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Aristotle initially thought that life arose spontaneously and he backed this up by showing that a lump of meat left uncovered in a glass jar spontaneously produced maggots.
The spontaneous generation theory was later disproved by another scientist, Francesco Redi. He showed that a covered jar containing a lump of meat will not spontaneously produce maggots unless flies are allowed to perch and lay their eggs on the meat. The eggs of the flies give rise to the maggots and not the meat.
It thus showed that new life does not arise spontaneously but rather through development and reproduction.