|Images of (c.1890) liquid crystals, numbers: 55, 56, and 59 being what Ludwig Gattermann and Otto Lehmann called “copulating drops” (Ѻ); the ability to reproduce being one of the so-called "properties" of the multi-property definition of life.|
Haeckel | Lehmann
In 1872, Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), supposedly, discovered something called “biocrystals”, as Spyros Papapetros (2012) refers to them. 
In the late 1880s, crystallographer Otto Lehmann (1855-1922), a protégé of Haeckel, starting with the findings of chemist-botanist Friedrich Reinitzer, conducted a series of experiments that, supposedly, transformed scientific opinions on crystals.
In 1904, Lehmann was describing what he called “analytic or flowing crystals”, a namesake related to Heraclitus and his “everything flows”, including stones, motto of everything.
Lehmann called these “rheocrystals”, a mixture of mineral substances, e.g. calcite or flint, with organic plasma.
Using a special microscope and polarized light, Lehmann heated and cooled crystals, allowing for measurements of changes in expansion and contraction, which allowed him to posit that (a) they had “plastic” qualities. He also Lehman showed (b) that they had the ability to form a “skin” through which they appeared to breath, and he showed (c) that they had a peculiar form of “copulation”, e.g. when two spindle-form rheocrystals came into contact, their skins would combine and the substance of one crystal would flow into the other until their bodies merged into a single new longer crystal.
In 1917, Haeckel, relying on the texts and drawings Lehmann, published Crystal Souls: Studies of Inorganic Life; which, supposedly, has a flavor similar to Gustav Fechner’s The Soul of Plants (1848). 
|A synopsis of William Thomson’s vacillating 1897-1903 views on "crystals", e.g. water crystal (Ѻ) formation shown above, which he believes are formed by the “fortuitous concourse of atoms” (Cicero on Greek atomic theory), whereas moss sprigs, microbes, and animals are formed by the “creative power” of god acting on atoms, via a miracle; though in his 2 May 1903 impromptu speech he slips and says it is absurd to believe that crystals could form by the “fortuitous concourse of atoms”, then request a recant two days later, after reading his published statements in The Times.|
Thomson | Recant
In 1897, William Thomson, in his “The Age of the Earth as an Abode Fitted for Life”, stated the following: 
“My task has been rigorously confined to what, humanly speaking, we may call the ‘fortuitous concourse of atoms’, in the preparation of the earth as an abode fitted for life. Mathematics and dynamics fail us when we contemplate the earth, fitted for life but lifeless, and try to imagine the commencement of life upon it. This certainly did not take place by any action of chemistry, or electricity, or crystalline grouping of molecules under the influence of force, or by any possible kind of fortuitous concourse of atoms. We must pause, face to face with the mystery and miracle of creation of living creatures.”
In 2 May 1903, Thomson, amid a five part public lecture by professor George Henslow (1835-1925), on “Christian Apologetics”, delivered at the Botanical Theater, at University College, the first of which being on “Present-day Rationalism: an Examination of Darwinism”, gave thanks to Henslow by say a few words, as follows: 
“Science positively affirmed creative power. Science made everyone feel a miracle in himself. It was not in dead matter that they lived and moved and had their being, but in the creative and directing power which science compelled them to accept as an article of belief. They could not escape from that when they studied the physics and dynamics of living and dead matter all around. Modern biologists were coming once more to a firm acceptance of something, and that was a vital principle. They had an unknown object put before them in science. In thinking of that object they were all agnostics. They only knew god in his works, but they were absolutely forced by science to admit and to believe with absolute confidence in a directive power—in an influence other than physical, dynamical, electrical forces.
Cicero denied that they could have come into existence by a fortuitous concourse of atoms. Was there anything so absurd as to believe that a number of atoms by falling together of their own accord could make a crystal, a sprig of moss, a microbe, a living animal? People thought that, given millions of years, these might come to pass, but they could not think that a million of millions of years could give them unaided a beautiful world like ours. They had a spiritual influence, and in science a knowledge that there was that influence in the world around them. He admired the healthy, breezy atmosphere of free thought in professor [John] Henslow's (Ѻ) lecture. Let no one be afraid of true freedom. They could be free in their thoughts, in their criticisms, and with freedom of thought they were bound to come to the conclusion that science was not antagonistic to religion but a help for religion.”
Thomson, then, after reading his praise commentary, as printed in The Times, sent a "request to amend" letter to the editor of The Times, which was printed on May 4, 1903, wherein he states the following humorous request:
“Sir,—In your report of a few words which I said in proposing a vote of thanks to Professor Henslow for his lecture ‘On Present Day Rationalism’ yesterday evening, in University College, I find the following:—‘Was there anything so absurd as to believe that a number of atoms by falling together of their own accord could make a crystal, a sprig of moss, a microbe, a living animal?’ I wish to delete ‘a crystal,’ though no doubt your report of what I said is correct.”
