As our understanding of what might constitute the simplest, single-celled organism becomes more precise we can better appreciate the odds against spontaneous generation. Estimates for the number of genes required range between 1,400-1,500 genes. (Delaye, 2010, pp. 469-470.) Incidentally researchers have independently arrived at about this same number by analyzing 37,402 genes across 184 genomes (including genes from eukaryotic organisms) seeking to establish a minimum gene content for the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). LUCA would require about 1,340 genes. (Ouzounis, ., et. al., 2006, pp. 57-68.) What are the odds of this “self-assembling” billion years ago?
The sun was now low beneath the horizon. Darkness spread rapidly. None of my selves could see anything beyond the tapering light of our headlamps on the hedge. I summoned them together. "Now," I said, "comes the season of making up our accounts. Now we have got to collect ourselves; we have got to be one self. Nothing is to be seen any more, except one wedge of road and bank which our lights repeat incessantly. We are perfectly provided for. We are warmly wrapped in a rug; we are protected from wind and rain. We are alone. Now is the time of reckoning. Now I, who preside over the company, am going to arrange in order the trophies which we have all brought in. Let me see; there was a great deal of beauty brought in to-day: farmhouses; cliffs standing out to sea; marbled fields; mottled fields; red feathered skies; all that. Also there was disappearance and the death of the individual. The vanishing road and the window lit for a second and then dark. And then there was the sudden dancing light, that was hung in the future. What we have made then to-day," I said, "is this: that beauty; death of the individual; and the future. Look, I will make a little figure for your satisfaction; here he comes. Does this little figure advancing through beauty, through death, to the economical, powerful and efficient future when houses will be cleansed by a puff of hot wind satisfy you? Look at him; there on my knee." We sat and looked at the figure we had made that day. Great sheer slabs of rock, tree tufted, surrounded him. He was for a second very, very solemn. Indeed it seemed as if the reality of things were displayed there on the rug. A violent thrill ran through us; as if a charge of electricity had entered in to us. We cried out together: "Yes, yes," as if affirming something, in a moment of recognition.
The works are of unequal merit; several of them were esteemed as apologetic literature, but they attracted considerable criticism. One notable critic of the Bridgewater Treatises was Edgar Allan Poe , who wrote Criticism .  Robert Knox , an Edinburgh surgeon and major advocate of radical morphology , referred to them as the "Bilgewater Treatises", to mock the "ultra-teleological school". Though memorable, this phrase overemphasises the influence of teleology in the series, at the expense of the idealism of the likes of Kirby and Roget.