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Some creationist claims about Pasteur and Spontaneous Generation

Copyright © 2004
[Last update: June 3, 2004]

[This file is part of the Spontaneous Generation FAQ.]

Sites accessed on 24 February 2004

Louis Pasteur
Outstanding scientist and opponent of evolution (1822-1895)

Pasteur's work should have dealt the death blow to the idea of spontaneous generation. But spontaneous generation is an essential part of the theory of evolution. Despite all the efforts of evolutionary scientists, not one observable case of spontaneous generation has ever been found. Pasteur's findings conflicted with the idea of spontaneous generation (as do all scientific results since). Consequently, Louis Pasteur was a strong opponent of Darwin's theory.

The Origin of Life: A Problem for Evolution

By David A. DeWitt, Ph.D, Associate Director, Creation Studies

The great scientist Louis Pasteur realized the futility of spontaneous generation. Francesco Redi had demonstrated long before that flies didn't 'arise' from decaying meat but from the eggs that other flies laid on the meat! Pasteur definitively showed that microbes did not arise in a sterile meat broth until and unless other microbes had access to it. He and the great pathologist Rudolf Virchow formulated what later became known as the biogenetic law: Life comes only from life. The implication of this research was that life does not create itself, it required God to create it originally. Both of these Christian men of science were creationists.

Philosophical Origins of Evolution

by David Skjaerlund

Pasteur's experiments confirmed that life reproduces only after its own kind and that even micro-organisms, at that time unseen by the human eye, need micro-organisms as parents. For the first time, evolutionary reasoning was refuted by sound scientific inquiry that was not first influenced by philosophical thought. Pasteur, a devoted Christian, could have been approaching the problem from the biblical viewpoint of reproduction after kinds (Gensis 1), thereby understanding how to test the idea of spontaneous generation.

Two Worldviews in Conflict
What do thousands of scientists believe about creation and evolution?

The basis for evolution led to a revival of the spontaneous biogenesis theory, also known as chemical evolution, or spontaneous generation.Spontaneous generation is the hypothetical process by which living organisms develop from nonliving matter. However, this concept was disproved by Louis Pasteur, whose contributions were among the most valuable in the history of science.[9] Pasteur proved through famous experiments that all life comes from life, never from non-life.[10]

The following sites were accessed on March 21, 2004.

EVOLUTION: Science or Religion?

Louis Pasteur Disproved Darwin's Theory

Louis Pasteur, the father of modern medicine, dared to question the evolution dogma. He observed the opposite of evolution, and suspected that spontaneous generation of living beings from dead matter was not a reality. Furthermore he believed that species did not evolve into new species, but rather came from parents of the same kind as themselves. (This is called biogenesis, and is what the Bible teaches in Genesis chapter one.) Pasteur realized that if he were right, different kinds of germs caused different diseases, and by determining a germ's kind and learning how to kill that kind, the disease it caused could be cured. Pasteur declared, "It is in the power of man to make parasitic illnesses disappear from the face of the globe, if the doctrine of spontaneous generation is wrong, as I am sure it is."5 On April 7, 1864, six years after Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species, and after Pasteur had endured years of opposition, ridicule and outright hatred from evolutionary pseudo-scientists, he lectured in a large lecture room of the Sorbonne concerning his famous experiments. . . .

Creation Magazine 17(3):6 June 1995
Test your knowledge

Spontaneous generation

(a) It was once believed that mice could arise spontaneously from spilled wheat in barns, and that flies arose spontaneously out of rotting meat. Francesco Redi, and (later) Louis Pasteur, showed that living things come only from living parents - that life arises from life. They dealt a death-blow to those who thought life-forms could arise from lifeless matter.

Yet even today evolutionists who deny God have to believe in the unscientific idea that some time in the past, life must have spontaneously arisen from non-life.

'Do you actually expect me to believe that Adam and Eve populated the whole world?'

