normal state; but under certain conditions, they undergo alterations of shape. In ordinary or creosote water, the microzymas keep their normal shape for a long time; in creosote solutions of cane sugar, the bacteria rapidly appear.
In both solutions, intermediate periods are easy to observe. For instance, one finds isolated microzymas, others associated in a string; one sees microzymas presenting a large and a small diameter, progressing in the manner of bacteria; finally, one also sees true bacteria.
Moreover, there are countless indescribable intermediary forms. The varied forms are the different phases in the development of bacteria.”
The observations of Schaafhausen, far from providing any evidence in favour of spontaneous generation, instead argue against the hypothesis. Atheism fails in its attempts to establish the spontaneous origin of life.
But let us widen the scope of our investigations, and refer once more to that compelling apparition of the first living organisms on our globe.
We can assert, with full confidence, that these organisms were plants, for the geological record strongly suggests that to be the case. Therefore, we are faced with these alternatives:
- Either the initial plants emerged in a germ or seed state; or
- They somehow appeared fully developed.
We can be certain of the atheists’ rejection of the second hypothesis, for the creation of an adult plant is utterly complex, as the chemical and physiological conditions necessary have to be perfectly and delicately balanced.
Nature does not produce anything so complex at once and from scratch; it proceeds only via careful and meticulous transitions. This point, in particular, is one of the most fundamental tenets of the Darwinian theory.
Atheists, therefore, rely on the first hypothesis to support their cause; the seed came first.
5. On the Miracle of the Seed, and the Insurmountable Problem it Presents to Atheists and Monists.
Let us now test this thesis which plays such a central role for the Athiests.
The vegetable world has created, and in turn is created by, a masterpiece; the seed. It consists of two very different components: the germ, which will become a plant, and a store of choice provisions, intended to nourish said germ in its initial evolution.
Despite being almost nothing, the germ is quite remarkable, as it contains the entire plan used to build a plant, as well as performing the role of actively applying a predestined form to materials and elements.
Furthermore, the germ waits, in a state of inertia, inside the seed until external causes awaken its nascent activity.
The provisions that it uses are carbohydrates and albuminoids, accompanied by a few mineral salts, but the proportion and quality of these are dependent on the species of the germ; it appears that a most careful hand, with the utmost accuracy, has crafted what will fulfil the primary needs and natural environment of its offspring.
An external envelope acts as a more or less resistant shield to protect the germ and its provisions against its environment. An immutable law renders the germ incapable of assimilating its store of provisions either in their first physical state, or even in their first chemical form. They must be liquefied, and transformed through the appropriate fermentations – in other words, through the action of microzymas.
So begins the evolution of the young plant. It will consume the produce of its microzymian fermentations, and use them to build its first organs. It is only after exhausting all these reserves that it will begin to grow its food, or rather its substance, with carbonic acid and nitrogen present in the atmosphere, water, and certain mineral salts buried in the ground.
And so we can see that the seed is indeed a marvel, a marvel that we are just beginning to know. To suggest that such a wonder could arise from the brute forces of physical nature, from the mineral world, seems an absurdity.
But let us, for the sake of argument, suppose to be true what is clearly ludicrous. The sea would be full of seeds that were constructed in a way we do not have the slightest clue about, from organic matter which was derived, in an equally mysterious process, from inorganic compounds which have repeatedly proven themselves to be incapable of the feat.
Is our world to be explained by this? Do we have here even the beginning of an answer as to why the earth wraps itself in life?
Atheists are thwarted by the insurmountable obstacle of germination in writing their fantasies. A germinating plant holds within it a singular quality, in the presence of chemical actions that are the reverse of what we see in an adolescent or mature plant.
Grown plants are renowned for taking carbon dioxide from the air and giving back oxygen, however while germinating, the seedling does the opposite. It breathes in the same manner as animals – by taking in oxygen, and producing carbon dioxide.
What inevitably follows from this is that the germ could not have begin its evolution in an atmosphere comprised of carbonic acid.
As Georges Ville says:
“Not only are seeds unable to germinate in the pure gas, but also, provided that enough of it is present in the air, germination is also impossible.” 10
Now, when plants first inhabited the Earth, it is known that the atmosphere was saturated with carbon dioxide.
This results in an odd, and singular, situation; the gas that is essential to the life of the vegetable kingdom would, in the first stage, be an absolute and terminal obstacle to its evolution in the shape of a germ.
It seems self-evident, then, that plants had first to appear in their fully-formed state. This is a problem for the atheists, as this development exceeds the power of physical and chemical agents alone; the very existence of plants, therefore, suggests that some intervention took place.
Secondly, the inner part of the germ does not allow for the spontaneous growth of food. Professor Béchamp has demonstrated that this phenomenon is reserved for microzymas, and the fermentation that they are responsible for. The absorption of oxygen, and the release of carbonic acid during germination, could be advanced as proof of this fact.
