I propose a constitutional amendment to allow Bill Gates to become dictator of the United States for one year. The only exception to his power would be control of the military. The civilian president along with Congress would still control military actions and policies. That should prevent any temporary dictators from consolidating power and becoming permanent.

During Bill Gates' one year run as dictator he could create any laws he wished, change national priorities any way he liked, and generally fix things without a lot of political friction. He could even tweak the Constitution while he's in power.

At the end of Gates' one-year reign, the returning civilian government could - if they want - reverse any of his laws, but doing so would be politically perilous because Bill is likely to have good reasons for what he did. We can depend on political timidity and inertia to keep most of our dictator's laws on the books after he leaves.

I picked Bill Gates for this example because I'm not entirely sure he has a political leaning. He's probably a robot from the future. And at this point I think he has removed all doubt about whether his motives are pure. These days he obviously isn't in it for the money. And we would expect him to bring a high degree of rational thought to any decision. What more do we want?

I deal with lots of odd legal contracts in my career, ranging from licensing to publishing to public appearances and more. The default solution to almost every contract issue is to make the term short. The shorter the term, the less likely something will go wrong that can't be fixed. I'm using the same idea for the dictator concept. A permanent dictator would be the worst system in the world because power eventually corrupts even the nicest human. But a one-year term for our dictator removes most of the potential problems. As long as the dictator doesn't control the police, military, or intelligence services, he or she can't cause too much trouble in a year.

Overall, I like our "sticky" political system with its perpetual gridlock because that means only the most important issues become laws. But every ten years or so, we probably need a temporary dictator to clean out our political closets and get some useful things done.

If you look at the United States as a system, or a big machine, it is lumbering along with nothing but basic maintenance. We have a political system that was designed during the age of horse-drawn carriages and it no longer fits the times. (Or at least it ignores the opportunities of the Internet age.) We need a system that occasionally rebuilds the entire engine of democracy as opposed to keeping the old system dusted and oiled for eternity.

I think the temporary dictator system could be a huge economic advantage over our international rivals. Their systems would either be Putin-like dictatorships that self-destruct in the dictator's lifetime or bloated democracy-inspired systems that are gridlocked beyond usefulness. Our hybrid system with its temporary dictatorship every ten years could be the best system of all.

What do you think?


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     
Author of this book 
Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily
Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays


Last year I rejoined the ranks of the spouse-free. Things sure changed since the last time I was single.

For starters, it is not necessary for men to ask women for revealing selfies. Those photos just start showing up on your phone after you exchange numbers. A revealing selfie in 2014 is essentially just a digital business card for your dating life.

I have also discovered that the most-used characters on my phone keyboard are emoticons. When single people text each other, every sentence has to end with an exclamation mark or a smiley emoticon or else it looks like you lost interest since the last time you texted thirty seconds ago.

For the most part, texting is just a means of feeling connected at a distance. The content isn't terribly important. But the pauses between text messages mean A LOT. Single people monitor the pauses between text replies to decipher real meaning in the content. For example, if I text "I really enjoyed our time together," the real message is contained in the timing of the message not the content. If the text is sent while one person is still driving home from a date, that means you feel a strong connection. But if I text something nice and have to wait seven hours for a reply, the seven-hour wait is the message, not the content of the reply.

Single people in 2014 frequently break up with each other by text, but the words are only the punctuation at the end of the break up. The actual break-up happens with what is called "the taper." The taper is when you are texting someone at a predictable rate, such as several times per day, and you gradually reduce your texting to one message every third day. That's the taper, and it tells the other person your interest has tapered too.

But here's my biggest insight about the single world: Expectations.

I have observed two approaches to dating. One approach involves creating a checklist of expectations that you have for your next romantic partner. You might want a minimum height, a good job, geographic proximity, the same travel preferences, and on and on and on.

