Cover of God's Debris.
|Publisher||Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC|
|LC Classification||MLCS 2006/02411 (B)|
|Followed by||The Religion War|
God's Debris espouses a philosophy based on the idea that the simplest explanation tends to be the best (a corruption of Occam's Razor). It surmises that an omnipotent God annihilated himself in the Big Bang, because an omniscient God would already know everything possible except his own lack of existence, and exists now as the smallest units of matter and the law of probability, or "God's debris", hence the title.
The introduction disclaims any personal views held by the author, "The opinions and philosophies expressed by the characters are not my own, except by coincidence in a few spots not worth mentioning".
The central character, according to the introduction, knows "everything. Literally everything." Adams, whose knowledge is as incomplete as the next person, got around this by using the aforementioned "simplest explanation" for each concept raised in the book because, while "in this complicated world the simplest explanation is usually dead wrong", a more simple explanation often sounds more right and more convincing than anything complicated.
This character, the Avatar, defines God as primordial matter (like quarks and leptons) and the law of probability. He offers recommendations on everything from an alternative theory for planetary motion to successful recipes for relationships under his system. He proposes that God is currently reassembling himself through the ongoing formation of a collective intelligence in the form of the human race, modern examples of which include the development of the Internet; this is related to the idea of the Omega Point.
However, in the introduction, Adams describes God's Debris as a thought experiment, challenging readers to differentiate its scientifically accepted theories from "creative baloney designed to sound true," and to "Try to figure out what's wrong with the simplest explanation."
Levels of consciousness
The chapter "Fifth Level" (p. 124) describes five levels of human awareness, or consciousness.
- Level 1: Consciousness at birth: pure innocence, self-awareness.
- Level 2: Awareness of others, and acceptance of authority (a belief system).
- Level 3: Awareness that some beliefs may be wrong, but not which ones.
- Level 4: Skepticism and adoption of scientific method.
- Level 5: Avatar level, understanding that the mind is a delusion-generating machine, and that science is another belief system, although a useful one.
The book subscribes to the Lakoffian point of view, in that the mind is viewed as a "delusion-generator" rather than a window to true understanding. As George Lakoff said: "Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature." The philosophy espoused can also be construed as a form of pandeism, the concept that God created the universe by becoming the universe.
Given Adams' fame as the author of the Dilbert comics, publishers were wary of publishing any book by Adams without Dilbert content. The book was therefore released initially as an e-book (with comparatively small "publishing" costs). Based on its rapid success, however, it was also quickly released in hardcover format. The book can be found online (see external links below).
- The Religion War, the follow-up to God's Debris
- Advaita Vedanta
- The Footprints of God, novel written by author Greg Iles.
- Eureka: A Prose Poem, work by Edgar Allan Poe.
- The Last Question, short story by author Isaac Asimov.
- God becomes the Universe
- God's Debris, page X
- God's Debris, page XI