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

origin-of-life experiments

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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 on origin of life research at Harvard University between Rice University chemistry professor Dr. James Tour and University of Glasgow professor of chemistry Dr. Lee Cronin. In this second half, the panel continue critiquing natural selection and discuss how intelligent design is a legitimate threat to materialist science. This is Part 2 of 2. Find Part 1 and hundreds more episodes at idthefuture.com. 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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Golden bubbles of sludge gas on a swamp

James Tour Talks Origin-of-Life Dealbreakers

On today’s ID the Future, distinguished synthetic organic chemist James Tour of Rice University explains why the goal of synthesizing life from non-life in conditions similar to those of the early Earth appears further away than ever. It’s not an illusion, he explains. The illusion was how close OOL researchers thought they were 50-70 years ago. They were never close, and the more we learn about how mind-bogglingly sophisticated even the simplest cells are, and how the complexity is essential for biological life, the more we realize just how far we are from constructing a plausible scenario for the mindless origin of the first life. Tour points out that even granting a great deal of intelligent design in the form of the highly skilled and interventionist work of the origin-of-life researchers in the lab, they still can’t engineer into existence all the key building blocks of a living cell. What if you handed them all the building blocks in the right proportions? They’re still nowhere near being able to intelligently design those ingredients into a living cell, Tour says. It has to do with what’s termed the interactome—that is, all the interdependent molecular interactions in a particular cell, many of which may initially appear unimportant but turn out to be crucial. Tour doesn’t argue that researchers will never be able to design a cell from non-living matter. He does say that if it is achieved, it will be well into the future. What will such an achievement underscore? As Luskin emphasizes, it will highlight the creative power of intelligent agency. The occasion for Dr. Tour’s conversation with host Casey Luskin is Tour’s essay in a new book now available for free download, Science and Faith in Dialogue. For more from Dr. Tour, check out his website and his YouTube channel.