Is the universe undesignable?

Hi everyone. I’d like to pose a question that’s been bugging me for some time. I hope that some contributors with a math/physics background might be able to respond.

A fine-tuned universe can only be designed via a random process

I’d like to begin with Dr. Seth Lloyd’s paper, “The Universe as Quantum Computer”. On pages 14-15 of his paper, he writes:

"To understand why the quantum computational model necessarily gives rise to complexity, consider the old story of monkeys typing on typewriters. The original version of this story was proposed by the French probabilist Emile Borel, at the beginning of the twentieth century (for a detailed ´ account of the history of typing monkeys see [1]). Borel imagined a million typing monkeys (singes dactylographes) and pointed out that over the course of single year, the monkeys had a finite chance of producing all the texts in all the libraries in the world. He then immediately noted that with very high probability, they would would produce nothing but gibberish.

"Consider, by contrast, the same monkeys typing into computers. Rather than regarding the monkeys random scripts as mere texts, the computers interpret them as programs, sets of instructions to perform logical operations. At first it might seem that the computers would also produce mere gibberish – ‘garbage in, garbage out,’ as the programmer’s maxim goes. While it is true that many of the programs might result in garbage or error messages, it can be shown mathematically that the monkeys have a relatively high chance of producing complex, ordered structures. The reason is that many complex, ordered structures can be produced from short computer programs, albeit after lengthy calculations. Some short program will instruct the computer to calculate the digits of π, for example, while another will cause it to produce intricate fractals. Another will instruct the computer to evaluate the consequences of the standard model of elementary particles, interacting with gravity, starting from the big bang. A particularly brief program instructs the computer to prove all possible theorems. Moreover, the shortest programs to produce these complex structures are necessarily random. If they were not, then there would be an even shorter program that could produce the same structure. So the monkeys, by generating random programs, are producing exactly the right conditions to generate structures of arbitrarily great complexity.

“For this argument to apply to the universe itself, two ingredients are necessary – first, a computer, and second, monkeys. But as shown above, the universe itself is indistinguishable from a quantum computer. In addition, quantum fluctuations – e.g., primordial fluctuations in energy density – automatically provide the random bits that are necessary to seed the quantum computer with a random program. That is, quantum fluctuations are the monkeys that program the quantum computer that is the universe. Such a quantum computing universe necessarily generates complex, ordered structures with high probability.

What it seems that Lloyd is saying is that if a Designer wanted to create a life-sustaining universe, and needed to hit on the right combination of physical parameters for designing such a universe, then the best the Designer could do would be to use a random process to generate a program for creating such a universe. Intelligence offers no intuitive shortcut for hitting on the right parameters. But since the optimal process for generating the right parameters is itself inherently random, then it appears that the need for design is obviated. In that case, any attempt to argue that the universe is the product of a Designer is going to fall foul of the principle of parsimony (Occam’s razor). In fact, it would be impossible in principle to know that our universe had been designed.

A Designer could not know in advance that a fine-tuned universe would actually produce life, let alone sentient life or intelligent life

It gets worse. It turns out that mathematically, there’s no purely general way of knowing what result a given set of parameters will produce, when fed into a program (say, a program for generating a universe with stars and planets). Mathematician Steve Wolfram has written about this, in connection with the Principle of Computational Equivalence. In chapter 12 of his book, A New Kind of Science (which can be read online), he argues at length that practically every system occurring in nature, apart from ones which are obviously simple, is computationally irreducible, and hence unpredictable. As Wolfram puts it on page 828 of his book:

“…I have argued that among systems that appear in nature a great many exhibit computational irreducibility - so that in a sense it becomes irreducibly difficult to foresee what they will do.

On pages 755 to 756, Wolfram spells out in detail how the Principle of Computational Equivalence would apply to biology:

“And what I suspect is that for almost any system whose behavior seems to us complex, almost any non-trivial question about what the system does after an infinite number of steps will be undecidable. So, for example, it will typically be undecidable whether the evolution of the system from some particular initial condition will ever generate a specific arrangement of cell colors - or whether it will yield a pattern that is, say, ultimately repetitive or ultimately nested.”

