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EVOLUTION People have always wondered how life originated and how so many different kinds of plants and animals arose Stories of a supernatural creation of life developed among many peoples The Bible for example tells of Gods creation of humans and other higher animals over several days Many people also believed that insects worms and other lower creatures spontaneously generated from mud and decay Long after these stories became rooted in tradition scientists began to question them Theories of special creation usually hold that life retains its original God-created form it is immutable or unchangeable By contrast theories of organic evolution hold that all organisms including humans are mutable that is they respond dynamically over time to changes in the environment Although the theory of organic evolution is accepted by the overwhelming majority of the scientific community this theory has aroused controversy since the middle of the 19th century Most objections have come from religious groups that support special creation or the theory they term creationism or creation science Individuals and organizations that support this concept defend the belief that all beings were created by God Fundamentalist Christians and others feel that the premise that species are continually changing conflicts with literal interpretations of the Bible They have fought sometimes successfully to prevent the use of biology textbooks that teach evolution or they have insisted that creation science be presented as an alternative theory For an extensive discussion of human evolution see Human Origins The Origin of Life The first serious attack on the idea of spontaneous generation of life was made in 1668 by Francesco Redi an Italian physician who proved that maggots did not arise spontaneously in decaying matter as commonly believed but from eggs deposited there by flies Proof that microorganisms are not generated spontaneously came in the 1860s when Louis Pasteur a French scientist showed that they too develop from preexisting life see
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