Then you find out that no one on the planet fits your criteria. So you have to make hard decisions about which items on the checklist you want to give up on. And if you do give up on those items, you probably resent your partner forever or try to change him/her to conform to the checklist. And that is doomed to fail.

The long checklist is a modern dating problem. Two-hundred years ago, if you and your romantic partner both liked square dancing, you had everything in common. The checklist looked like this:
  1. Are you alive?
  2. Do you like square dancing?
Today the checklist for a romantic partner is 25-items long. Literally no one meets the requirements of anyone else's checklist. So setting expectations before searching for a romantic match is doomed to fail. And the checklist approach is the primary method that most people are using. It is no wonder that 70% of marriages are unhappy

Let's call the 25-item checklist a "goals" approach to dating.

The other approach to life is the "no expectations" method I am trying to cultivate.  This is more of a system than a goal. The idea is that you arrange your life so you meet lots of people and you put no expectations on any of them. If I meet someone with a 4.5 tennis level and lots of free time, perhaps I have a new tennis partner. If we click on some other level, that's great too. No expectations.

It is too early to say if my systems approach is successful. But the first year or so have been wonderful. I'm never stressed or disappointed. Everything pleasant that happens to me feels like a gift.

Stress is essentially the gap between what you optimistically expect to happen and what actually does. That means you can eliminate stress either by changing your expectations or by changing what actually happens. Most people are trapped in a doomed loop of wishful thinking that our romantic partners will change their basic nature and start conforming to our unrealistic expectations if only we complain long enough. For comparison, here's how my model of no-expectations works:

Other Person
: Do you want a hug?

: Yes

That's the beginning and end of my expectations. Or at least I want it to be. It isn't easy to release expectations, but I hold it as an ideal.

To be fair, if kids are part of the equation you probably do need a checklist before getting involved. So the no-expectations system isn't for every situation. I'll let you know how it works for me.


Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     

Author of this book  (about systems versus goals)

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays


Recently a dipshit editor named Ben Smith over at Buzzfeed ambushed Uber executive Emil Michael by taking out of context something Michael said at a private dinner and publishing it under a misleading headline.

It was such a clever ambush that Emil Michael couldn't hope to explain himself without inflaming things further. So he wisely issued a half-assed non-apology-sort-of-apology to make it all go away.

But he's stained. That stuff lives forever on the Internet. It was a total hit job and Buzzfeed pulled it off. As Buzzfeed's own article explains, they have a grudge with Uber over some privacy issues. I assume this was either payback or a . . . coincidence?

If only there was some independent observer of this outrage who once cared what the public thought of him but no longer does. Perhaps that person could say some of the things that I imagine Emil Michael wants to say but can't. And what if that independent observer woke up in a bad mood? How fun might that be?

Well, it's your lucky day.

Let's start with Buzzfeed's totally manipulative and misleading headline:

Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists

Holy shit! Uber must be evil! They are trying to suppress freedom of the media!

Except. . . that isn't what happened, according to Buzzfeed's own reporting in the article with the misleading headline.

Michael didn't "suggest" doing anything. Nor did he - then or now - even want to dig up dirt on journalists. Assuming Buzzfeed's reporting of the details is accurate, all he did was make a dinner party intellectual comparison between the evil of the media that was unfairly attacking them (which I assume is true) and their own civilized response to the attacks.

Michael's point, as Buzzfeed reports it, was that horrible people in the media mislead readers and there is nothing a victim can do about it within the realm of reasonable business practices. The Buzzfeed business model is totally legal. But, as Michael explained, probably over a cocktail, the only legal solution to this problem would be to use freedom of the press to push back on the bad actors by giving them a taste of their own medicine.

But it was just private cocktail talk. It wasn't a plan. It definitely wasn't a "suggestion." It was just an interesting way to make a point. The point, as I understand it from Buzzfeed's own reporting, is that Uber DOES play fair in a fight in which the opponents (bad actors in the press) do not. I find that interesting. It is also literally the opposite of what the headline of the story "suggests" happened.

