God's Debris: A Thought Experiment

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Overview

God's Debris is the first non-Dilbert, 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 ...

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God's Debris: A Thought Experiment

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Overview

God's Debris is the first non-Dilbert, 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.

 It has no violence or sex, but the ideas are powerful and not appropriate for readers under fourteen.

What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? God's Debris isn't the final answer to the Big Questions. But it might be the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"A thought experiment wrapped in a story...designed to make your brain spin around inside your skull." That's how Scott Adams describes his first non-Dilbert book, published in 2001 and now finally available in paperback. God's Debris is the story of a package, an old man, God, quantum physics, evolution, and a few other things. It is a fable you will remember long after you've lost the book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780740747878
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 379,492
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert (www.dilbert.com), which appears in more than 2,000 newspapers in sixty-five countries. Scott has twenty-nine books in print with more than eleven million copies sold, including two number one New York Times best-sellers. He is CEO of Scott Adams Foods, Inc. and co-owner of two restaurants, Stacey's Café in Pleasanton, California and Stacey's at Waterford. The author, cartoonist, engineer, artist, restaurateur, actor, hypnotist, and entrepreneur live in Northern California.

Biography

Back when he was a lowly office worker slaving under fluorescent lights and drinking bad coffee at an unsatisfying string of office jobs, Scott Adams would try to stave off some of the mind-numbing boredom he faced each day by doodling a little comic strip about a hapless office drone he called Dilbert. As he worked, Adams filed away the fodder for his fledgling comic strip. Today, Dilbert is officially an empire -- and Adams is the CEO.

Adams didn't start his career path intending to become a workplace warrior. As he told FamousVeggie.com, he graduated high-school as valedictorian "because the other 39 people in my class couldn't spell ‘valedictorian.'" After earning a B.A. in economics at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, Adams went on to earn an M.B.A. at the University of California at Berkeley. Adding an interesting twist to his education, he also managed to pick up a Certified Hypnotist diploma from the Clement School of Hypnosis in 1981.

After college, during his often-brief tenure at a series of low-paying, low-on-the-totem-pole jobs at corporations from Crocker National Bank in San Francisco to Pacific Bell in San Ramon, Adams started to wonder if his sanity-saving doodles really could rescue him from a life spent working for The Man. Acting on a tip from a kindly fellow cartoonist, he picked up the 1988 Artist Markets guide and simply followed the instructions on how to get syndicated. He mailed out fifty sample Dilbert strips, and was offered a contract by United Media within weeks.

Adams's first attempt writing an actual book was 1996's The Dilbert Principle, which became a number one New York Times bestseller and one of the top-selling business books of all time. More than just a compilation of Adams's cartoons, the book included essays on the trials and tribulations of corporate culture. "Each one is on target and deliciously sardonic," said Booklist in its review. "Sometimes too true to be funny." Today, the strip continues its clip as the fastest-growing cartoon of all time, and is enjoyed daily by 150 million people in 1,900 newspapers, in 56 countries.

Transitioning from comic compilations to full books was a challenge for Adams. As he admitted to Salon.com, "Drawing the comic strip is fun -- it can actually increase my energy. I feel good when I'm doing it, and I feel good when it's done. But writing just sucks the energy right out of me. I find that after about an hour of writing sometimes I have to jump on the floor and fall asleep, right now. It's so much harder than it looks."

When he's not helping Dilbert bring a smile to the faces of the working wounded, Adams moonlights as a restaurateur, running two successful Stacey's Cafés in Northern California. He has also founded the Scott Adams Foods company, home of the Dilberito™ -- a protein-packed burrito perfect for the office microwave.

Good To Know

Adams describes himself as a "a cat-loving, vegetarian tennis player."

His past jobs include bank teller, computer programmer, financial analyst, product manager, loan officer, corporate strategist, and pseudo-engineer. Says Adams, "I was incompetent in each of those fields, but for some reason no one ever noticed."

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    1. Hometown:
      Danville, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 8, 1957
    2. Place of Birth:
      Catskill, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Hartwick College, 1979; M.B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1986

Introduction

Introduction

By Scott Adams

This is not a Dilbert book. It contains no humor. I call it a 99-page thought experiment wrapped in a fictional story. I'll explain the thought experiment part later.

God's Debris is not being published in the old-fashioned dead-tree way because it doesn't fit into normal publishing cubbyholes. There is even disagreement about whether the material is fiction or non-fiction. I contend that it is fiction because the characters don't exist. Some people contend that it is non-fiction because the opinions and philosophies of the characters might have lasting impact on the reader.

The story contains no violence, no sexual content and no offensive language. But the ideas expressed by the characters are inappropriate for young minds. People under the age of 14 should not read it.

