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Before November 24 1859 many people simply believed that species were created by God in their present forms or that it was possible for organic matter to be spawned from inorganic matter However Charles Darwin used these ideas to create his thesis On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection The first true theories on evolution arise during the classical Greek period On a handful of Greek philosophers believed in the theory of evolution and natural selection Unfortunately the two philosophers who influenced western civilization the most Plato and Aristotle opposed any theory of evolution Plato believed that there were two worlds one real world and one imperfect world that we perceive with our senses Any variations in life were imperfect images of their ideal forms However Aristotle didnt believe in two worlds instead he believed in a scale of nature Each life form was arranged on a type of ladder It started at the bottom with the least complex organism and continued up to the most complex organism Each organism had a pre-determined rung which allowed no ability to move up and no open spaces for a new organism to fill According to Neil Campbell in his book Biology Fourth Edition Juedo-Christian culture fortified anti-evolution theories p 400-401 The creationist-essentialist dogma that species were permanent and created for a specific purpose became deeply embedded in Western thought Any person who dared to theorize or believe in theories about evolution were instantly labeled heretics The medieval church saw evolution as saying that God did not exist that we are not the supreme creation and that humans could just be evolutionary mistakes However in the later 1700s and early 1800s there was a scientific revolution taking place People began to use scientific experiments to explain what they had always put faith in According to Campbell the first big step in the development of the theory of evolution was made by Carolus
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