The implications with regard to intelligent design theory should be obvious. Let’s suppose that a Designer set up the initial parameters of the universe in such a way as to permit the formation of galaxies, stars and planets, the origin of life, and the subsequent evolution of eukaryotic organisms, multicellular organisms, animals, animals with nervous systems, sentient animals, and finally, sapient beings like ourselves. What the Principle of Computational Equivalence tells us is that there’s no way that a Designer could be sure that the initial parameters used to fine-tune the universe would in fact give rise to a cosmos in which life arises, let alone sentient life, let alone intelligent life. Fine-tuning becomes, at best, a shot in the dark, a “hit-and-miss” strategy which may or may not achieve its desired objective. Isn’t this an inappropriate way for a Designer to make intelligent moral agents?

Does the Designer have a simulator? Is the Designer a simulator?

Perhaps we might imagine that the Designer either possesses, or is, some kind of omni-simulator that can run a program which displays the results of all possible selections of the relevant cosmic parameters, allowing the Designer to then select a specific set of parameters that yields a world that gives rise to intelligent life. In other words, the Designer would have to run zillions of simulations before hitting on a suitable one that yields us (or something like us). But what kind of Designer is that? And wouldn’t it be more economical to simply believe in a multiverse, rather than a multiverse plus a Designer running a massive simulation?

Some theists, notably the philosopher Robin Collins, argue that we do in fact have a solid philosophical reason to believe that a multiverse requires a Designer: namely, that a multiverse needs to be fine-tuned. This claim hinges on the assertion that cosmic inflation is itself a finely-tuned process. Assuming for argument’s sake that this is the case (but see here), all that follows is that the multiverse is fine-tuned. It doesn’t follow that the next level up (call it the Metaverse) needs to be fine-tuned as well.

In any case, there’s a larger philosophical question that still needs to be answered: how does a supposedly simple and incorporeal Designer perform calculations? Such a being would lack the required architectural properties for it to be an omni-simulator. But if we suppose instead that it makes an omni-simulator, then a skeptic might object that the omni-simulator itself might be a better place to stop, in our philosophical quest for explanations.

The inescapability of random selection, when designing a cosmos

The intelligent design hypothesis faces a further difficulty. Even if we grant that a Metaverse, like a multiverse, would still need to be designed, and that pushing the problem of design up one level solves absolutely nothing, the problem remains that even though the vast majority of all possible sets of values for the constants of Nature are incompatible with the existence of life, there are still a very large number of sets of possible values for the constants of Nature that are compatible with the emergence of life, including sentient and intelligent life. The cosmological constant doesn’t have to have precisely the value it does, for instance. Moreover, there’s no indication that the value of the cosmological constant in our universe is in any way optimal, among the values that could have been chosen. So it seems that the Designer needs to make a random selection of values, to design our universe. Nor will it do to suggest that the Designer could set up a program to come up with some set of life-compatible constants of Nature, and then let the program make that selection, by having it pick the first set of values that are life-compatible, for instance. For it is likely that there are many such programs that could be written. Which one is the Designer going to choose? The shortest? But what if there are many of these, as is likely the case? The conclusion seems inescapable: unless one is prepared to make a host of ad hoc, highly questionable assumptions (e.g. that there is something uniquely choiceworthy about the set of constants that define our universe), it appears that some element of randomness is inevitable in the design of the cosmos.

Can an incorporeal Designer make a random selection?

Nevertheless, there is something profoundly problematic about the whole idea of an incorporeal Designer making a random selection. Putting it another way: “Pick a card, any card” is one thing you cannot say to a spirit. However, it works if you say it to an embodied being, because that being will have built-in biases - e.g. right-handedness, a preference for certain numbers, and so on. These biases combine to push the embodied agent to make a selection, which feels random on a conscious level, but is in fact determined by the agent’s subconscious preferences. However, by definition, a disembodied agent has no built-in biases - i.e. nothing to push it one way or the other. Presented with a range of options, a disembodied spirit would be paralyzed, like Buridan’s ass. In other words, making a random selection is impossible for a disembodied Designer.

But if we suppose that the Designer is in some way corporeal (or perhaps super-corporeal), then what advantage does this metaphysical hypothesis have over atheistic materialism? And wouldn’t a corporeal Designer have to exist within some larger space or milieu, meaning that it would itself require a further explanation? (Of course, one could suppose that the Designer embraces the whole of the space and time that it inhabits. There’s a name for this point of view: pantheism.)

An intuitive Designer?

