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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 reality?
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, presents a "thought experiment". A delivery man brings a package to a crazy old guy. They talk. Then the delivery man becomes an identical crazy old guy. Your mission, according to the introduction, is to find the flaw(s) in the crazy guy's arguments.
It's also available for free online.
Has a sequel, The Religion War, which switches things up by having an actual plot.
Contains examples of:
- Author Filibuster: The entire book consists of two men talking.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Practically the entire narrative.
- Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place after the sequel, The Religion War.
- Dumb Is Good Played straight and subverted.
"I noticed your level is highest. That's obviously the good one. You have to feel glad you're not on one of the other levels."
- Have You Seen My God?: The ultimate test of God's omnipotence and omniscience is to kill himself and create a world where he doesn't exist. The big bang was god's death, and all particles in the universe and the laws of probability are God's debris. The formal name for such a theory is Pandeism.
- Healing Factor: Gravity is God regenerating.
- He Who Fights Monsters The explanation the old man gives for why skeptics are exactly as dogmatic as everyone else.
- Hive Mind: The Internet is God's mind re-forming.
- Memetic Mutation: How the Avatar's "powers" work: "Ideas are the only things that can change the world. The rest is details."
- Mind Screw: Luckily, the Avatar talks us through most of it.
- Mood Whiplash: Hope you didn't see "Scott Adams" and think it would be another Dilbert book.
- No Name Given: Both main characters.
- Pieces of God
- Someone Has to Do It: "There is only one Avatar at a time."
- Spiritual Successor: The Avatar's philosophy resembles a theory presented in the final chapters of The Dilbert Future and its Updated Rerelease. Oddly, there the philosophy is presented as a Take That to the misapplication of Occam's Razor, possibly.
- Subliminal Advertising: The book supposedly contains hypnotic messages.
- The arguments THEMSELVES use the principles of hypnosis to make them seem reasonable. It's the source of half of the Mind Screw.
- Title Drop: See the Have You Seen My God? reference.
- Who Wants to Live Forever? : God blows itself up because it has already figured out everything it can figure without ending its own existence.