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Episode 0/13: Reasons // A Course on Abiogenesis by Dr. James Tour

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Feb. 14 2021

In this prologue episode, Dr. James Tour explains why he is addressing abiogenesis and common misconceptions in this series of lectures. After providing the outline for the course, Dr. Tour provides a sneak peak of the upcoming critique.

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction & Dr. Tour's Background

02:52 - Some Background on the Series

07:01 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

12:22 - Unskilled & Unaware

14:29 - "Biochemistry"? And what's in a name?

17:29 - Abiogenesis Series Outline

19:53 - Thermodynamics Addendum

22:12 - Origin of Life: Low Entropy & High Energy

25:03 - Closing Remarks & What's

Link to interview with Dr. Brian Miller: https://youtu.be/RJeUH7IhQHo


Link to Professor Dave's video: https://youtu.be/SixyZ7DkSjA

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Feb. 15 2021

In this episode, Dr. James Tour defines abiogenesis and describes the characteristics for life, including a discussion on early Earth's conditions and challenges for prebiotic chemistry. After reviewing the four classes of molecules needed for life, Dr. Tour elaborates on the synthesis problems currently facing today's origin of life researchers.

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction

00:44 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

02:34 - Abiogenesis Defined 04:39 - Life's Characteristics

06:40 - Early Earth Conditions

11:01 - Prebiotic Chemistry Defined

12:23 - Four Classes of Molecules and their Building Blocks

14:37 - Car Parts: Assembly, Collection, Degradation

17:30 - The Synthesis Problem

22:54 - Closing Remarks: "Molecules Don't Care About Life" and What's Next

in this Series | Addressing Abiogenesis & Common Misconceptions



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Feb. 16 2021

In this brief episode, groundwork is still being laid, as Dr. James Tour explains the early Earth primordial soup concept and enlightens the listener on the layperson's understanding. Dr. Tour then shows what the contemporary belief is, what levels of education it is held, and where it is taught.

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction

00:42 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

02:54 - Primordial Soup, Laypersons, and Talking Points

05:12 - Education Confirmation: "Not too bad at all" (and sans correction)

08:31 - A Survey on Primordial Soup

11:52 - Summary and What's Next


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Feb. 17 2021

In this episode, Dr. James Tour examines hyperbole surrounding origin of life claims. Beyond a mere attribution to the press for creating hype, Dr. Tour looks into the published works by researchers themselves, discovering a more proper attribution of the source. He then elaborates how this snowballs further by the press into confusion by professors and laypersons. Finally, some agreement on prebiotic relevance is revealed.

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction

00:36 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

02:24 - To be clear: Not just press. Researchers too.

04:32 - Example: This is common chemistry?

24:19 - Example: How close are we?

28:14 - Example: OOL reproduced in the lab?

32:55 - Example: This is self-replication?

34:44 - Example: Simple Extant Imaginations

38:07 - Example: Fair Representation?

39:19 - Example: Deck Stacking, No Resemblance, Misappropriation

45:42 - Prototurkey for Thanksgiving 47:15 - Agreement on Prebiotic Relevance Requirement

48:18 - Summary and What's Next


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Feb 18 2021

Diving into the science on homochirality, Dr. James Tour teaches the core chemistry concepts of enantiomers and chirality, exposing enormous challenges in the prebiotic synthesis and resolution of the molecules needed for life. By digging into the cited video's only provided reference, Dr. Tour puts ink on paper and shows how the devil is in the details when it comes to proper interpretation of the data. Finally, Dr. Tour touches on the stereoisomeric challenges facing synthetic chemists doing origin-of-life, prebiotic research.

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction

00:37 - Recall Dunning-Kruger

01:06 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

03:01 - Enantiomers, Diastereomers, and Chirality

07:36 - Resolution of Enantiomers, Methods, and Requirements

09:26 - Quoting the Only Reference Cited 11:20 - Homochirality Explained

14:17 - Digging into the Misread of that Reference

23:26 - Summary and What's Next


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Feb 20 2021

n this episode on carbohydrates, Dr. James Tour comes right out of the gate refuting the claimed triviality of biomolecular synthesis. Rather than agree with the claim on the ease of polysaccharide synthesis, Dr. Tour explains the difficulty of their creation, including homochirality and the prebiotic problems facing multiple isomers, blind pathways, and polymerization and positioning. Also, Dr. Tour points out the fallacy of borrowing products from biology in prebiotic syntheses, and the challenge of early Earth blindly working through unfathomable procedures.

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction

00:48 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

02:45 - Correcting the Record on Polysaccharide & Biomolecular Synthesis

07:28 - Before Nucleotides, Ribose

09:48 - Cannizzaro vs Formose

13:01 - Eschenmoser's attempt

19:47 - Time & Equilibrium 22:18 - "homo-DNA" instead

23:36 - Real world difficulties

25:53 - Polymerization - Hooking the Sugars

42:36 - Summary and What's Next


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Feb. 22 2021

n this episode, Dr. James Tour pauses and goes back to the basics, in a most literal sense. The matter at hand is not merely synthesizing the four classes of compounds needed for life – polysaccharides/carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids – but rather their respective building blocks – monomeric sugars; amino acids; nucleotides; and fatty acids and glycerol. When restricted to prebiotic chemicals and methods, and with no store from which to purchase these building blocks while remembering homochirality, is biomolecular synthesis easy?

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction

00:39 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

03:25 - Car Parts' Building Blocks

07:16 - "Easy" Misconception Regarding Building Block Syntheses

11:56 - Cellular Building Blocks & their origin

14:01 - Convenience vs Prebiotic Rocks & Atmosphere

15:59 - Summary and What's Next


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Feb. 24 2021

In this episode, Dr. James Tour identifies gross speculatory language and refers to published literature stating the implausibility of the sudden emergence of peptides from amino acids. Without careful activation, side chain protection, and water-free conditions, amino acids do not polymerize into peptides. Dr. Tour also dispels the view that human-made synthesizers, which were not present on prebiotic earth, somehow render polypeptide synthesis as trivial, let alone the fact that amino acids themselves have never been prepared in homochiral fashion using a prebiotically relevant route. Finally, with no solution to the amino acid sequence that comprises functional proteins, Dr. Tour then shows how some ignore the sequence specificity question necessary for the informational code, and how this dilemma is being pushed to the extraterrestrial in a plea to the heavens.

Video Index:

00:00 - Introduction

00:47 - Reasons & Intent of this Abiogenesis Series

02:58 - On Speculatory Fallacies

06:26 - Synthetic Chemists: "Inconceivable"

10:36 - Interesting Proposal Still Falls Short

12:45 - Basics: Amino Acids, Peptides, Proteins

16:47 - Separating Amino Acids and Peptides

18:29 - Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis

22:53 - Peptide Structures Explained

26:03 - Protein Synthesizer Machine Prebiotically Relevant?

30:57 - Peptide Synthesis: Requirements and Efficiency 38:23 - Pushing the Amino Acid Sequence to the Celestial

48:13 - Summary, Equilibrium Memo, and What's Next


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