ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast
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abiogenesis

Incredibly blue pool Blahver at Hveravellir is actually a hot geothermal spring in the heart of Iceland. Photo taken around midnight sunset
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Top Ten Cheats in “Monumental” Origin of Life Research

A Washington Post headline recently declared that a "monumental experiment suggests how life on earth may have started." The reality, however, is far more sobering. In this episode of ID the Future, host Eric Anderson sits down with accomplished medical engineer and origin of life author, Robert Stadler, to discuss what this new research actually shows and the relevance to abiogenesis. More episodes and show notes at idthefuture.com. Read More ›
Ceuta, Spain Autonomous Spanish city in north Africa. Statue of Hercules known as the Pillars of Hercules. Greek mythology. Spain.
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Evolution’s Demigods: Reviewing the Tour/Cronin Debate

Do biologists give too much credit to natural selection and self-organization? What are the limits of a materialist approach to science? On this ID The Future, we bring you the second half of a panel discussion reviewing the recent debate between Rice University chemistry professor Dr. James Tour and University of Glasgow professor of chemistry Dr. Lee Cronin. In November 2023, Dr. Tour and Dr. Cronin participated in a roundtable debate on origin-of-life studies at Harvard University with a live audience of Harvard faculty and guests. Even if you haven’t seen the debate yet, you’ll get valuable insight into the state of origin-of-life research from this panel discussion, featuring three of our own: scientist and attorney Casey Luskin, physicist Brian Read More ›

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Debate Review: Jim Tour vs Lee Cronin at Harvard

Are we close to cracking the origin of life problem or not? In 2021, chemist Dr. Lee Cronin declared publicly that "Origin of life research is a scam." Yet, scientists regularly claim to be close to creating simple and complex life from non-life in their labs, and the public is buying it. On this ID The Future, we bring you the first half of a panel discussion reviewing the recent debate on the origin of life between Rice University chemistry professor Dr. James Tour and University of Glasgow professor of chemistry Dr. Lee Cronin. This is Part 1 of 2. Read More ›
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Abstract bacteria, probiotics, gram positive bacteria bacteria and viruses of various shapes against a light background. Concept of science, medicine. Microbiology background. 3d illustration.
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The Simple Life: Abiogenesis Gets Another Reality Check

When it comes to biological life, even the simplest single-celled organism is an astonishingly complex multi-part system. Just how simple can a living cell get? On this ID The Future, Eric Anderson hosts another conversation with Dr. Robert Sadler to evaluate the claims of abiogenesis researchers. A recent Nature paper reports on an engineered minimal cell and how it contends with the "forces of evolution" compared to the non-minimal cell from which it was derived. In an attempt to find life's lowest common denominator, experimenters reduced the minimal cell down from 901 genes to 473 genes. The result was a fragile, irregular organism, sheltered and well cared for. But does this reduction in genomic complexity demonstrate evolution or devolution? Is it an unguided process at work or adaptation within the boundaries of an organism's design? "When people speak of evolution, they speak of random changes and natural selection," Sadler says. "But are they really random? Or does the organism have a built-in ability to change the genome to its own benefit?" Sadler puts the paper's results and claims in perspective for us. Read More ›
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Laboratory, Chemistry, Formula.
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Why Hands-On Chemistry Experiments Can’t Simulate A Prebiotic Earth

When scientists claim they have simulated early earth chemistry to create life from non-life, are they being honest? This episode of ID The Future is the fourth and final installment in a series of 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 4, Meyer and Tour evaluate the work of chemist Bruce Lipshutz; specifically his work designing surfactant molecules that enable amide/peptide bonds. By itself, Lipshutz’s work developing synthetic techniques for doing chemistry in water is interesting and has value. But for those tempted to think that his work validates chemical evolutionary theories of the origin of life, Tour has bad news. Peptides don’t form in aqueous environments like water. A realistic prebiotic environment would not be capable of producing the reactions necessary to form proteins. And Lipshutz acknowledges this. In their conversation, Tour and Meyer discuss how Lipshutz applies hands-on chemistry that bears no resemblance to the likely conditions of a prebiotic earth. If anything, the work of Lipshutz and others in origin of life research is actually simulating the need for intelligent agency to move simple chemicals in a life-friendly direction. Says Meyer, "Even the modest movement they get towards life seems to be intelligently designed at each step of the way, and even the vocabulary will sometimes reveal that: ribozyme engineer, designer surfactants. Very curious!" Watch the series on video at Dr. Meyer's YouTube channel: @DrStephenMeyer Read More ›
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classic science experiment, with smoke and bubbling liquid, in black and white, created with generative ai
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Smoke & Mirrors: Tour and Meyer Assess Origin of Life Experiments