And Michael made his point in a room full of writers/media people. Obviously it wasn't a plan.

It's not as if Michael was talking about manipulating the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Those publications might get some facts wrong now and then, but they don't have a business model that involves intentionally taking things out of context to manufacture news. No one suggested trying to strong-arm the legitimate media. Michael was talking about the bottom-feeder types that literally manufacture news, hurt innocent people, damage the reputation of companies, and hide behind the Constitution and freedom of speech. You can't compare the bad actors in the press with the legitimate press. And in my opinion it makes interesting dinner conversation to speculate how one can stop the bad actors without breaking any laws.

And then Buzzfeed proved Michael's point by taking his words out of context and showing that Michael could do nothing about it but apologize for . . . Buzzfeed's misleading description of what he said.

That's called "news."

[Update: A commenter points out that this ugly situation is even uglier than I thought. An executive at Buzzfeed is in investor in Uber's competition. See this take on it.]

Disclaimer and biases
: I don't own any Uber stock. I had lunch with the founder once.

Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     
Author of this book 

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays



How do you know if you're living your life right? Is there a standard for that sort of thing?

I came up with a little graph of what I think a well-lived life looks like. The idea here is that we are born 100% selfish, as babies. But if we manage our lives well, our selfishness declines continuously until death. Death is the ultimate lack of selfishness.

I came to this idea by observing the natural evolution in my own selfishness over the years. In my twenties I would have chewed through a hundred not-yet-dead bodies to get to the top of the pile. In my fifties, I make most of my decisions based on how I can be useful to others.

I'm not awesome; I'm just rich and healthy. I have everything I need, and that doesn't seem likely to change soon, so my natural human inclination is to look around and see how I can be useful.

My entire philosophy is two words: Be useful

When you are young, the most useful thing you can do is focus on your own health, happiness, and education. The world wants you to be selfish until you don't need to be that way. That's what keeps the system going. But if you maintain a high level of selfishness all of your life, your friends and family might only be pretending to like you.

My proposition is that you can only experience meaning in life when your selfishness trend is downward, or you are doing something (such as learning new skills) to make that happen. Life is complicated and messy, and that makes it hard to keep score. But if your selfishness levels have plateaued, you might want to consider a new plan.


Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com    

Author of this book 

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays

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You would become a billionaire if you built a device to stop teens from texting and driving. The insurance companies would love it.

I think I figured out an elegant way to stop teens from texting. Yes, I could form a company to produce the product myself. But building a company takes time, and luck, and patent applications, and lots more. I would be dicking around trying to form a company while thousands of people die in the meantime.

So I'm going to release this idea for anyone who wants to take a run at it. I think insurance companies would be first in line. And I think they can act faster than I can.

Before you understand my solution, let me give you some context.

All newer cars have a standard jack that lets consumers add third-party devices that interact with the car's electronics. The jack is usually under the dashboard and most people have never seen it. Devices already exist that plug into that jack and record data about the car's operation.

The brute force method of preventing texting while driving involves, for example, having an app on your teen's phone that interacts with the plug-in device and shuts off texting functions while the car detects movement. That device already exists. I think AT&T offers one.

The problem with that approach is that whenever the teen is moving as a passenger in a car, or on a bus, texting is disabled. All the app knows is that the teen is in motion.

The problem no one has yet cracked is how to identify the driver of the car and disable that one phone's texting capability while allowing texting for passengers and public transit users.

That's the problem I solved.

My insight is that the problem lies with psychology, not technology. Here's my solution.

Like AT&T's solution, a device is jacked into the car's port below the dashboard. (You literally just plug it in.) The device works with an app that your teen has on his phone. That technology is all standard stuff.

All I am changing is the psychology, and to do that we require some tweaks in the software.

My solution requires one person to register as the non-texting driver for the specific vehicle or else a text alert will go to parents saying the car has no designated driver and is in motion.