Classical theists would object that the model of a Designer which I have been appealing to is an anthropomorphic one. God, they maintain, does not need to engage in discursive reasoning. He doesn’t need to figure things out; he “just knows” (or intuits, by knowing Himself) everything there is to know about the cosmos, including the right set(s) of parameters for generating a cosmos that yields intelligent life.

Now, in everyday life, there are indeed situations where we know something to be true, without being able to articulate how we know it. We can just see it; that’s all. Could God’s Mind be like that? I’m afraid not. For our inability to explain how we arrive at a certain insight springs from our lack of self-knowledge. If we had an exhaustive knowledge of our current state (in particular, our neural architecture), as well as our past history, then presumably we would be able to identify the chain of subconscious information processing by which we arrived at the insight that we had. However, lack of self-knowledge is something that we cannot impute to God, without denying His divinity.

The same goes for the suggestion that just as there are said to be a few gifted people with synesthesia possessing the uncanny ability to calculate complex arithmetic problems instantly, so too, God might have a non-inferential way of seeing precisely how the universe needs to hang together, and what set of constants it requires. However, this is a very poor example. It turns out that when when psychologists ask these synesthetes about what’s going on in their heads when they calculate, they are able to describe what they can visualize.

Another fallacy in the “Divine knowledge by intuition” scenario is that it appeals to an argument from conceivability. It seems that we can at least conceive of a Being that knows whether a given proposition P is true, without there needing to be any process by which the Being knows. For instance, we can conceive of a Being that always gets the answer to any meaningful question right, on a quiz show. When asked what method it employs to comes up with the right answer, the Being replies, “I have none. I just can, and that’s all. That’s Who I am. I am the Being whose nature it is to know.”

Sounds fishy, right? Yes, but why exactly? The reason is that there’s more to knowledge than merely getting the answer right. Knowledge is not merely true belief; it requires justification. If you claim to know the answer to a math problem but are utterly unable to justify your answer to other people who ask, “How do you know?”, then even if you get the answer right, can you really be said to have known the answer all along? What distinguishes this from a lucky guess? Nothing. At some point, you really do need to “show workings.”

So the answer to the conceivability argument for non-inferential Divine knowledge is that it rests on an inadequate conception of knowledge. Knowledge is something more than coming up with the right answers. The right process matters, too.

There is therefore no alternative, it seems, to calculating, when it comes to designing a cosmos. But as we saw above, the Principle of Computational Equivalence seems to entail that a Designer would have no guarantee that a given set of life-compatible constants would actually give rise to life, without running a full simulation. And if there needs to be a simulation for each and every possible set of life-compatible values, in order to for the Designer to hit on the right answer, then the Design hypothesis collapses under its own metaphysical weight.

I shall lay down my pen here. I’d like to turn the discussion over to my readers. Have I understood Seth Lloyd and Stephen Wolfram correctly? What are your thoughts on the Designer’s need for a simulator? I would love to hear your thoughts.


This is a really interesting argument. I don’t quite understand the first part though. Why is it impossible in principle to understand the conditions necessary for life? Even if it is impossible for a human mind, why would it be impossible for a designer that was truly omniscient? Can you explain like I’m five (or an undergrad)?


What does “random” mean here?

I can’t say, since I don’t understand them myself, but I strongly suspect that they’re talking gibberish.

If the designer were omniscient, as is generally claimed, wouldn’t it simultaneously encompass the results of all possible simulations? And I don’t see the need for the designer to make use of randomness, but if it did, wouldn’t it be able to have a random number generator? It seems to me that the greater problem with a designer who fine-tuned initial conditions to generate a particular outcome is quantum indeterminacy or any other departures from strict causality.

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I’m not sure that I accept that reasoning. However short a program is, it would still need to be syntactically correct, in order not to simply generate an error message rather than running. Speaking from experience (admittedly now several decades old), even when you (i) know the syntax, and (ii) are consciously attempting to write a syntactically-correct program, the chances that you will make some small, typographical error that nullifies your program is quite high. The probability that a random process would produce even a short syntactically-correct program would seem to be very low.

On what basis should we accept these assertions?

I’m pretty sure @vjtorley is referring to the Algorithmic Information Theory definition of randomness, where randomness means non-compressible information. Randomness does not imply no meaning, but rather there is no shorter way (more compressible) to express equivalent meaning.

Seth Lloyd, for those who don’t know, is a theoretical computer scientist.

