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Renowned chemist James Tour’s origin of life vids 4-6

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4 Homochirality

February 18, 2021: Diving into the science on homochirality, Dr. James Tour teaches the core chemistry concepts of enantiomers and chirality, exposing enormous challenges in the prebiotic synthesis and resolution of the molecules needed for life. By digging into the cited video’s only provided reference, Dr. Tour puts ink on paper and shows how the devil is in the details when it comes to proper interpretation of the data. Finally, Dr. Tour touches on the stereoisomeric challenges facing synthetic chemists doing origin-of-life, prebiotic research.

5 Carbohydrates

February 20, 2021: In this episode on carbohydrates, Dr. James Tour comes right out of the gate refuting the claimed triviality of biomolecular synthesis. Rather than agree with the claim on the ease of polysaccharide synthesis, Dr. Tour explains the difficulty of their creation, including homochirality and the prebiotic problems facing multiple isomers, blind pathways, and polymerization and positioning. Also, Dr. Tour points out the fallacy of borrowing products from biology in prebiotic syntheses, and the challenge of early Earth blindly working through unfathomable procedures.

6 Building blocks of building blocks

February 22, 2021: In this episode, Dr. James Tour pauses and goes back to the basics, in a most literal sense. The matter at hand is not merely synthesizing the four classes of compounds needed for life – polysaccharides/carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids – but rather their respective building blocks – monomeric sugars; amino acids; nucleotides; and fatty acids and glycerol. When restricted to prebiotic chemicals and methods, and with no store from which to purchase these building blocks while remembering homochirality, is biomolecular synthesis easy?

Also: Renowned chemist James Tour’s episodes 0-3 on origin of life: Here’s Episode 0 from James Tour, kicking it off:

And 1-3 David Klinghoffer: Tour got going with this 13-part series of lectures in response to a hapless critic, Dave Farina. As a correspondent quips, “I don’t know who Dave Farina is, but he’s kicked the wrong dog.” Indeed so.

