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God's Debris: A Thought Experiment

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God's Debris is the first non-humor book by best-selling author Scott Adams. Adams describes God's Debris as a thought experiment wrapped in a story. It's designed to make your brain spin around inside your skull. Imagine that you meet a very old man who you eventually realize knows literally everything. Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life: quantum physics, evolution, God, gravity, light psychic phenomenon, and probability in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense. What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? You may not find the final answer to the big question, but God's Debris might provide the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read. The thought experiment is this: Try to figure out what's wrong with the old man's explanation of reality. Share the book with your smart friends, then discuss it later while enjoying a beverage.

132 pages, Paperback

First published September 15, 2001

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About the author

Scott Adams

256 books1,167 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Adams was born in Windham, New York in 1957 and received his Bachelor's degree in Economics from Hartwick College in 1979.

He also studied economics and management for his 1986 MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

In recent years, Adams has been hurt with a series of debilitating health problems. Since late 2004, he has suffered from a reemergence of his focal dystonia which has affected his drawing. He can fool his brain by drawing using a graphics tablet. On December 12, 2005, Adams announced on his blog that he also suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, a condition that causes the vocal cords to behave in an abnormal manner. However, on October 24, 2006, he again blogged stating that he had recovered from this condition, although he is unsure if the recovery is permanent. He claims to have developed a method to work around the disorder and has been able to speak normally since. Also, on January 21, 2007, he posted a blog entry detailing his experiences with treatment by Dr. Morton Cooper.

Adams is also a trained hypnotist, as well as a vegetarian. (Mentioned in, "Dilbert: A Treasury of Sunday Strips 00).

He married Shelly Miles on July 22, 2006.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 801 reviews
Profile Image for Kassi.
168 reviews33 followers
October 2, 2009
Scott Adams' introduction promises a lot and I was really looking forward to reading a book that lived up to the expectations that the introduction suggested. Unfortunately I found myself really let down with another book that reads a lot like any religious-type philosophy based on quantum physics. It's just a tired subject and it doesn't matter to this reader what came first, but with The Secret, What the Bleep do we know?, Waking life and any other "yeah, mans" movies and publications, I'm all burnt out. What this book will give you is a conversation between two people (which really is a conversation that reads as if it is really just one person's diatribe) that might make you think a bit. The logic that this book presents does not follow even the basic formulas of logic and thus has way too many holes. In fact, there are rare facts stated in the book. Instead, the author presents various opinions citing scientific explanations that are weak enough to see through but strong enough to miss if the reader isn't looking for it.

What this book did offer is some unique ideas and creative ideas based on logical (though faulty) ideas. And for the creativity and risk it took to even attempt to write a book like this one, that's why I give it a 2 rather than a 1.

I think many people will find meaning is this book. And many people will recognize it among a series of media available that presents things in this way and will pass it up just based on the fact that they've heard it many times before and have found for themselves what works and what doesn't in their own authentic lives. I think that questioning one's reality, looking for the truth, analyzing and such are very important parts of being human and I think these activities should be encouraged. But I would like to see a new way of looking at the world rather than this idea that seems to be on repeat for the past decade (and more, possibly starting with The Celestine Prophecy).

The typical college aged pseudo-intellectual preaching at me with half-truths to present "logical" explanations for things that don't exist on a logic plane isn't the kind of person that I want to hang out with anymore because I've grown out of the questioning stage in my life - on that level. And believe me, it's not that I don't get what is being said nor that I don't accept some of it as true; I do. I just no longer think that any of this "wisdom" is special or known only by the truly enlightened. I just, you know, know, you know?
Profile Image for Richard.
40 reviews116 followers
August 8, 2007
If it had been written as comedy, God's Debris would have been an enjoyable read, since Adams does come up with some funny and interesting conceits. Unfortunately he takes them seriously, and hides behind the weak excuse that he's challenging the reader to find the flaws in his arguments. Unfortunately, when someone who -- by his own admission -- knows nothing about quantum physics or probability theory writes very seriously on those subjects, the result is a lot of annoying gibberish.

This book can be legally downloaded free of charge at the publisher's website.

And yep, it's the Dilbert Scott Adams.
Profile Image for Sajjad thaier.
204 reviews103 followers
January 10, 2020
This is the kind of books that you have to read it over and over and you may understand some of it.

Seriously I wonder how one man can came up with all these ideas and In a very small book like this. Even if I disagree with must of what he said, but I can't just raise my hat Appreciating to his marvelous skills and abilities to make a simple idea of two men sit and talk for days such interesting and Addictive. Because each word, each sentence make you rethink your entire universe and yourself in ways you may never dreamed of.
It’s a greet novel and I advise everyone to read it but be aware of the Logical fallacies that he fall in sometimes .

“A brain surgeon would tell you that a specific part of the brain controls the ability to love. If it’s damaged, people are incapable of love, incapable of caring about others.”

“If someone very wise knew how the world was designed without God’s hand, could that person convince you that God wasn’t involved?”

"This ‘field’ of yours is strange stuff. We can see its effect, and we can invent a name for it, but it doesn’t exist in any physical form. How can something that doesn’t exist in physical form have influence over the things that do?”

“Can you imagine bent space?” he asked.
“No, but just because I can’t imagine it doesn’t mean It’s not true. You can’t argue with Einstein.”

“Doubting is good,” he said.

“If the soul’s actions are not controlled by rules, that can only mean the soul acts randomly. On the other hand,if your soul is guided by rules, which in turn guide you, then you have no free will. You are programmed. There is no in between; your life is either random or predetermined. Which is it?”

“Four billion people say they believe in God, but few genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would live every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich people would give their wealth to the needy. Everyone would be frantic to determine which religion was the true one. No one could be comfortable in the thought that they might have picked the wrong religion and blundered intoeternal damnation, or bad reincarnation, or some other unthinkable consequence. People would dedicate their lives to converting others to their religions.