There are languages where almost any string of characters can be executed. Most machine codes, for example, or APL. Whitespace. Tierra or avida code.

But I would expect the monkeys to favour Python.


If so, then Seth would be equivicating over 2 meanings of random, since that’s not what is meant by ‘random typing by monkeys’.


What Roy said. Also, I don’t understand how Lloyd’s “random” is in any way related to the ordinary understanding of the word or to any understanding relevant to the topic at hand.

Hi @misterme987, @John_Harshman, @Roy, @Dan_Eastwood, @colewd and @Tim. Thanks for your comments. I have to catch up on some shuteye, as I’ve had just five hours’ sleep in the past two days, but before I “hit the hay” (as the Americans say), I thought I’d say a little about Dr. Seth Lloyd’s paper, “Is the universe a quantum computer?”, as it’s foundational to my argument.

Dr. Lloyd maintains that in order to answer the question he poses in his paper, we need to break it down into three more focused questions: (Q1) ‘Does the universe allow quantum computation?’, (Q2) ‘Can a quantum computer efficiently simulate the dynamics of the universe?’, and (Q3) ‘Is the universe a quantum cellular automaton?’ He writes:

If we ‘quantize’ our three questions, the first one, (Q1) ‘Does the universe allow quantum computation?’ has the provisional answer, ‘Yes.’ As before, the question of whether the universe affords a potentially unlimited supply of quantum bits remains open…

Now quantize the second question. (Q2) ‘Can a quantum computer efficiently simulate the dynamics of the universe?’ Because they operate using the same principles that apply to nature at fundamental scales, quantum computers – though difficult to construct – represent a way of processing information that is closer to the way that nature processes information at the microscale. In 1982, Richard Feynman suggested that quantum devices could function as quantum analog computers to simulate the dynamics of extended quantum systems [20]. In 1996, Lloyd developed a quantum algorithm for implementing such universal quantum simulators [21]. The Feynman-Lloyd results show that, unlike classical computers, quantum computers can simulate efficiently any quantum system that evolves by local interactions, including for example the standard model of elementary particles…

Finally, we can quantize question three: (Q3) ‘Is the universe a quantum cellular automaton?’ While we cannot unequivocally answer this question in the affirmative, we note that the proofs that show that a quantum computer can simulate any local quantum system efficiently immediately imply that any homogeneous, local quantum dynamics, such as that given by the standard model and (presumably) by quantum gravity, can be directly reproduced by a quantum cellular automaton.

I should also point out that Dr. Lloyd disagrees with Dr. Stephen Wolfram’s proposal that “the universe is nothing more or less than a giant cellular automaton,” as “basic facts about quantum mechanics prevent the local dynamics of the universe from being reproduced by a finite, local, classical, digital dynamics.” My reason for citing Wolfram was to show that almost any system within our universe is unpredictable over the long-term. If that’s true for a giant cellular automaton, how much more so for a giant quantum computer.

@John_Harshman asked about the definition of random. Fair question. Here’s a passage from an essay on titled; “The Good and Bad of Randomness in Computer Science and Engineering” (June 24, 2023) by software engineer Queens Kisivuli:

In computer science and engineering, randomness is often used in statistics to signify well-defined statistical properties. For example, a random sequence of numbers is one that has no discernible pattern or correlation among its elements. A random variable is one that can take different values with certain probabilities. A random sample is one that is selected from a larger population in such a way that every element has an equal chance of being chosen.

Randomness is also used in computation to refer to techniques that rely on random input or output. For example, randomized algorithms are algorithms that use random numbers or choices to achieve better performance or correctness than deterministic algorithms.

In computers, “randomness is generated using pseudorandom number generators (PRNGs), which are algorithms designed to churn out numbers or sequences that look random.” @John_Harshman asked whether God has His own random number generator, but that’s equivalent to the proposal that God has His own pseudorandom number generator. Supposing He has, the question arises: “Which one, out of all the possibilities?” God would have to randomly select just one of these - which is something that a spiritual being is incapable of doing.

I hope that’s enough for now. Cheers.

But your answer seems to have nothing to do with the way you used it in the OP. Are you not in fact equivocating between two unrelated definitions, and doesn’t your argument rely on that equivocation?

No it isn’t. He could have a real random number generator, for example one depending on nuclear decay.