That's it. That's the psychological fix. Think this through with me...

For starters, the passengers are all free to text, even if they have the app on their phones, because they have not registered as the driver of the moment. The speed of the vehicle is irrelevant to them.

If your teen is driving alone, he can still text and drive. The technology does not prevent it. But what does happen is that an immediate text is sent to a parent alerting of the behavior. And I can imagine also sending that data directly to the car insurance company as a way of knowing if the non-texting discount can apply.

I think it is important to allow texting and driving because sometimes the driver might hand his phone to a buddy and say, "Text my dad that we're heading to Bob's house." Or maybe the teen is stuck in stop-and-go traffic and just needs to tell his Mom, "home in 10." That's reasonably safe, but the parent will get an alert text anyway, including the highway speed at the moment of the text. If the car is at rest, the parent doesn't care. If the text says, "Eric says to tell you we are heading to Bob's house," it is obviously from a friend in the car, and again the parent isn't concerned.

My idea assumes that teens are selfish. (Fair enough?) Imagine a car full of teens, each with a phone, each texting continuously during the ride as passengers. Would any of those teens volunteer to be the designated driver - just to fool the app - so the real driver can text and drive? I don't think so, at least not often. Teens have lost the ability to be car passengers without texting. It isn't even a thing anymore. They need texting like they need air.

A teen is dumb enough to ride in a car with a driver that is texting, but that teen is too selfish to give up his own right to text. A system that relies on honesty, good judgment, or dependability will always fail with teens. But a system that depends on teens being selfish has a good shot at working.

Best of all, this system gives the teen passengers an easy way to protest if the driver somehow tries to beat the system and text anyway. Teens aren't good at saying, "Drive safely and don't text." But teens are great at saying, "Dude, I'm not going to be your designated non-texting bitch."

Your brain is now busy thinking of ways your teen can thwart my clever system, and those ways surely exist. No system is hole-free. But I think this system takes a huge bite out of the problem.

This is a big deal. If you can't think of a serious flaw in the system I described, we just fixed a big problem. And if there is a flaw I don't see, perhaps this discussion will spark a better idea in one of you.

Let's see if we can do something good today.


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     
Author of this book 

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays

The other day a friend mentioned that he would vote for the first presidential candidate that agrees to wear a GoPro camera on her head and live-stream every working minute of the presidency.

My first reaction to the idea was that it was funny but impractical.

But . . . the idea was coming from one of the smartest people I know. So I listened as he unfolded his thoughts. There's a lot of cleverness baked into this simple idea, and it is more doable than you first think.

Imagine a charismatic, science-loving candidate, under 40, running a presidential campaign while wearing a GoPro on her head and live-streaming every bit of it to the Internet. The media LOVES that candidate because she is interesting news, assuming she is a serious candidate in every other way. How do you ignore her?

The biggest hurdle for a third-party candidate is getting attention. The GoPro camera on the head solves that problem in a big way. And it would force both the incumbent and the established challenger to defend keeping secrets from the public at the same time they strip away privacy from citizens.

Sure, politicians say they have good reasons for taking your privacy, but the public doesn't appreciate complex arguments. The public responds to imaginary notions of "fairness," and to most people it just sounds fair that the government should be more transparent than the citizens it governs.

The GoPro candidate could have an intellectually compelling reason for government transparency too, which I will explain in a moment. But the public needs to quickly understand their candidates with stereotypical labels.

Hilary Clinton: Liberal

Jeb Bush: Conservative

GoPro Candidate: Transparent

The GoPro candidate would have what I call the winning comparison. Half of the country is biased against anything labelled liberal and the other half dislikes anything labelled conservative, but no one is opposed to knowing whether their government is worth the money they pay for it.

Imagine a fit, qualified, 35-year old female presidential candidate with a GoPro on her head, debating Hilary Clinton on stage. The GoPro candidate would make Hilary look like that pile of rags in the garage that you intend to throw away but never do.

