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But the candidate solutions to the riddle of improbability are not, as is falsely implied, design and chance. They are design and natural selection. Chance is not a solution, given the high levels of improbability we see in living organisms... Design is not a real solution either... I want to continue demonstrating the problem that any theory of life must solve: the problem of how to escape from chance.
-- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p119.

Regardless of what you think of Dawkins, his strongest argument against God is the argument from improbability. The argument can be summarized as such:

  1. X is extremely improbable without a designer
  2. X is more probable with a designer
  3. X is likely to have been designed

Dawkins does a great job by summarizing the fact that most design arguments ultimately take the above structure, whether it be Paley's original design argument, or the fine tuning argument. The logic is the same. All he does is add premise 4.

  1. The posited designer must be even more complex and hence even more improbable. But now we're back to 1. leading to an infinite regress

This leads to an infinite regress and thus the argument is self refuting. To my knowledge, earlier philosophers like Hume didn't even bring up this point. Many early philosophers failed to make such a similar point. In fact, even on the SEP, in the section about fine tuning, the notion of the designer being even more improbable in some sense isn't even mentioned. Don't believe me? Go through the article yourself: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fine-tuning/

Dawkins correctly points out that it seems contradictory to think that certain things are too improbable to have existed without a designer and yet simply get to assert that the designer just happens to exist without one. If the designer can just be asserted to always exist without explanation, why can't the thing itself that is claimed to be too improbable exist without explanation? If God can exist without explanation, why can't the parameters designed to fine tune life?

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10 Answers 10

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Since philosophers don't tend to comment on his argument, one can only speculate about why they don't, but the most likely answer is that it is a bad argument which was already addressed early in the Medieval period.

In particular, when making this statement:

(1) The posited designer must be even more complex and hence even more improbable.

Dawkins seems to be unaware of the fact that Medieval philosophers had already argued that not only is God not complex, he is perfectly simple. He has no parts, no internal organization. God exists necessarily, and so no explanation is needed for how or why he exists. Now, one might fruitfully argue against the notion that God necessarily exists, but that is not Dawkins' argument. Dawkins simply assumes that the existence of God is something that needs a reason, which would be begging the question if he was aware of this position, which he probably wasn't.

Furthermore, what is Dawkins' justification for (1)? It's not true in general that causes are more complex than effects. Flowing water is simpler than a mature river bed. Flame is simpler than the system of gases and ash it produces. Presumably he is thinking of an analogy with human artifacts. Humans are more complex than anything they create, but this may not be true for long. It may soon be possible for a human to use AI to create something more complex than a human.

So Dawkins' assumption doesn't even seem to be true in the physical world, and even if it were, there is no reason to think that it would apply to the immaterial world. Complexity doesn't even really mean the same thing for immaterial things that it does for material things. The complexity of the quadratic formula can't be fruitfully compared to the complexity of a toy car; they are just too different in type. So in what sense does an immaterial creator have to be "more complex" than a material creation?

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:20
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    I can’t personally see, philosophically or scientifically, how flowing water is "simpler" than a river bed, nor how flame is "simpler" than its products. I feel like your comments on comparison of complexity reasonably apply to comparisons of simplicity also. How does one reasonably compare water to a river bed? That’s not to say I think statement (1) is defendable. Only that your critique of statement (1) does not satisfy me at all. Jan 9, 2023 at 0:52
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    My previous comment is meant to suggest clarifying the notions of simplicity and complexity used to support your critique of Dawkins’ argument. Jan 9, 2023 at 1:02
  • @ToddWilcox All material things are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. Pretty simple, right? Biochemistry, pretty complex. How many biochemicals are there, compared to 3 elementary particles. 88 keys on the piano keyboard, with a simple relationship of each note to the next one higher. How much music is there? Lots. If people suggest design, it means they are not seeing things in this way. Reductive reasoning doesn't solve all problems, but it gets rid of a lot of bad questions.
    – Scott Rowe
    Feb 19, 2023 at 13:14
  • @ScottRowe Your comment also does not clarify what is meant by “simple” or “complex”. The standard model (in which there are far more than three elementary particles) is not inherently simple. Nor is a piano. Nor is even the notion that all music is made up of four fundamental parameters. This whole notion of “complex arises from simple” or vice-versa seems to be built on the assumption that we all know and agree on what things are “simple” and what things are “complex” and that assumption doesn’t hold at all from my point of view. Feb 19, 2023 at 13:50
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I think the obvious line of attack is his assertion that the creator must be more complicated than the thing created, which is clearly questionable.

