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3.6 out of 5 stars
God's Debris: A Thought Experiment
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2002
This book doesn't deserve the bad reviews it has..and that is the main reason why I'm writing this. People complained that there are things in here which aren't true. The author writes himself - "Some of what he (the old man) says is creative baloney designed to sound true. See if you can tell the difference". He says it himself. There isn't much of this but it isn't hard to pick out. This book is easy to read and quite thought-provoking. It touches on philosophical issues regarding God and humanity. Some of which are very interesting and made me sit back and ponder. It is well worth a read.. It is no master novel but it will certainly open your eyes to other point of view. Don't read it if you aren't open-minded. (If you want to read something TRUELY thought provoking and life changing read 'Ishmael' by Daniel Quinn)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2006
The current reviews for this book appear to be split between those who were very ante to those who loved it and a few considered it "mind-blowing! The book itself is an easy read and it drew me in to want to see what develops next. However, the first part of the book was more stimulating and interesting than the latter. If you enjoy playing with ideas about"What's it all about and where does God fit in?" then this can be an enjoyable read. However, if you want a more serious exploration of the many sub-questions and issues raised by Adams then look to true science and philosophy. To criticise this book for its apparent lack of research, etc. as suggested by some reviewers appears to miss the point. To me, this book may lack Dilbert, but it still has its share of humour. By analogy, if you read any Harry Potter story to discover the "science of magic" then you might be disappointed. Similarly if you read this book to gain a theological or scientific explanation of its issues, then you are in for a disappointment. If you read it on plane or in a comfortable chair or bed with a desire to be entertained, then this should not disappoint.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2002
It seems many people have forgotten how to read a book. Let me remind you. You're supposed to start at the very first page - the one just inside the front cover - and then you read each page sequentially until you get to the one just inside the back cover.
If you do not read the book in this fashion, then you have no right to criticise it. If you miss the comments by the author that warn in advance that the book is not necessarily gospel (and, indeed, that there are some deliberate mistruths) then it is absurd to write a scathing (and lengthy) review citing all the factual inaccuracies in the story.
These same people also failed to read the front cover where it says "A Thought Experiment". A thought experiment is designed to raise interesting ideas that make you think. These ideas need not necessarily have any grounding in fact.
I think the real problem with those that criticise this book is that they have not only forgotten how to read, but also how to think.
If you do not fall into this category, then you will enjoy this book - otherwise, keep reading the Dilbert comic strips.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2002
I cannot believe the tone of some of the reviews for God's Debris. This is a simple book designed to make people think or re-think about their perceptions. Adam's, somewhat apologetically, states in the preface that part of the 'game' is to question his logic, to find the flaws. Those people that are complaining about the book seem to have missed the point. They are getting hung up on fact, when the whole purpose of the book was to challenge and provoke. Given the degree of their disregard for this book I would suggest that Adams succeeded in getting the response he desired. Bravo.
The book is a simple, quick read but that does not detract from it being a worthwhile read. For those critics who have suggested that it shouldn't have even made it to print - my goodness - given the amount of drivel that is published, I certainly do not feel that this falls into that category. It is a thought experiment - think about it (but not too much!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2007
I really don't believe that Adams is trying to PUSH this as a belief, obviously, 'mind experiment', but rather put it out there as a discussion piece. Anyone either with weak or strong beliefs who reads it will most likely discuss it. I think it really forces you to look into yourself and realize what YOU believe could be and what is complete nonsense [to you]. Very well written, organized and a GREAT conversation starter!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2005
I read the pdf version of this book (freely available from the author), and I have to admit that it gripped me. In this book, Scott displays a remarkable ability to write material that hooks you and keeps you wanting to know what happens next. He's done it before in his Dilbert books, but it's harder without cartoons interspersing sentences.
I read the entire book end to end from the caveat at the beginning to the setting of stage for the sequel.
At the outset I noticed how quickly I was running through the pages (which seemed like such a pity). Much of this was because Scott has essentially expanded a 60 page book to fit 132 pages by unsubtle spacing and font sizing adjustments.
The content - ahhh yes... the book's supposed to be a thought experiment. As such, it succeeds in provoking the reader's thoughts with some very interesting analogies and theoretical twists. The whole gamut of worldly wisdom is played out through a conversation between a seemingly wise old man and the narrator of the story.
The going is great when Scott writes about science. But I very quickly became restless when the conversation drifted to topics I perceived as inane.
The end of the book is quite nice as well - it has a nice twist in the tail.
All in all, the book is quite readable, but the first half is imminently more so than the later half. In fact, the interesting interpretation of various things in the first half, is what drew out the 4 stars from me. The later half of the book takes an interesting discussion down some really uninteresting paths.
Would I recommend it as a read? If you've got a scientific inclination, definitely spend the time to read it. If you've got religious or spiritual curiosity, there are much better books with much more thought provoking theories.
If you do decide to read it, I would recommend getting an electronic copy and scrolling through it. I wouldn't spend money on it. Having to read multiple advertisements for other books by Adams is payment enough for the book!
Having read the pdf version, I felt neither compelled to purchased a hard copy nor to read the sequel.
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on 24 August 2012
This book was very amusing and thought provoking. Speaking as a very liberal minded atheist I found very little in it to consider offensive or innappropriate. However I can readily understand how a more insecure person of opposed views could find this book to be very unpleasant. It is however written to be thought provoking rather than as a critique of any particular philosophy so try not to let it get to you. Indeed the entire human race could find themselves offended at the mass accuasation of ignorance that is central to the books theme, but they would be missing the point. In summary, if you enjoy arguement and philosophical reflection then you will enjoy this book. However if you have strong opinions that are inherently impossible to rationally defend then you will not in all likelihood appreciate this book. If you couldn't care either way then the story itself is well written and amusing.
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on 3 January 2011
This is a GREAT book! Nothing like Christopher Hitchens works or Richard Dawkins. Whilst it's written for the Atheist in us all, it's not one to question or dispel God.

This is the prequel to The Religion War. Whilst this books isn't as good as it's sequel it sets the scene and introduces you to the main character in the second book, this book sets the premise for the second and therfore I would recommend this to everyone!

Don't buy this if you think it will be in anyway centred around Dilbert! It's not!
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on 28 May 2007
This is an excellent short story which makes you question many of the assumptions you have of the world, but intertwoven in a story that makes it a compelling read.

This is the second time I've read it, the first was about a year ago, and both times I've read it from cover to cover without putting it down.

I think it's a great read.
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