Almost all later philosophers and scientists abandoned the notion in the face of a greater understanding of the nature of matter based upon empirical evidence. However, remnants of the concept persist in theology and in creationism. Scientific evidence supports the view that life inheres self-replication, and that living and extinct organisms are interrelated on a branching “Tree of Life”.
Tree of Life Project
"One of the most profound ideas to emerge in modern science is Charles Darwin's concept that all of life, from the smallest microorganism to the largest vertebrate, is connected through genetic relatedness in a vast genealogy. This "Tree of Life" summarizes all we know about biological diversity and underpins much of modern biology, yet many of its branches remain poorly known and unresolved."