Arguing about whether some form of god created the Universe is a bit like arguing about interpretations of quantum mechanics- there's really no way of proving one to be right to the satisfaction of people who believe another is.

Dawkins would do better to stress that while a god might have been a possible cause of the Universe, it is clearly impossible for all of the conflicting ideas about god promoted by major religions to be correct, and to remind people that religious beliefs in that sense are a form of programming carried out by religious organisations. If you are brought up a Catholic, say, you will be indoctrinated virtually every day throughout your childhood with the specific aim of making you accept Catholic doctrine.

People hold and defend religious beliefs for the same reasons that they blindly hold many other questionable beliefs- because they have been brought up in a society that perpetuates certain ideas. Many Americans believe America is the best nation on Earth- why is that, do you think? Why do many people belief that going to McDonalds is great? Why do people think their soccer team is unquestionably better than any other? Why do people throng in huge stadia to watch some rap singer they have paid a hundred bucks to hear? The question is not why do people believe in god, but why are people so susceptible to the herd mentality generally, and I suspect the answer is that a herd mentality was important to survival. Now that it is no longer so important to survival, the herd instinct is being exploited in other ways by people and organisations that benefit from exploiting it. Religious indoctrination is just one example of that.

It seems to me that any argument based on the idea of a first cause is necessarily self-contradictory. If everything needs a cause, then the first cause needs a cause. If the first cause doesn't need a cause, then why is the second cause not capable of not needing a cause, and so on.

In any event, in all the arguments about the necessity of 'god', the term 'god' is effectively used as a token to mean 'the unknown cause of the Universe (assuming the Universe needs a cause)', so the idea of god in that sense is entirely empty. Supposing there had been a 'god' in that sense, so what?

Even if you let the religious persuade you there might have been some unknown cause to the Universe, they then make entirely unsubstantiated attributions of all sorts of qualities and purposes to their 'god'. They are, of course, welcome to hold whatever beliefs they like, but to an independently minded person it all seems entirely irrational.

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    I don't know exactly what Dawkins said, but arguments from design tend to rely (implicitly or explicitly) on the same premise he's using. Apologists say things like "this is so complex that it must've been designed", which implies that complexity can't arise from simpler things (otherwise you could just say this complex thing arose from a slightly less complex thing, which arose from an even less complex thing, etc. until you get down to something really, really simple, which would render the entire argument null and void). So to reject Dawkins' premise is to also reject arguments from design.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jan 6, 2023 at 9:57
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    @NotThatGuy. That's a good argument. We could express your argument mathematically. I would've loved to do it for you except Philosophy SE is not yet LaTex enabled. Jan 6, 2023 at 11:13
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    @NotThatGuy I am not sure you are right. I have seen versions of the design argument that just say a designer was needed, not that the designer was necessarily more complicated than the thing designed. Anyway, I am being pedantic- all of the arguments are nonsense in any event. Jan 6, 2023 at 12:30
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    @MarcoOcram "I have seen versions of the design argument that just say a designer was needed" - sure, but given that Dawkins said "more complex" (according to the question), I strongly suspect he's responding specifically to the variant that relies on complexity. But as the question is written, it's hard to be completely sure what exactly his argument is or what specifically he's responding to.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jan 6, 2023 at 12:36
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    @MarcoOcram It is really amazing to me that we are still talking about "proofs for/against the existence of god" in the 21st century. What's also troubling is that in these discussions, "existence" is usually explored solely based on reasoning. But how can that be? Surely, subject-side reasoning can conjure up anything and everything! You can't obtain any knowledge without confronting that knowledge to the world via observation, and to me, that should put an end to these speculative discussions, even if they masquerade behind "logic".
    – Frank
    Jan 6, 2023 at 15:47
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I quite like Dawkins' writings that I've read. He is a clear and engaging writer. However, the problem with his writing is Dawkins doesn't have a strong computer science or philosophy background, and his arguments in those domains fall down.

