Readers may know that “A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution” is our best-read post at over 350,000 visits. It’s like Niagara Falls; if you haven’t been there, go—just to say you went.
Tour did everything right except that, in a world of mediocrities for Darwin, he has doubts:
Renowned scientist James Tour at Rice University is facing the wrath of Internet trolls because of his candid evaluation of origin of life research in a recent public lecture in Dallas. For his frankness, Tour is being vilified by detractors as an attention-grabbing charlatan, an incompetent scientist, and even a “Liar for Jesus”!
Some further background might help you better appreciate the chutzpah of these claims. Dr. Tour is one of the world’s top synthetic organic chemists. He has authored 680 scientific publications and holds more than 120 patents (here is a partial list). In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds,” and in 2018 Clarivate Analytics recognized him as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers. John G. West, “Professor James Tour: A “Liar for Jesus”?” at Evolution News and Science Today
Anyway, he said something inappropriate recently.
At one point, Tour got a bit carried away while critiquing an article by Nobel laureate Jack Szostak, one of the world’s top origin of life researchers. Highlighting an inaccurate diagram in Szostak’s article, Tour made an off-the-cuff remark about Szostak, telling the audience that “he’s lying to you.” It was an uncharitable characterization. To Tour’s credit, when he was challenged on his use of the term “lying,” he apologized directly to Szostak by phone, and he followed up with a statement to someone else, which he authorized for release to the public. Part of Tour’s statement read: “That was a strong word (“lying”) which I regret saying. I have already apologized to Jack Szostak by phone, and he very graciously accepted the apology. If given a chance, I would likewise apologize to any of those cited in that talk to whom I said such a thing. My behavior was inappropriate.” John G. West, “Professor James Tour: A “Liar for Jesus”?” at Evolution News and Science Today
He apologized but it might not change much. Internet trolls use whatever they can find and their market believes whatever it needs to.
Note: Lots of scientists are willing to admit that they doubt Darwin. See the Dissent from Darwin list. But in most places, it’s much easier to spout the party line, especially if you can honestly say that you never wondered.
See also: Globally Famous Chemist James Tour On The Origin Of Life
Why Did An Evolutionary Biology Prof Imply World-Famous Chemist James Tour Was “Stupid”?
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