January 27, 2008

Doesn't Complexity Disprove God?

The argument for god often comes in the form of an appeal to complexity. Usually a theist will reference the complexity of the cell and it multitude of functions, The intricacy of DNA or the "fine tuning" of the universe when making their case for the existence of god. But doesn't complexity make a better case against the existence of a "designer" or a god?

If we think about what "god" would ultimately be, It would be an entity that created everything. He devised the laws of the universe, He decided what our tolerance to radiation should be, How much water we need to drink. He would be consciously responsible for everything, Every last aspect of every system would be made by him. There is no law, No force, No energy, No substance and no part of any organism that wouldn't be consciously devised.

If that is the case and we assume god can do anything, Why make things so complex? Simplicity would be the best route and god should be able to make things infinitely simple. Why have cells, or even atoms.

If god was in charge of everything why not make the cell as Darwin and his contemporaries envisioned it. A blob of goo. If god is capable of doing anything why is the cell so complex and prone to failure when it could be a simple blob of goo? In fact, Forget the cell, If god can do anything why are animals and plants not just one animated conscious blob of goo, Why do we have so many intricate components when god could have made it so simple?

To me the answer is simple. The cell, And humans, have evolved to function in a set environment. The universe appeared, laws were set and now it's up to organisms and cells to evolve to work within those laws. No god was involved at any point, because if he was, Everything would be a lot simpler.


  1. There's the other way around too. If the universe is too complex to not be created, what about God?

    Think about it. God must be even more complex than the universe to make the universe. By the same logic who says that the universe is too complex to just exist, God is too.

    God was created by a SuperGod? And what about that SuperGod? Created by a HyperGod?

  2. i've thought about this a lot too. why didn't this god just make a bunch of blog-energy-thought beings? why all the fuss?

  3. I already know what the theists are going to say to this.

    "because God works in mysterious ways"

  4. oops... i meant blob, not blog.

    i'm overdoing it :P

  5. Interesting argument. But if we look at it from the perspective of the designer, I wonder if the argument is as strong. Let us take the example of the automobile. The internal combustion engine has operated on basically the same principles for the past 150 years. Yet the design continues to become more and more complex. Why is that? Efficency and performance, to name two reasons. Though a simpler machine would be both easier to maintain and less costly to build and operate, it would lack functionality. It would fail to perform as the designer envisions it to function. In fact, almost all cases where design is present, complexity increases in direct proportion to functionality. When we apply this principle to human designers, we say it is a feat of engineering. Yet here you argue that somehow if we were to apply the same principle to God it makes him deficcient. I wonder, are human engineers deficient because they make increasingly more complex designs? Or is this a testiment to their skill and brilliance? I say it is the latter.

    And for the record, not all theists are opposed to evolution. Some of us are quite open to the possibilities it brings to theology and philosophy, and see much merit in the theory.

    Also, you premise your argument with the assertion, "If we think about what "god" would ultimately be..." I wonder, who is it that gets to define the parameters of the so-called "god" in your argument? One would only have to argue that "god" is a being who enjoys creating complexity and diversity and your whole argument falls.

    Lastly, in answer to your question, "If god can do anything why are animals and plants not just one animated conscious blob of goo," who is to say that somewhere in the vast universe such a created order does not exist? If God is infinately creative, would He not explore creation in all of its various forms?

    I enjoyed considering your argument. Thank you for posting.