The target audience for God's Debris is people who enjoy having their brains spun around inside their skulls. After a certain age most people are uncomfortable with new ideas. That certain age varies by person, but if you're over 55 (mentally) you probably won't enjoy this thought experiment. If you're 80 going on 35, you might like it. If you're 23, your odds of liking it are very good. If you're a literary critic, keep in mind that I hate you, too, and I said it first.

The story's central character has a view about God that you've probably never heard before. If you think you would be offended by a fictional character's untraditional view of God, please don't read this.

The opinions and philosophies expressed by the characters are not my own, except by coincidence in a few spots not worth mentioning. Please don't write me with passionate explanations of why my views are wrong. You won't discover my opinions by reading my fiction.

The central character in God's Debris knows everything. Literally everything. This presented a challenge to me as a writer. When you consider all of the things that can be known, I don't know much. My solution was to create smart-sounding answers using the skeptic's creed:

The simplest explanation is usually right.

My experience tells me that in this complicated world the simplest explanation is usually dead wrong. But I've noticed that the simplest explanation usually sounds right and is far more convincing than any complicated explanation could hope to be. That's good enough for my purposes here.

The simplest explanation approach turned out to be more provocative than I expected. The simplest explanations for the Big Questions ended up connecting paths that don't normally get connected. The description of reality in God's Debris isn't true, as far as I know, but it's oddly compelling. Therein lies the thought experiment:

Try to figure out what's wrong with the simplest explanations.

The central character states a number of scientific "facts." Some of his weirdest statements are consistent with what scientists generally believe. Some of what he says is creative baloney designed to sound true. See if you can tell the difference.

You might love this thought experiment wrapped in a story. Or you might hate it. But you won't easily get it out of your mind. For maximum enjoyment, share your legal copy with a smart friend and then discuss it while enjoying a tasty beverage.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2009

    A modern take on pandeism

    Given the title, it's no great spoiler to point out that the basic idea underlying Adams' first major publication in the area of philosophy (in a Socratic dialogue no less!!) is pandeism. Pandeism is the belief that God became the Universe, generally through some form of transformative transfer enacting carefully crafted laws of physics. Adams employs a particularly violent take on this theme, which I won't give away here, not will I give away the mechanism Adams suggests for the restoration of the Universe to being God, also an element common to most strains of pandeism. Altogether an enjoyable discourse with characters just deep enough to make you forget that what you're really getting here is a philosophy lesson!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2014

    great read

    Fantastic book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    A great book, gave it to several friends and we have had many a long discussion about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2008

    Great!

    Adams packs a lot in what seems to be a short story (I finished the entire book in under 2 hours). Most of the book is a philosphical discussion between a UPS delivery man and an old man (called the Avatar). The discussion is just as good as anything I have read by Plato (I am thinking of The Apology) and basically tries to define who is God and what is his purpose. Towards the end of the discussion, the Avatar gives the deliveryman some great advice about relationships and life. I really enjoyed Adam's preface at the beginning that basically tells you not to expect Dilbert or any comic moments like the Dilbert strips. Adams is excellent deviating from what he is known for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    Enjoyable.

    Although at times the story and character became dull, it was an overall good read. It makes you think.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2006

    Not the answer

    I don't think the purpose of this book is to give the Great Answer to the Big Question it says just that on the back cover. For me, this book was made to make me think, or at least entertain me for a short while. After finishing the book, I came away from it with a smile on my face, because I had found something I was looking for. The way things are today, there are only two 'acceptable' answers to the Big Question. Here is a third answer that makes sense. This is not to say that the this third answer is the real Answer, but it proves the point that what we think we know now is based on what we can do now. There are answers to questions out there that we haven't even asked, simply because we don't know they can be asked. That is what this book says to me. A great read, but don't pick it apart trying to seperate fact from fiction. The fun of the book is that you forget about that distinction. And if you find it boring and useless, just remember that it was less than $15.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2006

    Awesome book!!! Read it TWICE IN A ROW!!!

    A delivery boy delivers a package to an old man and they end up having a philosophical discussion. But don't get me wrong, they may be doing nothing but talking but this book is anything but boring. It had me completely captivated from the first page. As someone who's done some intense thinking from a really young age, it's hard for me to be shocked by any new ideas so although it didn't surprise me with wild new ideas, it was pretty amazing how a few lines actually gave me goose bumps making me feel like I'd had some shocking new revelation. I absolutely loved the amazingly simplistic way in which Scott Adams presents some really complex ideas. This book is SO easy to read , it's an absolute DELITE. As I said, I read it twice in a row! If you love to think and have thought of everything, you'll find this intriguing little book highly entertaining and intellectually stimulating in a refreshingly relaxing way. If you don't like to think too much, you just might love this book even more because it certainly has the power to blow your mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2004

    A Fascinating Short Reader!!!