Two main ways Dawkins' argument fails:

  1. his premise 4 is demonstrably false
  2. his premise 4 is irrelevant to the design argument

First, let's look at point 1. Here's a simple example from computer science that shows a more powerful process does not need to be more complex. In fact the opposite is true.

In computer science there is a hierarchy of machines, each level more powerful than the previous. Down near the bottom are finite automata, which are quite limited in expressivity. At the top is a Turing machine. Everything a finite automata can express is expressible by a Turing machine, but not visa versa.

More importantly, what would take a very large (maybe infinitely large) finite automata to express takes a much smaller Turing machine, since Turing machines can loop and have infinite memory.

Turing machines themselves are quite simple, just requiring five operations and an infinite tape.

So Dawkins' premise 4 is demonstrably false from computer science theory.

Now for point 2, that premise 4 is actually orthogonal to the design argument. The design argument still works, even if the creator is much more complex than the creation. The important point is whether the creation can be described more concisely by an independent context (creator) than by the chance hypothesis.

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  • Whether a Creator is simple or complex, does not take the creator out of the "contingent" realm. And as this universe is VERY contingent, then a "necessary" creator spawning a contingent creation would be needed for the argument, and that is itself incoherent.
    – Dcleve
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:21
  • Godel came up with a valid argument for a logically necessary creator, based on Anselm's ontological argument. Godel's argument has also be computationally verified to be valid. So, a necessary creator is not obviously incoherent.
    – yters
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:49
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    Your computer science example doesn't demonstrate any problem with what Dawkins said. This is because you seem to be conflating complexity of abstract concepts with the complexity of real-world objects, and also conflating causation with encapsulation/generalisation/varying representations. Creation (as per arguments from design) is a causal relationship in the real world, but Turing machines don't "cause" finite automata; those are independent abstract concepts that we made up and that may simply be able to express the same process.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jan 7, 2023 at 4:45
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    Arguments from design complexity claim that things are improbable/impossible without a designer BECAUSE they are complex. If causation can increase complexity, then complexity can arise from simplicity, and the entire argument would be rendered null and void, and you'd need a different justification for saying that something requires a creator. The only way the argument makes sense is either if the creator is more complex, or if you're make an exception to your rule for the creator or the process of creation. Thus Dawkins' rebuttal.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jan 7, 2023 at 4:56
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    We're just talking past each other with different usages of "complexity". Dawkins and myself are talking about complexity of the entity itself, and computational complexity deals with the difficulty of the problem to be solved, or the range of languages recognized by the automata.
    – yters
    Jan 8, 2023 at 21:20
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TL;DR

Attacking infinite regress or complexity barely puts a dent in this argument.

But pointing out the fact that the divine could exist in an infinite regress, or that there is an infinite regress embodied in the divine, almost universally refutes Dawkins' fourth premise with no recourse that I can think of (except for some very specific descriptions of god).

I'll elaborate

Unlike the other popular answers here, I take no issue with the complexity vs. simplicity issue - and I would side with Dawkins on it. David Gudeman's answer mentions that this issue was "solved" by medieval philosophers, and while they certainly acted at the time as if it was solved, I would firmly reject that such a thing is in fact true.

The idea that god consists of no parts and is eminently simple, seems to involve a very non-instructive idea of what complexity entails in the physical world. What's "simple" about a thing (that also isn't a thing) that consists of no parts, exists nowhere while it also exists everywhere but consists of nothing, has nothing and is nothing (and simultaneously is everything), consumes no energy and yet can produce endless energy, and so on?

