Here are excerpts from The Design Matrix by Mike Gene:
Metaphors such as “fear”, “cost”, “abhor” and “angry”, commonly share the projection of consciousness onto the world. Metaphors such as these represent the human tendency to view the world through anthropomorphic glasses. However, the metaphors employed by molecular biologists are not of this type.
Metaphors typically break down when we begin to take them literally.
[but] The design terminology that is used in the language of molecular biology does not break down when interpreted literally
there is a basic and literal truth to the use of design terminology in molecular biology–these technological concepts are just too useful. Metaphors are certainly useful when explaining concepts to other human beings, yet the design terminology often goes beyond pedagogy–it provides true insight into the molecular and cellular processes. An understanding of our own designed artifacts, along with the principles required to make them, can guide the practice of molecular biology.
Why is it that some metaphors are no where near as effective for describing biology as well other metaphors, especially design metaphors?
Mike Gene recognizes qualitatively the enigma that others recognize quantitatively. There is an improbable coincidence between the architecture of human-made systems and the architecture of biological systems. Recognition of these coincidences is the recognition of specified complexity, and recognition of specified complexity is the recognition of design. Outside of biotic reality, there are no other assemblages of matter in the universe which fit design metaphors more exactly than those found in biology.
I liked Mike’s book, but I especially liked Chapter 3. Chapter 3 suggests the fact that biology is well described by design metaphors is a clue that biological systems (like birds, plants, and bunnies) are intelligently designed. UD readers are invited to read about the other clues which Mike outlines in his book, and the consilience of these clues constitutes The Design Matrix.
Metaphor (from the from Latin metaphora; see the Greek origin below) is language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects. It is a figure of speech that compares two or more things without using the words “like” or “as.” More generally, a metaphor describes a first subject as being or equal to a second object in some way. This device is known for usage in literature, especially in poetry, where with few words, emotions and associations from one context are associated with objects and entities in a different context. A simpler definition is the comparison of two unrelated things without using the words “like” or “as”, the use of these words would create a simile. For example,she is a button.(as cute as a button)