From J. Scott Turner’s Purpose and Desire:What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It,Life’s distinctive is agency.
In a nutshell, this is where the crisis of biology looms, because our prevailing modes of thinking about life—the triumphant confluence of mechanism, materialism, and atomism that has made the twentieth century a golden age for biology—do not deal well with the concept of agency: that ineffable striving of living things to become something.
See also: Small group study guide:
See also: Homeostasis: Life’s balancing act as a challenge to unguided evolution
J. Scott Turner in the Chronicle of Higher Education — ID is asking the right questions! (2007)