Synthetic Life – a Minority Report


“Dr. Tour is one of the world’s top synthetic organic chemists. He has authored 680 scientific publications and holds more than 120 patents. In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds,” and in 2018 Clarivate Analytics recognized him as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers. Tour is also fearless. He joined more than a thousand other scientists in signing the “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.” More recently, he has become a thorn in the side of the origin of life research community, offering blunt assessments of the current state of origin of life research.”


When kids from the vanishingly rare religious families of the US go away to college, they need something to save them from being sucked over the emotional falls of determinism, materialism, Neo-Darwinism and nihilism. Professors pound these untestable philosophic worldviews into their students’ heads as if they were facts of “settled science.”

This shocking video lecture could help spiritual kids resist the standardized brainwashing of our era. Please forward it to the young people you know.


Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD

15 thoughts on “Synthetic Life – a Minority Report

  1. Very good and an excellent link. Many of the arguments I hear are like Dilbert cartoons. Flow and pie charts, graphs, and tables of data, and always a box through which everything runs that is labelled ‘magic happens’ — often by another name, but always mysterious and barely discussed.

    • Thanks! It’s impossible to “poison the well” with Dr. Tour by saying his opinions are worthless because he’s not a practicing scientist. That’s the excuse I’ve heard for not reading Steven Meyer’s book, “Signature in the Cell.”

    • OK, Thank you. I didn’t realize I had turned it off. Now I’ll google how to turn it on again asap.

      As best I can determine I never turned it off. It’s clearly marked as being turned on in two different places. Wish WordPress still had those helpers who were so easily available years ago. Sorry I can’t fix it.

    • Thank you, Christine! I love Dr. Tour’s courage and understand his frustration. I wish his voice could be heard in university textbooks and classrooms alongside the mainstream drone of a random, mindless, meaningless universe without purpose or any long-term hope.

  2. He seems to be trying to prove that random events in the physical world could not possibly have come up with even the most basic of biological structures. But he is reverse engineering what already exists and saying that no amount of time or random acts could possibly come up with the end result because the laws of chemistry say it’s impossible.

    Is he right? I don’t know. Perhaps he is.

    Perhaps the origin of life can’t be explained using random, mechanistic models.

    Perhaps the mechanism that led to life as we know it is something else entirely.

    From a purely logical standpoint, I’m okay with both of those possibilities. Our short, human history is littered with theories that were discarded as we learned something new. But one thing has always been true – a lack of knowledge/proof in one area is never proof of the existence of something in another area. That’s like saying ‘if not-A then B’. Or, if man can’t create life then it had to be god.

    In philosophy, if you reduce any theory back to its absolute /core/, you will reach a point where both the for and against arguments are based on an assumption of some sort. And all assumptions are essentially beliefs. On that basis, I’m happy to be an atheist. I’m also happy for James Tour to believe whatever he wants to believe.

    Unfortunately, his desire to disprove the current origin of life theories is all tangled up in his belief that complex systems have to be ‘designed’ by some external force, i.e. a god of something sort. But as a non-believer, I have to ask:

    ‘If there is a god, why would he be under the same constraints as a simple human chemist?’

    • I think you’ve nailed it in saying that assumptions underlie both sides of the God versus random forces debate. Too often both sides miss this.

      Preachers assume that their way of intuitive “knowing” is superior to logic for spiritual truth which they assume to be the most important realm of information. They feel that anyone should be able to sense exactly what they do and come up with precisely the same worldview they hold dear.

      Many popular atheists make the same assumption, that their way of logically “knowing” is superior to intuition for physical truth which they assume to be the most important realm of information, if not the only realm. They feel that any intellectually honest person must come to a firm conviction that random mindless coincidences have caused the false appearance of design that some people see in nature.
      Underlying both sides of the debate is another untestable assumption about the nature of the Universe. One side assumes that only matter and energy exist. The other assumes that information and mind are more fundamental than matter and energy.
      I think both sides need to respect the other because neither side’s assumptions can be tested, let alone proven. That takes the whole debate out of the realm of science.
      Neither side should be allowed a monopoly in the education of young minds. Unfortunately, the powers controlling the universities “know” they’re right and feel it’s best for everyone if intelligent design scientists like me are silenced, excluded from scientific organizations, denied tenure and refused any voice at all in the science textbooks and journals.
      I only wish atheists with your sense of objectivity were in charge of education. Without a clear identification and respectful, balanced assessment of the untestable assumptions on both sides, we’re in a power struggle not a scientific process, and certainly not the spiritual journey I think humanity desperately needs right now.

      • Thank you, but while I respect an individual’s personal beliefs, my objectivity does not extend to education.

        I’m prepared to be agnostic about what came /before/ the Big Bang. I’m prepared to give the origins of Life the benefit of the doubt, but intelligent design goes much further than questioning the unknowable beginnings. It posits that some omniscient ‘Other’ poked and prodded evolution at every step.

