Sunday, February 05, 2006


Leave a SPAM comment:

ooooooo i'm first! spammmmmmmm :-)
LOL! A spam site.

Good one...
What the hell, spam is everywhere where it shouldn't be, when I ask for spam I don't get it.
Cool website you got here. I'm certainly going to bookmark you. You might like to know that I've set up my own blog: 'Choosing the Right Erection for You'. Check us out !
♪ I'm a Baldman
♪ That's what I am
♪ And I shine my Bald
♪ Whenever I can
♪ Be it early morning
♪ Late afternoon
♪ Or at midnight
♪ It's never too soon.
♪ Baldo's Shiny Wax™, Baldo's Shiny Wax™
♪ Great for Balds
♪ Baldo's Shiny Wax™, Baldo's Shiny Wax™
♪ It does it all.

Now with Phlogiston®‼
Baldo's Shiny Wax™ for Balds. Available at your friendly neighborhood drugstore.
Spammers really are stupid, I mean come on. "Anonymous" wishes he could spam but doesn't even know how to create a link to his own website.
Snack Around. Tasty little treats. Contented. Contented.
sweet- come visit my blog!
Yeah ! That's spammisticly great !
The details of my life are quite inconsequential.... very well, where do i begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds- pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum... it's breathtaking- I highly suggest you try it.
Just surfin' past...the spam...
get a bigger penis and save money on your car insurance because if you don't send this email to 50 people in the next 5 minutes a little girl won't get the cancer treatment she needs to survive.
hurry-- offer ends soon.

SLPLAMOOOOO!!!! hee heee....visit for an xbox live gamers community. were a small groups of people and the site is undergoing a lot of changes, but it'll all come together little by little. i think i like this spam splog....splogger. lol :)
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Make over $10,000 a month, using PAYPAL and a proven process, with just a $6.00 investment. That's right, just six pounds invested. It's easy, quick and simple, and can be repeated whenever you want.
How many times do you want to make over $10,000? You choose.
You just need to read this simple and clear report, follow the rules and move quickly on this one.
Ok, a little while back, I was browsing through newsgroups and message boards, and came across an article similar to this that said you could make thousands of pounds within weeks with only an initial investment of $6.00! So I thought, "Yeah right, this must be a scam", but like most of us, I was curious, so I kept reading. After consulting with some friends, they themselves heard about this but were, like me sceptical about the idea. So I thought to myself "why not give it a try, its only $6, I mean I've spent more than that on lunch!" So I gave it a try and OH MY GOD!!! Trust me, the results were staggering!
Let's cut the boring part and get straight into it.
This can be done by anyone in the world.
This project has been on TV programmes such as 20/20, Oprah, and the Wall Street Journal.
It's been in existence in many forms for at least a decade.
The entire process is FAST, EASY and VERY, VERY LUCRATIVE.
I will GUARANTEE that you will enjoy a similar return!
The only things you will need are:
1. An email address.
2. A Business or Premier PAYPAL account (FREE)
3. Just 20 to 30 minutes of your time.
This program takes just half an hour to set up. After that, there is absolutely no work whatsoever to do on your part.
You have absolutely NOTHING to lose, and there is NO LIMIT to the amount of income you can generate from this one single business program.
Let's get started, just follow the instructions exactly as set out below and then prepare you for a HUGE influx of cash over the next 30 days! Here's what you need to do.
STEP 1: Setting up your FREE PAYPAL Account
It's extremely safe and very easy to set up a FREE PAYPAL account! Copy and paste the following link exactly into the address bar: (notice the secure "https" within the link)
Be sure to sign up for a FREE PREMIER or BUSINESS account (and not a PERSONAL account) otherwise you won't be able to receive credit card payments from other people.
STEP 2: Sending PAYPAL money
To give means to receive, and receive you will. Many waste $6 on nothing of use. You'll make over $10,000 with the $6 you invest.
To send money, all you do is click on 'send money' located in blue at the top of the page next to 'welcome'.
Now all you have to do is send $1.00 by way of PAYPAL to each of the email address below.
Make sure the subject of the payment says... "PLEASE ADD ME TO YOUR MAILING LIST".
(this keeps the program 100% legal... so please don't forget!)
These are the e-mail addresses you send $1 to: (That is $1 to each email address.)


Remember, all of this is ABSOLUTELY LEGAL! You are creating a service! If you have any doubts, please refer to Title 18 Sec. 1302 & 1241 of the United States Postal laws.
STEP 3: Adding Your Email Address
After you send your $1.00 payment, to each email on the list above,
Take the #1) email off the list that you saw above, move the other addresses up one - (#6 becomes #5 & #5 becomes #4 and #4 becomes #3 & #3 becomes #2 and #2 becomes #1. etc)
Now add YOUR email address (the one used in your PAYPAL account) to position #6) on the list.
STEP 4: The Pure Joy of Receiving PAYPAL Money!
You are now ready to post your copy of this message, to at least 50-200 newsgroups, message boards. I post to 200 for quicker surer results. There are close to 32,000 news groups, this makes it easy for you to earn money.
All you need is 200 news groups, but the more you post, the more money you make - as well as everyone else on the list!
In this situation your job is to let as many people see this letter as possible. So they will make you and me rich and of course themselves!!! You can even start posting the moment your email is confirmed. Payments will still appear in your PAYPAL account even while your bank account is being confirmed.
You do not need to re-type this entire letter to do your own posting. Simply do the following:
STEP 1: Put your CURSOR at the beginning of this letter and drag your CURSOR to the bottom of this document, and select 'copy' from the edit menu. This will copy the entire letter into your computer's temporary memory.
STEP 2: Open a blank 'Notepad' file and place your cursor at the top of the blank page. From the 'Edit' menu select 'Paste'. This will paste a copy of the letter into notepad so that you can add your email to the list.
STEP 3: Save your new Notepad file as a .txt file. If you want to do your postings in different sittings, you'll always have this file to go back to.
STEP 4: Use Netscape or Internet Explorer and try searching for various newsgroups, on-line forums, message boards, bulletin boards, chat sites, discussions, discussion groups, online communities, etc.
EXAMPLE: Go to any search engine like,,, - then search with subjects like? Millionaire message board? Or? Or? Opportunity message board? Or? Money making discussions? Or? Business bulletin board? Or? Money making forum? etc. You will find thousands & thousands of message boards. Click them one by one then you will find the option to post a new message.
STEP 5: Visit these message boards and post this article as a new message by highlighting the text of this letter and selecting 'Paste' from the 'Edit' menu. Fill in the Subject, this will be the header that everyone sees as they scroll thru the list of postings in a particular group, click the post message button. You're done with your first one! Congratulations! THAT'S IT!! All you have to do is jump to different newsgroups and post away. After you get the hang of it, it will take about 30 seconds for each newsgroup!
That's it! You will begin receiving money within days!
WHY IT'S EASY TO MAKE $10,000 CASH: OK, lets say I receive only 5 replies (a very low example). So then I Made $5.00 with my email at #6 on the letter. Now, each of the 5 persons who just sent me $1.00 make the MINIMUM 200 posting, each with my email at #5 and
only 5 persons respond to each of the original 5, that is another $25.00 for me, now those 25 each make 200 MINIMUM posts with my email at #4 and only 5 replies each, I will bring in an additional $125.00! Now, those 125 persons turn around and post the MINIMUM 200 with my email at #3 and only receive 5 replies each, I will make an additional $625.00! OK, now here is the fun part, each of those 625 persons post a MINIMUM 200 letters with my email at #2 and they only receive 5 replies that just made me $3, 125.00!!! Those 3,125 persons will all deliver this message to 200 newsgroups with my email at #1 and if still 5 persons per 200 newsgroups react I will receive $15,625.00!
$15,625.00! from an original investment of only $6.00! AMAZING!!
When your email is no longer on the list, you just take the latest posting in the newsgroups, and send out another $6.00 to emails on the list, putting your email at number 6, after sending your $1 payments and start posting again.
The thing to remember is, thousands of people all over the world are joining the internet and reading these articles everyday, JUST LIKE YOU are now!!
All this takes is $6, which most people waste on nothing really important anyway.
There are tons of new honest users and new honest people who are joining the internet and newsgroups everyday and are willing to give it a try. Estimates are at 20,000 to 50,000 new users of the Internet, every day.
What will happen over the course of 30 days? Well, this money will be sent to you by a few thousand people just like yourself, who are willing to invest $6.00 and around 30 minutes of their time to receive around $10,000 or more in cash. The first payments will arrive within a few days and then they will continue at the rate of about 100 payments per day for about 30 days (obviously this will depend on how quickly you act and how quickly people take you up on this offer and then pass it on). After that time, the volumes of payments begin to taper off as your email is removed from the No 1 position. That's all you need to do!
There will be around $10,000 in payments waiting for you in your PAYPAL account within the next few weeks. $10,000 for just 30 minutes work! This is real money that you can spend on anything you wish! Just deposit it to your own bank account or spend it directly from your PAYPAL account!!! It's just that easy!!!
Send your emails only to people who are likely to want to participate and move quickly on this.
Remember, play FAIRLY and HONESTLY and this will work. This really isn't another one of those crazy scams! As long as people follow through with sending out $6.00, it works!
Remember, play FAIRLY and HONESTLY and this will really work. There's no use trying to cheat for only $6.00 Please. Use only opt-in resources for this material it will work for you and it works much faster without soliciting or spamming and has higher responses!!!
"I followed the instructions just 2 weeks and 4 days ago, and although I haven't made 10 grand yet, I am already up to $6,135. I am absolutely gob smacked".
Mr. A baker, Leicester.
"Well what can I say? I sent out 40 emails like the plan said then I just forgot about the whole thing. To be honest, I didn't really think anything would come of it, but "I checked my PayPal account a week later and there was over $3000.00 in it!!!"
Robert, South London.
"After 30 days I now have over $11,000 to spend".
L. Wang, Northampton.
"I was shocked when I saw how much money came flooding into my PayPal account. Within 3 weeks my account balance has ballooned to $7,449"
Shirley Wicks, Essex.
Send this to others, regardless of wherever you go ahead or not, they may want to make over $10,000 even if you don't! This business actually works! Even if you think 'nah this sounds like a scam' PASS IT ON! There are people out there who can see through the 'nah this sounds like a scam' rubbish and actually see the MAJOR benefits this system can really make!
Just copy and paste the link into the address bar of your web browser and away you go.
Here is a little more interesting material check out Rebeleyeball!
The da Vinci code
Isn't it the greatest irony that it was that christian church who created all the gays and now the church is against Gay marriage!
Now here's an original idea....
So you want spam?
Check out here...
... and here ...
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... and here!
Matt Hooker, after having withdrawn from politics for the past two years, because of the fraud and intentional torts, malicious prosecution and abuse of process perpetrated upon him by the perjurer, liar and whore Nicole Kidman, her agents and managers, the California Superior Court system, Appellate Court and Supreme Court, the dishonorable Superior Court Judges Alan Haber and John Reid, both of whom broke the law in finding against Hooker - almost certainly for some ulterior motive (the very definition of "abuse of process"), Appellate court judges Doi Todd, Ashmann-Gerst, and the presiding justice Boren, all of whom dishonorably disobeyed the law, almost certainly for some ulterior motive (once again an "abuse of process" and a fraud), the California Supreme Court, who refused to even hear Hooker's appeal, the Los Angeles Police Department, who had Hooker investigated by the Secret Service! because Hooker stated on this web site that President Bush must be removed from office (what happened to freedom of speech?), the perjurer Larry Allison (who alleged that there was a scuffle between himself and Hooker, yet when asked to present the video taken in front of Kidman's house that day couldn't produce it and said that it was lost! One lie to cover up another - and the disgusting judges cooperated in these lies meant to destroy Hooker and benefit Kidman, FOX and others.), the perjurer Richard DiSabatino, and others, probably including Tom Cruise, and possibly President George W Bush; has now decided that he will not allow those criminals to silence him anymore. Matt Hooker trusts the general public to understand that the fraudulent charges and court decisions against him (recall that Judge Haber stated in court when he issued his fraudulent decision against Hooker: "There has been no evidence of stalking, threats or violence. I find that Mr. Hooker has severly annoyed Ms. Kidman") were both a giant smear campaign against Matt Hooker by the fossil fuel burners, polluters and anti-environmentalists, perhaps the Zionists, the religious right and anti-choice groups, the Los Angeles Police Department, and probably President Bush, whom Matt Hooker wants to see removed from office so that our civil rights and the environment can be protected, and so that we don't follow the Zionist course towards World War III and Armageddon; AND was a giant publicity ploy to gain much needed publicity for Kidman, FOX and "Moulin Rouge" and "The Others" (recall at the time Kidman was at the low point in her career and "Moulin Rouge" was way behind schedule and over budget and both desperately needed publicity). The public needs to know that Kidman flirted with Hooker in person and offered to read his screenplay, then Creative Artists Agency refused to take Hooker's calls after he sent them his screenplay as Kidman requested, so Hooker posted a tongue-in-cheek message for Kidman and her agents on a web site, asking Kidman to not let herself be directed away from Hooker and his film projects by her agents and managers (who never like a newcomer to have contact with their bread-and-butter stars). Then Hooker went and rang Kidman's intercom on two and only two occasions, always acting as a gentleman, once leaving a message asking Kidman and her kids out for ice cream, once leaving a message asking Kidman out to the ballet. Both times Kidman was on the other end of the intercom, yet when Hooker asked "Is Nicole home?", he was told that she wasn't (by Kidman herself - Hooker thought he was speaking to perhaps an Australian housekeeper or relative of Kidman's), and he left her a message. Hooker couldn't have known that Kidman didn't want to see him since he was told that Kidman was not at home, by Kidman herself! Kidman also gave Hooker reason to believe she liked him at that time by buying him a ticket to a concert at St. Matthews Church in Pacific Palisades, and by referring to him in a magazine article ("I don't know why anyone would want to be president"), which someone unknown to Hooker pointed out to Hooker. There's nothing wrong or illegal about a man asking a woman out two times, yet the corrupt judges and court system make it seem like there is. Hooker is no celebrity "fan", he never even saw "Moulin Rouge", "The Others" or any of Kidman's later films, and he never will. Hooker just tried to date a woman and tried to get a female star to sign on to his film project. Is there a law against being entrepreneurial? Is there one law for the common people and another for the wealthy and the celebrities? It certainly seems so, and Matt Hooker will reform the corrupt legal system when he is in office. Kidman lied and said she didn't know Hooker. Hooker has since seen evidence that makes him believe that Kidman is an emotional retard and may have been sexually abused by her father and / or uncle - which would help to explain her horrible character problems. Larry Allison (who was a classmate of Hookers at Crespi High School and may be part of a drug using and drug dealing gang of surfers and their law enforcement protectors who had been harassing Hooker) and Richard DiSabatino perjured themselves in court. Matt Hooker has always been a gentleman in every way, especially where women are concerned. Additionally, evidence implicating the zionists and the religious right (President Bush is a christian fundamentalist, or claims to be, and he admits to being under the control of the powerful Zionist Israeli lobby and seeks the votes of the zionist - religious right christian plus jews - voting blocks) in this defamation and smear campaign includes Ron Meyer, a Jew and probably a zionist, who was one of the founders of Creative Artists Agency and is now the President of Universal Studios or its parent corporation, and my father, who is a born again christian fundamentalist who has harassed me trying to convert me for years. Years before this defamation took place, Hooker had phoned Kelly Chapman, a former lover, and joking with her on the phone when she told him she had gotten married, joked that maybe now they could have an affair. Unknown to Hooker, his office telephone, from where he placed that call, was illegally tapped by one christian of caribbean origin, Richard Williams, who had at that time just recently rented the office next door, and his accomplices, the private telephone repairman he had referred to Hooker whom Hooker hired to install an additional line in the office, and the woman, another friend of this Richard Williams, another christian of Caribbean origin, who had rented the office below Hooker. Hooker's father, the born-again christian fundamentalist, along with another powerful and well-connected Jew and probable zionist, Milt Dranow and his wife Betty, had screwed Hooker when Hooker worked for their company, and were probably behind the phone tap. Both Dranow and Ron Meyer have connections with the US military, also. In any case, soon after Hooker had the telephone conversation with Kelly Chapman, his former lover, and now and at that time the wife of Ron Meyer, Hooker was drugged while eating dinner at Granita restaurant in Malibu. Granita is owned by Wolfgang Puck, a well-connected Hollywood chef. Some of Hooker's relatives may have been involved in this drugging. Many lawyers are close to the judge Alan Haber who illegally ruled against Hooker! Once again we find judges in bed with attorneys, and the general public who can't afford an attorney left our in the cold, unrepresented, with abridged rights under the law - an unconstitutional situation that Hooker will change when he is elected. My how the world turns! Hooker spent 10 hours in the UCLA emergency room after dinner that night. The hospital bill came to $2,000 - exactly the amount of money Hooker owed his mother, who, along with Hooker's sister Megan Stoll and brother-in-law, Robert Stoll Jr., had invited Hooker to Granita restaurant, and were at dinner with him that night to celebrate Megan's birthday. This was the beginning of Hooker's troubles and the beginning of strange behavior on the part of Hollywood agents and stars towards Hooker, and Los Angeles and Santa Monica police department officers strange behavior towards Hooker. Since that time, people have violated Hooker's rights, and then tried to silence, discredit and harm Hooker when he went public about those violations of his rights. Hooker believes that Kidman is not very intelligent and is not the mastermind behind the set-up of and defamation of Hooker, but rather is a whore willing to do whatever her controllers - agents, managers, directors, producers, etc... - tell her to do. Nevertheless she is as guilty as they are, and the full nature and details of this entire fraud against Hooker will be uncovered.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I said tasty. I said tasty. I said tasty. I said tasty little treats. Tasty little treasts. Tasty. Tasty. Tasty. Snacking, snacking. I said snacking. I said snacking. I said snacking. I said snacking around. Snack around. Yea snack around to a tasty, to a tasty, tasty little treat.
What are the chances that you could take some time to take off your top, write a nice message about on your tits, take a picture of them, and either post them on or just email it to me at Just a shot in the dark
WOW... this is a site for us to spam!!
Dear Fellow Blogger,

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So they say you're a troubled boy
Just because you like to destroy
All the things that bring the idiots joy
Well, what's wrong with a little destruction?