Why would he have to randomly select just one, and why would a spiritual being be incapable of it? Your reasoning is almost always opaque.



I find this sentence to be void on its very face.

Have you processed it sufficiently so that you, at last, reject this assertion?
Surely you meant something else that might sound like your asserted sentence?

Please advise.

[Citation needed]

I csn’t see any reason why a spiritual being (assuming such a thing is possible) would be incapable of selecting a random item from a set simply because it is spiritual.


I think his reasoning for this can be found in the OP:

I don’t know that I agree with this reasoning, as an omniscient and omnipotent being (corporeal or not) should have the ability to create a truly random number generator. Sure, the God of classical theism would know the outcome ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean the path that was taken wasn’t random.

Even if the God of classical theism made a random selection of the seemingly infinite possibilities of universes, though, I don’t know in what sense this could be called “designed.” More like “chosen.”

I definitely don’t agree wit this reasoning, because I see no reason why a disembodied being would not have preferences or biases.

Why can’t a spirit have a favourite number? Especially if they have a memory and a history.


Now that I’m not being bothered by a 3-yr old niece, I can look at the OP in more detail.

This is where the wheels come off.

The first two examples, calculating pi and producing fractals, are short programs. I’ve written the latter myself.

The third example would not be short. It wouldn’t work, either. First, chaos theory suggests it would suffer from rounding errors when running, and second, if the universe is infinite, it would never get past space allocation.[1]

The fourth example is extremely problematic. That program would either need access to a list of all possible theorems, or be able to generate such a list. That list is infinite, since many classes of theorem have infinite variants (e.g. Collatz’s conjecture). Gödel’s incompleteness theorem indicates that there will be theorems the program cannot prove. Proving some theorems (e.g. Legendre’s) may require infinite calculations. Unless the program is proving theorems by brute force (which is impossible as many theorems apply to infinite sets), it would require an immense number of techniques, so would not be ‘short’. It’d also need to include a halting oracle (which cannot be programmed) and the rules of chess, go, life and MtG. Also, Lloyd seems to be envisaging a theoretical programming language where the program would just be something like

for each x in generate_theorem(1…) prove x

or maybe

10 Get next theorem
20 prove theorem
30 goto 10

or even just

“Prove all theorems”

i.e. he’s imagining a theoretical computer that can do anything it’s asked to do, in addition to a zillion typing monkeys.

If Lloyd wants to claim such a program would be ‘particularly brief’, he should be able to write and run it, as can be done for his first two examples.

  1. Pun intended. ↩︎

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Hi everyone. I’d like to thank you all for your criticisms of the argument put forward in my OP - and I really do mean that, because as a Christian, I believe the universe, with its constants of nature and its initial conditions, to have been designed. What I found deeply troubling, however, was the fact that I wasn’t able to find a satisfactory answer to the question, “Supposing the universe to have been fine-tuned by a Designer, how did the Designer manage to hit upon a suitable set of values for the constants of nature and the initial conditions?”

I hope we’re all agreed that the answer, “The Designer knows by virtue of being omniscient” is a non-answer, at least from a scientific perspective. It’s basically equivalent to saying, “The Designer knows because the Designer knows.”

Another answer we looked at was: “The Designer knows by performing a calculation showing that the combination of constants and initial conditions found in our universe actually yields life - and not only life, but also sentient, intelligent life.” That’s much better, but it invites two questions: (i) how did the Designer hit upon our universe’s life-yielding combination in the first place; and (ii) would it be possible even in principle to perform such an accurate calculation of events taking place 13.8 billion years after the beginning of our universe?

Regarding (i), the argument contained in Seth Lloyd’s paper was that a random search process was actually the most efficient way to locate a suitable set of life-friendly constants and initial conditions, and Stephen Wolfram’s Principle of Computational Equivalence further implied that intelligence would be unable to hit upon a shortcut, as there’s no general method of telling what the result of a program (such as a program to create life) will be: you just have to run it yourself and see what answer it yields.

Some readers, notably @Roy and @John_Harshman, pointed out that Seth Lloyd’s paper contained an equivocation in its use of the term “random”: does it mean “free from any discernible bias” or “utterly uncaused”? These readers (as well as @misterme987) also argued that even a pure spirit, especially a Divine spirit, could still design a truly random cosmos by making a random selection of parameters.

