Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

James Tour: 1 hr lecture on OoL


on the mystery of the origin of life:

From the blurb:

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. Tour is also fearless. He joined more than a thousand other scientists in signing the “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.” More recently, he has become a thorn in the side of the origin of life research community, offering blunt assessments of the current state of origin of life research. Read more on this controversy here: https://evolutionnews.org/2019/05/pro…

Note update in which he apologises for strong language: >>
This lecture has obviously hit a nerve. For Prof. Tour’s response to his critics, see http://www.jmtour.com/wp-content/uplo…. Tour in his response apologizes for using the word “lying” with regard to Jack Szostak, but he goes on to explain in detail why his substantive criticisms of Szostak’s article were correct. To read the criticisms leveled at Tour, see https://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/201…. >>

To focus discussion, I clip a key screenshot:

Food for thought for the fair-minded. END

PS: This follow up interview is also well worth watching:

Any news from the Evolution 2.0 prize ($10,000,000.00)? Did anybody get it yet? jawa
Here is something I posted a couple of years ago that I think is very relevant here.
The origin of life is like the origin of the universe. It appears to be a singular, non-repeating, highly improbable event which occurred very early in earth’s history. Furthermore, all the clues of how and why it occurred have been lost. But then added to that problem are other problems: how does chemistry create code? What is required to create an autonomously self-replicating system which has the possibility of evolving into something more complex? The naturalist/ materialist then compounds the problem by demanding a priori that the origin of life must be completely natural– undirected without an intelligent plan or purpose. That seems like it was a miracle… Well, maybe it was. But a completely “naturalistic miracle” seems to be an absurd self-defeating claim for the naturalist/materialist to make.
https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/origin-of-life/jad-on-self-replicating-machines-and-ool/ john_a_designer
Let me put this very succinctly: What does “creating life in the lab” actually prove? That an intelligently engineered and guided process can create life? But does that settle in any way what “nature” can and cannot do? If it does, please put forth your argument. john_a_designer
To create life in a lab all you need are two willing humans- one man and one woman. ET
. In order to create "life in the lab" you'll have to specify it among alternatives. More accurately, you'll have to specify many things among alternatives, and have them work together in a dissipative process in order for them to replicate their own specification. (Peirce, Turing, Von Neumann, Crick, Pattee) To specify something in a material (lawful) system requires one arrangement of matter to serve as a token/symbol, and a second arrangement of matter to establish what is being specified. This is the fundamental physical requirement of OoL (and does not change). So that leaves "life in the lab" researchers with only two options: 1) use the existing translation apparatus to actualize our own truly novel design ... where we can at least say this is "new life in the lab" (....just borrowing the existing machinery) 2) construct a new translation apparatus and INSTALL a new code When science hype and entrenched ideology finally come to meet this completely unmovable fact, what will we do? Will we stand by the reigning convictions in science, and wait for new codes to grow themselves in our petri dishes? Or will we draw on the defining core characteristic of Intelligence (our capacity for language) to do what must be done, and establish our own new multi-referent code? If it is the latter, will EVEN THAT be enough to drive home the point? The answer is "No". Upright BiPed
JAD & MR: smoking guns, but when people measure what is straight, accurate and upright by crooked yardsticks that they have somehow been induced to accept as standards, then often they will even resist naturally straight and upright plumb lines. Remember, the objectors who refused to look through Galileo's telescopes on whatever excuses of instrument imperfection etc? That is what we are up against. Protein superfamilies etc and deep isolation in even just AA sequence space shows islands of function in the midst of seas of non-function are real, starting with the workhorse of cell based life, proteins. Next, we know (by Nobel winning work) that the D/RNA system and associated execution molecular nanotech machinery are in material part a digital, coded, algorithmic information system. Algorithms are by definition goal directed functional information structures, and they inherently use codes. Codes are a manifestation of language, language antecedent to and causally enabling of cell based life. Where, purposeful linguistic behaviour is as strong, as definitive a sign of high intelligence at work as we can imagine. Not "analogies," then foolishly dismissed as unreliable in reasoning -- a case of fallacious selective hyperskepticism -- but instances of a very familiar phenomenon. The resistance is ideological and even fanatical in too many cases of Internet objectors. All of such is part of why I have declared intellectual independence, I will no longer be held intellectual hostage by trying to somehow plead with and please hostile, closed, ideologically driven, patently grossly irrational minds. Instead, the time has more than come to expose error, imposition, crooked yardsticks and general folly. In the OP, we have an indisputable expert speaking on his domain of world class expertise, challenging the dominant ideology. This blog is aggressively monitored by objectors and even attack sites. So, what do we see in response to strong evidence presented by an undeniable expert? Silence. Guilty as charged. KF kairosfocus
2014: "Harvard biologist and Nobel laureate Jack Szostak told a "Search for Life" gathering of 50 on Saturday afternoon in New York that he expected to make "life in the lab" in three to five years. And more likely within three years." let me repeat this one "And more likely within three years." It is almost 2020, so what happened Mr. Szostak ? http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1406/S00007/jack-szostak-life-in-lab-in-3-5-years.htm martin_r