For all the reasons that manifest these kinds of impossible questions, a naïve, mechanical definition of complexity/simplicity must be wholly insufficient because it fails to describe, let's say, the difficulty with which the described thing can be understood fully.

As if a celestial block of tofu, in all its bland simplicity, would have power over seemingly unlimited creation across an infinite cosmos just because it only barely consists of any constituent parts.

I think Dawkins envisions complexity not as a measure of intricacy brought about by consisting of parts or internal interactions, but rather as the set of potentials, size of action space, number of paths of evolution, whichever term one may wish to use, available to the given system.

Let's say that any contingent physical system must have less total potential than its cause, otherwise you have a significant problem of explaining the evolution of entropy within both that system and its causal system (and possibly also conservation of energy, but to this particular discussion that'd be tangential at best).

If we imagine mapping the theoretical action space of a free electron versus an electron in a single atom versus an electron in a strongly coupled molecule, we can see that the more steps we go down the causal ladder, the space becomes lesser with every step taken. Under the idea we started out with, this means less complexity.

Further to this point, if we imagine that Gödel's incompleteness theorems express roundaboutly (and implicitly) that a proof generated inside any such described system has less possible paths of evolution than the system itself, then from here too it would be tautology that every proof made from any single system that adhere to the theorems is necessarily less complex than the system itself.

All this to say that the notion that God's (complexity or simplicity) is an open-and-shut, already-solved question, is one I would disagree strongly with.

However, that's not to say that the fourth premise is without problems

(4) The posited designer must be even more complex and hence even more improbable. But now we're back to 1. leading to an infinite regress

Strictly speaking, if we hold this premise true for the sake of argument, we haven't refuted the existence of one or more gods (though we could possibly have refuted a subset of specific descriptions of god) - we've just established that there isn't a first cause.

Dawkins' argument here, with or without the fourth premise, doesn't show that there couldn't exist an infinite regress of gods, each less complex than its "parent" - culminating in some not-the-most-complex god that designed or otherwise created the world.

I would agree that he does seem to imply this particular conclusion, but it's a conclusion that doesn't follow from any of the premises (not as it is described in this thread, anyway). Maybe a more full description of his argument carries some assumption about infinite regress, much like OP describes towards the end, but without that assumption stated as a premise the conclusion is still a non-sequitur.

Though I would venture so far as to say that even with the premise present, the argument will still fail because there exists no sound argument against infinite regress. The best you can hope for is the concession that infinite regresses don't have global explanatory power, but you can just as easily hold the same to be true for first cause arguments.

Stating that X exists by necessity and it's therefore nonsensical to ask "why" or "how" it exists, doesn't get you to anywhere that has actual explanatory power; it's an assertion of brute fact. So while you can invoke this argument and become able to terminate the chain of turtles, stated as the description of a logical argument that doesn't get you any further than validity - soundness yet escapes.

And as the astute reader probably has caught on to by now, you can get to the same state with the infinite regress; to validity, but not soundness. So the idea that infinite regress is "obviously" impossible or objectively not to be preferred, rests primarily (if not exclusively) on one or more fallacies.

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    Right, if there can be a God outside the universe, there could just as easily be a meta-universe outside the universe, and that would be a natural phenomenon. We are not obligated to explain everything, only the things we care about. We could just not care what's outside the universe. (I wonder if limiting my scope of concern qualifies as a named philosophical position?)
    – Scott Rowe
    Jan 7, 2023 at 12:20
  • @ScottRowe I don't disagree, but I am curious as to your motivation. I'm not asserting that anybody has to argue about or explain things they don't care about.
    – Vegard
    Jan 7, 2023 at 12:55
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    @ScottRowe I don't find it a waste of effort. I in fact don't particularly care one way or the other what people believe about the existence or non-existence of god(s), my concern is primarily why they hold whatever belief or non-belief. As such, I'm here for the sake of the argument itself, not the outcome. So I think your business is with OP and maybe other answerers, but your sentiment doesn't really hit me in any way.
    – Vegard
    Jan 7, 2023 at 20:03
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    A fair bit of sciencing has come out of the back and forth between atheists and theists: Mendel's genetics, big bang, wave particle duality, Turing machines, Von Neumman architecture, Godel's incompleteness theorem, to name a few. So regardless of how the question gets decided, the discussion itself is highly productive and has revolutionized human civilization.
    – yters
    Jan 8, 2023 at 21:17
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    @yters - I'm not sure how that back and forth did much apart from occasionally slowing down the progress of science. Mendel happened to be a monk but his discoveries came from an interest in gardening. That would probably have been the same if he'd been an atheist. Mar 1, 2023 at 23:12
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1: X is extremely improbable without a designer

