Science2 - 00047

Science2 - 00047 - Untitled the origin of organisms (i.e....

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Untitled the origin of organisms (i.e. living creatures) from the earth to elsewhere. The third answer is that living creatures of a very simple sort may have emerged on the earth's surface from not-living material, e.g. from some semi-fluid carbon compounds activated by ferments. The tenability of this view is suggested by the achievements of the synthetic chemists, who are able artificially to build up substances such as oxalic acid, indigo, salicylic acid, caffeine, and grape-sugar. We do not know, indeed, what in Nature's laboratory would take the place of the clever synthetic chemist, but there seems to be a tendency to complexity. Corpuscles form atoms, atoms form molecules, small molecules large ones. Various concrete suggestions have been made in regard to the possible origin of living matter, which will be dealt with in a later chapter. So far as we know of what goes on to-day, there is no evidence of spontaneous generation; organisms seem always to arise from pre-existing
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