|WikiProject History of Science||(Rated C-class, High-importance)|
This redirect is the #1 google result for the search "origin of life". Therefore, I have reset the redirect to point simply to the Abiogenesis article, rather than the "spontaneous generation" section itself. ⟳ausa sui × 22:50, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
This article can be expanded by so much, with pictures of the people and experiments that disproved SG. I can't remember much of it any more, but there were some brilliant ideas about how to prove that non-life didn't produce life. There are plenty of books out there, but I will leave it for those in the know to chase this one. As we build on this article, we can make a useful reduction in the size of SG in the abiogenesis article.
- I couldn't agree more. The link in the one reference currently in this article covers the topic in excellent detail, and I'm currently working on getting some english translations of Pasteur's work. I've seen illustrations of the various experiments done that have certainly fallen into public domain. -Verdatum (talk) 23:11, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
What category should we place this in? It's not a currently held Category:Theory, and it's not Category:Pseudoscience (because it was testable and hence Pasteur and others could falsify it. It's the first example I remember learning about in science class (many decades ago) in which a long-held scientific idea was tested and discarded.
- I've put it in Category:Obsolete biological theories. Novangelis (talk) 17:10, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Aren't there any more cats we can put this in?
Extracting from and reducing the abiogenesis article
We have made great progress here in creating this article and expanding it. Now would someone who can assess the science please take the opportunity to extract anthing else we want from the SG section in the Abiogenesis article, then reduce that article to a brief summary, since part of the reason for creating this article was to take pressure off the oversized ab article. At present the section there is still about as big as this article.
- My last expansion was written to put a framework onto the article and add some references. Redi's summary of the beliefs about the origin of insects is good, but getting the appropriate sources he discussed would be better.  The ancient beliefs section should become the heart of the article, not it's demise. Ancient beliefs might eventually become "Ancient beliefs in Western culture" and other cultures' beliefs about generation of life, which were not part of what is refuted in "Scientific method", might be added. Pneuma and vital heat warrant far more discussion.Novangelis (talk) 18:41, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
We should have pictures/photos/diagrams of the people, subjects and experiments e.g. :
Aristotle, Pasteur, rats, flies, Pasteurs equipment.
- The relevant works are public domain, but the translations, reprints and photos may not be. I would have dropped then in if I knew I had a public domain image. A picture of Pasteur's swan neck flask would add so much more over my feeble description. Novangelis (talk) 18:41, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
The swan-necked picture is a good start though I seem to recall the picture I saw many years ago has the swan-neck much longer, hanging down way below the level of the flask.
Usenet is not a reliable source
I was surprised to see a reference to a usenet archive as a source. Usenet posts and other "self-published" materials are not generally considered reliable sources by wiki standards. Certainly there are more reliable sources available. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 15:33, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
- I agree that Usenet posts are not generally considered reliable sources, however, if you look at the reference in question, it is a good deal more than a simple usenet post. The statements made are all backed by proper references, making it viable as a secondary source of information. Also, talk.origins is a strongly moderated newsgroup with a community that appears to hold itself to high standards. (honestly, I didn't even notice that this was a usenet based article until you pointed it out). I admit, the statement in question that it is backing up might be more suitably referenced by the primary reference of a translation of Aristotle's writings. I mostly used that particular reference as a sort of a bookmark to the article, without going so far as to put it in an external links section. As I briefly mentioned in a previous discussion thread, I've found it's one of the best compiled sources regarding this topic available online, and it's an excellent starting point to look for sources appropriate to expand this article. -Verdatum (talk) 19:09, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Since the information seems to be correct, as far as we know and the source is semi-OK, it will do for the present, but it would be better find a rock-solid source on-line if it exists, in due course.
Aristotle did not invent the theory of abiogenesis
The theory MASSIVELY outdates Aristotle, it goes back to the presocratics, and in the form of myths on creation goes as far back as human thought on the origin of species itself. This is a terrible article, everyone involved should be banned for spreading misinformation. Magneticstokbrokingpetdetective —Preceding undated comment was added at 11:45, 3 January 2009 (UTC).
Calm down my friend, one query doesn't make a terrible article! If you can find any evidence to back this claim about Aristotle etc. then make it and we will adjust the article. Conversely, would someone be kind enough to put the relevent reference about Aristotle into inline refs please, then do the same for the other key parts of the article, since it seems the subject may be more controversial than we thought. Thank you.
- There are as many different theories on the origin of life as there are people who have ever existed. This article is about spontaneous generation which is specifically defined as the theory put forth by Aristotle, whether he invented it or not. I'm trying to find the line "The theory of abiogenesis was invented by Aristotle" or equivalent in this article with no success. From what I see, all this article claims is that Aristotle had a theory, and then goes on to describe it based on his writings. Also, I direct Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective to read Wikipedia:SOFIXIT (AKA WP:BOLD). -Verdatum (talk) 17:38, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Aristotle was summarizing many different people's ideas, as far as someone who specifically wrote down what all Greeks believed about Spontaneous generation before Aristotle, you could start with Empedocles, there are many more. What makes this error all the more appalling is that Aristotle actually cited his sources so there an be no excuse. Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective
I'm contemplating just wiping all the text from the page to halt the spread of false information until an edit with correct information is ready. Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective —Preceding undated comment was added at 19:57, 6 January 2009 (UTC).