And the visual impact of the GoPro on the head would turn the national conversation to government transparency. How would competing old-school candidates sell the idea that the public is better off remaining ignorant while trusting the government?

The GoPro candidate could dominate the news cycle simply by being visually interesting every time. If a news editor has to choose between a cool video clip from the GoPro live feed versus a discussion of a candidate's tax policies that will never be implemented, which one is the top story?

And privacy is always a hot story. The GoPro candidate would put a face on one of the biggest topics of the times.

So the GoPro candidate could easily suck all of the attention out of a presidential campaign. But obviously there has to be some substance or it will play out like Donald Trump on the campaign trail - more of a joke than a real thing.

For the sake of seriousness, let's say the GoPro gimmick is for the campaign trail and not the Oval Office. Once in office, the candidate will have professional crews filming her instead of wearing the camera on her head. This would all be clearly stated during the campaign.

As a helpful citizen, I put together a platform that might make sense for the science-loving Transparency Party candidate. You have seen some of these ideas before.

Transparency Party Platform

Government should be transparent so the citizens can see what they are paying for. This is the only way to keep the influence of lobbyists at bay in a society that values free speech.

National security conversations would be tape-delayed. An independent, bi-partisan group would be formed to decide when to release tape-delayed stuff. The politicians would still feel the heat of public scrutiny because the public will someday see what happened behind closed doors.

The President should be less of a "leader" and more of a communicator-in-chief. During filmed business meetings the GoPro president would sometimes speak directly to the viewers at home to explain the context of the meeting. Then the President would challenge the opinions in the room and demand data, all on camera.

The government would fund private competition to build a website that would allow the best arguments on any issue to bubble to the top, for both pro and con. As communicator-in-chief, the president would refer to the two "best" arguments whenever explaining policy to the public.

A president's opinion should change when the data changes. Don't expect consistency.

States should be test beds for social and economic experiments. When something works at the state level the President would act as communicator-in-chief to persuade other states to adopting methods that are proven to work.

For social issues, the GoPro candidate agrees to side with the majority opinion for lawmaking purposes while reserving the right to try and sway the majority with new data or better arguments. That takes social issues off the President's desk and puts them in the public's hands where they belong. If a new social policy succeeds at a state level, the President would encourage others to look at it.


You might say there are obvious problems with government transparency because sometimes politicians really do need to make deals behind closed doors to get things done, or to save face for some partner country, or to "manage" the voters that are frankly not smart enough to understand the big issues. That was the old thinking, and it probably made sense in the past. But in today's world, government transparency might be the smarter approach.

The powerful idea here is that government secrecy is always a red flag that the government is doing something wrong. Remove the secrecy and the only remaining options are ideas that require effective selling to the public. And the best seller in the world would be the communicator-in-chief. The President would show his thinking process, show his data sources, show the counter-arguments, compare options, and present a reasoned opinion on every issue.

Sometimes the media, pundits, and other experts will make a strong counter-argument to the President's position. In those situations the Transparency president is free to change her opinions. In fact, doing so would bolster her credibility, so long as the reasoning is clearly explained to the public.

In the comments I expect to see lots of examples of things that would not work in a fully-transparent government. But watch how each of the reasons is debunked by your fellow commenters. It takes some effort to think through the reasoning of how transparency is a cure-all for government inefficiency, but I think you will be surprised how robust the idea is.


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     
Author of this book 

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays

I know from the comments on this blog that many of you are interested in the creative process. Let me take you for ride in my head. I took this journey yesterday. It is still fresh in my mind so I can explain it.

Most new ideas are combinations of existing ideas. I'll start by describing the random thoughts that inspired one of the most powerful ideas I have ever had. We'll get to the idea itself at the end. I think this idea could cut the unemployment rate in half and turbo-charge the entire economy for generations. And the plan could be fully implemented by the people reading this blog.

