"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wFriday, April 26, 2002

JEREMY LOTT BOOK CLUB: The following is condensed from God's Debris, chapter seven. It came in very handy for a paper on ideas this semester. The conversation is between a UPS driver Scott Adams stand-in and Avatar, a mysterious "man" who knows everything (my review of the book can be found here):

ADAMS: Look, four billion people believe in some sort of God and free will. They can’t all be wrong.

AVATAR: Very few people believe in God.

ADAMS: Of course they do. Billions of people believe in God.

AVATAR: If people believed in God, they would spend every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich people would give their wealth to the needy. Everybody would be frantic to determine which religion was the true one. The majority believes in the usefulness of their beliefs – an earthly and practical utility – but they do not believe in the underlying reality.

ADAMS: If you asked them, they’d say they believed.

AVATAR: 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.

ADAMS: So according to you no one believes anything they say they believe?

AVATAR: The best any human can do is pick an illusion that helps them get through the day.

And people call me cynical.

posted by Jeremy at 3:43 PM