God's Debris: A Thought Experiment

~by Scott Adams

Although written by the creator of Dilbert, this book is in a completely different vein than that of the delightfully cynical and popular comic strip. It is a philosophical work thinly, and not very successfully, veiled as fiction. However, Scott Adams himself declares it a work of fiction because "the characters don't exist."

While attempting to deliver a package, the unnamed narrator encounters a very old man with whom he holds an extraordinary conversation. This man, known simply as the Avatar, knows literally everything. According to him, "since we can never understand true reality, if two models both explain the same facts, it is more rational to use the simpler one. It is a matter of convenience."

The basic premise of the book is fine, but I was a little concerned from the very beginning. Reading the author's introduction is extremely important because he deliberately notifies the reader exactly what he is doing. He insists the book is fiction and this must be taken into consideration at all times because there are quite a few untruths posed as truths. I find this rather disconcerting and perhaps even a little dangerous because many readers will not have an adequate background to be able to discern what is what. Of course, a part of the "thought experiment" is to figure out what is true and what is made-up, "creative baloney." Another part is to determine what is wrong with the simplest explanations.

Overall, Adams has proposed quite a few clever ideas to make one think. However, these are usually lost amongst the chaff that is most of the book. The narrator's initial perspective of God is that of the Judeo-Christian traditions. Readers not sharing this view may not find the book as thought-provoking as those who do. At times banal, and rarely cohesive, the logic of the story is not consistent and often contradicts itself. Ultimately, it was rather unsatisfying.

God's Debris is available as a free e-book. Adams has also written a sequel of sorts, The Religion War.