And the Kunst won't talk to you
Because you kissed St. Rollox Adieu
Because you robbed a supermarket or two
Well, who gives a damn about the prophets of Tesco?

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
Turn the rich into wine
Walk on the mean
The fallen are the virtuous among us
Walk among us
Never judge us
Yeah we're all...

Up now and get 'em, boy
Up now and get 'em, boy
Drink to the devil
Death to the doctors!

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
Five thousand users fed today
Oh as you feed us
Won't you lead us
To be blessed

So we stole and drank champagne
On the seventh seal you said you never feel pain
"I never feel pain, won't you hit me again?"
"I need a bit of black and blue to be a rotation"

In my blood I felt the bubbles burst
There was a flash of fist, an eyebrow burst
You've a lazy laugh and a red white shirt
I fall to the floor fainting at the sight of blood

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
You turn the rich into wine
Walk on the mean
Be the magdalen of virgin you've already been
You've already been already seen
That the fallen are the virtuous among us
Walk among us
Never judge us
To be blessed

La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la...

So I'm sorry if I ever resisted
I never had a doubt you ever existed
I only have a problem when people insist on
Taking their hate and placing it on your name

So they say you're a troubled boy
Just because you like to destroy
You are the word, the word is 'destroy'
I break this bottle, think of you fondly

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
To the whore in a hostel
Or the scum of a scheme
Turn the rich into wine
Walk on the mean
It's not a jag in the arm
It's a nail in the beam
On this barren Earth
You scatter your seed
Be the magdelan of virgin
You've already been
and you've already seen..

wahoo! wahoo! wahoo! wahoo! wahoo! wahoo! wahoo! wahoo!

Yeah! You've already been,
you've already seen
That the fallen are the virtuous among us
Walk among us
If you judge us
We're all damned.

yeah so i'm still gonna spam others but what ever this is kool i guess. just watch your back so i dont shoot you accidentaly. die fo, die
So they say you're a troubled boy
Just because you like to destroy
All the things that bring the idiots joy
Well, what's wrong with a little destruction?

And the Kunst won't talk to you
Because you kissed St. Rollox Adieu
Because you robbed a supermarket or two
Well, who gives a damn about the prophets of Tesco?

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
Turn the rich into wine
Walk on the mean
The fallen are the virtuous among us
Walk among us
Never judge us
Yeah we're all...

Up now and get 'em, boy
Up now and get 'em, boy
Drink to the devil
Death to the doctors!

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
Five thousand users fed today
Oh as you feed us
Won't you lead us
To be blessed

So we stole and drank champagne
On the seventh seal you said you never feel pain
"I never feel pain, won't you hit me again?"
"I need a bit of black and blue to be a rotation"

In my blood I felt the bubbles burst
There was a flash of fist, an eyebrow burst
You've a lazy laugh and a red white shirt
I fall to the floor fainting at the sight of blood

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging o
So they say you're a troubled boy
Just because you like to destroy
All the things that bring the idiots joy
Well, what's wrong with a little destruction?

And the Kunst won't talk to you
Because you kissed St. Rollox Adieu
Because you robbed a supermarket or two
Well, who gives a damn about the prophets of Tesco?

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
Turn the rich into wine
Walk on the mean
The fallen are the virtuous among us
Walk among us
Never judge us
Yeah we're all...

Up now and get 'em, boy
Up now and get 'em, boy
Drink to the devil
Death to the doctors!

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging out the fish and the unleavened
Five thousand users fed today
Oh as you feed us
Won't you lead us
To be blessed

So we stole and drank champagne
On the seventh seal you said you never feel pain
"I never feel pain, won't you hit me again?"
"I need a bit of black and blue to be a rotation"

In my blood I felt the bubbles burst
There was a flash of fist, an eyebrow burst
You've a lazy laugh and a red white shirt
I fall to the floor fainting at the sight of blood

Did I see you in a limousine
Flinging o
Sung to the tune of the "Comet" song...
Spammy it makes you're mouth turn green.
Spammy it tastes like Listerine.
Spammy it makes you blammy.
So buy splammy and blammy today.
What the hell, this blog is wicked.

Think about it... A spam site......
Can we use this to plug our legit sites too? You know, non-splog sites, but commenting to drive people over to visit?

Was that question useless? Read more Useless questions here.
GNOMES!!!! Adopt a gnome today! Travelling gnomes and roaming gnomes rock! Yeah, I pretty much love gnomes.
I am delighted to spam on your site.
Suggestively Dressed Chimps - Mongoloids - Girls Holding Hands - Beer - She Hulks - Cuss Words - Tards
Star Wars is cool. I like bacon.
G o d ’ s D e b r i s
Other Books by Scott Adams
The Dilbert Principle
Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook
The Dilbert Future
The Joy of Work
dilbert cartoon books
by Scott adams
When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?
Excuse Me While I Wag
Dilbert—A Treasury of Sunday Strips: Version 00
Random Acts of Management
Dilbert Gives You the Business
Don’t Step in the Leadership
Journey to Cubeville
I’m Not Anti-Business, I’m Anti-Idiot
Seven Years of Highly Defective People
Casual Day Has Gone Too Far
Fugitive from the Cubicle Police
Still Pumped from Using the Mouse
It’s Obvious You Won’t Survive by Your Wits Alone
Bring Me the Head of Willy the Mailboy!
Shave the Whales
Dogbert’s Clues for the Clueless
Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies
Always Postpone Meetings with Time-Wasting Morons
A Thought Experiment
Scott Adams
Andrews McMeel books are available at quantity discounts with
bulk purchase for educational, business, or sales promotional use. For
information, please write to: Special Sales Department, Andrews McMeel
Publishing, 4520 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64111.
God’s Debris copyright © 2001 by Scott Adams. All rights
reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in
any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the
cases of reprints in the context of reviews and digital copies of
this work as a whole which may be distributed freely, without
compensation, for personal use only. No changes or edits in the
content of this work or of the digital format are allowed. For
information, write Andrews McMeel Publishing, an Andrews
McMeel Universal company, 4520 Main Street, Kansas City,
Missouri 64111.
04 05 06 07 08 MLT 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Adams, Scott, 1957–
God’s debris : a thought experiment / Scott Adams.
p. cm.
ISBN 0-7407-4787-8
1. Philosophy—Miscellanea. 2. God—Miscellanea. I. Title.
BD701 .A33 2001
For P.N.O.
Author’s Web Sites
(Dilbert comic strip)
(Scott Adams Foods, Inc.)
(Scott Adams’ restaurant)
Introduct ion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i x
The Package . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Old Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Your Free Will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2
God ’s Free Will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 7
Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 8
Where Is Free Will Located? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 3
Genuine Belief. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 7
Road Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1
Delusion Generator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Reincarnat ion, UFOs, and God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 8
God ’s Motivat ion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 1
God ’s Debris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 5
God ’s Consciousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 9
Physics of God-Dust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 5
Free Will of a Penny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3
Evolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 6
Skeptic s ’ Di s e a se . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3
ESP and Luck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 5
ESP and Pattern Recognition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 9
L ight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 4
Curious Bees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 0
Willpower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 2
Holy Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 6
F ighting God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 9
Relat ionships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 5
Affirmat ions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 5
Fifth Le vel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 2
Going Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 8
After The War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 1
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
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
introduct ion
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 friend and then discuss it while enjoying a tasty
introduct ion

