Evolution Icon Evolution
Intelligent Design Icon Intelligent Design

Stephen Meyer: Smoke, Mirrors, and the Origin of Life

Image credit: Arek Socha via Pixabay.

Have scientists made life in a laboratory? Two-thirds of the public think the answer is yes. What do you think? Here is the third installment in a series of four conversations between philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, and James Tour, a world-famous synthetic organic chemist at Rice University. It’s an ID the Future episode (here), and a YouTube video (below). 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 3, Meyer and Tour continue their critique of the claims of chemist Lee Cronin, including his experiments on the formose reaction, autocatalysis, his attempts to conjure up lipids in oil, and more smoke and mirrors. Along the way, Tour explains how he got into the debate in the first place, providing some background on his interactions with Farina and how that led him to call out experts in the field. Tour and Meyer are careful to remind us just what life is and what it takes to build it. You’ll enjoy Meyer’s insights into the big picture. These simulation experiments, he says, “are actually showing the difficulty of making life-relevant molecules…via an undirected process.” In other words, origin of life researchers are doing sophisticated chemistry with multi-million dollar equipment that can only be done in a modern lab! In the process, they’re demonstrating just how implausible chemical evolutionary theories actually are.

More Resources

Want to learn more about the origin of life? There are plenty of resources out there.