Category Archives: Philosophy, Logic, Theory

Observations of nature easily lead to the conclusion that the most simple and direct explanation for many things is that they were designed.

This might be fun to try with words on magnets…

Approximately 100 things arranged by complexity
My first attempt at the complexity challenge. Click to view. Toward the left side is fewer parts (including no essential parts/immaterial) to the right is more parts and more dynamism, including sheer number of(non-essential) parts (size), chaotic motion and incidental motion. Going down is less need for specific shapes, less intricacy of parts, fewer connections between different parts, less variety in parts, and in general less essential systematic organization. I added some words, such as “computer” and “advanced robots.” The two “bed”s and connecting line illustrate what could be done with a number of words that actually cover broad concepts (in this case, from a selected spot of ground to a four-poster bed with box-springs and down mattress). The groupings are also illustrative of others that could be made.

Thoughts on Complexity and Design

Notes on Complexity

What makes something physically complex? How can physical complexity be measured?

Let’s start with a typical dictionary reference. I have on hand Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (copyright 1980 by G. & C. Merriam Co.). There are three definitions, adjective, noun, and transitive verb. We are of course interested here in the adjective and noun. The etymology provided in the adjectival definition references the Latin “complecti, to embrace, comprise (a multitude of objects).” The root “plectere” means “to braid.”

The first definition includes objects that are very simple: “composed of two or more parts: composite.” The next two (as variations of the first) refer to specific English grammar uses, i.e. complex words and sentences. However, the second distinct definition is “hard to separate, analyze, or solve.” This sounds more like what I have in mind, as there is nothing hard to analyze or solve about something that has as few as two pieces. Even things that have a lot of pieces may be easy to solve or analyze. Thus, having multiple parts must be the barest minimum consideration. On the other hand, “hard to…” is very subjective and there’s no direct reference to physical properties.
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