I previously mused that no two words put together get the blood boiling better than "Irreducible" and "Complexity", unless it was "Intelligent" and "Design". It is apparent that I overlooked two others: "Common" and "Descent".
Evolutionary biologists consider common descent to be a "fact", due in large part to the lack of competing and "credible" explanations. IMO, this overlooks an obvious explanation: common design (well, obvious to an engineer).
Engineers are constantly faced with time, monetary, and material constraints, to name just a few. In an effort to make the best use of all constraints, it is common for engineers to borrow from previous designs that have been shown to work well (i.e. performs well in the field, ease of construction, good use of materials, etc.). The borrowed designs could then be tweaked or augmented to fit the current design parameters. If it works well, then the augmented design could itself be borrowed at some time in the future (a kind of "selection filter", if you will). Truly innovative designs are relatively rare and would consume more time and money compared to "borrowed" designs.
If one looks at a segment of borrowed and augmented designs, one can picture a "tree" with each "descendant" linked to its predecessor by one or more common design features. Granted, this is a fairly simple analogy, but for fun, let's take it for a test drive on the Mike Gene Interstate (i.e. through the lens of front-loaded evolution).
Hypothetically, when designing the first biological organism, a designer could utilise evolutionary mechanisms and the material at hand such that biological descendants would emerge having similar design features as their predecessors. Incorporating common descent in the front-loaded design makes engineering sense as an efficient use of not only the materials and mechanisms available, but of energy usage. One would expect more energy to be consumed in the design and construction of a truly innovative body plan than to "borrow" certain design features. Thus, a front-loaded design that continuously produces descendants having similar features as their predecessors would be seen as an efficient and effective way of progressing life through distant time.
So what are the results from our test drive?
1. The differences between common descent and common design evaporate and the two concepts become essentially one, thus removing a contentious issue from the evolution/ID debates.
2. Homologies could be taken as evidence of an efficient and effective front-loaded design.
3. Evolutionary jumps can occur, but would be expected to be rare.
IMO, #1 is an unexpected outcome of front-loaded evolution. Who says design is boring, eh?