2: X is more probable with a designer

3: X is likely to have been designed

When presented with the above argument, Dawkins's 4th step as you outlined it is unnecessary, for premises 1 - 3 are flawed.

1: "X is extremely improbable without a designer".

If 'X' is 'the world as we know it, capable of giving rise to life, including human life and consciousness', then to claim it is improbable without a designer is to make a huge assumption. As theoretical physicist Sean Carroll pointed out in a debate with William Lane Craig at the 2014 Greer Heard Forum:

"I am by no means convinced there is a 'fine tuning problem'"(39:00), and goes on to outline 5 problems with fine tuning arguments.

He also states that we are essentially dealing with a sample size of one and that:

"You can go in to the equations of general relativity and there is a correct, rigorous derivation of the probability... You find the probability [of the universe being 'fine tuned' for life] is 1" (40:53).

For all we know, the current state of affairs (or a similar one) was inevitable. And as he also pointed out in the same debate, the universe may have always existed (34:05).

This leads to "2: X is more probable with a designer".

We have no evidence of any kind of designer that might be capable of such a feat, so how do we deem X is more probable with a designer? If the universe may have always existed, why do we need to invoke a designer?

Therefore, "3: X is likely to have been designed" simply does not follow.

So, when you ask for 'the strongest counters to [Dawkins's] argument', ie: "4: The posited designer must be even more complex and hence even more improbable. But now we're back to 1, leading to an infinite regress", it is worth considering that any such counter might be unnecessary.

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    Right, I definitely agree step 4 is unneeded. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Taking a close look at the design, it looks pretty much like a series of random outcomes, to me at least. So the winner is... Evolution! (the crowd goes wild)
    – Scott Rowe
    Feb 19, 2023 at 12:34
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The refutation of Dawkins lies within his own argument: Without an eternal God that exists beyond the realm of time and space, the infinite regress he describes would indeed be all that is left: An infinite regress of lifeless matter turning into other lifeless matter.

The points 1.-3. are a variation of the Kalam Cosmological argument for God. This argument already presumes that the reader understands that the only other two logical alternatives are 1) an infinite regress of matter turning into other matter or 2) the Universe being its own creator, which are both evidently absurd.

Thus, to conclude, God is the only factor that in fact breaks any sort of infinite regress by being the Ultimate Creator of all matter, Who Himself is uncreated as in Eternal.

This is besides the other flaw in his argument whereby he asserts that "the designer must be more complex than the design" which he doesn't logically deduct but simply assumes to be true. Furthermore, this claim is arguably nonsensical, since the definition of complexity within the realm of space and time is inapplicable to the Designer of this time-and-space-bound existence, since He exists outside/independent of it. In other words, since our whole perception of the concepts of simplicity and complexity rest on the mathematical/physical descriptions of only this universe, they cannot be applied to the one who Created the universe and existed "before" it.