“You can’t judge the value of a thing by looking only at costs. In many countries, more people die from hospital errors than religious wars, but no one accuses hospitals of being evil. Religious people are happier, they live longer, have fewer accidents, and stay out of trouble compared to nonreligious people. From society’s viewpoint, religion works.”

“As you sit here, your truck exists for you only in your memory, a place in your mind. The Easter Bunny lives in the same place. They are equal.”

Sometimes, though, I wish I could just shut up. But when you hear the crazy views that some people have— actually, most people—how can you just let it slide?”

“Ideas are the only things that can change the world. The rest is details.”

“Women believe that men are, in a sense, defective versions of women,” he began. “Men believe that women are defective versions of men.
8 reviews
July 23, 2008
This is available as a free pdf file- just google it. It's short enough to read in a few hours. I loved every bit of it.
Profile Image for Siddharth.
4 reviews
June 11, 2011
I found 'God's Debris' an extremely tedious read. Not only is it riddled with factual inaccuracies and logical flaws but it's not thought-provoking (as Scotty advertises in the admittedly intriguing introduction) by any standards. Mr. Adams challenges the reader to identify said inaccuracies as part of the "fun". Sadly, it isn't fun, just infuriating. I mean, who really wants to go through a book saying "oh, that's wrong" or "yep, that's right". Anyone with a reasonable amount of knowledge of mathematics, science or philosophy would be appalled to see the dismissive treatment meted out to these subjects.

Some sections of 'God's Debris' are downright ridiculous; the one about the Five Levels comes to mind. Is Adams trying to create a cult or something? The further I read the book, the more disinterested I became. Thankfully, it is a swift read. This and the fact that I paid no money for it (the e-book can be downloaded for free) are the only redeeming qualities I can see. Scott Adams is a bright guy and a talented comic writer but I don't know what he was thinking while writing this. A thought experiment it may be; it's just not a good one.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,923 reviews1,262 followers
December 4, 2012
Scott Adams is an interesting figure. I'm an unabashed Dilbert fan; I have the massive, slipcase-clad twentieth anniversary book, and I particularly love the short-lived TV series. I don't regularly read the comic anymore, because I feel like it's a little stale these days. Likewise, I used to read Adams’ blog, until I got tired of his persistent troll-baiting (not to mention his other antics). But I put God’s Debris on my to-read list four years ago, and now I'm finally getting around to reading it. The setting, content, and style are almost as far from Dilbert as it's possible to get—though, interestingly enough, many of the themes and philosophical questions have appeared in the comics over the years.

Whether you like God’s Debris probably depends on the amount of patience you have for long-winded hypotheticals. As Adams warns in the preface, you need a sense of humour. He also mentions the difficulty the book poses when it comes to classifying it as fiction or non-fiction. This is essentially a Socratic dialogue for the twenty-first century. It’s fiction, in that the two characters are fictional, as is the situation he uses to frame the discussion. At its heart, however, God’s Debris is a philosophical dialogue, with Avatar posing questions and delivering short lessons that help the delivery man up toward a higher state of being.

Each chapter moves smoothly and naturally into the next, the conversation focusing mostly on the nature of the universe, the purpose of life, and humanity’s own role in all of this. As the title suggests, the existence and characteristics of God is central the discussion. I won’t spoil the full thesis, but Avatar essentially points out that the anthropomorphic nature of the Biblical God is why we run into snags like the Problem of Evil or the Omnipotence Paradox. It’s a mistake to assume God has motives and desires that we can comprehend in human terms. And so, if one starts from the premise that God is omnipotent and knows everything exist its own future, Avatar posits a chain of events that explains why the universe exists and what humanity’s role is in that existence.

Socratic dialogues have fallen somewhat out of favour in this millennium. Actual novels, with the philosophy left in the subtext, tend to work better. Even Sophie’s World , which itself is a dialogue that educates the reader about the major phases of Western philosophy, had a captivating plot. God’s Debris lacks this; the characters literally exist only as mouthpieces for Adams’ philosophical ruminations. It’s not nearly as satisfying as a full novel would be. And the reason for that all comes down to layers.

If a novel (or any fictional form) is well-written, then I can still be entertained even if the philosophy goes over my head (or, as in the case of certain Sword of Truth novels, the philosophy is contrary to my own personal leanings). Furthermore, the narrative offers its own ways to access and metabolize the philosophy—for example, the characters must confront moral dilemmas, and by experiencing those dilemmas through them, we wrestle with philosophical questions ourselves. By unearthing the philosophy and putting it front and centre, God’s Debris robs the reader of the chance to tease that philosophy out of a fictional situation. Finally, having a plot to fall back on means that if I don’t find the philosophy appealing or challenging enough, then I can still manage to enjoy the book.

The nature of God and the universe is pretty heavy stuff, but nothing in God’s Debris strikes me as particularly new or thought-provoking. Maybe it’s just because I read too much science fiction, so a lot of Avatar’s musings feel old hat rather than revelatory. Whatever the reason, each chapter flowed over me like so much water: there are plenty of interesting bits in the book, but there isn’t much that I would consider remarkable or worth remembering.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
2 reviews
July 1, 2008
Imagine a 132 page modern day Socratic dialogue between a package delivery man and an old man in a comfy chair. And... this comes from the creator of "Dilbert".

The premise is something out of Tipler's "The Physics of Immortality" -- the idea that because of probability, one day, we will all be "redone" by a very powerful computer -- with a little bit of Leibniz' monadology thrown in; and while neither are mentioned by name, very similar ideas are brought up in this very interesting answer and question exchange between a level 4 'rational' being (the delivery guy in the wrong job?) and a [top] level 5 "Avatar" (the sage old man) who, while not possessing all the answers, provides 'advice' to the prospective level 4 graduate. Without ruining the book, I can confidently explain the title's genesis: God used to exist as a whole. He set things in motion and then he exploded and everything in the universe is his debris. As we 'advance' it is God re-assembling. How we use our 'free will' governs how well and quickly we reassemble.

