A peer-reviewed paper, “Information and Entropy — Top-Down or Bottom-Up Development in Living Systems?,” by University of Leeds professor Andy McIntosh in the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics expressly endorses intelligent design (ID) via an exploration of a key question in ID thinking…
Notice that this journal is NOT related to the intelligent design movement in any way – this is a mainstream peer-reviewed journal.
The author of the paper has two goals:
(1) First, he defines the term “machine” (a device which locally raises the free energy) and observes that the cell is full of machines. Such machines pose a challenge to neo-Darwinian evolution due to their irreducibly complex nature.
(2) Second, he argues that the information in living systems (similar to computer software) uses such machines and in fact requires machines to operate (what good is a program without a computer to run it?). An example is the genome sitting on the DNA molecule. From a thermodynamics perspective, the only way to make sense of this situation is to understand that the information is non-material and constrains the thermodynamics so that the local matter and energy are in a non-equilibrium state.
And a bit later:
…the presence of information is the cause of lowered logical entropy in a given system, rather than the consequence.
…[T]here is a perfectly consistent view which is a top-down approach where biological information already present in the phenotypic creature (and not emergent as claimed in the traditional bottom-up approach) constrains the system of matter and energy constituting the living entity to follow intricate non-equilibrium chemical pathways. These pathways whilst obeying all the laws of thermodynamics are constantly supporting the coded software which is present within … Without the addition of outside intelligence, raw matter and energy will not produce auto organization and machinery. This latter assertion is actually repeatedly borne out by experimental observation – new machinery requires intelligence. And intelligence in biological systems is from the non-material instructions of DNA.
I wonder what the fallout will be from this bold act?
I have no doubt that the editors of International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics will take much heat for publishing this paper. Even though they make it clear that “[t]he reader should not assume that the Journal or the reviewers agree with the conclusions of the paper,” they should be commended for their courage in publishing it it and calling it a “a valuable contribution that challenges the conventional vision that systems can design and organise themselves.” They write, “The Journal hopes that the paper will promote the exchange of ideas in this important topic” — showing that there is hope for true academic freedom on the debate over ID in some corners of the scientific community.
I think it’s good that some of the more honest journals are starting to post these research papers on ID without endorsing them explicitly. It’s important for people to have a free and open debate about these things. I’m sure that the other side is going to try to come back now with a published response – maybe even with some quality research. And that’s how science is supposed to march forward. We don’t want to get into the situation where there are more of these big “Climategate” scandals in biology. Let all the opposing views be heard.