- Please sign comments with four tildes (~~~~). All the article states is that the theory is attributed to Aristotle. This does not mean he invented it. It does not mean he came up with it. It does not mean anything beyond the fact that reliable sources, when asked, "to whom do you attribute the theory refered to as 'spontaneous generation'?" they reply "Aristotle". Perhaps this is related to the classical education movement or the relationship between the Roman Catholic curch and Aristotle at the time the theory was first being disproven, but the statements in the article still appear to be verifiable and true.
- More importantly, when people talk about disproving spontaneous generation, the touchstone for definition they go by is the one that is stated (summarizing others or not) by Aristotle.
- You claim that the content on Aristotle is false. If the statements are false, they are either incorrectly summarizing the sources given, or the sources given are incorrect. If feel the case is the former, then fix it to match the sources given. If you feel the latter is the case, then burden of proof is upon you to show, by pointing to sources of your own, what is wrong with the sources given. Personally I'm still confused about which phrases exactly you believe to be completely false.
- To quote policy, "Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth". It is the readers' responsibility to review the sourced content for anything on Wikipedia, there is no need to save anyone who allows the spread of false information by believing, "well gee, if I read it on Wikipedia, then it must be true!". As a short-term compromise, instead of deleting the content, you may wish to consider one of a number of templates that can be found at Wikipedia:Template_messages/Cleanup. Removing the content altogether makes it more difficult to attract additional parties to enter the discussion to form WP:Concensus. -Verdatum (talk) 23:41, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
'Attributed to', in this context means 'the consensus is that he invented the concept', don't equivocate with me. Aristotle was only one of many ancient writers, as I've said he cited his sources as he always gave a brief history of philosophical thought on the subject he was talking about before giving his own theory, so there is no excuse for the false claims made in this article. I've already given you the name of Empedocles, that refutes the information in the article. Taking the false parts of the article down does not impede progress as all the information that was there is still there in the edit history, it just stops the spread of false information and prevents Wikipedia being known as an unreliable source. I'm taking down the same piece again. Do not revert it again, edit it if you like with correct information, but do not revert the false information. Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective
Dictionary: attribute (ə-trĭb'yūt) pronunciation
Home > Library > Literature & Language > Dictionary tr.v., -ut·ed, -ut·ing, -utes.
- To relate to a particular cause or source; ascribe: attributed their failure to a lack of preparation.
- To regard as the work of a specified agent, place, or time: attributed the painting to Titian; attributed the vase to 18th-century Japan.
n. at·tri·bute (ăt'rə-byūt')
- A quality or characteristic inherent in or ascribed to someone or something.
- An object associated with and serving to identify a character, personage, or office: Lightning bolts are an attribute of Zeus.
- Grammar. A word or phrase syntactically subordinate to another word or phrase that it modifies; for example, my sister's and brown in my sister's brown dog.
As you can see, there can be no equivocation here, don't waste any more of my time.
Whoever 'AlansJon' is, do not revert this again. All the text I deleted is false and must be deleted. Magneticstokbrokingpetdetective
- You cannot claim that it all was false. If nothing else, the quote was accurate. If you want to modify the text, consider that, but "Aristotle lay the foundations of Western natural philosophy" is a sound statement. Long cut-and-paste dictionary definitions do not justify block deletions of text that is germaine. Novangelis (talk) 03:35, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
It is false, the section claims that Aristotle came up with the theory of Spontaneous Generation : 'Examples of the original theory, put forth by Aristotle'
'According to Aristotle's theory'
Which he didn't, and no, I definitely wouldn't agree that Aristotle lay down the foundations of Western Philosophy. Everything in that section is false and so must be deleted. We can't leave false information in an encyclopedia just because no one can write a proper article on it. That section is just out and out wrong and needs a total rewrite. Magneticstokbrokingpetdetective
- If you cannot work collaboratively, do not edit. You are already in violation of the three revert rule. You are erasing block sections of text while quibbling over details.Novangelis (talk) 10:33, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I have no problem working collaboratively whatsoever, you have just decided that you want incorrect information to be put up on wikipedia, and like any conscientious wikipedean I won't allow that. If you want to write a correct section on what the ancients believe, go ahead, but do not revert false information.
And you are lying when you say I am quibbling over small details, I am not. Everything in that section that is relevant to this article is wrong. Magneticstokbrokingpetdetective —Preceding undated comment was added at 11:31, 7 January 2009 (UTC).
