God's Debris


God's Debris

"God's Debris: A Thought Experiment" (ISBN 0-7407-4787-8) is a 2001 novella by "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams.

"God's Debris" creates a philosophy based on the idea that the simplest explanation tends to be the best (a corruption of Occam's Razor). It surmises that an omnipotent God annihilated himself in the Big Bang, because an omniscient God would already know everything possible except his own lack of existence, and exists now as the smallest units of matter and the law of probability, or "God's debris", hence the title.

Description

The central character, according to the introduction, knows "everything. Literally everything." Adams, whose knowledge is as incomplete as the next person, got around this by using the aforementioned "simplest explanation" for each concept raised in the book because, while "in this complicated world the simplest explanation is usually dead wrong", a more simple explanation often sounds more right and more convincing than anything complicated.

This character, the Avatar, defines God as primordial matter (like quarks and leptons) and the law of probability. He offers recommendations on everything from an alternative theory for planetary motion to successful recipes for relationships under his system. He proposes that God is currently reassembling himself through the ongoing formation of a collective intelligence in the form of the human race, modern examples of which include the development of the Internet; this is related to the idea of the Omega point.

However, in the introduction, Adams describes "God's Debris" as a thought experiment, challenging readers to differentiate its scientifically accepted theories from "creative baloney designed to sound true," and to "Try to figure out what's wrong with the simplest explanation." ["God's Debris", page XI]

Levels of consciousness

The chapter "Fifth Level" of (p. 124) describes five levels of human awareness, or consciousness.
* Level 1: Consciousness at birth: pure innocence, self-awareness.
* Level 2: Awareness of others, and acceptance of authority (a belief system).
* Level 3: Awareness that some beliefs may be wrong, but not which ones.
* Level 4: Skepticism and adoption of scientific method.
* Level 5: Avatar level, understanding that the mind is a delusion-generating machine, and that science is another belief system, although a useful one.

Philosophical roots

This book can be classified as a modern version of the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. Its only deviation is the statement that "There is only one Avatar at a time", whereas in Hindu mythology there can be multiple avatars existing simultaneously. For example, in the Ramayana, Rama and his three brothers were said to be the avatars of Vishnu. Another similarity the book bears to Vedantic texts, such as the Gita and Upanishads, is its narrative style. Much like these ancient texts, it has a question and answer format between two characters in a fictional setting.

"God's Debris" also subscribes to the Lakoffian point of view. George Lakoff said: "Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature."

Adams' system can be construed as a form of pandeism, the concept that God created the universe by becoming the universe.

Publication

Given Adams' fame as the author of the Dilbert comics, publishers were wary of publishing any book by Adams without Dilbert content. The book was therefore released initially as an e-book (with comparatively small "publishing" costs). Based on its rapid success, however, it was also quickly released in hardcover format. The book can now be found for free online (see external links below).

The book has its critics, both on the theories and on the narrative style.Fact|date=November 2007 However, the introduction disclaims any personal views held by the author, "The opinions and philosophies expressed by the characters are not my own, except by coincidence in a few spots not worth mentioning". ["God's Debris", page X]

See also

*"The Religion War", the follow-up to "God's Debris"
*Brahman
*Advaita Vedanta
*"The Footprints of God", novel written by author Greg Iles.
*"", work by Edgar Allan Poe.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/products/?isbn=0740747878 Information at Andrews McMeel Publishing]
* [http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/godsdebris/ Official free online copy of the book]


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