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: @DrStephenMeyer Read More ›
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science laboratory test tubes , lab equipment for research new medical
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Extravagant Claims: James Tour & Stephen Meyer Critique Origin of Life Research

On this ID The Future, we continue a four-part conversation series 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 2, Meyer and Tour discuss the work and claims of origin of life researcher Lee Cronin. They begin with a review of the four classes of molecules before critiquing Cronin’s foremose reaction experiments and his claims to have found a process that’s analogous to cell division. Tour also discusses the importance of chirality, as well as how amino acids behave in aqueous solutions. Turns out that “warm little pond” story we’ve been told for many years is chemically implausible. The discussion rounds out with a reminder of the information problem, something Meyer writes about at length in Signature in the Cell. Have prebiotic chemists made any progress on the sequence specificity problem? None whatsoever, says Dr. Tour. This is Part 2 of a four-part series of conversations. Watch the video versions of these at Dr. Meyer’s YouTube channel: @DrStephenMeyer Read More ›
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A close up of a chemical petri dish with organic bacteria on a desk in a scientific lab is used to evaluate a material sample. prepared glass plate containing a bright liquid for biochemical developme
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James Tour and Stephen Meyer Bring Clarity to Origin of Life Debate

On this ID The Future, we kick off a series of conversations between Dr. Stephen Meyer and Dr. James Tour on the many challenges faced by origin of life researchers. Dr. Tour, a world-leading synthetic organic chemist at Rice University, 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 evaluate both sides of the argument. Philosopher of science Dr. Stephen Meyer hosts these engaging conversations. Meyer is author of the 2009 book Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, which explores theories attempting to explain the origin of the first life. So Meyer is the perfect candidate to unpack Tour's expertise and draw out key insights. In Part 1, Meyer and Tour critique the work of origin of life researcher Steve Benner. Along the way, they discuss the basic definition of life, the RNA world hypothesis, the problem with hands-on chemistry, and why the challenges facing origin of life research increase every year as our understanding of the cell grows. "What is being simulated is the need for intelligent agency to move simple chemicals in a life-friendly direction," says Meyer, and researchers "seem utterly blind to the role of their own hand, their own mind, in achieving the results that they get, such as they are." This is Part 1 of a four-part series of conversations. Watch the video versions of these at Dr. Meyer's YouTube channel: @DrStephenMeyer Learn more about Dr. Tour's work via his YouTube channel: @DrJamesTour Read More ›
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3d rendered medically accurate illustration of a sprinter
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Engineering, not Evolution, Explains the Body

The groundbreaking recent book Your Designed Body is the focus of today’s ID the Future. Here in Part 2 of a two-part conversation with host Wesley J. Smith, the two authors, systems engineer Steve Laufmann and physician Howard Glicksman, delve deeper into the exquisite, multi-layered fine tuning of the human body. They point to essential systems within systems within systems—irreducible complexity cubed, if you will. They also respond to the charge that aspects of the human body are poorly designed and, therefore, are supposedly better explained by the blind process of Darwinian evolution. Laufmann identifies five common errors that Darwinists make when pushing this bad-design argument. All of the errors involve an ignorance of key engineering principles, he says, one of them being a failure to consider the principle of constrained optimization. This episode is reposted at ID the Future by permission of Wesley J. Smith and the Humanize podcast. Read More ›
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black mole
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Could Blind Forces Build a Self-Replicating Molecule?  

On today’s ID the Future, scientist and Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler and host Eric Anderson examine a recent PNAS paper on origin of life, “An RNA Polymerase Ribozyme that Synthesizes Its Own Ancestor.” A superficial look at the paper—and the paper’s title in particular—might give the impression that the laboratory findings behind the paper render the blind evolution of the first self-replicating biological system appreciably more plausible. Not so fast, says Stadler. Listen in as he and Anderson highlight various ways the laboratory work in question is wildly unrealistic. And for a video exploring the many problems involved in blindly evolving the first self-replicator, check out a new Long Story Short animated YouTube video, created with input from Read More ›