- No one here strongly believes Aristotle invented this theory. You found a dictionary defintion (and not even the primary definition) of the word "attribute" that means invented, and insist that's what the article intends. If you don't like the word, fine change that word you do not need to delete factual data because you believe a single word to be cloudy. "According to Aristotle's theory" means, "according to the theory, specifically, the version of the theory specifically expressed by the writings of aristotle even though he didn't invent it he's just summarizing the works of others, it's just well we gotta use someone's explicit definition so we can all be on the same page, and the people at the time seemed to like the one that Aristotle wrote down, again, just wrote down, not invented" it's not written that way because it's hard to read, it looks rediculous, and we don't need to presume readers are braindead.
- I'll happily admit, the wording is ambiguous. It could be read wrong and people could get the misconception that Aristotle was the first person to come up with the idea. The wording isn't crafted with perfect surgical precision. But it could also be interpreted in the intended more relaxed meaning that Aristotle is just the guy who people always point to for a specific definition of the term. Aristotle wasn't the first person to come up with "all matter is composed of earth air fire and water" but still, what's that called? Aristotelian physics. Why? Because we attribute it to the guy!
- Once again, Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth if you'd like to remove content because it's factually inaccurate, fine, just prove it with sources first, and we can then use those sources to add better content. Again, I urge you to ease back on the hostility, you'll find it makes the discussion process, and the ability to improve articles quite a bit easier. -Verdatum (talk) 15:44, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
No, he didn't turn into a 'real theory', he was agreeing with everyone else that earth plus water plus heat from the sun equals life, he was talking about the theory believed by all educated Ancient Greeks, expounded upon, among others, by Empedocles. This article is a joke, and the collective unwillingness to fix it is disillusioning to say the least. BTW, to the poster above you, we call Aristotelian physics Aristotelian is because Aristotle invented them, i.e. we attribute them to him, just as all the definitions of the word attribute say. I don't know why you're doing this.
Why don't we just (as a proper history obviously isn't going to happen) say 'Ancient Greeks believed in the theory of Spontaneous generation, Aristotle explained this non teleological mechanism, then: aristotle's quote. ' How's that? Magneticstokbrokingpetdetective
- You're more than welcome to disagree with the quote from this source...but without a source of your own that directly contradicts this source, it would be a less reputable encyclopedia article to just take your word for it, remove sourced content, and add unsourced content in it's place. You seem to be confused about what Wikipedia's critieria for a good encyclopedia is, but I don't think I'll try explaining the concepts put forth in WP:V to you anymore unless you specifically ask for help with it. It's a well-worded policy, you can read it. -Verdatum (talk) 15:34, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
This article is much improved, however for some reason it persists in saying it is Aristotle's theory particularly. Aristotle didn't expound on the theory of Spontaneous Generation at all. It's the same heat + earth + water as everyone else. The reason your source goes into such detail on what Aristotle said is that his are one of the few first hand sources we have on what the Greeks thought, our knowledge of the likes of Empedocles etc is mostly second hand our fragments or quotes. Also, Pre-Aristotelian is not correct, historians and philosophers actually use the term Pre Socratic to make such distinctions. As Aristotle's variation isn't particularly notable or particularly different, I'd be inclined to remove the distinction. Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective
- This is your opportunity to improve the article. "Aristotle's theory" refers to the fact that the texts by Aristotle were the source of natural philosophy/science. Saying "texts of Aristotle" of "compilation by Aristotle" repeatedly decreases readability. The best way to make this point would be to show how Aristotle used the work of others. The question of how much Aristotle contributed by adding his physics into biology is debated in scholarly articles. If you want to make the case that Aristotle's work on spontaneous generation was mostly a restatement, write something, with sources, so other editors can evaluate it. If you can make the case in the body of the text, the lead will have to be changed to match.
- Please remember that this is not a scholarly article. This is targeted to the lay-public. I am aware that pre-Socratic is the standard division in philosophy, but Aristotle is the better dividing point for this topic. The term pre-Aristotelian is used. Aristotle is the benchmark for future authors.
- I encourage you make bold edits, but try to add to the article. In general, if you feel the need to delete something, replace it with a sourced change. If you still feel the need to delete, give a detailed reason. This way, other editors can compare the versions on their merits. I get the impression that you are highly knowledgeable on the subject. Please prove me right. Novangelis (talk) 17:36, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Keep working, guys, this is looking good.
Areas for growth
At this point, the article (as I see it) has a lot of room for growth. We have the era of spontaneous generation theory book ended by Aristotle at the start and van Helmont at the end. There's nearly 2,000 years in the middle that are just a gap. We have bare bones descriptions of Redi and Pasteur surrounding a list of the contributors to the erosion. We still have nothing on the pre-Aristotelian beliefs. There is lots of room for expansion. Novangelis (talk) 16:46, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
We have about 200 years before Aristotle too. Maybe you should study up on the subject first so you know what you're talking about before you make any changes? Magneticstokbrokingpetdetective
- That would be pre-Aristotelian. You need to read up on civility, etquette and not using personal attacks. I do read up on subjects. There is a reason I have contributed text with sources. To date, you have quibbled over the meaning of "attribute", overwritten my sourced additions with unsupported blanket statements (I don't see anything to support deleting my work on van Helmont), threatened to delete all work on the article, suggested banning all users over your interpretation of one word, and accused me of lying without providing any data to back that up. You went so far as to claim that "everything" you deleted was wrong, but that would include the quote from Aristotle that expresses the topic of the article. You were offered the opportunity to discuss the quote and simply deleted it. With all this, you are yet to provide a single constructive change (addition of verifiable information) to the article .Novangelis (talk) 21:59, 7 January e word2009 (UTC)
1)You were lying. Not a personal attack, just a constructive criticism.
