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Thread: Spontaneous insects

  1. #1 Spontaneous insects 
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    Hi,

    Me and my sister had a hour long argument yesterday about the spontaneous generation of insects when I made tomato sauce and stored it into a jar. It all started when she proclaimed she would not use my sauce after one day of storage. As a cook, I know from experience that most home made sauce is still good after 3-7 days in storage. Then she explained her reasons were not bacteria, but flies.

    So heres the argument. She argued that, from her experience from a lab experiment in highschool, flies or bugs can spontaneously generate from a closed system that had not previously had bug eggs or insect genetic material of any kind. I argued that once something is in a closed system its there, so either there were bug eggs in there in the beginning or nothing will happen besides natural decomposition by SINGULAR celled organisms or things like ethylene gas.

    We put a carrot in a sealed bottle to make a bet. I'm so frustrated right now and I want to know what kind of experiment made her believe the spontaneous generation of multi-cellular organisms can exist. I can't wait to win the bet


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  3. #2  
    Forum Junior Zitterbewegung's Avatar
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    She argued that, from her experience from a lab experiment in highschool, flies or bugs can spontaneously generate from a closed system that had not previously had bug eggs or insect genetic material of any kind
    If that's her knowledge from high school, no wonder that science is going to hell in a handbasket
    Sheesh, how would insect spontaneously form from plant material? You know, this is the whole point behind canned goods. You take your food, process it as sterile as possible i.e. no contamination of any kind and then on top of this pressure-cook it as to kill everything that's left in there like bacteria, amobae or other disgusting stuff. Oh, and BTW, what kind of lab experiment was this your sister was talking about.
    That she actually does not notice insects putting their eggs in the food does not mean it can not happen.
    I'll claim the half of your wager....


    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by
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  4. #3  
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    Are you talking about parthenogenesis?
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    CurrySonic

    Perhaps your sister and you can review the work of Francesco Redi, who was the first who rigorously demonstrated that spontaneous generation - of maggots etc - did not actually take place.

    If you are planning an experiment, this would be a good way to do it. Unfortunately, just putting a carrot in a jar will not guard against the possibility that it already contains insect eggs. Only full sterilisation beforehand, and a swift transfetr to the sealed container, will assure you of that.

    The minute, however, you talk about that, then you recognise the similarity with modern canning and bottling techniques. Even if canning tends to leave no air gap, a lot of bottling processes do. So all you really need to do is take a sealed bottle of jam and see if it has flies buzzing around in the air space between the jam and the lid. Sort of QED. Also, luckily, available to your sister and you as a thought experiment - you don't actually have to buy a bottle of the stuff!

    Hope this helps.
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  6. #5  
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    It sounds like spontaneous generation.

    http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/A...Generation.php
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Although all insects so far studied carefully in controlled conditions have shown to come from eggs, and go through some form of juvenile stage, we cannot exclude the possibility that insects can generate spontaneously in systems that are monitored lightly, or not at all, by obervers who do not know what to look for, or do not care.

    It seems spontaneous generation of insects does exist under special conditions.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  8. #7  
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    yes, spontaneous generation exists, in a subjective and relative frame of reference.

    but all the evidence points towards there being no spontaneous generation in the utopian objective reality scientists are so in love with.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    similarly scientists claim that bloodsucking primates do not exist, but we all know about politicians
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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