more from Robert Boyle

Single Idea 15961

[catalogued under 27. Natural Reality / G. Biology / 3. Evolution]

Full Idea

I confess I cannot well conceive how from matter, barely put into motion and left to itself, there could emerge such curious fabricks as the bodies of men and perfect animals, and more admirably contrived parcels of matter, as seeds of living creatures.

Gist of Idea

I don't see how mere moving matter can lead to the bodies of men and animals, and especially their seeds


Robert Boyle (The Sceptical Chemist [1661], p.569), quoted by Peter Alexander - Ideas, Qualities and Corpuscles

Book Reference

Alexander,Peter: 'Ideas, Qualities and Corpuscles' [CUP 1985], p.60

A Reaction

This is here to show that one of the most brilliant intellects of the seventeenth century thought carefully about this question and couldn't answer it. Natural selection really was a rather clever idea.