Soto, A.M. and Sonnenschein, C. Information, programme, signal: dead metaphors that negate the agency of organisms. Interdiscip Sci Rev 45(3): 331-343, 2020.
Abstract: The metaphorical adoption of the concepts of information, program and signal introduced into biology the logic and implicit causal structure of the mathematical theories of information; this is inimical to biology. In turn, those metaphors have hindered the development of a theory of organisms by transferring the agency of organisms to natural selection and to DNA. Moreover, those metaphors introduced into biology the dualism software-hardware and a Laplacian causal structure. Instead, we propose to uphold the agency of the living by adopting three foundational principles for a theory of organisms: namely, 1) the principle of biological inertia (i.e., the default state of cells is proliferation and motility), 2) the principle of variation, and 3) the principle of organization.