No government needed. I know you like that part.

The other day I saw a Kickstarter fund for a sincere-looking fellow that wanted to fix his truck and move to a place with better job prospects. I liked his style. I prefer helping people that have a concrete plan. But a Kickstarter fund? It seemed sketchy. I don't know anything about this guy.

That made me think of Uber. They had the same problem of credibility because the drivers are independent contractors. But it didn't stop them.

Then I was thinking about eBay. I wasn't sure why. My subconscious sniffed some eBay connection in all of this. Maybe that would become clear later.

Then I was thinking of unemployment in general, and how the real problem is that people and jobs are in the wrong locations. We don't have a shortage of good jobs; we have a location problem.

Then I was thinking about an idea I had last year for allowing anyone to create online education courses. Each online teacher might specialize in just one small lesson within a larger curriculum that could be pieced together by the user for the ultimate teaching experience. And over time the best lessons would get voted to the top until the best teachers with the best lesson segments emerged in a sped-up evolution way. I didn't know at the time what that thought had to do with the guy and his broken truck.

Then I was thinking about new app ideas. I do that often, sometimes for my side job and sometimes just with friends. Whenever I see a problem I automatically wonder if an app can fix it.

Then it was Veterans Day. I was thinking how shitty it would be to return home from the service and try to find work.

All of those thoughts swirled around in my head for half a day and then went off wherever ideas go when you are not actively thinking about them.

Later that day, the ideas returned. But this time they were not individuals. They had somehow combined into a new idea - a hybrid of several ideas. And the idea presented itself to me in the form of an app, probably because my mind is organized that way at the moment.

If might be the most important idea of my life. If not, I'm sure you will set me straight in the comments.

Suppose we build an app that allows anyone to sponsor specific part of people's plans for moving to where the good jobs are.

Let's take the example of the individual that wanted to fix his truck and move where the jobs are plentiful. If the app existed, he would open it and start piecing together his plan.

He might start by specifying his existing skill set. That would bring up a map of the country with glowing hot spots showing where his skills are most in demand. Once he selects a target location, he specifies in the app what he needs to make it happen.
  1. $5,000 for truck repair
  2. A place to stay at the destination end for one month (est.)
  3. Help putting together a good resume.
  4. $1,000 for travel and living expenses
The app would then allow anyone to offer help for any part of the plan. But the plan would not become active until all the parts were pledged. And let's say a minimum requirement for the job-seeker is that he has a Facebook page and accepts as friends any serious helpers so they can check out his situation and maybe message his other friends to ask about character.

If the individual needs job training, the cost of training could be in his plan. That sort of plan has a longer horizon but it is still appealing because training works.

Each of us has different resources to offer this imagined job-seeker. I might have a spare room he could use for a month in return for mowing my lawn. You might be good at editing and improving resumes. Maybe someone in his town can fix his truck for the price of parts. Maybe someone has the truck parts he needs. For people that don't have any form of transportation, maybe someone is driving in the direction you are headed and wants to share gas expenses. Maybe I can't afford to fund all of the expenses for this particular job-seeker but I am happy to kick in $10 if other people do.

And let's say multiple people can bid on any part of a plan in which they want to help. I might offer a couch to sleep on for a month but you outbid me with a full guest room for two months. The plan can continue improving as it fills in its holes.

Once the journey begins, the app updates contributors on the physical location of the job-seeker and how the plan is going. The job-seeker could post photos of the journey to keep sponsors in the loop. If the plan falls apart at any point, such as not having a promised place to stay at the destination end, an alert goes out to everyone in the target area that a priority job-seeker is nearby, so someone can jump in to help.

Are you not yet convinced that this is a great idea? That's okay because I saved the best part for last.

The risk in this plan is not so much in the execution of the app, because we know how to make software of this type. The risk is in awareness of the app and in getting enough people excited about being sponsors. If we don't solve the awareness problem, the quality of the app is irrelevant.

