Origin-of-life specialist Rob Stadler joins today’s ID the Future to discuss a new Long Story Short science video short. The video investigates a special problem that faces all naturalistic origin-of-life scenarios: To be viable, a cell must have sophisticated machinery, including ATP synthase, to turn raw energy into constructive energy. But how could prebiotic chemicals harness raw energy on the way to evolving into a viable self-reproducing cell without first having the sophisticated machinery to harness raw energy and convert it to useful work? Are the energy sources that have been proposed for chemical evolution realistic? In his conversation with host Eric Anderson, Stadler argues that, no, they aren’t. This isn’t the sort of thing that mindless natural processes can Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future, biologist Jonathan Wells and host Eric Anderson discuss a recently discovered problem with the famous Miller-Urey experiment, long ballyhooed in biology textbooks as dramatic experimental evidence for the naturalistic origin of life. The newly uncovered problem involves the glassware used in the experiment. It is an interesting finding, but as Wells explains, it is far from the first problem discovered with the experiment, nor the most serious one. While biology textbooks often present the 1952 experiment by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey as a key icon of evolution, even those origin-of-life researchers who hope to one day to discover a credible naturalistic scenario for the origin of the first living cell concede that the experiment Read More ›
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new origin-of-life video showing that researchers aren’t anywhere close to creating life from non-life, despite the fact most Americans seem to believe otherwise. In the episode, host Eric Anderson interviews Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler, who helped create the new Long Story Short animated video. Stadler and Anderson explore how origin-of-life papers and popular media reports have misled the public, evidenced by a survey underscored by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Then they discuss several daunting origin-of-life hurdles beyond the synthesis of key chemical building blocks. These are hurdles significant enough that each alone may doom the idea of life having once emerged from non-life spontaneously. Indeed, it is now a Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future, physicist Brian Miller continues his review of James Tour’s origin-of-life YouTube series. As Miller explains, Tour, a world-renowned synthetic organic chemist and professor at Rice University, was inspired to create the series when YouTuber and evolutionist Dave Farina critiqued Tour’s critique of contemporary origin-of-life claims. In reviewing Tour’s video series, Miller and host Eric Anderson praise the Tour series and discuss the Levinthal paradox of the interactome, the ridiculously long odds of blind processes assembling the first living cell, and the challenge of cell death (think Humpty Dumpty and what all the king’s men couldn’t do). Also discussed: entropy, molecular machines, the challenges that Brownian motion and homochirality pose, the presence of intelligent design in Read More ›
On today’s ID the Future, host Eric Anderson and physicist Brian Miller, research director for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, discuss a recent debate between YouTube science educator Dave Farina and Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Tour has argued that no one—not even the most elite of origin-of-life scientists–has a clue how life could have arisen through blind natural forces on the early earth. Farina created a YouTube response on his channel arguing that Tour is wrong and that origin-of-life researchers are well on their way to solving the mystery of life’s origin. Tour then responded in his own YouTube video series. Now Miller and Anderson boil it all down and argue that Tour is right Read More ›
Today’s ID the Future features another installment in James Tour’s hard-hitting and evidence-based YouTube series on abiogenesis. Here Dr. Tour, a world-leading synthetic organic chemist at Rice University, describes the early Earth primordial soup concept for the origin of first life (OOL) and shows why it’s simplistic, bogus, and doesn’t represent the current science on the issue. He also reviews survey data showing just how misinformed the public is about how far scientists have gotten in creating life in the lab. One critic of Tour protested that the simplistic primordial soup story might be found in highly simplified textbooks for sixth graders but isn’t peddled at higher levels. Tour provides video evidence to the contrary.
Today’s ID the Future features the next in a YouTube video series by Dr. James Tour on the origin-of-life problem. Here Tour, a distinguished synthetic organic chemist, lists the characteristics of life and describes some features of the early Earth where life first appeared. Then he provides a fast flyover of the many grave problems of blindly evolving the first living cell from prebiotic materials.
On this ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter and host Eric Anderson discuss the RNA World hypothesis, an explanation for how the first self-reproducing organism might have arisen via mindless chemical processes. Hunter and Anderson have each written on the topic, and together they unpack some of the many and growing problems with this RNA-first explanation for the origin of life. They also spotlight some recent admissions in mainstream scientific publications that it’s time to move on from the cherished but embattled RNA World. The conversation pivots off of a recent essay by Hunter at Evolution News, “RNA World: Repeated Downfalls, Repeated Resurrections.” For more on the challenges of creating the first self-reproducing biological entity, see Eric Anderson’s Chapter 3 Read More ›
Today’s ID the Future features Part 1 of an extended interview that first appeared on a podcast show hosted by distinguished Rice University synthetic organic chemist James M. Tour. As he typically does, since it’s the Science & Faith podcast, Dr. Tour begins his show by asking his guest for a statement of faith. Miller, a Christian, gives his, and then they dive into origin-of-life science. In a surprisingly accessible discussion given the depth of the material, the pair cover a range of issues—thermodynamics and the origin of the first cell, entropy, free energy, order and disorder, molecular engines, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and the need for engines and information to overcome the vicissitudes of entropy. Also in the mix—feedback loops, Jeremy Read More ›
On this episode of ID the Future, Robert Marks interviews Roger Olsen, co-author of the groundbreaking 1984 book The Mystery of Life’s Origin. In the book’s epilogue they suggested that a designing intelligence stands as the best explanation for the origin of life. And with a revised and greatly expanded new edition of the book now available, he says that 36 years of additional research from the origin-of-life community has left their conclusions stronger than ever. Now an environmental scientist, Olsen has spent his career since then helping homes and families abroad protect children from the ravages of environmental pollution.