. . . [T]he most basic premises of evolution have been falsified. For example, that the fossil record should look like a phylogenetic tree with a single basic type of life at the bottom, radiating into many different basic types as we move up towards the surface fossils. Contrary to evolutionary expectations, all phyla are present in Cambrian rocks, with no new phyla in rocks above the Cambrian. And of course the expectation that life could arise from inorganic chemicals by natural processes is more and more being seen as hopeless. Redi and Pasteur, using experimental science, demonstrated that flies and microbes do not arise spontaneously. This principle undergirds aseptic surgery and the preservation of foods by sterilizing, but evolutionists have doggedly hung onto the belief that life must have arisen spontaneously. There is nothing in (real) science that gives any encouragement to such an idea. See the Q&A section of the Origin of Life. The concept survives because evolution is, at its heart, an attempt to get rid of a Creator.

The "Missing Links" Of Evolution

Richard Massey

The greatest hoax of our life lifetime is the theory of evolution. Nothing can exceed the scope and size of this scheme to dupe the public into accepting what cannot be proven (i.e. life began from nonliving matter and slowly developed into thousands of insects, fish, fowls, animals and humans that live on the earth today). Evolution has been popularized by a propaganda campaign second to none. . . . Basically, these evolutionists are atheists, and because of their rejection of God they resort to this conjectured theory. And because they have bought into the theory, they want to sell it to everyone else.

Evolution is based upon a theory that at some point in time, billions of years ago, no life existed upon the earth, not even one trace of life could be found. But, somehow, a miracle occurred when just the right mixture of gases and acids mingled themselves together and microscopic organisms begin to develop. It was impossible, but it happened just the same. In a swamp somewhere on earth, it is conjectured that non-living matter gave birth to that which was alive. It sounds very romantic and has captured the interest of thousands, however there is just one major flaw in the whole scenario. The fundamental laws of science contradict this basic evolutionary premise. The fundamental law of biology is the Law of Biogenesis. This scientific law upholds that all life must come from preceding life, and that of its kind.

Science teaches that life does not come from nonliving matter. Dr. Lazzaro Spallanzani and Louis Pasteur proved in the middle of the eighteenth century that the concept of "spontaneous generation" was indeed false. Dr. Pasteur in his "victory speech" to the French Academy of Science stated, "The theory of spontaneous generation will never recover from the mortal blow dealt it by this simple experiment." The experiment of which he spoke proved the formerly held theory of spontaneous generation false.
Scientists that promote evolution cannot get their theory to harmonize with this known law of science. They have a dilemma; their theory contradicts science.

Doesn't Science Contradict The Bible?

The Fallacies of Evolution
Fact 3

Science today wants you to believe that life was created from dead matter. This is a theory called "Spontaneous Generation" and it was rejected in the 1600s because of the experiments of Italian scientist Francesco Redi. . . . The belief in spontaneous generation still continued until French chemist Louis Pasteur finally settled the issue in the mid-1800s. He discovered that even the smallest amounts of bacteria do not arise spontaneously but always grow from other bacteria, proving that living organisms always come from other living organisms. To believe that life spontaneously resulted from dead matter because of an electrical charge from some unknown source is to return to this false concept of spontaneous generation.

Life -- God's Creation, or Abiogenesis?

Author: Curt Sewell

In 1668 Francesco Redi showed that maggots only appeared on spoiled meat if flies had laid eggs there. If he placed a screen to keep flies off, no maggots appeared, even though fly eggs were on the screen. But it remained for creationist Louis Pasteur, in 1861, to describe his simple, yet elegant, experiment that finally proved that life came only from life. . . .

Pasteur's experiment is still accepted as proof against abiogenesis. But this leaves evolutionists with no source for small "simple" organisms -- a key part of their mechanistic Weltanschauung, or world-view.

The Error of Spontaneous Generation
Evolutionary theory is based on a debunked error.

Out of the Dark Ages. One of the superstitious beliefs of the Dark Ages was the theory of "spontaneous generation." That was the idea that if you threw a bunch of clothes in a corner, after a time it would turn into mice. If you kept some old flour for a time, it would change into worms. Of course, that superstition was not true. Yet it is actually the basis of modern "scientific evolution"!

We all know that everything alive ultimately had to come from something else that was alive. Parents have babies, and they grow up and have more babies. Mice make nests in clothes, and insects lay eggs in grain.

