Louis Pasteur

Louis PasteurLouis Pasteur (1822-1895) is one of the greatest names in the history of science and medicine, chiefly because he established the germ theory of disease and conclusively demolished the then-prevalent evolutionary concept of spontaneous generation. He was a physicist and chemist by training and practice and made significant contributions in these fields. He was the first to explain the organic basis and control of fermentation, and as his research led him more and more into bacteriology, he isolated a number of disease-producing organisms and developed vaccines to combat them (notably the dread diseases of rabies, diphtheria, anthrax, and others) as well as the processes of pasteurization and sterilization. He undoubtedly made the greatest contribution of any one man to the saving of human lives, and most scientists today would say he was the greatest biologist of all time.

Yet, in his lifetime, he was the object of intense opposition by almost the entire biological establishment, because he opposed spontaneous generation and Darwinism. Only his persistence and sound experimental and analytic procedures finally compelled most biological and medical scientists to give up their ideas of the naturalistic origin of life and their treatment of disease as based on this notion. Pasteur was a strongly religious man, and ever more so as he grew older.

The more I know, the more does my faith approach that of the Breton peasant. Could I but know all, I would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman.

Excerpted and edited from Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris. Copyright 1982, 1988 by Henry M. Morris. Used by permission.

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