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See It Now: James Tour and Brian Miller on Explaining the Origin of Life

origin of life
Photo: James Tour in a scene from Science Uprising, via Discovery Institute.

I will say this about the distinguished Rice University chemist James Tour: if you can find a more intense personality out there, well, I’d be curious to know of it. I have not met him, but apart from being brilliant, his video presence is remarkable. He had an online conversation with our always incisive physicist colleague Brian Miller about “Thermodynamics and the Origin of Life”: examining the ways that materialists seek to get around that particular conundrum. Dr. Miller is research coordinator for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture.

As I think he typically does, since this a Science & Faith, Dr. Tour asks for a statement of faith. He also offers to meet with any “unbeliever” by Zoom. Then they are off to the races on a range of relevant technical and scientific issues — thermodynamics and the origin of the first cell, abiogenesis and “Natural Selection of the Gaps,” systems biology, design triangulation, whether life could arise anywhere, including on other planets, without design, and more. I had previewed the conversation here earlier and now it’s available to see in its entirety at your convenience:

Looking to the future, here’s something I’d love to see on the Science & Faith podcast: Dr. Tour in conversation with one of those famous and abrasive scientific atheists, who have a faith of their own which they also see as being grounded in both science and experience. Invite on Jerry Coyne, or Lawrence Krauss? That I would pay to watch, if Dr. Coyne or Dr. Krauss, memorable personalities in their own right, were willing.