2)Criticism not necessarily = personal attack.
3)Again, not "quibbling" over the meaning of the word attribute, the word means credited to, you are willfully distorting the truth here with intention to mislead so you are lying.
4)Didn't 'threaten', considered, and decided not to.You are willfully distorting the truth here with intention to mislead so you are lying.
5)Didn't 'suggest' banning all users, that was a rhetorical exaggeration obviously. You are willfully distorting the truth here with intention to mislead so you are lying.
6)"you accused me of lying without providing any data to back that up". But the data that shows you are lying is there for all to read on this page.
7)Yes everything I deleted was wrong, the quote was said to be Aristotle explaining his theory, It isn't his theory at all and he wasn't even explaining the theory in that quote, just referring to what was to the Greeks common knowledge, so it isn't even useful for the article at all.
8)'offered the opportunity to discuss the quote', what?
9)I deleted all the wrong claims in the article to prevent the spread of misinformation and protect Wikipedia's hard won reputation, how's that for a constructive change? Magneticstokbrokingpetdetective
- May I step politely in, here?
- I wanted an seperate page on SG and I have been given one. From the point of view of most of the world, we got quite a bit of information, from which we could then find out more. We could learn things like roughly how far back SG goes and what kind of people said what kind of things. We got some references. I was happy and ready for 'us' to work some more on it.
Then some guy barged in, probably with good enough intent, but with some hostile manner saying stuff about banning people and the article being all wrong.
- Dear Magstock, I trust you come with good intent. I assume everything you have said has some kind of factual basis. I can't be bothered to analyse every detail of your point by point claims about the arguments above, but even if they were all technically correct, you have still left me with the impression that you are barging in like a bull in a china shop. Until this article expands considerably, one useful name, such as Aristotle, even if he didn't actually initiate anything, will do for now and Nov. has already agreed in principle to adjust the wording further.
- Much as it perhaps frustrates and pains you to see things on the page that are not as you percieve 'right' can I please ask you to pick one of the templates or something and leave it at that for the moment without any deleting. Please? Wikipedia will not come crashing down and people may feel more inclined to build on this article than they do with the kind of dialogue going on here. As someone who obviously knows about this history, I am sure it may seem to you that this article is worse than useless , but I assure you that to most of us everyday folk its not. Nov and I asked for more info and we told the world what kind of things we wanted. Could you possibly leave this issue for the moment and see if you can find some good pix, more info on the intervening time and useful refs. Put them in here for now and let it build up a bit here. Then, when we have built up the overall size of the article and filled in 2k of time a bit, we can work on this beginning again with a clearer head and make it soemthing we are all comfortable with. Thank you for your efforts to contribute to this article, they will be given attention in due course.
- Hi IceDragon64, I assume you mean me. If you look at the post I made yesterday in the previous talk section on this page, I made a suggested wording, bu got no reply. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective (talk • contribs) 08:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
- One short day is a bit brief to wait for comments, but generally, if you receive no response, the next step is to be WP:BOLD, try the edit, and see what happens. Regarding your proposal though, I'm still waiting for a source on the information. A specific work that discusses the pre-Aristotelian history of the topic. Pointing to the name of an author from the period in question is not sufficient to satisfy WP:V, As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is supposed to merely report claims already being made elsewhere, not interpreting facts. -Verdatum (talk) 15:24, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
- Hi IceDragon64, I assume you mean me. If you look at the post I made yesterday in the previous talk section on this page, I made a suggested wording, bu got no reply. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective (talk • contribs) 08:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
- In response to Magnetic's enumerated list, your offending statement (to recap) was "you are lying when you say I am quibbling over small details". Saying someone is lying is considered a personal attack, there is a long precedent to support this, specifically, it is failing to Assume Good Faith. Is it so completely impossible that the user is not lying, but merely mistaken? Further, since "quibbling" is a subjective term, the statement is, in effect, an opinion. The user merely means to express that he personally feels that your actions were quibbling, but for brevity could have neglected to prefix his statement with "I feel that...". -Verdatum (talk) 15:24, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
- Nevermind, I did the research and added the content, the earlier greeks are discussed, and oh look, I didn't have to remove anything about Aristotle, because it continues to be accurate. Magnetic, you could have done this from the very beginning, and saved this entire discussion, and gained everyone's esteem and appreciation. -Verdatum (talk) 16:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
OK. Thanks guys. Yes, Magstock did come up with a suggestion and it would have been usable, though we have moved on beyond it now. I think we could concede that Magstock gave us a bit of a push to make the article better and no real harm has been done. There is still lots more to do, so can we drop the whole "who said what" thing Please?