The Package
The rain made everything sound different—the engine of
my delivery van, the traffic as it rolled by on a film of fallen
clouds, the occasional dull honk. I didn’t have a great job,
but it wasn’t bad, either. I knew the city so well that I could
lose myself in thought and still do the work, still get paid,
still have plenty of time for myself. When you’re inside your
own head, the travel time between buildings evaporates. It’s
as if I could vanish from one stop and reappear at the next.
My story begins on a day I delivered to a place I’d never
been. That’s usually a fun challenge. There’s a certain satisfaction
when you find a new place without using the map.
Rookies use maps.
If you work in the city long enough, it begins to deal
with you on a personal level. Streets reveal their moods.
Sometimes the signal lights love you. Sometimes they fight
you. When you’re hunting for a new building, you hope the
city is on your side. You have to use a little bit of thinking—
you might call it the process of elimination—and you need a
little bit of instinct, but not too much of either. If you think
too hard, you overshoot your target and end up at the Pier
or the Tenderloin. If you relax and let the city help, the destination
does all the work for you. It was one of those days.
It’s amazing how many times you can travel the same
route without noticing a particular sign. Then when you’re
looking for it, there it is. Universe Avenue. I would have
sworn it wasn’t there a day ago, but I knew it didn’t work
that way.
It was a scruffy package, barely up to company standards.
I calculated the distance from my van to the doorway
and decided the packing material could handle the moisture.
On behalf of the package and myself, I surrendered to
the rain.
This delivery required a signature. Those were the best
kind. I could talk to people without any awkward lulls in the
conversation. I liked people, but I didn’t feel comfortable
chatting unless there was a reason. A delivery was a good
excuse for some shallow interaction. People were happy to
see me and I was never at a loss for words. I’d say, “Sign on
this line,” and they’d say, “Thank you.” We’d exchange
God ’s Debris
some meaningless wishes and I’d be off. That’s how it was
supposed to work.
I walked up the four steps to the ornate wooden door
and pressed the doorbell. A muffled bing-bong filled the
interior and leaked out the cracks of the doorjamb.
Delivery people don’t like to leave the little yellow note,
a confession of delivery failure. It means a do-over. I liked
to do my work once. I liked my tasks to have beginnings
and ends. As a rule of thumb, almost any customer can get
to the front door in about a minute. But I usually waited
two, in case someone was indisposed or having trouble
walking. Two minutes is an eternity when you’re standing
under a doorway on a rainy San Francisco afternoon.
Rookies wear jackets.
Two minutes passed. The company’s rules said I couldn’t
try the doorknob. They were emphatic about that.
Ah, rules.
the package
The Old Man
The oversized knob offered no resistance as it turned on its
oiled core. I was no longer surprised to find unlocked doors
in the city. Maybe at some subconscious level we don’t
believe we need protection from our own species.
I figured I would leave the package inside the door and
sign the customer’s name. I had signed for customers before;
no one had complained yet. It was a firing offense, but that
only happened if you got caught.
Inside I could see a long, dark hallway with red fauxtextured
walls lined with large, illuminated paintings. At the
end was a half-opened door to a room that hosted a flickering
light. Someone was home and should have heard the
doorbell. I didn’t like the look of it. Occasionally you read
about an elderly person who dies alone and no one knows
about it for weeks. My mind went there. I stepped inside
and closed the door, enjoying the warmth, deciding what to
do next.
“Hello!” I said in my professional voice, hoping it
sounded nonthreatening. I shuffled my way down the hall,
noticing that the art looked original. Someone had money.
The source of the uneven light was a huge stone fireplace.
I entered the room, not sure why I was being quiet. Somehow
the room was both simple and overwhelming. It was half firewashed
color, half black, brilliantly appointed with antique
wooden furniture, elaborate patterned walls, and wood floors.
My pupils enlarged to tease out the shadows.
An old man’s voice rose from the texture. “I’ve been
expecting you.”
I was startled and feeling a bit guilty about letting
myself in. It took me a minute to locate the source of the
voice. It was as if it came from the room itself. Something
moved and I noticed, on the far side of the fireplace, in a
wooden rocker, a smallish form in a red plaid blanket, looking
like a hastily rolled cigar. His tiny wrinkled hands held
the blanket like button clasps. Two undersized feet in cloth
slippers dangled from the wrap.
“Your door was unlocked,” I said, as if that were reason
enough to let myself in. “I have a package.”
the old man
All I heard was the fire. I expected an answer. That’s
how it’s supposed to work. When one person says something,
the other is supposed to say something back. The old
man wasn’t subscribing.
He stared at me and rocked, sizing me up, perhaps, or
maybe he was lost in a replay. I had already said what I
needed to say, so I stood silently for what seemed too long.
I thought I saw the wake of a smile, or maybe it was a muscle
tremor. He spoke in the deliberate manner of a man who
had not used his voice in days and asked a strange question.
“If you toss a coin a thousand times, how often will it
come up heads?”
The elderly are spooky when they degenerate into
reflections of their younger selves. They say things that
make sense on some grammatical level, but it’s not always
connected to reality. I remembered my grandfather in his
declining years, how he spoke in nonsequiturs. It was best
to play along.
“About fifty percent of the time,” I answered before
changing the subject. “I need a signature for this package.”
“Well,” I said, measuring how much information to include
in my response, “the person who sent the package wants a signature.
He needs confirmation that it got delivered.”
God ’s Debris
“I meant why does the coin come up heads fifty percent
of the time?”
“I guess that’s because the coin weighs about the same
on both sides, so there’s a fifty-fifty chance it will land on
one side versus the other.” I tried to avoid sounding condescending.
I wasn’t sure I succeeded.
“You haven’t answered why. You simply listed some
I saw what was going on. The old man pulls this trick
question on anyone who comes within range. There had to
be a punch line or clever answer, so I played along.
“What’s the answer?” I asked with all the artificial interest
I could muster.
“The answer,” he said, “is that the question has no
“You could say that about anything.”
“No,” he replied, in a manner that seemed suddenly
coherent. “Every other question has an answer to why. Only
probability is inexplicable.”
I waited a moment for the punch line, but it didn’t
come. “That’s it?” I asked.
“It’s more than it seems.”
“I still need a signature.” I approached the old man and
held out the clipboard, but he made no motion to take it. I
the old man
could see him better now. His skin was stained and wrinkled
but his eyes were strikingly clear. Some gray hair gathered
above each ear and his posture was an ongoing conversation
with gravity. He wasn’t old. He was ancient.
He gestured to the clipboard with his head. “You can
sign it.”
In the delivery business we make lots of exceptions for
the elderly, so I didn’t mind signing for him. I figured his
hands or eyes weren’t working as well as he liked and I
could save him the frustration of working the pen.
I read the name before forging.
Avatar. A–v–a–t–a–r.
“It’s for you,” he said.
“What’s for me?”
“The package.”
“I just deliver the packages,” I said. “My job is to bring
them to you. It’s your package.”
“No, it’s yours.”
“Um, okay,” I said, planning my exit strategy. I figured
I could leave the package in the hallway on the way out. The
old man’s caretaker would find it.
“What’s in the package?” I asked. I hoped to get past an
awkward moment.
“It’s the answer to your question.”
God ’s Debris
“I wasn’t expecting any answers.”
“I understand,” said the old man.
I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I didn’t.
He continued, “Let me ask you a simple question: Did
you deliver the package or did the package deliver you?”
By then I was a little annoyed with his cleverness, but
admittedly engaged. I didn’t know the old man’s situation,
but he wasn’t as feeble-minded as I’d first thought. I
glanced at my watch. Almost lunchtime. I decided to see
where this was heading.
“I delivered the package,” I answered. That seemed
obvious enough.
“If the package had no address, would you have delivered
it here?”
I said no.
“Then you would agree that delivering the package
required the participation of the package. The package told
you where to go.”
“I suppose that’s true, in a way. But it’s the least important
part of the delivery. I did the driving and lifting and
moving. That’s the important part.”
“How can one part be more important if each part is
completely necessary?” he asked.
“Look,” I said, “I’m holding the package and I’m walking
the old man
with it. That’s delivering. I’m delivering the package. That’s
what I do. I’m a package-delivery guy.”
“That’s one way to look at it. Another way is that both
you and the package got here at the same time. And that
both of you were necessary. I say the package delivered
There was a twisted logic to that interpretation, but I
wasn’t willing to give in. “The difference is intention. If I
leave this package here and go on my way, I think that settles
the question of who delivered who.”
“Perhaps it would,” he said as he turned toward the
warmth. “Would you mind throwing another log on the fire?”
I picked out a big one. The retiring embers celebrated
its arrival. I had the brief impression that the log was glad to
help, to do its part keeping the old man warm. It was a silly
thought. I brushed off my hands and turned to leave.
“That chair is yours,” he said, gesturing to a wooden
rocker next to his. I hadn’t noticed the second chair.
The old man’s face revealed a life of useful endeavor. I
had a sense that he deserved companionship and I was happy
to give some. My other choice involved a bag lunch and the
back of my truck. Maybe there wasn’t any choice at all.
I settled into the rocking chair, letting its rhythm unwind
me. It was profoundly relaxing. The room seemed more
God ’s Debris
vivid now and vibrated with the personality of its master. The
furniture was obviously designed for comfort. Everything in
the room was made of stone or wood or plant, mostly
autumn colors. It was as if the room had sprung directly
from the earth into the middle of San Francisco.
the old man
Your Free Will
“Do you believe in God?” the old man asked, as if we had
known each other forever but had somehow neglected to
discuss that one topic. I assumed he wanted reassurance that
his departure from this life would be the beginning of something
better. I gave a kind answer.
“There has to be a God,” I said. “Otherwise, none of us
would be here.” It wasn’t much of a reason, but I figured
he didn’t need more.
“Do you believe God is omnipotent and that people
have free will?” he asked.
“That’s standard stuff for God. So, yeah.”
“If God is omnipotent, wouldn’t he know the future?”
“If God knows what the future holds, then all our choices
are already made, aren’t they? Free will must be an illusion.”
He was clever, but I wasn’t going to fall for that trap.
“God lets us determine the future ourselves, using our free
will,” I explained.
“Then you believe God doesn’t know the future?”
“I guess not,” I admitted. “But he must prefer not
“So you agree that it would be impossible for God to
know the future and grant humans free will?”
“I hadn’t thought about it before, but I guess that’s
right. He must want us to find our own way, so he intentionally
tries not to see the future.”
“For whose benefit does God withhold his power to
determine the future?” he asked.
“Well, it must be for his own benefit, and ours, too,” I
reasoned. “He wouldn’t have to settle for less.”
The old man pressed on. “Couldn’t God give humans the
illusion of free will? We’d be just as happy as if we had actual
free will, and God would retain his ability to see the future. Isn’t
that a better solution for God than the one you suggested?”
“Why would God want to mislead us?”
“If God exists, his motives are certainly unfathomable.
No one knows why he grants free will, or why he cares
about human souls, or why pain and suffering are necessary
parts of life.”
your free will
“The one thing I know about God’s motives is that he
must love us, right?” I wasn’t convinced of this myself,
given all the problems in the world, but I was curious about
how he would respond.
“Love? Do you mean love in the way you understand it
as a human?”
“Well, not exactly, but basically the same thing. I mean,
love is love.”
“A brain surgeon would tell you that a specific part of
the brain controls the ability to love. If it’s damaged, people
are incapable of love, incapable of caring about others.”
“So, isn’t it arrogant to think that the love generated by
our little brains is the same thing that an omnipotent being
experiences? If you were omnipotent, why would you limit
yourself to something that could be reproduced by a little
clump of neurons?”
I shifted my opinion to better defend it. “We must feel
something similar to God’s type of love, but not the same
way God feels it.”
“What does it mean to feel something similar to the way
God feels? Is that like saying a pebble is similar to the sun
because both are round?” he responded.
“Maybe God designed our brains to feel love the same
God ’s Debris
way he feels it. He could do that if he wanted to.”
“So you believe God wants things. And he loves things,
similar to the way humans do. Do you also believe God
experiences anger and forgiveness?”
“That’s part of the package,” I said, committing further
to my side of the debate.
“So God has a personality, according to you, and it is
similar to what humans experience?”
“I guess so.”
“What sort of arrogance assumes God is like people?”
he asked.
“Okay, I can accept the idea that God doesn’t have a
personality exactly like people. Maybe we just assume God
has a personality because it’s easier to talk about it that way.
But the important point is that something had to create reality.
It’s too well-designed to be an accident.”
“Are you saying you believe in God because there are no
other explanations?” he asked.
“That’s a big part of it.”
“If a stage magician makes a tiger disappear and you
don’t know how the trick could be done without real magic,
does that make it real magic?”
“That’s different. The magician knows how it’s done and
other magicians know how it’s done. Even the magician’s
your free will
assistant knows how it’s done. As long as someone knows
how it’s done, I can feel confident that it isn’t real magic. I
don’t personally need to know how it’s done,” I said.
“If someone very wise knew how the world was designed
without God’s hand, could that person convince you that
God wasn’t involved?”
“In theory, yes. But a person with that much knowledge
doesn’t exist.”
“To be fair, you can only be sure that you don’t know
whether that person exists or not.”
God ’s Debris
God’s Free Will
“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.
“I see where you’re going with this,” I said. “You’re an
atheist. You think science has the answers and you think religious
people are all delusional.”
“Let’s talk about science for a moment,” he replied.
I was relieved. I liked science. It was my favorite subject
in school. Religion made me uncomfortable. It’s better not
to think too much about religion, but science was made for
thinking. It was based on facts.
“Do you know a lot about science?” I asked.
“Almost nothing,” he said.
I figured this would be a short conversation, and it was
just as well because my lunch hour was running out.
“Consider magnets,” the old man said. “If you hold two
magnets near each other, they are attracted. Yet there is
nothing material connecting them.”
“Yes there is,” I corrected. “There’s a magnetic field.
You can see it when you do that experiment with the metal
shavings on a piece of paper. You hold a magnet under the
paper and the shavings all organize along magnetic lines.
That’s the magnetic field.”
“So you have a word for it. It’s a ‘field,’ you say. But you
can’t get a handful of this thing for which you have a name.
You can’t fill a container with a magnetic field and take it with
you. You can’t cut it in pieces. You can’t block its power.”
“You can’t block it? I didn’t know that.”
“You can alter a magnetic field by adding other magnetic
material, but there is no non-magnetic material you
can put between two magnets to block them. This ‘field’ of
yours is strange stuff. We can see its effect, and we can
invent a name for it, but it doesn’t exist in any physical
form. How can something that doesn’t exist in physical
form have influence over the things that do?”
“Maybe it has physical form but it’s small and we can’t
see it. That’s possible. Maybe there are tiny magnetrons or
something,” I said, making up a word.
“Consider gravity,” the old man continued, oblivious to
my creative answer. “Gravity is also an unseen force that cannot
be blocked by any object. It reaches across the entire universe
and connects all things, yet it has no physical form.”
“I think Einstein said it was the warping of space-time
by massive objects,” I said, dredging up a memory of a magazine
article I read years ago.
“Indeed, Einstein did say that. And what does that
“It means that space is bent, so when objects seem to be
attracted to each other, it’s just that they’re traveling in the
shortest direction through bent space.”
“Can you imagine bent space?” he asked.
“No, but just because I can’t imagine it doesn’t mean
it’s not true. You can’t argue with Einstein.”
He looked away. I figured he was either annoyed at my
answer or just resting. It turned out he was pausing to gather
energy. He drew a breath into his tiny lungs and began.
“Scientists often invent words to fill the holes in their
understanding. These words are meant as conveniences until
real understanding can be found. Sometimes understanding
comes and the temporary words can be replaced with words
that have more meaning. More often, however, the patch
words will take on a life of their own and no one will remember
that they were only intended to be placeholders.
“For example, some physicists describe gravity in terms
of ten dimensions all curled up. But those aren’t real
words—just placeholders, used to refer to parts of abstract
God ’s Debris
equations. Even if the equations someday prove useful, it
would say nothing about the existence of other dimensions.
Words such as dimension and field and infinity are nothing
more than conveniences for mathematicians and scientists.
They are not descriptions of reality, yet we accept them as
such because everyone is sure someone else knows what the
words mean.”
I listened. Rocking, mildly stunned.
“Have you heard of string theory?” he asked.
“Sort of.”
“String theory says that all of physical reality—from gravity
to magnetism to light—can be explained in one grand theory
that involves tiny, string-shaped, vibrating objects. String
theory has produced no useful results. It has never been
proven by experiment, yet thousands of physicists are dedicating
their careers to it on the faith that it smells right.”
“Maybe it is right.” It seemed like my turn to say something.
“Every generation of humans believed it had all the
answers it needed, except for a few mysteries they assumed
would be solved at any moment. And they all believed their
ancestors were simplistic and deluded. What are the odds
that you are the first generation of humans who will understand
“I don’t think the odds are bad. Everything has to happen
for a first time. You were around to see computers
invented and to see space travel. Maybe we’ll be the first for
this string theory.”
“Computers and rocket ships are examples of inventions,
not of understanding,” he said. “All that is needed to
build machines is the knowledge that when one thing happens,
another thing happens as a result. It’s an accumulation
of simple patterns. A dog can learn patterns. There is no
‘why’ in those examples. We don’t understand why electricity
travels. We don’t know why light travels at a constant
speed forever. All we can do is observe and record patterns.”
God ’s Debris
Where Is Free
Will Located?
“Where is your free will?” the old man asked. “Is it part
of your brain, or does it emanate from someplace outside
your body and somehow control your actions?”
“A few minutes ago I would have said I knew the
answer to that question. But you’re making me doubt some
of my assumptions.”
“Doubting is good,” he said. “But tell me where you
think free will comes from.”
“I’ll say it comes from my brain. I mean, it’s a function
of my brain. I don’t have a better answer.”
“Your brain is like a machine in many ways, isn’t it?” he
It sounded like a trick question, so I gave myself some
wiggle room. “The brain isn’t exactly like a machine.”
“The brain is composed of cells and neurons and chemicals
and pathways and electrical activity that all conform to
physical laws. When part of your brain is stimulated in one
specific way, could it respond any way it wants, or would it
always respond in one specific way?”
“There’s no way to test that. No one knows.”
“Then you believe we can only know things that have
been tested?” he asked.
“I’m not saying that.”
“Then you’re not saying anything, are you?”
It felt that way.
“So where is free will?” he asked again.
“It must involve the soul.” I didn’t have a better
“Soul? Where is the soul located?”
“It’s not located anywhere. It just is.”
“Then the soul is not physical in nature, according to
you,” he said.
“I guess not. Otherwise someone probably would have
found physical evidence of it,” I said.
