Posted: Jun 28, 2010 7:53 pm
by Chrisw
I'm not sure I'd want to say in general that a designer is always more complex than the thing it designs.

Typically when designing a complex system a designer will not have all the details in his head at one time. There will be a hierarchy and when working on one module of the design the other modules will need to be understood only to the extent that they interface with it. Understanding of the system as a whole will be limited to a high level description that skips all the details.

Large designs are usually produced by teams of designers each working on their own part but there is no reason in principle why they can't be carried out over a longer timeframe by a single designer, designing each of these parts sequentially. Of course even a design that took your entire life to complete would still be simpler than a human brain but given long enough there seems no reason that there would be any arbitrary complexity limit to what you could create.

I think the problem for the idea of God the designer of the Universe is that we now assume (post theory of evolution) that the early universe contained no life of any sort and so was probably a much simpler thing than even a human brain (never mind a divine mind!). So it is a case of us explaining something simple by proposing something complicated, because any sentient being is surely more complicated than the inaninate cloud of hot gas that was the early universe.

The reason the idea of a sentient designer still appeals is due to the intuituon that for everything that exists there needs to be an explanation of why it exists. And that even an improbable explanation is better than no explanation at all. But this only works as long as you refuse to ask the further question: why is there a God rather than no God? If there was a God his (uncaused) existence would surely be a bigger mystery than the uncaused existence of a universe (the early universe was tiny and very simple and the laws of physics that describe it can be sumarised in a few pages).