The subtitle of the book is "A Thought Experiment" and it certainly makes one think. It's a book that makes you say "yeah" on a lot of the pages as you nod in agreement with things that "I thought of that before" but never wrote down or told anyone about. It is a vision of a possibility of an alternative religion, that in these days, makes about as much sense as any does. But Adams doesn't play favourites. He sets up arguments and then rips them apart. He presents all sides of many theories and debunks or confirms without real prejudice.

Overall, this book is a breeze to read and should be done so in one sitting as it flows continuously.There are funny parts, there are very poignant parts. There are parts that sound as looney as "The Celestine Prophecy" and there are parts that sound like they were written by M.Scott Peck or maybe even Dr. Phil. There are still other parts that sound like Plato himself. It's karmic, ironic, circular, tutelar, satirical, informative and enjoyable. The ending made me think it especially appropriate for the Easter Holiday. Not in a sense of the especially Christian religious significance, but of the metaphorical significance of the story of Easter (and I'm not talking about Bunnies this time). In a way, I think Adams, in setting out to be especially secular has actually woven a whole lot more religion in than he intended. Or maybe I'm just a level '2'er who doesn't quite get it yet.
Profile Image for Bon Tom.
856 reviews55 followers
January 26, 2020
This book is fantastic. I'll need to spam re-reads in order to make sure everything fell into place in my exploded mind. It's just that kind of book. I think I'll still have some questions about convenient little thing called probability in role of be all, end all explanation behind everything. Because, to me, probability still sounds physical. Many questions answered, some questions still seem to be emerging from answers themselves. Will keep in touch. And, holly debris, now I found there's a sequel!

EDIT: OK. It seems this will have to be learned verbatim in order to fully profit from it because every word sounds like gold. For instance, this nugget: speed of light is actually the horizon of how far the physical body can pop up in any direction. And just as in our 3D world, horizon is on constant distance from us and moving all the time as we do. So it is with speed of light, that's why there's limit to it. Can't go faster just as you can never reach horizon. It's all about multi dimensions, if I get it correctly. And it all sounds so true, and I swear, it's not at all because I don't (get it). And don't let me even begin about what gravity actually is.

EDITED EDIT: After Nth reading, I realize this book needs accompanying practical guide to How to Remain Within Probability. It's probably the most important concept in this book. But it's simply assumed that we instinctively know when we're there. But do we, really? What are universal, practical ways of being within? How to recognize the modes of being within probability that are just our own?
Profile Image for Hannah.
120 reviews8 followers
December 29, 2012
I think the whole thing was one huge LSD trip. Think about it. It makes sense.

But it all seriousness: pretentious BS. I was willing to accept some of the ideas and tolerate others until the whole levels of awareness thing. Scott Adams made that crap up. I mean, seriously? You expect people to read this and think that it will change the way they see the world? How full of yourself are you?

There were a few basic ideas in this book that made sense to me, and even some that I agreed with. Yes, it did make me think. Yes, some classic thought experiments like the ship of Theseus and the allegory of the cave were addressed. But the majority of it didn't make sense in any context. The ideas that probability controls the world and that God destroyed himself just for kicks and giggles are ridiculous and do not make sense to me. You can't consider the world and humanity as one giant delusion, all governed by probability. According to the logic of the book, you cannot escape God's will and you are basically a puppet. However, the old man clearly believes that he has escaped and that he is above it all. Yes, the old man is fictional, but Adams obviously believes that he has created a masterpiece of thought and philosophy that will single-handedly influence the worldview of every intelligent person who comes into contact with it. There's a delusion for you. God, I just hate pretentious drivel like this. Fifth-level awareness? I can't get over it; seriously, what the hell is that? The construct of the story is absolutely ridiculous. The old dude, the young guy who can't get laid, and the LEVELS OF AWARENESS, man.

The problem with the old man's explanation of reality that we are meant to find is that it's a complete load of bullcrap. And I seriously doubt that that's what Scott Adams was going for. Guess I'm not smart enough or thirsty enough to appreciate and discuss this book over a beverage. Oh well. Get over yourself.
Profile Image for Babs.
555 reviews10 followers
September 21, 2015
"This book promises big things.

""I should tell you how great it is. It's great. Really great. Honestly. Really, really great."" says one (unnamed) review on the back cover, while another (also unnamed) one claims ""I don't think I've ever read a book that was anywhere as thought provoking as God's Debris"". Meanwhile the author gets in on the act of hyping up his own work starting with his recommended reading age ""... the ideas expressed by the characters are inappropriate for young minds"", he claims. ""People under the age of fourteen should not read it.. He further goes on to claim that the target audience for the book are ""... people who enjoy having their brains spun round inside their skulls"" and how the book introduces a whole host of ""new ideas"" and ""untraditional views"".

To put it politely - it's all a load of codswallop. This book is truly awful.

The author claims there is some debate as to whether the book sits in the ""fiction"" or ""non-fiction"" camp. In fact, he actually further claims there is no publishing category into which his book sits. I have no such qualms about labelling this. It's fiction. Sub-section - bad.

I am a scientist. I work with computers. I have an honours degree in psychology. I studied biology extensively throughout university, and am widely read in popular science. I am not, however, a philosopher nor a physicist. The parts of this book that touch on biology, psychology or artificial intelligence of any sort, I disagree with. I can therefore only assume that the relevant philosophical and physical books are similarly ill-researched, but can't know this for sure.

This book reads like a bad ""Tuesdays with Morrie"". Mitch Albom's book was a delight to read. It introduced philosophical concepts to the readers via a wonderful blooming (or re-blooming) relationship between an ex-pupil and his mentor. It was thoughtfully written, used beautiful language, and swept the reader up into a number of concepts which require further contemplation. This book achieved none of these things.

