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On Origin of Life, Stephen Meyer and James Tour Debunk Researcher Lee Cronin’s Claims

Photo: Lee Cronin, by Alfienoakes, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

On a new episode of ID the Future, we continue a four-part conversation series between philosopher of science Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design and other books, and Dr. James Tour, a world-famous synthetic organic chemist at Rice University. Dr. Tour has recently been engaged in a series of back-and-forth responses to attacks on his work from YouTuber “Professor Dave” Farina. This has given Tour a new opportunity to critique experts in the field of abiogenesis and allows an interested public to better evaluate both sides of the argument. 

In Part 2, Meyer and Tour discuss the work and claims of origin-of-life researcher Lee Cronin. They begin with a review of the four classes of organic molecules before critiquing Cronin’s foremose reaction experiments and his claims to have found a process that’s analogous to cell division. Tour also discusses the importance of chirality, as well as how amino acids behave in aqueous solutions. It turns out that “warm little pond” story we’ve been told for many years is chemically implausible. The discussion rounds out with a reminder of the information problem, something Meyer writes about at length in Signature in the Cell. Have prebiotic chemists made any progress on the sequence specificity problem? None whatsoever, says Dr. Tour.

This is Part 2 of a four-part series of conversations. Download the podcast or listen to it here. Alternatively, watch the video version here: