Does OOL research need a disclaimer?

Every time they say that the presence of certain molecules equals the possibility of life. Without purification, none of those molecules can react in a meaningful way.

Quote me the sentence that does this, which is what I asked you to do, be specific.

In Szostak’s article, where does he say that “the presence of certain molecules equals the possibility of life”?

Without purification, none of those molecules can react in a meaningful way.

Which molecules, and how do you know that?


Every time they say that, given enough time, the reactions needed to produce life from non-life will occur. Not if those reactions involve volatile or short-lived compounds, which they often do.

Makes sense.

I can’t find anything in the article that says “the reactions needed to produce life from nonlife will occur given enough time”.

Are you having reading difficulties? Quote the sentences from the article. Don’t give me this generalized nebulous shit.


If you want me to work harder on this, say that I’m wrong.

I’ve watched Tour’s presentation, and I’ve read Szostak’s article, and Tour is wrong about Szostak’s article, and so far you have failed to substantiate any of the claims you’ve made. Which I find revealing. This is your opportunity to turn it around and find examples of the things you think Szostak’s article is guilty of by quoting from it. Will you do that?

I couldn’t give any less of a fork about how hard you want to work to support your claims and beliefs. It is not my job to make your case for you, or to find out how to motivate you to support it. If you want to be a Tour sycophant so bad, and you don’t want to do any work to show that he’s right about his claims (if he is) then I’m convinced nothing I say will convince you otherwise.


"1. Once conditions for the first step were resolved,
2. we connected the outlet of the photochemical reactor to a solvent-switch system46
3. heated to 57 °C
4. and with sufficient N2 pressure to remove H2O to the point of dryness (Fig. 7).
5. After 100 min, the input stream was stopped
6. and a small amount of H2O (typically 0.5–1.0 mL) was pumped into the collection chamber…(add many more steps)

I think the objection is that this kind of step-by-step specificity is presented as a plausible route.
No. Plausibly, this is a route. But, how many routes similar to this just lead to nowhere? It’s hard to unsee the implausibility, once one sees it. Then again, the reaction may or may not be plausible, but the question is: in the abstract space of reaction parameters, what percentage of possible pathways lead to an acceptable result. 1%? 10%? Less than one percent?

Not asking for an answer, just that the question is being minded after this.

I don’t think Dr Szostak is lying. Unfortunately his commitment to MN as a scientist leads to assumptions that are just begging the question. Like the one below -

Is the existence of life on Earth a lucky fluke or an inevitable consequence of the laws of nature? Is it simple for life to emerge on a newly formed planet, or is it the virtually impossible product of a long series of unlikely events?

His assertion that life can and has emerged through strictly natural processes (either by a fluke or as an “inevitable” consequence of natural laws) is without evidence. It’s just a product of commitment to MN.
This happens regularly whenever Scientists talk about the origin of life. There is a unproven assumption that it happened by purely natural and material processes and the communication ends up being that even though scientists don’t know how, they know that it life arose by purely natural processes.

This statement of faith is then followed by a presentation of whatever is the current rage in OOL research. Is this dishonest? I wouldn’t say it’s intentionally dishonest.

Yeah, that statement isn’t begging the question. He’s just discussing possibilities. He just didn’t list your favorite possibility.


Seems as if he is discussing the only two possibilities.
This is a normal thing when scientists talk about the origins of life. This is why I don’t think there is much of a difference between MN and PN in science communication.

I think “lucky fluke” covers your preferred possibility well, for these purposes.

Everything I’ve ever read on abiogenesis suggests the scientists involved are exploring possibilities, and not trying to make precise duplications of processes at present. The paper you linked to is a good example of this kind of language


I don’t think so.

Let them use that as a disclaimer, and the funding for OLF would dry up faster than a riverbed on the prebiotic magma-filled earth.

How about Tour literally saying the words “he’s lying to you”? As he does in the video linked in the op. So, in fact, James Tour is explicitly accusing an origin of life researcher of lying.


Have you ever seen anything that suggests they are claiming to do something more?

What should they say? How would it be functionally different? They’re looking for plausible natural pathways by which life could have begun.


You understand that other scientists are advising funding agencies on where to spend their money, right? Random clueless laymen aren’t being asked to shell out cash. Funding organizations have scientists employed to review grant requests. These people implicitly understand the status and purpose of origin of life research. Nobody is under any illusion that it is in large part exploratory basic research, not actually known where it leads.

You are revealing with every one of your posts how utterly clueless you are about what is going on here.


Yeah, but my claim is testable.

In order for your claim to make any sense you would have to demonstrate that the people responsible for funding origin of life research are not already aware that it isn’t actually known beforehand whether any particular grant will successfully show some aspect of how life originated.

That’s why they fund them in the first place. If it was already known where it leads beforehand there’d be no reason to do the research. Which should have been painfully obvious.


These things add up. Perhaps a disclaimer that Scientists are only talking from a strictly naturalistic perspective might be in order.

I have met too many people who think Scientists have established that life arose by natural means. When probed, they usually point to the urey miller experiment they learnt in school or some article like the one being discussed now.

If honesty in communication is a priority, then all prior philosophical/metaphysical commitments should be made clear.
Or there will always be pushback of this kind.