    God's Debris is a thought provoker. I would definetly recommend! This book was incredibly captivating. It is a theory presented in a story, and intricately ties details in amazing ways. I would recommend it to people of all faiths, all backgrounds, and all scientific beliefs. Further, I would recommend it for reading groups, because it is a book worth discussion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2004

    I had more fun criticizing this book than i did reading it.

    If you're looking for a watered-down version of fundamental theories that have been around for centuries, then this book is for you! Adams is seriously over-estimating himself when he claims that 'the book will make your brain spin around inside your skull.' The fact that the book is fiction mixed with fact is supposed to be fun, b/c you can try and figure out what's fact and what's made up (or something), which was only frustrating for me. If this book is thought provoking for you, you have obviously never read a book on basic philosophy. I should have been tipped off by the fact that this was the #1 e-book on the planet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2003

    Incredible

    I bought this book over a year ago and loaned it to a someone and they have not returned it. they loaned it to someone and they loaned it to someone else. we all know how it goes but this is one of the most thought invoking reads I have ever had the pleasure to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2003

    Read for HOURS of discussion!!!

    This book is the most idea provoking book i have ever read. When Adams say this is a god book to sit a discuss witha friend ...that is and understatment. Pick up a few bevrages. You will be talking for hours about the ideas brought about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2003

    Compelling

    I have to admit, I have the concentration span of a 1 yr. old at the best of times. This book sucked me in and helped me to relate my own thoughts and ideas to something that made sense. After reading this book I was able to put them together in a way that seemed clear. I read this book in just two hours. I just couldn't stop. It is compelling, humorous at times, and insightful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2002

    My Favorite Book

    I used to tell people i didnt have a favorite book, or movie, because i didnt like to limit myself to favorites when there are so many options...then i read this book and i thought it was wonderful...i started and finished this book in one night at work and i decided that i now have a favorite book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2001

    Excellent Book! I hope Mr. Adams writes more like this one.

    I found this book entertaining, compelling, and exciting all at once. It is definately a 'thinking' book and challenges our thinking ability in a way I've never encountered. (except for maybe, the Bible) I think this book borders on science fiction, but hate to label it so, for fear of scaring away science fiction critics. It is a sum of philosophy, physics, religion, relationships and the universe all in 132 pages. The 'old man' has a great teaching quality. He uses simple stories, parables, to convey his 'evidence' to the reader. Quite captivating! Even if the theories seemed remote. I look forward to a sequel??!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2001

    Challenge: Decipher Factual Errors, Specious Arguments, and Conjecture

    For those who love Dilbert, please realize that this book has nothing to do with that enjoyable character. There¿s also no humor here. Instead, you will find a fable that presents a unified theory of cosmology, religion, and knowledge. Before you get excited about all that you can learn, realize that this unified theory is deliberately flawed by Mr. Adams to provide you with a thought experiment to locate what is wrong with the argument. So the book is actually a brain teaser in its primary intent. It is a brain teaser that most people will find exceeds their knowledge of probability, physics, religion, philosophy, evolution, psychology and logic. So, to pick it apart you will probably need to assemble a team of people with deep knowledge in those areas. As a result, God¿s Debris is perfect for a serious book club. After understanding what¿s wrong with the arguments in the book, many will probably begin to see more unity in everything that happens based on a better platform of knowledge. That¿s well worthwhile. I found this book fascinating as a puzzle, and enjoyed picking the arguments and misstatements apart. It reminded me of a question on the bar exam from many years ago where I had to write about what the law was in regard to a will written by an illiterate person. Great fun! Mr. Adams warns that this book is for ¿people who enjoy having their brains spun around inside their skulls.¿ He also says that it is ¿a view about God that you¿ve probably never heard before.¿ I certainly agree with both of those points. He also warns that what¿s in the book ¿isn¿t true . . . but it¿s oddly compelling.¿ He also notes that people under the age of 14 should not read it. Although he doesn¿t say why, anyone who reads this book without a foundation in the subjects described may actually believe what¿s proposed by the Avatar. The world has enough false beliefs in it. I applaud Mr. Adams for helping to avoid creating any more. After this book has honed your knowledge and critical thinking skills, I suggest that you take arguments that you read in other books and practice seeing what is wrong with them. All nonfiction books provide thought experiments of that sort! I do hope Mr. Adams will write another of these thought experiments. Overcome the appeal of simplicity to see through to the dynamic reality! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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    Posted February 23, 2011

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    Posted March 29, 2010

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted October 7, 2010

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    Posted March 23, 2009

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