“So you believe that the soul, which is not physical, can
influence the brain, which is physical?”
“I’ve never thought about it in those terms, but I guess
I do believe that.”
God ’s Debris
“Do you believe the soul can influence other physical
things, like a car or a watch?”
“No, I think souls only affect brains.” I was crawling
out on a limb with lead weights strapped to my belt.
“Can your soul influence other people’s brains, or does
it know which brain is yours?”
“My soul must know which brain is mine, otherwise I’d
be influenced by other souls and I wouldn’t have free will.”
He paused. “Your soul, according to you, knows the difference
between your brain and everything else that is not
your brain. And it never makes a mistake in that regard. That
means your soul has structure and rules, like a machine.”
“It must,” I agreed.
“If the soul is the source of free will, then it must be
weighing alternatives and making decisions.”
“That’s its job.”
“But that’s what brains do. Why would you need a soul
to do what a brain can do?” he asked.
“Maybe the soul has free will and the brain doesn’t,” I
said. “Or the soul causes your brain to have free will. Or the
soul is smarter or more moral than the brain. I don’t know.”
I tried to put my fingers in as many holes as possible.
“If the soul’s actions are not controlled by rules, that
can only mean the soul acts randomly. On the other hand,
where is free will located?
if your soul is guided by rules, which in turn guide you, then
you have no free will. You are programmed. There is no in
between; your life is either random or predetermined.
Which is it?”
I wasn’t prepared to believe I had no control over my
own life. “Maybe God is guiding my soul,” I said.
“If God is guiding your soul and your soul is guiding
your brain, then you are nothing more than a puppet of
God. You don’t really have free will in that case, do you?”
I tried again. “Maybe God is guiding my soul in a sort
of directional way, but it’s up to me to figure out the exact
steps to take.”
“That sounds as if God is giving you some sort of an
intelligence test. If you make the right choices, good things
happen to your soul. Is that what you’re saying?”
“It’s not about intelligence, it’s about morality,” I said.
“Yes, morality.” I felt I was making a good point even
though I didn’t know what it was.
“Is your brain involved in making moral decisions or do
those decisions get made someplace outside your body?” he
I groaned.
God ’s Debris
Genuine Belief
I needed reinforcements. “Look,” I said, “four billion people
believe in some sort of God and free will. They can’t all
be wrong.”
“Very few people believe in God,” he replied.
I didn’t see how he could deny the obvious. “Of course
they do. Billions of people believe in God.”
The old man leaned toward me, resting a blanketed
elbow on the arm of his rocker.
“Four billion people say they believe in God, but few
genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would
live every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich
people would give their wealth to the needy. Everyone
would be frantic to determine which religion was the true
one. No one could be comfortable in the thought that they
might have picked the wrong religion and blundered into
eternal damnation, or bad reincarnation, or some other
unthinkable consequence. People would dedicate their lives
to converting others to their religions.
“A belief in God would demand one hundred percent
obsessive devotion, influencing every waking moment of
this brief life on earth. But your four billion so-called believers
do not live their lives in that fashion, except for a few.
The majority believe in the usefulness of their beliefs—an
earthly and practical utility—but they do not believe in the
underlying reality.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “If you asked
them, they’d say they believe.”
“They say that they believe because pretending to
believe is necessary to get the benefits of religion. They tell
other people that they believe and they do believer-like
things, like praying and reading holy books. But they don’t
do the things that a true believer would do, the things a true
believer would have to do.
“If you believe a truck is coming toward you, you will
jump out of the way. That is belief in the reality of the truck.
If you tell people you fear the truck but do nothing to get
out of the way, that is not belief in the truck. Likewise, it is
not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and
hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starva-
God ’s Debris
tion. When belief does not control your most important
decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief
in the usefulness of believing.”
“Are you saying God doesn’t exist?” I asked, trying to
get to the point.
“I’m saying that people claim to believe in God, but most
don’t literally believe. They only act as though they believe
because there are earthly benefits in doing so. They create a
delusion for themselves because it makes them happy.”
“So you think only the atheists believe their own
belief?” I asked.
“No. Atheists also prefer delusions,” he said.
“So according to you, no one believes anything that
they say they believe.”
“The best any human can do is to pick a delusion that
helps him get through the day. This is why people of different
religions can generally live in peace. At some level, we
all suspect that other people don’t believe their own religion
any more than we believe ours.”
I couldn’t accept that. “Maybe the reason we respect
other religions is that they all have a core set of beliefs in
common. They only differ in the details.”
“Jews and Muslims believe that Christ isn’t the Son of
God,” he countered. “If they are right, then Christians are
genuine belief
mistaken about the core of their religion. And if the Jews or
the Christians or the Muslims have the right religion, then
the Hindus and Buddhists who believe in reincarnation are
wrong. Would you call those details?”
“I guess not,” I confessed.
“At some level of consciousness, everyone knows that
the odds of picking the true religion—if such a thing
exists—are nil.”
God ’s Debris
Road Maps
I felt like a one-legged man balanced on a high fence. I
could keep hopping along looking for an easy way down, or
I could just jump now and take my bruises. I decided to
“What’s your belief, Mr. Avatar?”
The old man rocked a few times before responding.
“Let’s say that you and I decide to travel separately to the
same place. You have a map that is blue and I have a map that
is green. Neither map shows all the possible routes, but both
maps show an acceptable—yet different—route to the destination.
If we both take our trips and return safely, we would
spread the word of our successful maps to others. I would
say, with complete conviction, that my green map was perfect,
and I might warn people to avoid any other sort of map.
You would feel the same conviction about your blue map.
“Religions are like different maps whose routes all lead
to the collective good of society. Some maps take their followers
over rugged terrain. Other maps have easier paths.
Some of the travelers of each route will be assigned the job
of being the protectors and interpreters of the map. They
will teach the young to respect it and be suspicious of other
“Okay,” I said, “but who made the maps in the first
“The maps were made by the people who went first and
didn’t die. The maps that survive are the ones that work,”
he said.
At last, he had presented a target for me to attack. “Are
you saying that all the religions work? What about all the
people who have been killed in religious wars?”
“You can’t judge the value of a thing by looking only at
costs. In many countries, more people die from hospital
errors than religious wars, but no one accuses hospitals of
being evil. Religious people are happier, they live longer, have
fewer accidents, and stay out of trouble compared to nonreligious
people. From society’s viewpoint, religion works.”
God ’s Debris
As my lunch hour blurred into afternoon, I had technically
abandoned my job. I didn’t care. The time spent with this
old man was worth it. I didn’t agree with everything he was
saying, but my mind was more alive than it had been since
I was a child. I felt like I had wakened on a strange planet
where everything looked familiar but all the rules were different.
He was a mystery, but by now I was getting used to
his questions that came out of nowhere.
“Has anyone ever advised you to ‘be yourself’?”
I said I’d heard that a lot.
“What does it mean to be yourself?” he asked. “If it
means to do what you think you ought to do, then you’re
doing that already. If it means to act like you’re exempt
from society’s influence, that’s the worst advice in the
world; you would probably stop bathing and wearing clothes.
The advice to ‘be yourself’ is obviously nonsense. But our
brains accept this tripe as wisdom because it is more comfortable
to believe we have a strategy for life than to believe
we have no idea how to behave.”
“You make it sound as though our brains are designed
to trick us,” I said.
“There is more information in one thimble of reality
than can be understood by a galaxy of human brains. It is
beyond the human brain to understand the world and its
environment, so the brain compensates by creating simplified
illusions that act as a replacement for understanding.
When the illusions work well and the human who subscribes
to the illusion survives, those illusions are passed to new
“The human brain is a delusion generator. The delusions
are fueled by arrogance—the arrogance that humans are the
center of the world, that we alone are endowed with the magical
properties of souls and morality and free will and love. We
presume that an omnipotent God has a unique interest in our
progress and activities while providing all the rest of creation
for our playground. We believe that God—because he thinks
the same way we do—must be more interested in our lives
than in the rocks and trees and plants and animals.”
God ’s Debris
“Well, I don’t think rocks would be very interesting to
God,” I said. “They just sit on the ground and erode.”
“You think that way because you are unable to see the
storm of activity at the rock’s molecular level or the level
beneath that, and so on. And you are limited by your perception
of time. If you watched a rock your entire life it
would never look different. But if you were God and could
observe the rock over fifteen billion years as though only a
second had passed, the rock would be frantic with activity.
It would be shrinking and growing and trading matter with
its environment. Its molecules would travel the universe and
become a partner to amazing things that we could never
imagine. By contrast, the odd collection of molecules that
make a human being will stay in that arrangement for less
time than it takes the universe to blink. Our arrogance
causes us to imagine special value in this temporary collection
of molecules. Why do we perceive more spiritual value
in the sum of our body parts than on any individual cell in
our body? Why don’t we hold funerals when skin cells die?”
“That wouldn’t be practical,” I said. I wasn’t sure it was
a question meant to be answered, but I wanted to show I
was listening.
“Exactly,” he agreed. “Practicality rules our perceptions.
To survive, our tiny brains need to tame the blizzard of
delusion generator
information that threatens to overwhelm us. Our perceptions
are wondrously flexible, transforming our worldview
automatically and continuously until we find safe harbor in
a comfortable delusion.
“To a God not bound by the limits of human practicality,
every tiny part of your body would be as action-packed
and meaningful as the parts of any rock or tree or bug. And
the sum of your parts that form the personality and life we
find so special and amazing would seem neither special nor
amazing to an omnipotent being.
“It is absurd to define God as omnipotent and then burden
him with our own myopic view of the significance of
human beings. What could possibly be interesting or important
to a God that knows everything, can create anything,
can destroy anything. The concept of ‘importance’ is a
human one born out of our need to make choices for survival.
An omnipotent being has no need to rank things. To
God, nothing in the universe would be more interesting,
more worthy, more useful, more threatening, or more
important than anything else.”
“I still think people are more important to God than animals
and plants and dirt. I think that’s obvious,” I argued.
“What is more important to a car, the steering wheel or
the engine?” he asked.
God ’s Debris
“The engine is more important because without an
engine, there is no reason to steer,” I reasoned.
“But unless you have both the engine and the steering
wheel, the car is useless, isn’t it?” he asked.
“Well, yes. I guess that’s true,” I admitted.
“The steering wheel and the engine are of equal importance.
It is a human impulse—composed of equal parts arrogance
and instinct—to believe we can rank everything in
our environment. Importance is not an intrinsic quality of
the universe. It exists only in our delusion-filled minds. I
can assure you that humans are not in any form or fashion
more important than rocks or steering wheels or engines.”
delusion generator
UFOs, and God
I didn’t know how much of the old man’s opinions to take
at face value. Everything he talked about had a kind of logic
to it, but so do many things that are nonsense. I decided it
was best just to listen. Whatever was happening to me, at
least it was different. I liked different.
He started again. “If you want to understand UFOs,
reincarnation, and God, do not study UFOs, reincarnation,
and God. Study people.”
“Are you saying none of those things are real?” I was
offended by his certainty, given the thousands of eyewitness
accounts for each of those things.
“No,” he said, “I am saying that UFOs, reincarnation,
and God are all equal in terms of their reality.”
“Do you mean equally real or equally imaginary?”
“Your question reveals your bias for a binary world
where everything is either real or imaginary. That distinction
lies in your perceptions, not in the universe. Your
inability to see other possibilities and your lack of vocabulary
are your brain’s limits, not the universe’s.”
“There has to be a difference between real and imagined
things,” I countered. “My truck is real. The Easter Bunny is
imagined. Those are different.”
“As you sit here, your truck exists for you only in your
memory, a place in your mind. The Easter Bunny lives in the
same place. They are equal.”
“Yes, but I can go out and drive my truck. I can’t pet
the Easter Bunny.”
“Was the rain from this morning real?”
“Of course.”
“But you can’t see or touch that rain now, can you?”
“Like the Easter Bunny, the past exists only in your
mind,” he said. “Likewise, the future exists only in your
mind because it has not happened.”
“But I can find evidence of the past. I can check with the
weather people and confirm that it rained this morning.”
“And when you get that confirmation, it would instantly
become the past itself. So in effect, you would be using the
reincarnat ion, ufos, and god
past, which does not exist, to confirm something else from
the past. And if you repeat the process a thousand times,
with a thousand different pieces of evidence, together they
would still be nothing but impressions of the past supporting
other impressions of the past.”
“That’s just mental gymnastics. You’re playing with
words,” I said.
“An insane person believes his world is consistent. If he
believes the government is trying to kill him, he will see
ample evidence of his belief in the so-called real world. He
will be wrong, but his evidence is no better or worse than
your evidence that it rained this morning. Both of you will
be converting evidence of the present into impressions
stored in your minds and you will both be certain your evidence
is solid and irrefutable. Your mind will mold the facts
and shape the clues until it all fits.”
“That might be true of crazy people, but not normal
“Clinical psychologists have proven that ordinary people
will alter their memories of the past to make them fit
their perceptions. It is the way all normal brains function
under ordinary circumstances.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Now you do,” he replied.
God ’s Debris
“If you were God,” he said, “what would you want?”
“I don’t know. I barely know what I want, much less
what God wants.”
“Imagine that you are omnipotent. You can do anything,
create anything, be anything. As soon as you decide
you want something, it becomes reality.”
I waited, knowing there was more.
He continued. “Does it make sense to think of God as
wanting anything? A God would have no emotions, no
fears, no desires, no curiosity, no hunger. Those are human
shortcomings, not something that would be found in an
omnipotent God. What then would motivate God?”
“Maybe it’s the challenge, the intellectual stimulation of
creating things,” I offered.
“Omnipotence means that nothing is a challenge. And
what could stimulate the mind of someone who knows
“You make it sound almost boring to be God. But I
guess you’ll say boredom is a human feeling.”
“Everything that motivates living creatures is based on
some weakness or flaw. Hunger motivates animals. Lust
motivates animals. Fear and pain motivate animals. A God
would have none of those impulses. Humans are driven by
all of our animal passions plus loftier-sounding things like
self-actualization and creativity and freedom and love. But
God would care nothing for those things, or if he cared
would already have them in unlimited quantities. None of
them would be motivating.”
“So what motivates God?” I asked. “Do you have the
answer to that question, or are you just yanking my chain?”
“I can conceive of only one challenge for an omnipotent
being—the challenge of destroying himself.”
“You think God would want to commit suicide?” I asked.
“I’m not saying he wants anything. I’m saying it’s the
only challenge.”
“I think God would prefer to exist than to not exist.”
“That’s thinking like a human, not like a God. You have
a fear of death so you assume God would share your prefer-
God ’s Debris
ence. But God would have no fears. Existing would be a
choice. And there would be no pain of death, nor feelings of
guilt or remorse or loss. Those are human feelings, not God
feelings. God could simply choose to discontinue existence.”
“There’s a logical problem here, according to your way
of thinking,” I said. “If God knows the future, he already
knows if he will choose to end his existence, and he knows
if he will succeed at it, so there’s no challenge there, either.”
“Your thinking is getting clearer,” he said. “Yes, he will
know the future of his own existence under normal conditions.
But would his omnipotence include knowing what
happens after he loses his omnipotence, or would his knowledge
of the future end at that point?”
“That sounds like a thoroughly unanswerable question.
I think you’ve hit a dead end,” I said.
“Maybe. But consider this. A God who knew the answer
to that question would indeed know everything and have
everything. For that reason he would be unmotivated to do
anything or create anything. There would be no purpose to
act in any way whatsoever. But a God who had one nagging
question—what happens if I cease to exist?—might be motivated
to find the answer in order to complete his knowledge.
And having no fear and no reason to continue
existing, he might try it.”
God ’s motivat ion
“How would we know either way?”
“We have the answer. It is our existence. The fact that
we exist is proof that God is motivated to act in some way.
And since only the challenge of self-destruction could interest
an omnipotent God, it stands to reason that we . . .”
I interrupted the old man in midsentence and stood
straight up from the rocker. It felt as if a pulse of energy ran
up my spine, compressing my lungs, electrifying my skin,
bringing the hairs on the back of my neck to full alert. I
moved closer to the fireplace, unable to absorb its heat.
“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” My brain
was taking on too much knowledge. There was overflow
and I needed to shake off the excess.
The old man looked at nothing and said, “We are God’s
God ’s Debris
God’s Debris
“Are you saying that God blew himself to bits and we’re
what’s left?” I asked.
“Not exactly,” he replied.
“Then what?”
“The debris consists of two things. First, there are the
smallest elements of matter, many levels below the smallest
things scientists have identified.”
“Smaller than quarks? I don’t know what a quark is, but
I think it’s small.”
“Everything is made of some other thing. And those things
in turn are made of other things. Over the next hundred years,
scientists will uncover layer after layer of building blocks, each
smaller than the last. At each layer the differences between types
of matter will be fewer. At the lowest layer everything is exactly
the same. Matter is uniform. Those are the bits of God.”
“What’s the second part of the debris?” I asked.
“So you’re saying that God—an all-powerful being with
a consciousness that extends to all things, across all time—
consists of nothing but dust and probability?”
“Don’t underestimate it. Probability is an infinitely
powerful force. Remember my first question to you, about
the coin toss?”
“Yes. You asked why a coin comes up heads half the
“Probability is omnipotent and omnipresent. It influences
every coin at any time in any place, instantly. It cannot
be shielded or altered. We might see randomness in the
outcome of an individual coin toss, but as the number of
tosses increases, probability has firm control of the outcome.
And probability is not limited to coins and dice and
slot machines. Probability is the guiding force of everything
in the universe, living or nonliving, near or far, big or small,
now or anytime.”
“It’s God’s debris,” I mumbled, rolling the idea around
in both my mouth and mind to see if that helped. It was a
fascinating concept, but too strange to embrace on first
impression. “You said before that you didn’t believe in God.
Now you say you do. Which is it?”
God ’s Debris
“I’m rejecting your overly complicated definition of