to john_a_designer@5 you have mentioned Nobel laureate Jack Szostak in your post. Harvard professor and Nobel laureate Jack Szostak famous for his Origin of Life research retracted his 2016 OOL article: RetractionWatch.com "”Definitely embarrassing:” Nobel Laureate retracts non-reproducible paper in Nature journal " "A Nobel Laureate has retracted a 2016 paper in Nature Chemistry that explored the origins of life on earth, after discovering the main conclusions were not correct. " https://retractionwatch.com/2017/12/05/definitely-embarrassing-nobel-laureate-retracts-non-reproducible-paper-nature-journal/ I would also like to remind everybody on Jack Szostak prediction: In 2014 Jack Szostak said " Life in lab in 3-5 years" It is almost 2020, and to ID proponents, it is not a big surprise, that these guys are far far far away from "Life in lab" http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1406/S00007/jack-szostak-life-in-lab-in-3-5-years.htm martin_r
Gpuccio, recently posted the following on his very popular and interesting, Controlling The Waves Of Dynamic, Far From Equilibrium States… thread. I think it is very relevant to the topic we’re discussing here.
The problem in evaluating FI [functional information] is usually to have some good estimate of the target sice. The search size can be usually estimated easily enough. And then same can be said of the probabilistic resources of the system. Remember, we don’t need high precision here. We are dealing with very big numbers, and what really matters is the approximate order of magnitude of the target space/search space ratio. In general, functional spaces are extremely small if compared to search spaces, especially as the search space grows exponentially. That is rather evident in language and in software, for example. Instead, neo-darwinists (OK, I have decided that I will go on calling them that way ) try desperately to convince us (and probably themselves) that the functional space of proteins os special, that complex functions are connected (as if a watch were connected to a rifle, or to a book) and that complex functions abund so much in that space that they will be found like mushrooms. Or, in alternative, that complex functions are really simple when they first appear, as if a watch could evolve from one gross quasi-gear, a book from some random sign made by the wind, and so on. Of course, this is all mere imagination and dogma. Things are not that way. Complex functions are complex exactly because they require a lot of specific bit configurations. And complex functions do not emerge from simple functions. They emerge out of planning, out of understanding, out of purpose. The 2000 protein superfamilies are not a connected space where it is easy to go from one function to the other. Not at all. It is not a case that such transitions are never observed. They are never observed because they do not exist. These things are so obvious that every thinking person would admit them, if they were not, at the same time, too dangerous for the current ideology. So, we witness the sad show of intelligent people sticking to impossible explanations, and to the obstinate denial of very simple and powerful concepts like FI, and so on. So we see depressing “discussions” to deny that FI exists, or to affirm that it is everywhere, or to build it by summing simple bits of simple functions. How sad. If FI is such a wrong idea, why was Szostak so interested in it? Nobody knows. If function is so abundant in the protein functional space, why did the same Szostak have to build a big random library just to find some weak and useless ATP binding, and then engineer it thorugh random variation and intelligent selection just to get some stromg and equally useless ATP binding? If function is so abundant, why was it impossible for the researchers of the rugged landscape paper to find the functional island of the wildtype sequence? And so on, and so on. All the scenario of protein engineering shows how difficult it is to manifacture a functional protein, even using all our knowledge of biochemical laws and of the protein landscape, and all our most recent technology, and of course all possible imitations of what already exists in living beings. Yes, because, even using design, the best design we are able to produce, it is really difficult to engineer proteins. But certainly it must be us; we must be really dumb, given that complex functional proteins grow in the search space like mushrooms.
https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/controlling-the-waves-of-dynamic-far-from-equilibrium-states-the-nf-kb-system-of-transcription-regulation/#comment-684375 I believe Gpuccio is pointing out how difficult and staggeringly complex it apparently is to add a new function to an already existing cell. (Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding you Gp.) If it’s that difficult to add a single function to an already existing cell imagine how much more daunting it is to create a fully functioning cell de novo by natural processes alone. You are not just adding a single function one at a time but you are simultaneously “creating” hundreds of very distinct coordinated functions all at once. How are natural processes operating blindly by chance capable of doing something like that? Nobody knows. But that is what is required if you believe that natural process plus chances are sufficient. In other words, if you are a materialist you believe in miracles. Not only that but your belief is a blind leap of faith. john_a_designer
MR, I hear your general thoughts. As an engineer, do you have specifics, especially i/l/o Dr ATour's observations? He is after all the man who built a molecular nanocar. KF kairosfocus
In 21st century, is there something more absurd than the evolutionary theory ? These biologists claim, that a miniature fully autonomous self-navigating flying system (e.g. flying insects) can be assembled by itself, with no help from an engineer ... look at a fruit fly, it is so small you almost can't see it with a naked eye. To design such a small autonomous self-navigating flying system, is even in 21st century an engineering SCI-FI. These biologists, these romantics .... after 150 years of research, they won't show you a single thing how this can be done ... they only publish scientific articles ... In 21st century, can be something more absurd than the evolutionary theory ? An evolutionary biologist = a religious fanatic We engineers can't stop wonder, that this scientific nonsense is still happening in 21st century ... martin_r
Follow up interview added. kairosfocus
James Tour: 1 hr lecture on OoL kairosfocus

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