I am trying to decide if William Harvey should be included between van Helmont and Redi. He didn't do much to refute spontaneous generation, but his Essays on the Generation of Life did include a statement of the principle of biogenesis, omnia ex ovo (all from eggs). He reflects a change in thinking, he challenged Aristotles ideas, he made numerous observations, he suggested there are eggs we don't see, but didn't do any experiments. Novangelis (talk) 01:04, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
If any of his statements were new at the time, or we have clear evidence that they were important in spreading the challenge to SG, then I say yes. Someone had to have had the idea that SG was not real in order for people to decide to do experiments. If in due course we find that Harvey was an irrelevent player, we can replace it with whoever is relevent in due course, so long as whatever we say about Harvey is verifiable now.
I wrote a paragraph. Although it doesn't pertain to the article, this quote from Harvey's work seems applicable to the discussion: "And now I seem to hear Galen admonishing us, that we should but agree about things, and not dispute greatly about the words." Novangelis (talk) 17:14, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Definitions and scope
We don't have a definition of spontaneous generation or related terms. Among things to consider as relevant terms to the article are:
- spontaneous generation as a formal theory vs. a general concept of life springing up
- abiogenesis (life arising from lifeless matter like mud) vs. heterogenesis (Alexander Neckam describing barnacles to geese)
- epigenesis vs. preformationism
The section for Aristotle is the most important -- it is the theory. Although I changed ancient beliefs to pre-Aristotelian philosophers, we should go back and add the ancient beliefs. What to put in may be a challenge. In this article, Western bias is appropriate; the beliefs that would not influence Aristotle are secondary to those that would not. We need to discuss a lot of what happened between Aristotle and Redi. Augustine's acceptance, making it Christian doctrine, is a critical missing element. I'm reading up on the subject, but I don't feel comfortable writing about it, yet. I've purged the word attributed, replacing it with synthesized.Novangelis (talk) 15:29, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
read what I wrote in the Aristotle section above. You are mistaken.Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective
Do we have evidence that the key debunking people percieved that they were disproving Aristotle in particular? If THEY percieved it as his theory then it helps to make sense of refering to it as Aristotles theory. I know that Aristotle is generally percieved as a key player in the establishment of scientific theory, but I am sympathetic to Magstocks concerns in general. I am happy with using the quotation- it does seem to sum up the theory well enough, but does Aristotles contribution really warrent giving him the heading size it has? As I said earlier, we can leave it for the present- as Nova says we have those big gaps to fill.
Aristotle and parents
I don't understand the inclusion of Aristotle's beliefs on parents and their contribution. Surely if a life has parents it is not spontaneous generation, therefore is a different form of life creation he was refering to at this point? IceDragon64 (talk) 10:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
- We are still fairly barebones. As we get into Aristotle's principles, we will need a discussion of life with parents to show how life without parents acquires the same principles. As we start discussing form (provided by the male parent), motion (provided by the male), matter (provided by the female) and anima (provided by the female), the necessity sexual reproduction, for the purpose of contrast, should manifest. If it doesn't, then the mention becomes extraneous. Novangelis (talk) 13:31, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
- IceDragon, I certainly see your point. I suppose it's more an issue of the origin of a life than spontaneous generation. I further suppose that would depends on whether the anima was believed to be already alive prior to conception. But I think Novangelis makes a good point about describing for the purpose of demonstrating the contrasting source of life according to the Aristotelian view. If the passage can be edited to make the scope more clear, then I'm all for it. -Verdatum (talk) 16:36, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I will be honest here- i just can't follow what Nova is saying in the above! Frankly I would think that the belief should not be here and I was originally inclined to Be Bold, but in the interest of setting a good example of diplomacy and since it is not actually wrong, I left it. I still can't see why we should have it here until/unless it actually forms part of something relevent, but I guess it is harmless enough. I will leave it to you guys to make something of it. Magstock, if you can see where they are going here, please do join in! —Preceding unsigned comment added by IceDragon64 (talk • contribs) 00:47, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
- If I were to take a stab at paraphrasing/interpreting, the point is, Aristotle's worldview provides that some life is formed through SG. However, this is not the origin of all life in his view. Briefly discribing the view on the nature of sexual reproduction allows the reader to see that there is a distinctive contrast between living entities brought into existence through SG, and living entities brought into existence through sexual reproduction.