The two protagonists are introduced to each other through the relationship of parcel delivery man and parcel addressee. Yet the reader is to assume they have this deep and meaningful discussion over a number of days (certainly, my postman or FedEx deliveryman has never been quite so forthcoming, but maybe that's just my bad luck or a result budget cuts in the Royal Mail). The book is badly written, divided into a number of chapters which only serve to interrupt the flow of conversation, and distract the reader. For a book which attempts to excplain such concepts as the origins of the universe, quantum physics, and electromagnetic theory, the use of words such as ""formulas"" (formulae) and phrases such as ""...yanking my chain"" are just grating to the reader. No concept is examined in detail, while a number are glossed over with unsatisfactory and incorrect philosophising. Anyone who wanted to read this with a view to learning something new in their scientific education, or as use as a starting point for a discussion of the issues, would be left sorely lacking.

The chapter entitled ""Evolution"" alone almost had me throwing the book across the room in disgust. The analogy made with the plates and cutlery, although bad, would have some merit if it had been properly described. The fact that he doesn't even try to descibe the evolution of crockery just makes his example so bad it's almost painful to read. He dismisses such suggestions of forks evolving from spoons, or pots evolving from bowls. However, how did early man move from primitive tools (albeit 2nd generation tools) such as spoons and bowls without evolution of a nature? If he's going to use this (very very bad) analogy, he should at least have the decency to do it properly.

He then goes on with the following ...

""""Does it strike you as odd that there isn't more evidence today of the mutations that drive evolution?"" he asked.
""Like what?""
""Shouldn't we be seeing in today's living creatures the preview of the next million years of evolution? Where are the two-headed humans who will become overlords of the one-headed people, the fish with unidentified organs that will evolve to something useful over the next million years, the cats who are developing gills? We see some evidence of mutations today, but mostly trivial ones, not the sort of radical ones there must have been in the past, the sort that became precursors of brains, eyes, wings and internal organs""""

I could actually excerpt more from this chapter to discuss, but I'd probably just end up retyping the whole of it here.

For a start we are seeing evidence of evolution taking place on current species. For one, humans are evolving and it is now seen that some hand bones are fusing together, providing no disadvantage to those affected. Evolution is random, and it is only those mutations that confer an advantage on the individual that are selected upon. Any neutral or negative mutation is not selected upon and does not continue in the gene pool. I am therefore at a loss to try and work out why such things as ""two-headed humans"" would become overlords of the ""one-headed people"", why fish are evolving into anything else whatsoever just because aquatic creatures did so in the past, and why cats would need gills, as any cat owner will tell you, cats just abhor water.

The whole thought also that the mutations that produced "" ... brains, eyes, wings and internal organs"" were large, cataclysmic mutations also shows a VAST misunderstanding in the whole theory of evolution. How people can think that a creature was suddenly born with a fully functioning eye, brain or lung, is just unbelievable. Such things came about by very very small differences that conferred an advantage on the beholder so that they were passed down the genetic line. The tiniest of light-sensitive spots enabling the evasion of a predator for instance, which went on to have another small mutation, and another, and another, and another, for a million times or more, before it resembled anything close to a basic functioning eye. They didn't suddenly appear, fully developed and functioning, out of nowhere.

The author also fails to discuss the impact of humans on the current state of evolution. If there were to be a mutation like he seems to want - for two-headed humans, for instance - don't you think that the world's best doctors would be all over the ""patient"" before they'd reached their first birthday? Such anomalies would be operated away before you could even discuss what was happening. In the natural kingdom humans are routinely artificially mutating animals and plants for our own ""benefits"", while we're destroying natural habitats at such a rate we're killing the creature who live there. How are we to know how the dodo may have evolved, or how pandas or tigers may evolve, when we're doing our level best to manually make them extinct as quickly as we possibly can? There is no such thing as ""natural selection"" any more because humans seem intent on removing everything ""natural"" from this world.

I gave this book a score of 1, partly because there isn't a 0 score, but also it has been beneficial to me in one way. It's spurred me on to start reading some proper scientific books again. May I suggest any other readers who think this is a wonderful book start hunting out some Matt Ridley, Simon Singh, Richard Dawkins, Richard Fortey or David Attenborough for a start. These will provide you with much more interesting material, that will be a much better use of time spent, and which will be much more enjoyable to discuss with that ""smart friend ... while enjoying a tasty beverage"" as the author suggested.

Scott Adams. Stick to drawing cartoons."
Profile Image for Magdelanye.
1,653 reviews201 followers
December 7, 2014
"Intelligence is a measure of how well you function within your level of awareness.Your intelligence will stay about the same over your life. Awareness is entirely different....awareness involves recognizing your delusions for what they are. Most people's awareness will advance on or two levels in their lifetime." p123 "Over time, everything that is possible happens." p102

ReadingGod's Debris : A Thought Experimentwill give one's awareness a smart kick in the pants, and the world shifts to accomodate. "The best we can do is to update our delusions to fit the times." p47

One could hardly do better than to read this delightful and challenging volume.
The only thing I disagreed with was the caution in the introduction. Yes, this is a serious book, but it is also very funny. Somewhat like reality.
2 reviews1 follower
January 26, 2009
This is easily my favorite book that I have ever read. As the sub-title says, it is not quite a story, but more of a thought experiment. The author is Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert), but this is far from a humor book. "Metaphysics" is probably the closest term for it, as it makes your brain spin around inside your skull...in a good way.

The simple plot is this: What if there was a person who knew literally everything? Including how all of our current notions about the world around us -- science, philosophy, religion -- are wrong. What would a conversation with this person be like? Adams doesn't hold the beliefs in the book, and doesn't ask the reader to either. In fact, it's a lot more fun if you don't believe the theories, and try to figure out how they could possibly be wrong. It's a lot more difficult than you might think.

When I said that this is my favorite book, I mean that I will read it about 4 times a year. It clocks in at under 150 pages, can easily be read in a few hours, and is even available as a free .pdf from the author's website.
Profile Image for Hasini Garikapati.
77 reviews30 followers
March 17, 2015
Though, I picked up this book without any expectations, this 132 page book stands convincingly good, to expect as the book progresses.
Topics discussed range from God to Quantum Physics & Religion to Evolution. I have enjoyed some parts of the book, yet,a few arguments presented are vague.

