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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Head Spinning Read !!

 

The following is the introduction to a short piece of fiction spanning about 125 small pages. Read it and you might understand why I am sharing this.

 

This is not a Dilbert book. It contains no humor. I call it a 132-page thought experiment wrapped in a fictional story. I'll explain the thought experiment part later. God's Debris doesn't fit into normal publishing cubbyholes. There is even disagreement about whether the material is fiction or nonfiction. I contend that it is fiction because the characters don't exist. Some people contend that it is nonfiction 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 fourteen 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 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. 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 God's Debris with a smart.

 

So what do you think …. Does that intro sound interesting?

Now that you have read the intro and your interest levels are spiked … here are some excerpts from the book.

 

God's Free Will (chapter name)

"Does God have free will?" he asked.

"Obviously he does," I said. It was the most confidence I had felt so far in this conversation. "I'll admit there's some ambiguity about whether human beings have free will, but God is omnipotent. Being omnipotent means you can do anything you want. If God didn't have free will, he wouldn't be very omnipotent."

"Indeed. And being omnipotent, God must be able to peer into his own future, to view it in all its perfect detail."

"Yeah, I know. You're going to say that if he sees his own future, then his choices are predetermined. Or, if he can't see the future, then he's not omnipotent."

"Omnipotence is trickier than it seems," he said.

<End of Chapter J>

 

Here is another one ….

 

Willpower (chapter title)

"You're very fit," the old man observed.

"I work out four times a week."

"When you see an overweight person, what do you think of his willpower?"

"I think he doesn't have much," I said.

"Why do you think that?"

"How hard is it to skip that third bowl of ice cream? I'm in good shape because I exercise and eat right. It's not easy, but I have the willpower. Some people don't."

"If you were starving, could you resist eating?"

"I doubt it. Not for long, anyway."

"But if your belly were full you could resist easily, I assume."

"Sure."

"It sounds as if hunger determines your actions, not so called willpower."

 

I am sure the above two excerpts spiked ur interest in the book. I had read 'God's Debris' by Scott Adams 5 years ago in 2006. I chanced upon it once again and decided to read it again. It was as head spinning as it had been 5 years ago.

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