So let's solve that.

Let's make the app for veterans only, at least to start. Later, if it works as hoped, it would be available for the general public.

A veterans-only job-finding app would be instantly popular. If I tell you that a random guy needs money for his truck, you shrug. If I tell you that a returning vet needs help with a concrete plan to get a good job, your wallet flies out of your pocket before your hand even touches it.

So we launch the service for vets first, and get all the goodwill and energy that the effort deserves. Later, when you release the app for the general public, you keep vets on some sort of priority plan within the app so they continue getting preferential attention.

I think you would need to build this app as a commercial enterprise just to attract the talent you need. And it should have a big name attached to it to scare away any smaller players that would muddy the waters. (My name isn't big enough for that space.)

I'm willing to put up $25K seed money for this app. But I would need to see a serious team in place to execute.

One of my systems for happiness involves always working on at least one project that can change the world for the better. This is my contribution for today.

Would it work?


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     
Author of this book 

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays

This is a post about my own cognitive dissonance. There is a strange little hole in my knowledge and I believe it is caused by some sort of psychological malfunction. I'll tell you where the hole is, and perhaps you can fill it in for me.

In my experience, which I fully understand to be selective memory, discussions about the existence of God generally go this way...

: blah, blah, blah

Believer: You can't explain how everything got here without God.

Atheist: You can't explain how God got here.

Believer: God has always existed.

Atheist: Why can't the universe always exist the same way as God?

Believer: I'm double-parked. Gotta run. Great talking to you.

That is literally my memory of perhaps a hundred conversations on this topic over a lifetime. When it gets to that last part, in which an atheist asks why the universe can't always exist the same way we imagine God to always exist, the believer usually realizes there was something he needed to do and excuses himself.

On the Internet, this can take the form of pointing to a link that doesn't answer the question, or changing the topic, or mentioning a book that explains it better, or failing to respond.

But I have no memory in which anyone stayed in the conversation and answered the question. Interestingly, I know that my memory of these situations could be false. Perhaps someone answered the question so convincingly that it rocked my worldview then cognitive dissonance set in and I literally imagined the conversation not happening. Science would say that could have happened.

So let's do an experiment. My hypothesis is that no one will make a serious attempt to answer the question "Why can't the universe always exist the same way as God?"

You may now prove me wrong.

[Update Minutes Later: Mystery solved. The problem IS on my side, in a sense. And by my side, I mean science. I hate it when my side does a shitty job of explaining something and in so doing spreads more ignorance than it resolves. For example, I think science-loving people are guilty of allowing this interpretation of the Big Bang Theory to become popularized:

Big Bang Poorly Explained: Once there was nothing. Then the universe appeared. We don't know why.

That sounds like a causeless explanation. Nature hates a vacuum, so religion fills in the gaps.

But a more accurate description of the Big Bang Theory (the cartoonist version) is more like this.

Big Bang Explained Slightly Better: Our universe appears to be expanding. We don't know why.

The better understanding of the Big Bang is that as far back as we can go, it appears that it was always smaller. At some degree of compactness and smallness we lose the ability to continue measuring or comparing. So what science knows is that shit seems to be getting bigger lately, as in the past 15 billion years or so. That doesn't speak to the question of a beginning.

Correct me if I am wrong on any of that, but it seems to me that we science-loving peeps have sucked at explaining stuff to . . . let's say . . . the tourists. Isn't some of the ignorance our fault? If your ideas have holes, you have to expect people to fill them in.

Or to put it another way, perhaps scientists should use the science of psychology and persuasion to get their message across instead of gluing together some facts and spraying them in the general direction of the ignorant. I think this is one of those situations in which it isn't anyone's job to explain science in ways that are scientifically crafted to be convincing. To my ear, half of all the scientific theories that I regard as probably true sound like practical jokes when a non-scientist explains them over a cocktail. Science has a problem in the message department.


