A Course on Abiogenesis by Dr. James Tour

 

Primordial Soup by
Christian Irmer

Abiogenesis definition – the origin of life from nonliving matter; specifically : a theory in the evolution of early life on earth: organic molecules and subsequent simple life forms first originated from inorganic substances. – Merriam-Webster

For anyone who is not familiar with the term abiogenesis, the definition above should help.  Abiogenesis is the theory that life came from things that weren’t alive.

This morning, near the top of the stories featured on Google was one from COSMOS entitled:

Looking for origins of life in hot springs…Scientists put a hypothesis to the test.

The article is almost a year old but it is very similar to many articles written by those studying how life could have possibly come from non-living things.  It is written for people like me who have no authority to speak on such an issue but who think, like one of the young scientists featured in the article, that:

“The origin of life is part of humanity’s narrative.”

“Learning more about it isn’t only beneficial for science, it’s helping us develop our understanding of who we are and our place in the universe.”

After reading the article, two things are clear:

1)  These scientists aren’t kidding around.  They are serious about their work and seem to be trying to find answers.

and

2)  It certainly seems possible that they are looking in the right places and that they may be getting close to discovering how life came form non-living things.

Thankfully, the recent series by Dr. James Tour has been a help to me in this area of understanding.  The series covers many items including topics that the layman (like me) would not understand.  Dr. Tour discusses “the building blocks for life, including amino acids, nucleobases and lipids,” the exact same things mentioned in the Cosmos article.

The main difference between the COSMOS article (which is a pretty good representation of many scientific articles presented for layman) and the series by Dr. Tour is the explanation of how difficult it would have been for life to have appeared “spontaneously.”  (It seems that the world spontaneously is a word frequently used to describe how non-living things became living things;  the problem is that no one has ever explained how this happened.)

Dr. Tour’s credentials speak for themselves.  You can read about them HERE.  Not only is he one of the best synthetic chemists in the world, he is a Christian.  In his series about Abiogenesis, he only speaks about the science of the subject according to his understanding.  He does not mention the Bible.  He is well versed in the scriptures but his career has been in the field of synthetic chemistry where: “Based on the impact of his published work, in 2019 Tour was ranked in the top 0.004% of the 7 million scientists who have published at least 5 papers in their careers. He was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2015.” (Click HERE for more information about Dr. Tour.)

I have been following Dr. Tour’s work for years now.  I know “appeals to authority” are often looked upon with disdain but let’s face it, everyone does it.  Personally, I don’t see any problem with it whatsoever.  The question in every area of life becomes: “Who do I trust to tell me the truth about this subject? ”

I am thankful that someone of Dr. Tour’s stature is speaking out on this subject.  He is being ignored by many scientists in the origin of life field.  He is also being treated as someone who doesn’t know what he is talking about, which is only one of the reasons he has made this presentation.  Much of the course is Dr. Tour’s comments on a video that was made criticizing his own past comments.   Dr. Tour handles the criticism well but is clearly frustrated by the lack of clarity that he feels is presented not only by the video discussed but by many articles in the scientific literature.  One of his stated goals in this course is to provide clarity to those seeking answers about the possible origin of life.

The episodes are anywhere from twenty-five minutes to 1 hour and twenty-five minutes.  You may want to pick out one of the sessions which looks interesting or you may want to start at the beginning and go from there.

Chris Reimers

A Course on Abiogenesis by Dr. James Tour

0 – Reasons for this Series

1 – Introduction to Abiogenesis

2 – Primordial Soup

3 – Hype

4 – Homochirality

5 – Carbohydrates

6 – Building Blocks of Building Blocks

7 – Peptides

8 – Nucleotides

9 – Intermediate Summary & a Call to Colleagues

10 – Lipids

11 – Chiral-induced Spin Selectivity

12.1 – Cell Construction & The Assembly Problem, Part 1

12.2 – Cell Construction & The Assembly Problem, Part 2

13 – Summary & Projections

 

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