СодержаниеGod’s Debris → Часть 1

“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.

“Probability. ”

“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 time. ”

“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? ”

“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 luck—grasp. ”

“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. ”

“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. ”


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