Have scientists made life in a laboratory? Two-thirds of the public think the answer is yes. What do you think? This episode of ID The Future is the third installment in a series of four conversations between philosopher of science Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, and Dr. James Tour, a world-leading synthetic organic chemist at Rice University. Dr. Tour has recently been engaged in a series of back-and-forth responses to attacks on his work from YouTube science communicator Dave Farina. This has given Tour a new opportunity to critique experts in the field of abiogenesis and allows an interested public to better evaluate both sides of the argument.
In Part 3, Meyer and Tour continue their critique of the claims of chemist Lee Cronin, including his experiments on the formose reaction, autocatalysis, his attempts to conjure up lipids in oil, and more. Along the way, Tour explains how he got into the debate in the first place, providing some background on his interactions with Farina and how it led him to call out experts in the field. Tour and Meyer are careful to remind us just what life is and what it takes to build it. And on several occasions, you’ll enjoy Meyer’s insight into the big picture. These simulation experiments, says Meyer “are actually showing the difficulty of making life-relevant molecules…via an undirected process.” In other words, origin of life researchers are doing sophisticated chemistry with multi-million dollar equipment that can only be done in a modern lab! In the process, they’re showing us just how implausible chemical evolutionary theories actually are.
This is Part 3 of a 4-part series. Watch the video versions of these conversations at Dr. Meyer’s YouTube Channel.
Dr. Meyer recommends the recent book The Mystery of Life’s Origin: The Continuing Controversy, which includes an updated version of the classic text plus new chapters on the current state of the origin of life debate from Dr. Tour, Dr. Meyer, Jonathan Wells, Guillermo Gonzalez, and Brian Miller.
Dr. James Tour’s lecture at the 2019 Dallas Science & Faith Conference: The Mystery of the Origin of Life
Dr. Tour’s video series: Addressing Abiogenesis (Season 1)
Dr. Tour’s video series continues: Addressing Abiogenesis (Season 2)