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     
Author of this book 

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays




Some research-dudes in Denmark have expressed doubts about whether the so-called "God particle" (Higgs Boson) has really been discovered. The doubters say the experiments that allegedly found the God particle are not precise enough to know for sure.

Although the "God particle" is just a clever name, and has nothing to do with anyone's actual God, I have recently learned that the real, actual, literal God was discovered some time ago. The discovery doesn't get much mention in the article so you have to read between the lines.

To understand why I say the real God has been discovered, first you must know that something called techni-quarks are thought to be the fundamental bits of the universe. Humans, for example, are comprised of lots of different particles, but a techni-quark is just made of more techni-quark stuff. It has no parts that are different from the whole except in quantity.

Here's the quote from the article about techni-quarks that tells you God has already been discovered: "If techni-quarks exist, there must be a force to bind them together so that they can form particles," Frandsen said. "None of the four known forces of nature are any good at binding techni-quarks together. There must therefore be a yet undiscovered force of nature."

In my 2001 fiction book, God's Debris, I talk about a hypothetical fundamental particle and how someday we will understand that at the bottom of reality is nothing but one material (perhaps techni-quarks) plus the laws of probability. If that accurately describes reality, and I think it someday will, then here's the interesting part:

For all practical purposes, probability and God are the same thing. Both are cause-free forces that define the universe without over-specifying the details. Probability is the root cause behind motion, evolution, and eventually the writing of holy books.

In God's Debris I hypothesize in fiction form that probability is the only force that can never be understood or explained by science. And probability is the engine that drives every particle in the universe. Interestingly, probability looks just like intelligence if you back up far enough. Probability gave us natural selection and in effect "designed" every living creature through its rules. That's the same way humans create things: We try something and see how it works. If it doesn't work we discard it and try something new. That's evolution in a nutshell. And if it doesn't look like intelligence to you, I would say you have an overly romantic notion of what human minds are capable of. To me, human minds are just moist computers operating according to the laws of probability. Free will and intelligence are just illusion. You might argue that evolution is not an "intelligent" process, but I would argue that neither is anything else you do. Everything in the universe including our thoughts is nothing but techni-quarks bouncing around according to the laws of probability. Intelligence is an illusion, so we should not expect God to possess any of this illusion.

When I wrote God's Debris I imagined that science would someday discover that at the bottom of all reality is one fundamental piece of matter that conforms to the laws of probability to create every other piece of matter in the universe. That would be science's dead-end. Probability will never be understood. It is causeless and infinite. And because it is so consistent across time and space, one could say that fundamental force is the author of all we see.

I don't believe in a supreme being with a human-like personality because humans are, for the most part, fucked-up basket-cases, and it wouldn't make sense for an omnipotent being to have any of our flaws. But I do think science will someday hit a dead end and find that something - perhaps probability - just "is" and cannot be explained or changed. If you don't want to call that "God," I understand, but I also think we would be discussing semantics at that point, not concepts.

I'm overstating my case here, for fun. But I do think that someday science will hit a brick wall and realize that reality is nothing but one particle and a handful of simple rules of probability that cannot be further understood. If that isn't God, what is?

Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com     
Author of this book  and also this one and this one

Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily

Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays


My stalker is back.

Regular readers know that a Canadian woman named Christina Lane goes off her meds every few years and fills the Internet with stories of how I secretly travel to Canada to ransack her apartment and sexually abuse everyone I meet along the way. She also believes everything I write in any forum is actually an intended insult to her personally.

Ever wonder what it's like to be a little famous?

Imagine a woman calling all of your professional associates (publishers, syndication company, my restaurant employees) to tell them you have been sexually abusing her for years. That's what my stalker did.

Anyway, she's back, and on Twitter now. Look out for @faeralane.

And if anyone up in Canada can help get Christina Lane back on her meds, that would be a big help.
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