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Chemist James Tour calls out Jeremy England’s origin of life claims – in a nice way

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From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:

As a postscript to Brian Miller’s reply to MIT physicist Jeremy England, see this from the famed synthetic organic chemist James Tour, writing for the online journal Inference. In “An Open Letter to My Colleagues,” Tour sets out this way:

Life should not exist. This much we know from chemistry. In contrast to the ubiquity of life on earth, the lifelessness of other planets makes far better chemical sense. Synthetic chemists know what it takes to build just one molecular compound. The compound must be designed, the stereochemistry controlled. Yield optimization, purification, and characterization are needed. An elaborate supply is required to control synthesis from start to finish. None of this is easy. Few researchers from other disciplines understand how molecules are synthesized.

His colleagues are fooling themselves if they imagine otherwise. He gets around to England, not naming him except in a footnote, at the end: …

It’s somehow more satisfying that England isn’t identified in the body of the article, but only in a footnote. That is a memorable instance of a senior scientist quietly taking a junior colleague out behind the woodshed. More.

Doubtless, Tour is right to be patient. Origin of life by solely natural means, requiring no information input, can safely be regarded as a cult at this point. When addressing a cult member, it is often best to simply be nice and play for time. Eventually, when—for example—the cult’s Ascended One gets busted for dealing and attempting to sell stolen goods, one is in a much better position to say to the confused follower, “Let’s talk about what we’ve all learned some time…”

See also: Chemist James Tour writes an open letter to his colleagues

Our all-time most-read post here at Uncommon Descent was about renowned chemist James Tour: A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution

See also: Origin of life: Informational principles or “other laws”?

Biophysicist [Jeremy England]: Order can arise from nothing! I have evidence! – Rob Sheldon replies


What we know and don’t know about the origin of life


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