Striking are the arguments presented on GOD (although the author claims them not to be funny, they are hilarious), patterns of thinking and layers of awareness. Thought provoking is the human intelligence centred on God, as the HUMAN presumes GOD to exist for him and stand at the foci of generating delusions. Paradoxically most of the author's arguments are supported with scientific facts although he states that science is a kind of belief system established by humans, which makes the arguments vague, yet convincing.On the flip side, some of the discussions are not too well constructed and appear contradictory- especially about Einstein's theory.

Also, the concept of God's debris (the very title of the book) seem to be abstract.The discussions presented at the start of the book are thought provoking and one would expect the same to hold through the rest of the book. However, the arguments presented later loose their gravity as the author jumps from one point to another in a random fashion.

The things I believe and take from this book, to ponder on are..

Is beyond the human brain to understand the world, as it exists, or does the brain compensates the lack of actual understanding by creating simplified illusions that act as a replacements for reality forming a pseudo world that exists according to the human understanding. If the illusions so formed work well in the realms of human brain and the human subscribes to the illusion which then survives, are these illusions are passed to new generations, which become real !!!

If the human brain is a delusion generator and the delusions, if fuelled by arrogance that humans are the centre of the world, that humans alone are endowed with the magical properties of souls and morality and free will and love, then what is the actuality !!!

All in all, I liked the book & compelled to suggest this book to my closed ones so that I can hold some discussions. I would like to read the sequel too though not in immediate future.
Profile Image for Cem.
149 reviews41 followers
July 19, 2016
İnsanın beynini yoğuran,kafasını yoran soru cevaplar var bir sürü.

Tanrı'ya inanıyor muyuz?Yoksa inanmanın yararına mı inanıyoruz?

"Diyelim ki,sen ve ben aynı yere ayrı yollardan gitmeye karar veriyoruz.Sende mavi,bende ise yeşil bir harita var.Hiçbiri olası bütün rotaları göstermiyor fakat ikisi de istikamete giden farklı ama kabul edilebilir birer yol gösteriyor.İkimiz de yolculuğumuzu yapar ve güvenli bir şekilde geri dönersek,başkalarına haritalarımızın başarısından bahsederdik.Ben tam bir inançla yeşil haritanın mükemmel olduğunu söylerdim ve insanları diğer haritadan sakınmaları konusunda uyarabilirdim.Sen de mavi haritan hakkında aynı inancı hissederdin."
Profile Image for R..
898 reviews111 followers
October 15, 2019
An important philosophical document, the perfect gift, a superior stocking stuffer, for moms, doms, subs, bubs, cool cats, old bats, dads and grads. Heck, even our greatest social influencers, THOTs and bots, shouldn't dismiss it as pandering to take a gandering.
Profile Image for Paul.
Author 1 book47 followers
June 25, 2013
In God’s Debris, Dilbert creator Scott Adams tries his hand at philosophy and lets the reader know right from the introduction what to expect. Adams makes no pretense of this being a great work of literature and admits that the story is little more than a framing narrative for the ideas that he wants to discuss. Although his introduction may seem defensive, as if to pre-empt criticism or make excuses, knowing what to expect with this book was far preferable than the disappointment I felt with The Final Summit.

As someone who agrees with most of what was said, this book, which reflects a pandeistic outlook on the nature of God and the universe, had a “preaching to the choir” vibe and I had few issues with anything in the first three quarters. One early part that stood out, however, was the claim that “religious people are happier, they live longer, have fewer accidents, and stay out of trouble compared to nonreligious people”. I wondered if this was backed by an actual study or statistics, or just something that Adams made up because it seemed true and fit his argument. Also, is “religious” intended to mean people who follow organized religions, or does it include people who would consider themselves spiritual, without necessarily following a particular faith (like a deist)? It may seem like a petty complaint, but it sticks out as an unclear passage with a questionable conclusion in a discussion that is otherwise easy to understand and makes an effort to “prove” its conjectures.

I also disagreed with the way in which he presented the advice “be yourself” as a dichotomy: “If it means to do what you think you ought to do, then you’re doing that already. If it means to act like you’re exempt from society’s influence, then that’s the worst advice in the world”. First of all, just because one might believe they are exempt from society’s influence does not mean that they “would probably stop bathing and wearing clothes”. Being exempt from society’s influence could just mean approaching its norms critically (rather than always doing the opposite of everything it says). Furthermore, I have always took “be yourself” to mean that one should reflect on their desires and actions and make certain that they are doing it because it makes them happy, not someone else. This does not affect the point he makes in this chapter, but it does highlight how certain ideas are glossed over. Furthermore, framing concepts as dichotomies to advance a point is a recurring problem in this work.

The above, however, is also an excellent example of what is great about this book: it gets your mind going and it has plenty of material to discuss. I did find, however, that it began to weaken near the end. For example, he writes off evil as “any action that might damage people”, but does not seem to realize that any action might damage people. Philosophers have devoted their entire canon to disproving the existence of evil; it might be argued, for example, that we cannot judge whether an action is good or evil because we can never experience every consequence of every consequence ad infinitum of our actions. For a book that defines God as probability (and debris), wouldn’t it have made more sense to suggest that evil is “any action whose results have a high probability of damaging people”, and then maybe throw in a discussion about the perpetrator’s intentions? And what if it damages some people, but helps many more? Or the same amount? Or damages many people emotionally, but saves half a dozen lives? In any case, for a book like this to say what it does and then reaffirm the “good vs. evil” dichotomy without much critical thought was disappointing.

I also thought his analysis of “worshiping” God by obeying the laws of probability and increasing your chances of living was poorly fleshed out. Even setting aside the fact that his examples are overly simplistic and that the slippery slope of such philosophy might be spending all your time calculating how to best increase your chances of living, it is problematic. For example, because car accidents are more frequent than accidents that happen to people when they are walking, one should never drive anywhere if their primary objective is to increase their chances of living, even if that made their life incredibly inconvenient or unhappy. If that is too extreme, then who determines what the appropriate level of “increasing your chances of living” is?

