Alexis Carrel

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In existographies, Alexis Carrel (1873-1944) (IQ:#|#) (Murray 4000:17|M) (EPD:F5) (CR:6) was a French-born American surgeon and philosopher; noted for []


Carrel influenced: Mehdi Bazargan and Roger Caillois.

Thermodynamics | Denial

In 1935, Carrel, in his Man: the Unknown attempted to argue that the second law is inapplicable at the psychological level, wherein intelligence, moral sense, liberty and spirituality come into play:

“There are as many systems of concepts as of strata in the organization of living matter. At the level of the electronic, atomic, and molecular structures found in man's tissues, as well as in trees, Stones, or clouds, the concepts of space-time continuum, energy, force, mass, entropy, should be used. And also, those of osmotic tension, electric charge, ions, capillarity, permeability, diffusion. The concepts of micella, dispersion, adsorption, and flocculation appear at the level of the material aggregates larger than molecules. When the molecules and their combinations have erected tissue cells, and when these cells have associated together to form organs and organisms, the concepts of chromosome, gene, heredity, adaptation, physiological time, reflex, instinct, etc., muff be added to those already mentioned. They are the very concepts of physiology. They exist simultaneously with the physicochemical concepts, but cannot be reduced to them. At the highest level of organization, in addition to electrons, atoms, molecules, cells, and tissues, we encounter a whole composed of organs, humors, and consciousness. Then, physicochemical and physiological concepts become insufficient. To them we must join the psychological concepts characteristic of man, such as intelligence, moral sense, esthetic sense, and social sense. The principles of minimum effort and of maximum production or of maximum pleasure, the quest for liberty, for equality, etc., have to be substituted for the thermodynamic laws and those of adaptation.”
— Alexis Carrel (1935), Man: the Unknown (pg. 33) [1]
“The second law of thermodynamics, the law of dissipation of free energy, indispensable at the molecular level, is useless at the psychological level, where the principles of least effort and of maximum pleasure are applied.”
— Alexis Carrel (1935), Man: the Unknown (pg. 34) [1]

These types of arguments, to note, are vary rarely found in print.


In 1902, Carrel claimed to have witnesses a “miracle” healing at Lourdes. After openly stating his belief, as a physician, in miracles, he was forced to leave France, because no hospital would higher him. He carried this belief, along with spirituality, and telepathy, seemingly into his later years; in his Man: the Unknown (1935) he openly talks about this; such as:

“In all countries, at all times, people have believed in the existence of miracles, in the more or less rapid healing of the sick at places of pilgrimage, at certain sanctuaries, e.g. Lourdes. But after the great impetus of science during the nineteenth century, such belief completely disappeared. It was generally admitted, not only that miracles did not exist, but that they could not exist. As the laws of thermodynamics make perpetual motion impossible, physiological laws oppose miracles. Such is the attitude of most physiologists and physicians.”
— Alexis Carrel (1935), Man: the Unknown (pgs. 148-49) [1]

In his footnote #1, to the above quote, he digresses on the power of prayer, mystic states, clairvoyance, and still continues to cite claims of miracles in the scientific literature.

Quotes | By

The following are related quotes:

“A materialist and a spiritualist accept the same definition of a crystal of sodium chloride. But they do not agree with one another upon that of the human being. A mechanistic physiologist and a vitalistic physiologist do not consider the organism in the same light. The living being of Jacques Loeb differs profoundly from that of Hans Driesch.”
— Alexis Carrel (1935), Man: the Unknown (pgs. 3-4) [1]
“The conquest of the material world, which has ceaselessly absorbed the attention and the will of men, caused the organic and spiritual world to fall into complete oblivion.”
— Alexis Carrel (1935), Man: the Unknown (pg. 7) [1]
“Why should society not dispose of the criminals and the insane in a more economical manner? We cannot go on trying to separate the responsible from the irresponsible, punish the guilty, spare those who, although having committed a dime, are thought to be morally in-nocent. We are not capable of judging men. However, the community must be protected against troublesome and dangerous elements.”
— Alexis Carrel (1935), Man: the Unknown (pg. 318) [1]
“To what extent is any given man morally responsible for any given act? We do not know.”
— Alex Carrel (c.1930), Publication (Ѻ)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Carrell, Alex. (1935). Man: the Unknown. Publisher.

External links

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