PZ Meyers has said it before and now he’s saying it again:
Nick Matzke has a fine summary of progress in research into abiogenesis. He chastises those people who try to argue that abiogenesis is independent of evolution, or that you can get out of trying to answer the question of where life came from by simply saying that that isn’t evolution. It is! I’ve said it myself, and I really wish people would stop trying weasel out of that question by punting it off to some other discipline.
I have to admit that I’ve done this before and I agree with him that evolution and abiogenesis aren’t completely separate concepts. I don’t think most evolution proponents think that they are separate.
What is usually happening when I invoke the idea that the theories are separate is that the person I’m talking to has misunderstood what the theory of evolution purports to explain (the origin of species and not the origin of life). I don’t think most of us are ‘punting’ on the question, but I do think we see, and are justified in seeing, the change in topic from evolution to abiogenesis as a non-sequitur; I don’t think that stating while the theories are connected, they are different in that they are not attempting to explain the same phenomenon would be an erroneous statement or would be symbolic of laziness to explain abiogenesis.
I see no reason why the validity of evolution is dependent on the validity of abiogenesis.