On the whole, however, God’s Debris keeps itself together enough to make for a worthwhile read. This book is probably not going to change anyone’s life, as there is just too much to absorb and much of it is not developed enough to be easily retained, but I do not feel that that was Adams’ intention in writing this. After all, there can only be one “Avatar” at a time, so the idea is not to live your life like the old man. Instead, I feel that this is a book full of ideas that one can use as a jumping off point to start a conversation, or maybe just get their mind going and thinking in a new way. Overall, this is not only a quick read (at 132 pages), but can also be acquired for free from the publisher as a PDF. Thus there is no reason I can think of not to read it; maybe it is not everyone’s “thing”, but I believe that, if one takes their time and reads it slowly, with an open mind, then almost anyone can find at least something in this book to make it worth reading.
Profile Image for Rob Warner.
228 reviews3 followers
June 13, 2011
Humankind has advanced understanding with respect to medicine, physics, anatomy, the cosmos, psychology, geology, geography . . . in short, in virtually every field, with each succeeding generation building on the truths established by previous generations, debunking myths, clarifying truths, unveiling reality through experimentation and observation, and so forth. The one field in which we spin our wheels is religion. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go when we leave this life? What, exactly, is the nature of God? As no one can definitely establish truths around these controversial subjects, we don't build understanding on generally-recognized truths. Rather, philosophers establish their own ideas for answers to these questions. This is The Dilbert Guy's take on Who Is God and Why Are We Here and What Is The Meaning of Life (imposing capitals and, indeed, the phrases themselves come from me, not Adams).

Adams' attempt is actually a good read. He builds on ideas from science that Plato and Kierkegaard didn't have access to, so his book isn't factless drivel, and provokes thought if you're willing to read, understand, and think through implications of his story. He takes logical leaps in places, assuming his arguments have proved things that I don't they have, and this book probably isn't going to shake you from things you firmly believe, but it's worth reading both to hear his ideas and also to appreciate how deeply we as a people want answers about our origins and our futures.
Profile Image for Jim Clouse.
4 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2015
This book was a thinly veiled argument in favor of creationism.
I was really getting into the story and thinking it was a really cool concept. Nearly halfway through, alarm bells started to sound in my head. The main character (who speaks from a position of absolute knowledge) throws evolution under the bus. He compares what evolution of living things looks like to our archaeologists to what our pottery today might look like to a future archaeologist - they would think that "bowls evolved into plates and coffee cups and stainless-steel frying pans". What!? He then follows it right up with implying that people who are skeptics (ie. critical thinkers), are part of a cult. "Because skeptics views are at odds with the majority of the world, they become intellectually and emotionally isolated. That sort of environment is a recipe for cult thinking and behavior". What I took this to mean, because it followed directly after the ideas about fossils not actually being old, was that the creationist viewpoint is the majority viewpoint, and those who question it are part of some cult of invalid thinking.

Don't get me wrong, I love my ideas being challenged, and I'm still glad I read this book. There were very interesting ideas (outside of creationism talking points) that were fun to think about. But I still felt like the whole book was a setup to push the creationist ideas and question the validity of modern science.
July 11, 2008
Thought-provoking, but not consistently well thought out. For example, it starts with the assumption that if God existed he would commit suicide (hence the Big Bang, and the book's title), self-destruction being the only goal challenging enough to hold the interest of an omnipotent being -- as if the desire to take on difficult challenges were somehow the inevitable result of high intelligence, rather than a contingent fact about one particular species psychology. Adams tries to take an unorthodox look at God, but he falls into the same old trap of assuming that God would of course be capable of experiencing boredom, the desire to be loved, and so on (though I suppose a being who just happens to have hominid psychology without having evolved is no less ludicrous than one who just happens to be super-intelligent).

The book explores a variety of topics, from probability to pop psychology, with varying degrees of insight, but generally Adams' questions are more interesting and useful than his answers.
Profile Image for Mark Vargo.
133 reviews1 follower
March 9, 2015
A stark reminder that success in one field does not make you an expert in another. I should have guessed that there would be issues when the foreword warned that young readers would like it better than older readers. Not that I think age had a lot to do with it, but it was clear that the author applied nowhere near the intellectual rigor to his own ideas that he used for the religious beliefs of others. There are thousands of years of debate over issues like free will and instead we get something that came off like the vague musings of a sophomore in his first philosophy class after an ill-advised night of shrooms.
Profile Image for Sean.
7 reviews
December 29, 2008
Adams also writes the comic strip Dilbert, but this book is completely different. i thought this was a good read and i'd recommend it to others; however, i'd be careful to only recommend it to folks who are not too religious as this book might not be enjoyable to these individuals.
Profile Image for Tom.
662 reviews5 followers
December 13, 2017
A series of loosely connected Socratic dialogues designed to make the reader think. While I'm not sure I liked the initial premise, I did like how it was worked out through the book. One reading (like any philosophical text) is likely not enough for this book. It is meant to be re-read for contemplation.
Profile Image for Cillu Magellan.
33 reviews1 follower
December 30, 2022
If you're in the mood to think, read this. This could be just another map, yet another curious bee's perspective through a painted glass pane. But if it's a delusion that makes it easier to go on, then I say why not?
Profile Image for Jay French.
2,041 reviews74 followers
February 9, 2017
I have fond memories of attending college in Urbana in the eighties, and some of those memories revolve around the public discussions about religion and philosophy led by travelling folks I recall as Reverend Max and Cindy. There were more, but Max and Cindy were memorable. Max would draw a crowd of dozens on the back patio of the Student Union on the Quad in all weather and seasons, and there were always more than a few there to heckle the sermon, with Max often taking the bait. And being an intellectual community, there were also some students playing what I call “stump the band”. They would bring up logical contradictions in belief in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good being. I remember these lively debates, and “God’s Debris” is a book that repeats a couple dozen of these contradictions and unintended logical consequences. The book is written in a series of short chapters of an old man conversing with a delivery man, and some of the conversation could have been taken from those days on the Quad. I enjoyed reliving these contradictions, although the story structure in which this is presented made it feel too new-agey. And in a chapter or two near the end, this turned into a new-age Dale Carnegie book, suggesting how our delivery driver could meet girls. Despite this odd turn, overall I enjoyed the book and would read more by the author in this vein. And look at his comic strips.
Profile Image for Winta Assefa.
3 reviews
November 12, 2018
'That certain age varies by person, but if you’re over fifty-five (mentally) you probably won’t enjoy this thought experiment. If you’re eighty going on thirty-five, you might like it. If you’re twenty-three, your odds of liking it are very good.'

