"Since the design of the first cells entailed the propagation of design through reproducing entities, and reproduction entails evolution, a truly intelligent designer would anticipate evolution. ... Front-loading is the investment of a significant amount of information at the initial stage of evolution (the first life forms) whereby this information shapes and constrains subsequent evolution through its dissipation. This is not to say that every aspect of evolution is pre-programmed and determined. It merely means that life was built to evolve with tendencies as a consequence of carefully chose initial states in combination with the way evolution works. ...
"Front-loading, by definition, is about designing the future through the present. It is about imposing some kind of constraint on evolution, or more simply put, it is using evolution to carry out design objectives."
I want to draw your attention to the bold type. "...using evolution to carry out design objectives." What does it mean to "use evolution"?
IMO, this entails engineering-like knowledge. Engineers need to have extensive and detailed knowledge of the materials they are working with along with the relevant mechanisms involved. In FLE, this means the designer requires the same knowledge with regards to the materials of life and evolutionary mechanisms.
FLE implies that the designer utilised this knowledge in the design of the first life form to map out probable outcomes based on how the evolutionary mechanisms would affect the life form and its descendants. However, a caveat is required:
"This is not to say that every aspect of evolution is pre-programmed and determined. It merely means that life was built to evolve with tendencies as a consequence of carfully chosen initial states in combination with [evolutionary mechanisms]."
Mike Gene, Chapter 7, The Design Matrix
Now, I shall attempt to expand upon the FLE hypothesis. Thanks to a commenter at Telic Thoughts (TT), I shall call this the "engineering hypothesis" (but I get 100% of the royalties once I trademark it).
In my first TT post, Common Descent & Common Design - An Unexpected Outcome, I wrote how I found it unexpected, yet reasonable, that through the lens of FLE that the differences between common descent and common design evaporate and that common descent would be a design preference for the designer. Using evolutionary mechanisms to do the work through time is using the available energy and materials in an efficient manner. Why re-invent when one can "borrow" from previous designs? This also limits the amount of interventions by the designer to a minimum. To clear any confusion and misunderstanding, common design used in this fashion is different than what is used by human engineers in that it is front-loaded in the first designed life form rather than inserted at various times.
One commenter stated:
"...JJS seems perilously close to admitting he expects no detectable differences between the process in his engineering hypothesis and the process currently accepted by biologists."
There is a big difference. The "engineering hypothesis" implies the currently accepted processes, while valid for accounting for the variation of biological organisms, are not sufficient to start life. Thus, the process in the "engineering hypothesis" differs from the currently accepted process at the beginning of the process.
I should state that this is not a scientific way to detect design in nature, but merely an expansion of an origin of life hypothesis, of which there are many. I hope to be able to expand upon this in future posts, both here and at TT.