The Terrain

As the story goes, in a flash of either insight or honesty, Louis Pasteur supposedly recanted on his deathbed. Pasteur is canonized as the person who brought us the germ theory and as such is considered one of the father’s of modern medicine. The germ theory, of course, tells us that germs are the cause of infectious diseases.

The germ theory is part of our contemporary common sense. It has an aura of irrefutably about it, like the fact that the sun is going to rise tomorrow morning. So, what was there for Pasteur to recant? He did not refute the existence of micro-organisms nor the fact that certain of these were closely associated with disease processes.