It is therefore not permissible for the monists to consider plants to be the first living things on Earth. Microzymas, at least, must have preceded them.
Is it reasonable, then, to suggest that microzymas are one spontaneous generation, while the initial germs of the plants are another?
The microzymas share similar shapes, but they differ in terms of the functions that they perform. Professor Béchamp has identified such traits with numerous and conclusive experiments.
The fermentation necessary for the evolution of organisms is as diverse as the species and the particular organs involved. Assuming that microzymas have no other purpose than to preside over this fermentation, it follows that they must possess just as many aptitudes and forms as contexts that they appear in. In doing so, they constitute countless diverse species, for experience has shown that different varieties of microzymas cannot be substituted with one another.
We sense a harmony, then, that exists between their role as auxiliaries to the nutritive function and the special, particular activities that they endow themselves with. We shall therefore number in the billions, or trillions, the different species of microzymas.
Could a pinch of albumin and its fortuitous coagulation be the cause of all the numerous and so well-configured instruments that care for the needs of beings, and which are innumerable in their diversity? Could the same pinch and the same coagulation be the most fundamental cause of all the order and function that we see among the infinitely small, with nature being as vast and complex as it is?
We abhor such a view as an insult to both science and common sense. And we remain on the lookout for some further subterfuge by the monists, such as:
“We never supposed germs to be perfectly born when initially produced. At first, nature’s attempts were rudimentary and analogous, comparable to the yeast cells; something that gave an unimpeded transition from organic to organized matter.”
Well, that thinking does not confer upon us any jubilation.
According to such logic a primitive sea would have been saturated with organic, i.e. fermentable, matter, and if our adversaries found some beer yeast or similar cells there, fermentation would have had to start at once!
What a blessing it would be to find the boundless ocean converted into streams of beer, wine, and vinegar; or, shall we say, into some of those fermented beverages so popular with our species.
We have no interest in debating such an asinine idea, even though it has an echo in the spurious reasoning of the monistic hypothesis; but we want to underline that it is not with yeast cells that you solve the principal difficulty at hand.
Professor Béchamp has experimentally reduced them, and other cells, to microzymas. Cells are primarily a creation of microzymas, and he has demonstrated that the production and power of these micro-organisms tremendously exceeds any force that can be deduced to arise from merely physical or chemical causes. This is the power of life.
The modern atheist makes incredible efforts to steer clear of any miracle11; but science irresistibly compels him along the very path which he wants so desperately to leave. Being forced to choose between an absurdity or a logical miracle, atheism allies with absurdity and stands against the evidence of science.
Finally, we do not merely believe, but know as a scientific fact, as we have seen, that God made life succeed death; and that life alone is the principle of life.
1 This statement can be interpreted differently, depending on whether one is considering plants or animals. Animals begin their existence in an organic environment and grow among organic foods. But plants are entities which evolve from the materials found within a seed. The seed can germinate on its own to bring forth the vital phenomena even in a mineral milieu, and is self-sustained with mineral food once it matures as a plant. Most naturalists simply assert that organic and plastic material is necessary for any organism to live. We refute the blatant error of this view.
2 Joseph Béchamp followed in his father’s footsteps. He was a Professor at Montpellier, and also at the Free Catholic University. In 1887, he published his only book: NouvellesRecherchessurlesAlbuminesNormales et Pathologiques(New Research on Normal and Pathologic Albumins). His father wrote the foreword to the book, which is included in this volume. Joseph died on March 1st, 1893, after contracting pneumonia while collecting research samples at sea.
3 However, these small living entities seem evenly balanced between animal and vegetable forms.
4 ‘Must’ is grape juice before or during fermentation.
5 In France at least, the heterogenists vigorously shun any attention from atheism that might be directed their way. Their doctrine is absent of any atheism; but atheists try to profit from their work, that is to say, to abuse it.
6 This is sophism. How skillful he is at substituting words. The production and arrangement of organic substances from inorganic materials are two fundamentally different processes, perhaps more disparate than those of the trowel-maker, who makes mortar, and the architect, who builds a magnificent structure using the same mortar. But such substitution, finding a basis upon a resemblance to sounds, disarms harmless minds and prepares them admirably to embrace the false conclusions offered by the sophist.
7 Lectures on Darwinism, pp.82, 83.
8 Longet, M., Circular Movement of Matter in the Three Rules
9 Professor Béchamp states that organic substances are not alterable by themselves, but are altered due to the presence of microzymas. He further states that any organic compounds remain safe from physical and chemical agents and that it is an external cause of destruction, such as heat, that decomposes with facility the products of this order. Whatever the reason, these compounds are highly modifiable, which is sufficient for our argument.
10 Ville, G., ‘Physique Végétale’, in Revue Scientifique, vol. II, p. 827
11 Except, of course, the one free miracle that they ask us to grant them; the appearance of the universe, supposedly from nothing…
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