Drc466, Wow, thanks for the great post! -Q Querius
What I found most interesting in the videos was the interviews of OoL scientists, as Professor Dave seemed to monologue a combination of mockery, document-hurling, and logical fallacies (see, e.g., his affirming the consequent error at the end of the video - molecules must move toward life, since we are here). Dr. Cronin's basic objections appear to be that he has developed "analogs" of what prebiotic processes must have led to life looked like (e.g. inorganic autocatalysis, oil droplet "evolutionary fitness" mapping, changing oligomer counts via recursion/mineral reactants, etc.). As none of these directly address any of Dr. Tour's points, it's hard to place a value on them as rebuttal points. Dr. Benner, who appears to have watched the entire series, accuses Dr. Tour of engaging in God of the Gaps argumentation, while simultaneously stating that Dr. Tour is just raising issues that OoL researchers have already pointed out. Unfortunately, he doesn't actually point to any statement that Dr. Tour makes that is incorrect. He references works by Elisa Biondi and Hyo-Joong Kim as examples of recent research that Dr Tour must not be aware of, yet a quick scan of their citations on Google Scholar seems to simply confirm what Dr. Tour claims, regarding hypothetical scenarios involving a variety of experimental processes that, despite Dr. Benner's claims, either do involve human intervention or are not actual laboratory experiments but proposals for possible early-earth cataclysmic events ("imagine a large asteroid comprised of x/y/z hitting the earth..."). Here, for example, is an abstract from Elisa Biondi's recent work - does this really seem like a hard-hitting rebuttal and debunking of anything Dr. Tour said?
We present a direct route by which RNA might have emerged in the Hadean from a fayalite–magnetite mantle, volcanic SO2 gas, and well-accepted processes that must have created substantial amounts of HCHO and catalytic amounts of glycolaldehyde in the Hadean atmosphere. In chemistry that could not not have happened, these would have generated stable bisulfite addition products that must have rained to the surface, where they unavoidably would have slowly released reactive species that generated higher carbohydrates. The formation of higher carbohydrates is self-limited by bisulfite formation, while borate minerals may have controlled aldol reactions that occurred on any semi-arid surface to capture that precipitation. All of these processes have well-studied laboratory correlates. Further, any semi-arid land with phosphate should have had phosphate anhydrides that, with NH3, gave carbohydrate derivatives that directly react with nucleobases to form the canonical nucleosides. These are phosphorylated by magnesium borophosphate minerals (e.g., lüneburgite) and/or trimetaphosphate-borate with Ni2+ catalysis to give nucleoside 5?-diphosphates, which oligomerize to RNA via a variety of mechanisms. The reduced precursors that are required to form the nucleobases came, in this path-hypothesis, from one or more mid-sized (1023–1020 kg) impactors that almost certainly arrived after the Moon-forming event. Their iron metal content almost certainly generated ammonia, nucleobase precursors, and other reduced species in the Hadean atmosphere after it transiently placed the atmosphere out of redox equilibrium with the mantle. In addition to the inevitability of steps in this path-hypothesis on a Hadean Earth if it had semi-arid land, these processes may also have occurred on Mars.
Just...wow. drc466
“You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.” - Ben Goldacre, Bad Science
To refute one of the world's top synthetic chemists, people in denial will uncritically accept the rantings of a high school teacher. They will mindlessly repeat a repeatedly falsified racist theory from the mid 1800s all the while pompously claiming they're "following the science." But, they're doing no such thing. Just as a decorator crab attaches pretty things to its shell as camouflage, they do the same with various pronouncements, unsupported assertions, and failed theories until something comes along that scares them and they withdraw into their shell not to be heard from until the coast seems to be clear. So here's my question. Is it even worth any effort to demonstrate to them that their assumptions, assertions, and sources are bogus?
"La la la! I can't hear you!" - Miracle Max in Princess Bride
Perhaps they don't hear you because they absolutely don't want to listen to anything that might move them out of their comfortable illusion. Just sayin' what I've noticed. -Q Querius
Apparently not even Dr. Venter and the results of 128 computers can budge Seversky from his self imposed blindness to ever seeing Design in life. bornagain77
So, FYI, if anyone is interested, Professor Dave Explains has posted two rebuttal videos to Dr. Tour’s series. https://youtu.be/ghJGnMwRHCs. I’ll leave the analysis of the strength/weakness of the videos to you.
I'm interested so thanks very much for the link. I appreciate the effort Dr Dave must have put into the videos. it's just a shame that it will be largely wasted on those who would most benefit from it. Seversky
Leaving aside the minor detail that no one has figured out the prebiotic routes to the basic building blocks of life: carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins, Dr. Tour has offered this following challenge to OOL researchers who believe that they are on the verge of creating life.
Origin of Life: An Inside Story - Professor James Tour – May 1, 2016 Excerpt: “All right, now let’s assemble the Dream Team. We’ve got good professors here, so let’s assemble the Dream Team. Let’s further assume that the world’s top 100 synthetic chemists, top 100 biochemists and top 100 evolutionary biologists combined forces into a limitlessly funded Dream Team. The Dream Team has all the carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleic acids stored in freezers in their laboratories… All of them are in 100% enantiomer purity. [Let’s] even give the team all the reagents they wish, the most advanced laboratories, and the analytical facilities, and complete scientific literature, and synthetic and natural non-living coupling agents. Mobilize the Dream Team to assemble the building blocks into a living system – nothing complex, just a single cell. The members scratch their heads and walk away, frustrated… So let’s help the Dream Team out by providing the polymerized forms: polypeptides, all the enzymes they desire, the polysaccharides, DNA and RNA in any sequence they desire, cleanly assembled. The level of sophistication in even the simplest of possible living cells is so chemically complex that we are even more clueless now than with anything discussed regarding prebiotic chemistry or macroevolution. The Dream Team will not know where to start. Moving all this off Earth does not solve the problem, because our physical laws are universal. You see the problem for the chemists? Welcome to my world. This is what I’m confronted with, every day.“ James Tour – leading Chemist https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/origin-of-life-professor-james-tour-points-the-way-forward-for-intelligent-design/
Dr. Tour reiterated the challenge in 2019:
