American Chemist

James M. Tour is an American chemist and nanotechnologist. He is a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Wikipedia

JAMES M. TOUR, Ph. D – Website

JAMES M. TOUR, Ph. D – YouTube

A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism

In 2001, James Tour American Chemist was one of a small number of nationally prominent researchers among the five hundred scientists and engineers whose names appeared on the Discovery Institute’s controversial petition, “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism”. The petition states “we are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” The two-sentence statement has been widely used by its sponsor, the Discovery Institute, and some of their supporters in a national campaign to discredit evolution and to promote intelligent design.

“To those who are disconcerted or even angered that I signed a statement back in 2001” he responded “I have been labeled as an Intelligent Design (ID) proponent. I am not. I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion. So I prefer to be free of that ID label. As a modern-day scientist, I do not know how to prove intelligent design using my most sophisticated analytical tools the canonical tools are, by their own admission, inadequate to answer the intelligent design question. I cannot lay the issue at the doorstep of a benevolent creator or even an impersonal intelligent designer. All I can presently say is that my chemical tools do not permit my assessment of intelligent design.”

He explained that he felt the explanations offered by evolution are incomplete, and he found it hard to believe that nature can produce the machinery of cells through random processes. On his website, he writes that “In biology, the mechanisms for such transformations are complete mysteries. I posit that the gross chemical changes needed for macroevolution (defined here as origin of the major organism groups, i.e. of body plans) are not understood and presently we cannot even suggest the mechanisms, let alone observe them…One day the requisite chemical basis might become apparent so that the questions can be answered. But present-day biology is far from providing even a chemical proposal for body plan changes, let alone a data-substantiated chemical mechanism.”  In his lectures, Tour has referred to modern biology’s explanations for evolution of complex systems as little more than story-telling.

Tour has written extensively on his viewpoint that all scientific studies to date are wholly inadequate to account for life. In multiple essays in the Inference: International Review of Science, Tour argues from a chemical perspective that the molecules needed for life nucleotides, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids are too complex to have been formed by probabilistic chance and the methods to assemble those structures into a cell are unknown. Ultimately, he believes that on matters of life’s origin, which is the genesis for all evolution, that scientists are “utterly clueless”. Though he remains open to the possibility that future research will afford an explanation.

In Lee Strobel’s book The Case For Faith the following commentary is attributed to Tour: “I build molecules for a living; I can’t begin to tell you how difficult that job is. I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.” Tour was born into a Jewish family becoming a born-again Christian in his first year at Syracruse university. He identifies as a Messianic Jew, which is considered a form of evangelical Christianity by the State of Israel and major Jewish movements, however, he says that religion plays no part in his scientific work.

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