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Advanced signs of design


Intelligent Design theory teaches that complex specified information (CSI) and irreducible complexity (IC) are evidences of design. Are there other signs of design?




Consider modularity. When a system shows complex parts repeated more than once we say the system shows modularity. For example, a bicycle has two identical wheels, two identical brakes and many identical nut-bolt pairs. Wheels, brakes and nuts-bolts have CSI.


Biology at each level shows many examples of modularity. But this property is often underestimated by evolutionists, who believe that if evolution is able to create one part then it has no problem creating many duplicates.


But this inference is not warranted. Let's analyze in detail what modularity entails using the above bicycle example. The designer designs a wheel and constructs one example of it. Then he understands that he needs another example of the wheel and so constructs the second one. This implies that the template of the wheel (or at least a reference or pointer to it) must be stored in the mind of the designer and the complete template of the wheel must be stored in the factory engineering archive.


A random Darwinian process has no memory; therefore, it cannot create an item with CSI twice. The probability of two identical items occurring randomly is the square of the probability that one will so occur. The probability of three identical items is the cube of the probability of a single occurrence and so on. Evolutionists will claim that the solution to this problem is DNA, which stores the needed templates.


But this is too simplistic. In fact the following steps are necessarily involved:


(1) When evolution randomly creates a biological part, it must simultaneously store the fabrication instructions of the template of this part into DNA.


(2) The above step must have a complete functioning information processing system composed of a processor, data and language.


(3) Another program must exist that conserves and uses the reference to the memory address where the instructions of the template begin.


It is easy to understand that the above three steps are strictly correlated. Step #2 entails pre-existent computational capability. Step #1 implies evolution has the power of storing fabrication instructions and of using the pre-existent computer to do that. Step #3, is beyond the capacities of steps #1 and #2. It needs another program of its own.


The three steps form an irreducibly complex set. All three steps are necessary from the start. We must conclude that the process required to create modularity entails both complex specified information and irreducible complexity.


Modularity of complex specified parts, or organized modularity, far from being a simple matter, is beyond what blind randomness can achieve and as such is a sign of design.




Another clear sign of design is functional hierarchy. A complex system composed of many functions is a nested hierarchy when child functions serve a parent function and in turn this parent function serves a yet higher function and so on. Such systems cannot be produced from the lowest to highest functional level because any sub-function exists only because it serves to the upper function. The reason of existence of a sub-function stays entirely in its parent function. In other words, nested functionality is a fundamentally top-down concept. In one word nested functionality (or hierarchical functionality) needs design, because design - for definition - is to conceive plans in a top-down manner. To produce bottom-up a nested-hierarchy system would be so absurd as to do things without motives. Each time one sees a system of nested hierarchies of functions he can coherently speak of the "functionality of the system" only if he recognizes the basic top-down nature of functionality. As a consequence in the field of biology the complex nested hierarchies of functions present in all organisms must unavoidably lead to infer design. Hierarchy entails modularization as a prerequisite but adds another property: nesting. One can define hierarchy as nested modularity. That happens when a superior function has multiple sub-functions.
Simple systems do not require hierarchical structure. But the design, fabrication, functioning, managing, operation and maintenance of complex systems demands hierarchical functional structure.


The hierarchical systems of living things are composed of cells, tissues, organs and apparatuses. Such hierarchical organization should suggest to us that organisms were designed for optimizing these systems.


Evolutionists believe that random mutations and natural selection are able to create the biological novelties that necessarily imply new hierarchical systems. But what does the architecture of hierarchy in such a system entail? Can evolution create such a functional hierarchy?


Consider the construction industry. Buildings are constructed bottom-up but only after an accurate top-down design. The same holds true for organisms. They develop and grow bottom-up on the cellular level but following a top-down hierarchical design.


The very reason evolution is unable to create functional hierarchy and top-down design rests on the very concept of hierarchy. In hierarchical systems sub-functions exist only because the superior functions need them. In turn the superior functions exist only because higher functions need them and so on until the top. Thus in complex systems functional hierarchy cannot begin at  the bottom. It must begin at the top as an overview of a yet to be constructed system. Unfortunately random mutation and natural selection work only at the bottom level. The overarching view necessary for functional hierarchy is far out of reach at this low level.