- Again, I expect the content can be reorganized/reworded in countless ways and result in an improvement of the article. I merely believe the article should explicitly make mention that some life is produced sexually, and other life is produced through SG. Beyond that, I added it to try and give context to better explain the significance of the William Harvey experiment. -Verdatum (talk) 17:36, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Hi IceDragon, I'm out of this. Those numerous slanderous and patently false allegations by Novalis actually led to my being blocked for 48 hours, even though I pointed the mod to my categorical refutations and cited wikpolicy to show nothing I said violated wikipolicy, including pointing out Novalis was lying. It's one thing fighting those who are willfully ignorant, it's quite another when they have an Admin in their pocket. I think you can see for yourself IceDragon from your exchange with Novalis above that he is pretty much dead set on making Aristotle the center of this article, and if he's going to be backed up by a mob unquestioningly (and that's what they are, despite the inevitable feigning innocence and playing the victim that will come), then I just don't need the stress. Magneticstockbrokingpetdetective
de la Tour & Schwann
- I don't see in what way this piece adds to the SG issue, can someone make that clearer or remove it, please? —Preceding unsigned comment added by IceDragon64 (talk • contribs) 00:54, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
- Thanks for catching that. I added what I could find. I didn't mention this part in the article, because I don't have a source, but I seem to recall the issue at hand being that for a time, it was conceded that spontaneous generation did not occur in the creation of larger animals, such as maggots, but perhaps it was the source of microorganisms, which were a pretty new discovery at the time. Candigard & Schwann's research showed that the theory of SG wasn't needed for microorganisms either. Again, this is all off the top of my head collected from random TV documentaries, but I'd love to find a source and add it to the section (if it is indeed correct). -Verdatum (talk) 17:56, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Do these Christian references actually refer to Aristotle? If they do then it strengthens the argument that Aristotle is a significant player, by their perceptions if nothing else. If not then there is no justification of describing the theory as Aristotelian. Otherwise, I am very pleased to see that the page is building up and becoming really worthwhile. Thanks.
- What I said would not stand on its own based on Augustine alone, but would based on the reference. Augustine mentions Aristotle by name numerous times, but relies upon numerous other philosophers. That intro sentence was written in prediction of my adding Aquinas (which I just did). There is scholarly debate on the extent to which Aquinas is Aristotelian, but few challenge the primacy of Aristotle in his writings. Aristotle was the standard at the time of the Reformation. I am just trying to build a wire frame for other editors. There is vast room to debate the relative contributions of Aristotle to the works that bear his name, but not much about those works being adopted as the Western standard. This is why I have used him as the reference point. Novangelis (talk) 19:33, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Even if the barnacles were believed to be the product of SG, the belief that they grew into geese was nothing to do with SG, so how is the bit about them relevant to this article? It may be interesting, but is it SG? I think not.
- It is SG. Heterogenesis and abiogenesis are both aspects of spontaneous generation. By the time of Pastuer's experiment, heterogenesis had been discarded, and all that was left of SG was abiogenesis of simple molds, rusts, and rots. Just as you are concerned that I am overemphasizing Aristotle, I don't want to lose heterogenesis. While more examples of abiogenesis are needed, I put the cart before the horse, simply because I had the sourced material ready to add. I'm afraid that when I get to abiogenesis of eels, the subject won't be as photogenic.Novangelis (talk)
I see you have a source for this idea that heterogenesis is also Spontaneous Generation and I have read it, but I disagree with both you and it. If your source is right, then its definition of SG must prevail and you must change our definition "Spontaneous generation is an obsolete theory regarding the origin of life from inanimate matter"- however, I don't think it is. If it is NOT SG, then we could/should create another page for heterogenesis! Frankly I do not think that the barnacle geese would be an ideal example of heterogenesis, as I understand your author to be using it- I imagine he is thinking of small things appearing on the surface of a large organism, like a dead carcass, which is much more like the description of rats appearing from the mud or whatever. Whereas, as I understand it, the belief in barnacle/geese was that one grew into the other, like a caterpillar grew into a butterfly. Actually, just to confuse matters, if you explore the word heterogenesis, such as looking for the page in wikipedia, you find it is a word with two modern meanings. Wiktionary:
So it looks like it needs its own page anyway!
- I'm not committed to this approach. I can also source heterogenesis as a "related concept", by other authors definitions. Geese from trees was already in the article although it is a more extreme heterogenesis — vegetable to animal. Goose trees created the same doctrinal dilemma. Emergence from carcasses is abiogenesis. I'm looking at Huxley's writings since he coined the term abiogenesis. That might provide some authoritative direction. Novangelis (talk) 22:47, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah, but don't you see its only abiogenesis rather than spontaneous generation if you think of SG as having two forms, which I don't. a bio genesis just means genesis from an a bio source, which is spontaneous generation, unless, as we do, one uses abiogenesis as the modern word for the one-off original creation of life. Of, course, as some of your sources point out Pasteur etc never proved that abiogenesis/SG never occurs, only that it is not a regular occurance and the regular origin of anything known, from yeast to rats! Modern observation of genes shows that all known life shares the same genes, but if we find evidence of more than one event, we may have to redefine our terms! I'm rambling. Keep working. I have BEEN BOLD and created another article for you to play with, when you have finished this- Heterogenesis Its what wikidragons do! Best Wishes, IceDragon64 (talk) 23:11, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Could someone make this part a little more clear?