But way back in the beginning, something got this life-from-life process started. There is only one answer: It began when God designed and made our first parents. All of the complicated and carefully interrelated details in your body systems -- were designed by a Person with super intelligence and immense power.

However, in order to deny the existence of God, atheists say that the first mice, men, and microbes sprang forth from sand and seawater! That is impossible, and knowledgeable chemists declare the idea to be utter foolishness.

In the last century, Louis Pasteur and other scientists conclusively proved that "life comes only from life." The scientific name for that fact is "biogenesis."

The conclusion of the matter.

Reputable scientists will tell you that life cannot come from nonlife. Louis Pasteur and others have proven the fact. Yet every evolutionary theory of life origins is based on the error of spontaneous generation.

Evolution Exposed
How do the Bible and Science both refute evolution?

by John Curtis

Cell Theory is a well-known and fundamental theory of biology. . . . This theory replaced one known as "Spontaneous Generation". For around 400 years it was believed by the majority of scientists that life spontaneously arose from on-living matter . . . It was not until the experiments of Redi in the 17th century and Pasteur in the 18th century that this was conclusively disproven. It is now defined as a theory now abandoned.

However, when one comes to the issue of evolution, the question must be asked "how did life begin without God?" Current evolutionary thought requires the existence of "pools of chemicals" with natural energy sources, such as the sun, lightning, or geo-thermal vents of water, etc., that gave birth to the first cell. Experiments by evolutionists through the ages have tried to duplicate this feat, but all have failed. Regardless of the initial conditions the evolutionists use, no life is formed.

The incredible thing is that this idea is exactly the same as "Spontaneous Generation". But both cell theory and Spontaneous Generation cannot be true. Since Cell theory has much empirical evidence and the evolutionary beginning of life has none, which one should we believe? Why would people believe in evolution in spite of the evidence?

Origin Of Life - Notable Issue

Spontaneous Generation was thought to be the Origin of Life until the late 1850's. It wasn't until Frenchman Louis Pasteur that this fallacy was finally disproved. . . .

. . . Organic Evolution (the origin of organic life from a rock) . . . is the old doctrine of Spontaneous Generation - organic life developing from inorganic matter (a rock). The sadly comical result is that some modern day textbooks devote a chapter to the work of Francesco Redi and Louis Pasteur, and their success in disproving Spontaneous Generation. Then, a few chapters later, school kids are taught that Spontaneous Generation is the Origin of Life.

Creation Resource Sheet

Law of Biogenesis: The famous French scientist and skeptic of Darwinism, Louis Pasteur, proved that life comes only from life. Life has never been observed to come from non-life, not even mind-bogglingly rich concentrations of organic molecules such as a sealed can of food. Belief in the origin of life in the past from non-life is thus a violation of one of the fundamental laws of biology, the Law of Biogenesis.

Added June 3, 2004:

Skeletons in the Closet of Science

by Wayne Jackson
Christian Courier: Feature
Saturday, April 1, 2000

Spontaneous Generation

Spontaneous generation is the notion that biological life, in and of itself, may be "jump started" from inorganic materials. This view of the origin of life has prevailed for centuries.

In the 4th century B.C., Aristotle held that fleas and mosquitoes arise from rotting matter. Others contended that maggots spontaneously develop in decaying meat. It has been alleged that a horse-hair, soaked long enough in water, will turn into a worm. But due to the scientific labors of men like Francesco Redi (1627-97) and Louis Pasteur (1822-95), we now know, of course, that these "scientific" theories were patently false.

Evolutionist George G. Simpson, together with his colleagues, confessed that "spontaneous generation does not occur in any known case" and that the scientific evidence indicates that "[a]ll life comes from life." After reading such a confident statement, one cannot but be shocked to further note, from the very same page, that: "Most biologists think it probable that life did originally arise from nonliving matter by natural processes" (p. 261).

But why would such a contradictory position be entertained? Because, as Dr. George Wald of Harvard, indicated, the other alternative, special creation, simply is not acceptable.

"Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation . . . One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation" (p. 46, emp. WJ).

Yes, here they are, clinging to a theory that has no scientific basis - embracing a corpse that Pasteur and others sent to the graveyard, yet desperate for something by which to explain the world of living things.

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