That part annoyed me. I don't like being told that my reaction to anything is predictable. Being told that my odds of liking anything would be pretty good' is a good way of getting on my nerves. I think it's unfair to start any book with that mindset.

Still, the book is just a novella and it was the tail end of summer so I thought, let me check off one more book before the summer ends- it'd help me reach my target quicker. So this book has two or three surprise moments for me: somewhere around the middle and about two-thirds through. Otherwise, it's not completely unlike anything else I've read before. It reminds me a little with Poelho Coelho's The Alchemist and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Not a big fan of either of the books. The later managed to shock me, keep me up for most of the night and brought on a major headache. It was the first 'big-revelation sensationalist' book I've read so that big reaction was inevitable, I guess.

Now, only some residue of the big revelations he talked about and the memory of Brown's terrible writing remain. Oh, I also remember the rebuttal book my friend gave me, 'The Da Vinci Deception'. I didn’t like what I read from there either, It brings to mind the book wars of nineteenth century Russia. I love what they did there. If one hates a book, they can counter it by writing another book. A lot of great books were produced in those wars.
Oops, we were talking about Adams.

So, if you ignore the intro, this book is actually a cool, gripping reading experience. It's the type of mental exercise that does not show all of the results immediately; the book grows on you with time.

'I settled into the rocking chair, letting its rhythm unwind me. It was profoundly relaxing. The room seemed more vivid now and vibrated with the personality of its master. The furniture was obviously designed for comfort. Everything in the room was made of stone or wood or plant, mostly autumn colors. It was as if the room had sprung directly from the earth into the middle of San Francisco.'

Ooh how much I wanted to be in that rocking chair next to that old man right then. Except I'd always have this lingering thought that the guy could be a sadistic serial killer. He had probably killed off all of the other members of that desolate house. I'd think that he may be concealing a gun under the thick blanket he's wearing- and that I'd be next.

Maybe it's just because I've been reading Alice Sebald's Lovely Bones, a story narrated by a fourteen year old victim of rape and dismemberment by a neighbor. ‘Her ghost’ talks about the aftermath of her violent murder, how her family copes, what her murderer does next etc.
I went off on a tangent again.

We were talking about another book. Yes, God's Debris. Like I mentioned Adams starts this book with an author's note. This one sounds more like a warning. Then, the entire book is a dialogue between two men. It reminded me with a film I had watched recently.
It was also about existential conversations between two men.

I liked the HBO film Sunset Limited’s version of this sort of dialogue more. At least that had Tommy Lee Jones acting weak against Samuel L. Jackson's vibrant, funny character.
“If you believe a truck is coming toward you, you will jump out of the way. That is belief in the reality of the truck. If you tell people you fear the truck but do nothing to get out of the way, that is not belief in the truck. Likewise, it is not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starvation. When belief does not control your most important decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief in the usefulness of believing.
“Are you saying God doesn’t exist?” I asked, trying to get to the point. “I’m saying that people claim to believe in God, but most don’t literally believe. They only act as though they believe because there are earthly benefits in doing so. They create a delusion for themselves because it makes them happy.” “So you think only the atheists believe their own belief?” I asked. “No. Atheists also prefer delusions,” he said. “So according to you, no one believes anything that they say they believe.” “The best any human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. This is why people of different religions can generally live in peace. At some level, we all suspect that other people don’t believe their own religion any more than we believe ours.” I couldn’t accept that. “Maybe the reason we respect other religions is that they all have a core set of beliefs in common. They only differ in the details. If the Jews or the Christians or the Muslims have the right religion, then the Hindus and Buddhists who believe in reincarnation are wrong. Would you call those details?” “I guess not,” I confessed. “At some level of consciousness, everyone knows that the odds of picking the true religion—if such a thing exists—are nil"

"Religions are like different maps whose routes all lead to the collective good of society. Some maps take their followers over rugged terrain. Other maps have easier paths. Some of the travelers of each route will be assigned the job of being the protectors and interpreters of the map. They will teach the young to respect it and be suspicious of other maps.” “Okay,” I said, “but who made the maps in the first place?” “The maps were made by the people who went first and didn’t die. The maps that survive are the ones that work,” he said. At last, he had presented a target for me to attack. “Are you saying that all the religions work? What about all the people who have been killed in religious wars?” “You can’t judge the value of a thing by looking only at costs. In many countries, more people die from hospital errors than religious wars, but no one accuses hospitals of being evil. Religious people are happier, they live longer, have fewer accidents, and stay out of trouble compared to nonreligious people. From society’s viewpoint, religion works"
"The advice to ‘be yourself’ is obviously nonsense. But our brains accept this tripe as wisdom because it is more comfortable to believe we have a strategy for life than to believe we have no idea how to behave"
"Clinical psychologists have proven that ordinary people will alter their memories of the past to make them fit their perceptions. It is the way all normal brains function under ordinary circumstance "

“Our language and our minds are too limited to deal with anything but a fixed reality, regardless of whether such a thing exists. The best we can do is to update our delusions to fit the time."

"But what makes evolution happen?” he asked. “Where did all the energy come from and how did it become so organized?” It was a good question."