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    Both arguments from design and the cosmological argument seek to prove that God exists. If you invoke one argument for God's existence (the cosmological argument) in response to a rebuttal to a different argument for God's existence (design), you aren't addressing the rebuttal, but rather you're invoking a different argument to reach the same conclusion. The cosmological argument has it's own rebuttals that aren't relevant to arguments from design.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jan 6, 2023 at 15:07
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    If one were to invoke yet another argument for God's existence in response to rebuttals to the cosmological argument, maybe we can get an infinite regress of arguments and rebuttals going.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jan 6, 2023 at 15:23
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    @NotThatGuy good critiques. But to be fair, Dawkins ALSO was arguing in his point 4 above that infinite regress is untrue, so Dawkins was doing this comingling as well.
    – Dcleve
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:29
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    Would you be open to the idea that 'life' and 'lifeless' are nothing more than categories of the mind to classify a difference in the disposition of matter and energy that consciousness bears witness too, and that on one level, that of mereological nihilism, that there is only physical existence?
    – J D
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:54
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    The point of Dawkin's rebuttal is that complexity is used to posit a more complex creature such as God. If God is intending something, controls everything, is omniscient, and omnipotent, how could He possibly be less complex than the universe? Of course you can't logically deduce this, but neither can you logically deduce an omnipotent creator. Lastly, if He is more complex, then the theist is admitting that complexity can exist by itself. Which means we don't need to posit a designer to explain something complex. Jan 6, 2023 at 20:00
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The posited designer must be even more complex and hence even more improbable.

This is false. The designer does not need to be complex, but must merely be capable of creating complexity; which is not the same thing.

There are many examples of things where are themselves simple, but which create complexity:

  • The formulas for a mandelbrot set
  • The laws of gravity - but look at the maths required to get us to the moon
  • The rules of chess
  • Declared government policy vs what they actually implement (tongue-in-cheek)
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    Good answer! So the winner is... Basic Math!
    – Scott Rowe
    Feb 19, 2023 at 12:39
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As complexity increases so does creative power (that's the basic premise). So, our god would need another (more complex) god and that god would need a different (even more complex) god ... so on and so forth. That would mean complexity tends to infinity and the "last" god in this chain of gods would be infinitely complex, possessed of, ergo, infinite creative power; such a powerful being (omnipotence) could create itself (autopoesis/causa sui). The infinite has been ascribed to god, I'm not saying anything new. The fact that one attribute of god is omnipotence suggests/indicates that theists anticipated Dawnkins-like arguments and took appropriate precautions.

G = infinitely complex entity

If there exists an x such that x created G then x = G (self-created).

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    And the winner is... Chuck Norris! (the crowd goes wild) John Skeet was the runner-up though.
    – Scott Rowe
    Feb 19, 2023 at 12:36
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At first point, we have to clarify if the designer is a tool/object or an biological entitie. Then we have to figure out if the designer is willing to design a tool/objet or an biological entitie. We also need to clarify the term of design, is it the act of create/produce it or is it a pattern or reproductible shedule or schema? We are going to describe all the cases and check how they fit with Dawkins's propositions regarding if the designer is always more complex than his creation (Assumption A) and if that creation is likely to have been designed (Assumption B).

As a tool creating another tool, in a creating intent, the assumption regarding the complexity of the designer seems to be false because a screwdriver can be use to produce a robot and the robot requiered more complexity to produce than the screwdriver. But the opposite (robot as designer and screwdriver as tool) is true, leading that the assumption A is false because the case is not always true(A: false). Regarding the fact that creation has been designed is true due to the high accuracy to predict most of tool's features and the high reliability to meet the prediction(B: true).

As a tool creating another tool, in conceptualising a schema, they reproduct what they have been created for, due to the functionnal nature of tool. Take a IA which been programm to play chess or paint or play music. Does their producted tools which can be assimilated to music, peinting or chess game are more complex than the IA's programm itself? Here we cant fit assumption A because here the schedule/schema rely on art and creative abilities. Due to nature of art to fit with aesthetical criterion, this situation lead to opinion debate without any possibility to rationalise it objectively (A: false). Regarding the fact that creation has been designed is false due to the innaccuracy to predict and determine the created tool due to aesthetical criterion choosen by the designer(B: false).