God—the one that imagines him to have desires and needs
and emotions like a human being while possessing infinite
power. And I’m rejecting your complicated notion of a fixed
reality that the human mind can—by an amazing stroke of
“You’re not rejecting the idea of a fixed reality,” I
argued. “You’re saying the universe is made of God’s debris.
That’s a fixed reality.”
“Our language and our minds are too limited to deal with
anything but a fixed reality, regardless of whether such a thing
exists. The best we can do is to update our delusions to fit the
times. We live in an increasingly rational, science-based society.
The religious metaphors of the past are no longer comforting.
Science is whittling at them from every side.
Humanity needs a metaphor that allows God and science to
coexist, at least in our minds, for the next thousand years.”
“If your God is just a metaphor, why should I care
about him? He would be irrelevant,” I said.
“Because everything you perceive is a metaphor for
something your brain is not equipped to fully understand.
God is as real as the clothes you are wearing and the chair
you are sitting in. They are all metaphors for something you
will never understand.”
God ’s Debris
“That’s ridiculous. If everything we perceive is fake, just
a metaphor, how do we get anything done?”
“Imagine that you had been raised to believe carrots
were potatoes and potatoes were carrots. And imagine you
live in a world where everyone knows the truth about these
foods except you. When you thought you were eating a
potato you were eating a carrot, and vice versa. Assuming
you had a balanced diet overall, your delusion about carrots
would have no real impact on your life except for your continuous
bickering with others about the true nature of carrots
and potatoes. Now suppose everyone was wrong and
both the carrots and potatoes were entirely different foods.
Let’s say they were really apples and beets. Would it matter?”
“You lost me. So God is a potato?” I joked.
“Whether you understand the true nature of your food
or not, you still have to eat. And in my example it makes little
difference if you don’t know a carrot from a potato. We
can only act on our perceptions, no matter how faulty. The
best we can do is to periodically adjust our perceptions—our
delusions, if you will—to make them more consistent with
our logic and common sense.”
God ’s Debris
“What makes things do what they do?” he asked. “What
makes dogs bark, cats purr, plants grow?”
“Before today I would have said evolution makes everything
do what it does. Now I don’t know what to think.”
“Evolution isn’t a cause of anything; it’s an observation,
a way of putting things in categories. Evolution says nothing
about causes.”
“Evolution seems like a cause to me,” I argued. “If it
weren’t for evolution I’d be a single-celled creature in the
bottom of some swamp.”
“But what makes evolution happen?” he asked. “Where did
all the energy come from and how did it become so organized?”
It was a good question. “I’ve always wondered how
something like a zebra gets created by a bunch of molecules
bouncing around the universe. It seems to me that over
time the universe should become more screwed up and random,
not organized enough to create zebras and light rail
systems and chocolate-chip cookies. I mean, if you put a
banana in a box and shook it for a trillion years, would the
atoms ever assemble themselves into a television set or a
squirrel? I guess it’s possible if you have enough boxes and
bananas, but I have a hard time understanding it.”
“Do you have any trouble understanding that a human
embryo can only grow into a human adult and never into an
apple tree or a pigeon?” he asked.
“I understand that. Humans have different DNA than
apple trees or pigeons. But with my banana in the box
example, there’s no blueprint telling the molecules how to
become something else. If the banana particles somehow
stick together to become a flashlight or a fur hat, it’s a case
of amazing luck, not a plan.”
“So you believe that DNA is fundamentally different
from luck?”
“They’re opposites,” I said. “DNA is like a specific plan.
Probability means anything can happen.”
The old man looked at me in that way that said I would
soon doubt what I was saying. He didn’t disappoint. As
usual, he began with a question.
God ’s Debris
“If the universe were to start over from scratch, and all
the conditions that created life were to happen again, would
life spring up?”
“Sure,” I said, feeling confident again. “If all the things
that caused life the first time around were to happen again,
the result should be the same. I don’t know what you’re
getting at.”
“Let’s rewind our imaginary universe fifteen billion
years, to long before the time life first appeared. If that universe’s
origin were identical to our own, would it unfold to
become exactly like the world we live in now, including this
“I guess so. If it starts out the same and nothing
changes it along the way, it should turn out the same.” My
confidence was evaporating again.
“That’s right. Our existence was programmed into the
universe from the beginning, guaranteed by the power of
probability. The time and place of our existence were flexible,
but the outcome was assured because sooner or later life
would happen. We would be sitting in these rocking chairs,
or ones just like them, having this conversation. You believe
that DNA and probability are opposites. But both make
specific things happen. DNA runs on a tighter schedule
than probability, but in the long run—the extreme long
God ’s consciousness
run—probability is just as fixed and certain in its outcome.
Probability forces the coin toss to be exactly fifty-fifty at
some point, assuming you keep flipping forever. Likewise,
probability forced us to exist exactly as we are. Only the timing
was in question.”
“I have to think about that. It sounds logical but it’s
weird,” I said.
“Think about this,” he continued. “As we speak, engineers
are building the Internet to link every part of the
world in much the same way as a fetus develops a central
nervous system. Virtually no one questions the desirability
of the Internet. It seems that humans are born with the
instinct to create it and embrace it. The instinct of beavers
is to build dams; the instinct of humans is to build communication
“I don’t think instinct is making us build the Internet. I
think people are trying to make money off it. It’s just capitalism,”
I replied.
“Capitalism is only part of it,” he countered. “In the
1990s investors threw money at any Internet company that
asked for it. Economics went out the window. Rationality
can’t explain our obsession with the Internet. The need to
build the Internet comes from something inside us, something
programmed, something we can’t resist.”
God ’s Debris
He was right about the Internet being somewhat irrational.
I wasn’t going to win that debate and this was not a
place to jump in. He had a lot more to say.
“Humanity is developing a sort of global eyesight as
millions of video cameras on satellites, desktops, and street
corners are connected to the Internet. In your lifetime it
will be possible to see almost anything on the planet from
any computer. And society’s intelligence is merging over the
Internet, creating, in effect, a global mind that can do vastly
more than any individual mind. Eventually everything that
is known by one person will be available to all. A decision
can be made by the collective mind of humanity and
instantly communicated to the body of society.
“In the distant future, humans will learn to control the
weather, to manipulate DNA, and to build whole new
worlds out of raw matter. There is no logical limit to how
much our collective power will grow. A billion years from
now, if a visitor from another dimension observed humanity,
he might perceive it to be one large entity with a consciousness
and purpose, and not a collection of relatively
uninteresting individuals.”
“Are you saying we’re evolving into God?”
“I’m saying we’re the building blocks of God, in the
early stages of reassembling.”
God ’s consciousness
“I think I’d know it if we were part of an omnipotent
being,” I said.
“Would you? Your skin cells are not aware that they are
part of a human being. Skin cells are not equipped for that
knowledge. They are equipped to do what they do and
nothing more. Likewise, if we humans—and all the plants
and animals and dirt and rocks—were components of God,
would we have the capacity to know it?”
“So, you’re saying God blew himself to bits—I guess
that was the Big Bang—and now he’s piecing himself back
together?” I asked.
“He is discovering the answer to his only question.”
“Does God have consciousness yet? Does he know he’s
reassembling himself?”
“He does. Otherwise you could not have asked the
question, and I could not have answered.”
God ’s Debris
Physics of
“If the universe is nothing but dust and probability, how does
anything happen?” I asked. “How do you explain gravity and
motion? Why doesn’t everything stay exactly where it is?”
“I can answer those questions by answering other questions
first,” he said.
“Okay. Whatever works.”
“Science is based on assumptions. Scientists assume that
electricity will behave the same tomorrow as today. They
assume that the laws of physics that apply on Earth will
apply on other planets. Usually the assumptions are right, or
close enough to be useful.
“But sometimes assumptions lead us down the wrong
path. For example, we assume time is continuous—meaning
that between any two moments of time, no matter how
brief, is more time. But if that’s true, then a minute would
last forever because it would contain an infinite number of
smaller time slices, and infinity means you never run out.”
“That’s an old mind trick I learned about in school,” I
said. “I think it’s called Zeno’s Paradox, after some old
Greek guy who thought it up first.”
“And what is the solution?” he asked.
“The solution is that each of the infinite slices of time
are infinitely small, so the math works out. You can have
continuous time without a minute lasting an eternity.”
“Yes, the math does work out. And minutes don’t seem
to take forever, so we assume Zeno’s Paradox is not really a
paradox at all. Unfortunately, the solution is wrong. Infinity
is a useful tool for math, but it is only a concept. It is not
a feature of our physical reality.”
“I thought the universe was infinitely large,” I replied.
“Most scientists agree that the universe is big, but
“That doesn’t make sense. What if I took a rocket to the
edge of the universe, then I kept going. Couldn’t I keep
going forever? Where would I be if not in the universe?”
“You are always part of the universe, by definition. So
when your rocket goes beyond the current boundary, the
boundary moves with you. You become the outer edge for
God ’s Debris
that direction. But the universe is still a specific size, not
“Okay, the universe itself might be finite, but all the stuff
around it, the nothingness, that’s infinite, right?” I asked.
“It is meaningless to say you have an infinite supply of
“Yeah, I guess so. But let’s get back to the subject,” I
said. “How do you explain Zeno’s Paradox?”
“Imagine that everything in existence disappears and then
reappears. How much time expires while everything is gone?”
“How should I know? You’re the one making up the
example. How much?”
“No time passes. It can’t because time is a human concept
of how things change compared to other things. If
everything in the universe disappears, nothing exists to
change compared to other things, so there is no time.”
“What if everything disappears except for me and my
wristwatch?” I asked.
“Then you would experience the passing of time in relation
to yourself and to your watch. And when the rest of the
universe reappeared you could check on how much time
had passed according to your watch. But the people in the
rest of the universe would have experienced no time while
they were gone. To them, you instantly aged. Their time
physics of god-dust
and your time were not the same because you experienced
change and they did not. There is no universal time clock;
time differs for every observer.”
“Okay, I think I get that. But how is any of this going
to answer my original question about gravity and what
makes things move?”
“Have you ever seen a graph of something called a
probability distribution?” he asked.
“Yes. It has a bunch of dots on it. The places with the
most dots are where there’s the greatest probability,” I said,
pleased to remember something from my statistics classes.
“The universe looks a lot like a probability graph. The
heaviest concentrations of dots are the galaxies and planets,
where the force of gravity seems the strongest. But gravity
is not a tugging force. Gravity is the result of probability.”
“You lost me.”
“Reality has a pulse, a rhythm, for lack of better words.
God’s dust disappears on one beat and reappears on the
next in a new position based on probability. If a bit of Goddust
disappears near a large mass, say a planet, then probability
will cause it to pop back into existence nearer to the
planet on the next beat. Probability is highest when you are
near massive objects. Or to put it another way, mass is the
physical expression of probability.”
God ’s Debris
“I think I understand that, sort of,” I lied.
“If you observed God-dust that was near the Earth it
would look like it was being sucked toward the planet. But
there is no movement across space in the sense that we
understand it. The dust is continuously disappearing in one
place and appearing in another, with each new location
being nearer the Earth.”
“I prefer the current theory of gravity,” I said. “Newton
and Einstein had it pretty much figured out. The math
works with their theories. I’m not so sure about yours.”
“The normal formulas for gravity work fine with my
description of reality,” he replied. “All I’ve done is add
another level of understanding. Newton and Einstein gave
us formulas for gravity, but neither man answered the question
of why objects seem attracted to each other.”
“Einstein did explain it,” I said. “Remember, we talked
about that? He said space was warped by matter, so what
looks like gravity is just objects following the path of warped
The old man just looked at me.
“Okay,” I said. “I admit I don’t know what any of that
means. It does sound like nonsense.”
“Einstein’s language about bent space and my description
of God-dust are nothing more than mental models. If
physics of god-dust
they help us deal wth our environment, they are useful. My
description of gravity is easier to understand than Einstein’s
model. In that sense, mine is better.”
I chuckled. I had never heard anyone compare himself
to Einstein. I was impressed by his cockiness but not convinced.
“You haven’t explained orbits. Under your theory,
how could a moon orbit a planet and not be sucked into it?
Your God-dust would pop into existence closer to the
planet every time it appeared until it crashed into the surface.”
“You are ready for the second law of gravity.”
“I guess I am.”
“There is one other factor that influences the position of
matter when it pops back into existence. That force is inertia,
for lack of a better word. Although God-dust is unimaginably
small, it has some probability of popping into existence
exactly where another piece of God-dust exists. When that
happens, one of the particles has to find a new location and
alter its probability. To the observer, if one could see such tiny
happenings, it looks like the particles collide and then change
direction and speed. The new speed is determined by how far
from its original spot the God-dust appears with each beat of
the universe. If each new location is far from the old spot, we
perceive the object to be moving fast.”
God ’s Debris
He continued. “So there is always a dual probability
influencing each particle of God-dust. One probability
makes all God-dust pop into existence nearer to other Goddust.
The other probability is that the dust will appear along
a straight line drawn from its past. All apparent motion in
the universe is based on those competing probabilities.
“Earth’s moon, for example, has a certain probability of
coming toward the Earth and a certain probability of moving
in a straight line. The two probabilities are, by chance,
in balance. If gravity were a tugging force, the way we normally
think of it, there would be some sort of friction, slowing
the moon and eventually dragging it to Earth. But since
gravity is nothing more than probability, there is no friction
or tugging. The moon can orbit almost indefinitely because
its position is determined by probability, not by tugging or
“What if all the dust that makes up the moon doesn’t
reappear near its last position?” I asked. “You said it’s only
a matter of probability where the dust reappears, so couldn’t
the moon suddenly vanish if all its dust disappeared and
then appeared on the other side of the solar system?”
“Yes, it could. But the probability of that is ridiculously
“The trouble with your theory,” I said, “is that matter
physics of god-dust
doesn’t pop in and out of existence. Scientists would have
noticed that by now.”
“Actually, they have. Matter pops into and out of existence
all the time. That’s what a quantum leap is. You’ve
probably heard the term but didn’t know its origin.”
“I’ll be darned,” I said.
God ’s Debris
Free Will
of a Penny
“Explain free will,” I said.
“Imagine a copper penny that is exactly like an ordinary
penny except that for this discussion it has consciousness. It
knows it is a coin and it knows that you sometimes flip it.
And it knows that no external force dictates whether it
comes up heads or tails on any individual flip.
“If the penny’s consciousness were like human consciousness,
it would analyze the situation and conclude that it
had free will. When it wanted to come up heads, and heads
was the result, the penny would confirm its belief in its power
to choose. When it came up tails instead, it would blame its
own lack of commitment, or assume God had a hand in it.
“The imaginary coin would believe that things don’t
just ‘happen’ without causes. If nothing external controlled
the results of the flips, a reasonable penny would assume
that the control came from its own will, influenced perhaps
by God’s will, assuming it were a religious penny.
“The penny’s belief in its own role would be wrong, but the
penny’s belief in God’s role would be right. Probability—the
essence of God’s power—dictates that the penny must sometimes
come up tails even when the penny chooses to be heads.”
“But people aren’t pennies,” I said. “We have brains.
And when our brains make choices, we move our arms and
legs and mouths to make things happen. The penny has no
way to turn its choices into reality, but we do.”
“We believe we do,” the old man said. “But we also
believe in the scientific principle that any specific cause, no
matter how complex, must have a specific effect. Therefore,
we believe two realities that cannot both be true. If one is
true, the other must be false.”
“I’m not following you,” I said.
“The brain is fundamentally a machine. It’s an organic
machine with chemical and electrical properties. When an
electrical signal is formed, it can only make one specific
thing happen. It can’t choose to sometimes make you think
of a cow and sometimes make you fall in love. That one specific
electrical impulse, in the one specific place in your
brain, can have one and only one result on your actions.”
God ’s Debris
“We’ve been through this. Maybe the brain is exempt
from the normal rules because of free will or the soul. I know
I can’t define those things, but you can’t rule them out.”
“Nothing in life can be ruled out. But the penny analogy
is a simple explanation of free will that makes sense and
has no undefined concepts.”
“Being simpler doesn’t make it right,” I pointed out. I
needed to say something that sounded wise, for my own
“True, simplicity is not proof of truth. But 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.”
free will of a penny
“Let’s get back to evolution,” I said. “With all your talk
about God, do you think he caused evolution? Or did it all
happen in a few thousand years like the creationists believe?”
“The theory of evolution is not so much wrong as it is
incomplete and useless.”
“How can you say it’s useless?”
“The theory of evolution leads to no practical invention.
It is a concept that has no application.”
“Yeah, I hear what you’re saying,” I said. “But you have
to agree that the fossil evidence of earlier species is pretty compelling.
There’s an obvious change over time from the earlier
creatures to the newer ones. How can you ignore that?”
“Imagine that an asteroid lands on Earth and brings
with it an exotic bacteria that kills all organic matter on
Earth and then dissolves without a trace. A million years
later, intelligent aliens discover Earth and study our bones
and our possessions, trying to piece together our history.
They might notice that all of our cookware—the pots and
pans and plates and bowls—all seemed to be related somehow.
And the older ones were quite different from the
newer ones. The earliest among them were crude bowls, all
somewhat similar, generally made of clay or stone. Over
time, the bowls evolved into plates and coffee cups and
stainless-steel frying pans.
“The aliens would create compelling charts showing
how the dishes evolved. The teacup family would look like
its own species, related closely to the beer mug and the
water glass. An observer who looked at the charts would
clearly see a pattern that could not be coincidence. The
cause of this dishware evolution would be debated, just as
we debate the underlying cause of human evolution, but the
observed fact of dishware evolution would not be challenged
by the alien scientists. The facts would be clear.
Some scientists would be bothered by the lack of intermediate
dishware species—say, a frying pan with a beer mug
handle—but they would assume it to exist somewhere
“That might be the worst analogy ever made,” I said.
“You’re comparing people to dishes.”
The old man laughed out loud for the first time since we
began talking. He was genuinely amused.
“It’s not an analogy,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
