... these life forms contained the necessary genomic information to shape future evolution, such that the “course” of evolution was biased in pre-determined trajectories. Thus, evolution would be biased by the genomic information designed into the first genomes on our planet.
Wouldn't this be true, though, no matter what? Wouldn't the form of the genetic material always create a predisposition simply by virtue of being one thing as opposed to another?
Front-loading does not propose that all aspects of evolution were programmed and determined.
Well I guess it depends on what aspects you're talking about. In a general sense, evolution is simply part of the natural operation of the world to which all reproducing lifeforms are subject.
Further, the front-loading hypothesis proposes that the designers were rational agents; thus, poor, sloppy design in a biological system would count against the thesis that that system was designed into the first genomes.
Well, there are a lot of examples of poor, sloppy design in the living world.
That it does not exist is evidence in favor of the front-loading hypothesis.
The difference here, of course, is that one evolutionary trajectory is planned, while the other is simply the result of contingency.
Not true at all. Random mutations are anything but random. The mutations possible are constrained by the nature of the DNA molecules and their chemical and structural relationships to one another. Expectant mothers everywhere can rest assured that whatever horrible afflictions might plague their newborn, the child's carbon atoms being replaced by hydrogen atoms—a truly random event—will not be one of them.
The physical, biological, and chemical 'laws' of the Universe are pretty much the only predetermined biases in play. And they seem quite capable of keeping things in order on their own.
Note, however, that any supposed poor design must be thoroughly analyzed before concluding that no rational designer would have done it that way.
Of course not. There's no need to look for a designer under every rock. That'd be a foolish waste of time.
Precisely because a phylogenetic tree consisting of sub-optimal codes in basal lineages is not what we would expect under front-loading; we would expect a universal optimal genetic code (or several optimal genetic codes), not a phylogenetic tree of genetic codes like I describe above. I guess it's not quite accurate to say "that it does not exist is evidence in favor of the front-loading hypothesis." Better would be: that there is a universal optimal genetic code, instead of a phylogenetic tree of genetic codes (as I describe above), is evidence in favor of the front-loading hypothesis? Why? Because it is expected under the FLE model. We'd predict that the first designed genomes were highly optimized such that when complex life forms do appear on the scene, they don't have to cope with a sub-optimal code, which could even lead to their extinction.
What can be inferred about the nature of the supposed designer(s) based on this, and what can that add to our understanding of genesis?
For example, if the front-loaders intended to promote the emergence of a certain characteristic, wouldn't we predict that multiple lineages of descendant organisms would evolve that characteristic? Isn't this what "biased evolutionary trajectories" means?
What about the first prokaryotic progenitor of all life? Why did only one sub-sub-lineage of its descendants manifest these front-loaded characteristics?
Don't mistake me for someone who thinks front-loading is anything other than stacking stuff unevenly on a trailer. I was just pointing out some characteristics shared across lineages that seem to have a tendency to evolve.
Perhaps they'll become important in the discussion later on. Perhaps not.