Tour Apologizes to Szostack

Dr. Tour says he’s apologised to Dr. Szostak over the phone btw.


That’s good news at least.


That is good to hear but we can’t take your word for it. Given how public his mistake was, I hopes he makes a public apology. I say that with Tour’s best interest in mind, because leaving it publicly unresolved does not look good for him.


Dear Peter, thank you for writing to me. That was a strong word (“lying”) which I regret saying. I have already apologized to Jack Szostak by phone, and he very graciously accepted the apology. If given a chance, I would likewise apologize to any of those cited in that talk to whom I said such a thing. My behavior was inappropriate.

Like many things that I do and say in life, there are elements upon which I have regrets and wish that I had done differently. My life is filled with those occasions. In fact, I can literally claim almost daily I do something or say something which I wish I had not. Those closest to me get the brunt of it, but thankfully they have also been gracious in forgiving me. And for that I am thankful.

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24-25a.

I do not read or write on blogs-- or almost never. So if you wish, you may post this on Peaceful Science, though my words were far from peaceful, to my shame.

God bless,
James Tour


10 posts were split to a new topic: Comments on Tour Apologizes to Sostack

I want to confirm that this apology is actually from Dr. Tour. I reached out to him and he both confirmed that this email is from him and that he wanted it posted here.


Great, now let’s hope he makes a public apology that gets as many views as the original video where he called Szostak a liar.


I mentioned this to him and understand the challenge. Like most speakers, he doesn’t have control over that channel, which is controlled by the organizers of the event.

In my view, apologies should be as public as the venue I which the errors were made. I am not the one setting terms for Tour, but perhaps he makes the apology at the next public event that is comparable to this one. Until then, he does not really have a content channel to do this for himself.

The post here at PS is public. Many people follow him. It would not be surprising if this apology becomes very public before then. For those who have rightly called Tour out for this mistake, it makes sense now to publicly note he apologized. This vindicates you, and also would not be right to be left out going forward.


That alone isn’t a convincing excuse - are we expected to believe that If Tour asked the DI to, say, add the apology at the top of the video’s description box, they wouldn’t do it? He holds a lot of sway with them, so they’re basically going to do whatever he asks.


@evograd give it time to play out, and let’s be gracious when people apologize.

Many people of his stature (or even lower!) never apologize publicly. I’ve frankly been appalled at the duplicity here. Tour made a large error. He acknowledges this publicly. He apologized. My guess is that he will apologize again.

Also note that it is hard to make good decisions when adrenaline flows. Sometimes it takes time to cool down, make a plan to fix things, and execute. We need to give this time.

Let’s see how it plays out from here.


I understand that venue is a major issue in this series of events. Yes, Tour’s apology certainly strikes me as genuine and I hope I can apologize with the grace and humility he displayed, should I ever need to do so. But I do fear the venue of the apology he issued (here at PS) and the venue of the speech facilitating that apology have very little overlap. I’m willing to see what happens, but at this point, it seems that there will be a rather small number of people that have seen both the incident and the apology.


Take Gary Hurd, Internet atheist, troll extraordinaire, and the Internet’s main attack dog against Tour right now


I appreciate the disclosure by EN. I would appreciate it even more if it didn’t carry such a blatant “whataboutism” along with it.


I think that is a pretty public apology at this point in that it was copied in ENV.


It’s incredibly petty for Tour to double-down on his claims that Szostak’s diagrams were inaccurate by pointing out that they don’t depict things like double bonds. They’re simplified cartoon diagrams. Not meant to contain all the chemical details, just the general shapes. The shapes were accurate, and it’s uncharitable of Tour not to acknowledge that, instead suggesting that Szostak is incompetent in his talk (which he doesn’t apologise for).


A post was merged into an existing topic: James Tour details his reasoning

Here is the PDF in question:

Note that he writes:

Joshua said that an apology should be as public as the offense. I do not disagree, but
how can one go back and make an apology that is going to get thousands of YouTube
views since (a) I did not post that video myself and (b) I do not Twitter post so I have no
followers. Hopefully this will suffice since it is now an open posting.

In my view, this is in combination with the ENV piece is a very public apology. It cannot get much more public than this. As far as I am concerned, the issue of Tour calling Szostack a “liar” is a done issue.

The scientific details of this will be picked up here: James Tour details his reasoning.