“It’s a point of view. Evolution is compelling not because of
the quality of the evidence but because of the quantity and
variety of it. The aliens would have the same dilemma.
There would be so much evidence for their theory of dishware
evolution that opponents would be mocked. The alien
scientists would theorize that forks evolved from spoons,
which evolved from knives. Pots evolved from bowls. Dinner
plates evolved from cutting boards. The sheer quantity
and variety of the data would be overwhelming. Eventually
they would stop calling it a theory and consider it a fact.
Only a lunatic could publicly doubt the mountain of evidence.”
“There’s a big difference between dishes and animals,”
I said. “With dishes, there’s no way they can evolve. Logic
would tell the aliens that there was no way that a nonliving
dish could produce offspring, much less mutant offspring.”
“That’s not exactly true,” he countered. “It could be
said that the dishes used human beings in a symbiotic relationship,
convincing us through their usefulness to make
new dishes. In that way the dishes succeeded in reproducing
and evolving. Every species takes advantage of other living
God ’s Debris
things to ensure its survival. That is the normal way living
things reproduce.
“You believe, without foundation, that the alien scientists
would see a distinction between the living creatures and
the nonliving dishes, and classify the dishes as mere tools.
But that is a human-centric view of the world. Humans
believe that organic things are more important than inorganic
things because we are organic. The aliens would have
no such bias. To them, the dishes would look like a hardy
species that found a way to evolve and reproduce and thrive
despite having no organic parts.”
“But the dishes have no personalities, no thoughts or
emotions or desires,” I said.
“Neither does a clam.”
“Then why do people say they’re as happy as a clam?” I
joked. He ignored me.
“Does it strike you as odd that there isn’t more evidence
today of the mutations that drive evolution?” he asked.
“Like what?”
“Shouldn’t we be seeing in today’s living creatures the
preview of the next million years of evolution? Where are the
two-headed humans who will become overlords of the oneheaded
people, the fish with unidentified organs that will
evolve to something useful over the next million years, the
cats who are developing gills? We see some evidence of mutations
today, but mostly trivial ones, not the sort of radical
ones there must have been in the past, the sort that became
precursors of brains, eyes, wings, and internal organs.
“And why does evolution seem to move in one direction,
from simpler to more complex? Why aren’t there any
higher life forms evolving into simpler, hardier creatures? If
mutations happen randomly, you would expect evolution to
work in both directions. But it only works in one, from simple
to complex.”
He continued. “And why has the number of species on
earth declined for the past million years? The rate of the formation
of new species was once faster than the rate of extinction,
but that has reversed. Why? Can it all be explained by
meteors and human intervention?
“And how does the first member of a new species find
someone to breed with? Being a new species means you can
no longer breed with the members of your parents’ species.
If mutations are the trigger for evolution, the mutations
must happen regularly and in such similar ways that the
mutants can find each other to breed. You would think we
would notice more mutations if it happens that easily.”
“I have the same problem with religion,” I said. “It
seemed like there were all sorts of miracles a long time ago
God ’s Debris
but now we never see them. With evolution, it looks like
most of the mutating is petering out just when we get smart
enough to study it. It does seem a bit suspicious, as if there
was a point to it all and we’re nearing it.”
“Come back to the coin for a moment,” he beckoned.
“If by chance you flip a balanced coin and it comes up heads
a hundred times in a row, what is the probability that it will
come up heads again on the next toss?”
“I know this one. The odds are fifty-fifty, even though
it seems like the coin is overdue for a tails. It doesn’t make
sense to me, but that’s what I learned in school.”
“That’s right,” he said. “Or to put it another way, the
coin’s past has no impact on its future. There is no connection
between the outcomes of the prior coin flips and the
likelihood of the future ones.
“The rest of the universe is like the coin. The events of
the past appear to cause the present, but every time we pop
back into existence we are subject to a new set of probabilities.
Literally anything can happen.”
He shifted in his chair and began again. “Every creature
has a tiny probability of becoming a different species with
each beat of the universe. A duck can be replaced in whole
by a woodchuck. The odds of this happening are so small
that it probably never has and never will happen, but it is
not precluded by the nature of the universe. It is simply
“A more likely result is that a creature’s DNA experiences
a tiny variation because two bits of God-dust tried to
reappear in the same location and had to make an adjustment.
That adjustment set in motion a chain reaction of
probabilities that affected the fate of the creature.
“When you flip the coin, it almost always lands either
heads or tails, even though it could possibly balance on its
edge. If we did not have experience with flipping coins we
might think coins regularly land and stay on their edges.
The edge of a coin has perhaps ten percent as much surface
area as either of its sides, so you might expect that coins
come up ‘edge’ routinely.
“But probability avoids in-between conditions. It favors
heads or tails. Evolution also avoids in-between conditions.
Something in the nature of the God-dust made growing
two eyes likely and growing two heads unlikely. More to the
point, there is something about eyes that supports God’s
inevitable reassembly.”
God ’s Debris
Skeptics’ Disease
“I have some friends who are skeptics,” I said. “They’re in
that Skeptics Society. I think they’d tear you apart.”
“Skeptics,” he said, “suffer from the skeptics’ disease—
the problem of being right too often.”
“How’s that bad?” I asked.
“If you are proven to be right a hundred times in a row,
no amount of evidence will convince you that you are mistaken
in the hundred-and-first case. You will be seduced by
your own apparent infallibility. Remember that all scientific
experiments are performed by human beings and the results
are subject to human interpretation. The human mind is a
delusion generator, not a window to truth. Everyone, including
skeptics, will generate delusions that match their views.
That is how a normal and healthy brain works. Skeptics are
not exempt from self-delusion.”
“Skeptics know that human perceptions are faulty,” I
argued. “That’s why they have a scientific process and they
insist on repeating experiments to see if results are consistent.
Their scientific method virtually eliminates subjectivity.”
“The scientific approach also makes people think and
act in groups,” he countered. “They form skeptical societies
and create skeptical publications. They breathe each other’s
fumes and they demonize those who do not share their scientific
methods. Because skeptics’ views are at odds with the
majority of the world, they become emotionally and intellectually
isolated. That sort of environment is a recipe for
cult thinking and behavior. Skeptics are not exempt from
normal human brain functions. It is a human tendency to
become what you attack. Skeptics attack irrational thinkers
and in the process become irrational.”
God ’s Debris
ESP and Luck
“Do you believe in extrasensory perception—ESP?” I asked.
“That depends how you define it,” he said. “Skeptics try to
make ESP go away by defining it so narrowly that it can’t be
demonstrated in controlled experiments. Believers hold a more
expansive view of ESP, focusing on its utility in daily life.”
“So you’re a believer?” I prodded.
His expression said no. “There are billions of people on
earth. Some of them will have miserable lives from the time
they are born until the day they die. Others will have incredibly
good fortune in every facet of their lives. They will be
born to loving parents in well-to-do homes. Their brains and
bodies will be efficient, healthy, and highly capable. They will
experience love. They will never be shy or fearful without
reason. Some might win lotteries. In a word, they will be
lucky over their entire lives, compared to other people.
“Luck conforms to normal probability curves. Most
people will have average luck and some people will experience
extra good luck or extra bad luck. A handful will have
good luck so extraordinary that it will be indistinguishable
from magic. The rules of probability guarantee that such
people exist.”
He continued. “And luck will be compartmentalized in
some people, confined to specific areas of their lives. Some
people will be extraordinarily lucky gamblers and some people
will have amazing business luck or romantic luck.
“Now imagine that you find the one person on earth
whose specific type of luck involves the extraordinary ability
to guess random things. Such a person is very likely to exist
somewhere on earth. What do you think the skeptics would
conclude about this person’s ESP?”
“If they tested him with controlled experiments and he
repeatedly passed, I think they would conclude he had
ESP,” I said.
“You’re wrong. They would conclude that their tests
were not adequately controlled and that more study needed
to be done. They would say that extraordinary claims
require extraordinary proof. And they would keep testing
until they either got a negative result or lost interest. No
skeptic would take the chance of declaring someone to have
God ’s Debris
ESP if there were any risk of later being proven wrong.
Their cult does not promote that sort of risk.
“To be fair, in all likelihood, the skeptics have never
been wrong when debunking claims of alleged extraordinary
powers. They believe their methods to be sound
because, excluding missteps in individual tests, their methods
have never provided a wrong result in the long run, as
far as anyone knows. But never being wrong is no proof that
the method of testing is sound for all cases.”
“Then you think luck is the same as ESP?” I asked.
“I’m saying the results are indistinguishable.”
“But it’s different because ESP is caused by thoughts
traveling through the air or something like that. ESP has to
have some cause.”
“If you define ESP narrowly to include only the transfer
through the air of information, then skeptics will never
detect it,” he said. “But if you accept luck as being the same
as ESP, then ESP exists and it can be useful, though not reliably
so, since luck can change in an instant.”
“I think scientists have proven that thoughts don’t
travel through the air because they can’t detect anything
coming from people’s heads when they concentrate,” I said,
trying to agree. I should have known it would be a waste of
esp and luck
“But your thoughts do travel across space,” he said.
“The question is whether another person can decode the
“How do thoughts travel across space?”
“When anything physical moves, it has a gravitational
impact on every other object in the universe, instantly and
across any distance. That impact is fantastically small, but it
is real. When you have a thought, it is coupled with a physical
change in your mind that is specific to that thought, and
it has an instant gravitational ripple effect throughout the
entire universe.
“Can people decode these fantastically weak signals,
mixed with an unbelievably large amount of other gravitational
noise? No. But the signals are there.”
God ’s Debris
ESP and Pattern
“What about remote viewing?” I asked. “You’ve heard of
that. It’s when a psychic draws a picture of some distant place
without being there. How’s that done? Is that luck too?”
“Sometimes. But pattern recognition is a big part of it
“How? There’s no pattern if you’re sitting in a room in
one part of the world and the object is someplace else.”
“Everyone has a different ability to recognize patterns
in their environment,” he said. “It is a skill, like music and
math and sports. The rare geniuses in those fields seem
downright supernatural. It is as if they possess special powers.
In a sense they do, but it would be more accurate to
describe their skills as an abundance of a natural ability as
opposed to something supernatural.
“Consider a typical math prodigy. Math geniuses often
report knowing the answers to problems without being
aware of having made a calculation. The top geniuses in
every field report the same experience. At the highest levels
of performance people are not aware of the processes they
are using.
“There is nothing mystical or magical about the performance
of geniuses just because they are unaware of how
they do what they do. The subconscious calculations of
their minds happen so fast that they don’t register as memories.
It seems as if the answers just arrive.
“Some apparent psychics, the ones who are not intentional
frauds, are geniuses at pattern recognition, but they
are not necessarily aware of the source of their abilities. Like
math geniuses, so-called psychics don’t know how they do
it. They only know that it works.”
“Okay,” I said, momentarily accepting his explanation
so I could test it. “How does pattern recognition explain a
psychic who predicts where a murdered person’s body will
be found? Where’s the pattern?”
“Most of the reports about psychics who locate bodies
are false. Reporters usually get their information by talking
to people and writing down what they are told, but the stories
are only as good as the reliability of the people inter-
God ’s Debris
viewed. Psychics can make vague predictions and later claim
credit for anything that was near the mark. The media tells
the story of the fascinating successes and ignores the failures
as being not newsworthy. The public gets the impression
that psychics can locate dead bodies with regularity. In fact,
such cases have been rare and probably a result of geniuslevel
pattern recognition, or luck, or simple exaggeration.
“Let’s say the police get a report that a child has been
abducted. Police detectives are trained to recognize patterns
so they would know that the perpetrator is probably male
and probably someone known by the child. And they could
predict that the child is dead if missing more than fortyeight
hours, with the body probably left outdoors within
fifty miles of the crime. Let’s say the police call in an FBI
profiler who is even more proficient than the police at spotting
criminal patterns. Based on experience and statistics
with similar crimes, the profiler might predict that the perpetrator
has a certain type of background, upbringing, and
personality. The police detectives and the FBI profiler can
produce information that would seem psychic if you didn’t
know it was based on simple patterns. Now let’s say the
police contact a so-called psychic who is a genius at pattern
recognition. At the genius level, far more subtle patterns
come into play.”
esp and pattern recognition
He continued. “For example, the entertainment and
news media create patterns in the public’s minds. Let’s say
that several movies and TV shows about kidnappings in the
past year have created a pattern about the best place to dispose
of dead bodies. That pattern could influence a perpetrator
to pick a drainage ditch instead of an old shack. The
psychic unknowingly picks up on the pattern and ‘feels’ that
the child will be found in a drainage ditch. A search of
drainage ditches proves the psychic right.
“In such a case, the so-called psychic’s powers would be
useful and in some sense genuine, but they could never be
reproduced under controlled experiments. In a lab setting,
all patterns are removed.”
“What about a guy who talks to your dead relatives?” I
asked. “He always has information about the survivors and
about the dead person that couldn’t be a coincidence.
How’s that done?”
“That, too, is pattern recognition, along with showmanship,
and sometimes trickery. Some of what passes as
extraordinary psychic ability is nothing but playing the
odds. The psychic might say, for example, that the deceased
husband saw the widow kissing his picture. That would be
a safe guess. Most widows kiss pictures of their dead husbands.
Or the psychic might say that the departed husband
God ’s Debris
liked to work with his hands at home. That applies to almost
all men.
“The psychic can pick up many patterns suggested from
a person’s voice, accent, clothes, age, name, health, and ethnicity.
Let’s say a client has smoke-stained teeth. Smokers
are likely to live with other smokers. The psychic might
guess that a loved one recently died from heart or lung
problems. That would be a good guess.”
“Okay, what about those televangelists who heal people
on TV? Those people look healed to me. Is that fake?”
The old man just laughed. I laughed too.
esp and pattern recognition
“Consider light,” the old man said. “Our world appears
infused with light’s energy. But what is light?”
“It’s made of photons,” I said, thinking that was a start. By
then I should have known better. I think he ignored my answer.
“If you were in a spaceship racing a beam of light, and
you were moving at ninety-nine percent the speed of light,
how much faster would the light be?”
“About one percent of the speed of light, obviously. I
don’t know the miles per hour.”
“Not according to Einstein. He proved that the light
beam would be faster than your rocket ship by the speed of
light, no matter how fast you are traveling.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. But it sounds vaguely
familiar. Did he really say that?”
“Yes, and it is accepted as fact in the physics world.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I said. “If I’m traveling ninety-nine
percent as fast as the light beam, in the same direction as the
light, the light beam can’t be faster than me by the same
speed as if I weren’t moving at all.”
“It’s ridiculous indeed. But scientists claim it is proven.”
“What if two rocket ships were racing the light beam
and one was ninety-nine percent as fast as light and the
other was fifty percent as fast? The light can’t be faster than
both of them by exactly the speed of light.”
“And yet it would be.”
“Okay, that’s just plain crazy,” I replied. “You see, the
light beam should be speeding away from the slower ship
faster than it would be pulling away from the fast ship.
That’s common sense.”
“It’s common and it’s wrong, according to scientific
tests,” he argued. “It turns out that time and motion and
the speed of light are different for all observers. We don’t
notice it in daily life because the difference is very slight for
slow-moving objects. But as you approach the speed of
light, the differences become evident.
“It is literally true that no two people share the same
reality. Einstein proved that reality is not one fixed state.
Instead, it is an infinite number of unique realities, depending
on where you are and how fast you are moving.
l ight
“If I were a passenger in the slow rocket ship that you
used in your example, I would observe you pulling away
from me at high speed. But from the perspective of the light
beam, neither of us is moving at all. Both versions of reality
are verifiably true, yet they are absurd when considered
“So what the heck is light?” I asked.
“Light is the outer limit of what is possible. It is not a
physical thing; it is a boundary. Scientists agree that light
has no mass. By analogy, think of earth’s horizon. The horizon
is not a physical thing. It is a concept. If you tried to
put some horizon in a bucket, you couldn’t do it.
“Yet the horizon is observable and understandable. It
seems to be physical and it seems to have form and substance.
But when you run toward the horizon, no matter
how fast you go, it seems to stay ahead of you by the same
distance. You can never reach the horizon, no matter how
fast you move.”
He continued. “Light is analogous to the horizon. It is
a boundary that gives the illusion of being a physical thing.
Like the horizon, it appears to move away from you at a
constant speed no matter how fast you are moving. We
observe things that we believe are light, like the searchlight
in the night sky, the cloud-red sunset. But those things are
God ’s Debris
not light; they are merely boundaries between different
“Consider two plants. One is in direct light and the
other is in perpetual shadow. The lighted plant experiences
more possibilities because it lives longer and grows bigger
and stronger. Eventually it will die, but not before it experiences
many more possibilities than its shaded counterpart.”
“Okay,” I said, “I’m having trouble imagining light as
not being a physical thing. How can it influence physical
things if it isn’t physical itself?”
“There are plenty of nonphysical things that affect the
world,” he said. “Gravity is not physical, and yet it seems to
keep you from floating off the Earth. Probability is not
physical, but it influences a coin toss anywhere in the universe.
An idea is not physical and it can change civilization.”
“I don’t think ideas are an example of something nonphysical
changing civilization. The brains of the people involved
are physical things, and they influence our bodies,
which are physical. I don’t see how ideas really enter into it,
except in the way we label things. Ideas don’t float around in
space by themselves. They’re always associated with something
physical in our brains.”
“Suppose I write a hurtful insult on a piece of paper and
hand it to you,” he replied. “The note is physical, but when
l ight
you look at it, the information enters your mind over a
pathway of light. Remember that light has no mass. Like
magnetic fields, light exists in no physical form. When the
insult on the note travels across the light path from the note
to your eyes it is completely nonphysical for the duration of
the trip. The insult encoded in the light is no more real than
a horizon. It is a pure transfer of probability from me to
you. When the insult registers in your mind, physical things
