By Gordon Rugg
There’s a widespread belief that complex outcomes are always due to complex causes. The theological argument of Paley’s watch uses this approach, for instance.
There’s a similar belief that complex outcomes are always due to deliberate action (again, as in Paley’s watch).
The reality in both cases is very different. Complex outcomes can easily be due to very simple causes, and complex outcomes can easily be produced completely by accident, or by natural processes without any deliberate agency involved.
It’s an important issue in human error, and I think it’s a common mistake that people make when trying to make sense of the Voynich Manuscript.
This article describes some examples of how complexity can arise by accident or by natural processes.