I was reading about spontaneous generation a short time ago when doing some research for my little book project and, of course, someone completely misunderstood the difference between spontaneous generation and modern abiogenesis. The first thing which I must address is that spontaneous generation relied upon matter to become complex organisms. The equivocation between the two ideas is similar to the equivocation between the geocentric model and the heliocentric model. The main point about spontaneous generation is that complete organisms come from other substances.
- And, by the way, some of the grey mullet species are not produced from copulation, but grow spontaneously from mud and sand.
- Cockles and clams and razor-fishes and scallops row spontaneously in sandy places.
- The hermit-crab grows spontaneously out of soil and slime, and finds its way into untenanted shells.
- Sponges grow spontaneously either attached to a rock or on sea-beaches, and they get their nutriment in slime: a proof of this statement is the fact that when they are first secured they are found to be full of slime.
- Other insects are not derived from living parentage, but are generated spontaneously: some out of dew falling on leaves, ordinarily in spring-time, but not seldom in winter when there has been a stretch of fair weather and southerly winds; others grow in decaying mud or dung; others in timber, green or dry; some in the hair of animals; some in the flesh of animals; some in excrements: and some from excrement after it has been voided, and some from excrement yet within the living animal, like the helminthes or intestinal worms.
Each and every one of these consists of the spontaneous generation of a multicellular organism in a nonhereditary fashion. Abiogenesis, on the other hand, follows all we know of modern heredity, seeking to extend it into self-replicating chemical structures of short nucleotide chains, chrystaline structures, or any of the other possible mechanisms. The key point which spontaneous generation lacks is that all orgnisms come from a similar parent. Virus offspring also come from other viruses. Extending the concept of heredity back to a point which something can be considered nonliving is abiogenesis. When creationists state that “abiogenesis was disproven by Pasteur,” you can firmly state that this was spontaneous generation, not modern abiogenesis. Some aspects of abiogenesis do have supporting evidence.