start to happen. You might get angry and your neck and
forehead might get hot. You might even punch me. Light is
the messenger of probability, but neither the light nor the
message has mass.
“When we feel the warmth of sunlight, we are feeling
the effect of increased probabilities and, therefore, increased
activity of our skin cells, not the effect of photons striking
our skin. Photons have no mass, the scientists tell us. That
is another way to say they do not exist except as a concept.”
He continued. “You might have heard it said that light
is both a particle and a wave, sometimes behaving like one,
sometimes like the other, depending on the circumstance.
That is like saying sometimes your shadow is long and
sometimes it is short. Your shadow is not a physical thing; it
is an impression, a perception, left by physical things. It is a
boundary, not an object.
God ’s Debris
“Light can be thought of as zones of probability that
surround all things. A star, by virtue of its density, has high
probability that two of its God-dust particles will pop into
existence in the same location, forcing one of them to
adjust, creating a new and frantic probability. That activity,
the constant adjusting of location and probability, is what
we perceive as energy.
“The reason you cannot catch up to a light beam, no
matter how fast you travel, is that the zone of probability
moves with you like your shadow. Trying to race light is like
trying to run away from your own thoughts.
“The so-called speed of light is simply the limit to how
far a particle can pop into existence from its original location.
If a particle pops into existence a short distance from
its original position, the perceived speed of that particle will
be slow. If each new appearance is a great distance from the
starting point, the perceived speed will be much faster.
There is a practical limit to how far from its original distance
a particle is likely to appear. That limit is what gives light an
apparent top speed.”
“My brain hurts,” I said.
l ight
Curious Bees
“Why do people have different religions?” I asked. “It
seems like the best one would win, eventually, and we’d all
believe the same thing.”
The old man paused and rocked. He tucked both hands
inside his red plaid blanket.
“Imagine that a group of curious bees lands on the outside
of a church window. Each bee gazes upon the interior
through a different stained glass pane. To one bee, the
church’s interior is all red. To another it is all yellow, and so
on. The bees cannot experience the inside of the church
directly; they can only see it. They can never touch the interior
or smell it or interact with it in any way. If bees could
talk they might argue over the color of the interior. Each
bee would stick to his version, not capable of understanding
that the other bees were looking through different pieces of
stained glass. Nor would they understand the purpose of the
church or how it got there or anything about it. The brain
of a bee is not capable of such things.
“But these are curious bees. When they don’t understand
something, they become unsettled and unhappy. In
the long run the bees would have to choose between permanent
curiosity—an uncomfortable mental state—and
delusion. The bees don’t like those choices. They would
prefer to know the true color of the church’s interior and its
purpose, but bee brains are not designed for that level of
understanding. They must choose from what is possible,
either discomfort or self-deception. The bees that choose
discomfort will be unpleasant to be around and they will be
ostracized. The bees that choose self-deception will band
together to reinforce their vision of a red-based interior or
yellow-based interior and so on.”
“So you’re saying we’re like dumb bees?” I asked, trying
to lighten the mood.
“Worse. We are curious.”
curious bees
“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.”
“It sounds as if hunger determines your actions, not socalled
“No, you picked two extremes: starving and full,” I
said. “Most of the time I’m in the middle. I can eat a little
or eat a lot, but it’s up to me.”
“Have you ever been very hungry—not starving, just
very hungry—and found yourself eating until it hurt?”
“Yes, but on average I don’t eat too much. Sometimes
I’m busy and I forget to eat for half a day. It all averages
“I don’t see how willpower enters into your life,” he
said. “In one case you overeat and in the other case you simply
forget to eat. I see no willpower at all.”
“I don’t overeat every time I eat. Most of the time I
have average hunger and I eat average amounts. I’d like to
eat more, but I don’t. That’s willpower.”
“And according to you, overweight people have less of
this thing you call willpower?” he asked.
“Obviously. Otherwise they’d eat less.”
“Isn’t it possible that overweight people have the same
amount of willpower as you but much greater hunger?”
“I think people have to take responsibility for their own
bodies,” I replied.
“Take responsibility? It sounds as if you’re trying to
replace the word willpower with two new words in the hope
that I will think it’s a new thought.”
I laughed. He nailed me.
“Okay, just give it to me,” I said, knowing there was a
more profound thought behind this line of questioning.
“We like to believe that other people have the same level
of urges as we do, despite all evidence to the contrary. We
convince ourselves that people differ only in their degree of
morality or willpower, or a combination of the two. But
urges are real, and they differ wildly for every individual.
Morality and willpower are illusions. For any human being,
the highest urge always wins and willpower never enters into
it. Willpower is a delusion.”
“Your interpretation is dangerous,” I said. “You’re saying
it’s okay to follow your urges, no matter what is right or
wrong, because you can’t help yourself anyway. We might as
well empty the prisons since people can’t stop themselves
from committing crimes. It’s not really their fault, according
to you.”
“It is useful to society that our urges are tempered by
shame and condemnation and the threat of punishment,”
he said. “It is a useful fiction to blame a thing called
willpower and pretend the individual is somehow capable of
overcoming urges with this magical and invisible force.
Without that fiction, there could be no blame, no indignation,
and no universal agreement that some things should
God ’s Debris
be punished. And without those very real limiting forces,
our urges would be less contained and more disruptive than
they are. The delusion of willpower is a practical fiction.”
“I’ll never look at pie the same way,” I said. “But what
about people with slow metabolisms? They get fat no matter
how little they eat.”
“Have you ever seen pictures of starving people?” he
“How many of the starving people in those pictures
were fat?”
“None that I’ve seen. They’re always skin and bones.
But that’s different.”
“It’s very different but still, according to your theory,
some of those people should be starving to death while
remaining fat.”
I didn’t have an answer for that. I was happy when he
changed the subject.
Holy Lands
“What makes a holy land holy?” he asked.
“Well, usually it’s because some important religious
event took place there.”
“What does it mean to say that something took place in
a particular location when we know that the earth is constantly
in motion, rotating on its axis and orbiting the sun?
And we’re in a moving galaxy that is part of an expanding
universe. Even if you had a spaceship and could fly anywhere,
you can never return to the location of a past event. There
would be no equivalent of the past location because location
depends on your distance from other objects, and all objects
in the universe would have moved considerably by then.”
“I see your point, but on Earth the holy places keep
their relationship to other things on Earth, and those things
don’t move much,” I said.
“Let’s say you dug up all the dirt and rocks and vegetation
of a holy place and moved it someplace else, leaving
nothing but a hole that is one mile deep in the original location.
Would the holy land now be the new location where
you put the dirt and rocks and vegetation, or the old location
with the hole?”
“I think both would be considered holy,” I said, hedging
my bets.
“Suppose you took only the very top layer of soil and
vegetation from the holy place, the newer stuff that blew in
or grew after the religious event occurred thousands of years
ago. Would the place you dumped the topsoil and vegetation
be holy?”
“That’s a little trickier,” I said. “I’ll say the new location
isn’t holy because the topsoil that you moved there isn’t
itself holy, it was only in contact with holy land. If holy land
could turn anything that touched it into more holy land,
then the whole planet would be holy.”
The old man smiled. “The concept of location is a useful
delusion when applied to real estate ownership, or when
giving someone directions to the store. But when it is
viewed through the eyes of an omnipotent God, the concept
of location is absurd.
“While we speak, nations are arming themselves to fight
holy lands
for control of lands they consider holy. They are trapped in
the delusion that locations are real things, not just fictions
of the mind. Many will die.”
God ’s Debris
Fighting God
“So what good is all this?” I asked. “Let’s say you convinced
me that probability is the best way to understand the
universe and that probability is the essence of God. How
does that help me? Should I pray to this God of yours? Do
I need to satisfy him in some way?”
“Probability is the expression of God’s will. It is in your
best interest to obey probability.”
“How do I obey probability?”
“God’s reassembly requires people—living, healthy people,”
he said. “When you buckle your seat belt, you increase your
chances of living. That is obeying probability. If you get drunk
and drive without a seat belt, you are fighting probability.”
“I don’t see how I’m helping God’s reassembly,” I said.
“I just deliver packages. I’m not designing the Internet or
“Every economic activity helps. Whether you are programming
computers, or growing food, or raising children,
or cleaning garbage from the side of the road, you are contributing
to the realization of God’s consciousness. None of
those activities is more important than another.”
“What about good and evil? Do they exist in your
model?” I asked.
“Evil is any action that might damage people. Probability
generally punishes evildoers. Since most criminals are
captured and jailed, overall the people who hurt others tend
to pay. So evil does exist and, on average, it is punished.
“Life has a feel and flow to it. Usually you know instinctively
when you are working with probability on your side and
when you are fighting it. When you take your education seriously,
for example, you are greatly increasing your probability of
contributing to God’s reassembly. When you love and respect
others and procreate responsibly, you are living within the safety
cone of probability. You are, in a sense, fulfilling God’s will.”
“That sounds like karma,” I said. “When you do good
things, good things come back to you.”
“Yes, but good things do not return in a one-for-one
manner. Individual actions are not directly rewarded. It is
only on average that doing good improves the quality of life
for you and the people around you.”
God ’s Debris
“Does God forgive people, in a manner of speaking?”
“Yes, essentially, by exerting control over the averages of
human activity and not the individual acts. Every person has
the opportunity to improve his average contribution to society
regardless of what he has done in the past.”
“What about an afterlife? Where’s the payoff? What difference
does it make to me whether I contribute to society
or not? I’ll die anyway, eventually. Why should I care if God
gets conscious or not?” I asked.
“God will become conscious whether you as an individual
are in harmony with probability or not. God controls
the averages, not the individuals. Your short-term payoff for
contributing to God’s consciousness is fewer problems in
your daily life, less stress, and more happiness.
“Stress is the cause of all unhappiness and it comes in infinite
varieties, all with a common cause. Stress is a result of fighting
probability, and the friction between what you are doing and
what you know you should be doing to live within probability.”
“That sounds simplistic,” I said. “Sometimes stress just
happens to you because you’re in the wrong place at the
wrong time. Let’s say a family member dies of old age.
That’s stressful but there’s nothing you could do about it.”
“Stress cannot be eliminated from your life. But you can
reduce stress by being in harmony with probability. You can
f ighting god
deal with the death of a loved one more easily if you have
done proper estate planning and are mentally prepared for
the inevitable. If you have been a good friend to many people
and stayed close to your family, the loss will be softened.
If you allow your mind to release the past instead of trying
to wish the deceased back to life, or wishing you had done
something different, then your stress will be less.”
“What about the afterlife? Are all the benefits here and
now or is there something later?” I asked.
“Over time, everything that is possible happens. That is
a fundamental quality of probability. If you flip a coin often
enough, eventually it will come up heads a thousand times
in a row. And everything possible will happen over and over
as long as God’s debris exists. The clump of debris that
comprises your body and mind will break down and disintegrate
someday, but a version of you will reappear in the
future, by chance.”
“Are you saying I’ll reincarnate?”
“Not exactly. I’m saying a replica of your mind and
body will exist in the distant future, by chance. And the
things you do now can either make life more pleasant or
more difficult for your replica.”
“Why would I care about a replica of me? That’s a different
God ’s Debris
“That distinction is an illusion. In your current life,
every cell in your body has died and been replaced many
times. There is nothing in your current body that you were
born with. You have no original equipment, just replacement
parts, so for all practical purposes, you are already a
replica of a prior version of you.”
“Yes, but my memories stay with me. The replica of me
in the distant future will have none of the memories and
feelings that comprise my life,” I said.
“There will be many replicas of you in the future, not
just one. Some will have lives similar to yours, with similar
memories and feelings. The replicas will be different from
you only in concept, not in practical terms.”
“The thing I like about your view of God is that it’s easy
to follow the rules. All I have to do is go with probability.”
“Sometimes it is easy,” he said. “Other times it will be
hard to sort out the right probabilities. Today, the news
reported that teens who publicly commit to avoiding sex
have more success in abstaining, compared to those who
don’t. What would you conclude about the probabilities in
that story?”
“Obviously it helps to make the public commitment.
That improves your odds.”
“Perhaps. Or maybe the teens who wanted to abstain
f ighting god
were the only ones who were willing to publicly commit. Or
maybe the teens who made the public commitments were
more likely to later lie about their rate of sex. Probability is
simple but it is not always obvious.”
God ’s Debris
The old man rocked some more and smiled at me. “You’re
alone much of the time.”
He was right. I enjoyed being alone. I had friends, but
I was always happy to get back home.
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“Your pupils widen when I talk about ideas.”
“They do?”
“There are two types of people in the world, my young
friend. One type is people-oriented. When they make conversation,
it is about people—what people are doing, what someone
said, how someone feels. The other group is
idea-oriented. When they make conversation, they talk about
ideas and concepts and objects.”
“I must be an idea person.”
“Yes. And it causes trouble in your personal life but you
don’t realize how.”
“That’s rather presumptuous of you. What makes you
think I have trouble in my personal life?” I had to admit he
was right. Everyone has an imperfect personal life, but for
me that imperfection was almost a defining principle.
He continued, “Idea people like you are boring, even to
other idea people.”
“Hey, I’m insulted,” I said, not really feeling so. “I will
admit I’m not the life of any party. Whenever I try to inject
something interesting into a conversation everyone gets
quiet until someone changes the topic. I think I’m pretty
interesting but no one else does. All of the popular people
seem to babble about nothing, but I usually have something
interesting to say. You’d think people would like that.”
“Actually, the popular people only seem to be babbling,” he
countered. “In fact, they talk about a topic that everyone cares
about; they talk about people. When a person talks about people,
it is personal to everyone who listens. You will automatically
relate the story to yourself, thinking how you would react in
that person’s situation, how your life has parallels. On the other
hand, if you tell a story about a new type of tool you found at
the hardware store, no one can relate to the tool on a personal
level. It is just an object, no matter how useful or novel.”
God ’s Debris
“Okay, so how do I become more interesting?”
“If I gave you advice, would you follow it?”
“Maybe. It depends on the advice.”
“No, you wouldn’t follow my advice. No one has ever
followed the advice of another person.”
“Now you’re just being disagreeable,” I said. “Obviously
people follow advice all the time. That’s not a delusion.”
“People think they follow advice but they don’t. Humans
are only capable of receiving information. They create their
own advice. If you seek to influence someone, don’t waste
time giving advice. You can change only what people know,
not what they do.”
“Okay then. Can you give me some information that
would help my personal life?”
“Perhaps,” he said, clenching his red plaid blanket
tighter around his tiny body. “What topic interests you
more than any other?”
“Myself, I guess,” I confessed.
“Yes, that is the essence of being human. Any person
you meet at a party will be interested in his own life above
all other topics. Your awkward silences can be solved by asking
simple questions about the person’s life.”
“That would be totally phony,” I said. “First of all, it
would be like interrogating him. Secondly, I couldn’t possibly
relat ionships
pretend to be interested in the answers. If he turns out to
be some shoe salesman living with his mother in Albany, my
eyes will glaze over.”
“It would seem phony to you while you asked the questions,
but it would not seem that way to the stranger. To
him it is an unexpected gift, an opportunity to enjoy one of
life’s greatest pleasures: talking about oneself. He would
become more animated and he would instantly begin to like
you. You would seem to be a brilliant and talented conversationalist,
even if your only contribution was asking questions
and listening. And you would have solved the
stranger’s fear of an awkward silence. For that he will be
“That solves the stranger’s problem, but I have to listen
to this guy drone on about himself. The cure is worse than
the disease.”
“Your questions to the stranger are only the starting
points. From there you can steer him toward the thing you
care about most—yourself.”
“Wouldn’t he want to talk about himself instead of me?”
“When you find out how others deal with their situations
it is automatically relevant to you,” he said. “There
will always be parallels in your life. Find out what you and
he have in common, then ask how he likes it, how he deals
God ’s Debris
with it, and if he has any clever solutions for it. Perhaps you
both have long commutes, or you both have mothers who
call too often or you both ski. Find that point of common
interest and you will both be talking about yourself to the
delight of the other.”
“What about sharing my opinions on important
things?” I asked. “I’m always getting into debates with people.
It seems like I always have a more thought-out view of
things and I feel like I have a responsibility to set people
straight. Sometimes, though, I wish I could just shut up.
But when you hear the crazy views that some people have—
actually, most people—how can you just let it slide?”
“Have you ever been in traffic behind someone who
doesn’t move when the light turns green, so you honk your
horn, then you realize the car is stalled and there is nothing
the driver could have done?”
“Yeah, I’ve honked. It’s embarrassing,” I said.
“Most disagreements are like my example. Two people
have different information, but they think the root of their
disagreement is that the other person has bad judgment or
bad manners or bad values. In fact, most people would share
your opinions if they had the same information. If you
spend your time arguing about the faultiness of other people’s
opinions, you waste your time and theirs. The only
relat ionships
thing than can be useful is examining the differences in your
assumptions and adding to each other’s information. Sometimes
that is enough to make viewpoints converge over time.”
“Hey, if you can teach me to get along with women, I
could sure use that.”
“I can tell you some things.”
“I’ll take whatever help I can get.”
“Women believe that men are, in a sense, defective versions
of women,” he began. “Men believe that women are
defective versions of men. Both genders are trapped in a
delusion that their personal viewpoints are universal. That
viewpoint—that each gender is a defective version of the
other—is the root of all misunderstandings.”
“How does that help me?” I asked.
“Women define themselves by their relationships and
men define themselves by whom they are helping. Women
believe value is created by sacrifice. If you are willing to give
up your favorite activities to be with her, she will trust you.
If being with her is too easy for you, she will not trust you.
You can accomplish your sacrifices symbolically at first, by
leaving work early to buy flowers, canceling your softball