- "One example of heterogenesis, the belief that a variety of bird, the "Barnacle Goose" derived from a crustacean, the goose barnacle had implications on the practice of fasting, especially during Lent. In 1188, Gerald of Wales having travelled in Ireland, reported observing thousands. He argued that the "unnatural" generation was evidence for the Immaculate Conception. If the goose was a fish, its consumption would be permitted. The practice ended by decree of Pope Innocent III in 1215."
- Good point. I made an attempt to clarify the passage and restrict it to the relavant topic. -Verdatum (talk) 17:03, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
The paragraph beginning
"Aristotle, in arabic translations..." whilst involving your favourite greek scientist, does not seem to me to be very much to do with SG. I realise that believing in Aristotle's theories is connected to the Christian acceptance of SG, but you have already explained that above, so in my view the whole paragraph does not really belong here. The latter part of it does not quite make sense anyway- "...in which he removed some..." Some what?
- Some of the Arabic commentaries. Aristotelianism was not just based on the preserved writings of Aristotle, but the editors and translators had some say. This was the SG taught in universities for centuries.Novangelis (talk)
Sorry, I realise you are putting in a lot of work here, but I feel that you may be allowing your no-doubt interesting explorations of Aristotle to take you away from the subject of SG itself.
- Aristotelianism, the revival of Aristotle's works through Arabic and Latin translation, acquired church sanction as science. That makes it important. Just as Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton overthrew the Aristotelian view of the heavens, we have biologists who did the same to his works on life. I am plowing through Pliny, in order to bridge the time gap between Aristotle and Augustine, but I'm not yet ready. Similarly, after Harvey, Descartes reformulated abiogenesis as more mechanistic. Abiogenesis under Cartesian Dualism is likely to go in after Harvey, but I want to do some more reading before discussing the subject. It's not that I'm trying to make this about Aristotle; there are a lot of other writers I haven't written about yet. These are not easy subjects, so I only write when I feel ready. I could have written much more on the scientists who disproved SG, but that isn't the subject. Novangelis (talk) 23:39, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
- Just to note in passing, I believe it's perfectly acceptable to write more on the disproving of SG. In terms of scope, although it isn't directly on-topic, this article is the optimal location to include such content. Novangelis' roadmap seems reasonable to me; improving one aspect of the article at a time is a fine way to proceed. -Verdatum (talk)
What I would like to see
+Pictures of a sample range of organisms thought to have been a product of SG
+Pictures of the key people
+better pictures of Pastuers equipment, if they exist. I'm sure I saw photos of presumably a reconstruction of the long-necked retort he used, in a book when I was a child.
+What were the consequences of this belief?
+Is there evidence of it hindering scientific progress, maybe medical progress, maybe agricultural progress?
+What were the consequences of proving it wrong?
+Does anyone in the world today, perhaps in some religion, still belive in SG? Thanks for the continuing work.
- I'd love to see better photos/illustrations of Pasteur's equipment or any key contributor's experiments. However, "the full range of organisms thought to have been a product of SG" sounds a little more arbitrary. If period illustrations can be found that attempt to depict SG in action, that would improve the article, but I believe that just including random pictures of animals would do little to add to the understanding of the topic. -Verdatum (talk) 23:19, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I might have said you cannot have too many wikilinks, but no, having seen the version with just about every noun linked, I would agree there has to be a limit. We need to identify those words which a person is likely to quiery or want to investigate. Because something happened in Ireland, that doesn't really mean people are likely to 'go' to the Ireland page.
Just A Thought
Spontaneous Generation, in my opinion sounds alot like Evolution. You know, life arose from a cosmic soup, started evolving and hey presto, a human! So what is the specific differences of Evolution and Spontaneous generation. That should be included in this article if it can be found. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 12:16, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
- You can read the page on Evolution to see your characterization of the subject is inaccurate. I think you may be thinking of abiogenesis, not evolution. It is a science; no "presto" involved. Aunt Entropy (talk) 16:25, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
- I just thought of it as rather convenient to say that Abiogenesis, aka the first step in Evolution, happened once (in a convenient Primordial soup) and never again. 184.108.40.206 (talk) 01:42, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
- No one says that it happened only once, just that only one instance was required due to common descent of all biological entities. If it happened again, or before that instance, it doesn't really matter because it didn't survive. Anyway, your question is irrelevant to this page; this discussion page is for suggesting specific changes to this article. This is not a forum for general discussion. Aunt Entropy (talk) 16:14, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
- Abiogenensis is a word for just the creation of life, not the evolution afterwards.
