James Tour at McGovern Medical School in Houston

James Tour will be speaking at the UT McGovern Medical School in Houston this afternoon - Nanotech Research. Life’s Origin and Evolution: Facts vs. Conjecture. I have completed enough work that I plan to head on over. I think we can all agree this should be pretty interesting, so I’ll be sure to take some good notes.

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I’m pretty sure it will not be all that interesting. James Tour will be talking about how there are all these things we don’t yet know and are next to clueless about, so “hint wink”. He won’t be explicit in the hint-wink department, but you know. We don’t know, it’s hard to find out, guess that means God’s hiding in the gap.

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I know he is going to be mentioning Peaceful Science. That alone will make it interesting.

He is a more complex case that this. In fact, I believe he is widely misunderstood. He is not actually arguing for ID.

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You can’t stop there.

I’ll post a little more tomorrow. @Rumraket, it sounds like you’ve heard Tour speak before! I was unsure how the talk would be accepted, but no one in the group (of maybe 70-80) really challenged him in anything he said. One question was if Tour still saw evolution as the best scientific explanation for the life we see today. His response was an emphatic yes.

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That was my understanding, but that doesn’t stop the Creationists and IDs from falling in love with his letter.

It is no mystery why, it is one long argument for ID. It’s like I’m being asked to not be able to think. All the ID proponents get all the dog whistles in that letter. They’re obvious.

But he never explicitly endorses ID you could say. It’s ridiculous. Does he have to? Come on.

By the way, it’s like every single sentence in that letter is a question-begging assertion. He says right out the gate that to get just one molecular compound, it must be designed. What other interpretation than intelligent design can you derive from that statement? How blind do I have to make myself to see some sort of neutral middle ground everyone can agree to in that? I don’t, actually I disagree with virtually every single sentence he writes, it is ASTONISHINGLY wrong, or question begging.

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Look at how Tour concludes that letter:

Beyond our planet, all the others that have been probed are lifeless, a result in accord with our chemical expectations.

Two. We’ve “probed” two other planets. Venus, which has an atmosphere of boiling sulfuric acid and surface temps at ~400 °C, and Mars. And we’re still not remotely sure whether Mars is actually lifeless, or might have contained life in the past.

It’s ridiculous.

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This new article (open access) is relevant to many of the points Jim Tour makes, in his critiques of current OOL research:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07219-5

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He did reference this article (along with a few others) during his talk last evening.

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What did he say about Adam?

Not a peep about Adam, Peaceful Science, or God.

Change of plans! Too bad. Did you say hi to him or get a photo?

I spoke with him very briefly afterward. It would be great to have him over to campus some time, so I just wanted to introduce myself before extending an invitation.

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That reasoning by Tour reminds me a bit of how for many decades “creation science” speakers like Duane Gish and Henry Morris (and many of their successors) used to say that “Astronomers know of no other planetary systems in the universe. Our earth is a part of a uniquely designed solar system.” Even as a young person I found this type of reasoning bizarre. I knew that the Law of Universal Gravitation operated throughout the universe—so why wouldn’t there be countless varieties of planetary systems in orbit around a vast variety of stars? Why wouldn’t some of those planets in some of those star systems be at distances from their stars so as to be conducive to life?

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That is not a legitimate comparison. James Tour is one of the most accomplished chemists of our time. We can certainly disagree with him, but he has earned the right to be heard, let alone the right to be heard without comparison to Gish and Morris.

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I’m not comparing the academic credentials of the people involved. I’m comparing the reasoning. The reasoning is very much comparable.

Nobody disputes Dr. Tour’s academic achievements.

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It really is not comparable.

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We all agree that Dr. Tour has a right to be heard.

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Why is it not comparable?