game to make a date, that sort of thing.”
“Why does it seem like the rich and famous guys get all
the women?” I asked.
God ’s Debris
“Partly because the rich and famous are capable of making
larger sacrifices. The average man might be sacrificing a
night of television to be with a woman. The rich and famous
man could be sacrificing a week in Tahiti. There is much to
be said about the attraction of power and confidence exuded
by a rich and powerful man, but capacity for sacrifice is the
most important thing.”
“What do men value?” I asked.
“Men believe value is created by accomplishment, and
they have objectives for the women in their lives. If a
woman meets the objectives, he assumes she loves him. If
she fails to meet the objectives, he will assume she does not
love him. The man assumes that if the woman loved him she
would have tried harder and he always believes his objectives
for her are reasonable.”
“What objectives?”
“The objectives are different for each man. Men rarely
share these objectives because doing so is a recipe for disaster.
No woman would tolerate being given a set of goals.”
“So what should a guy do if the woman in his life
doesn’t meet these secret objectives? How can he get her to
“He can’t,” he replied. “People don’t change to meet
the objectives of other people. Men can be molded in small
relat ionships
ways—clothing and haircuts and manners—because those
things are not important to most men. Women can’t be
changed at all.”
“I’m not hearing anything helpful here.”
“The best you can hope for in a relationship is to find
someone whose flaws are the sort you don’t mind. It is
futile to look for someone who has no flaws, or someone
who is capable of significant change; that sort of person
exists only in our imaginations.”
“Let’s say I find the person whose flaws I don’t mind,”
I said. “The hard part is keeping her. I haven’t had much
luck in that department.”
“A woman needs to be told that you would sacrifice anything
for her. A man needs to be told he is being useful.
When the man or woman strays from that formula, the other
loses trust. When trust is lost, communication falls apart.”
“I don’t think you need to trust someone to communicate.
I can talk to someone I distrust as easily as someone I trust.”
“Without trust, you can communicate only trivial things.
If you try to communicate something important without a
foundation of trust, you will be suspected of having a secret
agenda. Your words will be analyzed for hidden meaning and
your simple message will be clouded by suspicions.”
“I guess I can see that. How can I be more trusted?”
God ’s Debris
“Now you’re kidding, right?” I asked.
“You should lie about your talents and accomplishments,
describing your victories in dismissive terms as if they
were the result of luck. And you should exaggerate your
“Why in the world would I want to tell people I was a
failure and an idiot? Isn’t it better to be honest?”
“Honesty is like food. Both are necessary, but too much
of either creates discomfort. When you downplay your
accomplishments, you make people feel better about their
own accomplishments. It is dishonest, but it is kind.”
“This is good stuff. What other tips do you have?”
“You think casual conversation is a waste of time.”
“Sure, unless I have something to say. I don’t know how
people can blab about nothing.”
“Your problem is that you view conversation as a way to
exchange information,” he said.
“That’s what it is,” I said, thinking I was pointing out
the obvious.
“Conversation is more than the sum of the words. It is
also a way of signaling the importance of another person by
showing your willingness to give that person your rarest
resource: time. It is a way of conveying respect. Conversation
relat ionships
reminds us that we are part of a greater whole, connected in
some way that transcends duty or bloodline or commerce.
Conversation can be many things, but it can never be useless.”
For the next few hours the old man revealed more of his
ingredients for successful social living. Express gratitude.
Give more than is expected. Speak optimistically. Touch
people. Remember names. Don’t confuse flexibility with
weakness. Don’t judge people by their mistakes; rather,
judge them by how they respond to their mistakes. Remember
that your physical appearance is for the benefit of others.
Attend to your own basic needs first; otherwise you will
not be useful to anyone else.
I didn’t know if I could incorporate his ingredients into
my life, but it seemed possible.
God ’s Debris
“I’ve heard of something called affirmations,” I said, taking
the opportunity to spelunk another tunnel in the old man’s
brain. “You write down your goals fifteen times a day and
then somehow they come true as if by magic. I know people
who swear by it. Does that really work?”
“The answer is complicated.”
“I have time,” I said.
“People who use affirmations know what they want and
are willing to work for it; otherwise they would not have the
enthusiasm to write down their goals fifteen times every day.
It should be no surprise that they have more success than the
average person.”
“Because they work harder?”
“Because they know what they want,” he said. “The
ability to work hard and make sacrifices comes naturally to
those who know exactly what they want.
“Most people believe they have goals when, in fact, they
only have wishes. They might tell you their goal is to get
rich without working hard, without making sacrifices or taking
risks. That is not a goal, it is a fantasy. Such people are
unlikely to write affirmations daily because it would be too
much effort. And they are unlikely to be successful in any
big way.”
“So the affirmations are unnecessary?”
“They have a purpose. Writing your goals every day
gives you a higher level of focus. It tunes your mind to better
recognize opportunities in your environment.”
“What do you mean by tuning your mind?”
“Have you ever had the experience where you hear a
strange word for the first time, and then soon afterward you
hear the same word again?”
“That happens all the time,” I said. “It’s freaky. It’s as if
hearing a word for the first time makes it appear everywhere.
Like fescue. I never heard of that word until I saw it
on a package of grass seed in the store last week. That night
I was at a party and some guy used the word. I’m fairly sure
I’ve never heard that word before in my entire life, then I
hear it twice in a matter of hours. What are the odds of that?
God ’s Debris
“And last night I was at my neighbor’s house down the
street, shooting some pool on his new table. I asked him if
he ever played a game called foosball. It’s that table game
where you use handles connected to little soccer players and
try to kick a wooden ball into the other guy’s goal.”
His face said that he didn’t need to know the details of
foosball table design.
“Anyway,” I continued, “we talked about foosball for
twenty minutes, how we both played it in college but hadn’t
seen a foosball table in years. I can’t remember the last time
I uttered the word foosball. Fifteen minutes later, I’m walking
home and something catches my eye in an upstairs window
of a neighbor’s house. I’ll be darned if it wasn’t a bunch
of kids playing foosball. I’ve gone past that house a thousand
times and never seen that foosball table in the window
“Your brain can only process a tiny portion of your environment,”
he said. “It risks being overwhelmed by the volume
of information that bombards you every waking moment.
Your brain compensates by filtering out the 99.9 percent of
your environment that doesn’t matter to you. When you
took notice of the word fescue for the first time and rolled it
around in your head, your mind tuned itself to the word.
That’s why you heard it again so soon.”
affirmat ions
“It’s still a coincidence. I don’t think people are saying
fescue around me every day.”
“Yes, probability is still involved. But fescue and foosball
were only a few of the unusual words and ideas that you
tuned your brain to this week. The others didn’t cross your
path again so you took no notice of their absence. When
you consider all of the coincidences that are possible, it is
not surprising that you experience a few every day.
“A person who does affirmations takes mental tuning to
a higher level. The process of concentrating on the goal
every day greatly increases the likelihood of noticing an
opportunity in the environment. The coincidence will create
the illusion that writing down the goal causes the environment
to produce opportunities. But in reality the only thing
that changes is the person’s ability to notice the opportunities.
I don’t mean to minimize that advantage because the
ability to recognize opportunities is essential to success.”
“Well, maybe that’s part of it,” I said. “But I’ve heard
of some pretty amazing coincidences that happened for the
people doing affirmations. One of my friends was writing
affirmations to double his income and he got a phone call
out of the blue from a headhunter. Two weeks later he’s in
a new job at double his salary. How do you explain that?”
“Your friend had a clear goal and was willing to make
God ’s Debris
changes in his life to accomplish it,” he responded. “His
willingness to do affirmations was a good predictor of his
success, not necessarily a cause of it. The headhunter in your
example increased the pay of many people that month. Your
friend was one of them.
“People who do affirmations will have the sensation that
they are causing the environment to conform to their will.
This is an immensely enjoyable feeling because the illusion
of control is one of the best illusions you can have.”
He continued. “Another way to look at affirmations is as
a communication channel between your conscious and subconscious
mind. Your subconscious is often better than your
rational mind at predicting your future. If your subconscious
allows you to write ‘I will be a famous ballerina’ fifteen times
a day for a year, it’s telling you something. Your subconscious
is saying it likes your odds, that it will allow you to
make the sacrifices, that it will give you the satisfaction you
need to weather the hard work ahead. On the other hand, if
you try writing your affirmation for a few days and find it too
bothersome, your subconscious is giving you a clear message
that it doesn’t like your odds.”
“I don’t see why my subconscious would be better than
my conscious mind at predicting my future. I thought the
subconscious was irrational,” I said.
affirmat ions
“The subconscious is an odds-calculating machine.
That’s what it does naturally, though not always to good
effect. If your subconscious notices that you lost money on
your last three business dealings with people who wear hats,
you’ll never trust people in hats again. Your subconscious
isn’t always right; it depends on the quality of the information
you feed into its odds-calculating engine. Luckily, the
topic your subconscious knows best is you, because it has
known you since you were in the womb. If your subconscious
allows you to spend ten minutes out of every busy
day writing, ‘I will double my income,’ your subconscious
likes your odds and it is qualified to make that prediction.”
“Couldn’t affirmations be more than that?” I asked.
“You made a big deal about saying things aren’t exactly
what they seem, but who’s to say that concentrating on
your goals doesn’t change probability?”
“Go on,” he said.
“Okay, imagine you’re a sea captain but you’re blind
and deaf. You shout orders to your crew, but you don’t
know for sure if they heard the orders or obeyed them. All
you know is that when you give an order to sail to a particular
warm port, within a few days you are someplace warm.
You can never be sure if the crew obeyed you, or took you
to some other warm place, or if you went nowhere and the
God ’s Debris
weather improved. If, as you say, our minds are delusion
generators, then we’re all like blind and deaf sea captains
shouting orders into the universe and hoping it makes a difference.
We have no way of knowing what really works and
what merely seems to work. So doesn’t it make sense to try
all the things that appear to work even if we can’t be sure?”
“You have potential,” he said.
I didn’t know what that meant.
affirmat ions
Fifth Level
“Who are you?” I asked. I didn’t know how to phrase the
question politely. The old man certainly wasn’t normal.
“I’m an Avatar.”
“Is that some sort of title? I thought it was your name.”
“It’s both.”
“Excuse me for asking this. I don’t really know how to
phrase it, so I’m just going to come out and say it—”
“You want to know if I’m human.”
“Yeah. I apologize if that sounds crazy. It’s just that . . .”
The old man waved off the end of my sentence.
“I understand. Yes, I am human. I’m a fifth-level
human; an Avatar.”
“Fifth level?”
“People exist at different levels of awareness. An Avatar
is one who lives at the fifth level.”
“Is awareness like intelligence?” I asked.
“No. Intelligence is a measure of how well you function
within your level of awareness. Your intelligence will stay
about the same over your life. Awareness is entirely different
from intelligence; awareness involves recognizing your
delusions for what they are. Most people’s awareness will
advance one or two levels in their lifetime.”
“What does it mean to recognize your delusions?”
“When you were a child, did your parents tell you that
Santa Claus brought presents on Christmas Day?”
“Yeah,” I said, “I believed in Santa until kindergarten,
when the other kids started talking. Then I realized Santa
couldn’t get to all those homes in one night.”
“Your intelligence did not change at the moment you realized
that Santa Claus was a harmless fantasy. Your math and
verbal skills stayed the same, but your awareness increased. You
were suddenly aware that stories from credible sources—in this
case your parents—could be completely made up. And from
the moment of that realization, you could never see the world
the same way because your awareness of reality changed.”
“I guess it did.”
“And in school, did you learn that the Native Americans
and the Pilgrims got together to celebrate what became
Thanksgiving in the United States?”
fifth le vel
“You figured it must be true because it was written in a
book and because your teachers said it happened. You were
in school for the specific purpose of learning truth; it was
reasonable to believe you were getting it. But scholars now
tell us that a first Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Native
Americans never happened. Like Santa Claus, much of what
we regard as history is simply made up.”
“In your examples, there’s always learning. That seems
like intelligence to me, not awareness.”
“Awareness is about unlearning. It is the recognition
that you don’t know as much as you thought you knew.”
He described what he called the five levels of awareness
and said that all humans experience the first level of awareness
at birth. That is when you first become aware that you exist.
In the second level of awareness you understand that
other people exist. You believe most of what you are told by
authority figures. You accept the belief system in which you
are raised.
At the third level of awareness you recognize that
humans are often wrong about the things they believe. You
feel that you might be wrong about some of your own
beliefs but you don’t know which ones. Despite your
doubts, you still find comfort in your beliefs.
God ’s Debris
The fourth level is skepticism. You believe the scientific
method is the best measure of what is true and you believe
you have a good working grasp of truth, thanks to science,
your logic, and your senses. You are arrogant when it comes
to dealing with people in levels two and three.
The fifth level of awareness is the Avatar. The Avatar
understands that the mind is an illusion generator, not a
window to reality. The Avatar recognizes science as a belief
system, albeit a useful one. An Avatar is aware of God’s
power as expressed in probability and the inevitable recombination
of God consciousness.
“I think I’m a fourth-level,” I said, “at least according
to you.”
“Yes, you are a fourth,” he confirmed.
“But now that you’ve told me all your secrets from the fifth
level, maybe I get bumped up a level. Is that how it works?”
“No,” he said, “awareness does not come from receiving
new information. It comes from rejecting old information.
You still cling to your fourth-level delusions.”
“I feel vaguely insulted,” I joked.
“You shouldn’t. There is no implied good or bad about
one’s level of awareness. No level is better or worse than any
other level. People enjoy happiness at every level and they
contribute to society at every level.”
fifth le vel
“That sounds very charitable,” I said, “but I notice your
level has the highest number. That’s obviously the good
one. You must be feeling a little bit smug.”
“There is no good or bad in anything, just differences in
usefulness. People at all levels have the same potential for
being useful.”
“But you have to feel glad you’re not on one of the
other levels.”
“No. Happiness comes more easily at the other levels.
Awareness has its price. An Avatar can find happiness only
in serving.”
“How do you serve?”
“Sometimes society’s delusions get out of balance, and
when they conflict, emotions flame out of control. People
die. If enough people die, God’s recombination is jeopardized.
When that happens, the Avatar steps in.”
“You can’t wake yourself from a dream. You need someone
who is already awake to shake you gently, to whisper in
your ear. In a sense, that is what I do.”
“As usual, I’m not sure what you mean.”
He explained, “The great leaders in this world are
always the least rational among us. They exist at the second
level of awareness. Charismatic leaders have a natural ability
God ’s Debris
to bring people into their delusion. They convince people to
act against self-interest and pursue the leaders’ visions of the
greater good. Leaders make citizens go to war to seize land
they will never live on and to kill people who have different
“Not all leaders are irrational,” I argued.
“The most effective ones are. You don’t often see math
geniuses or logic professors become great leaders. Logic is a
detriment to leadership.”
“Well, irrational leadership must work. The world seems
to be chugging along fairly well, overall.”
“It works because people’s delusions are, on average, in
balance. The Avatar keeps it so by occasionally introducing
new ideas when needed.”
“Do you think an idea can change the world that
much?” I asked.
“Ideas are the only things that can change the world.
The rest is details.”
fifth le vel
Going Home
Time and need dissolved in the old man’s presence. We
talked for what could have been several days. I remember
one sunrise, but there might have been more. I never felt
tired in his presence. It was as if energy surrounded him like
an invisible field, feeding everything that was near. He was
amazing and confounding and, ultimately, beyond the
realm of words.
We talked more about life and energy and probability.
At times I lost the sense of belonging to my own body. It
was as if my consciousness expanded to include items in the
room. I stared at my hand as it rested on the arm of the
rocking chair and watched as the distinctions between wood
and air and hand disappeared. At times I felt like a kitten
lifted by the fold of skin on the back of my neck, helpless,
safe, transported.
I don’t remember leaving his house or walking to my
van, but I do remember how everything looked. The city
had bright edges. Sound was crisp. Colors were vivid.
Objects seemed more dimensional, as if I could see the sides
and backs from any angle. I heard a phone call being made
a block away and knew both sides of the conversation. I
could feel every variation in airflow.
I drove home by a route I wouldn’t normally take. I
glided through green lights without ever touching my
brakes. Pedestrians stayed on sidewalks and a policeman
waved me around an accident scene. I knew that all the people
involved were safe.
As my key entered the lock, I could see all the other
locks like mine and all the other keys that were coincidentally
the same. I could see the internal mechanism of the
lock as it turned, as though I were a tiny observer inside,
looking at industrial-sized equipment.
Everything in my apartment seemed three-quarters of
its original size. It was mildly claustrophobic.
I sat down at my kitchen table with the package that the
Avatar refused to accept and I stared at it for a while, wondering
about its contents. I wanted to open it but didn’t
want anything to spoil a perfect mood. In time, however,
curiosity won.
going home
A folded yellow note tumbled out of the box and into
my lap. I unfolded it and read its barely legible message. It
was just one sentence, but there was so much in the sentence
that I found myself reading it over and over. I stayed
up all that night, wrapped in the red plaid blanket that was
also in the package, reading the sentence.
“There is only one Avatar at a time.”
God ’s Debris
After The War
“I love that rocking chair,” the young man said to me.
How old is that thing? It looks like an antique.”
“I got it one year before the Religion War,” I said.
“I’m glad that war ended before I was born,” the young
man sighed. “I can’t imagine what it was like to be alive
“You are lucky to have missed it.”
“Were you in that war?”
“Everyone was in that war.”
“Let me ask you something,” he said. “Why do you
think the war ended? We learned in school that everyone
just stopped fighting. No one knows why. Although there
are all kinds of theories about secret pacts among world
leaders, no one really knows. You were there. Why do you
think everyone suddenly stopped fighting?”
“Put another log on the fire and I’ll tell you.”
The young man looked at his watch and hesitated. He
had many more stops before lunch. Then he turned toward
the fireplace and chose a sturdy log.
“If you flip a coin,” I said, “how often does it come up
God ’s Debris
I hope you enjoyed God’s Debris. If you would like to
get the hardcopy version as a gift for a friend or family
member, or its sequel The Religion War, just click the
appropriate link below.
God's Debris
The Religion War
(The Sequel to God’s Debris)
Dilbert books
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