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Origins of Life 2

RJM Corbet

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If what this guy says is true, then his personal beliefs should have nothing to do with it. Please understand that I am not trying to force any sort of 'religious' line here. The subject here is not evolution, but abiogenesis. It is a valid subject for discussion.

The technical terms he uses are way above my head. However he invites experts to dismiss his points. Are there any experts here who can do so?

It is a contemporary video: July 8th 2019
 
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Brian G Turner

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I haven't watched all 22 minutes, but my initial impression is that this is an angry chemist having a rant about how abiogenesis cannot happen without divine intervention.

Apparently, he's a part of the Discovery Institute which allegedly wants to stop teaching evolution in schools:
 

RJM Corbet

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I haven't watched all 22 minutes, but my initial impression is that this is an angry chemist having a rant about how abiogenesis cannot happen without divine intervention.

Apparently, he's a part of the Discovery Institute which allegedly wants to stop teaching evolution in schools:
I know all that, Brian. The point is it doesn't matter who he is if what he says is true, ok? That's what I'm asking?

EDIT: I don't know that he's 'part of the Discovery Institute' although they might use his stuff? He's a research scientist at Rice university -- which seems kosher enough.
 
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Brian G Turner

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I don't know that he's 'part of the Discovery Institute' although they might use his stuff?
It's their YouTube channel. :)

The point is it doesn't matter who he is if what he says is true, ok?
I can't watch it all the way through because it's just someone ranting about things he doesn't seem to understand or have tried to understand - he has a clear agenda he wants to enforce with an aggressive oratory , which I have no patience for.

One section I did watch is that he claimed that prebiotic molecules are inherently unstable and would quickly be oxidized or reduced - yet these same prebiotic molecules are found all across the universe, in meterorites, on moons and planets, in giant clouds of gas and dust. So clearly he's very mistaken about that.

Then he claims that if it took 400 million years to synthesise prebiotic molecules, then once it is oxidized or reduced then you've run out of raw materials and there's no possibility of these being remade. This goes against the principle of chemical equilibrium, which as Tour is a chemist I would have thought he might have known about.

In short, I think he's expressing a personal opinion rather than a scientific one. :)
 

RJM Corbet

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Then he claims that if it took 400 million years to synthesise prebiotic molecules, then once it is oxidized or reduced then you've run out of raw materials and there's no possibility of these being remade.
No he doesn't. He says that after it took perhaps 400 million years to synthesize certain essential prebiotic molecules, they would decay within a few hours, and then the random chance process would have to start all over again, from square one.
One section I did watch is that he claimed that prebiotic molecules are inherently unstable and would quickly be oxidized or reduced - yet these same prebiotic molecules are found all across the universe, in meterorites, on moons and planets, in giant clouds of gas and dust.
I wonder if he is talking about those same prebiotic molecules at all?
It's their YouTube channel. :)
So what? It means they use his stuff. You go to a rock channel and the Rolling Stones will be on it. It's not their channel. And even if someone doesn't like the source, they should still give the material fair consideration, imo. At least a person should not enter a debate about a video they refuse to even watch?
I can't watch it all the way through because it's just someone ranting about things he doesn't seem to understand or have tried to understand
... He is well known for his work in molecular electronics and molecular switching molecules ...
Tour has over 640 research publications and over 120 patents, with an H-index = 129 (107 by ISI Web of Science) and i10 index = 538 with total citations over 77,000 (Google Scholar) ...

... In 2001, Tour signed the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism", a controversial petition which the intelligent design movement uses to promote intelligent design by attempting to cast doubt on evolution.[37][38] To those who "are disconcerted or even angered that I signed a statement back in 2001" he responded "I have been labeled as an Intelligent Design (ID) proponent. I am not. I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion. So I prefer to be free of that ID label."[39]

He had also said that he felt the explanations offered by evolution are incomplete, and he found it hard to believe that nature can produce the machinery of cells through random processes.[37] On his website, he writes that "From what I can see, microevolution is a fact" and "there is no argument regarding microevolution. The core of the debate for me, therefore, is the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution."[39] ...

AwardsEdit
Tour was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2015.[41] He was named among "The 50 most Influential Scientists in the World Today" by TheBestSchools.org in 2014.[42] Tour was named "Scientist of the Year" by R&D Magazine in 2013.[43] Tour won the ACS Nano Lectureship Award from the American Chemical Society in 2012. Tour was ranked one of the top 10 chemists in the world over the past decade by Thomson Reuters in 2009. That year, he was also made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Other notable awards won by Tour include the 2008 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, the NASA Space Act Award in 2008 for his development of carbon nanotube reinforced elastomers, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for his achievements in organic chemistry in 2007, the Small Times magazine's Innovator of the Year Award in 2006, the Southern Chemist of the Year Award from ACS in 2005, the Honda Innovation Award for Nanocars in 2005, the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1990, and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 1989.

In 2005, Tour's journal article "Directional Control in Thermally Driven Single-Molecule Nanocars" was ranked the Most Accessed Journal Article by the American Chemical Society.[44] Tour has twice won the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University in 2007 and 2012.

Rice University is a private institution that was founded in 1912. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,001, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 300 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Rice University's ranking in the 2019 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 16.
 
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Brian G Turner

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No he doesn't. He says that after it took perhaps 400 million years to synthesize certain essential prebiotic molecules, they would decay within a few hours, and then the random chance process would have to start all over again, from square one.
9:43 "Now you've run out of material"

James Tour at Wikipedia
I get that he's a scientist, but just because he has an opinion on something doesn't mean he's right. :)

As I've already pointed out, he appears to get some things wrong. He claims that complex molecules essential to the building of life are too unstable to exist - and yet amino acids, the basic building blocks of life, have been found throughout the universe - as have sugars: Amino acid found in deep space

The bottom line on abiogenesis is that it is not understood, and remains a major question in science. I think I posted some videos recently that tried to address current theories on this. :)
 

RJM Corbet

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9:43 "Now you've run out of material"
9.37: The other problem is, if you had 400 million years to get to a certain point in this synthesis, of a particular class of compound, now you've run out of material, any time you do synthesis you run out of material, even when you optimize deals, so you have to go back to the beginning. Say it took you 400 million years to get to a certain point on a synthesis, now you have to go back and make more, but how do you go back and make more, because nature never kept a laboratory notebook, nature doesn't know how to go back, never kept a record, so even if it could make more it doesn't know how to, so it has to start all over again, but it doesn't know how to start all over again, doesn't know why to start all over again, because it doesn't know what it's going toward ...
As I've already pointed out, he's gone some things plainly wrong. He claims that complex molecules essential to the building of life are too unstable to exist - and yet amino acids, the basic building blocks of life, have been found throughout the universe. As have sugars, which he plainly stated are not capable of existing in the wild without being converted into alcohols: Amino acid found in deep space
I don't know that this is what he's saying. My knowledge is too thin, but I doubt he'd be such a liar to make such an obviously false and easily checkable statement, considering his achievements and awards. He's not a crakeroo Noah's Ark apologist. He openly invites experts in the field to dismiss him.

I do hope there's someone knowledgeable who can at least spare 22 minutes of their busy life to watch the whole video to properly critique him an quote him in context, etc? That's what I put it up for.
 
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