Since delving into Kojonen’s argument, I couldn’t help but noting what I might characterise as a degree of detachment from the field of biology in his work.
Attempting to follow up on this, I skimmed his ‘Acknowledgements’ section in his book The Compatibility of Evolution and Design in an attempt to determine his level of engagement with the field. The relevant sentence would appear to this:
Out of a large group, I wish to thank particularly Zachary Ardern, Andrew Davidson, David Glass, Mikael Leidenhag, Alister McGrath, Jeroen de Ridder, Bethany Sollereder, Christopher Southgate, Aku Visala, Olli-Pekka Vainio, and Mats Wahlberg for their detailed feedback on parts of the manuscript.
Of this group, I was unable to identify which Andrew Davidson he was referring to. Of the remainder, only one was a biologist (with Southgate being a theologian who “trained originally as a research biochemist”), with the rest being mainly theologians and/or Science-Religion scholars. Oddly enough, this lone biologist is neither a Finn, nor working at a Finnish university – so it is unlikely that Kojonen either simply dropped into his office to pick his brains about biology, struck up a conversation in a pub near the university, or knew him from his childhood or student days. The biologist in question is Zachary Ardern, a New Zealand-born evolutionary biologist working at the Technical University of Munich, and an active Christian Apologist. It would therefore seem likely that it is Ardern’s apologetics rather than his scientific work that brought him to Kojonen’s attention.
As well as this acknowledgement, Kojonen cites two pieces by Ardern as references:
What Can Biology Teach Us About Genesis?
Wichmann, Stefan, and Zachary Ardern. 2019. Optimality in the Standard Genetic Code Is Robust with Respect to Comparison Code Sets. Bio Systems 185: 104023. – for the claim that “Though current theories are still largely incomplete, the immense improbability of a chance origin, the relatively quick origination of life on Earth after its cooling, and the relative optimality of the genetic code seem to point away from chance as the explanation for the origin of life”.
It is possible of course that Kojonen has delved into biology to an extent not reflected by his Acknowledgements. However my own impressions, comments from others on this thread, and the fact that Kojonen cited his Carroll quote to a fellow ‘Science and Religion’ scholar, rather than reading Carroll’s paper for himself, and citing it to that paper directly, all would tend to suggest otherwise.
I’m afraid this further confirms an ongoing suspicion I have had that the field of ‘Science and Religion’ has too cozy a relationship with Christian Theology and Christian Apologetics, and too distant a relationship with Science, to be a credible disinterested commentator on the relationship between the two, rather than being seen as pushing its own agenda.