(July 2019) "We have no idea how to put this structure (a simple cell) together.,, So, not only do we not know how to make the basic components, we do not know how to build the structure even if we were given the basic components. So the gedanken (thought) experiment is this. Even if I gave you all the components. Even if I gave you all the amino acids. All the protein structures from those amino acids that you wanted. All the lipids in the purity that you wanted. The DNA. The RNA. Even in the sequence you wanted. I've even given you the code. And all the nucleic acids. So now I say, "Can you now assemble a cell, not in a prebiotic cesspool but in your nice laboratory?". And the answer is a resounding NO! And if anybody claims otherwise they do not know this area (of research).” - James Tour: The Origin of Life Has Not Been Explained - 4:20 minute mark (The more we know, the worse the problem gets for materialists) https://youtu.be/r4sP1E1Jd_Y?t=255
Dr. Tour also asked this interesting question, can anyone even bring a cell that dies back to life?
"But let's, in this thought experiment, say that we already have a functional, working, cell. So everything is in place. But now the cell just dies. Just died a nano-second ago. Just died. What did we just lose and what would we have to do to get it going again because everything is approximately in place? Have we any idea how to get this cell going again?" (To which Stephen Meyer responds), Well, its the Humpty Dumpty problem right. You got all of these pieces but all those pieces does not a living organism make." - The Science & Faith Podcast - James Tour and Stephen Meyer: Life's Origin: Lab + Information = Mind https://youtu.be/x5tUDJ23Kms?t=1038
Might it be too obvious to point out that if we can't even bring a dead cell to life, then any claims from OOL researches that they are on the verge of creating life from scratch are, to put it mildly, misguided? And if these OOL researchers won't listen to Dr. Tour, perhaps they will listen to Dr. Venter and/or listen to the results of 128 computers, and be a bit more circumspect and humble in their claims of being on the verge of creating life?
Minimal Cell Challenges Naturalism - March 26, 2016 | David F. Coppedge Excerpt: They started over with a “top-down” approach. Beginning with Syn 1.0, they systematically stripped out anything the bacterium could live without. They got it down to 473 genes, about half the size of their Syn 1.0 organism.,,, “If we’re already playing God, we’re not doing a particularly good job of it,” Elfick says. “Simply streamlining what’s already in nature doesn’t seem very God-like and, if anything, is a very humbling exercise.” Venter also felt the humility vibes, according to Live Science: “We’re showing how complex life is even in the simplest of organisms,” said Craig Venter, founder and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), where the study was completed. “These findings are very humbling in that regard.” https://crev.info/2016/03/minimal-cell-challenges-naturalism/ To Model the Simplest Microbe in the World, You Need 128 Computers - July 2012 Excerpt: Mycoplasma genitalium has one of the smallest genomes of any free-living organism in the world, clocking in at a mere 525 genes. That's a fraction of the size of even another bacterium like E. coli, which has 4,288 genes.,,, The bioengineers, led by Stanford's Markus Covert, succeeded in modeling the bacterium, and published their work last week in the journal Cell. What's fascinating is how much horsepower they needed to partially simulate this simple organism. It took a cluster of 128 computers running for 9 to 10 hours to actually generate the data on the 25 categories of molecules that are involved in the cell's lifecycle processes.,,, ,,the depth and breadth of cellular complexity has turned out to be nearly unbelievable, and difficult to manage, even given Moore's Law. The M. genitalium model required 28 subsystems to be individually modeled and integrated, and many critics of the work have been complaining on Twitter that's only a fraction of what will eventually be required to consider the simulation realistic.,,, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/07/to-model-the-simplest-microbe-in-the-world-you-need-128-computers/260198/
It doesn't take a PhD in synthetic chemistry to see that all the claims from OOL researchers that they are on the verge of creating life from scratch are severely overblown. Supplemental note:
The “hard problem” of life - Sara Imari Walker, Paul C.W. Davies - 2016 Excerpt: Chalmer’s famously identified pinpointing an explanation for our subjective experience as the “hard problem of consciousness”. He argued that subjective experience constitutes a “hard problem” in the sense that its explanation will ultimately require new physical laws or principles. Here, we propose a corresponding “hard problem of life” as the problem of how `information’ can affect the world. In this essay we motivate both why the problem of information as a causal agent is central to explaining life, and why it is hard – that is, why we suspect that a full resolution of the hard problem of life will, similar to as has been proposed for the hard problem of consciousness, ultimately not be reducible to known physical principles. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/origin-of-life/davies-and-walker-life-not-reducible-to-known-physical-principles/
John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Watched another 30 minutes of Dave’s presentation. 60% mocking but he presents a couple ideas that may be relevant. I have no way of evaluating them. They are extremely technical. One is auto catalyst reactions which if I understood him correctly produce more and more of a specific output. Somehow a chemical selection process takes place. Hand waves the building of information but maybe that is to come. Constantly refers to very technical research papers. It’s kind of hard to see how an experienced chemist in a related field would not have the ability to understand these papers. But Dave never leaves the mocking mode. jerry
I’m 10 minutes into first video and already Dave has committed three errors. They may be of little consequence. He is constantly referring to creationist and using heavy sarcasm about it. Signs of not being serious. Another is he immediately debunks the massive number of parts analogy. A third is he debunks his credentials. Tour is a synthetic chemist. Seems relevant to me. All may be irrelevant but I have to go elsewhere now. So far it’s mocking as a strategy to debunk. Will see how substantive it gets. jerry
So, FYI, if anyone is interested, Professor Dave Explains has posted two rebuttal videos to Dr. Tour's series. https://youtu.be/ghJGnMwRHCs. I'll leave the analysis of the strength/weakness of the videos to you. drc466
AnimatedDust in regards to Dave Farina, social media, and various so called 'influencers', i have noticed one thing - the more uneducated you are, the more followers you have ... Dave Farina is just another Darwinian clown who BELIEVES in miracles and misleads lay public ... martin_r
I started watching this series on long drives to care for my aging mother. It's been very enlightening. I had never heard of Dave Farina before. I did some research, and also looked at Dave's channel. Then I learned that Dave still doesn't yet even have his Masters Degree, and he's calling himself Professor Dave. And that he'd really rather play music. And he takes on one of the world's most renowned synthetic chemists and tells him (and us) that he's full of s**t, "because Jesus." Now that I know his entire living is based on YouTube subscriptions and not science, his motivation for kicking the dog named Tour becomes clear. He did indeed pick the wrong dog. But in this secular, no-attention-span cultural moment, it won't mean anything to have embarrassed Farina in the academic arena. He will still have his legions of vapid atheistic fans, who are content to wallow in the brilliant "debunking" of Tour's work, simply, "Because Jesus." Sad. AnimatedDust
Great lectures! Thank you Dr. Tour for taking your precious time to give Darwinists a lesson. martin_r

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