Dr. James Tour is a brilliant and accomplished scientist who takes issue with the Origin of Life scientific community. A war between scientists can be very revealing. One caveat, it’s an hour and a half video but before you get to the meat you have to suffer the awful humor of the host, Eric Metaxas. I’m glad I did because the exposé by Dr. James Tour is fascinating. You might want to start at minute 31:58.
A conversation between Dr. James Tour and Socrates in the City host Eric Metaxas on the topic “How Did Life Come into Being?” Dr. Tour is presently the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice University. He is widely regarded as among the leading nano-scientists in the world.
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Stuart Kauffman, Eric Metaxas, and The Captain are atheists. Dr. James Tour said he was a Christian but apparently he converted from Judaism. I mention this because, as a scientist, Dr. Tour refuses to accept the god of the gaps argument and instead says, “more research is needed.”
The standard model, the primordial soup model, posits that it took 50 to 100 million years for atoms to assemble into the primordial life forms, we don’t know how but it happened. The Origin of Life scientific community expects to replicate this event in the laboratory. Dr. Tour gives good reasons for saying it can’t be done. Then they get into a fisticuffs match like often happens in science like Newton vs, Leibniz about calculus and Bohr vs. Einstein about something or other, god playing dice?
Dr. Stuart Kauffman, my favorite complexity scientist to the rescue. In his book At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, talks about ‘order for free,’ how with energy from the sun local entropy will diminish. Evolution says that it’s random mutations, the good ones survive while the bad die out.
Marry the three, the primordial soup, order for free, and random mutations, give them 50 to 100 million years, and it just might happen. A statistician could come up with a probability number for it to happen. It did happen but scientists don’t have 50 to 100 million years to fiddle in the lab to replicate it. Of course, if they admit it, they can’t get grants that expect results ASAP.