Adams also classified people based on their behavior.
There are two types of people in the world, my young friend. One type is people-oriented. When they make conversation, it is about people—what people are doing, what someone said, how someone feels. The other group is idea-oriented. When they make conversation, they talk about ideas and concepts and objects.”
Several times, the writer also dabbles with psychology and politics.
“Another way to look at affirmations is as a communication channel between your conscious and subconscious mind. Your subconscious is often better than your rational mind at predicting your future. If your subconscious allows you to write ‘I will be a famous ballerina’ fifteen times a day for a year, it’s telling you something. Your subconscious is saying it likes your odds, that it will allow you to make the sacrifices, that it will give you the satisfaction you need to weather the hard work ahead. On the other hand, if you try writing your affirmation for a few days and find it too bothersome, your subconscious is giving you a clear message that it doesn’t like your odds.” “I don’t see why my subconscious would be better than my conscious mind at predicting my future. I thought the subconscious was irrational,”

“Awareness is about unlearning. It is the recognition that you don’t know as much as you thought you knew."

“The great leaders in this world are always the least rational among us. They exist at the second level of awareness. Charismatic leaders have a natural ability bring people into their delusion. They convince people to act against self-interest and pursue the leaders’ visions of the greater good. Leaders make citizens go to war to seize land they will never live on and to kill people who have different religions.” “Not all leaders are irrational,” I argued. “The most effective ones are. You don’t often see math geniuses or logic professors become great leaders. Logic is a detriment to leadership.” “Well, irrational leadership must work. The world seems to be chugging along fairly well, overall.” “It works because people’s delusions are, on average, in balance. The Avatar keeps it so by occasionally introducing new ideas when needed.” “Do you think an idea can change the world that much?” I asked. “Ideas are the only things that can change the world. The rest is detail."'
“Virtually no one questions the desirability of the Internet. It seems that humans are born with the instinct to create it and embrace it. The instinct of beavers is to build dams; the instinct of humans is to build communication system'.”
Regarding the last paragraph, maybe humans embraced the internet so excitedly because it’s the only way people can have ‘me too’ moments of all sorts, on a much grander scale than was ever deemed possible.
Now, the paragraphs are from my favourite chapter in the book, Skeptics' Disease:
"I have some friends who are skeptics,” I said. “They’re in that Skeptics Society. I think they’d tear you apart.” “Skeptics,” he said, “suffer from the skeptics’ disease— the problem of being right too often.” “How’s that bad?” I asked. “If you are proven to be right a hundred times in a row, no amount of evidence will convince you that you are mistaken in the hundred-and-first case. You will be seduced by your own apparent infallibility. Remember that all scientific experiments are performed by human beings and the results are subject to human interpretation. The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth. Everyone, including skeptics, will generate delusions that match their views. That is how a normal and healthy brain works. Skeptics are not exempt from self-delusion.''
"Skeptics know that human perceptions are faulty,” I argued. “That’s why they have a scientific process and they insist on repeating experiments to see if results are consistent. Their scientific method virtually eliminates subjectivity.” “The scientific approach also makes people think and act in groups,” he countered. “They form skeptical societies and create skeptical publications. They breathe each other’s fumes and they demonize those who do not share their scientific methods. Because skeptics’ views are at odds with the majority of the world, they become emotionally and intellectually isolated. That sort of environment is a recipe for cult thinking and behavior. Skeptics are not exempt from normal human brain functions. It is a human tendency to become what you attack. Skeptics attack irrational thinkers and in the process become irrational."
This book claims to be mental exercise. I'd awaited a harder workout.
But, the contrast of the cozy setting against the heavy ideas in the air remind me with a movie I watched recently, called The Shack. It’s as if along with the narrator, the reader can feel free to float and get lost in some dark, unfamiliar terrains with the intuitive knowledge that at the end of it all, ‘the fall’ back into reality is quite safe. The sober writing, the short length, and Adam’s to-the-point approach also really help in making this readable.

October 4, 2021
This book has a major "I'm 14 and this is deep" vibe. The "thought experiment" touches on tens of different subjects through a dialogue between Avatar (the mentor) and the courier. The dialogue is set up in a way to make the Avatar sound profound regardless of how much sense there is in what he's saying. From the stuff the Avatar says most of it is plain silly and misguided if you give it just a bit more thought than the courier does. The rest comes comes close to some good ideas (taken from buddhism or psychology, for example), but most of the time the author himself misses the original point altogether.

In the intro the author is analyzing his own work. He comes to the conclusion people who don't enjoy his book must not like new ideas - this really rubbed me the wrong way. My first reaction was to try and get the refund for the book while I still could. In the end I figured the author might actually have some interesting new ideas to offer and if I didn't look into them I'd just prove him right.

He doesn't. Save your time and money and skip this one.
Profile Image for Suhrob.
400 reviews51 followers
November 25, 2015
Not sure how to rate this.

On the surface level this is a pretty bad late night dorm-room-3rd-bottle-of-wine type of cosmology/theology/philosophy baked together of misunderstood bits of physics, evolutionary biology, good ol' mysticim etc.

On the other hand Adams' says that this is an experiment - a discussion topic, where you are supposed to debug and distinguish between the non-sense and the good bits.

That would be fair enough, except what is worrisome is that most of the things he says about physics, evolution and scientific method are wrong, while the short parts on relationships and communications (which is much closer to his area of expertise) seem mostly correct (sure - coarsely grained, but correct). That makes me a bit suspicious.

There are a few good "perspective" building quotes and overall it is about 100% better than the atrocious Ishmael so it deserves a 100% more stars.
Profile Image for Cat Noe.
404 reviews22 followers
October 10, 2015
This started out light and cheerful, with hints of Spinoza, which I took to be a very good sign.

I should have stopped reading while I was still happy. This contained a few ideas that, though certainly not original, were useful and quite true, interspersed with what seemed to be scraps of random nonsense, and spotted with obvious untruths. The overall effect was, well, about what you'd expect if you took a model replica of the Sistine Chapel, gave it to a five year old with a tray of fingerpaints, then let the kid have at. This is a very precocious kid, mind you, but still an unmitigated disaster, as far as art goes. Or science, or any other field to which you'd care to apply the analogy.

At least it was short.
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