        That I cannot accept, and as a former teacher, I would fight to the death to stop young minds being conditioned into seeing intelligent design as a valid, alternate explanation of ‘everything’.

        Science may not have all the answers. It may have a great many ‘facts’ wrong. But at least it keeps trying to get them right. It keeps pushing the boundaries, and it admits when it gets something wrong. Eventually. It may take a generation or three, but it gets there in the end. And eventually, the new set of facts become verifiable.

        Intelligent design can never be verified. By its very nature, it’s an abstract concept, and abstracts cannot be proved. Ever.

        If you want to have intelligent design added to the curriculum of a philosophy department, then great. But as a quasi science? No.

        I don’t doubt your sincerity, as an individual. Unfortunately, I can see how easily more zealous proponents of intelligent design might cross the line between valid philosophical enquiry and the power grab associated with the start of a new religion, or cult.

        Does humanity need more spirituality?

        No. It does not. Humanity needs compassion and empathy,but most of all it needs humility. Random evolution strips us of our ‘special’ status. It places us right where we belong, as one animal amongst many. Understanding /that/ makes us a bit more humble, and therefore a little less destructive.
        Intelligent design attempts to place humanity back in the centre of the universe. Man as the ‘crown of creation’. That kind of thinking has come close to wiping us out more times than I can count.

        We are arrogant and destructive enough without some omniscient ‘Other’ giving us back our seal of approval.

        I apologise if my words are harsh, but I draw a very clear line between philosophy and fact. For me, intelligent design will always fall on the side of philosophy, belief and faith.

        • Sorry I misjudged you. You say you’re willing to “fight to the death” over this? Such violent rhetoric shows evidence, I think, of the negative emotional influence of this rigid philosophic dogma you champion, a dogma that insists upon worldwide heartfelt conversion to its meaningless, random-universe paradigm while forcibly demanding complete control of society’s information, mindset and thinking on this topic. The fervor is so high that even a whisper of descent in schoolbooks from the equally untestable philosophic worldview of intelligent design brings knee-jerk talk of fighting and death. This is an antiscientific attitude unparalleled since the middle ages when religious philosophy fought to remain the Western world’s thought police.

          It should be obvious that science should not be dominated by ANY untestable philosophy, whether intelligent design or materialism. Neither of these two can be tested. Neither is therefore scientific. It should be obvious, I would think, that no untestable philosophic assumption deserves to be in control of science, education, grant money, promotion, tenure and career status within the scientific world or the academic community.

          And yet your random worldview is in full control at every level. This is a huge mistake you’re making for science itself. Facts and data that don’t follow this rigid untestable assumption of yours are being suppressed. Scientists and educators should care enough to read books like “Signature in the Cell,” by Steven Meyer, PhD. It’s an eye-opener.

          If I understand you correctly, you’re ready to “fight to the death,” intending to kill those who ignorantly oppose you on this untestable, unprovable philosophy that you are somehow absolutely certain is accurate and therefore deserves to remain in control of science and education from now on.

          Hmm. OK, I’ll take your advice and try to be more humble if you will. Maybe your intuition on untestable assumption is more accurate than mine. Or maybe mine is more accurate than yours. We both know there’s no scientific test to determine which one of us is right. So I won’t arrogantly demand that you keep your non-scientific untestable worldview assumptions out of science textbooks if you don’t make that same demand of me. Humility cuts both ways.

          • Forgive me, but I thought I was clear that philosophy is the province of the abstract, that which is by its very nature, untestable.

            If you want to teach philosophy in schools and universities, I have no problem with that. But science is not a philosophy. Scientific methods involves the development of theories which can be tested. The theories that can’t be proved are thrown out.

            That is the big difference.

            • And you can test your materialist theory that the universe is random and meaningless? And since you can test and prove materialism is accurate, it should continue to control science. That seems to be the position you’re willing to fight and kill to maintain.

              My point, again, is that this theory of materialism is not any more scientific or testable than intelligent design, and therefore it should not tyrannically dominate science the way it does today. And I should add, neither should Intelligent Design tyrannically dominate science the way it seems to do in the minds of some religious people, even some religious scientists. Rigid worldviews and paradigms, especially philosophic ones disguised as scientific, hinder science by denying a voice to accurate data.

              But we’re talking past each other which is the norm when atheists and non-atheists attempt reasonable discussions.

              If you’re open to opinions from fellow atheists on this topic, please read the renowned atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel’s excellent book, “Mind and Cosmos, Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.” It’s another eye-opener read.

              I’m sorry I’ve failed to explore our crowds’ mutual needs for objectivity and reform. The few militant atheists I’ve spoken with are too emotionally identified with materialism (or physicalism) to avoid anger and hostility. That’s telling. It’s pointless for us to continue an angry repetitive discussion or to deny the anger. The more heat, the less light.

              Take care, acflory, and please read more broadly for the sake of your future students.

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