Belief in Spontaneous Generation Implausible
I find that a belief in spontaneous generation, not only by the populace, but the most educated elements of society, persisting moreover into the mid 1800's to be completely implausible. Flies and mice 'mysteriously' emerging from inanimate matter are the popular examples of this 'belief'. But it is simply impossible that no individual up until that time witnessed creatures such as field mice copulating, or giving birth. Or, that no person had observed the carcass of such a dead creature and noticed that it possessed sexual organs. Surely the births of the young of farm animals and pets were known to be the result of sexual intercourse! By what suspension of logic did the 'primatives' of the 19th century allege the sudden transition of the mode of procreation from sexual to "spontaneous" when lower mammals and insects were considered? I live in a city - and have no particular interest in biology - and I have observed flies deposit eggs onto decaying organic matter, seen those eggs develop into larvae, and observed those larva in various stages of development into a flying insect! Spontanous generation, presented as a theory that once prevailed, implies that all of the human beings in previous centuries, who by implication lived in intimate connection to the natural world, missed making any similar observation.
If a belief in spontaneous generation ever existed it should be examined in-depth as a case study in mass delusion - one that spanned the globe and persisted for millenia, despite obvious couterfactual evidence that was widespread and available to all observers.
Good for you. But it really was so. Louis Pasteur had a really difficult time convincing people for what you think today is obvious. Also, not long ago people believed the earth was flat, and if you pass the end, you would fall, or be eaten by a giant monster. Good to keep in mind that this is how science goes on and today's beliefs might sound just as crazy to future generations, because it makes us less anxious to burn people that disagree with us ntg (talk) November 2012 (UTC)
- Remember that these people (around 1850) also knew nothing of biochemistry. They also had only the slightest understanding of what microbes are. You may enjoy the book "The sparks of life" 220.127.116.11 (talk) 02:59, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Judaism and Spontaneous Generation
I would like to add a section that discusses Spontaneous Generation and Judaism. According to Jewish law, there is no liability for desecrating the Sabbath by killing an insect that comes from dung, rotten fruit or meat or legumes. The reason: The law that labels killing as a desecration of the Sabbath only applies to animals that (a) reproduce (b) are from male and female. The above animals do not acc. to Jewish law. (Source: Shulchan Aruch, Section 316). Unchartered (talk) 02:27, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I should add, that this may mean that the article should give note of this when it says that SC is obsolete these days. The Jewish law is very much applied and taken literally today in orthodox Jewish circles. Unchartered (talk) 06:42, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
- A source cannot be a source for its own relevance or other opinion. Direct statements from primary sources can be used, with extreme caution, if they are straightforward.Novangelis (talk) 06:42, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
- More generally, it would be interesting to see more about spontaneous generation outside of the core Western academic tradition. I've heard that the Massai of East Africa believe in spontanous generation of worms. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 03:01, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Opening paragraph edit
|Offtopic: no proposals here to improve the article, as required by WP:TALK. Just another Soapbox speech.|
|The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.|
Today it is generally accepted to have been disproven in the 19th century by the experiments of Louis Pasteur, expanding upon the experiments of other scientists before him (such as Francesco Redi who had performed similar experiments in the 17th century).
Ultimately, the ideas of spontaneous generation were displaced by germ theory and cell theory.
It then goes on to say
However, the principles of the very different matter of abiogenesis — how living things originally arose from non-living material — still are under investigation.
They are precisely the same matter re-worded. The paragraph contradicts itself.
I am changing it to-
However, the principles of abiogenesis — how living things originally arose from non-living material — still are under investigation.
Jinx69 (talk) 16:21, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
There is no weasel words. Im not sure if people can read but i actually deleted a few words (this is the opposite of adding words-deleting them) and will do it again. If it is still tenable then it hasnt been 'displaced, 'disproven' or 'dispelled' and those 3 remarks are wrong, it is either or, 0 or 1.
Jinx69 (talk) 07:01, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Abiogenesis or biopoiesis is the study of how biological life could arise from inorganic matter through natural processes.
Spontaneous generation or equivocal generation is an obsolete principle regarding the origin of life from inanimate matter
They are precisely the same thing, just different names. I will alter the last paragraph in the opening statement again to remove the contradictions. Yes cant be no and 0 cant be 1, they are either or.
Jinx69 (talk) 14:11, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
abiogenesis Pronunciation: /ˌeɪbʌɪə(ʊ)ˈdʒɛnɪsɪs/ Definition of abiogenesis noun
technical term for spontaneous generation.
Thank you for your ignorance. Now so seeing that the opening statement is contradictory (has it been falsfied or not?) if no remove the quotes re it being 'displaced', 'disproven' and 'dispelled'. If it has been 'displaced', 'disproven' and 'dispelled' then the last paragraph of the opening statement needs to be changed and i will do so now.
Jinx69 (talk) 17:19, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
What is the idea of removing other people's text?
Oh. I don't know that tool. It seems funny to apply an anti-vandal tool to a talk page. Do you have any idea on what basis it decided to delete that bit? JonRichfield (talk) 18:11, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
The parts that you edited after I had been there largely dealt with problematic wording that I had my own problems with. I have no quarrel with your subsequent versions. Who knows; we might yet produce something good! I notice that Thomas Browne had some nice stuff from William Harvey, including "omnia ex ovo"; unfortunately all in Latin -- <siiigh!> JonRichfield (talk) 18:26, 29 August 2012 (UTC)