Does anyone have any good resources addressing the claims made by James Tour?

I’m not personally conflicted by anything James Tour says. Much of it goes beyond what I’ve ever studied and so it has close to zero affect. Often what he is saying though does not seem to really line up with what I hear others saying. It often seems like a gap approach. I looked up for in the forums and found a handful of times he’s been mentioned. I’ll try the blogs next but figured I would ask anyways. It’s something I’m constantly seeing being brought up.

I looked the guy up and I don’t get it.

Like what?

What has he said that you think someone might be conflicted over?

We often observe that creationists confuse evolution with abiogenesis. This time is seems that the ones who are confused are the opponents of creationism.

I mean, I strongly believe in abiogenesis and I think we are making rapid progress. But it is not a complete theory yet. So of course it is inadequate.

Not any one thing in particular. Just in general if there is anyone that has responded to his various writings. He says he’s not a ID, but he’s often championed as one. He makes a lot of statements about how evolution is full of gaps and that no one accepts his challenges to talk about he gaps in evolution and abiogenesis and so on.

I’ve not read or watched or listened to very much of what he says outside of debating with him a bit through email a while back, or maybe it was his students , on acts 1-10 but that’s the extent of my talking with him.

I just am getting ready to start going through his podcasts and videos and blogs. I like to read counter arguments at the same time. Thought perhaps someone here may know of a blog or book directed specifically at counter arguing him. That way I can keep going back and forth. I’m curious about what he has to say since he seems to have been a highly respected scientist.

Just saw this.

It’s a very personal video for sure.

I’m not actually familiar with peaceful science. I always thought it was a ID group that accepted evolution or something.

I’ll have to watch the video in full later on.

To the OP, it’s a gap approach. The fallacy of incredulity. A lack of rationality beyond the empirical in an empirical genius. What more does one need? As to the video, the other protagonist proposes genealogical Adam and Eve. They are in the same… ball park.

I’m not sure how you’re defining the ballpark here.

One (Tour) says significant evolution is impossible, so every major change observed in the fossil record and in current biology can only be classified as a miracle.

The other (@Swamidass) says evolution does not require any miracles, period.

However, Swamidass also contends that belief in science does not rule out miracles, for example the resurrection of Jesus.

With regard to origins, Swamidass also contends that science also cannot rule out a miraculous creation of Adam and Eve some 6-12k years ago, and science cannot rule out their ability to be regarded as genealogical ancestors of everyone alive today.

To me, Tour’s view of evolution and Swamidass’ put them in very different ballparks. But if your view is that anyone who makes space for any miracle is in the same ballpark, then I guess by that view they would be in the same ballpark.


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The Incarnation is unique. I have no problem with the claim as it is orthogonal to history, so beautifully, perfectly inserted; justified, validated by Jesus’ life, ministry, death, resurrection. There is no comparison with any other claim. Nothing is remotely in the same category. Ballpark.

Science does not have to disprove or accommodate Adam and Eve. They are not historically, morally, theologically necessary in any meaningful way.

Jesus is.

Jesus is essential.

Nothing else is. More is less. Much less. Detracts. Genealogical A&E is as bad as YEC. In the bad ballpark.

Every theory in science has gaps. I think everyone in science agrees that we don’t have a strong grasp on how abiogenesis works. If all he has is a God of the Gaps argument, then I see no reason why anyone from the scientific community needs to engage him. From @Chris_Falter’s comments, we also don’t need to counter Tour’s incredulity towards evolution since that is a fallacious argument as well.

You might find something worth reading in this article from Larry Moran:

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Tens of millions of sincere Christians disagree with you about this, @Klax. Many of the proponents of a literal A&E attack science and scientists as part of their advocacy, which of course drives a lot of honest inquirers and even some Christians away from belief. But others like @Swamidass accept the science of evolution, including the evolution of H. Sapiens from Austalopithecus and H. Erectus.

By maintaining a distinction between these two groups, we can help believers in a literal A&E to also accept the science of evolution. In turn, this will remove a stumbling block for many. That’s why I think it’s important to keep the science deniers and the science accepters in distinct categories.

Merry Christ-mas!

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What I mean for example is this.

He constantly says no one debates him on the chemistry of evolution and that the chemistry of evolution does not exist and that there are no solid mathematical equations for it.

The guy is clearly smart and so it’s not just some idiot asking questions. He does not believe in ID because he says it’s not provable. He’s not saying he uses god of the gaps because he does not think god is provable. What he says is that evolution and many other theories have over whelming mathematical and chemical gaps and that no one debates him on it because chemists all know it’s true and blah blah.

