I recently read a brilliant paper(1) written by Joey Campana, in which he details what he terms the Design Isomorph and Isomorphic Complexity. His ideas have practical applicability to both applied technology research and the applied science of biology. As I’ve stated before, Darwinism has little practical utility beyond designed algorithms (i.e., genetic algorithms) utilized for optimal design (this is basically an advanced trial and error system). Then, there is the design isomorph, which has practical implications for biology and technology.
From its beginnings, the empirical study of life has been earmarked by the idea that tiny machines are at work in living tissues. The discovery of protein machines and the illumination of the genetic code during the 20th century revealed a profound similarity between many aspects of technological devices and biological components, and this fulfilled many of the musings of early biological thinkers. The stronger similarities between biology and engineering are so clear that there are pervasive cases of design isomorphs, where precise technological designs are found to preexist in living organisms. This isomorphic congruence has been thought by many to be a mere coincidental outcome of undirected evolutionary processes, making the similarities superfluous to scientific practice, and inconsequential to the question of the cause of life.
The author also details several design isomorphs and explains in detail how considering biological components from a design perspective can be an effective strategy in understanding biology. Likewise, utilizing the tried and true methods of design oriented fields (e.g, engineering) in tandem with considering the analogous nature of machines designed by humans, we can greatly increase our understanding of how biological systems work. Reverse engineering was mentioned as one specific approach (e.g., remove a part to see what happens to get an idea of its function). Also, when one considers biological systems as analogous technology, it may lead to breakthroughs in applied technological science. This has already happened in a number of areas, but I won’t detail those things in this brief introduction.
The author also has started compiling a list of design isomorphs.(2) I am planning to work with some other IDers to develop a database of design isomorphs, which may be useful for inventors as well as biological scientists….to be continued….