The idea that the world is too complex to have come about without a designer must be based on the premise that all highly complex things have designers. However, there is no reason to believe that any such premise is true.
It is not our common experience that every time we find a complex thing we find out that it is an artifact, i.e. that it was produced by intelligence and technology, and had a designer. On the contrary, many of the complex things that we are familiar with (plants, animals, and so on) do not come into existence in that way.
There are various ways that we can tell whether something is probably an artifact. For example, we know that some materials, such as plastics and even metal alloys, do not appear by natural processes (by which I mean that they require technology … of course, there is another sense in which even we are “natural”, along with everything we create, in that we are merely part of nature).
If we chanced across a complex organism on another planet, we would not necessarily think it was an artifact: we might assume it was an animal much like those on Earth, or at least something similar. Conversely, we could come across a quite simple object made from certain materials, and we would be fairly sure it was the product of intelligence and technology. We would look for a designer and a manufacturing process.
Hence, there is no reason to think that the world as a whole is an artifact, or a product of design and manufacture. The premise that all highly complex things have designers is not established, and we can be fairly sure that it’s actually false.
What we do know is that the world contains artifacts, and hence it contains intelligent, technology-producing, artifact-designing beings (i.e., us). But that’s hardly a surprise.
Posted: June 13th 2007
See all questions answered by Russell Blackford