Now, I’m not a theologian, and I acknowledge that I may be totally mistaken on this question. I’ll just point out that it all depends on how you define “spirit”: is it simply a being with no visible body (like Casper the friendly ghost, who doubtless has plenty of individual preferences), or a non-corporeal being (which may still have preferences for certain particular numbers, or even individual people), or (as classical theists contend) a being whose operations of thinking and willing are entirely formal, leaving no room for personal preferences for this or that particular thing?

There was also a lively discussion as to whether an Intelligent Designer is capable of making something purely random (as opposed to pseudo-random). @John_Harshman argued strongly that such a Designer could make a truly random number generator, depending on nuclear decay. But that assumes you already have a nucleus that’s decaying randomly. If you’re designing a universe from scratch, you don’t. In addition, it seems to me that designing (and hence causing) something which is totally uncaused (such as a totally random event) is a contradiction in terms.

I’ll also acknowledge that I may have been wrong in my argument that there’s probably more than one “shortest program” for calculating whether a given set of parameters would ultimately produce life. I don’t know that for a fact; and there may indeed be only one such program - which would mean that a spiritual Designer could have designed the universe through the very roundabout process of searching through all possible sets of parameters until upon a satisfactory universe (although I agree with @misterme987 that “designed” is probably the wrong word here, and that “chosen” would be better). At any rate, I’ll have to defer to people with a strong math/physics background on this question.

I’m intrigued by @Roy’s contention that a program designed to calculate whether a given set of parameters would ultimately yield a life-producing universe would fall flat:

First, chaos theory suggests it would suffer from rounding errors when running, and second, if the universe is infinite, it would never get past space allocation.

Would the Designer have a problem with rounding errors? And what if the universe is finite, after all?

So it seems that God looks like a very persistent programmer who’s determined to try out every possible combination of parameters He can come up with, until it yields a universe capable of producing intelligent life. Such a universe is likely to be very flawed, at best - which may help explain the preponderance of natural evils.

I shall have to break off here, as I have to get to work. To be continued…

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Intelligent design, like any other religious belief, cannot be assessed by the scientific method (despite what some pseudoscientists claim). That doesn’t mean it can’t be true. You seem to be under the impression that only answers that can be evaluated by the scientific method are real answers, but that’s scientism.


Thank you for your thoughts! I have always found to to be among the best of ID supporters for the very reason that you are willing to consider that a particular argument might be wrong. FWIW I think it would be really cool it evidence for Design turned up someday, but this can never be achieved by using flawed arguments.

I had a further thought about the universe as some some of simulation set in motion by a Designer. Human use simulations when a problem is intractable to direct methods, or running true experiments is impractical, or sometimes just for fun (as in a game). A Designer that is curious might set up a simulation with some random parameters just to see if something interesting happens. :wink:

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First problem: there seems no basis for this belief. Why should you assume that the values we see are a small proportion of the values that would have resulted in life, or whatever you think the purpose would have been? To know that you would have to know both the possible distribution of constant values and the proportion that would result in the desired sort of outcome. And of course you would also need to know the desired outcome. I don’t think any of those three can be supported. I suppose you would also have to know whether we are in a multiverse, and if so its size and the acceptable proportion of “good” universes.

There is no scientific perspective from which to view this question; theologically it seems perfectly acceptable.

(i) seems simple enough, as long as the designer is able to perform a lot of calculations, though we can have no idea how many would be required. Still, an omnipotent being can be imagined to be capable of any finite number.

(ii) depends on the detail of the required scenario. If it’s required that Homo sapiens evolve on earth, that’s much more difficult than requiring that some intelligent species evolve on some planet in the universe. Which do you propose?

(ii) also depends on your views of quantum indeterminacy, more so if the detail of the scenario is toward the high end. Must God predict the moment a uranium atom will decay, or must he only predict the half-life of a uranium chunk?

No, that’s not the equivocation. Lloyd uses an idiosyncratic definition of “random” meaning “uncompressible”. The two you mention are reasonably close in meaning, but Lloyd’s seems to have no connection.

What is the need for a random cosmos? Why is that even relevant?

This too seems to have no connection to any notion of “spirit”. What theologians say that?

I don’t see the relevance of randomness, by any of the three definitions, to anything.

The designer could make a small starter universe with nuclear decay and use it as a random number generator in designing the real universe. But the question is still why a random number generator or a random universe is necessary.

Why is a shortest program necessary?