Thursday, December 1, 2005

God's Debris, Scott Adams

Title: God's Debris
Author: Scott Adams
Rating: OK

First off, this was an entirely unexpected thing. I visited the Dilbert web site when I had a few minutes to spare and found a banner saying Scott Adams was giving a way an e-book titled God's Debris. I like the Dilbert comic strip. As an (ex-)engineer, I know that is has an air of truth to it. In fact, sometimes it is far too close to the truth - bordering on a documentary about engineering life. (I've also found that people in many other professions feel the same way about it, which I find interesting. Mr. Adams is tapping into something deep and shared in all of us somehow.)

In addition, past experience has shown me that Scott Adams has some odd (to my way of thinking) ideas.

So out of curiosity, I chased the link. I figured it might be amusing, and (even more important) it might help me in my quest to get ahead of the Rev. Dr. Shaw in the totals page again.

The link is:

I don't know how long it will be good, but it's there now. If you want to read what I did, and have a PDF viewer on your computer, the entire thing is free.

Of this book, the page above says:
Why is it Free?

Frankly, this is the hardest book in the world to market. When it first came out in hardcover, booksellers couldn't decide if it was fiction or nonfiction. Was it philosophy or religion? It's a religion/science book written by a cartoonist, using hypnosis techniques in the writing. It's a thought experiment. It's unlike anything you've ever read. How do you sell something that can't be explained?
I'm not sure those big claims are all true. I've read some interesting things in my day, and I think they can be explained rationally if you take the time.

That said, I am not going to write a review that will spoil or explain the book.

I will say that it presents a lot of unusual ideas in quick succession, and that the author himself (on the web page listed above) challenges you to figure out what is wrong with it. Frankly, I found some of it interesting speculation, a bit of it was interesting philosophy, and some of it was tripe. However, the entire thing taken together was at least interesting enough to keep me reading. I also suspect that people will differ over which parts of it were interesting, tripe, or whatever. I think Scott Adams would be happy to hear that.

It's not long - about 150 pages of large type. I read it in perhaps three hours, total. (I wasn't keeping close track, so don't hold me to that number too tightly.)

The worst thing about God's Debris is that he got some of the physics entirely wrong. (Don't worry... there are no equations, and you don't have to understand relativity to read it.) The best part is that even when he's wrong he's trying to make you think and figure out what is right or wrong or interesting from your own perspective.

Consider reading it. It costs nothing, and some of the major messages (as I read them) can only do you (and the rest of the planet) some good.

There is a sequel as well, but that isn't free. At least not yet. I'm pondering that.