Sunday, 6 January 2013

God's Debris: A Thought Experiment

Author: Scott Adams

Published: 2001

What They Say: In God's Debris, best-selling author and creator of Dilbert Scott Adams fashioned a thought-provoking exploration of life's great mysteries (everything from quantum physics and God to psychic phenomena and dating) that quickly captured the attention and imaginations of readers everywhere.

The intriguing story of a deliveryman who meets the world's smartest person and learns the secret of reality is threaded with a variety of hypnosis techniques that Adams, a certified hypnotist, used to induce a feeling of euphoric enlightenment in readers to mirror the main character's feelings as he discovers the true nature of the universe.

As Adams designed it, the book will "make your brain spin around inside your skull".The book provides one of the most compelling visions of reality ever experienced on the printed page. Along the way, readers will enjoy the Thought Experiment: Trying to discover what's wrong with the sage's explanation of reality. This is a book, as Adams says, to be shared and savoured with smart friends.

What Elaine Says: An interesting little piece but not quite the mind trip I was anticipating.  Adams is quick to state in his introduction that this book in anyway reflects his personal opinions.  He also tells us that "The central character states a number of scientific 'facts'.  Some of his weirder statements are consistent with what scientists generally believe. Some of what he says is creative baloney". So why bother?

Well the book, as titled, is a thought experiment.  It's intention is to get you thinking and talking but unfortunately I think it's a purpose it falls just short of.  Some of the ideas put forward are interesting, some mildly amusing and others just stupid but none are really developed enough to spark any truly interesting debate.  As intriguing as the introduction and concept are, Adams seems to lose any sense towards the end and far from provoking thought, I found myself dismissing it.

However not all is lost.  Adams has released a second book, The Religion War, which may take these ideas further.   

It's only a little book (140 pages) and available to download for free (see link below), so if you have any interest in science, philosophy or religion, by all means give it a read. It's definitely a fun read.  Just don't waste much serious thought on it.
Elaine's Rating: 6/10

 “What does it mean to be yourself?” he asked. “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, that’s the worst advice in the world; you would probably stop bathing and wearing clothes.  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.”

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