Thomson elaborates on his reasoning behind this request as follows:
“Exceedingly narrow limits of time prevented me from endeavoring to explain how different is the structure of a crystal from that of any portion, large or small, of an animal or plant, or the cellular formation of which the bodies of animals and plants are made; but I desired to point out that, while ‘fortuitous concourse of atoms’ is not an inappropriate description of the formation of a crystal, it is utterly absurd in respect to the coming into existence, or the growth, or the continuation of the molecular combinations presented in the bodies of living things. Here scientific thought is compelled to accept the idea of creative power. Forty years ago I asked Liebig, walking somewhere in the country, if he believed that the grass and flowers which we saw around us grew by mere chemical forces. He answered, ‘No, no more than I could believe that a book of botany describing them could grow by mere chemical forces.’ Every action of human free will is a miracle to physical and chemical and mathematical science.”
|A 2009 video of sodium thiosulfate crystal growth, which American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis uses (1925) as a counter example to discredit the reproduction definition of life. |
In 1925, American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis, in his Anatomy of Science, discredited the reproduction-definition of life, via citation to how :sodium thiosulfate", which Lewis implicitly defines as non-living, reproduces: 
“Living creatures have been characterized by their capacity for reproduction, but it has been pointed out that in a minor way crystals have the power of reproduction. If into this beaker (containing a supersaturated solution of sodium thiosulfate) I drop a minute crystal, it grows.”
Lewis, having refuted the reproduction trait model of life, leaves open the possibility that crystals might "think", which he states as an open question as follows:
“We should see a process of evolution, each molecule reproducing itself exactly, until an accidental rearrangement would set a new molecule to propagating itself. Would not this be reproduction with transmission of acquired characteristics?”
“Suppose that this hypothetical experiment could be realized, which seems not unlikely, and suppose we could discover a whole chain of phenomena [evolution timeline], leading by imperceptible gradations form the simplest chemical molecule to the most highly developed organism [human molecule]. Would we then say that my preparation of this volume [Anatomy of Science] is only a chemical reaction [extrapolate up approach], or, conversely that a crystal is thinking [extrapolate down approach] about the concepts of science?”
“Nothing could be more absurd, and I once more express the hope that in attacking the infallibility of categories I have not seemed to intimate that they are the less to be respected because they are not absolute. The interaction between two bodies is treated by methods of mechanics; the interaction of a billion such bodies must be treated by the statistical methods of thermodynamics.”
In 1924, Alfred Tutton, in his The Natural History of Crystals, stated the following: 
“It is a remarkable fact that no definition of life has yet been advanced which will not apply to a crystal with as much veracity as to those obviously animate objects of the animal and vegetable world which we are accustomed to regard in the ordinary sense as ‘living’.”
|American physical organic chemist George Scott's 1985 pseudo-continuum comparison between crystals to life model, which he calls a "crystalline forms to living forms pseudo-continuum", wherein, as he states, the "inorganic-to-living boundary is passed between the snowflake (C) and the radiolarian protozoan (D)". |
“Crystals as well as flames have frequently been compared to living organisms.”
Scott refers to the comparison of crystals to life as the "crystal model", which he seems to categorized as an historical precursor to more modern models, e.g. "flame model" of life, or the various thermodynamic theories of life seen semi-recently. Scott's crystal continuum model, visually shown above, is similar to the unbridgeable gap model, i.e. the notion that there is some inorganic-life/organic-life or life/non-life divide, and also seems to be a crude stepping stone away from the 2009 molecular evolution timeline.
The following are related quotes:
“At the turn of the century, monists, such as Ernst Haeckel, discovered that inorganic materials, including crystals and other mineral substances, possess sensation and memory, and thus ought to be granted a soul.”— Spyros Papapetros (2012), On the Animation of the Inorganic (p. viii)
1. Daintith, John. (2005). Oxford Dictionary of Chemistry. Oxford University Press.
2. Scott, George P. (1985). Atoms of the Living Flame: an Odyssey into Ethics and the Physical Chemistry of Free Will (pgs. 153, 171). University Press of America.
3. Tutton, Alfred H. (1924). The Natural History of Crystals. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.
4. Lewis, Gilbert N. (1925). The Anatomy of Science (pgs. 178-79), Silliman Lectures; Yale University Press, 1926.
5. Papapetros, Spyros. (2012). On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and Extension of Life (§3:The Afterlife of Crystals, pgs. 113-60; Haeckel, 16+ pgs; granted a soul, pg. viii). University of Chicago Press.
6. (a) Thomson, William. (1903). “On Religion and Science”, praise commentary of George Henslow’s (Ѻ), lecture on Christian Apologetics, Botanical Theater, University College.
(b) Thomson, William. (1903). “On Religion and Science”, in: London Times, May 2.
(c) Walsh, James J. (1908). “Lord Kelvin” (Ѻ), Catholic World (quote, pgs. 758-59), 86:757-68.
7. (a) Thomson, William. (1897). “The Age of the Earth as an Abode Fitted for Life” (Ѻ), Annual Address of the Victoria Institute (with additions written at various times from Jun 1897 to May 1898, in: Philosophical Magazine, 5(47):66-90, 1899.
(b) Smith, Crosbie and Wise, Norton. (1989). Energy and Empire: a Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin (pg. 612). Cambridge University Press.
(b) Kelvin’s quotes on science and religion? (2009) – Yahoo Answers.
● Crystal – Wikipedia.