As a biological entitie creating a tool, in both case creating intent and conceptualising a schema, the complexity of the designer is true because of the ability of the designer to run a tool because a tool cant, in first instance, start from itself and because of the rules enforced by the designer to the tool, in a way that, the outcome from the tool can be predicated in a acceptable way by his designer (A: true). Regarding the fact that creation have been designed is true (both cases) due to the high accuracy to predict most of tool's features and the high reliability to meet the prediction(B: true).

As a tool creating biological entitie, this case and underlying cases are not covers.

As a biological entitie creating biological entitie, without using tools (in this case, please refer to biological entitie creating a tool and tool creating biological entitie cases), the only way to adress the proposition is the biological reproduction between entitie belonging to the same nature. History can tell us that we are smarter and more complex than prehistoric mans. Smarter enought to have a more comfy and peacefull life than our ancestors. Because, all these tools advantages take theirs sources in schema conceptualisation, assumption A is false here in both case (A: false). Regarding the fact that creation has been designed is false(both case too) because creation has been made without any predictable and reliable intent or significant element to determine all biological entitie's features(B: false).

The case where both A & B are false means that tool has not been designed, making his assumption "X is extremely improbable without a designer" false, and without designer to design the tool and recalling that absence of designing task dont reject the existence of designer (conf. cases concerned), the complexity of designer is null to be much complex than the tool and the improbability is true. So "tool" and "designer" belong to the same and unique nature and both come from improbability. This case should counter Dawkins's assertion "Dawkins ... think that certain things are too improbable to have existed without a designer and yet simply get to assert that the designer just happens to exist without one". The case where both A & B are true means that tool has been designed, making Dawkins's assertion "X is extremely improbable without a designer" true, and asserting that designer's design complexity is greater than the tool. So "tool" and "designer" are two differents elements by nature. This case leads to the assertion "This leads to an infinite regress and thus the argument is self refuting". The case where A is false and B is true means that tool has been designed but tool and designer could have the same complexity. This case reject the assertion "4. The posited designer must be even more complex and hence even more improbable. But now we're back to 1. leading to an infinite regress".

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EVEN MORE COMPLEX - Dawkins argument fails because he is in essence, "comparing apples with oranges". In any discussion that is meaningful there must be a "definition of terms." So when Dawkins tries to impose an infinite regress of complexity he made the mistake of assuming that the Designer was of the same substance as the complex entities that were designed. Of course, God is nowhere near the same as objects in the created (designed) universe!

God is, by self-revelation, is seen to be Eternal spirit and not physical as the designed parts of the physical universe are. This understanding puts a screeching stop to any alleged infinite regress...and Dawkins' argument

FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING is the repeated refrain concerning the Creator God both in the verses and hymns of Judaism and Christianity. He is beyond Dawkin's inadequate definition of the Designer. Granted, though, it is hard to grasp eternity, infinity, and the Everlasting, as men, but it is alleged that He gave us all a bite size glimpse in the person of Jesus beginning at Christmas.

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    Welcome to SE. An interesting answer and it may be effective against Dawkins' argument. But I can't help thinking that this answer starts an infinite regress of its own for anyone who thinks that an eternal non-physical spirit is even more improbable than life on Earth.
    – Ludwig V
    Feb 20, 2023 at 18:59
  • (Ludwig) It is true that wrapping our minds around the idea of infinity is a gargantuan task. Given the Design argument, Cosmological argument, and the Moral argument, though, this existential answer is the most probable answer. But to use the nomenclature, "infinite regress" is not accurate.
    – user64825
    Feb 21, 2023 at 22:45
  • (Ludwig) The God who is has been revealed as FROM EVERASTING TO EVERLASTING (Psalms) is not an infinite regress because THERE IS NO OTHER (Isaiah). To have a regress there must be subsequent entities, and there are none. That "God is One" has been the mantra of Jew and Gentile for centuries on end. "God inhabits eternity" is another description of the Almighty. This a humbling and often mind-boggling thought, but it makes the existence of life, therefor, possible.
    – user64825
    Feb 28, 2023 at 22:55

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