And happy belated birthday to Jesus to you too Chris!

I suppose I can make the ‘what if’, ‘let’s pretend’ work. I lived in that halfway house for years, moving ever closer to the front door and now I’m outside in the wide outdoors. As long as BioLogos is just deliberately compromising from a position of strength. A&E are necessary of course, as they are there from the beginning, as cultural artefacts which are foundational aspect of Judeo-Christianity. Which is all nowt ter do wi’ Tour, who is a Messianic Jew, but not the way Paul was at all. I.e. authentically.

It’s been said that I’m ‘on the spectrum’, a tad Aspy like many here (I think I’m just extreme normal…), so may be I’m being a bit literal minded about BioLogos’ subtle approach…

There has to be room for robust rationality, no?

For me I never run into a issue with Adam and Eve because I believe they we’re used in a mythology. Or rather I think the mythology of genesis 1-3 included a story about two people. But I still believe they were not the first or only humans. I think Cain’s fear highlights that as well. Just like God seems to do a lot I believe he called a couple out from the rest and guided them to their own promise land. I believe that they were the first to sin because they were the first ones God gave a command to. Without God drawing a line for them cross their was nothing for them to be guilty of. Or rather they were not held accountable to it by God.

Aye, ‘Once upon a time…’. Although it is a remarkably humane, anthropic story for the time.

You just made a strawman argument. It might not be for you . For others it is. If it werent it wouldnt be there
The whole thing is subjective. As others pointed God might have chosen a certain couple to represent humanity as a whole. I very much agree on this take and other too

Honest question. Do Jewish theologians think A&E, or even a literal A&E, are foundational to Judaism? Is this more of a Christian thing, or is it shared by the two faiths?

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It’s the same. Same are creationist and literalist and some are not. Most of them though are creationist and if you’re a gentile trying to convert snd join the Jewish community and go through the rabbi ( since they have more than the Hebrew Bible but tons of extra writings like the Talmud ) and you don’t believe in Adam and Eve you’ll probably get rejected.

If you are already Jewish, snd say you believe in evolution and not a literal Adam you’ll still be accepted.

Outliers may exist but in general that’s how I’ve always seen it go.

I’ll try to find the book though. A Jewish man told me of a book by a rabbi that believes in a less literal Torah interpretation.

Claims that no one will debate tend to be problematic - is a credible opportunity being presented in a way that is not a big burden for someone to take on?
How many solid mathematical equations are there for complex chemical processes? A given reaction may have a well-described equation, but when it comes to something like digestion, there’s not an equation - there are many equations jumbled together, some that have been calculated and some not yet investigated, with myriad complications and constantly shifting ratios of the various components. Yet digestion happens.
Seriously taking on such issues requires precisely defining what a particular purported gap is, consideration of how much information is reasonable to expect to have in light of our general knowledge of the topic, and listening to a response. I don’t know anything about him in particular, but too often such claims of gaps are merely excuses to be thrown with a goal of overwhelming with volume rather than being on target.
Lots of chemistry of evolution is known. As already noted, there are plenty of question marks in abiogenesis, but we don’t even know all of what needs to be asked, so not having full answers is unsurprising, and we are making progress. Definitely not a safe place to draw lines and say “this can’t be explained.”

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I agree. In the OP I mentioned that a lot of what he said is things I don’t know anything about really but that’s lots of it sounds like gaps but he mentions how is god of the gaps a y different from science of the gaps and ect…

I’m just guessing at this moment there is simply nothing focused on his questions. Maybe they are questions of the unknown, or maybe they are questions built in fallacies and are so stupid no one responds.

I’m just going to continue on and not worry about it.

I’m mostly curious about how the fossil record comes into play with not only geological layers but also how those come into play with sediment layers.

Ah HA! They think about it in entirely different ways. To the Jews it varies from literal to allegorical with that evolving over history from its C7-6th BCE inception. Few modern Jews - notwithstanding Messianic syncretists - would take it literally. And no Jew, including Jesus and the Apostle Paul and any other contributor to the Bible, sees original sin and all that follows in it at all. That starts with Augustine’s C4-5th CE use of Ambrosiaster’s mistranslation of Romans 5:12 (Augustine couldn’t read Greek). And all that follows includes Luther - adding to the mistranslation with his own - and this website, trying to be a halfway house from YEC.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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