Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Talkin' 'Bout Spontaneous Generation

Wrong science takes a long time to die:
Aristotle’s spontaneous generation was widely accepted in Europe and the Arab world for the next two millennia. In Antony and Cleopatra, for instance, the accomplished drunkard Lepidus notes that “your Serpent of Egypt, is bred now of your mud by the operation of your Sun: so is your Crocodile.” (Though as Frederick Turner writes in Shakespeare’s Twenty-First Century Economics, such drunken ramblings may have been the great writer expressing sarcastic doubt toward spontaneous generation. Regardless, the theory was alive and well.) Later on, the greatest minds of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, including Isaac Newton and RenĂ© Descartes, subscribed to the theory.
Even geniuses aren't right about everything...

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