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Could I but know all, I would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman." of life arising in simple form from nonlife by way of a long and propitious series of chemical steps/selections.
In particular, they did not show that life cannot arise once, and then evolve.
It was not a complete theory of evolution by any means, although Haeckel and Osborn claimed he was a "prophet" of Kant, Laplace, Lamarck and Darwin.
Anaximander also claimed that spontaneous generation continued to this day, with eels and other acquatic forms being produced directly from lifeless matter.
It is not true that "spontaneous generation" has been ruled out in all cases by science; the claims disproven were more restricted than that. We will look at the history of the idea, and then the disproofs, and finally the relation of the origin of life to evolutionary theory in general. Once we reach Pasteur, the implications of the debate to that point for evolution will be considered.
He thought that the properties of living organisms were due to the mixture of these principles and elements in each part of the body, plus an animating force he called "pneuma", which got translated as "anima" in Latin, the word for "soul".
There were, in fact, a number of souls, ranging from growth, to motion, sensation, to thinking, and finally in humans, to reason.
In the "So with animals, some spring from parent animals according to their kind, whilst others grow spontaneously and not from kindred stock; and of these instances of spontaneous generation some come from putrefying earth or vegetable matter, as is the case with a number of insects, while others are spontaneously generated in the inside of animals out of the secretions of their several organs." "As a general rule, then, all testaceans grow by spontaneous generation in mud, differing from one another according to the differences of the material; oysters growing in slime, and cockles and the other testaceans above mentioned on sandy bottoms; and in the hollows of the rocks the ascidian and the barnacle, and common sorts, such as the limpet and the nerites." "Other insects are not derived from living parentage, but are generated spontaneously: some out of dew falling on leaves, ordinarily in spring-time, but not seldom in winter when there has been a stretch of fair weather and southerly winds; others grow in decaying mud or dung; others in timber, green or dry; some in the hair of animals; some in the flesh of animals; some in excrements: and some from excrement after it has been voided, and some from excrement yet within the living animal, like the helminthes or intestinal worms." "Other animalcules besides these are generated, as we have already remarked, some in wool or in articles made of wool, as the ses or clothes-moth.
And these animalcules come in greater numbers if the woollen substances are dusty; and they come in especially large numbers if a spider be shut up in the cloth or wool, for the creature drinks up any moisture that may be there, and dries up the woollen substance. A creature is also found in wax long laid by, just as in wood, and it is the smallest of animalcules and is white in colour, and is designated the acari or mite.