Moreover there is the problem of memory. Imagine that evolution creates a sub-function before it has created the function itself. It must store its reference to the as yet non-existent parent function somewhere. Now evolution creates the parent function and must recall the reference to the sub-function to use it. Repeatedly evolution must write many reference trees which must interact with one another in complex specified ways. It is difficult to conceive of a blind process - lacking memory, writing function and reading function - producing either the hierarchies or their nested relationships. In short, unguided evolution cannot achieve nested hierarchy because such a system cannot be constructed on an ad hoc, jerry-built basis. It must be conceived as a whole before construction begins.


Functional hierarchy is indeed at the very core of complex systems design.




According to the terminology of systems theory a system is hologramatic when every part of the system (at a certain hierarchical level) contains all the information of the system. For example, living organisms are hologramatic systems because each of their cells contains all information necessary to produce the organism. In this case the hierarchical level which contains the total information must be at the cellular level, which underlies the tissue, organ and apparatus levels,  because all organisms develop from the cellular level starting from a single cell.


To be hologramatic a system need not be modular and hierarchical. In a sense, a cake-mix box with its recipe written on its package is hologramatic. The cake does not self-reproduce. It needs an external processor (a cook) to read the instructions on the package to create a new instance of the cake.


Organisms, beyond being modular and hierarchical, are hologramatic too. Hologramaticity is a sine qua non for self-reproduction. In the 1940s, years before the discovery of DNA and molecular machines, the mathematician J. Von Neumann, in his studies about self-reproducing automata, proved that self-reproduction requires stored instructions. Unlike the cake-box, biological self-reproduction needs internal processors.  Stored instructions (data or programs) must be written in a language. Here again we find the basic irreducibly complex ternary: processor, language and data (or programs).


Why is it that random evolution cannot create biological hologramaticity? A random process, when running, does not record what it is doing anywhere. Yet running and writing must be twin, highly correlated, processes. Randomness does not have the ability to pipe its data into a coupled recording stream on the fly. This ability needs to be designed. For example in informatics some programs are specifically designed to write log files of what they do. Some of these log files are re-executable (i.e. able to redo the job). But all these features must be meticulously designed. Also in informatics many programs trace nothing. The default is no trace and no log (and consequently no redo capability). Randomness, being a raw bottom-level process (the simplest of all), obviously applies the default.


Evolution is simply random because the "post-processing" of natural selection can add nothing to the business. Natural selection (rewarding the fittest) cannot help to write stored instructions.


We must conclude that hologramaticity is a high landmark of design.




Every designer of systems knows that to put together modular, hierarchical and hologramatic systems which will work well 24 hours a day for a long span of time requires further systems for alarming and repairing. Without such systems there can be no reliability.


The job of every alarm system is to scan the system iteratively for damage and send a signal to a supervisor in charge of repairing or eliminating the damage. A functional alarm/repair system is composed of the following parts:


(1)  A scanning system overseeing events within the  system being controlled
(2)  A recognition system to distinguish harmful from non harmful events
(3)  An alert signal sending system reporting to a supervisor
(4)  A repair system triggered by the supervisor to repair or eliminate the damage


It's easy to see that to achieve the alarm and repair function the above set is irreducibly complex. All parts are necessary from the start.


Can Darwinian evolution produce this irreducibly necessary set of functions? Darwinian evolution is composed of two parts: a random mutation generator and a natural selection optimizer.


Random mutation does not scan, recognize, send signals nor repair. It simply produces events (mutations) which are usually harmful. But the goal of an alarm system is not to harm individuals but indeed the opposite: to fix them.


Neither does natural selection perform any of the four functions. It simply eliminates individuals with low fitness. But the goal of an alarm system is not to eliminate individuals but indeed the opposite: to fix them.


Since neither random mutation nor natural selection is capable of performing any of the four functions of alarming/repairing, then Darwinian evolution could not have generated the countless examples of the alarm/repair function we find in organisms.


The presence of alarming/repairing features inside a system is evidence of design.


Organisms are modular, hierarchical, hologramatic and contain alarming capabilities. All these are signs of advanced design.


Are modularization, hierarchy, hologramaticity and alarming/repairing evidences of complex specified information (CSI)? They are. They represent those higher configurations of CSI which are interwoven into the very complex systems of living organisms.