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What is the cause and how can it be explained? When at first the surface of the earth is smooth and still, what is it that is then moved, pushes up, grows and puts out branches? If you collect dry dust and put it finely sieved in an earthenware or bronze pot, after a while when you see plants springing up, to what else do you attribute this but to the marvellous effect of the wonderful divine will? Adelard admitted that it was certainly the will of the Creator that plants should spring from earth, but he asserted his 12 WESTERN SCIENCE UNTIL THE I2TH CENTURY opinion that this process was 'not without a natural reason too'.

Now this science extends to the perfect study of all vegetables, the knowledge of which is very imperfectly delivered in Aristotle's treatise De Vegetabilibus; and therefore a special and sufficient science of 37 AUGUSTINE TO GALILEO which should be taught in books on agriculture. But as agriculture cannot go on without an abundance of tame animals; nor the utility of different soils, as woods, pastures and heaths, be understood, except wild animals be nurtured; nor the pleasure of man be sufficiently enhanced, without such animals; plants is required, therefore this science extends itself to the study of all animals.

The atomists Leucippus and Democritus avoided this difficulty by admitting that geometrical points had no magnitude and that geometrical magnitudes were divisible to infinity, but held that the ultimate particles which made up the world were not geometrical points or figures but physical units which were indivisible, that is, atoms. According to the atomists the universe was made up of atoms moving continually at random in an infinite void. Atoms differed in size, shape, order and position, the number of different shapes being infinite.

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